GET. UP.

 ©2020 Heather Cappadonia

     “In these uncertain times…”

     How many times have we seen that phrase in these past few weeks in print, or heard it blaring from our speakers? How many more times are we going to see and hear it? For how long?

     Can I politely ask this question? 

     When have your times ever been certain?

     When you were expanding your knowledge, your career, your stock portfolio?  When you were learning your trade or serving your country? When you were building your house? Your ministry? When you were enjoying holiday get- togethers with your family? When you were taking your healthy kids to basketball and dance lessons, to parties? When you took vacations to Disney?  Has any of this been an adequate foundation for your certainty? A pathway to your peace?

     I hope not.

     When many have been running around living their best lives, my husband, my youngest son Joshua, and I have been watching over thousands of my eldest son Nicky’s near-death experiences, in the form of intractable, brutal, seizure activity.

     Thousands of them. Thousands and thousands.

     If seizures were an Olympic sport, my son’s name would be Michael Phelps.

     And those are only the ones that we can physically see. Many, many smaller seizures go undetected by my husband, Josh, and me, but not by Nicky. The diagnosis Nicky carries is Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and it is one of a handful of rare epileptic syndromes that are, by all definitions, relentless to the core. The most bitter part of this heartache is that Nicky was born perfectly normal, and he had acquired this as a secondary result of a viral encephalitis infection he suffered as an infant.

     It’s been 12 agonizing years of uncertainty. Making sure Nicky is breathing is the first thing one of us subconsciously does when we wake up.

      Lost childhood. Lost time. lost careers, lost opportunity. lost IQ points. Lost speech.  Lost coordination. Lost health, lost sleep, lost wages, lost vacations, lost basketball games. Lost relationships. Lost memories.

     Lots of medication, rehabilitation, hospitalization. An almost unbearable amount.

     And a lot of this stuff hasn’t been working.

      It’s been a long, sad, scary, confusing, and exquisitely lonely road for our family.

     But this morning, as we awaken to another day of the uncertain realities of COVID-19, it is occurring to me that this seemingly “novel situation” actually feels a bit familiar. To me, at least.

     It feels like… Tuesday.

     Could it be that suddenly, after countless times of hearing “I can’t imagine what it’s been like for you”, that the world now understands what it has been like for our family?  Could it be that the world finally “gets it?”

     I do not rejoice that this world is writhing out of control with these contorted medical, political, and economic confusions. It sickens me. I cannot feel any sense of relief that humanity had been suddenly sucked down to the level of  the rabbit hole where our family has resided for so long.  How can I be smug about all of this suffering?  In addition to the “normal” seizure activity, our family has to deal with this Corona virus crap, too!

     We are all in this together, and there is something that I do rejoice in, and want to share with you, world.

     Every SINGLE time Nicky’s brain and body were forced to play these contorted head-games of the enemy, he got up from it.

     EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

     HE GOT UP. HE GOT UP. HE GOT UP!

     And we will too. world!

     THIS. TOO. SHALL. PASS.

     Jesus said, “in this world, we will have trouble. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

     This is the same Jesus that later went from being totally dead to being fully alive in only three days.

      Sure, our mileage may vary, but so what??  DEAD to ALIVE? Isn’t that MUCH bigger and badder than seizure activity?

       I has dawned to me that all this time I have been on the ground wrestling with, and an eyewitness to, an overcoming for the past 12 years. Overcomings can be slow, painful, exhausting, messy. But they do happen. They will happen. They MUST happen.  Life requires this.

      You must give your life-suffering to the Lord and let him retool it to be used to help produce life -saving encouragement for others. Period.

      God’s Word also says that “we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.”

      What is our “testimony”?

      It’s simply our story.

      I just shared with you our story, at least a little bit of it. Everybody’s story is going to be a little different, but the basic underlying element to all of them is this is that “ALL things work out for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.”

      If there is anything the past 12 years has taught me, it is that God is fully involved with our crises, and is holding this world the same way we have cradled our son and held him when his eyes rolled to the back of his head, and kissed away his fear. So many thousands of times. God checks for blood, bumps and bruises. He doesn’t ignore this stuff. He will continue to watch over us and love us when we lay helpless, and motionless in our own brokenness and confusion. He loves us when we can’t do anything.

He will continue to, EVERY SINGLE. TIME.

     And then God will guard us all while the tormented world sleeps off its seizure.  He will smile on us again and will hold us by the hand when we get up.

     TRUST ME. ONE DAY, WE DO GET UP.

All About Me

Hi! My name is Heather! I am a child of God, wife, mother, retired art teacher, and painter! I love running! Since 2008 I have completed innumerable 5K, 5 mile, and 10K races, a triathlon, 10 half-marathons, and six full marathons. Although I have never won an overall award or ran a Boston Qualifier (BQ) marathon, I did manage to hold my own in the age-group standings and have several gold, silver, and bronze medals in the shorter races.

Then in 2017 I started having multiple health symptoms that were simply not resolving themselves. I suddenly gained nearly 30 lbs. in less than three months. ( This is something I did not even do with both of my pregnancies.) After a long series of medical appointments, blood tests, ultrasounds, and two biopsies, I was eventually diagnosed with a sizable thyroid nodule, hypothyroidism, and two autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s and Celiac ).

There was both a Catch -22 and a domino effect working in me. The illnesses affected my running; I eventually had to stop running altogether. Then the lack of exercise that I was so used to affected my health. In addition to the previously mentioned maladies, my blood sugars bounded well into pre-diabetic territory. The fatigue was unreal, my joints ached, my hair was falling out, and I was constantly cold. Before all of this, I was running 15-40 miles a week. I would eagerly run 7-13 miles every Saturday just for fun, (and easily able to carry on with the rest of my day afterward).  Suddenly I found myself needing a long nap after only walking one mile!

It is now 2020, and things are more stable now with strict gluten avoidance and medication. I still wear sweatshirts due to the cold, I still have issues with joint pain, and my weight is still “up there”. But after much prayer by myself and others, I do believe that it’s God’s will to not only get back to running, but to train for another marathon, even if this endeavor takes much longer than it did before. Since gluten and sugar obviously need to be out of my diet regardless of how much running I do, I am going to attempt to train for this marathon while utilizing the Ketogenic Diet, or Keto for short.

Running a marathon on low carb diet? Am I crazy? Maybe. Hey, I ran my first marathon as a 44 year-old and I started carbo-loading for it in what, third grade? Look where that got me! No worries, I’ve eaten my fair share of carbs and believe me, I can take the hit! If I run into too much trouble I can still add a few healthy carbs in here and there when the training gets too intense. The purpose is not to be a purist. But I do want to give it a try. I am 55 years old now and believe me, it’s all about just going out there and finishing the 26.2 miles. With a smile on my face. With my body still in the upright position. Hey, it’s not like I’m aiming to win the thing. I’m not an elite athlete, so I’ve got nothing to lose! But I want to at least say I gave the Keto way a fair shot.

There is another reason why I want to go Keto on all of this. Our oldest son, Nicky carries the diagnosis of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy   (in fact, he  actually banged out a nasty 12-minute seizure as I was in the middle of writing this.)  Keto was originally developed for epileptics, and it still works well in eliminating or reducing seizure activity, particularly in children. Although Nicky is 22, It is still my hope that by adopting the Keto diet in my own life will inspire him (and other epileptics, and others who have autoimmune conditions) to make wise food choices, and be healthier!

So there you have it! My mission is to run marathon number seven, and here I am ….an old lady starting from scratch. I walk/ran my first mile on the treadmill yesterday. I will be be powered by prayer and fueled by fat My plan is to use both this blog and my painting to document the journey. This might also break into a Youtube adventure. So be sure to stop by to see how this all goes!