The Aerial View

Fort Wayne, Indiana aerial photo by Steven Horney

Moving from a city of 8 million people to this big-little area of 300,000 where I live now was a huge undertaking in 2007. The occasion was marrying my Intended Beloved, Steve. The leap of faith required to do so was tremendous: almost everything in my life changed that year including those related to the death of my Mom in March. The process of grieving then leaping off into a new direction was downright painful at times. And now 15 years later can I still say that embracing Steve during the same year was one of the better decisions of my life. The Lord has blessed me so much by my beloved Stevers!

You could say that my story is like taking an aerial photo in a Piper Archer. The reality for me is that down on the ground, the highs and the lows are one dastardly beast to navigate at times. I lose a couple of days per week to a sickness that started in 2011, then rally, or rather scramble, to put my life in order on the rest of them. The stuff of life still needs to be done even when battling a serious illness. Steve does what he can to help me out, especially when I am in a crisis, but he can’t do everything. Nor would I want him to do so. A little more maybe, but not everything! We have learned the value of compartmentalization: setting aside the challenges of a given day when we need to focus on a more important task together. For example, when my care needs are significant, we cannot bemoan our latest disconnect or household repair even if it’s a painful or expensive one. Steve is the only one who can bring me a rescue remedy when I am frozen in a convulsive episode. He is gracious towards me at these times and for this I am exceedingly grateful.

Taking an aerial view of one’s life is helpful at times. Climb to 4,000 feet and sit away from the clouds, the storms of life while connected to the grandeur of the world in which we live. Dwell on the Lord’s goodness and His marvelous creation! Eventually we will land our plane back on earth but why rush things? The question becomes how to avoid crashing and burning or perhaps going crazy when the flight gets bumpy along the way. No worries! Whether climbing or descending into the various situations of our lives we must resist being bounced off-course by heated or cooled thermalic conversations, the cross-winds of life’s technical problems, static in our headset or bodily gear, and limited fuel energies. Not losing sight of the bigger picture is critical to managing these challenges. Not losing sight that the Lord our God is in charge of it all is critical to overcoming these challenges. He has a flight plan and will reveal it to us in due time for He IS the pilot in command!

It’s only with a longer view fixed on Jesus Christ that we will come to understand that what we may label as a detour is actually the best course after all. I need this reminder this evening. There was a nasty fire in the cockpit so-to-speak of our evening that was so bad, my co-pilot in life had to care for me like I was an invalid. I wept in between bites of food that were difficult to chew even cut in small pieces and fed to me with a spoon. I was that weak after yet another violent convulsive episode. The repairs and mold remediation going on in our home for the second time in 9 years somehow triggered the collapse. On one hand I grieved that this hell on earth was still with me, still with us. On the other hand, I was grateful that I had a choice of rescue remedies/treatment strategies plus a skilled caregiver who knew what to do to help me. These took many years, many “flight hours” to develop. Steve is an experienced and capable pilot. The episode lasted a couple of hours before I had the strength to safely get out of bed. By the grace of God I finally got to the bathroom. By my Lord’s power the nightmare ended.

I am now awake and alone well after midnight as I write this tonight with many questions and few answers. Evidently it is still not my time to recover from this serious illness nor to die from it either. I do have some more, new treatments that are promising; they are enough to pull me through the turbulence at times in my own aerial view. There is so much goodness beyond my bed of sickness that I do get to enjoy these days at least once per week. And ultimately I have the hope, the peace that comes from His promise of a glorious life beyond this one in eternity with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In fact, it has already begun . . .

Would you like to have this hope too Gentle Reader? Jesus Christ is more than the best pilot around. He is God! Entrust yourself to no other really. JJ

We’ve been to the mountain

As the only two references to this song on the internet, let’s just say that the video and prose of this hymn lie more in my memory than anywhere else. I can still picture the Worship Leader (long before they were ever called such) playing his guitar at the “Guitar Mass” in the Catholic church where I grew up. Was his name Don? I forget. What I have not forgotten is a song, when sung in its simplest form, that has carried me through many rough days throughout my life. I didn’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior before 1989. But He was there, leading me on and to His mountain, Himself. Mystery indeed. I am so very glad He did.

In the still of the morning, we awake with the dawn.
We live our day in the challenge of faith,
but what will we have to lead us on?

Chorus
We’ll just say that we’ve been to the mountain
And caught a glimpse of all that we could be
We will know that a new day is dawning
With a morning sun for all of us to see

In the rays of the sunrise, we find the warmth of new life
Our faith is strengthened as the mysteries unfold
Where lays the answer How will we know

Chorus

We’ve gone with Him to the hillside
His glory He has shown to man
The sacred promise of a brighter morning sun
And living in our faith we’ll see the dawn

Where do you go?

Where do you go when what was good is now bad and what was bad is now commonplace,

When the meaning of words is twisted or the prose is outlawed altogether?

Where do you go when your spirit is disquieted, there is no where that feels safe,

When you cannot trust your body to get you there even if you knew where that was?

Where do you go when fear-mongering is the top headline every day

When there is no place for discussion much less public or private debate?

Where do you go to share your pictures and news and questions and art

When social media has become the Big Brother of an ever bigger government?

Where do you go when your losses outnumber your wins and

You just don’t know when or if either one can come back in any form?

Where do you go where the customary habits of hygiene and socialization

Are so altered by an unforeseen enemy they can’t even objectively identify?

Where do you go for human touch, to connect with loved ones

When there is no room for them even when dying in a hospital bed?

Where do you go for wisdom, for light in the darkness, for hope of a better day

When all you can see is madness, anxiety, fear, doubt, and dumbing down?

Gentle Reader, you go to Jesus Christ

His throne of grace is mightier than

Any trial or tragedy or evil we may face.

Go now. Our very eternity is at stake.

Coming out of shock

Quite disturbing is the realization that the consequence of serious illness

Adds damage from its own dynamics, worsening symptoms to a hellish level.

Hours of convulsive episodes reveal failed treatments intended to cure

Instead I have whiplash and the trial of convincing my Doc to test me some more.

Fortunately for me, he was willing to throw the book at me, inside and out

Not so good for my hubby who held me as I hung from his arms for my chiropractic care.

Gotta hand it to my Doc for making it all work when I could not stand

Both of them enduring the gutteral eruptions of screams when my brain is afire, nonetheless.

We all got through it, me with zero sleep from the night before

Grateful for the comfort from a local burger joint to restore our famished bodies, minds.

Oh to have respite from this waking nightmare whose root-cause is still mysterious

It’s the kind of Groundhog Day that repeats until you finally get it or maybe not.

Someday maybe . . . Lord willing. JJ

Another Direction

After enduring hell on earth with dental professional #5 in my search for answers, I have decided to go another direction. Nine hours from now, my beloved hubby and I will be in the office of a new oral surgeon who will examine me and remove my infected tooth in the same visit. The procedure will include IV sedation in his office and not in a hospital setting. By this afternoon, we will be home and I will begin another process of recovery. The shutdown of “elective procedures” due to the corona virus which has delayed this procedure 5 weeks since my diagnosis will thus be overcome.

Lord willing, the convulsive episodes triggered by virtually every meal, even the pureed ones over the last week, will diminish. Will the episodes stop completely? Only my Lord knows the answer to that question.

We have been here before in: 1) 2015 with the extraction of 2 infected teeth (one of which had a root canal with a hidden amalgam) and 2) 2018 with the fabrication of specialized dental appliances by a Craniomandibular specialist. Both interventions brought significant gains however they did not fully eliminate the problems related to the trigeminal nerve complex on the left side of my face. Looks like there is another tooth involved. Looks like that problem is about to be extracted, i.e. it’s OUTTA HERE!

I am weary, Gentle Reader. I am concerned about pain management. I am concerned that while this procedure will solve an immediate problem, it will not stop the convulsive episodes that continue every day. Actually lately it has been multiple times per day: every night falling asleep is when they occur most consistently. My neck and upper traps are quite painful from the wrenching and rapid repetitive movements of the seizure attacks. Everything hurts in my broken frame. I have a headache every day. The mandated quarantine orders and fear of viral infection has kept us at home for most of the past 5 weeks. No Doctor, Chiropractor or Physical Therapy or Detox or IV Ozone treatments. What a crazy time in history to be chronically ill.

With nothing left to give, I submit the appointment later today to the will and covering of my Lord, Jesus Christ. Please carry me and my beloved this day . . . .