Down for the Count Up, 5

HOW DID I, OCTOBER 10, 2011

So, have you done it, recently? Have you asked yourself, “How did I get here?”

October 6, 2007, I was on my very first mission roll, far from home, in the company of 48 strangers, asking myself over and over, “How did I get here?”

Every year for the past five years, on October 6th, I ask myself this question again. And every year, the answer seems more and more obvious. If you would have told me 10 years ago today, October 6, 2001, on my wedding day, that I would be a Christian, I would have doubted it. If you had told me 5 years ago today, October 6, 2006, at my husband’s funeral, that I would survive, and my Christian faith would be stronger than ever, I would have doubted it. There is no doubt in my mind these days, yet every year on this particular day, I take stock. I do so in amazement, and marvel at how GOD has brought me to and brought me through. Joyfully, this year, HE has brought me to you. Whether after a long while we’ve crossed paths again or we’ve intersected for the very first time, we’re solidly on the same journey, and have been for quite a while.

Please know that today, I am praying for the safety of your heart and body. I am praying for your guidance to be strong and bright. I am praying that the life you are living, will become sustaining memories that hold you close, reminding you of hard times and sacrifice, of love and hope, and those you share each experience with. May the LORD bless and keep you, always.

Ephesians 3:17-19
Then He will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of God, though it is too great to fully understand, then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Down for the Count Up, 6

THAT’S THAT, OCTOBER 1, 2012

Just one day of slight ups and some surprisingly big downs. An attempt to turn things around in a way that would normally bring me down… hasn’t. I’m not as bothered by it as I have been in the past. In fact, my amusement is sickly amusing. Does that mean I am becoming heart-stronger or strongly heading back down the WTH aisle at the IDGAF store?

In spite of all that, I was ok today. Until I found out something that set me back a bit, or a whole lot, to be honest. I convinced myself that I would be ok coming home from Ireland. I didn’t realize how much stock I had put into one, single, solitary, all-focused, not entirely rational, and now non-existent path. Feeling quite foolish, disappointed, and totally without a direction to cast my hopes.

Sometimes GOD quietly closes a door for you. Sometimes HE slams it shut on the foot you’ve stubbornly been using to keep it propped open. I got slammed; a little harder and a little harder to take than my usual god-smack. Of course, I’d been pushing to keep it open. I can only shake my head and glance back over my shoulder. I should have realized it was too difficult an undertaking to be worthwhile.

I’d like to be able to blame the pain on someone else, but no one let me down. I let myself down in a zig-zag, running-after pattern I’ve followed before. You know when you know better and you just can’t stop yourself from bee-lining, full-stinger ready, just can’t avoid buzzing and trying and buzzing and trying and buzzing and trying, only to fail and fail and fail?

It seems now, that the truth blares out. I never had a chance, but still I believed. Stubbornness moves against us more than for us. 
Trying to divest myself of the very emotional investment I have made, chasing rainbows toward an always fictitious pot of gold. I would have done better counting shiny penny moments and tracking mini-triumphs.

It’s a painful blessing to bear: the resounding slam indicates without doubt – my plans were not GOD’s plan. When that happens, there’s nothing left to do, but thank GOD that your toes won’t be jammed up against that door anymore, pick up your heart, and limp off in a new direction. That’s that.

Down for the Count Up, 11

OCTOBER 3, 2017

#peace #tranquility #love #light #hope #healing

shine FB_IMG_1506989513411

#peace #tranquility #love #light #hope #healing
#sayitnow #iloveyou #outloud #to #the #universe #youcandothis #truly #youcan


#believe #bethelove #bethechange

Annual Despise

I didn’t get the windows done.

Instead, I conquered the annual “That Which I Despise.”

In record time due to:

  1. It actually being a bi-annual event.
  2. A lovely friend willing to haul me out some mulch.

I skipped 2020 with absolutely zero guilt. COVID, and none of the box stores who were just beginning delivery were willing to ship soil or mulch. I’m generally not a fan of gardening, unless it bears salsa.

Last fall, I determinedly dug up the interlocking brick border and moved each about 2 inches further in, toward the building, so there’s be future less to tend.  I also took a good number of bulbs from my oft-trampled only true floral bed. The damage really irked me at first. But, what else is a child supposed to do without siblings or much outdoor supervision? Permitting use of the imagination is a much more important investment, anyway. It’s also a convenient  reason not to attempt to weed amongst wreckage.

The other south-side bed has been mulch, weeds and two obnoxious prickerly bushes.  I’ve tried to kill them three times. Seriously. Chopping as mercilessly as the greenery would gladly prick me, I poured multiple helpings of all-natural, safe for pets, liquid weed killer down the stumpy gullets.

The stubborn regrowth hadn’t gotten very far, when the mulch angel stopped by. A little side comment about how much I really dislike those maroon-ish meanies, prompted an immediate, “I’ll take them.”

To which I promptly replied, “Let me go grab you a shovel.”

I also pulled up two white grocery sacks, a pruner, hand rake and gloves. Happy-to see-holes devoid of dangerous thorns inspired a fiendish grin. Then, What I thought were wild-spreading, brightly beautiful purple-flowered weeds were actually flowering bulbs of some sort. A hefty number of those departed, too.

After that, the only thing left to do, was to thickly cover the rest of the space with dark brown clumps of moist wood chips. My precise method?  Dump a bag, smooth it out. Move on.

I did. I dumped a bag and a half into the two split beds leading up to my real front porch. I did take care to kind of paw some away from plants that I know are plants. Yellow daffodils, orange lilies. I also invested a few moments trimming that something-piney half-bare tree-like thing that lives to the right of a living room window. Probably not the right season to prune it, but every time the wind blows, it stretches an awkward, arm-like branch into my couch-view. It’s especially alarming at night.

From there, I rounded the corner to my new-two-years-ago railroad tie garden space that has yet to become one. I did mostly succeed in deceasing an odd, low-low-to-the-ground viny, yellow and green thing. My friend asked what the lone clump of greenery was. I don’t know, but it sort of resembles daffodil sprouts. Only thinner. I mercifully gave them breathing room, and dumped the rest of half bag I was holding.

Hostas are hardy enough that even I can’t accidentally kill them. Even when, say I didn’t forget to clip the tendrils and cut them back before the first Michigan frost. In my defense, the frost came early and I hadn’t been engaged in caring.

“Do you think I need to clear out all the dead stuff?” It was a hopefully inquiry. The hope was that the answer would be, “No.” Unfortunately, I was, as expected, informed that it would be a good idea.  

That was a quick go, too. A couple of handfuls of dry, brittle, bud branches and leftover fall foliage was all it took. Again, I considerately brushed away bits from just sprouting buried shoots. I’m particularly fond of hardly-ever-need-water and ever-expanding Hostas.

So, maybe I do have a little landscaping desire buried deep within. Maybe, I’ll indoor-pot some poblanos next to the already potted cat grass.

Quote for the Week:

Hope & Eilish

Hope arrived last night.

After 10 months.

I suspect it could take a year to explain, but I also suspect it could take three. History could repeat itself you know: a year of memories could take… umm…. 5… and counting. 😉

I didn’t get the target-specific drug because… insurance. It took 10 months of tests, two weeks after the last results, one more week and a few meltdowns, but I got the 2nd best-recommended antibiotic, instead. And I was damn happy about it because I was desperate.

For months I’ve been in pain and exhausted. No mere fatigue – physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted. I’ve been overwhelmed, confused, forgetful, unable to recall or say the correct word. I would pick up a pen and by the time I blinked, I had no idea what I was after.

Last week, I realized I’d forgotten to complete a crucial work task, had a mini melt-down, scrambled pre-holiday to make it right, only to discover I had not forgotten. I’d done it the previous week. Completely, correctly and with absolutely no recollection of doing so. But the proof was there with my name on it, and after 10 months I was suddenly scared.

Maybe I’d had a stroke? Daily for months, I’ve been teary. Some days, tears would trickle out. Some days, I cried. My balance was off, I stumbled into walls and desks and doors.  My ears constantly rang. I dropped things no matter how hard I tried not to, sometimes repeatedly.

I had a lot of tests, a lot of scans. The most ridiculous was the supposition of a fractured hip. I doubted I had a fractured hip, but I had enough non-answers and medically-induced doubt of my own knowledge of my body that I subjected myself. My self-diagnosis had been kidney stones. I was correct about that part.

I refused a good number of tests, as well. I declined two of the last three offerings, one of which was eating a radio-active egg so it could be tracked through my digestive system in real-time. I declined the other because we didn’t have a diagnosis, so what sense would seeing a specialist in that field make?

I accepted the seemingly innocuous Hydrogen Breath Test, and it completely wrecked me. I wasn’t expecting side-affects from spending three hours breathing into bags. My symptoms got worse; way worse. Meltdown I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on, spontaneously-bursting-into-tears worse.

The day after Christmas meltdown was due to a recorded message from my pharmacy informing me that they could not fill my prescription because… insurance. I went home, napped, cuddled Blu and cried.

Friday morning, I went to Meijer, where I did happily run into someone I adore who shared some much appreciated yet sad information. I had my third meltdown of the week after dropping a jar of tomato sauce, splattering shards of glass and globs of red goop all over the woman in front of me. She tried to wipe her white cable-knit boots off and ended up with slivers in her fingers. Phrases like ‘pay for this,’ ‘liability insurance,’ and ‘I’m sorry,’ flew back and forth between us. Things changed when I burst into tears. She and her friend hugged me. She told me not to worry, that it could have just as easily been her because she drops things all the time.

I cried all the way to the car, went home, napped, cuddled Blu and cried some more.

Friday afternoon, I received a robo-call that my antibiotic was ready for pick-up. At that point, I knew I wasn’t getting the other one, hadn’t expected to get anything until after the holidays, so I ecstatically accepted what I could get.

I decided chicken wings would help – no sauce, of course. Only salt & vinegar, carrots, celery and blue cheese. I took my to-go order home, and following in the theme of the day, sadly discovered I had no blue cheese. I did have someone else’s smooshed chocolate cake, lumped into a bowl. It was gross, so I threw it away and moved on.

Dose 1 of the Augmentin horse-pill made me more nauseous than I already was.

Dose 2 induced 24 non-stop hours of volcanic belching and prolonged gassing, alternately terrifying and offending HBlu.

At dose 3, it sounded like I’d swallowed the MGM lion and he really wanted out of my internal mess.

By day 3 (dose 4 & 5), the expected antibiotic effects kicked in, the lion was still protesting and it occurred to me that not as much liquid was coming out as I was forcing in. I gave myself a pass. Recliner and mindless phone games all day.

Day 4. I could… think. I thought about my ambitious list created pre-holiday time off. I thought, figures. Major projects thwarted, again. My biggest achievement was taking out the garbage and sleeping in 4-hour segments.

Yesterday, I did some minimal straightening up. Which after months of not doing any straightening up was monumental for me.

I put away my Christmas-themed socks to make room for 6 pairs of Christmas-gifted socks. I took a shower.

I read the provided one-sheet on SIBO diagnosis. It had been explained to me and was easy to understand. Bacteria is a normal part of large colon health. It is not normal in the small intestine. The small intestine bacteria eat your food, then excrete hydrogen and methane. You’re being robbed of nutrients and energy and infused with gasses.

Small intestine bacterial overgrowth symptoms: abdominal bloating/distension, GI issues, nausea, vomiting, body aches, malabsorption, malnourishment, brain fog, mental confusion, poor short-term memory, difficulty concentrating, exhaustion, severe fatigue, slurred speech, gait disturbances.

That’s when Hope showed up.

It might as well have been a physical flick of a lighter in a cave. I got it. I suddenly got it all, connected the dots. Low food absorption – low absorption – of everything. Low absorption of the extra vitamin D and iron and ibuprofen I’d been taking to help combat symptoms. Low absorption of allergy medications, fibromyalgia medications.

10 days from now, treatment for this bacterial monster will be complete. Realistically, it may take another dosing, it may take months until my body’s re-absorbed optimal levels of nutrients. That’s not ok.

I’m already impatient with Hope, so I will go one step further.

Lord, I ask you for healing with faith that it will come.

So, here’s to reasonable medical explanations, modified diets, and a healthier 2020 than 2019.

Oh, Billie Eilish, right?  Day 5, partial re-possession of brain, getting lost in hours of video, interviews, raw music, concert footage, fanzines, endless articles. Oh, and Bellyache, yeah.

Quote for the week: 2019 12 31 popular theory clusterfuck jakorte

ps. rock painting by paula pruitt