The Boomerang Effect

The wooden angle sitting on the mantle was a souvenir/gift from the Land Down Under.

To toss it into the air and have it return in-flight to you is a skill few master.  We didn’t!

Instead we dust if off because it looks nice:  forming a paradox in design and practice with which I can relate tonight.

Here’s why.

boomerang, wooden, life, metaphor, like, things come back, return to you

A trip to our local hospital began after much preparation and somewhat tense spirit too.

Would the appointments go alright such that I could return home and rest before a party this evening?

I brought with me several “rescue remedies,” food, water, favorite medical supplies, etc.

Having my port flushed last month went reasonably well so this one today should too.

Not.

I’d been battling Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth when some labs indicated liver stuff too.  My Doc was willing to order a test over the phone and both would be today.

The liver/gall bladder/pancreas ultrasound could irritate a tender tummy for awhile.

Worse came a “tic attack” with the realization that there are several tender spots.

Gratefully, recovery came quickly and I was off to the outpatient clinic for the flush.

The nurse completed everything slowly as I’d requested; my preparation was flawless too.

Can you ice your chest wall while having an ultrasound, apply numbing cream before leaving home, and finish your breakfast/morning supplements in the waiting room between appointments running only 8 minutes late too?  Sure you can!

But 8 minutes past the hour was too late.  With everything that went wrong, the process would take OVER SIX HOURS!

The nurses there are saints as they let me sit in that treatment chair forever if needed.

Something about that 1 1/2 inch needle plunging into my port never has bode well with me.  Or was it a slight change in tissue gradient from fluids and a blood thinner going in?

The procedure was completed and I thought I was going to be o.k.  Then I started shaking.

The shaking continued for over THREE HOURS!  Several convulsive spikes joined the mess.

Gratefully my beloved Stevers was able to leave work early, go home, and bring me an emergency dose of steroid medication at the hospital.  He was my hero once again.

Within 15 minutes, the episode stopped.  I lain in that recliner chair in shock for a long while.  I wept some too.

We moved to the lobby where I devoured my last bit o’ snack and began to revive.

Once home, I rallied to help Steve get out the door to the party with gifts, dish-to-pass, yada, yada, yada hoping to join him later.  Another FIVE HOURS LATER, I did.

Last year I was too sick to attend a gathering with these friends from out of town.  My beloved sent me a video back then of the kids opening their gifts.  Bittersweet.

This year I got to see most of the kids for a few minutes and all of the adults.  Twas sweet.

Another victory was being able to visit in a home with a history of mold damage.  Huge!

The First Defense Nasal Screens (See Julie’s Favorites), open windows on a cool Spring evening, and progress in reduced reactivity all appeared to help.  Thank you Lord.

My plan was to stay in the moment, just enjoying the light banter and updates from all.

No matter that no one asked me much about things.  I love them in Christ just the same.

So I live a Boomerang life, moving from wretchedness to sweetness often within hours.

I could brood the day long or keep my pretty tops sitting in a closet like that dusted toy.

Instead if my Lord grants the where-with-all to get back into life, moving ahead, slightly forward,

I will trust in His strength.  I will do it.  I will get there.  And like the boomerang thing, the trip back will cancel the trip out that maybe wasn’t so good.

For we will face trials in this life, those of us who believe in Christ Jesus. The real question remains:

Will we stay on the shelf when the flippin’ craziness is done?  Nope.  Not me.

I will get out and try to have some fun!

The Day is Never Really Wasted

Missing my Dad.

Closing my online jewelry shop.

Cancelling a dinner invitation for me with new friends.

Spending the morning and evening in bed with complications of illness.

Questioning the utility of a new treatment before it really has begun to make a difference.

Perhaps you can see where I am going with this?  No where productive, positive, encouraging very fast.  These are the kinds of days when I question the value of each breath (that almost stopped twice today).  These are the evenings when I wonder why I try to plan anything away from our home anyways?  These are the days that I cry a little more than usual.  And these days are necessary, really, to grieve and move on.

When I worked as an occupational therapist in rehabilitation, we often told our patients that, “recovery is a jagged line.”  Oh how I have found that to be true these past 3 1/2 years!  Looking back to the beginning and middle of this period of time, there were many times when I am sicker than I am now.  There were many unanswered questions, new treatments to try, expenses that exceeded our income, strains on all of my relationships, and lifestyle changes that seemed too much to bear.  So many questions came to mind as the weeks extended into months and years:

I wondered if I could continue to get to know the gals I’d just met at my church or my husband’s adult children, make any new friends, or succumb to the ill-effects of isolation instead?  How much suffering could my body endure without permanent damage to my brain, neck, back, or other bodily functions when the convulsive episodes were so violent?  Would I embarrass myself in public, get into an accident in a public place, or be found on the floor some evening by my beloved husband (who was already stressed and sleep-deprived)?  Why on earth did I have to endure such hellish nightmares, flashbacks, and heart-wrenching grief at this time in my life when I had worked so hard to become free of so much sorrow in my past?  And most of all, would anything good come from all of this:  would it be wasted time and effort after it was all over?

Some of these questions have been answered by now and some have not . . . yet.  I have made many new friends.  The process of getting to know my hubby’s children has been slower than I would have liked yet it probably is for the better; we are living a long-distance from all four of them which makes everything a little different too.   My mind has actually become clearer with the extreme dietary measures, reduction in mercury toxicity/dental issues, and healing of my gut (since the brain and gut-health are related don’t ya know?).  The physical consequences of illness will require some more treatment soon but at least my weight is stable and the overall deconditioning has still allowed me to perform most of my activities of daily living.  Further, when I felt sick in public or driving down the road, I was always able to rest in my vehicle thus avoiding an incident, gratefully.  These last two are amazing to me:  the Lord’s angels must be protecting me when I am away from home.

Steve and I have found ways to cope with the nightly convulsive episodes, sudden physical collapses that require assistance with my self care, and challenges to our intimate life on occasion.  It helps that Steve is wonderful!  It helps that he relies on the Lord and fellowship with strong believers to see him through this season of our lives together.  His faith strengthens mine too.  Although we can’t be together as much as I would like to, it helps me to know that I can trust him and look to him for spiritual direction, spiritual leadership.  This is God’s plan for the home, for marriage.  And as that design plays out between us, I know that the Lord is strengthening me too.

The Lord has never left me or forsook my faith in Him.  Even in near-death experiences, demonic attacks (and there have been more than I can count), and times of deepest despair, my Jesus has carried me through it all.  The spiritual peace that developed certainly has served to clear my mind, bringing me to a place of clarity I had never seen before I got sick.  Renewal of our minds is a gift and a promise only the Lord can give as we read the Bible.  I am grateful for His work through this process.

I really don’t know if looking at the female hormone/menopausal connection with the onset of seizures (and its related testing and treatments) will be fruitful or not.  Is it catamenial seizures?  I do know that I am probably going to make some more new friends trying to figure it out!  Some more new connections will also be made in the synapses of my brain as I study a whole new body of information.  Letting go of my hobby business today and getting focused on a more professional venture will challenge these new skills, quite possibly moving me from this disabled state to one of productive living.  Oh how I hope so!  This incredible experience has inspired a new product that I invented and eBook that I am writing.  That is cool, eh?  Yeah God!  Perhaps things will come together just as they need to and when the timing is right?  This season of time will have served its purpose; it certainly will not be wasted.  This Father’s Day will just be a microcosm of the larger picture with all of its days, its parts playing a role:  good, bad, and ugly too.

And in the end I know that the good will outweigh the other two.  How compelling of a story would I be able to write if everything was always hunky-dory?  Nope.  It would be boring.  On the stage of life, we are to live fully no matter what happens to us.  We are to live like the sign on the wall of the therapist’s office that I saw when I was searching for meaning in my life at just 24 years old:

Bloom Where You are Planted, trust in the Lord, overcomer, overcoming trials, Christian response to, faith in Christ, hanging tough, Bloom, Christian blog

Yeah.  Evelyn at Catholic Charities had it right.  And the gardener in me wasn’t even awakened yet when I read that banner!  The motto of that poster has encouraged me over and over again, becoming the foundation of my life’s work as an occupational therapist and helping me to re-invent my career a half-dozen times.  As a believer in the Lord, Jesus Christ, I can see that He is the God Who uses all things for His glory.  Someday you and I will get to see how these gnarly threads of our lives have woven together to create a beautiful tapestry that characterizes the life of one surrendered to Christ.  With that hope I can face tomorrow and all that it brings.  With that hope I submit to the will of my Master Gardener, my Lord.

With that hope you can too, Gentle Reader.  Bloom!  With love, JJ

A Wittle Update

I am grateful to announce that I sold my hobby business, Trinity Jewelry by Design!  DeAnn got her package in Minnesota this week and is excited to learn about making handmade jewelry!

All macramé, leather, and friendship jewelry is 25% off until Sunday, June 21st with Coupon Code FINALSALE.  This includes wholesale lots and Threads of Hope ministry jewelry featured in my shop at:  Trinity Jewelry by Design.

Moving forward, I have obtained my LLC for my new company, Two Step Solutions and obtained legal assistance for my logo and business motto trademarks.  And wouldn’t you know that after some prayer and Bible study, I realized that the initial logo just won’t do for the vision the Lord gave me for my company.  So I’ve hired a great family friend to craft a new logo before submitting my application to the US Patent and Trademark Office.

I’ve changed the name of my upcoming eBook to Caring for the Sandwich Generation.  With the sale of T J by D, I hope to have this guide for Baby Boomers completed early this summer.  Stay tuned for your free copy!

Oh and on a personal note, I’ve learned that the most wretched and lingering part of my biotoxin illness may be female hormone-related.  A new product from Quicksilver Scientific looks promising and has reduced the intensity of the convulsive episodes already.  We are hopeful over here!

Thank you for your support during these transitions Gentle Reader.  Summer in Indiana is looking up and I am both humbled and grateful . . .  JJ

There’s popcorn in the bed

Travelling can be both exhilarating and hazardous to one’s health all the same time.  Was it Mark Twain who said that life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all?  Yeah, he would be right at home in our house or rather our travel trailer!

And so I remain grateful for so much as Steve and I continue to navigate very odd circumstances while on the road. We have now passed the halfway mark in an Indiana, Alabama, Florida, and North Carolina road trip that has provided much material for future blogging already!  This stuff ain’t for wimps and we have proven to be mighty in the Lord.  Here’s a peek:

This morning I awakened at 11:30 a.m. delighted to have slept in after a wretched night.  Steve was arriving home to the tin can ranch after the closing meeting of his United States Canoe Association (USCA) annual meeting.  He was energized beyond his lack of sleep, ready to hit the big water off the coast of Florida.  A few bites of ham was all he needed:  the outrigger canoe strapped to the roof of my truck for the past 1000 miles would see water at last!

A blast of seizures delayed my plans for breakfast as Steve assisted me with a bite to eat and trip to the bathroom. Then he found a deer tick on his back!  We had hoped that the dangerous hitch-hiker was a loner but that was not to be.  Within an hour we had found about a dozen on his clothing and the floor around the camper entry.  Quickly we searched and cleaned, flashlights in hand until every inch of Steve, the dog, and our home away from home was cleared.  [Some parts of the search weren’t too bad!  ;)]  At last I collapsed again, this time into a pile of tears:  why does everything have to be so difficult all of the time?

Steve is a saint, this is true.  He quickly switched gears (and clothing!) for the paddling adventure that awaited him at Amelia Island State Park with a fellow paddler in from Arkansas.  I sent along two bars of chocolate from our hometown chocolatier to thank him for waiting for Steve plus Steve’s lunch that I had quickly assembled.  At last I could ravenously consume my makeshift breakfast of thawed lunch meat, canned green beans, ghee butter, and pumpkin seeds:  low oxalate on-the-road dontcha know!  Steve soon departed after pumping up the tires of my bike for me:  a tag-a-long I’d added in hopes of riding here in the warmer weather . . .

But I was just too tired to do anything but eat and check Facebook after my beloved departed.  Oh how I longed to be with him!  Someday soon we will again bring the tandem outrigger canoe (OC-2)  on such trips so I may join my River Bear on the water.  Yes, Lord:  maybe this year?  Instead Don and Steve will take turns paddling the OC-1 and have a blast surfing the ama (which is the float attached by two poles or iakos off to one side) and waves like true racers.  Meanwhile I grabbed the remainder of my bag of organic popcorn and prepared to return to my own version of life these days in my pretty bed.  And in due time, I did revive.

It’s raining now as this blog comes to a close.  My bike is at the ready, leaning against my inner left leg, with my beloved pup feigning off sleep on the floor just beyond my outer left leg.  O.K. so we are now also initiated to winter camping with way too many toys!  Funny how I don’t regret hardly anything about how we crafted this trip.  Most of the delegates stayed at the hotel where the USCA meeting was held and that certainly would have been more convenient than the RV park we ended up at which was a 25 minute drive north in Georgia.  The air was stale to me at the Hampton Inn with the stale scent of air freshener in the lobby.  Here amidst the palms we have fresh air ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT LONG!  I like that!  The rain dries up quickly anyways in the reddish soil sprinkled with pine needles.  We will avoid the tick path my hubby took with the dog this morning, no problemmo.  Here I can even see a few stars at night peeking through the overhead vents we keep open at night.  That’s refreshingly cool and very romantic too!

I could be at home right now in the frigid Midwest, writing my heart out amidst the foot of snow around our home and subzero temperatures.  This is better.  This is good.  This is what living a life of adventure is all about.  Why wait for a “rainy day” when everything will never be perfect enough to do the things which call one forward TODAY.  This IS that rainy day.  And hey, the rain just stopped!  I do believe I have carb-loaded adequately too!  Where is my bike helmet anyways?

Seeya pup.  Ima hittin’ my own road ya all . . .

girlinrain536970_170993983054615_2036209222_n

 

Since it’s almost Christmas . . .

Since it’s Christmas, I’ve got a little something special for you! It’s the last day of the 40% off sale for all items at Trinity Jewelry by Design! Be sure to use coupon code REDESIGN when checking out for this amazing discount!  Check it out at:

Trinity Jewelry by Design

And feel free to “Like” this shop on Facebook for the first peek at my complete redesign coming in January!  Here’s the link:

Trinity Jewelry by Design on Facebook

Take care all and happy shopping!  JJ

DSCF0533chevron stitch breast ca 1

DSCF9120