Friday, November 30, 2012

The Roller Coaster Ride

This really is sort of like a roller coaster ride.

I seem to be over the blood clot. I am still on warfarin/Coumadin, a very common blood thinner, and I will need to be on it for six months. I'm not even sure when I started on it. I'd guess this blog is probably the best record of that I have!

My leg feels fine, and I'm trying to exercise it without over-exercising, which is how I got the blood clot--three intense exercise days in a row. (That doesn't make any sense to me or the doctors. Exercise should help blood flow, not create a blood clot. Nonetheless, that's what happened.)

This last weekend (Thanksgiving weekend), however, I came up with something new.

The last doctor visit, they increased my steroid dosage to 15 mg, from 7.5, because I had Graft-vs.-Host of the skin in several places. My forearms looked awful, the worst looking rash I've had from GVH at any time. My wife and I didn't even notice the rash until the nurse practitioner asked to look at my forearms.

They told me to drop back down to 10 mg when my skin cleared up.

I sent them an email on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, saying that my skin was almost completely clear and that if it remained so over the weekend, I'd drop to 10 mg on Monday.

Then Friday night happened.

I woke up at 2 a.m., and my neck itched so bad I couldn't go back to sleep. I checked the mirror, and there didn't seem to be any rash. I wondered if it were an allergic reaction, so I took Benadryl. I also slathered my neck in lotion to try to relieve the itch.

Benadryl is sleep magic for me, so I had no problem going back to sleep a few minutes later, though my neck still itched. It itched when I woke up, too, though not as bad.

I made it through the day fine, but Saturday night I woke up at the same time. This time most of my body itched. I checked the mirror for indication of a rash, but there was none, so I soaked myself down in lotion and went back to bed.

Sunday a GVH-style rash had kicked in. I switched to the steroid cream, but by the time my wife came home--she'd been visiting her sister in Colorado--the rash was extensive enough to be alarming. I'm supposed to go to the emergency room if a rash covers more than 50% of my body. I was at 30 or 40%.

She applied the steroid cream more thoroughly than I had.

During the day, however, I had figured out the problem. I hadn't really experienced anything like the rampant itching before, so I got to thinking about what I was doing different. Then I remembered I had changed my body wash on Friday. I went and got it out of the shower and threw it in the trash.

Monday, my skin was almost completely clear.

There's always something.

Secret Church

Note: The idea for "secret church" came from David Platt and his church near Birmingham, AL. (We highly recommend his book, Radical.) You can read about what it is here. We do secret church shorter and more often than they do.

Today is "Secret Church" night at the Buzz in Selmer. I don't know if we'll get any of the local residents out, or if there will only be friends attending from Rose Creek Village, but the last time we did secret church, it was phenomenal. The presence of God came down, and we had an incredible, joyful, inspiring time, despite the fact that I taught for 90 minutes. (I keep a careful eye on my audience. If they look bored, I wrap up and quit. In this case, even the teenagers never took their eyes off me. No one was bored.) Even after prayer and 90 minutes of teaching, there was Q&A and discussion after. A few hung around to chat even after that.

We went to a couple apartment complexes in town here with flyers and invited people, but that has got to seem scary to local. People are really loyal to their denominations down here in the Bible belt. They'll cooperate with other groups, but to just show up at some meeting called "secret church" having no idea who'll be there with you ... that's not the kind of invitation that is likely to get accepted in McNairy county.

Tonight we'll be talking about the relationship--contrast, rather--between the kingdom of God and worldliness. I'll take everyone through some important, applicable Scriptures, and then this week will be much more discussion than monologue.

Some subjects should not be taught by just one man. Instead, the people of God should talk and wrestle with the subject together, until God gives them something clear.

We western Christians--oh, how we love logic--like to think there is a certain answer to every theological question. It's not true. God answers our questions in whatever way will move us to live the way we're supposed to live. The very purpose of the Scriptures, says the apostle Paul, is to 'thoroughly equip us for every good work' (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

How does one live as a citizen of the kingdom of God and avoid worldliness? The answer for those of us at the Buzz tonight may not be the answer you get. It certainly will be different from country to country, but the answer also differs depending where we are on the path of righteousness. God's concerned that we're taking the next step. It really doesn't matter whether or not we have a perfect, or even good, understanding of what the end goal looks like.

Ah, enough teaching. I have to go study for tonight.

May God make his face to shine upon you!

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