Monday, October 25, 2010

The Fountain of Life and the Snares of Death

Twice in the Book of Proverbs, Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes of "a fountain of life" and "the snares of death." It is worth unpacking these words a little more. There is impressive meaning here.

In the first instance, Solomon writes "the teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death." In the second instance, it is "The fear of the LORD" that is that fountain of life that turns a man from the snares.

The teaching of the wise and the fear of the LORD are not contradictory. Solomon's father, King David said it this way: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding." Solomon would have understood "the teaching of the wise" and "the fear of the LORD" as being interrelated.

The fountain of life concept has less impact to us who live in water rich areas of the world. In the semi-arrid Middle East, a fountain of water would have been a source of life.....not just an expression of art. Water brings the land to life, and a fountain or a spring would have meant a place of abundant life. Fountains are also moving water, constantly refreshed.

Creatures caught by snares do not meet death quickly, and that is the image we should see in this passage: slow death. Snares are hidden in small animal pathways in the brush. The animal caught by them has neither seen them nor smelled them as great care has been used in the setting of them.

So it is with sin. The enemy hides the deadly snares of sin carefully in the brush of popular culture. Sin is often seems free or fun, or both at once.

How then to avoid the snares of death? Fear the Lord and heed the teaching of the wise. It remains as true today as when the pen first scratched the words some 3,000 years ago.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Linda's Improvement Two Weeks After CCSVI Treatment

Linda was treated for low flow in both her jugular veins two weeks ago in Albany, New York, and she continues to gradually improve.

In Albany she underwent an as yet unproven treatment for amelioration of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms that may have been triggered by CCSVI. Both of her jugular veins had significant narrowings. Venous flow was substantially improved by venous angioplasty in both.
1. Energy – Good improvement. Linda self reports about 50% improvement in energy level. I would say it is at least that.
2. Pain level – Dramatic improvement. She says her pain level averaged “8” pre-treatment and now averages “1” or a little more.
3. Left hand – Good improvement. This was an immediate effect, and growing. She is able to type now with the left hand, but only poorly pre-treatment. The large muscles in the arm are growing in strength, but not as quickly.
4. Mobility – Some improvement. Because of the improvement in energy, Linda gets around more and better. Pre-treatment, we had come to the place where I was taking her most places and bringing her inside with the transport chair. Post treatment, she is much more willing AND able to drive herself (the right leg was not much affected by the disease) and get inside a building.
5. “Molasses” – Dramatic improvement. Pre-treatment, Linda would be “in cold molasses” in the afternoon and evening…..that is to say, hard to move. That effect has disappeared in her legs, but persists in her left arm, although it is better.
6. Temperature – Dramatic improvement. Linda’s hands and feet are warmer. I can feel that when she touches me.
7. Depression – Dramatic improvement. Hope has been restored.
8. Balance – Good improvement. She can now stand without support for several minutes.
9. Tingling – Some improvement. Her left leg tingles sometimes, but has improved. The left thumb tingles constantly still.
10. Physical therapist – shocked. I wish I could have been in the room as she observed the positive changes in Linda.
We have not observed any negative effects. We're both still pretty dazed and amazed!

Update - 27 months later:  what appeared to me to have been a relentless progression of MS symptoms in Linda seems now to have halted.  Most of the immediate improvements we saw initially and I reported above have dissipated.  The pain level remained low until Linda fell on her back the following spring, and that brought other pain. What helps most now seems to be 1) a life of faith and hope, 2) happy marriage and family relationships, 3) physical therapy with an optimistic therapist which has rebuilt some core strength, 4) low dose naltrexone.