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Learning to Live in Times of War and Famine of the Soul - Chronically Whole
Learning to Live in Times of War and Famine of the Soul

Learning to Live in Times of War and Famine of the Soul

February 2, 2017 | Posted in: chronic illness; support, Coping

I sat before the doctor; equal parts wise and kind, spritely and gentle. He has one tuft of white hair that shoots straight up while the others have been tamed. Somehow this makes me love him all the more. His spectacles sit low on his nose as he studies my most recent labs. He is eager to get to work. But first—he wants to know how I am, how I really am. How am I feeling? What medical challenges have I faced since he last saw me? And his eyes always tell the same story: he truly longs to know the answers to these questions.

And so I answer, with brutal honesty. 2016 was far more difficult than I could have ever imagined it would be and I’m still coming into a place where I dare attempt to trust my body again. I don’t want to feel betrayed by my body, and yet I do. His eyes show deep pain.

And then, when I didn’t think it was possible, he makes himself all the more endearing. He begins to speak about history and medicine with deep, resounding passion. We are here to talk about my hormones, more specifically, my complete and total lack of them, all of them. At last check, my levels were beneath that of what you might expect from your average healthy one-hundred-year-old woman. Spectacle-wearing, kind eyes doctor man has explained to me at length that this lack of hormones effect every part of my body, adding to my fatigue, my inability to exercise or build muscle mass, and of course making their way into the more intimate parts of my life.

Today, he talks to me about seasons of war of famine. I am on the edge of my seat, spellbound. Kind, wise doctor man informs me that in times of war and famine it is well documented that fertility and birth rates go down, in some cases leaving people physically unable to reproduce, their bodies so stressed they’ve shut down this non-critical function for the time being. Their bodies are in survival mode, plain and simple. I am enraptured. There are few things I love more than people who love others and what they do, folks whose eyes light up when they speak about their passions. Doctors who speak glibly in medical terms lose me quickly. Doctors whose whole countenances come alive when they talk about their specialty win my heart forever.

But then, suddenly I’m undone. Sweet, spritely doctor man looks up from his papers, into my eyes and says, When I look at your labs, I see someone whose body has entered into war and famine mode. The circumstances are much different, yes. But your body is in total crisis. I hope your friends and family can see and understand this and support you accordingly. Your body is in total survival mode.

A rebel tear streaked my cheek.

Something in my heart shifted. Deep down inside of me the chasm that so often seems to divide me from “healthy, normal” people no longer appeared as wide.

Before I could catch my breath, he was speaking again, ushering healing words deep into the core of my being. I think the way you’re living your life and approaching these obstacles is very heroic. Surely, in your one life, you’ve had enough of them for twenty people, but you’ve given me several good chuckles here today. You have my admiration. Two things: I hope the people in your world can see what a hero you are and I hope you’ll remember seasons of war and famine don’t last forever.

If you’re wondering what we decided to do about my hormones? Nothing for now. My body needs more time to heal from other issues before we begin that work again.

But today, I’m wondering if you might need to be reminded that the way you’re facing these obstacles in your life is very heroic? And if you too are in a physical or emotional season of war or famine, might I remind you these don’t last forever?

You have my admiration, and you have my prayers. Click To Tweet

YOU are my hero.



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  1. Sherry White
    February 2, 2017

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    So honest and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing:) Sounds like you have an awesome doctor too!!

    • Stacey Philpot
      February 3, 2017

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      He speaks with such candor and kindness. I simply adore him.

  2. Becky
    February 3, 2017

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    Thank you for encouraging me! 2016 undid me and, because of that, it undid my family. It’s one of several hard seasons of my life. War and famine. Peace and healing. The older I get the easier it is to be comforted by the ebb and flow of life.

    • Stacey Philpot
      February 3, 2017

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      Ebb and flow, you said it. Some seasons bring such pain and some bring such beauty. Others let beauty and pain sit side by side fireside like old friends.

  3. Marvis
    February 5, 2017

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    So beautifully written and a great reminder that we need to recognize the bravery that we need to face these challenges. And you’re doctor is a hero too … one of those quiet, gentle ones that are so rare.

  4. Valerie
    February 6, 2017

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    What a beautiful, touching post. It sounds like you have an amazing doctor. 2016, was an terrible year for me too, so I can identify with this so much! Thank you so much for these encouraging words. Sending you healing thoughts, well wishes and gentle hugs. xo Valerie

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