Start at the point of exasperation

When you reach the end of your rope then a new one must come forth

‘Cause everyone needs a hand to hold onto sometimes.

When all you can see is a dark web of experience, a broken road underfoot

Then we must cling to a crossbar strong enough to last forever.

When your body is broken, unreliable, and shaking with ravages of illness

There is no reason not to grab a hold of something eternal, transcendent, permanent, sublime.

When the pain begins as your eyes open and close each day, each night

Trust that these are a consequence of our fallen world, not your curse tender child.

When hopes get dashed over and over and over and over again

Re-examine what you are hoping for . . . the journey is alas, laced with gold.

When “challenges” plague you that would dwarf the average soul next door

Walk your own path with eyes fixed on your Maker Who is holding your heart.

When all hope is gone it is actually the perfect time Gentle Reader

To cling to our risen Christ, borne from an old rugged Cross, waiting in earnest to love you through it all.

When one day the suffering ends and your exasperation is but ashes on the dirty ground

Know that to finish well, not pretty or neat, is its own just reward. We’ve got this. He’s got us. And all will be made well.

Isaiah, 41:13, Lord holding us, take heart, trials, illness, disease, suffering, tragedy, Christian, Jesus, hope, enduring, reward

Tough and Tougher Still

Another injection of Prolia behind me for osteoporosis: Six weeks late due to having to change Providers and get re-authorization.

Nursing Supervisor administered the injection instead of the CMA as a precaution after discussing my history with these thingies.

One hour continuous convulsive episodes followed whilst clinging to a raised treatment table, fearful of falling off. The PRN Prednisone did nothing.

Nikki, the very sweet Nursing Supervisor, stayed with me in the dark, closed room for the entire time. I rarely get that level of supervision during an episode.

Sat in the treatment room for 30 minutes more to make sure there would be no mo rebound spikes.

Sat in the lobby for over another hour trying to stabilize to drive home, nauseous, weak, exhausted, pained. Thank God for a little HGTV on the monitors!

Cancelled plans to grocery shop. Gently drove home with a bad neck headache, etc.

I reek like cheap fragrance from that place. Time for a shower and as much sleep as possible whilst nursing the cold I am catching from my beloved Steve.

Wondering if my reaction was worse this time because the injection was 6 weeks late. (Delays also can increase the risk of fracture.) I worked really hard to get this done on time but it is the insurance company who literally “calls the shots.” Glory be, I will be doing this again in 6 months!

Let there be no mistake: if I did not have my faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ I would have given up by now! He sees us on our bed of sickness and weeps for our suffering. Always remember that our God reigns and I continue to trust Him. His mercy and grace, sustaining power is REAL. I lay down my sword and let my God fight for me. Lord willing, this 7 years of hell on earth will end; even if it doesn’t end I trust in the hope of eternity when all will be made right and good. Lord help me to be faithful in this difficult calling and thank you for your promise of restoration, of Your blessing one day. To God be the glory.

Gentle Reader, He will meet you where you are as well and carry you if necessary. Lay down your sword and let Him be your tough guy! Believe this day!

Just Julie

Twas the morn of endo

Twas the morning of endo

And all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even a louse.

The kind buried deep inside

The caverns of thy bowel

Who knows what’s it’s name

To be extricated via trowel.

I digress to my gardening

Terms instead of “incision”

For to bear more pain, discomfort

Is not something I can envision.

So to sleep, aye to dream

Via chemistry or exhaustion lo

We soon will have answers

Perhaps by time of ho, ho, ho!

Will this be a blessing

In disguise as gone before

Suffering giving birth to hope

We shall pray as inside goes the scope.

For H. Pylori messes the axis

Of the gut with the brain

And causes problems like mine:

Seizures on top of stomach pain.

Could this be the work of the Lord,

The prayers at once coming true?

Oh heck at least the deep snooze

Will be sweet on this Tues.

Will you still love me tomorrow?

The question we simply don’t need to ask.

The question that I simply don’t need to ask again, yet have wasted too many moments wondering, is the one posed in this song by the Shirelles.  Oh and Dionne Warwick.  And maybe Amy Winehouse too.  Such a classic song!

Each time I wind up in the Emergency Room, I wonder if my beloved will still love me the next day.  This morning he referred to yesterday evening as “another date night!”  Unbelievable.  All this love continues after about 16 trips to the ER in the past 7 years.  I am humbled and blessed beyond measure.

This blessing is hard to see sometimes when my body is breaking down in a new way once again.  Looks like an ulcer in the lower part of my stomach is the reason for a month of abdominal pain.  Over-the-counter and walk-in clinic medications did not solve the problem.  So after a CT scan under the influence of anti-allergy drugs and some more potent medication, I am in less pain . . . but oh so worn out.  I’ll see a gastroenterologist this coming week with an endoscopy likely to follow.  Going to try to keep my stress level low in the meantime.  I mean I don’t have any other of the risk factors that contribute to an ulcer (e.g. spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol) unless of course there’s a hidden H. pylori infection.  So more testing is needed to figure this one out.

The other “love” that could be easy to question is that of my Heavenly Father.  But I don’t.  I look around and see tremendous blessings in my life in that I have a warm home in which to convalesce, enough food and clothing, and finances for the important stuff.  My beloved is faithful and loving like “Jesus with skin on.”  What I don’t understand is how these illnesses isolate me from friends and family outside of our home and most notably, my husband’s adult children. 

My extreme sensitivities continue and are triggered by the fragrant products they (and many folks) tend to use.  We are just not sure how to manage this reactivity with our Christmas gatherings rapidly approaching.  We already had to decline having both daughters stay with us (which was a delight to host them in years gone by).  A trial of having his oldest stay with us for about a week 2 months ago, despite extreme precautions, triggered a violent relapse in the convulsive episodes.  I am now sensitized to even trace amounts of fragrance on her coat that was kept in a suitcase in our garage in between scheduled visits.  Then I had a seizure spike 2 days ago when she returned from some travels to pick up her suitcase . . .

My heart is breaking from more than the loss of acquaintances and friendships:  my relationships with my husband’s children never really got going.  Steve and I have been married for 11 years and I got sick just 4 years into our marriage.  I have been battling a serious illness for most of our marriage!  You could say that my limited visits with his adult children gave them more time to adjust to the fact that their father is remarried.  Well, o.k. maybe that’s it.  I already sensed that I needed to lie low during their visits in the beginning anyways, focusing on serving them good food and comforts and not speaking up too much nor complaining when their Dad jumped to see them, rescue them when the trials of young adulthood came along.  No problem.  Fix the car?  Pick them up at the bus stop?  Join them at church?  I just had to stay home due to illness factors and couldn’t go with their Dad to help them, that’s all.

They don’t really know me either though.  We profess the courteous “love” greetings yet would I ever really see them again if something happened to their Dad?  Oh dear, I should not even go there.  I now realize that this barrier between us is completely out of my hands.  Remember when I sent along baked goods with Steve for when he visited his family in Arkansas without me 2 weeks ago?  Yes, I need to rest in the hope that what I could do has been done as unto the Lord.   My Jesus and my beloved know my heart.  They hold together the parts in me that are breaking and the inner tears.  And the Lord also holds me in tender moments like these right now.

I need to know that your love.  Is a love I can be sure of.  So tell me know so I won’t ask again.  Will you still love me tomorrow?

Yes, for sure.  JJ

Jeremiah, 31:3, everlasting, love, doubting, Christ's, Lord's, faithfulness,what He thinks of me, endurance, love through the trials

In a far-off land the LORD will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.’

This but that, but this!

The plan began with a desire to see my husband’s family for an upcoming holiday.  But gathering in Texas would require 2 very long days of driving for us, pulling a travel trailer.  One family member suggested we meet in Arkansas instead which would be closer to the university where a younger family member is studying.  Cut off one full day of driving for us?  Yes, let’s go to Hot Springs, Arkansas instead.

This plan continued with the hope that we could camp at the RV Park inside Hot Springs Village.  My Mother-in-Law has a house in the Village and we would be closer together.  But the campground will be under construction for the months of November and December to have sewer hook-up lines installed.  It’s going to be closed!  Yes, let’s go to an RV Park about 30 minutes away on top of a picturesque mountain top instead.

The plan originally included having Steve’s daughter travel with us then the idea popped up to have both of Steve’s daughters stay with us in our travel trailer.  Oh what a blast that would be!  We now have the room to accommodate them but I simply cannot do so at this time.  I was devastatingly sick for 4 days this past week when some new fragrances triggered my worst symptoms of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.  Geez, we don’t even know how we will have family over during the Christmas holiday let alone have them visit overnight when both are back in town.  (Our attempt in September failed.)  But to stay in closer quarters of a travel trailer while away from home in a less-controlled environment?  Yes, we want to be together but no, let’s at least travel and stay separately this time.  Again really.

This plan got even more complicated when planning our trip scheduled for departure not long after that horrific flare up last week.  I saw my newer Functional Medicine Doctor who spoke frankly and clearly:  I don’t think you should travel now.  What?  She said it would set me back even further, even if she could find a replacement for a treatment that contributed to the flare-up last week.  So her recommendation posed a dilemma for my saint of a husband who wants to see his elderly parents-n-family AND be with me.  Did I mention that our wedding anniversary is coming up?  But I really don’t want to be alone on a holiday much less our anniversary!  Yes, we want it all and may need to split up the holiday into a shorter trip, a shorter anniversary celebration.  We are used to compromises.

The planning behind the scenes for this month involved a recall notice for our new-to-us travel trailer.  We bought it after the original owner had it for about 3 months so we never got the national recall notice; it was for a safety feature that could pose a grave threat if not corrected.  We found out about the recall in a Facebook group!  Nineteen phone calls over the past 15 days resulted in a plan to have the recall work done at a local RV repair shop.  But it got too close to our potential departure date to get the trailer to the shop-and-back:  2 trips of 3-hours of travel each time.  Yes, we are no longer travelling with the travel trailer so we have more time now to get it fixed!

This trip required me to get the oil change and tire rotation for my truck that was coming due.  We just figured out that we were not travelling cross-country but I decided to get the maintenance done anyways.  On the way to dropping off my truck at the shop last night I HIT A DEER!  The impact trashed the right-front quarter panel and headlamp of my Nissan Frontier.  The turn signal stopped functioning correctly.  There is no way we could travel cross-country (which always includes nighttime travel for us) with a damaged headlamp.  Yes, you can see now that the door to travelling this holiday is now fully closed.

Nissan Frontier, deer, impact, hit, accident, crossed the road, Coldwater Rd., Fort Wayne, Indiana, white, truck

The plan may change to include my hubby travelling alone for a shorter time while I rest up; we are holding our breath for now.  But what if it snows?  He needs new tires on his car before the next time it snows, according to the professionals.  Yes, we will find $800 for tires if we need to . . . That’s about how much a longer trip would have cost anyways, if we helped with housing for Steve’s daughters.  Which we would offer, of course.

This but that, but this!  Such is life in this fallen world in which we find ourselves.  Many times I have said that when the trials have come, seemingly often of late, that I am holding out for the hope of heaven.  Heaven indeed.  The late Pastor Billy Graham wrote:

Paul wrote, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19). But our hope isn’t only for this life! In the midst of life’s storms, our hope in God’s promise of heaven is “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).

He said that if we are ever going to live for Christ, then do it now.  I was reflecting on these themes when I was emptying the trash the other day.  I hit my head leaning over to remove the top of the can as the can was positioned between the toilet and the bathroom sink cabinet.  The top slid back behind the toilet, my head brushed against the toilet paper dispenser, and something fell back there too.  I wondered if in heaven things like emptying the trash would always go smoothly?  Then I realized that there is no trash in heaven!  We know this from Revelation 21:4 that tells us:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I imagine that there will be no long days of driving with cracked headlamps, recall notices, endless phone calls to make things right, separation from loved ones, suffering, cramped bathrooms or travel trailers, worn tires from roads traveled, nor heartache in the dwelling place of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  This is a plan upon which we can depend for those of us who believe.  Now that’s a trip I’m already on.  How about you Gentle Reader?  JJ