Day 144 | Can I Ask for Your Input?

July 31, 2017

Today, I want to take a break from telling my own story to ask you to tell me yours. My hope is that it will help me to serve you better with my writing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where the blog is headed lately and I realized that I don’t really know exactly who my readers are. I have a diverse audience and I think that learning a little bit more about you will help me to keep putting out content that is relevant and inspiring for everyone.

So my question is:

When it comes to finding hope in the midst of chronic illness (whether as a patient, caregiver, family member or friend) what is the single biggest challenge that you’ve been struggling with?

Would you please click here to share your thoughts?

I don’t have answers, I only have my story. But my hope is that I will be able to share from my experiences in a way that will resonate with each of you in whatever you are facing (whether you have a chronic illness or not).

Thanks in advance! I care about all of you!

By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.

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  • Charis M.

    That is so sweet, Ana! Thankfully I don’t have a chronic illness, but I love reading about your story no matter what direction you take. ๐Ÿ™‚

    August 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm Reply
    • Lizzie Mills

      I’m in the same boat… no chronic illness here. I love reading your journey though, you write beautifully and honestly and it helps remind me that other people have enormous things going on in their lives โค๏ธ

      August 4, 2017 at 4:46 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww! Thank you so much Charis & Lizzie! I want to write for those of you without a chronic illness too. I love all of you, ๐Ÿ˜Š

      August 4, 2017 at 7:44 pm Reply
  • Tammy Neu

    Hi Ana! I have followed your story from your husband’s blog, but did not know what had caused your sickness. I found you again after talking to my daughter and she shared a part of your journey. One night I read your whole blog! I honestly felt like I was reading my story, just in a different translation! I have been homebound now 7 years. It started with becoming allergic to everything. Even water. I had health issues before that, but nothing that made me afraid to sleep every night that I would not wake up. I had epi-pens every where.That led me to research about Mast Cell and the Road to many doctors and health coaches and nutrigenomics and MTHFR and the huge difficulty of not being able to detox toxins which led me to lose 100 pounds by starving myself, only to be started on pharmaceuticals that caused me to gain 125 pounds. I finally am with a good doctor who is moving very slowly because every time we go after lyme(I have Biotoxin illness-Mold, Lyme and yeast) I have chronic late stage lyme, the mold would get upset and finding that mold was a big problem, would set off the Mast Cells. So treatment has been tricky. We have been able to stay in our home, but it cost a lot of money and we remediated ourselves and lived somewhere else while our house was being treated for mold. I have been angry with God, moved by God, felt more loved by Him than I ever have, mourned the loss of the life I knew, lost more that I ever dreamed imaginable, but gained more that I could have imagined. I have learned that t’s ok that others don’t understand. Some of my favorite revelations have been that God is never late. He didn’t forget that I can’t leave my home, or that sometimes I am at peace and sometimes I am a crumpled mess and another-even if not…..He is still good! I could say so much more, but Your blog was refreshing to know that someone else understands and what you have and are sharing is life. And it’s messy and crazy and it pushes you into God for growth that we don’t understand. I want to encourage you to stay the course! You are touching lives and being real and you are superwoman! Oh how often you have to decontaminate! My heart hurts for you walking through the hard. But, at the same time, I am in awe of what God has entrusted to you to be an example of what suffering well for God’s glory looks like! You are blessing me and I get the privilege to pray for you guys as you live a nomads life! I’m thankful you are safe and you have your van! I think it would be nice to hear from your husband sometimes(I know he’s busy) on how caring for you in an unexpected way has changed Him and to encourage other men who are walking where you guys are. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your life. I am reading and caught up! Praying for you guys. Thank you for having joy in your journey! It’s beautiful! (somehow I have to find that chicken sausage you had! It sounds great!)

    August 4, 2017 at 4:48 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… Thank you so much for sharing so openly. I can so relate! What a dreadful illness this is! I am so glad you have to hope of Christ as you walk this weary road. God be with you, dear sister. Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ’•

      August 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm Reply
  • Nanette Fenn

    Hi Ana,

    I just filled out the questionnaire. I love the diversity of your blogs! I did want to ask you if you might be interested sometime in sharing “how and what” with your daily routines? We may be a very low population of your followers, ones that are wanting to do the same as your guys are doing with mold avoidance…but I wonder things like, “How often do they wash their sheets, wipe down the van, does Brett always decontaminate when he returns from an errand, what are some of the routines they’ve learned that work best, I wish I knew the products they used.” Those are some of the things I’ve been wondering about when I start thinking practical about our second step.

    I hope the feedback you receive helps you, but I think what you have already accomplished with your blogs thus far is a wonderful balance of the practical, your journey, your personal struggles, your daily life, your faith, and allowing us to peer into your past. It’s a lovely tapestry of daily writings for people seeking different things.

    I am chuckling right now because I glanced over at my husband’s laptop and he has your blog pulled up on his screen. I asked him if he was going to fill out the questionnaire and he said he was. ๐Ÿ™‚

    August 4, 2017 at 6:29 pm Reply
    • Leslie

      I second this. (Or third, if her husband has the same questions Nanette does ๐Ÿ™‚ )

      August 4, 2017 at 6:34 pm Reply
      • Ana Harris

        Your voice has been heard Leslie. I love your avatar by the way. So cheerful!

        August 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… thank you so much Nanette for filling out the questionnaire. I really appreciate your thoughts. I’ve been seriously considering starting to do weekly videos that show different aspects of our daily life in a way that would be helpful to other mold avoiders but also still interesting to the rest of my readers. The main thing that makes that a challenge is that I would need to use Brett’s computer (I don’t have my own at the moment) but maybe that would work if I just posted them unedited.

      Since you mentioned some specifics, I thought I’d answer now too since I know it’s time sensitive for you.

      1. We wipe down the back of the van (the sleeping area) every day.
      2. We wash the sheets every three days (clean pajamas every night though.)
      3. Brett did decontaminate every time yes for the first several months. Now that I’m less reactive and we know certain buildings are good in this area we don’t do it every time. Example: Since a lot of the stuff from Target feels contaminated to me, he would still decontaminate before getting into the van. But going to Walmart he doesn’t have to decontaminate because everything from this particular store feels good.
      4. As for products… it depends on how reactive Petra is. I don’t have MCS anymore so I can tolerate almost any natural/non-toxic product. I still prefer fragrance free since I have some trouble with certain essential oils.

      Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions or want more specifics. I do hope to meet you one day. I often think of Petra when I’m writing. Especially when I’m writing about something I’d rather not think about. I think of her and it gives me the courage. I’m praying for all of you.

      August 5, 2017 at 3:14 pm Reply
  • Denise

    Ana. Hi! I have been on both sides of chronic illness and your blog has really blessed me.

    I haven’t missed a single of your posts this far and find myself praying for you and Brett often, I even share what’s going on with my family. My girls and I have taken some of Brett’s courses and I am so in awe of how God has sustained you both in all of this.

    I too would love to hear from Brett as he has walked the road of loving, devoted caregiver to you and it is such a beautiful picture of Christ.
    Thank you for sharing so honestly, I love your real ness.

    Keep on keepin on my sister. Praying for you and Brett <3

    August 8, 2017 at 3:21 am Reply
  • Nicole Ferguson

    Well the worst of my illness has been around 4 years now but I have had symptoms for 12 years now! I was just recently diagnosed with late stage Lyme disease, coinfections, hormones dysfunctioning, blood problems that affect my veins and heart, and still searching for the rest! I am pretty scared but that’s an understatement because it looks like my three kids might have some of this as I am being treated right now! I trust in God and not angry at Him or our circumstance, but just am looking for some resolution! Will we get better or is this going to kill us? I ask all the time and the guilt I have as a parent has been unbearable at times, but I know God is the ultimate physician and fixer! I just appreciate your post and your honesty! Not many people around me understand and it’s so lonely! I know God has a plan even if I don’t ever understand as my earthly self! I am so happy you are healing and getting better that’s encouragement for the rest of us! God Bless you and the rest of your journey that you will only continue to strengthen and heal in all ways!

    September 25, 2017 at 6:25 pm Reply
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