The Gentle Giant

Standing over 6 feet tall, the man could have been mistaken for the childhood Green Giant hero of the Television Age.  He let his hair grow long, beard get kind of scruffy, and middle section pudge just enough to make his bear hug just right.  The children squealed when he growled and chased them back up the basement stairs when he had enough of their antics and needed to get back to work in that mysterious and yet wonderful business within those concrete walls.  More on that story another time.

The man was as conflicted as any could be in this life.  I’ll call him the Gentle Giant or GG for short.  My knowledge of him is pieced together from some vague memories, his hand-written journal, a few newspaper clippings, internet searches, and the stories from family members. Call it a great tragedy or perhaps work of satire as he never reached his full potential in this world.  Lord knows, he tried.

GG grew up in the blue collar suburbs of Detroit, Michigan as the son of an auto mechanic and never-quite-satisfied mother.  His dad let his mother rule the household including harsh discipline for the boys of the family.  Beatings, torture, destruction of their few prized possessions, restriction of food, verbal abuse, and lying about it all to suspicious outsiders comprised his private hell.  She destroyed his model airplanes, locked him in the closet, and made him sit at the meal table all day and all night as abusive punishment for just being alive.  The next generation (grandchildren) would be treated differently as would the girly middle child; the oldest brother would turn gay and befriend his mother and father in a strange twist of survival-perhaps-denial until he died of AIDS in his forties.   The baby of the family barely made it out alive when the older siblings were no longer around to protect him.  GG, the second oldest of the four children, had finally found his way to break free.

GG made a plan to marry the first woman who would accept his hand in marriage.  It took a few years after high school to find a suitable mate who was willing to marry him, perhaps in an attempt to escape her own abusive and alcoholic father.  They quickly had 3 children and a relationship burdened by his physical abuse of the mother.  The oldest took an overdose of her mother’s thyroid medication requiring having her stomach pumped at only 3 years old; the middle child developed a life-long inferiority complex from being told by his dad that he resembled his mother’s family more than his.  And this was only the beginning of things that went wrong in that household.  By the time the five of them had moved from the trailer park to their new home, GG was having periodic psychiatric breakdowns.  Experts have determined later that these were likely the psychotic breaks of paranoid schizophrenia.

GG struggled with the adult responsibilities of work, raising a family, relating to his wife, and managing the internal chaos of his mental illness.  He came into the realities of adulthood with too much brokenness to overcome; he was a brilliant inventor and draftsman yet could not control his own mind to ever find true happiness or success.  GG defied the counselling offered and declined the psychiatric medication newly developed that could help control his thought disorder.  He took an extended leave of absence from work and, instead of getting well, used the time to build a business in the unfinished basement of their home.  It became wildly successful in the hobby world of the 1960’s. How his employer never found out is another mystery.

Unfortunately the same ingenuity that brought him initial success 1) as a non-degreed draftsman for a major automaker and 2) in the home business, did not work when he applied it to his mental illness.  He experimented in psycho-cybernetics, hand writing analysis, the occult, various activities of the hippie crowd, drinking alcohol, and more.   Eventually he left town on his motorcycle with some blonde chick for California with all the profits from the business . . .  The children saw his father come and go in a myriad of painful and confusing scenes over the next few years until finally their parents divorced. Their dad lived in another suburb across town thereafter but the holiday visits and false hopes for things to be right never fully materialized.  Eventually GG left town for good and had no direct contact with his family for the next 27 years.

GG sent threatening letters to his mother for several decades, perhaps wrestling with her years of abusing him and what to do with it.  Sadly he hurt his own children as well in other ways. Over the years, the oldest daughter had witnessed satanic rituals, was abused by some women in the course of some psychedelic mayhem at his house across town during a visitation weekend, and was then tortured herself by GG in an attempt to help her “forget” what had happened to her.  The middle child witnessed his father’s domestic abuse of his mother and personal self-degradation as his father used mind control techniques on him in a misguided attempt to try and help his son.  The taped messages he recorded ended up having an opposite effect!  And the spirited youngest boy got as far as he could in life then, as a young adult, tried to find his dad who had left the family when he was barely past kindergarten. His dad’s letter of rejection was found by loved ones in his wallet after the young man died of alcoholism.  The surviving family grieved deeply.

GG’s experimentation with mind control techniques inadvertently opened himself up to the demonic realm.  The darkness in his eyes reflected this in particularly frightening scenes recounted by his children.  Knowing this, understanding his abusive upbringing and resulting mental illness then their own coming to faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, has helped the two surviving siblings forgive their father.  They have found peace with their past and with their dad. The man was simply lost.  He had no idea the dark world he had incited nor the abuse he ended up carrying from one generation to the next.  It took the daughter in particular, many decades to understand this and break free from the trauma and demonic influences.  How that happened is yet another story.  The miracle of overcoming such hell gives testimony to the incredible power of the gospel through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thirty years after the oldest sibling last saw her father and two months before he died, she got to meet with him at his retirement/trailer park in Florida.  They had slowly developed a new relationship by phone before he eventually agreed to a visit in person. The Gentle Giant was frail yet charmingly engaging.  He told her tender stories of her days as a little girl and of how proud he was of her.  He told her that he loved her and by the time of their visit had shared how he had to leave their family to protect them from further harm.  More psychological breakdowns had occurred over the years.  His isolation from family and most of society became part of how he managed his illness in addition to long sabbaticals from work. He jointly held over 27 patents with a major manufacturer of automotive parts and would say that was why they “put up with him” and his leaves of absence.  The woman would see how creative her father was in crafting his life with the fragments he had been given . . . how incredibly her Heavenly Father would sustain her own life until those sweet moments of reconcilliation with her dad could bring closure, bring healing, bring some sweetness too.

Our earthly fathers have incredible importance in how we turn out in our lives.  They are the first authority figures in our lives who initially influence how we relate to our heavenly Father who is exceedingly greater and perfect;  ways that our earthly father can never be.  A loving relationship with both are critical for grounding us in this life on earth.  Even in the absence of a good dad the yearning of our hearts can lead us to the One Who will never leave us, never forsake us.  I do pray that in this story you will see how the “seeking” of one young girl as she became one older woman led her to overcome the failings of her father by filling those empty and hurting places with the unfailing love of Jesus Christ.  Graciously she did get to feel at last, the love of her real father before he died.  Not everyone will have this kind of opportunity; others will experience it their entire lives.  Regardless, we all can be whole no matter what darkness has fallen on our journey through this life.

I understand these experiences very well nurtured with truth from the Words of our Lord in His scripture and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Further, the Gentle Giant in each of us can be transformed from sorrow to joy if we but believe in His holy name, Jesus Christ. Healing and fullness of life will follow us all of our days into eternity.  I love that.  Oh Heavenly Father, I thank you for this story and for Your story of redemption too.  May you speak to the heart of the Gentle Reader who finds these words this day, filling him or her with your goodness. Bring them into the best of relationships found only with You.  Bring hope beyond what we all can see.  For your glory I pray in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.  JJ

 

Winning through losing

Winning through losing is the title of an article by Pastor Sandy Adams in the Summer 2017 issue of Calvary Chapel Magazine that touched my heart and lightened my burden this day.  Pastor Adams told the story of the Apostle Paul of the Bible who, after coming to faith in Christ, never had a “thorn in his flesh” removed despite praying three times.  He describes it as follows with a passage from 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 12:

Paul learned to view his thorn as God’s gift.  He rejoiced in the weakness it caused; for it became God’s opportunity to demonstrate His supernatural strength.  Paul rejoices in verse 10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  He took pleasure in circumstances where he was no longer in control.  A weak Paul empowered by God’s grace was more effective than a strong Paul at peak performance.  Paul was confident that God’s grace was sufficient. (p. 52)

Pastor Adams goes on to encourage us that the Lord’s greatest work is in our times of defeat:  a work that He intends to do all along.  “Rest in this:  When we are at our weakest, God makes us strongest.” (p. 52)

It is my hope that my writings here will exemplify this teaching.  I have struggled greatly these past few weeks with episodes of physical and spiritual darkness too ugly to describe publically.  To think that I may never be free from daily convulsive episodes is a burden to great for me to bear in the midst of these setbacks.  At the same time, I continue to have a sense that perhaps soon they will stop.  Should I not hope that they stop?  I think not.  My calling is to remain faithful to the moments in which I find myself:  doing that which the Lord wants me to do, discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in the presence of my King often.  If that means being obedient to the Lord’s call to get off the couch to take a rescue remedy while my head is banging, my legs aren’t working right, and pressured vocalizations are emanating from deep within my loins then I will trust that my Heavenly Father will keep me safe while I do so.  It’s amazing how supernatural power overcomes my own inability to move my body correctly.  His power is real!

I recently completed a course of antibiotics to treat a gut infection that may have a connection to my brain symptoms.  The medication hurt me with damaging side effects.  After 10 days I called my Doctor and transitioned to the first of two herbal protocols that would follow next.  Tomorrow morning I will start the second of these two plans including dosing at an elevated level of an antimicrobial that I have largely tolerated in the past.  I am hopeful that recovery is possible with this new plan.  After reading Pastor Adam’s article today I will remain mindful that there is purpose and power in every moment of this journey no matter the outcome will be.  The power of Christ has indeed rested upon me in my weakest, most breathless states.  I have trusted Him completely albeit not perfectly.  He has ordained these days for me revealed in other levels of healing that I cannot disclose right now:  the longest held desires of my heart have been addressed, have been comforted.  Through seizures!

In time, the Apostle Paul saw his thorns as a gift.  “Imagine, a thorn gift” suggests Pastor Adams.  “When Paul accepted his thorn as a gift, God gave him strength.”  As I have come to my own level of peace with this serious illness, I have received many gifts as well.  Another great blessing has come from my beloved husband, Steve’s, unfailing love, presence in the darkest of times, prayers, and gifts of the spirit.  He is often my Jesus with skin-on, so to speak.  This morning he anointed me with oil as he prayed for me in the aftermath of incredible difficulties.  Oh Lord, please bless this man, this instrument of your peace!  Help me to love and serve him as you would have me do so with your strength, with words from You to encourage his heart.

You know I never really thrived when posed with a competitive situation at home, with my peers, at work, at school, or in most places in life even though I know that it is o.k. to strive for excellence in all of these settings.  I usually fell short before reaching the prize.  Perhaps my focus was on the wrong place?  Winning through losing brings us to the eternal finish line, the one that matters most, in second place behind the Lord, Jesus Christ who will share in the victory that He hath created all along the proverbial races of life.  These are the ones that truly matter.  The ones where we let Him carry us or infuse us with His grace, His power as we cross over into eternal glory.

Now that’s a medal I do want to take “home.”  Lord, in your mercy, help me to finish well!  JJ

2 Cor, 2 Corinthians, 2:9, weakness, grace, sufficient, Christ, power, overcoming trials, Bible verse, encouraging

 

 

The Awakening

No plant reacts instantly to a brief change in conditions. But a change that persists is an invitation to wake up.  (From the Dirt Simple blog.)

Lately I am finding myself in a place in my world that brings me to a humbling yet screeching halt.  I ask:  what has happened to the me I once knew and where the heck did I land?  The Lord knows the journey that has transpired; the witnesses have varying accounts of this or that as well.  But it is the markers in time, the events out of the ordinary that bring the changes to light, that clarify what is actually seen.  Let’s see if I can explain a bit more about what is going on over here as one of those episodes hit me hard . . .

Three days ago the daily seizure attacks that I have suffered for 5 years ramped up to over SIX HOURS PER DAY.  One day these were all in a row, virtually without ceasing until the wee hours of the morning.  The next day I got a divided dose of 3 1/2 hours in the morning then an encore of SIX MORE HOURS in the evening!  I cannot even describe to you the mental and physical anguish this brings.  Time stops.  A single breath, one then the next, is the only measure in my mind of the clock of life ticking forward.  Difficult decisions got made between my beloved and I resulting in his cancelled trip getting replaced with the sights and sounds of another hospital emergency room.  The drug they gave me helped.  Miraculously, the convulsive spikes are but a blip here and there for now.

I have had over a day now to contemplate what life might be like to be normal again.  Indeed the pain has gone down some, the brain fog got less misty, and my ability to move improved.  So I completed a small garden project yesterday and walked our dog this evening.  I think that the ER Doctors who have told me that this illness isn’t biological are dead wrong.  Stop the seizing and I don’t need a psychiatrist to tell me to get back into life.  I don’t need convincing.  It just happens! 

There is much to figure out right now.  Will I get to work on more treatment like taking down viral infections?  How long will I stay on the new medication that could hurt me if it was too long?  What will I really do with my life should this process of healing continue?  I am hopeful again and that is good.  Alas it is poetic that these changes should occur as the earth warms from the cold of Winter outside.  Unlike the plants that are either remaining dormant out there or are testing their new growth with some surges in our Spring-like weather lately, I will wait to wake up all the way.  In the meantime maybe I can do some good with this wee bit o’ energy.  After all, there is no rushing a beautiful awakening to a new life.

Five years is a long time to have been asleep.

I bought a new truck like my Dad’s just 5 days before a kayaking trip changed my life forever.  I got sick from the water.  I don’t know why I told you that.  It’s been a long detour.  Now things are changing wildly.  Maybe the new beginning will need to involve a little road trip in my sweet ride?  To the nursery just out of town of course.  They sell bags of shredded pine bark compost that should fortify our garden vegetable beds nicely.

See what I mean?  It’s already happening . . .

JJ

garden dog, German shepherd, grass, sleeping, pet, pup, sneaky, dog

Elle awaits the awakening . . .

Coming out of the fog

I just might be coming out of the fog

As I hit the 5 year mark of shroudedness

When some bugs in greenish water back then

Everyday put me under severe, daily duress.

I could sell you a book of

Five hundred blogs and two links

With tales of woe then and now that’ve

Filled webpages as I tried to keep on my “think.”

This forum here, now with you this Autumn night

Kept me sane so the cells in my brain did not go to mush;

While firing wacky-backwards without ceasing at times

For waaaaaay toooo long without hope of a rest with a cush.

Looking back, looking forward

And thinking it over some more,

I see da light coming through darkness:

The kind that stays and covers all.

Tis healing that’s on the brink to stay

If I but finish the course with everything

It takes what it takes and it ain’t over they say

And they’re right, “until the fat lady sings!”

Now I ain’t too fat or that big into musical things

There’s more dirt under my fingernails than bylines

Bits o’ gardening, sewing, medical cooking fills the

Hours not counting Heparin and saline syringes.

No matter anyways, anyhoo, anyhow

It’s just the way it went, the road less travelled by

I will be stronger for it in the end they say (and they know)

In due time, Gentle Reader, with the Lord we’ll one day know why.

JJ

Julie Horney, Lyme disease, get well, recovery, healing, gratitude, end of the road, end of the journey, smiling, woman, park, Rogers-Lakewood

Resting with mask in hand by a scummy lake here in Indiana!

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the healing comes

Sure has been a wild ride of late.  Here’s a treatment update.

After almost 4 months of treatment, I have improved 28 points on the Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome Questionnaire of Lyme Literate Medical Doctor (LLMD), Dr. Richard Horowitz!  Thank you Jesus.

Lord willing, later this week I will transition from IV infusions of antibiotics from an outpatient clinic to home health care.  Our insurance company denied treatment beyond 28 days, leaving us with a massive bill if my secondary insurance will not cover ongoing treatment.  Since it will take several weeks to find out the verdict, we cannot keep paying $900 per treatment, 3 times per week while we wait!  Hiring nurses (from a home health care agency and one in private practice) on a private pay basis plus ordering supplies and medications online will reduce the price to around $300 per visit.  Planning this transition has required considerable time, stress, attention to endless details, and work!  The orders are in process with many steps to follow in the next 2 1/2 days.  A LOT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST 5 DAYS to make this happen.  Thank you, Lord, that my brain has come back online just in time.  Whew!

I just found out that DNA testing from Fry Labs shows that I do have the FL 1953 protomyxzoa rheumatica (a fungal infection) that can be found in 50% of patients with chronic illness.  This parasite survives in the body in the impervious gel-like biofilms that also make Lyme bacteria difficult to eradicate.  My LLMD has recommended a combination antifungal (prescription) and biofilm-busting (nutraceutical) protocol that he says could render me very sick for a minimum of 4-5 weeks.  Most patients have tremendous recovery thereafter; gratefully I am hoping that the binding agents I have discovered will be an effective adjunct to this treatment plan and reduce the die-off or “herx” reactions.  Steve and I are prayerfully considering how to proceed as we were hoping to visit family for an important event out-of-State in a few weeks now that I am “not as bad.”  Please pray too!  I am soooooo ready to start living again!

Working with a brilliant naturopathic physician via Skype to review my epigenetic data, lab tests to date and medical/treatment history has finally led to some nutraceuticals that I can actually tolerate.  Soon I hope to add specifically formulated IV and injectable nutritionals to the home infusions (instead of driving to a clinic we were considering far from home twice per month).  And the excitability of my central nervous system is starting to come down at last:  generally fewer and shorter convulsive episodes every day for the past 2 weeks.  This has not happened in the past 4 1/2 years until now!  PRAISE THE LORD!  Experimentation with an Iodine Loading Protocol has further enhanced my results.  I have to think that I am on the road to recovery at last . . .

Steve and I are encouraged, humbled, grateful, and watchful as the events of these past few weeks have unfolded.  I have been able to get out for a walk once per week and work in the gardens around our home some.  Some of the pain and headaches that I battle every day have improved; I don’t really complain when it’s related to digging in the dirt as the sun is going down . . . I feel blessed to have had the friendship and support of a couple of friends here for rides to-and-from the hospital for treatments lately too.  And we are starting to plan some of the activities again that we used to take for granted in the past:  think Steve’s kayak races, the Tin Can Ranch (travel trailer), and the pup in tow as well.

When the healing comes by Lisa Bevill

Enjoy this lovely song that reflects the hope that is becoming clearer for me.  I hope that if you are struggling, you will lean on the Lord, Jesus Christ to see you through and keep your eyes on the goal what ever that may be for you.  He knows and loves you, cares for the desires of your heart too, Gentle Reader.  There are sprinkles of His goodness all around us no matter what the circumstances.  Let not the first time we recognize this as only when the healing comes.  Let today, this moment be a reminder that the waiting, the “pressing on” as Lisa sings, is an important part of the journey too.  Praying for you this night.  JJ