Obedience is one of those words like “discipline.” Not popular either one of them, yet both separate the whining cry babies from the mature adults amongst us. For believers in Jesus Christ, obedience matures our faith and transforms us into the image of Christ (a work never completed during our lifetimes). In our humanity our flesh tugs at us to rebel or be tempted in directions other than the leading of the Holy Spirit. But by focusing on His incredible gift of grace, studying His holy Word, and submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit we will end in a better place for sure. I have seen it in my own life and in the lives of others. His will is best. His timing is best. Why? Because He loves us and because He is God!
These thoughts came to me after reading an interview of Ravi Zacharias in the RZIM Summer 2015 newsletter and listening to a message by Pastor Paul Mowery of Harvest Fellowship in Leo, Indiana. At the close of his message on Romans 11, Pastor Paul encourages us to “be about worship,” praising His great name for having mercy on us as recipients of the Lord’s grace. We are not to dwell on what each of us may have done that draws attention to ourselves. We are to be about Him: worshipping our Father God.
Lately I am struggling with these themes. Many of my posts here have tried to pull something meaningful out of the challenges of a wretched illness. As the days wear on with the setbacks of late, I have found myself literally screaming out my anger at God with the wails that accompany the convulsive seizures. “Why do you hate me?” Oh yeah, it’s bad. Even my beloved Steve who has been at my side during a fair amount of this hell admits his anger at God. And we are convinced that this is an o.k. thing to do. It is not an o.k. place to stay, however. And it is certainly not an acceptable attitude to act upon.
You simply cannot be angry at someone whom you do not love dearly. Such is our dilemma. We both love the Lord, Jesus Christ, and are humbled, grateful for His mercies in each of our lives. We have so much goodness between us! We are grateful for so much! And in our humanity we are broken and don’t like the brokenness. Way down deep we are hurting and it is this hurt that fuels the anger. Admitting this will be the way out, the way back to fellowship, the discipline that will bring obedience, the song of worship yet to come . . .
7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, (Hebrews 3)
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. (Hebrews 3)
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1)
Today with the faith of a mustard seed (that I understand is rich in nutrients of which I am needing anyways!) I will choose to honor and worship the Lord, my King. He has built this frame in which I dwell and within it dwells the Holy Spirit. Broken or not, it is the vessel from which I will praise His name all of my days. I lay my angst on His mighty throne of grace, with great expectation of His promise to redeem it for His glory.
May He be glorified in all. My Jesus. My all in all. Worthy of our praise. Worthy is this Lamb of God! JJ
Who knew that finely crushed, Unsalted Kettle Potato Chips would be like a salve to my wounded frame today? In the spirit of my previous foodie post, I must say that finely crushed chips make my creamy beef stew-ish soup puree quite special. Since there are potato chips in my belly, life will go on after all!
Yes, there is other good news after enduring 36-hours of hell, ending about an hour ago: we believe we have identified the trifecta-root cause of much of my illness. However, unlike a horserace where a bet on a trifecta identifies win, place, or show, we are not sure of the order of these little fillies:
Two infected teeth with root canals
Inflammation secondary to the infection and
Dental galvanism from dissimilar metals in the crowns of the root-canaled teeth.
Now we recognize that while we certainly won’t know the exact cause until the teeth are extracted and I have treated the infection, if needed. I am on a waiting list for a local surgeon after a trip to see a qualified biologic dentist out-of-state resulted in being passed on to someone else equally far from home. My husband has led us to the decision to find someone else locally; I am on a waiting list to have my appointment moved up from April 2nd with the best local oral surgeon. Those Gentle Readers who have followed me for awhile know that I have thought before that we found the “root cause” of everything. The “it” still could be complicated by underlying Lyme disease, mold neurotoxins and the definite mercury toxicity fueling it all. Yet one thing is now clear: these teeth still have to come out!
Here’s a brief summary of these three new factors in my own words:
1. When a person has a root canal procedure, a dead tooth is left behind. The primary root canals consisting of nerve tissue and blood are scraped out and a rubber-like substance called gutta percha is stuffed into the remaining cavity. While the opening is treated with an antiseptic, no one can ever know for sure if any secondary root canals were left un-cleaned and untreated. Any remaining nerve and blood tissues dies and can provide food for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
Between the root canal channel and the outer enamel of the tooth is the dentin, consisting of 3 miles of dentil tubules. These are too numerous to be completely sterilized before placement of the gutta percha. Thus there is a possibility of infection seeping into the dentil tubules. When a tooth is healthy, all of the dental tissues are washed with blood but this is no longer possible with the severing of the blood vessels during the root canal procedure. However, if the infection grows, the bacteria can eventually seep from it’s hidden little factory in the tubules into the jaw bone and surrounding blood supply thus potentially affecting the mouth and rest of the body. It is well-recognized that these bacteria can be exceedingly dangerous.
Lastly, during a root canal procedure the periodontal ligament is often left in place around the dead tooth, adding further risk for infection and necrosis from this dead tissue lying next to the gums or jaw bone. Only in the dental industry is a once-living, now-dead tissue and a dead structure (the tooth) allowed to stay in the body; otherwise this tissue would be surgically removed as in the examples of damaged frostbitten fingers, gangrenous toes, severely burned skin, etc!
2. As spoken by the nurse in my doctor’s office this past week, reddened tissue means inflammation and often indicates the presence of infection. Pain in the upper left portion of my jaw has lasted over 13 years, increasing lately to the point of requiring periodic Ibuprofen and topical treatments such as (diluted) clove oil. I now chew food only on the right side of my mouth, avoid hot and cold temperatures, and consume soft/pureed foods so as to minimize the chewing and pressure on my teeth that trigger convulsive episodes. Geez!
3. Though considered controversial by traditional dentists, it is easy to find hundreds of mainstream and holistic dentistry sites that have described the dental galvanism (aka “battery effect”) that can occur from the use of dissimilar metals in amalgam fillings, crowns, and dental appliances. I had my amalgam fillings (generally consisting 50% of mercury) removed many years ago yet there remains a question if there is any remaining underneath one of my crowns. The bigger issue is that three of the four crowns in my mouth consist of a combination of metals. To establish if the presence of metals (in the presence of saliva) creates any currents between my teeth, yesterday my husband and I touched the probes of a voltmeter to the surface of the two teeth in question. The voltage was TWICE that of my skin on my arm! Steve questioned if this small amount of voltage would be of any clinical significance? Note that microcurrent (significantly less than the voltage we measured on my teeth) is used in rehabilitation for the treatment of pain. This means that the body must be affected by tiny currents. Too bad the current in my teeth is not mitigating pain! Conversely, I wonder if this battery-effect is over stimulating a part of my brain, triggering the convulsions instead?
Now to flesh out number 3 a little more, I refreshed myself on a little neuroanatomy. The upper branch of the trigeminal nerve innervates the upper and lower jaw of the mouth. The trigeminal nerve originates from a part of the brainstem called the “Pons” which sits on top of the spinal cord inside the back of the skull; three branches extend on each side of your head and across the face with the mandibular branch dividing over the top and bottom of the jaw. During dental procedures, this is the nerve into which a dentist injects a numbing agent such as Novocain. The motor division of the entire trigeminal nerve derives from the basal plate of the embryonicpons, and the sensory division originates in the cranial neural crest.
To hypothesize what electrical stimulation from 1) this battery-effect flowing 2) BACK TO the brain in the first two of these three areas could mean for a person, I took some liberties and looked up the symptoms of the person who has a stroke affecting these three areas. (The cranial neural crest has more significance in embryonic development and stem cell research than the discussion here so I left it out.) My findings are fascinating. Please note that the exact symptoms will depend on which biological “electrical circuits” and junctions are affected since the structures are so small and interrelated; we cannot know for certain which structures will be affected. Regardless, I have listed a few symptoms that I do experience from each of these respective areas during my own seizure attack or convulsive episodes.
Damage to Basal Plate Symptoms: Loss of movement, such as stiff, rigid or weak muscles; tremors or body shakes; aphasia (difficulty speaking); changes in eye movements; or changes in motivation or personality.
Damage to Embryonic Pons Symptoms: Weakness of upper and lower extremity (arm and leg on same side as damage); dysregulation from inhalation to exhalation (difficulty breathing); sleep paralysis (inability to move when falling asleep or after waking up and altered dreams); difficulties with balance (ataxia); dizziness due to vertigo; or clumsiness of a hand or arm. A person with a severe stroke may need help with self-care or feeding as a result.
Wow. These all have happened in some combination with each “tazoring” as I call it. Thankfully there are higher parts of my brain in the cerebral cortex that appear unaffected and thankfully the symptoms are not permanent so far! I would not be able to write this blog if the damage was permanent. But I know I cannot overthink all of this. After the onset of acute upper back pain two days ago, I feared what the range of random electrical charges on my weakened frame could do to my heart. Or was it a heart attack? Well, no. I had gone too far. Pain comes from thrashing around and will be dealt with when I return to physical therapy and chiropractic care sometime after dental surgery.
Wasn’t this interesting? There is much hope in putting all of this together. Please join me in praying for the Lord’s will in all of this. And if it is the Lord’s will, I would love to have these two crazy teeth outta here ASAP! Time for these little ones to go! I prefer to be toothless in Indiana with crushed potato chips on my soup of the day instead of this saga continuing. Even if my hypothesis was wrong, I am grateful for the mental stimulation, the challenge of the hunt. I trust that the Lord will use all of this for His glory. Maybe this insight will help someone, somewhere, someday?
And you know and Lord willing, this year I AM GOING TO GET WELL!!! Yeah baby. Take care Gentle Readers. JJ
If I get to see you in the coming year, please understand that I will be singing songs of joy in my heart! Social isolation has been one of the most devastating effects of serious illness from these past 3 years. Should the Lord allow the circumstances for me to get out for an activity other than medical or a trip to the grocery store, I CELEBRATE!!!
So if I might ask for a few accommodations when we get together and you graciously oblige and I still get sick then blame any negative symptoms you may witness in me as the consequence of illness and not you! Very few folks live in a “clean room” like we have here at home. I did not clean at this level either until it was a matter of survival. Steve did not engage in my extreme mold/contaminant behavior strategies until two years ago. These strategies are necessary for this season of our lives together. Overall I do better when we follow certain guidelines resulting in less reactivity, the worst of which are fewer seizure-like and convulsive episodes which continue daily. We are implementing some “due diligence” from what we have learned to reduce my suffering with the goal of eliminating this illness altogether. We believe that the Lord has allowed these trials for mysterious reasons and ultimately His glory. He is good!
Both Steve and I recognize that there are definite signs that I am getting better. We have trained our eye to search for even tiny changes in the pattern and intensity of episodes, pain, and reactivity to keep us hopeful that one day I will be well. It is happening! So please don’t be discouraged when either one of us might mention that I had a rough night or you witness a significant setback. Recovery is a long, jagged line of progress, setbacks, and lateral “bunny trails.” The overall trending is positive!
The most important accommodations that would be helpful if we get together are as follows.
Meeting in a public place: Select a place with less noise and less loud music. Newer buildings are generally better than older ones; please no historic buildings or ones with known basements or crawlspaces and history of flooding. Restaurants that make their own food with fresh ingredients are better able to modify dishes to meet my food sensitivities. This rules out most fast food places! Letting me know the name and phone number of the establishment ahead of time will allow me to contact them with my needs and make the experience of ordering food more pleasant for both of us! Please do not wear cologne or perfume that day. I will need to greet you and depart with a “virtual hug” to avoid exposures to hidden elements that might be on your clothing or coat. Forgive me if I sometimes forget this step in the joy of the moment when I see you!
Meeting in your home: This is still a situation that I avoid since there are too many variables at this time that may cause serious problems. I cannot come over if you have 1) ever had flooding in your home of any kind from a leaky toilet to a wet basement or 2) have older carpeting. If you are willing to have me then please remove all fragranced products at least the day before we are scheduled to be together (such as plug-in or spray air fresheners, candles whether lit or not, potpourri, etc.) Keeping windows cracked open in cooler weather or open in warmer weather to allow fresh air inside always helps (unless someone is burning something nearby outside!) I prefer to visit in the area of your home without carpeting and sit on non-upholstered furniture. Wood, plastics, and leather are best.
Staying overnight: If we are invited to stay overnight then we will either bring our own linens, blankets and towels, or ask that you wash and dry everything in fragrance-free detergent and softeners (including dryer sheets). Please replace a moldy shower curtain liner with a new one! I will bring most of my own food and hand soap where possible. Providing non-cured, non-smoked meat cooked only with salt, plain oatmeal, plain salad-type vegetables or zucchini/cauliflower without seasonings will be a HUGE treat! I will always bring the extra condiments and food that I can tolerate.
Yeah, I know that this is a lot for a busy household to prepare! Thank you for helping us out with this stuff. Steve and I are exceedingly grateful to have recently obtained a travel trailer which has helped manage all of this tremendously well. (It is a lot of work for us too, I tell ya!) Both of our families and many close friends now live out of State so travel is necessary to see them. This single change in our mode of travel has allowed me to leave our home overnight much more safely and go places from which I have been cut off for most of the past three years. We are humbled and blessed! I really like having a mobile safe house that has already opened up my world, provided privacy during setbacks on the road, and aided sleep with a really comfortable bed that can be hard to find when away from one’s own humble abode at home. Thank you Jesus!
We are hoping that the ongoing extreme avoidance and dietary strategies are temporary; some level of precaution albeit more relaxed than the current level will likely continue for some time. How long will we need to do all of this? We simply do not know. We believe the Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) is due to mercury toxicity and we finally have the correct treatment protocols to get me well. I have excellent medical guidance and a proven treatment plan to follow. We are hopeful that I will be in better health within this year! I AM GOING TO GET WELL!!!
I am most blessed to be in touch with you through this wonderful world of blogging. Today I am asking for your help!
Last week I started some baby steps in a new treatment protocol (called a Pretox Treatment Protocol) for mercury toxicity. The program is based upon the brilliant work of Dr. Chris Shade and Quicksilver Scientific. I am exceedingly grateful that my family doctor attended a conference where Dr. Chris Shade had presented on mercury toxicity. Dr. Shade developed mercury speciation testing and specific treatment regimes to open elimination pathways in the body of inorganic- and methyl-mercury. I completed several lab tests including their Tri-Mercury test and their Blood Metals Test is now in process. After suffering nearly 3 hellish years with daily seizure attacks and numerous failed approaches, we finally have hope for complete recovery.
The only problem is that I am having difficulty tolerating the Pretox Treatment Protocol! No surprise there: I react to everything these days. So here is my request:
Would you kindly contact Quicksilver Scientific and ask for a special consultation for me with Dr. Chris Shade? The company is exceedingly busy with expansion and Dr. Shade’s speaking schedule so a little extra noise might be helpful. Here’s the link to their website and where you can leave a message with my name and email address ( be sure to convert to an email address the following with numbers instead of words and “yahoo.com”: psalmthree4eightonezero@yahoodotcom):
I made this video for Dr. Shade to illustrate exactly what mercury poisoning has brought into our lives over here and my dilemma:
My husband Steve and I are hopeful that I am going to get well! We are exceedingly grateful for prayers and support of everyone and look forward to the day when we can celebrate together all that the Lord has done in this season of our lives. He is good. All the time. He is good!
Brief update: I seem to be in what an airline pilot might call a “holding pattern” lately. When I can break through the perpetual feeling of sickness and get myself out of the house, even if it is to our backyard, there’s always a backlash of noxious symptoms. Recently my chiropractor recommended a heavy metals blood test and after a month of getting the paperwork and procedures right we have the results: high potassium and very high mercury. Yipes! So my husband and I are investigating chelation therapy. I have an appointment with a Doctor of Osteopathy who provides chelation and other medical, nutritional interventions. In the meantime I’ll check with my family practice physician and see if there’s enough data to proceed with caution. We will be covering this in prayer. For most folks chelation is a difficult journey. But hey, I’m familiar with that already, eh?
More details: The daily 2 to 5 hour waking seizure attack episodes continue. One day each week the episodes exceed 8 hours on and off during which I am largely bed bound. If I have pushed myself to complete heavy gardening tasks or more than about 2 hours of appointments outside of our home then the episodes can increase to 12 hours. The rest of those days is pretty worthless. I have at least two “worthless” days at home each week anyways, regardless of my activity level. These are days where I pretty much take advantage of the lovely “3 hots and a cot” afforded by our home. I may see you here at the computer and mope through other very sedentary tasks. Dinner may or may not get prepared. Thank goodness for my homemade freezer meals and frozen burritos for Steve on days like these!
The normal sleep-wake cycle remains elusive for me. When I do go to bed around midnight it is usually because Steve has carried me there in the neurological collapse-mode of a seizure attack. This happens twice per week. I’ll pass out at some point thereafter only to awaken in less than 4 hours, usually with another episode of tazoring. Many days the tazoring wakes me up in the middle of the night. Good grief! That’s what happened last night prompting this blog. When I do wake up in the middle of the night I have to find a way to yank myself out of bed or they will continue indefinitely! This also happens twice per week on average. The other nights I endure an episode sometime between sunset and midnight then I am wide awake until 4:00 a.m. or so. If I can wait until I feel sleepy then the episodes falling asleep will usually be shorter and sometimes not at all. I love it when the latter happens! The best schedule for me then is to be up late, go to bed and sleep until noon-ish, endure a shorter waking tazoring then attempt to move forward with the day. I love days when I do not have any appointments that disrupt this schedule!
The only “treatment” I can tolerate at the moment is a strict diet, coconut oil, colon hydrotherapy to detox, and extreme mold avoidance. Occasionally I can take a short walk late in the afternoon or use our elliptical for 5 minutes, usually in the middle of the night before bed. My diet is mold-free, gluten-free, sugar and sweetener-free, dairy-free, and low oxalate. The latter has produced some detox reactions that appear to be beneficial; bone broth is incredibly nurturing to my digestive tract. Most medications, pharm-grade supplements, and typical detox/immunity foods (such as lemon water, probiotics, ground flax seeds or oil) produce convulsions. Not good. This syndrome has a name: Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. The good news is that my gut health is better than it has been in a long time. That tells me that the dietary strategies are working! There are times when I feel more alert and my thinking is clearer. At times my memory is better. To my delight the creative juices are flowing again as reflected in my latest designs at Trinity Jewelry by Design. And sometimes I am even able to make jewelry during the daytime instead of just with the crickets outside the window of my cute little studio area . . .
October 11th will mark the 3 year anniversary of becoming sick. (For more on that story, see the About Julie page.) I’ve been off from work for 2 1/2 years now, the longest since I started working in at the Penny Candy Place as a teenager. No work or disability income is in sight. The Lord has provided for my every need through my gracious husband and His grace. Through it all Steve and I have been challenged to the ends of our human strength through unbelievable trials yet somehow feel closer to each other and to the Lord than ever before. Steve is my hero! We trust in Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 41:3, Psalm 71:14,Revelation 21:1-8 and more. The Lord is faithful to His Word: we have seen it, we hope in it, and His living Word carries us through it all. Even in those split seconds when it feels like my heart, my breathing, and my brain waves have ceased to function and I do not know if life will continue for me, I am no longer afraid. That’s how real the hope of heaven, the reality that my eternal life has already begun as a child of the King, the loose grip I have on the things of this earth are to me. Oh Gentle Reader, can you say that too?
So many unknowns fill our days. We can respond with woe and fear or we can respond with FAITH. And our faith is only as strong as that to which we apply it. I hope that you will join me or have put your faith in the omnipotent God over all. Yes, I wrote all.
Nothing less will do when faced with the next, er, bite in the shorts. You know I had to say it didn’t you?! :]