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

Cave Dweller That I Am

Yesterday I found out that my cousin, Lisa, has a tendency to keep the blinds in her house closed when times get tough.  Yeah, that’s me too.  Until we reunited over my brother’s illness, I did not know that she too battles fibromyalgia and a host of “female,” medical issues.  She is at the beginning of her search for treatment options.  We talked quite a bit about these and other family matters while sitting in my brother’s private room on the Telemetry floor at the Detroit hospital.  And so it goes at weddings, funerals and the markers of life in between:  catching up on relationships we are too busy to nourish when busy with the tasks of life . . .

Steve and I got home around midnight after our whirlwind trip to see Mike in the hospital yesterday.  (Steve had to work today and I’m allergic to hotel rooms anyways!)  I am both depleted and grateful for so much today.  Steve drove us the 6-hours round trip so we could see Lisa, Mike, and his fiancé (Lisa) while I endured seizure attack episodes in the car.  Our departure was a few hours late due to the same.  Divine timing superseded it all as we were able to see a physician familiar with Mike’s care during her evening rounds and before we had to leave.  As of today he has been cleared of any infectious disease cause to the right CVA; he continues nothing-by-mouth yet is getting his “Pepsi” substitute via IV glucose.  Pepsi is all he kept asking for . . . in addition to asking his fiancé to wish me a “happy birthday.”  Yes, I got to see my brother for the first time in years yesterday and on my birthday.  Strange but true.

Today I am back in cave-dweller mode.  The grief reaction of seeing him so debilitated is taking its toll so I am just lying low for now.  I tried out a new ceramic frying pan to make my Candida diet/mold-free/low oxalate blueberry pancakes and kept the beast of a skillet on the stove long enough to make lunch this afternoon too.  Perhaps I will shower before my husband comes home this evening and perhaps not.  The extra (stress?) seizure attacks and post-travel fatigue probably contributed to me missing the very chiropractic treatment I needed to relieve my sore back.  Oh well.  The Lord has given me the time and space I need to clear my head from the events of this week and that is good.  Catching up with other relatives today while sharing the news about my brother is good too.

My relationship to one cave dweller in particular is making a difference right now.  So poetic that all of this is happening in my life during the week that the world celebrates Easter.  Our Lord, Jesus Christ lain in state in a cave after dying a tortuous death on a cross for the sins of me and you.  We can point to Easter Sunday with hope that the suffering of our lives (the consequence of living in a fallen, sin-laden world) will be redeemed when He comes again in glory.  He who has victory over death both knows the cries of our hearts and holds them in the palm of His hand that reaches out to us in grace, in mercy, in love.  He is with me here now and goes before me no matter what the next moment may bring for me or Mike.  I am strong in this belief despite the weakness of my broken frame.  Nothing can take this away for those in Christ.   Nothing!

Cave Tomb of Jesus

So if you are feeling weak, vulnerable, fearful, doubtful, or sad this day:  take heart.  The Lord is on the throne of grace and weeps for our suffering.  He will come again in glory and make all things new someday.  In the meantime I hope that you will reach out to Him and let me know how it goes.  We all can be brought into the light of His amazing grace to dwell in His presence if we but believe.

Where does your heart dwell Gentle Reader?

Psalm 73

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.