Saturday, April 15, 2006

Miracles VI: Easter Joys

This weekend marks the year anniversary of The Very Loud Noises Landing In My Brain. I can't tell you how HAPPY I am that the nightmare of several months ago appears to be over and I am joyful in my life again.

One year ago, my hubby and I spent a Saturday morning peddling some wares at the local art and craft market. Actually, the only thing we peddled was some art of Patchouli's; but we had a great time talking with each other and drinking coffee. Hubby even caught a little nap. It was a beautiful day, cool breezes; perhaps an anticipatory vision of retirement! :-) HA!

He left later that day to join the boys at a Scout camp and I was looking forward to time alone with my Gracie and my home...and watching movies that I wanted to watch. I started having some kind of hum in my head but didn't think much about it. By the next morning, though, I had full blown jet engine noise on the left side of my head, static in the middle, and ringing on the right. If you want an example, go drive your car outside some mega air conditioning unit, open the door with the keys in the ignition so the ringing starts, and tune your radio to a static state. That would be it. 24/7.

It turns out that I had an ear infection and bronchitis, or so the doctor said. But the stress this caused was unreal, and later I found out that 20% of people with tinnitus that drives them crazy started out with getting hit with it suddenly like this. That percentage of people are often totally disabled, unable to keep a job, marriage, etc.

After the infection went away, the noise didn't. I was in panic mode all the time. I told my husband I couldn't deal with this...he was like, "You can! You've dealt with worse, you deal with pain all the time! You can handle this!" But, I just couldn't function. I couldn't sleep. I would sleep by the refrigerator to drown the noise out. Kept the TV on...I stumbled around in the daytime from sleep deprivation. I scoured the internet and found no encouragement, no cures. The ENT told me that I had hearing loss in my left ear and that the ringing was permanent, and to turn on a radio and "get used to it." I could have choked him. Finally I found a couple of doctors on the web who have tinnitus and their story was like mine....only they had quit working and functioning until they habituated the noise a year or more later. I couldn't imagine suffering with this for a year.

I'd end up on my knees, pleading with God to make it stop, weeping, slobbering prayers; considering suicide because I felt worthless to everyone, including myself.

One doctor prescribed Klonopin, which I gladly took. It knocked back the noise, or I just didn't care about it so much. I didn't care if it was addictive, I would deal with that later. Then, God led me to my piano, which I never played very well, and He gave me the gift of worship with Him, and I spent hours playing like I had never played, and singing and being with Him.

I got sound machines to drown out the noise, and started meditating and visualizing peaceful places, walking with Jesus. I had a woman from the church I was going to talk me off a ledge or two. I got through my son's Eagle project, graduation and party with flying colors, and actually enjoyed myself. I started ministering to people with tinnitus; and found that I was "habituating" it more rapidly than they were, or still are as I write this. Some are still under very expensive treatment to try to get where I got in a relatively short time. I thought...what is different between them and me? Why am I surviving this better than them?

You know the answer.

They have no God in their life. No Jesus to hold them, no Jesus to comfort them. No hope.
I'm not stronger than them. I'm not smarter than them. I'm not better than them.

I just let Him in. It's not me. Never me. It's Him. I could not have survived this without Him.
He had to lead me to yet another place of brokenness in order to get me to slow down, even stop. My friend Connie reminded me that He will indeed stop us in our tracks in order to get through to us. He was getting me to a place where all I had was Him. He even made me go to my dark, quiet, claustrophobic closet to pray and meditate--and face--the noise.

This is a devastating disorder for many people. Just turn on loud noise like I suggested and imagine living your life with that...forever. For most, it never goes away.

I praise God that He has brought me out of bondage with this. The noise is still as loud. It annoys me a lot. But it doesn't devastate me. Please pray for these other folks....that they will let Him in to cause a change, to give them peace. Now, it's my time to minister to them.

This morning we went back to the market, as visitors, and I retraced my steps and praised God that I got through that journey!
He's alive! He is Risen! What miracles do you have to share?


Mark D said...

Wow. I can only imagine what that must have been like when it first started, and how much strength it still must take now. What a testimony already. I am officially "hooked" on your blog and will be back to read more. Oh yeah, and I will be praying for your complete healing. When it comes, you may have a hard time sleeping again because things are too quiet. :)

Thanks for the comments you left on my blog. Have a great weekend!

Karen said...

Thanks, Mark! I'll take those prayers and receive healing in all things! My only strength is Him....

Simon said...

Sheesh Karen. I never knew. That is really tough. Like Mark, I cant imagine what it must be like. One of my friends has a similar thing although it is just the constant ringing. He uses a sound machine too. No one seems to be able to really help him. Wowza...I will hold it and you in my thoughts and prayers. I dont believe you will always have it but that is easy for me to say...Some things about this life are just plain shitty...

Kansas Bob said...

What an awesome story to read on Easter day ... our are inspirational Karen ... your story reflects the inner beauty of a heart changed by Jesus. I love this ...

"He gave me the gift of worship"

... worship is the gift that keeps on giving. Happy Easter!

Kansas Bob said...

Make that ...

"you are inspirational Karen"

... stupid keyboards :)

Helen said...

God bless you, an encouraging read,
God has blessed us as a family so much, lives transformed by Him, Take care!

Bruce said...

Thanks for the thoughts. Right now I needed to hear that God still works and your words were a drink of refreshing cool water in my dry and thirsty land.

His peace.

Karen said...

Thank you, all of you, for your sweet words.
Helen, thanks for stopping by! I love your blog!
Simon, I feel for your friend and will pray for him.
Bob, it was your blog that inspired me to tell my story!
Bruce, He is clearing a path in your life to do a mighty work!