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Archive for the ‘Fibromyalgia’ Category

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Church – I have been able to attend our Sunday church service the past two weeks. What a blessing to be in personal fellowship with the church family after having to miss for six weeks during my initial stage of recovery from surgery.

2. Doctor’s report – The surgeon gave me a good report and has graduated me to 25% weight bearing on my affected leg. How does one determine how much pressure on the leg equals 25% weight bearing? The physiotherapist gave me a simple formula: gently press down on the scale with the operated leg until the scale registers 25% of your body weight. That amount of pressure is how much you can use when walking. I will still be using a walker or crutches for at least another month.

3. Supplement in town – One of the supplements that has helped my fibromyalgia muscle spasms is now available in my small town. I used to have to drive at least 20 minutes north or south to a supplement store to buy them so I am very glad to be able to get them right here. A bonus is that they are actually a bit cheaper here!

4. Walk to the mailbox – Where we live mail is delivered to super-boxes for a whole street. Our super-box is right across the street from us, but since my surgery, it might as well be a mile away. Since I was a kid I have loved getting mail, and lately have been ordering some cutting dies from China for my card making. It’s so much fun to find one or two of these little packets in our mailbox! Since no one else in my family shares my enthusiasm for mail, I have really felt like I was bothering people to ask them to check the mail. Today I did a trial run out the back door and down the driveway to the mailbox. My husband ‘spotted’ me since we weren’t sure if the incline of the driveway was too steep for me to traverse safely with my walker. Everything went smoothly, and if I go slowly and carefully, I should be able to check my own mail now while getting a spot of exercise in.

5. Messing in the herb garden – Because of my emergency hip replacement surgery and planned slow recovery I have missed most of the outdoor activities of summer. Today I was able to work a bit in my raised bed herb garden, weeding out dead leaves, and thinning out some herbs. I love running my hands through the fragrant herbs, rubbing the leaves to enjoy the unique smell each herb offers. I’ve begun harvesting some of them to dry for use in winter cooking. It was lovely to be outside again for a bit today!

James is one! He was celebrating with my daughter-in-law’s family in the States.

Here are a few of the Purple Grandma Designs cards I have been working on as I recover.

 

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I have been home since Monday evening. I cannot remember a time when I was more exhausted than I was on Monday night. My meager post-surgery strength did not match the demands my body required of me. That night I deeply second-guessed coming home instead of going into rehab. I could barely move, much less properly engage the specific mechanics required of me to consistently keep the weight off my right leg.

My week was filled with focus, practice, adjustment, and caution. I had little to no pain in hospital, but as my previous painkillers worked their way out of my system and I reduced the amount of new painkiller I was taking, my pain increased slightly. Was this a bad sign? Was I doing something wrong? Should I cut back on physio? Increase it? More meds? Less? Not sure.

The surgeon wanted to see me two weeks after my surgery. After returning home I called to make the appointment. I discover that the ortho clinic will be closed two weeks after my surgery, and closed for the entire week. My follow up is now 3.5 weeks after surgery. Will this be ok? Will my dressing last? What about my staples?

As the meds work their way out of my system, I struggle with fatigue, ennui, enervation, and depression. I hesitated to write about this, but it is my reality. When we share what is going on in our lives with the body of Christ, we do not share only the blessings, but also the struggles. The love and prayers of God’s people are a great encouragement in times of struggle.

Slowly I am seeing improvement. I am better able to hop using my walker and keep most of the weight off my injured leg. I discovered I tend to hold my breath when I am concentrating. I need to talk myself through the steps. Remember to hold in my abs, breathe, hold my arms straight, and move forward, keeping my foot barely on the ground for balance. And again. And again.

How did my appliance fail? How did I go so long without knowing it? Did the doctor do something wrong? Was it something I did wrong? Am I doing something wrong now? Is it even possible to find the truth about this?

Why hadn’t my hip itself hurt? The last month before the x-rays I felt crooked and was unable to stand straight. I felt the tightness in the muscles of my back and in the thigh of my right leg, but when I poked the hip area, nothing hurt. I thought it was my fibromyalgia. I now realize that not every muscle pain is fibromyalgia.

I become aware of many others who are struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually, and I pray for them. Sin has touched and cursed us all. We all need Christ and His truth and His salvation. We need to speak truth to each other in times of sorrow and in times of joy. We are family. We rejoice and we weep with each other.

Today as I heal and continue to work to strengthen, I am enjoying some special blessings. My family has arrived from China and I get to hold and talk with my grandchildren, listen to their dreams, join in their imaginings. This morning my grandchildren picked the first of my garden peas to share with me. Well-formed, sweet and delicious, they are consumed with gratitude and satisfaction.

I am abundantly blessed through this ordeal to have my daughters living nearby ready to sacrifice to help in any way possible. God has also blessed me with many children of the heart who visit and write and stop by to help. They bring their little ones, my ‘adopted’ grandchildren, to visit Purple Grandma and hand me sweaty fistfuls of flowers or grasses or other treasures selected just to cheer me.

Truth is, just like many others who suffer unexpectedly, I may never know why this happened. God chose it for me for His glory and my good. I do not understand what that looks like right now or how it helps me and the body of Christ overall. I struggle to rejoice in infirmity. I struggle against self-focus and negative thinking. I struggle to rejoice in the Lord always, but by God’s grace, I am not content to be disobedient.

The prayers and love of God’s people are very precious to me. Thank you to each of you who have prayed for me and continues to pray with me. I pray God will bless you for your love and concern.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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I’ve been sick this past week so this post is quite late. It’s not Friday. But you know that!

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Pictures from the past My mom went to be with the Lord almost 14 years ago. This week a friend sent me some photos of my mom enjoying fellowship at a Sunday School class Christmas party from fifteen years ago. A bonus that I didn’t notice at first was a partial shot of my dad in the corner of one of the pictures. Thank you, Beth. Your kind gesture blessed me and made my day.

My wonderful Mom

My wonderful Mom

Supplement sale One of the supplements I take that seems to help my fibromyalgia is a bit pricey. This week I found it on sale for about half of what I normally pay!

Medication provided Our doctor has put my husband on an expensive new medication, and it is helping him. We were praying about how to come up with the $300 + extra a month to pay for it, and God provided several months’ worth at no charge to us!

Answers to prayer Parenting adults is not like parenting juveniles. We no longer ‘control’ the decisions of our offspring, nor do we want to. But this does not mean we are no longer affected by the burdens and concerns of our children.

This week one of our daughters who has been diligently searching and praying for a better job, had a promising job interview. Is this job God’s answer for her need? I don’t know, but I am praying with eager anticipation, waiting to see how God will meet her need and other needs in the lives of all my children.

On the mend I have been dealing with an exhausting cough for over seven weeks. My primary source of nutrition has been the myriad cough drops and green tea I’ve consumed to try and soothe the persistent coughing fits! However…the last couple of days I seem to be getting better. Yay! I’m thankful for good doctors, helpful treatments, and the Great Physician.

No new photos this week because I wasn’t feeling well enough to go out in frigid temps to take pictures. I found a few more favorites from several months ago as I was organizing and backing up files this week.

Grandson 'modeling" Cows Canada sleeper

Grandson ‘modeling” Cows Canada sleeper

Banff National Park Clouds lifting

Banff National Park Clouds lifting

Banff National Park misty peaks

Banff National Park misty peaks

Banff National Park cloudy cap

Banff National Park cloudy cap

Here are this week’s Valentine cards from Purple Grandma Designs.

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Shanghai is a large city of about twenty-three million people. Though it’s the most westernized city in China, the vast majority of those twenty-three million people are…wait for it….Chinese! White or black people are the obvious exceptions in the sea of Asian faces.

In preparing to visit China I was told to expect people to stare at me, a non-Asian, in public. About all I have in common physically with the Chinese are my dark eyes. My silvery hair used to be dark brown, but no longer. I certainly would never be mistaken for an Asian. I’m an introvert and do not enjoy being stared at, but as a larger woman close to 6 feet tall, I have rarely managed to engage stealth mode and slip in and out of a group unnoticed. Even so, I was still not looking forward to being stared at every time I went out into public

Then had an interesting idea. Instead of letting all that staring make me uncomfortable, I decided I would simply smile at everyone I noticed staring at me. Guess what? Most everyone smiled back! Some shyly, some warmly, and some with a broad grin as if to say, “Aha! You caught me looking!”

I’m not a xenophobe, and my guess is that many people from other cultures are not either. But be honest, don’t we tend to do a double take when we notice someone very different from us? Those glances are often simply borne out of curiosity or an awareness of something different.

There was one thing, however, that made me jumpy and particularly concerned about getting around in Shanghai, the possibility of being targeted by pickpockets in crowded places. I was warned by several people to be aware of pickpockets who often work in pairs and follow foreigners or get especially close to potential targets in public places. Great. So be aware of anyone getting particularly close to me in public places.

Have you ever observed Asians in crowded places? They have a different cultural norm for respecting personal space, so close crowding and jostling are perfectly acceptable to them. How was I supposed to sort out pickpockets from the non-threatening Chinese shopper? What if someone stole my passport? My credit card? My camera? Several of my new acquaintances regaled me with their stories of being pickpocketed or targeted for pickpocketing. I was so nervous about the possibility of being pickpocketed that I wouldn’t even take my cross-body purse or my camera out with me the first few days we were in Shanghai. (And my husband would tell you that my purse is surgically attached to me so that I am never without it.)

As we prepared to visit some famous sites of Shanghai I realized I was being ridiculous. Yes, take precautions. And yes, be vigilant. But stop being overly imaginative and take both camera and purse and enjoy observing a new culture.

On our whirlwind tour of Shanghai, we stopped at Yu Garden, wandering through the shopping area first, then stepping outside to learn about some of the amazing ancient Chinese buildings. My husband exercised his excellent bargaining skills to purchase some gifts and mementos. He drove such a hard bargain that one of the shopkeepers grumbled and said, “You make me poverty!” as he closed the deal and wrapped up the parcel, a broad grin on his face.

One of my favorite things to do in a new location is to find a place to sit, observe, and absorb the atmosphere of a place. I love to look through my camera lens and snap images of things that impress me. An interesting architectural feature – click. Busy intersection – click. Sun-dappled flower- click. Fascinating people – click.

While perched on a low wall outside of Yu Garden I used my camera to capture snippets of the busyness of the place. An older Chinese gentleman sat down near me and, after observing me quietly for a minute, greeted me in excellent English. We went on to have a conversation about Canada and oil and economics. He stood up and said, “It was nice talking with you.” Yes, I thought, it WAS very nice to chat with this stranger in a city of 23 million people.

Near the City God Temple we stopped to take some pictures when three older Chinese people accosted us. They crowded close to us grinning broadly and loudly repeated, “Heh-low!” Were these some of the infamous pickpockets we had been warned about? Cautiously we replied, “Hello” which produced even broader grins and more enthusiastic “Heh-lows.”

My lovely daughter-in-law speaks Mandarin quite well. She learned these three were from another province in China and were tourists in Shanghai just like we were. They asked my daughter-in-law if they could have a picture with my husband, and then with my husband and me. She told us they vigorously debated among themselves whether my husband was 2 meters tall or not. They practiced their one English word, “Heh-low!” over and over with us, and delightedly thumped my husband on the back and pumped his hand in thanks for the photo. They tried saying “Canada” and we tried to say the Mandarin word for thank you. It was a fun cultural exchange, with no pickpocketing involved!

We learned from our son that the Chinese are gift-giving people. Before flying to Shanghai we had consulted our family about appropriate gifts to take for the special Chinese people who have blessed and befriended our loved ones in China. We wanted to thank them for their help and kindnesses to our son and his family over the years. Instead we found that we were blessed and honored that so many regaled us with special gifts and meals during our stay.

While in Shanghai I was treated with great kindness, even by strangers. My fibromyalgia and arthritis sometimes prevent me from walking very far so we used taxis to get around. Some of the cabs were a tight fit for me and I would have to maneuver my leg carefully to get seated. Several times a cabbie or worker where we were staying would see me struggling to get my sore leg in and would run over and help lift my leg into the taxi. I was really touched by those gestures of kindness.

The Chinese are like any other people group. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are beautiful, some more ordinary looking. Some are short and some a little taller. From our observations, they seem to love their children and respect their elders. Like in any large metropolitan area, a small criminal element exists, but many people we interacted with were kind and thoughtful. Our encounters with people in Shanghai were mostly positive and provided us with good memories of this city of twenty-three million people.

Heh-low!

Heh-low!

City God Temple

City God Temple

Near Yu Garden

Near Yu Garden

 

Fresh fruit treats at Yu Garden

Fresh fruit treats at Yu Garden

Tea House

Tea House by Yu Garden

Wall of flowers by the Bund

Wall of flowers by the Bund

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Friends in ministry We had a leadership retreat for the church this week. It was wonderful to spend time together with the other pastor and his wife in prayer and fellowship and making plans for the future of our church.

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Mountain splendor

Help with fibromyalgia My fibromyalgia has been in a flare lately and I have had more trouble than usual with muscle spasms and pain. One of my daughters came over and worked on the muscles in my neck and shoulders to provide some relief until I could make it to the massage therapist. Her help was a particular blessing to me.

Garage When we first moved from Calgary to Edmonton, we converted the garage into an office for my husband. He now has an office at the college and the garage has been made back into a garage. I enjoy observing how much pleasure and satisfaction my husband gets out of being able to park his vehicle in a garage. It’s especially nice not have to scrape ice and snow off the car before heading to work!

Yummy food My husband and I split a delicious steak dinner this week. Everything from the asparagus to the mushrooms to the steak were all scrumptious! (And gluten free!!)

Cards and Photos I made a special order card this week and finished up some fall-themed cards for my Purple Grandma Designs ministry.

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Special order

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From the fall collection

I’ve been trying different things to capture the effects of the sun in landscape photos. Here are some pictures from this past week.

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Behind the storm

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Sunset glow

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Burst of light

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Swirling mists

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Shrouded peak

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Alberta prairie

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View from the balcony

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Yes, I am aware that today is actually Saturday. I missed a couple of weeks and did not want to miss another, so better late than never???

Record breaking temps Thankfully they were record breaking warm temperatures! It was odd to get our winter tires put on when the weather was anything but frigid. We shall certainly enjoy it while it lasts! Here is a picture from this morning and one from the unexpected storm three weeks ago.

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Brightening beam

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Uninvited guest

Watching the World Series I grew up in the Cleveland area. My dad and I would often watch the Indians on TV and occasionally head down to the stadium to take in a game. The Tribe was really, really, bad when I was a kid so it sure was fun to watch a superior version in the World Series this past week. My husband, who is not a baseball fan, even watched some with me! I sure was sorry they lost, though.

Cards My two primary card making tools broke within two weeks of each other. I am so grateful that I sold enough cards in the previous month that I could replace them both. I try to give away one card for every card sold to encourage missionaries, church family and those in ministry. It’s exciting to see how the Lord is using and blessing this little ministry. Here are some of my latest. Right now I am taking donations instead of selling them for a set price. Let me know if you are interested or want to place a special order.

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Recovering My husband and I have both felt under the weather this week, but are now both improving. It’s always hard for me to know if an illness is due to a flare in my fibromyalgia and arthritis, a virus, or a bad reaction due to my many food sensitivities. At least I’m no longer spending the whole day feeling like death warmed over (aren’t idioms great!)

Tea and Sunrise I am not a spontaneous person, but my husband is, so I decided I would practice being spontaneous and hopefully be better ready to do something on the spur of the moment the next time he suggests it. This morning the sunrise was beautiful so I convinced him we should grab a coffee and tea and snap a few shots of of the skies. We missed the most colorful part, but enjoyed a short drive outside our town while sipping our beverages and soaking up God’s creation!

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Good morning, sun!

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Sunrise awakens

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Illumination

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Brightness ensues

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Rural radiance

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Daybreak emerges

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Dawn encroaches

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