Sunday, February 17, 2013

Existential Crisis

Admittedly, the title of this post is a tad dramatic. However, some days I feel that it is entirely accurate. Seminary ahs led me to have regular existential crises.

Seminary has been a great experience thus fat. I have completed a little over a year and a half of a three-year program. I am more than half done. I have had ups and downs. I have failed and I have succeeded. I have had numerous health problems and have made great friends.

But one thing seminary has truly done is to make me question everything. I have never really questioned that there is a God but I have questioned so many other things. When I came to seminary, I thought I would be leaving ordained and ready to lead a small congregation. I know now that this is not the case. I no longer have an interest in pastoring a church or in being ordained.

I have been a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) since elementary school. I have been ordained as a deacon and as a ruling elder. I am currently an inquirer of the ordination track. But my classes and my experiences make me question whether or not this is the right denomination for me. For one thing, all of my Presbyterian comrades seem to love love love Karl Barth. I have not read much Barth and I have no interest in reading any more of his work. My Presbyterian friends and professors LOVE John Calvin. I cannot stand John Calvin! My hatred for him and his work began when a professor said to me, “If a baby gets a brain tumor and dies, John Calvin says that it is God’s will!” I that that that is messed up and that does NOT sound like the God I believe in! I do not really fall in line with predestination and the total depravity.

I believe in pacifism. I believe in a God who lets us make out own mistakes but is there to save us. I believe in unending grace. I believe that awful things happen but not that those awful things are God’s will. I believe in free will. I believe in a God who acceptance and loving embraces.
II do not know where I belong. Maybe the PUSA is the right lace for me, but maybe it is not. Is it possible to live within a denomination while totally excluding the works of the theologians that they build their beliefs off of?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Medical purgatory

I feel like I'm in some sort of Purgatory. And waiting for the other shoe to drop. And other metaphors and analogies for waiting for a result. Back in October, I blogged about some of the health issues that I've been facing. I wish it where as easy and as simple as I thought it was back in October. So it turns out that I was misdiagnosed with celiac disease. I do not have celiac disease, and in fact I am now able to eat dairy which I had been allergic to for almost a decade.
Day after Christmas I received a phone call from my doctors office asking me to call back immediately because it was very urgent that they speak to me instantly. I called them back to find out what the important thing was and it was just an appointment to follow up on my test results. I asked them if I was going to die if I didn't come instantly and of course the Answer was no. So I scheduled an appointment for when I returned to New Jersey. At my appointment we went over the test results from bloodwork that had previously been done. As suspected I am severely anemic and also severely vitamin D deficient. The doctor prescribed a heavy iron medication as well as a large vitamin D supplement. Not as expected was learning that it's my kidneys were dehydrated. I was advised to drink more water. However I already drank water and chew ice like it is going out of style. So this does not make much sense to me. We will look back on it at my next appointment.
The other thing they found had to do with my thyroid. As it turns out I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's disease. Essentially my thyroid is not producing any of the hormone that is supposed to produce. This is because my immune system thinks that this hormone is enemy bacteria and destroys it instantly. The doctor gave me for this as well and we will retest my blood in a few weeks. In addition to the medication my doctor ordered a thyroid ultrasound. This was a semi-painful procedure because the technician Used the ultrasound wand and repeatedly pressed down on my thyroid. At one point the technician flipped a switch which changed the ultrasound image into a multicolored image different colored shapes appeared on the image with sizes mark next to them, I knew that this was not a good sign. My doctors office called me later in the week to inform me, over the phone, that the ultrasound revealed a large number of nodules on my thyroid with a high probability of being cancerous. Following my blood work and in a few weeks we will discuss the options to further investigate the nodules which may include an air aspirated needle biopsy. This is a very frightening notion. I have never had any sort of procedure done. The most severe of medical procedures I've had is a cast one I broke my arm. I want answers and I hate feeling the way I'm feeling so if that is what it takes to get answers of course I will go through with it, however I hope that they knock me out for this. The medication of the doctors prescribed this is just me alleviating some of the symptoms of the Hashimoto's disease. I'm not entirely sure which symptoms it is supposed to take care of...Because I still feel exhausted I am able to sleep more than any person should be. It's a good thing that my first class on most days of the week is not until 1 PM because I am not awake before 11.
In other news I have joined a gym. I'm attempting to go at least three times a week. Ideally it would be more like every other day. And someone is I wish I had a friend to work out with so that I would be motivated to drive to the gym and work out and yet and other ways I don't want to work out with anyone I know because those body image issues. My goal, I am about sure of how realistic it may or may not be, is to lose 140 pounds in the next 16 months. This feels currently near impossible when eating on the school meal plan as I currently am forced to do. I hope and believe that this will become easier when the school year ends and I am able to cook for myself this summer.