Archive for March, 2013

“THE STORY OF A MIRACLE – PART 3”

March 27, 2013

I am so excited…Pam has returned with her 3rd posting of her Miracle Story.  Welcome again to this post and both  Pam and I would like to encourage your comments as her story unfolds.  We hope you will be blessed as you follow this  story.

*****

When I start recollecting and reflecting on this time of our lives, it is extremely emotionally draining and difficult to talk about.  I know Jerry has been impatient for me to get on with the miracle of our lives, but I also want to allow the reader to know it was truly a journey and a decided walk of faith.

As I eluded in my last post, I shared that my dad walked in the door declaring, “What is wrong with you?”  I can remember very clearly the fear I saw in his eyes.  At this time, I would like to share a small side note into my past to allow you more depth with how much illness can and does affect every member of the family going through it.

When I was 6 weeks old, my birth mother died at the age of 27.  She had given birth to 2 other children and I was her 3rd.  I had a brother 4 years old and a sister almost 2 years old when my mother died.  My dad was on his own, having lost the love of his life and being the father of 3 babies.  I wanted to allow this bit of information to sink into the reader for many reasons and hopefully as you read on, it will become clear why.

So when, I say I saw the look of fear in my dad’s eyes, as I stated earlier, I knew we were in trouble.

Needless to say, by Monday morning, I was back in the doctor’s office.  I had a dear, older doctor whom I loved.  When he walked into the room, I saw the same look on his face I had seen on my dad’s.  I think this was part of why I loved my doctor so much; he was a fatherly type.  He excused himself from the room and brought another doctor back with him.  He introduced us and explained he wanted another opinion.  I again saw a look of concern on his face as he looked at the lesions.  I was running high fever and was in extreme pain.  He told my doctor, “She needs to be somewhere else.”  I was told in a few moments I had an appointment the next day in another city with a dermatologist.

Off I went the next day to the new doctor and was told it looked like I had developed “Sweet’s Syndrome.”  This is a secondary condition, usually, occurring with other illnesses.  He did blood work and put me on steroid treatment for control.  He did not seem too alarmed.  It is amazing when a doctor seems not too concerned, you become less concerned also.

I went home and started what became a 7-year love, hate relationship with prednisone.  For those of you who have been on high dosages of this medicine, you totally understand my last statement.  For those of you blessed souls that have never been on more than a “dose-pak,” I want you to realize how truly blessed you are!  Prednisone has a mind and soul of its very own and we who become partakers rarely get a vote on the way our day is going to play out.  I am talking about dosages of anywhere from 200 mg, (no, this is not a typing error) to 60 mg a day at the lowest level.  I was started on 60 mg and I can assure you within 2 days, it looked as though I was completely well.  I was instructed to take 60 mg a day for 4 days, and then go to 40 mg for 4 days, then 20 mg and then to 10 and, most likely, we would be through with this bizarre episode.  I was so excited when I could see that every lesion was gone without even a trace of scarring after 2 days.

I also want to point out that I had never been on steroids before.  I had many strange feelings and my emotional state seemed to be all over the place.  This effect of medication was totally new to me.

Prednisone did not only affect me.  Unfortunately, it affected each member of my family.  One day happy and excited about life…the next day, “Why are you asking me how I am, and why are you looking at me???!!!”

I was so excited to see that I was totally well in a couple of days and was back in the planning mode of my divorce.  When my dosage of prednisone was down to 20 mg daily, I began to see blisters forming on my arms again and my eyes were beginning to feel extremely painful.  Within another day, I was back to square one.  I waited 2 more days, called my dermatologist and he told me to increase the medicine again.  Once again, within 2 days, I looked totally normal.  He decided that time to leave me on the higher dosage a bit longer.  I stayed on 60 mg for 1 week, then down to 40 mg for 1 week, and again, by the time we were back to 20 mg a day, I once again had lesions and I believe about this time was where I began to notice tremendous pain in my upper back and kept describing is as if my lungs were full of water.

My doctor had also made an appointment for me in Houston at the Diagnostic Clinic.  This was July 8, 2 days before my 32nd birthday and right at 1 month of this mysterious illness that is beginning to control my life.  I can assure you, from someone who likes to be in control of all things around her, this was not a good situation and many people in my small town were becoming alarmed as the news spread. “Have you seen Pam?”  …”Have you seen what those lesions look like?”…”What do you think is going on?”

“TIE A KNOT AND HANG ON?”

March 26, 2013

There is an old saying I’ve heard for a long time:  “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”  This sounds like a solution…but is it?  What is it that we are hanging on to?  Is it the same rope that caused us to be in the difficulty we face?  Are we hanging on waiting for someone to provide us with a new rope?  These are just some questions to  ponder.  As I think about this, I can remember times when just hanging on didn’t solve the problem.

In 1988 Pam began a fight with a very serious illness.  As time passed, we probably wanted to just tie a knot and hang on.  This was not the solution, but I will not write further on this subject because Pam is telling this story by writing a series of posts on this blog titled “THE STORY OF A MIRACLE.”   As her story is told, you will hear of the alternate to just hanging on.

Years ago, I planted a plum tree that provided us with more fruit than we could possibly eat.  We gave plums to our friends and each year they would be waiting for the new crop.  This is not a picture of that plum tree, but it is similar.  The plums would be so plentiful sometimes, the limbs would break.  Suddenly, the plum tree died.  It didn’t have the opportunity to just hang on…it was gone.  I planted another plum tree a few years ago and it has really struggled to survive.  It would grow in the  spring and then the  hot summer  and/or drought would cause problems.  One year it appeared to die.  So I trimmed it down to about three or  four inches hoping to give it a chance for new life.  I did this for  quite a few years and suddenly last summer it began to look like it would make it.  After years of struggling, there are blooms this spring.  It has never bloomed all the years it struggled.  It is not very large, but it has new life.Plum Tree

You can’t see the blooms, but they are there.

When growing a plum tree, there is only Plan A.  There is no Plan B.  Plant A is planting, watering, and fertilizing the plant.  When there are problems, we can’t just hang on or use Plan B.  It takes action on our part…it’s time for TLC.  It looks like my plum tree will survive and be productive.  It’s been a long hard struggle, but I have stayed with Plan A.  It believe the good times (mountain tops) and the bad times (valleys) will make it a strong tree and produce an  abundance of fruit for our enjoyment.

*****

When I look at life and the mountain tops and valleys, I realize we need those ups and downs to grow stronger.  God has always had a plan…it is Plan A.  No matter how much we would like to change to Plan B, we need to stay with His plan.  Plan A is not about reaching the end of our rope and just hanging on.  There is no  Plan B.  When we have reached a crisis of belief, as Henry Blackaby teaches in “Experiencing God,”  it takes two things…faith and action.  This is God’s Plan A and there is no option to change to Plan B.  It is not just tying a knot and hanging on.  Our part is joining God’s plan and take action.  When we have come down from a mountain top and face the problems in the valley, we are called to obedience to God.  Our action is to be dependent on Him and through faith grow in our relationship with Him.  This will bring us back to the mountain top and we are much stronger because we have depended on God to bring us out of the valley.  This will never fail to bring new life when we were at the end of our rope.  We don’t just receive a new rope from  God.  We are, through faith and action, able to leave the knot at the end and climb back to the top and soar like an eagle.  This is God’s Plan A and will always be the plan we must follow.

“THE STORY OF A MIRACLE – PART 2”

March 19, 2013

 

 

Here is part 2 of Pam’s story of a miracle.  If you have not read part 1, please go to the archives of this blog.  As you follow this series of “THE STORY OF A MIRACLE,’  you will see the awesome power and love of our Lord.  Pam and I welcome any comments you may have.  We have been blessed by God and want to share this blessing.

*****

As I stated earlier, I believe now with all that is within me, the Lord was already beginning to deal with my heart and I must confess I mostly pushed His nudging away.  I know there were times I stayed awake at night trying to make deals with God and tell Him He had no idea what I was dealing with in my life!  I am sure many people will understand this.  I also felt tremendous torment and now know this was spiritual warfare brought on by my own desire to justify actions in my life.  I also felt as if divorce was the next plan of action in my life.

 I took a trip to my parents’ home with our daughter to let them know my plans and spent time just relaxing and getting counsel from two fine Christian parents I was blessed to be raised by.

Lyndsey and I made the 600 mile trip back home and I started planning.

A few days later Jerry and I were invited to a birthday party for a dear friend of ours.  That morning when I woke up, I noticed what I thought to be a blemish on my cheek.  By evening this area had become much angrier and I was beginning to think I had been bitten by something.  I consulted a few friends at the party to see if they had any insight into spider bites.  The date of this party was June 21, 1988.  When I awoke the next morning I had spots all over my face and severe pain in my eyes.  My eyes were also extremely bloodshot.

I had a shopping trip planned with a friend and she insisted I go by the doctor first because she was convinced I had gotten poison ivy.  I did go see my doctor and he agreed I most likely was having an episode with poison ivy, oak, or something similar.  I had never had poison ivy but went along with the diagnosis and appropriate medication.  Off we went to treat ourselves with shopping and lunch out.  By that evening when I got home, I remember I could barely drag one foot in front of the other.  The spots were getting much larger and multiplying rapidly.  They were by this time about the size of a quarter and covering my face, fingers, wrists, arms, across my shoulders and my shins…absolutely nothing on the trunk of my body; yet there were blisters in  my eyes and ears and along my hairline.  I would describe the pain as similar to a burn.

I can remember the dates very well, but not always the day of the week.  For some reason,   almost every date is a significant time in my life.  I don’t believe the Lord intended me to ever forget this time or be silent about it.  The next day was a Saturday and my dad was coming home from a fishing trip with his brother in Canada and his plan was to come by and get our daughter and take her home with him for her summer visit.  Lyndsey was 5 at this time.

I answered the door when he arrived and he took one look at me and I could see the fear in his eyes.  He somewhat whispered as I invited him in, “Oh my, what is wrong with you?”  At this point, as I went back to bed and turned my home over to my dad and my husband, I knew we were in a crisis and I was beginning to feel concerned…..

 

 

“COUNTDOWN TO A VERY SPECIAL DAY!”

March 14, 2013

Today I am in a countdown to a very special day.  Tomorrow is the beginning of conference play for the Longhorn Baseball team, but that has nothing to do with the countdown.  We are only doing what we do this time of year…traveling to Austin to watch three days of Longhorn Baseball.

Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day, but that just means we will have to wait three weeks for the next weekend when the Longhorns return for a weekend of baseball.  The countdown also has nothing to do with the “Wearing of the Green.”  When everyone is wearing green, it means that a very special day will follow.  It will be our 35th wedding anniversary.  That is why I am excited about my countdown.

There are many memories from the past 35 years.  The morning of our wedding I discovered my wedding shoes were mismatched in size.  Each shoe was identical except for one thing.  One was size 9 and the other  was size 10.  I guess someone else had the same problem because when I arrived at the shoe store they didn’t have another pair of the same style.  Oh well, I found another style and everything was alright.  The minister performing the ceremony got lost on the way to Cypress, Texas and was late.  When we arrived at our honeymoon destination in the Bahamas, our luggage was lost in “never-never” land.  My luggage arrived the next day and Pam’s arrived the morning we were leaving for the airport for our return.  When we arrived back in Houston, the hotel had lost our car keys.  They called a locksmith and solved the situation and also gave us a free night for  a return trip.

I now realize that things like that are just a part of living.  Like anyone else, we have had valleys and peaks.  The best part of having ups and  downs is that I only remember and cherish the peaks of joy that Pam has provided all these years.  She mentioned yesterday that when one of us is down, the other one is up.  We take turns loving one another through the good times and the bad times.

I can’t tell you about the very special day I have planned for her.  She might read this blog and spoil the surprise.  All I have told her is to pack another outfit for the trip to Austin.

Pam was the most beautiful bride I have ever seen, but there is no comparison to her beauty today.  Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but she possesses the inside beauty that is a gift from God.  That is why she gets more beautiful each day.

From the Wisdom Book:

By all means marry;

if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy;

if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.

–Socrates

Let me assure you that I am no philosopher, so without question, I am blessed with a good wife.

 

“CAJUN FOOD & A FERAL KITTEN”

March 13, 2013

Sometimes Pam and I find an adventure in unexpected places.  We were in Austin last weekend for the Longhorn Baseball game and because of the high school basketball state championship tournament and SxSW event, our regular hotel was booked solid.  So we had the opportunity to accept Lyndsey’s hospitality.

After the game on Saturday afternoon, the three of us went out for dinner.  The first place we stopped (Manuel’s) was too crowded and we didn’t want to endure the 1-1/2 hour wait.  Lyndsey told us about a Cajun restaurant & oyster bar, so we decided to dine there.  The food was really great and it is a good place to “people watch.”  And speaking of “people watching,”  we were also able to watch some feral kittens waiting for scraps from  the people dining on the  deck.  We  were inside looking and saw a woman trying to catch one of the kittens.  I told Pam and Lyndsey the lady should not be trying to pet or pick up a wild cat.  Suddenly, the kitten attacked with claws and teeth and it was not a very pleasant sight.  It didn’t take long for her to realize her mistake and retreat.  It was very much like picking up a hot coal to test if it is hot.

Feral cats are not socialized to humans. The fact that feral cats are fearful of humans impacts how you interact with them, how they behave around you and other humans, and how other individuals perceive them.

Feral and Stray Cats—An Important Difference – Knowing how to tell the difference between a feral and a stray cat will help inform you how best to interact with a cat or what, if any, intervention would be in each cat’s best interest.

We discovered that the “cat lover” lady and her family were sitting at the next table.  The husband was more interested in eating boiled crawfish than catching feral cats.  He watched the cat attack and concentrated on the crawfish.  There son was also busy with his meal.  We visited with them after she returned with all of her scratches and teeth marks and I found out he was a LSU Tiger fan.  I recognized the purple and gold LSU Tiger jacket he was wearing.  I, of course, was wearing my Longhorn Burnt Orange.  The meal was great and the visit with this family was also great.

*****

From the Wisdom Book:

   We do not see things as they are.

   We see things as we are.

—Dad (H. Jackson Brown)

I think this event is a perfect example of this quote.  The lady saw the kittens as cute and  the rest of us saw them as feral.  That is the way it is with God.  Most of the time we see things as we want them  to be and God  looks at them as the way they are.

“THE STORY OF A MIRACLE – PART 1”

March 12, 2013

I have been encouraging Pam to share this story for some time.  It will be presented as a series when she has time to write the details.  I definitely know the story and invite you to follow this blog as she shares the heartaches and joy of a truly miraculous journey.  I proudly present to you my beautiful wife and guest blogger….Pam.  Here is the  beginning of her story:

*****

WOW…to be invited to be the guest blogger on my husband’s website!  I consider this a great honor and say, “Thank you, Jerry!”

Anytime I am asked to share about God’s healing in my life, I am extremely humbled again at God’s grace and His precious plan for me.  I always feel that I have to go back and allow people a glimpse of the Burrows’ family even before I became ill, which was in the summer of 1988.

Jerry and I were married in 1978 and spent 10 years of marriage, like many others, trying to figure it out.  We had fun, ups and downs, and were just living our lives, our way.

We were extremely blessed in 1982 with the adoption of our precious daughter and oh what a joy she brought to our house.

We began thinking as Lyndsey grew that we should probably take her to church and start teaching her, because we did want her to grow up knowing the Lord and having that foundation of faith.  That was truly the extent of my thought pattern as far as my life as a Christian.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  God had a different plan for our family.

I was confident of my own salvation, but certainly was not living my life very differently from anyone in the world.  I don’t think I portrayed Christ-like qualities very openly and I am not sure anyone, when asked, would be able to say that, “Yes, I know Pam is a Christian and I see the fruits in evidence in her life.”  Christ was beginning to deal with my heart!

Then suddenly, without  any warning, without any hint of danger, without any time to prepare, life as we knew it in the Burrows house changed overnight…