New Skills

1 Corinthians, believer, Christian, not be wasted, don't give up, hope, not in vain,

If I had to create a resume today the contents would be a bit different for these past 5 years.  Web design?  Yup.

When I get concerned that my professional skills have eroded, I remind myself that life is measured more than by occupational achievements.  Later I will write about the journey for meaningfulness that led me to simply trust the Lord with each moment, each day.  For now perhaps what they used to call a “Functional Resume” is in order?  So here I submit a list of new things for which I am grateful to have learned despite being sick every day for over 5 years.  Surely the time was not wasted!

Developed 5 websites:  1 on Etsy and 4 on Word Press.

Self-published an eBook, Hope Beyond Lyme:  The First Year.

Taught myself how to make macramé and handcrafted jewelry, developed Trinity Jewelry by Design, sold hundreds of pieces online and at 5 events, then sold the business 2 years ago.

Learned about Lyme disease, mercury, Candida, seizures, epigenetics, biologic dentistry, shingles-and-other viral infections, biotoxin illness PLUS their respective testing and treatment protocols.

Learned about social media, ecommerce, blogging, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo-and-other online forums, Skype (formed a prayer group), basic video production, online banking/PayPal, how to use a smart phone with Apps, and the like.

Became an Advanced Master Gardener.  Achieved the highest-star rated sustainable garden at our home.  Finally harvested our own blackberries!

Experimented with special diets for health:  ketogenic, low oxalate, low glutamate, gluten-free, SIBO, and the usual dairy/sugar/sweetener/mold-free diets.

Became an Assistant Editor to my Editor/Husband for the quarterly publication Canoe News of the United States Canoe Association.  Learned the basic features of MS Publisher and PowerPoint.

Experimented with various methods of detoxification for health including full spectrum infrared sauna, colon hydrotherapy, Epsom/mineral salt baths, lymph massage, and various binding agents (zeolite, benonite clay, fulvic acid, Intestinal Metals Detox, acai fiber, cholestyramine, chitosan, Welchol, etc.).

Learned about environmental toxins, extreme mold avoidance, types of masks to reduce exposure, cleaning strategies, remodeling, and more.

Implemented energy conservation, work simplification, home safety, accessibility, and novel coping strategies (that I used to train my patients!) to manage changes in my physical abilities.  Trained my husband in same, often in times of medical crisis.

Began a “telehealth” arrangement for part of my healthcare with a naturopath/genetic coach out of State.

Learned to camp in a travel trailer with my beloved hubby, Steve, and our German shepherd pup, Elle.

I bought my pick up truck 5 DAYS before I got sick.  Quickly, I learned to drive a truck then how to pull a trailer, haul stuff, and manage a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Learned basic upholstery crafting to make all new cushions for our travel trailer and two custom cushions for a medical office.

Successfully navigated a complex and long disability case despite ongoing nightly  seizure attack episodes frying my brain at times!

Perhaps there is more yet I will stop here.  As an occupational therapist, I am trained to assess the life skills of my patients and how these are affected by his or her medical condition or disability.  Its as if the Lord knew that I would need the very skills of my profession to handle the devastating effects of a complex, serious illness 30 years after my career began.  In the past I’d often “re-invented” myself at work, moving from mental health to rehabilitation then home health care.  My work included contract work, consulting, and even a public speaking program called the Living Safely ©Program. Just about everything that I ever learned in my profession has helped me to cope and begin to overcome my current situation.

So when I shed a few tears for the setbacks that come, like last night, they simply do not last very long.  Or at least I can clear my mind more quickly than in the past.  Gratefully, I have other things to think about other than illness:  things I can still do when I can get up and get moving again.  And maybe, just maybe, when the seizures stop for good, all of this learning will bring glory to my Lord and Savior as He has helped me get through each moment . . . oh and Stevers too of course!  My husband is a saint!  And very wonderful.

Be encouraged, Gentle Reader.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!  I will be praying for you too this night.  Let’s hang in there, k?

Take care,

JJ

Psalm, 73, 73:6, God, heart and my portion forever, Lord, sustains, sickness, hope, always with me, Holy Spirit, trials, coping, Christian, believer, Jesus Christ

Revelation, 21, 21.5, make all things new, believer, Christian scripture, hope, help

Treatment Update and New Learning

So they say that the brain is relatively “plastic” meaning that new associations can form within it over time, over the synapses between cells, even structures.  This can make a critical difference in the long term outcome of traumatic brain injury, seizures, stroke, toxicity, and disease processes affecting our central nervous system.  Thank goodness.  I might just make it out of this neurological illness with something good?

New associations can form in the brain via various mechanisms:  learning a new skill, subject of study, or behavior (such as breaking a habit and replacing it with another).  Utilizing memory can draw together old and new centers of the brain where information is stored.  Sensory stimulation from the five senses and movement also have an impact as each stimulates different centers in brain stem and cerebral cortex.  Movement increases blood flow to virtually all of the tissues of the body including the brain.  I understand that all of these activities but new learning in particular, can help slow down the onset of age-related dementia.  Never stop learning folks . . .

My own ability to learn new skills appears to be improving.  I have volunteered to help a  friend finish her website and continue to be the Assistant Editor of the quarterly Canoe News magazine of the United States Canoe Association.  Both require learning how to use software programs I had only heard of in the past; never used them in my occupational therapy career.  Cool beans.  Thank you Lord for these projects and my ability to tackle them!  When faced with a problem to solve, my attitude of late has been more of, “I’ll figure it out,” than anything else.  I like it!

And in general, the seizure attack episodes that I have suffered daily for 5 years are trending downward again.  Thank you Lord again!  My Doctors have transitioned my care from anti-bacterial (Lyme) to anti-viral medications and supplements.  We are re-testing several areas this month as well.  The biggest help overall appears to be the addition of 100% THC-free hemp oil.  This is a special kind of CBD oil made from industrial hemp NOT medical marijuana.  All of the cannabinoids except CBD are removed; not even the legal limit of .3% THC remains that is present in other CBD oil products.  (I wrote more about this here.)  It’s the only independently lab tested product of its kind that I could find in the United States.  Note that the CBD oil I am taking is  LEGAL in all 50 States!  I know.  I have been researching this issue for 4 years and have tried other CBD products available in my State.

My activity level has gone up some with pain coming down enough such that I can:  work on the 2 projects noted above, walk the dog 3 times per week, and leave the house for one non-medical activity per week.  So far, that is.  Looks like I might have had 2 outings in the past 6 days of this past week already!  I have started to be able to do my physical therapy exercises.  Thank you Jesus!  And when I got sidelined last night with noxious symptoms in the middle of the night, at least I had strategies to get me through a rough headache and morning today.  I’ve got tools to use now that actually help my symptoms.  This is a big deal to me.

Lord willing, Monday will bring an important imaging test in a large city about 3 1/2 hours from home by car.  My beloved hubby is taking me.  The test is a special MRI scan called an “MRI with NeuroQuant processing.”  The NeuroQuant software takes volumetric measurements of various brain structures and compares them to a normal brain.  Experts have identified parameters of significance in both the Lyme and Mold illness that provide diagnostic information and help in determining the severity of these respective illnesses.  This test is also used in traumatic brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis care and more.  I am pursuing it due to headaches virtually every day in addition to the remaining convulsive episodes.  Several EEG and sleep studies have shown no negative findings.  My regular brain MRI a couple of years ago was normal.  Maybe the NeuroQuant will help rule out other causative factors?

So did ya learn anything new today Gentle Reader?  I sure did.  I learned that there still is a someone-or-two who cares about me and what I have to say.  Thank you for that dear one.

You rock!  JJ