Of course I was tired.  I had recently returned to the States after living in Norway as an exchange student; high school activities, college applications,  and speaking engagements in the community about my time in Norway were keeping me going full throttle.  My normally energetic eighteen-year-old body was simply having a hard time keeping up the pace.  But in the middle of my senior year I was confined to bed for two months due to a series of infections and a dangerously low white blood cell count.  I was seriously sick with what I now know was the beginning of many illnesses, this time Systemic Lupus Erythematosis, or lupus.

The doctors were puzzled by my illness;  no definitive test existed for lupus.  I was finally given permission to begin college classes.  However, due to continuous infections, I finally had to drop during my first semester. 

Although I had ups and downs in my energy level and experienced much more illness than I had ever had in my growing up years, I progressed through college after that first semester and met the Rick, the man of my dreams.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I told him that I had a mysterious illness that nobody had been able to diagnose and that he might want to think about whether or not he wanted to become serious with me.  He either didn’t believe me or decided I seemed too healthy to be sick; he took the chance and 44 years later we are still glad he did. 

My story is his story as well.  I am quite sure that I would not be alive today without his loving care for me; just as I am sure that God has grown our love for Him and for each other through the many illnesses we have faced together:

lupus, heart disease and five heart attacks, gall bladder disease, lung cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, repeated skin cancers, debilitating arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, chronic spinal disc problems, GERD, gastroparesis, bursitis, loss of balance due to inner ear damage, tendon and muscle tears, double vision, Sjogren’s syndrome, endomitosis, Plantar fascitis, deQuervain’s syndrome, tendinitis, asthma, Morton’s neuromas, sclerotic mesenteritis, trigeminal neuralgia, and a host of other ailments.

God blessed us with two children, Carey and Mark, who have also walked through much more than most young people their age and grown accordingly in their faith and their abilities to help others through similar trials.  We are so grateful for this family he has allowed us, despite the illness that has been a constant visitor in our home. 

Doing Well at Being Sick tells the story of our journey and what we have learned along the way about navigating the medical system and relying on God for all things.  Our prayer is that our experience will help others to do well in facing the physical challenges in their lives.  We hope to use this website and blog to continue the process begun in the book by sharing what we continue to learn with you.