Live Like You’re Dying

“I know the plans that I have for you,” says the lord, “Plans to prospers you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

It is amazing to see how faith works!  When everything in our lives is as what you want it to be, give or take your finances, relationships…etc, then it really isn’t true faith.  It is only when our lives are literally falling apart at the very core that is when we have the chance to make our faith real.

When I stepped into my doctors office this past Tuesday I was optimistic.  I knew in my heart whatever news she would deliver, whether good or bad, I would be taken care of.  Jesse, I believe, was more nervous than I was.  The doc walks into the waiting room where I was at and she comes right out by saying, “Well Mrs. Santoyo, your ultrasounds came back and everything looks normal.  There isn’t anything that can indicate any disease or malfunction towards your liver.  In fact, all your organs look great and completely healthy.”  (Mind you this is the 2nd ultrasound that I had to take, the first showed obscurity) As my doctor was saying this her face looked confused and bewildered and she insisted that I draw a 3rd set of blood so that it can be evaluated yet again.

The lab results would come the next day, and my doctor said she would contact me with the final results. She goes on by saying if it is not my liver than it could be my bones, and a bone scan may be the next step to find out what may be causing my alkaline levels to rise. I smiled and said, “ok.” 2 weeks prior I would have lost my mind!  I would have gone into a deep depression and probably would have cried myself to sleep, if my mind would not deprive me of it.  This time it was different, I had peace, I was secure, and I had faith.  Faith was the only thing of value that my heart and mind had.

Wednesday came and I went about my day as usual, I made coffee, fixed breakfast, got the kids ready for school.  I was completely unmindful that my doctor would contact me with the results; so when the phone rang, I didn’t think much of it.  Low and behold it was Dr. Logan on the other end, and I was calm and ready.  She begins to speak, “Mrs. Santoyo, how are you today?  Your results came back and thought you should know that your alkaline phosphatase is normal now!  Your levels are at 143 units/L!…”  I smiled and said, “Really!  That is good news, that is really good news…”

It would be ideal to say that I became really exited after hearing the good news, but I wasn’t.  I was at peace and I was passive.  The moment that I decided to give my life up to God and trust in Him I became excited.  This good news was just an icing on the cake.  I knew deep within my core existence that He had a plan.  A crazy plan might I add, but nonetheless it was a well thought out sketch of my life.  Only He knows what my heart and mind feel, think, and struggle with.  He knew what he needed to do to bring me back to my roots.  The true essence of why I worship God. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace…” Hebrews 12:11

I have gone through of chain of disappointments and let downs in the pass several years.  As each day pass my heart began to fill with fear, animosity, jealousy, and regret, all the ingredients for a lonely and desperate life.  It takes the sense of losing your life to realize what really is important.  Thank you to everyone who kept me and my family in prayer.  Whether you may believe or not there is power in prayer.  A special shout out to David Maldonado, Travis & Kelly Johnson, and Michelle Bulger.  You have inspired me and allowed me to see once again what true friendship and community is all about.

So I leave you with this, love out loud, laugh even when it hurts, hope for the best in every situation, dream the unthinkable, and Live like you’re dying…cause every second counts.

Until next time my dear friends

La Unica Reina

I’m too Young to Die…

Tangibility!  Is that even a word?  Well let’s look it up!  Tangibility is a noun and it means something tangible, and tangible is an adverb and it is defined as something capable of being touched, something real or actual rather than imaginary or visionary.  So when I say I wish sometimes faith could be tangible, what I am trying to say is that I wish faith wasn’t so complex…I wish it wasn’t something that is not found deep within a person’s soul and mind.  Now before you get all crazy on me, I am not saying that I don’t have faith.  I am simply saying that faith in itself is sometimes hard to obtain when faced with challenging and complex situations that may put a person “faith” to a test.  Questions, concerns, and doubts can filter out a person’s faith even in the most prominent believer.

Faith is defined in the word of God as “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…” (Hebrews 11:1) Basically it is the conviction of truth without “tangible proof.”  I am not going to sit here and write a thesis on “What is faith, and how can one obtain it?”  I am simply saying that my faith, at this moment, is truly being tested in this chapter of my life.

This August I turn 30, and to be quite honest I am really excited about it.  I believe the older you get the wiser you become.  The 30’s will probably be just as exciting if not more than my 20’s.  I will most likely have some dull moments and I inevitably will have some amazing and adventurous moments too.  All in all they will both serve to be worthwhile and educational to my life.  But there are those “skip a beat” moments where your whole world and mentality of life becomes interrupted.  I am talking about whiplash, blink of the eye interruptions, the kind of stuff that will make anyone hit pause and sit back within their chair and look at everything in an overview…and then ask the question “What if?”

The older you get the older your feel…lol… its true, your body feels more exhausted, more worn out than ever.  The past several months I have been feeling…lets just say not my norm.  I have complained here and there but most of the time I just put it behind me and go about doing my business and taking care of my family.  Jesse has been on me to make a doctors appointment for some time now, and reluctantly I did.  Tuesday afternoon I went into my doctor’s office for a full exam.  I had the whole works done, from ultrasounds to my blood being drawn.  For the most part the exam went really well!  Now it was waiting for the results that tortured my soul…literally.

The following Friday I had another appointment with my doctor to learn of my results, and this became the deal breaker towards my faith.  She began to poor out good news saying that my ultrasounds came out normal and my blood work looks normal and great but…and that is when it happened…she said the word but.  The most 3 dreadful letters combined together that creates uncertainty.  Usually the word “but” follows after a sentence that has or will deliver good or bad news, and in my case it delivered the bad.  My doctor goes on to say that one part of my blood test came back abnormal, and it was my Alkaline Phosphatase levels that concerned her.  Everyone who gets there blood drawn for a full normal physical gets tested on their alkaline pH levels, the primary importance of measuring this is to verify the possibilities of bone or liver disease.  The average levels for an adult ranges from 50-160 units/L, mine was at a whopping 373 units/L.  This indicated a red flag for my Doctor and she suggested that more test be taken to determine what is the source causing the abnormal levels.

I left the doctors office on Friday and I looked up the wonderful Alkaline Phosphatase on the infamous world wide web, and low and behold I became vulnerable to a large open sea of medical knowledge that I dove into, and wished I never had.  The possibilities of liver disease or bone disease is probable and so is “CANCER.”  My heart skipped a beat and so did my world.  My faith for the first time has been altered with, and my mind and thoughts have taken over everything I held so dear…this includes God.

That weekend, God and I had it out!  I talked, I argued, I prayed, I cried, I became angry, confused, disappointed, depressed, and alone.  For the first time I caught myself saying “but, What if.”  And this mind boggling question wasn’t steering towards what if God can Heal me, no instead it was what if I die of Cancer…I am too young to die!  My faith had evaporated into the air. I could not recognize the woman that was staring back at me in the reflection of a mirror.

Nonetheless, Jesse, the boys, and I left to Chicago to help clear my head and think positive through this whole ordeal.  And I must say it has helped in many ways.  My family has been extremely supportive and comforting, but they have no idea what is going on in my mind. The mind is such a powerful weapon and can make a person go insane. You sit and wonder the possibilities and the outcomes.  Wonder can reach right into your heart and mind and shake you up.  It can be good and it could also be bad.
I had the follow up appointment yesterday with my Dr. for the second part of my results, and to my disappointment the Alkaline Ph levels are still abnormally high.  After further tests they were able to narrow it down to my liver.  Today I had to take a second ultrasound on my liver and will not get the results until next Tuesday.  The mystery still remains, and I don’t know how the outcome will be.  Truthfully between you and me…I am scared.

Pete Wilson said it best, “Fear, in and of itself, is really not a problem.  But fear without faith is a big problem.  Fear without faith will eat you alive.”  Doubt, fear, and lack of faith has been eating me alive.  The solution became relevant after long and sleepless nights…the word of God.  From the moment I stepped out of my doctors office I began to filter my mind with medical information that the the internet so easily provided and not once did I turn to the source that fuels my world…the word of God.  Matthews 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all things will be given to you as well.” This includes wisdom and understanding.

So here is my conviction of truth.  My faith has to pour into trusting in God with arms wide open, without doubt. Doubt disables faith, or at least in my case it has.  Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge.”  Pete Wilson said it best again, “…crises will become less of a crises when you replace your fear of the unknown with a healthy fear of God.”  All that composes who I am is God.  My world belongs to Him.  I want to walk, talk, and live in everything that composes Him, in everything that is Him in me.

The outcome is still unclear and there are those moments that still make me pause and look at everything in an overview, and in those moments I learn to appreciate the gift of life a little more than the day before.  My faith keeps me living.  Although I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know that my God is with me in every obstacle, every storm, every tear, and in every fearing moments of my existence.  I have given my life to Him, therefore trusting Him with my life.  “Lord have your way, and may Your will be done.”

Until Next time…

Hasta La Victoria

La Unica Reina

“…seek to see the invisible, know the unknowable, comprehend the incomprehensible, and experience the eternal.”

Warren W. Wiersbe