1 Corinthians 2:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
I celebrated my birthday last week and turning sixty-seven is another milestone a lot closer to 70, and growing in wisdom. With age come health issues. If I sit for a long period of time, I have to ease into getting up, so I make small talk with whoever is with me, and then start moving. Mornings for my precious husband have became recitals of what is out of alignment: it could be my knee, my hips, or my back or a combination of all three. These types of pains have become a norm, but then something foreign came upon me.
My problem started the day before I left for the Holy Land. I rushed over to CVS to get a flu shot to set my mind at ease. Halfway through the trip I felt an uncomfortable sensation on the inside of my right cheek; it was red and sore. I prayed at the holy sites for a healing, but it lingered; I never got any relief.
As soon as I got home I made an appointment with the doctor. The doctor asked me if I had bitten my cheek. I may have but I wasn’t really sure. He told me to call in two weeks if it did not go away. It got worst, and the pain was very uncomfortable. In the meantime Dr. Google and I did some research; we both came up with the same diagnosis: oral cancer. I prayed against this, but I was preoccupied with worry. My daughter suggested that I should see the dentist. I did and, after the examination, he suggested that I go for a biopsy, but he suspected it was lichen plantus.
I’m grateful to God that I have coverage with Medicare, plus a great supplement, but it was nearly impossible to find an oral surgeon who would take my insurance. Finally, after 12 referrals, I found a wonderful Iranian doctor. This doctor told me it would take a week before the results were in. We were planning to meet some friends in the wine country and I still had this looming condition. I wanted results before we went on the trip.
In the meantime I had developed several small mosquito like bites on my hands and arms. Thinking that a spider did a slow waltz on my body while I was sleeping. I said to Mike, “I’m tired of getting eaten up by bugs! We need to have the house sprayed!” Mike’s response was, ” Well if you insist on using an eco-friendly company, we will always have bugs!” We got into a little cat fight over the matter, and then dropped it. My hands and arms were itchy, but it looked different from a mosquito bite; it more like a rash.
I was so apprehensive to call the doctor about results, but I wanted to travel without having to think about this problem. The biopsy came back with what the dentist suspected: lichen plantus.
Lichen plantus is an autoimmune disorder: it is not contagious, I did not pick it from traveling to the Holy Land nor from feeding the homeless on Skid Row, as Mike believes. It is not life-threatening and there is no cure. There is no exact cause for lichen plantus. It may be related to allergies or an immune reaction. This could include certain medicines, dyes, or antibiotics. As a result I have hundreds of mosquito-like bites throughout my body. This miserable disorder is unsightly and it itches badly. My back resembles a constellation of stars, some bigger than the others.
For as long as I can remember, I have always suffered from allergies. For years I have taken daily doses of an antihistamines; now with this new quandary, I get no relief.
Since lichen plantus is not life-threatening, there are no support groups. No one wants to hear of the new lesions that I’ve developed overnight, or that I’m always itching. So the only support I have is Mike, and he has grown tired of all the complaining with all my lamenting. I am taking the homeopathic route to keep my disorder at bay, and I recently went into the “light box” that the dermatologist suggested. The light box is using phototherapy to expose the skin to ultraviolet light. I’m praying this will help. This disorder can last up to nine months and go away and never return, or it could come back with a vengeance. Of course I’m praying for the latter.
There is a light at the end of this winding tunnel. I have asked God, “Why did I get this disorder? Why didn’t you give this to someone who is really evil and hateful, and not serving You?” He did not answer me, but I figured it out. I’ve experienced two miracles during the duration of this illness. Receiving these miracles was part of God plan. He was testing me to understand that these miracles were the center of the prayers and the disorder (lichen plantus ) is just a distraction to keep me from praying. To me, it is worth the suffering in seeing these miracles come to fruition. Nothing is going to keep me from serving the Lord, and it is through this trial that I call on Him more. The Devil hates people like me because I make a difference – not because I’m so special, but because I’ve learn to battle and understand that the victory belongs to the Lord.
Romans 5:3-5 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
I have read and researched this disorder, and it could have been triggered by getting the flu shot. We will never know, but God knows, and I trust Him!