Walk softly in the moment

Said goodbye to a group I started on Facebook that grew to well over 3,000 people, my Co-Admin and I helping them with mercury toxicity as best as we can. My leave-taking occurred over a period of weeks and ended yesterday. It was time to free up some energy for other projects. Still, you have meant so much to me.

Experiencing fewer serious convulsive episodes lately after embarking on aggressive treatment for systemic Candida albicans plus flares of herpes simplex, and herpes zoster. The ramp up was very difficult yet, coupled with another treatment for a chronic MARCONs infection in my sinuses, it appears the body burden of infection is going down. Along with it there are at least 2 days every week for the past 5 weeks without convulsive episodes or tics! Only one severe episode every 5 days! Having more moments of relative freedom means so much to me after 9 years trapped in a prison cell with fear-of-episodes: avoiding triggers seemingly present in every aspect of living. Thousands of convulsive episodes nearly destroyed my health, my life. Now the the beatings have lifted some.

Simple changes in the timing of compounded hormone creams coupled with specific pharmaceutical grade supplements to help regulate cortisol levels took about a month to affect my sleep-wake cycle. This all came together rather casually when my Family Doctor reviewed the treatments of my Integrative Medicine Doctor. Both of them contributed to a significant change and so did I. I ventured out to find yet another recommended supplement and braved taking it when literally hundreds of treatments in the past have resulted in disaster. The Lord guided me in tweaking the dosing. And now most nights I sleep at least 5 hours during the normal time of night. This means so much to Steve and me.

A quagmire of new dental issues furthered my belief that not much in the medical realm is simple for me anymore. A simple cavity took a total of 4 dental visits to resolve, 2 with conscious sedation and all with considerable suffering, serious side effects. The latter included another flare-up of shingles! But now the insurance coverage for ongoing treatment of HHV1 and HHV3 is better and I am tolerating the dosing most of the time. So what if I have to soak the dye off of the tablet so it doesn’t cause a headache. I digress. PTL, He helped me figure it out. After my mouth fully heals and I can return to regular wearing of my specialized dental appliance, I should be stable once again. No more pureed or chopped food. To be stable means a lot to me.

The diagnosis of Occipital Neuralgia dovetailed multiple cranial nerve issues (vagus, trigeminal, glossopharygeal) that result in convulsive episodes. This discovery has led to new treatment strategies that work for me. No, it’s not fun to sleep with an ice wrap around my head at night but if it largely prevents a seizure attack episode falling asleep then I WILL DO IT! Nerve block injections tomorrow have the possibility of confirming this dynamic. It means so much to me to have tools to help my symptoms, to lessen my suffering. Very sparing use of new medications has rescued me on my worst days. Over the past 5 months, it only took a failed visit to the Cleveland Clinic and four visits to the professionals at a local pain management clinic that actually listen to me to figure it all out. At long last, I’ve got tools that work to lessen pain! Less pain means fewer convulsive episodes. Who knew?

The difference between my self esteem getting bruised from chronic illness and graciously seeing the Lord’s hand in delivering me from the hardest parts of chronic illness often lies in the hands of nurses at various medical facilities. They run these places. When a nurse actually delivers care and not just a procedure or worse yet ABUSE, I can endure much. The nurse who shamed me, blamed me for things things at the infusion clinic yesterday that were not my responsibility was out of line. I wept once they pulled the curtain to start my IV fluids. I left there in a weakened state albeit made worse with the needle-stick pain of the Huber needle coming out of the infusa-port in my chest wall. I sat in an outer lobby and cried again before emotionally limping as I left the building to come home. I really hate this stuff. I don’t want to be there. Insurance changes then other problems required me to return to a hospital setting instead of continuing in home health. You have to do what they tell you to do much of the time no matter what it means to you.

We have come into a time of year that means the most to me. It’s springtime. The temperature outside is in the 50s and it’s the same to me as a warm sunny day if I can get dirt underneath my fingernails in a garden. Less severe illness symptoms parts of days a couple of days per week means that I can push myself to do more than my basic self care. And so I have. No one needs to counsel or push me to get up and get moving. If I feel better, activity follows. I don’t want to be sick anymore. I’ve learned a lot but never “got anything” out of being sick. I hate and hated being sick but it happened anyways. The Lord has seen me through it all and is leading me into some new projects. These activities stretch me greatly and increase my pain level temporarily. They also increase my interaction with other people, strengthen my broken body, stimulate my mental capacity, and add value to our home and hopefully the lives of others too. By the grace of God I have earned the title of Extension Master Gardner. By the grace of God he has called me to serve others with these abilities so I have chosen to step out in faith by hosting some community gardening classes and even repairs in our own landscape. Sometimes I have to take things an hour at a time. Steve helps, thankfully! I actually get to check things off of my To Do list! Praise the Lord!

We have no idea what tomorrow will bring nor how long it will stick around. When it’s bad news we all go through a process of questioning: why me? why now? What am I supposed to do to get rid of this or perhaps worse yet, deal with this? I submit to you that the only Person to ask these questions to is the Author of life, the Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the beginning and the end, all that the heart seeks to be fulfilled despite living in a fallen, satanic world. He has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives. Every detail matters and is ordained in His crafting of our days, the days of the entire world and its people. You matter. I matter. And that worth does not change based upon our circumstances, thoughts, or other people. No one wearing a badge can take away your ordained purpose on this earth, on this side of the grave. Even if you die, your life will have made an impact somewhere to someone. And if you believe in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross, you will live on in paradise where everything is perfect, well, good, and beautiful. Thankfully we get glimpses of heaven here on earth, especially in the garden where His fingerprints color the fauna around us.

One of the most compelling truths I have learned enduring serious illness for nearly a decade is to walk softly when considering the hardest questions of life. Nothing is wasted in a life surrendered to the Lord, a life redeemed by the Lord. Everything will be alright in due time. We can bear way more than we think we can. We pray for the Lord to help us when we cannot see or trust, when the pain is too great. He will bless us. And further there is always something for which to be grateful. Even during a pandemic. Even during tyrannical events in society. Even when our relationships or health or finances suffer a seemingly fatal blow. We are not dead yet! We are also never alone. If we but walk softly as we consider the days of our lives then in due time, our precious Savior will reveal Himself to us. The seizure of our spirits will not last forever, Gentle Reader. One day we will know what it means to be truly free. JJ

The Divine covers all

Tears filled my eyes and grief my thoughts as I heard the words of a healthcare provider actually address my pain. Again. A few of her first recommendations for me seemed too risky so she called me back into the office to review my plan of care in-person. The insurance company denied a CT scan at this stage; I was exasperated. I had so much hope for relief. At least one of the tools the PA recommended during the first visit actually ended a migraine that had rendered me useless about a week ago. And this past Friday, she offered two more tools for my care. Really? There are more things to try?

For the second time visiting their office, I was overcome with the grief and traumas of my journey through serious illness. No one had looked closely at the role of headaches in the daily convulsive episodes that have created much suffering for me for NINE YEARS. Only 2 months ago I finally realized that many of the headaches are migraines. The so-called experts at the Headache Clinic at a regional medical center recently discounted me, told me to breathe deeply, and sent me off in a direction already worn from false starts in the past. The burden of suffering through many traumatic incidents recounted in this blog came rushing back like a movie fast forwarding through a person’s life when she is drowning. Yeah, there have been a couple of near-death experiences as well.

The PA stayed with me as I wept. The Medical Assistant gave me all of the time I needed to gather my composure before leaving their office. I’d had TWO HOURS of sleep in the last day! My sunglasses and the required face mask covered my sullen eyes, tear-stained cheeks, and swollen sinuses as I prepared to leave much later after my appointment had ended. It took another 30 minutes sitting in my vehicle replenishing my soul before I could re-gather my strength to drive again.

A friend has been tough to reach by phone lately including earlier that same day. I called her again. No answer. She had wept on the phone that she was very, very sick and losing weight; she didn’t know what she was going to do. This sounded more serious than when I first met her about 2 years ago through a shared healthcare provider. G was already severely underweight. Her father died then her mother died, they sold her childhood home, then her husband died all within the past year. She has only been a widow for 3 months. Her grief must be tremendous so it’s no surprise to me that she is struggling so. I called her son for the first time since he and G were at our home 2 years ago. How is your Mom doing? We talked for awhile and he asked if I could try to visit her. I was already on the same side of town where she lived and was thinking the same thing. I often called her to go for a walk together when appointments took me near her neighborhood. Of course I would.

My hubby and I have become snobs of olive oil. Once you taste the best varieties shipped directly from Italy to a local business that specializes in olive oil, you might never go back to the store bought varieties! I consider it a healthcare product, like taking a pharmaceutical grade supplement vs a brand off the shelf of a local grocery store. It really makes a difference! Olive Twist was between the medical office and G’s home so off I went to return our used bottles and pick up our tasty treasures. For some reason I felt led to pick up an extra bottle so I did. We do go through it rather quickly.

I caught up with G while she was out on a walk through her neighborhood. This is quite an accomplishment for someone who sounded next to death and in light of the sub-zero temperatures and icy streets in the neighborhood. To take a walk was her favorite thing to do. “Hey lady, whatcha doing out here in the cold?” I parked the truck at her house and braced myself to meet up with her out on those icy streets myself. The hug felt good for both of us when I reached her.

A couple of things transpired in the next hour that prompted me to write today. By the time our visit was ended, G had confided that the best tool she had to calm her upset digestive system was various types of vegetable oils. Little did she know that she would find a bottle of the best olive oil available locally sitting next to her front door by the time we got back to her house! The Lord knew your need G. And the Lord provided for it to be met on Friday. But that’s not all.

This time when G shared her fears, medical worries, “physical” feelings, and isolation over and over again (unlike our more newsy conversations just prior to Christmas), I felt led to ask her about her “emotional” feelings. Sad. Hopeless. Afraid. “I just don’t know what I am going to do?” she vented. Then we heard the wail of a freight train racing by her rather swanky neighborhood. Somewhere beyond the golf course and frigid air between us, inspired only by the Holy Spirit, came to me the themes of the Fact-Faith-Feeling train of the Four Spiritual Laws booklet. This booklet describes the gift of salvation offered to everyone through belief in the sacrifice on the Cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The caboose holds our feelings. The passenger car holds our beliefs, our trust. The engine embodies the Lord, Jesus Christ who leads and even pulls the train along when we surrender ourselves, our caboose and put our trust in Him. She wanted this free gift. She got it. Her spiritual birthday began with a simple prayer on her front porch that day. Praise the Lord!

We prayed again before I left. When I looked into her eyes afterwards, there were tears staining her face. She had told me when we were walking that she wasn’t even able to cry lately. She felt the feelings but the tears just would not come. I said to her, “G your cheeks are wet. Feel your face.” And with a muttering of how good our God is and how much He loves her, it was time for me to leave. There was nothing left to say, nothing left to do. The Lord had both of us in the palm of His hand that afternoon and will continue to do so from this day forward. I drove home with renewed hope and strength then slept a very long time over the next day.

Never, ever lose hope Gentle Reader. Our Divine Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is there with us in every single detail of our lives just waiting for us to cry out to Him. He cried drops of blood for our suffering. His plan of salvation turns death into life. The Divine in due time covers all. JJ

A tough time to live out our faith

As if my health challenges weren’t enough of a challenge to the veracity of my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we Americans enter into the most tumultuous year in recent US history. A false impeachment proceeding of the President of the United States gave way to a pandemic, dramatic changes at every level of society, and social unrest. One could argue that the voices of darkness came out of the woodwork and into the light of day. Just when we thought we might start looking forward to the turn of the calendar into 2021, a tumultuous election process began the further destruction of our institutions. Words don’t even mean the same thing anymore so how may I describe it to those of you who don’t live here, to those who have chosen not to pay close attention? Let’s just say we have entered an exceedingly tough time in which to live.

The story of what is actually going on now depends upon whom you ask. The mainstream media claims that our President has incited a coup and the conservative media claims the opposite. While the majority of the citizenry acknowledge the multiple methods of election fraud that has dominated the courts and legislature since November 3rd, neither of the latter has been willing to hear the evidence in any meaningful way. Thousands of ordinary people giving sworn affidavits under penalty of perjury, expert witnesses, videotaped evidence, the breaking of state constitutional and election laws, manipulation of voting machines, and more suggest that some really bad things happened. But it wasn’t enough to change the outcome? Legislators who claim to support the President, the Republican party, and various causes of their constituents have turned their back on all three of them. This is true even when the President helped them get elected! So on January 6th when these “results” of sorts were set to be certified, a peaceful demonstration escalated into a riot and storming of our nation’s Capitol . . . while the Senate and Congress were in session! They all fled to the basement, the Capitol police eventually did their jobs clearing out the building, and who knows if the National Guard (which our nation was told would be at the ready) ever really showed up? Who were these rioters or who started it anyways? Why did the Capitol police let some of them in? The identities and details vary based upon which news report you view.

We could make the argument that a nation divided cannot stand and we have been divided as a nation for longer than the year 2020. News that lacks truth or even consistency on how basic language is used keeps all of us from communicating with one another and from knowing the truth. Some of our leaders are treating people like cattle to be controlled (or to be tossed little stimulus checks while other nations and special interests are fed gaga-millions), letting you know that we are already sliding from a republic FOR THE PEOPLE to one FOR THE ELITE IN CHARGE. I believe the latter is called socialism and it is now here. Personal freedoms and rights are eroding with each passing day and will accelerate if the democratic candidate actually finds his way into office on January 20th. That’s just 10 days from now. We see even more darkness coming in the policies of the “President-elect,” Republican rhinos, and the entire democratic party who now dominate the Congress, the Senate; the Supreme Court is no where to be found. The gains and goodness of the last 4 years will soon be gone. But wait, there’s more!

Unless a miracle happens, it appears that Republicans who supported President Trump especially conservatives will be punished, persecuted, and stripped of their Constitutional freedoms. This is already happening with restriction of the 1) operations of churches during the pandemic and 2) free speech once expressed on the largest social media platforms in our nation and world. Censorship worsened early in 2020 and it appears is here to stay; the Congress just voted to remove all gender-based language! Just like in the story of the King wearing no clothes, have we forgotten that “President-elect” Joe Biden has dementia? The main stream media that represents our nation to the world does not communicate facts just skewed narratives, blatant lies. And just when conservatives started to develop and pursue alternate platforms for communication, the big media companies started wielding their power to prevent posting information on their platforms; this weekend big tech companies such as Amazon and Google are clamping down further to prevent the download or meaningful use of social media alternatives such as Parler, Rumble, MeWe, and others. Twitter closed the account of and banned a sitting President! Holy cow! Some think that the internet itself will soon be shut down. How are we to communicate with one another much less function as a society? If we were playing a game of chess, we would hear the shriek of, “CHECK!!!” But let’s check our facts Gentle Reader. Is it CHECKMATE just yet? I don’t think so.

Fencing being constructed in front of the White House, Google Earth, 1.10.2021

As I am writing this, there are reports that the President has prepared the US military for special operations in our nation’s capital and beyond. Insiders claim that our military is on the move and there are battleships off the shores of our coasts, military sorties being flown over our skies. Alternative media sources report that President Trump has evidence of illegal if not treasonous activities of government and corporate leaders that go beyond the election fraud or crimes of the Biden family. The insurrection at the Capitol building on Wednesday may have been incited by the same dark, leftist, paramilitary organizations who have destroyed numerous sections of democrat-run cities throughout our nation. However it also appears that individuals somewhere on the political right, maybe even infiltrated by our own special operations military may have been a part of the attempted invasion. All of them appeared to have broken many laws. Five people were killed in the process, personal artifacts may have been confiscated, and much damage was done to the Capitol building. There is evidence that some of the parties involved had a plan of attack that day, that it was not simple mob violence, as evidenced by the tools and riot gear utilized by some of these instigators. I could go on. There are no easy ways to explain what happened this week, this month, this year, or this 4-year term of the Office of the Presidency. We could even ask if all of this evil mayhem is part of a existential “reset” of the USA into a larger plan or world order? Orchestrated and funded by wordily oligarchs? What does it sound like to you?

Those of us in Jesus Christ know who the ruler of this world is and that is Satan. The Bible tells us in the book of Job that he goes about the earth, to and fro wreaking havoc on the lives of the living. His goal is to distract non-believers from coming to know the true and living God then discourage those who do come to faith through the Lord, Jesus Christ. He wants all of us to turn our backs on the truth and our Redeemer, the hope we can find that transcends the evil of our days. We shall see God and spend eternity with Him in glory! He forgets that we see in the Book of Revelation that Satan does not win; Jesus sends him off to be bound then forever tormented in the lake of fire! Forever!

What is going on in the United States of America is frightening. We are at the precipice of losing all we hold dear in our way of life. We may well deserve correction if not punishment in straying from God as a nation. However if we look to President Trump to be our savior from the wrongs in western society then we will be misled and disappointed. President Trump still has a job to do for 10 more days and I believe he will fulfill his leadership duties as best as he can. Maybe his term of office will somehow be extended and a new administration will form? But regardless let’s recognize that Donald J Trump is only a man with flaws just like you and me. He is not God. He will fall short of the lofty expectations we Christians have a tendency to place upon him. He is a sinner like you and me. And we sinners find true rest in the person of Jesus Christ alone. Let’s remember that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the One with the power to win the battle against good and evil. Vengeance belongs to Him alone; we are to overcome by our belief, our pursuit of what is good and right as best we can and do so as we pray for the wayward, trust in the Lord. He sees and grieves our pain. He will supernaturally calm our fears.

Let’s continue to pray for our leaders, our President, and the resolve of fellow believers in the sovereignty and power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let’s pray that others who are scared, looking for direction will find it in Him through the testimony of our lives surrendered to the Lord. We all deserve judgement for our failings but we know where we can receive mercy, grace, salvation, hope. Let’s live like we believe it. This is a really tough time to live out our faith here in the United States of America. Persecuted Christians around the world have endured far worse and found peace in the God of the Bible. Their endurance through trials inspire us that, in His strength and through the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can live the way in which we are now called. Our God reigns! Let us pray without ceasing as we go for His glory! JJ

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)

The Aftermath

When another healthcare faux pas takes the life out of my weary stride

It’s easy to give up or rather give in to a despair that never leaves.

Then a new day comes and I have a decision to make

Even if that day begins much later than planned.

I AM sad. No doubt legitimately so

From the treatment I received,

Or rather did not.

Siiiiiiiiiiiigh.

It’s hard.

I’m only human and in my own strength I cannot do this over and over again.

Thank the Lord that you are with me on my bed of sickness every time

Weeping over the trials, the suffering of your child

Promising that one day all will be perfectly well.

I just gotta hang on, hang tough, and trust

‘Cause the journey won’t be wasted

The rewards will be the best ever

When I see my Jesus’ face

My wings flying free.

For all eternity.

Yes indeed!

Is it enough to have overcome the dearth of trials that pain us so in this life?

That’s a question only answered with faith that comes from our Lord.

Our own strength will never be enough. The days are just too evil

Acceleratingly so Gentle Reader. Do you see it too?

Waste no more time wondering just BELIEVE

Get into your Bible right now, go, run!

Our just God’s Word will ring true

On redemption, wondrous glory

As we take rest in His grace.

Today. Join me there.

It is enough and so

Very good too.

After all.

So little. It’s still pretty

Full-time I used to serve others in my healthcare profession and now I can barely get a meal to my husband on a daily basis. My reserves for giving are diminished but not gone, or so he says.

Each night and morning I poured over my caseload, looking for the best ways to make the most of each patient’s time in occupational therapy. Shall I bring Sally a 2-pound weight that I picked up at Walmart or load up adaptive equipment for a better education and training session? Now I’m lucky if a couple of times per year, I can drop off a gift to a friend after one of my medical appointments. Or ride an exercise bike for 5 minutes in the middle of the night.

Sending a card for each birthday and gift for close family has shifted from 1) before his or her special date to 2) days or weeks afterwards. We apologize. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Then I send a PM (or is it DM?) to a friend via social media to ask how she is doing when I really need to pour out my own heart on how wretched I feel, the new symptoms and diagnoses that get added to my pile. Aren’t you tired of my tears Lord?

But enough of my sorry lot. Giving to others in my own strength will never balance the angst of my days. Pitching the good against the opposite is a mental exercise at best that risks the tasks being done for the wrong reasons; they barely even measure on the MET scale of physical activity anyways. What’s the point? My weak bones need resistive exercise as do my muscles that are softening by the day. Both my mind and my frame need REAL exercise. The kind that stretches me, tears down and re-builds muscle fibers for measurable strength. The kind that transcends a weary heart. But how is this possible? Gee. Looks like I need a refresher here on how this really works.

If I can only do a little then that little bit needs to be pretty enough. If I am to do anything significant then my strength must come from a source outside myself. I don’t have it. The Lord does! If He leads me through the Holy Spirit to these acts of grace then I trust that He will provide whatever is necessary to finish the task. This is true even if it stretches me beyond what I think I can do. His power is infinite! And if I can keep my eyes on my Jesus no matter the horror of my suffering then I know I will be stronger somewhere down the road than I ever could have imagined. Seeing our Lord’s power in our lives is how we grow our faith. Moving towards Him as He leads makes it so, makes us resilient as we go. And the more we follow His lead in His power, like a weak muscle trained over time, we will shine for His glory not ours. It’s really better that way anyways.

Doncha think, Gentle Reader? JJ