Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Fungus Among Us

I know, I know, you are so intrigued by this title!  What in the world could I possibly have to share with you with such a title as this?!
Well, if you must know, it is exactly that-fungus!!  'I never knew Margie was a biologist or a medic' you might be saying to yourself right now-but let me assure you, though I dropped out of college, I am now very expertise when talking about fungi. And no, I am not using this post to give you countless insight on mushrooms nor share recipes that contain mushrooms.  Rather, I will talk about fungus-real live (ha ha yes it is live) fungus-growing fungus, fungus that doesn't go away rapidly, fungus that is extremely unsightly and a cause of great distress.
Now that you are completely off your seat with excitement let me begin my tale of the unknown fungus.

It started way back in February.  I had this little pin sized red dot on my leg.  Right above my ankle.  I thought nothing of it at first.  I thought perhaps it was from shaving, (which of course is rare in winter, however; it must have been some rare occasion,) or it could have been a spider bite since we live in a concrete apartment and spiders seem to love having their dwelling places all along the walls and baseboards of our home.  It didn't hurt or itch so I really didn't give it much thought.  If we are facebook friends, you may remember that I was extremely ill for at least 2 weeks in February.  I couldn't move, couldn't get out of bed, nor eat much at all.  It wasn't long after that episode that I noticed this little red dot became bigger and other dots started to appear around it.  Still, no itching, no pain, so being the person I am, I ignored it.  Well, it soon began to spread across my ankle and I decided to bring it to Jim's attention.  We thought it was probably a spider bite and being the man he is, he so eloquently advised me that there was a possibility that a spider not only bit me, but laid eggs in my leg....yes, not for the squeamish I tell ya!!!  We had some creams left over from Hungary-Jim had a really weird disease on his legs for two whole years!!!  Doctors could never figure it out but I remember he couldn't even wear shorts one summer because it looked so bad.  So, being resourceful and thrifty, I started to use the creams-any creams I could find in the cabinet I would experiment with and carefully rub them in my leg.

A friend came to visit in May and I decided to show her my leg and we took photos and sent them to a friend of hers who is a nurse in the states.  Still, noone could figure out what this was.  By now it was gross and I mean really gross.  Red, scabby, just disgusting!   We started putting some other cream on it and sure enough it seemed to be going away.  Hallelujah!!! Right in time for the summer months my yucky leg would once again be smooth and ready for some bronzing :)  But......remember my last blog post.....where oh where is Spring?  It was so cold! How cold was it?  So cold that one Sunday after church (end of May mind you) my feet were so cold I put on some woolie slipper socks that I picked up at a garage sale in CA last year and was wearing a lot this winter.  Sure enough,  I awoke on Sunday and BAM,,,,,just like that, my almost healed leg was red, inflammed, and the rash was back with a vengeance.  My heart sank.  What in the world was happening to my leg????

Of course, Jim wanted me to go to the doctor months ago and find out what this was and see if there was something they could prescribe to cure this ghastly rash.  I refused to go and decided it would just go away on its own.  I google searched every possible phrase that might result in a diagnosis and couldn't quite be sure what it was.  Google images can be quite interesting as you know-often I wanted to throw up and had to quickly turn the page because some photos were just too much to handle.  I did however start to see photos that might resemble what was going on with my leg.  The problem was, it was a bit embarrassing.  The name just sounds terrible and makes me think I was unclean-that some how I wasn't careful enough or clean enough and this came about because I failed to do something properly.  So,,,,what did I do?  Well, just  tried to ignore like I am so good at.  But, it came to the point where I couldn't take it anymore.  I showed Jim a picture from the internet and asked if it looked like my leg and he said yes.  Well folks, that meant I had ringworm!!! Ah, just to type it sounds so gross to me.  Worms, I had this vision of worms in my leg but obviously it is not that at all...which brings me to wonder who the heck named it that if it has nothing to do with worms anyway!!  Must have been a guy :)  Anyway, we were at some friends the other day and I slowly lifted my pant leg to show a couple friends what was going on and low and behold someone said oh yeah, that's ringworm!  I felt relieved that they said that and not only that they told me what it was but gave me a homeopathic cure.  Tea Tree Oil in case you are wondering.  They actually told me to use Tea Tree Oil and Grapefruit Extract but I couldn't afford both so I looked online and found that I could just use the one and that should have great results.  I went yesterday and picked up a little bottle for 13 euro!!!!  They must know we like it :)  Anyway, I am on my third dosage this afternoon and already I am seeing improvement!!  So, do you wonder why in life is she talking about this-and why is she sharing this gross stuff??????

Through all this, I learned a lesson.  Believe it or not, the Lord used it as an allegory.  How often we go about with things in our lives, something that starts out small and unnoticeable.  Not even visible to anyone around us.  We can cover it up and pretend it isn't there.  We can try to wish it away and even just hope that with time, it will cure itself and disappear.  We are embarrassed by a sin or a struggle we have in our lives.  On the outside, we look so normal.  We look like we have it all together and yet underneath the surface we are hiding something.  We are afraid that if we expose it to someone else they will judge us, they will think poorly of us and make us feel worse than we already feel.

Often times, there is a simple remedy to whatever is going on in our lives.  Whatever problems we may be facing, whatever secret sin we may be trying to cover up.  There is a remedy and more often than not, it is such a simple remedy but our pride and our fears keep us from being healed.    We don't want to expose the ugly and unsightly part of ourselves because we fear that in doing so people will avoid us or not want to be our friend any longer.  I felt this way with my leg.  If people heard I had this they would think I didn't wash my clothes properly or that my house somehow wasn't clean enough and therefore I got this fungus.  I thought if they knew then they wouldn't want to be around me because perhaps they too would catch it.

Are you going through a secret struggle right now?  Are you struggling with something right now?  Do you put on a happy smile and make everyone think you are doing ok but underneath you are so close to a breakdown?  Are you struggling with lonliness, anger, perhaps bulimia, cutting, or some other secret problem?  Are you embarrassed about it and feel like if you just give it time it will go away?  If you just keep covering it up with a plastic smile, with some breath mints or a long sleeved shirt it will be ok?

Dear friend, it won't go away on its own.  You need the salve.  You need the ointment of healing.  You need a friend that you can go to and expose what is underneath so that the healing process can begin.  Don't wait any longer.  Let today be the day that you allow the healing to begin.  Perhaps, as did the Tea Tree Oil, it burned just a bit, but the healing began.  There is balm in Gilead, there is healing-but you have to apply it.  You can no longer continue to ignore it and hope it goes away on its own-it won't.  You must begin now to take action!  Don't wait.  The longer you wait, the longer it becomes a part of you and the harder it will be to get the help needed.

Or, perhaps God is calling you to be that friend.  Perhaps the Lord wants you to be that healing ointment in another's life.  You are being asked to bear this person's burden without thinking badly about them.  Point them to the scriptures-to the One who heals, the One who forgives, the One who heals completely.  Hug them, love them!  Don't avoid the one who you see with cuts on her arm, the one who sits alone because they feel ashamed because of something in their past or something they are presently going through.  There are enough judgers and pharisees in the world.  What we need more of is down to earth Christians who are willing to come along side in love and be used by God to help the healing process begin in another's life!
Are you willing to be that person?

I decided to spare you all a picture of my leg and put the words to this beautiful hymn up instead :)

1 comment:

Aoife Beville said...

Thank you for being so open and honest Margie. What a challenging thought.