JoJoisms

Don’t sing songs to a heavy heart

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 17•17

I often gain insight from reading my Bible in the mornings. I shared last time about one.  Well, this one was on the very same day:  “Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” -Proverbs 25:20.  

I’ve read through the Bible many times, but never really pondered this scripture until then.  I went a bit further to read several commentaries on this scripture and began to see a picture of how many Christians, though well-meaning, will choose the absurdity of trying to cheer up someone who is deep in trial whose soul is weary.  These same people would never think to take away a cold man’s coat in cold weather.  Yet they do feel it appropriate to try to bring a smile to an aching heart.

If this is your first time reading my posts, you may have missed an article I wrote once that got quite a bit of attention, called Sometimes You Need a Pity Party. Ecclesiastes says there is a time for every purpose under heaven.  There is a time laugh and a time to cry.  I think people are very uncomfortable during those times when their friends or relatives need time to cry. They simply don’t know what to do and feel so uncomfortable that their first instinct is to try to cheer them up.  

Some Christians subscribe to the relatively new positive thinking that anything negative must be shunned, struck down, and eliminated.  The Power of Positive thinking is HUGE, but there is a time and a place for it.  And that time isn’t when an individual is deep in the sorrow and need to cry it out.  Or when someone first learns of a death or a major loss of any other kind.  

Take it from one who has been there many times.  There is a time and a place for everything.  There is a time for positive thinking.  There is a time for cheering someone up.  There is a time to lift someone up.  But…don’t sing songs to a heavy heart.  If you don’t know what to do for them, may I offer these ideas?

Pray with them. Sit with them. Cry with them. Ask how you may help.  And when their heart has had time to begin the healing process, then be a beacon of hope to lift them up.

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Remember your creator in the days of your youth

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 10•17

I was reading my Bible recently when this passage hit me: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” -Ecclesiastes 12:1 and it struck me why some people are able to move past devastating news or endure through the most difficult of trials and others are more easily struck down or derailed by something like not getting a car they wanted or finding out that they didn’t get the promotion they should have.

I was having a conversation with my mom about how difficult life was say, 100 years ago, compared with today.  We have so many “modern conveniences” available to us to make our lives “easier’ that, I think, we take it for granted these days that life is SUPPOSED to be easy.  We aren’t prepared for the fact that we will “have trails of various kinds” as it says in James 1:2.

Even more important than being prepared that life isn’t going to be easy is knowing who you can count on to get you through those times and why that is so incredibly important.  I’m often asked how I’m able to handle all the surgeries, diagnoses, tests, pain and financial issues that seem to come my way on a weekly basis.  Frankly, it’s not that I’m such a strong person or that I am so smart.  As they say, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

I remember my Creator in the days of my youth (OK it wasn’t really my youth. It was more like my younger adulthood days after I accepted the Lord), before my difficult days came.  I remember how He loves me and how He may choose to use me for the greater good of others.  Or for the greater good of myself.  Or for the greater good of my family that He wishes to bless me with in far more abundance in the coming days than He would have if I had not endured.  I think of a meme I saw once where the little girl doesn’t want Jesus to take away her Teddy Bear, but it’s because He wishes to bless her with a bigger one.

The more grounded, secure, and comfortable in my faith, the easier the tough times are to endure, get through and, yes, even get over.  I feel sorrow for those going through tough times without benefit of the Lord’s help and comfort.  Without knowing that even if this struggle lasts a lifetime, our joy comes in the morning when the sun rises over heaven.

Dig into your Bible each morning. Pray for His help, comfort, and guidance.  Seek out fellowship with other believers who can help you through and pick you up when you are down.  Cry or kvetch if you need to momentarily.  Help others to pick themselves up.  Trust me when I tell you that sometimes, when you think you have nothing left to give another, a kind word or a smile can not only lift them up, but you as well from where you sit atop your own issues.  There blessings may blossom.

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The Mammogram Blues News

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 03•17

I went to get my yearly mammogram today. It was an interesting experience.  I mean, it’s always an “interesting” experience, but this one was due to an observation that the lovely woman who did my mammogram made to me.  

The lovely, sweet woman who performed my mammogram was charming.  She was so cute as she asked me all the questions to update their records.  She asked if I was post menopausal.  I said yes, I had a hysterectomy.  She asked when and I told her.  She asked why and I shared that they had found a huge fibroid in my uterus and when they tested to see if it was still there, they found a ovarian cyst and how when the surgeon decided to take my my ovary AND Fallopian tube, they found the cancer.  She couldn’t find Fallopian tube cancer on her drop down menu so she had to add it and commented that she’d never heard of anyone with Fallopian tube cancer. I told her that it’s rare and aggressive so most women don’t know about it until it’s too late.  With all the records updated, she began the test.    

Mammograms are never fun.  Let’s face it. Stretching pieces of skin off your bones, putting it in a vice grip and turning the pressure up until you can’t breathe is no day at the park.  Most women say it is painful.  Some say VERY painful.  I’d be in that batch of somebodies–maybe because I also happen to have Fibro.  I don’t know, but my way of dealing with it is to grin and bear it.  I mean, wadaya gonna do?  

After it was all over, she looked at me and asked.  You’ve had a lot of difficult issues in your life, haven’t you?  I said, I guess so and shared that I’d had four surgeries in a 2.5 year span, three of which in a six month span of time.  She said, “I thought so.  I can always tell when someone’s had a lot of challenges in life.  They’re the ones who complain the least.”  

That got me thinking.  I had a mammogram when I was in my 30’s and I do remember complaining about it a lot, but I’m a lot more calm about procedures…a lot more comfortable with inconveniences…a lot more patient getting results…a lot more joyous about life.  Since I realized just how blessed I was to have had that cancer found early…before it spread…such that I didn’t need to go through Chemo or Radiation Therapy…and I’m still here to tell the tale. 

What changed was my outlook.  What changed was my attitude.  What changed was my expectation.  I expected that life would have difficulties so I had an attitude of patience to endure it for a time which changed my outlook on having to go through things from a burden to a slight bump in the road.  

If I’d never had to endure so many of life’s trials, I don’t think I’d have learned to brush things off as much as I do now.  Getting bogged down in “what should be” made me grumpy and more easily frustrated.  Having an outlook of gratitude for what could have happened but didn’t is so much more liberating and allows me to live a life of much greater joy.  

I can’t say I’d knowingly choose to go through all that again, but I can honestly say I’m grateful for having lived through it.  Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns now, but I do see a unicorn on the hill over there and a rainbow off in the middle distance that I never noticed before.

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Six Reasons Why Chronic Issues are Different

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 26•17

When I was about to have my first child, I went to a birthing class for The Bradley Method (different philosophy, but similar idea to La Maz).  The teacher said something I will always remember because it fits as a motto for so many things in life.  She said, “You can stand just about anything for a short time.”  She explained that when you couldn’t stand the pain a moment longer, that’s usually when the baby is born.  I found that to be true.

I remember thinking, about that quote as I lay in the hospital bed in agony dilated to 7.  The nurse said it would be HOURS yet.  I was only in labor for about nine hours at that point.  Most women are in labor far longer so that is what hospitals are used to.  Well, they never met Speedy Tabares!  So she walked out of the room saying to call her back when I felt the need to push.  Well, the minute she walked out, I felt I needed to push.  My husband went to go tell her and she sent him back in assuring me it would be HOURS yet and to tell me no, she’d be back in later on.  I was in so much pain, I remember thinking, I could possibly take another few minutes of this, a few hours?  NO!  So I told him to go back to her and tell her YES!  She came back in and sure enough, I was at 10.  My daughter was born just a few minutes later.

You can stand just about anything for a short time, but the longer it goes on, the more the stress of it zaps your energy, your hope, your strength, your courage, your resolve, and shakes your faith.

There was a psychologist I read about who was teaching a class on stress management. She asked her class to imagine holding up a glass of water.  Most of the students thought she was going to talk about the glass being half full or empty to illustrate optimism vs pessimism.  However, she asked them how much they thought the glass would weigh.  Many of the students gave answers, but she told them it didn’t matter.  It wasn’t how much the glass weighed that was at issue; it was how long one must stand there with their arm outstretched holding it up.  You see, you can stand there with your arm up holding nothing at all and, over time, your arm will grow tired.  Holding it up for a minute is no big deal.  While, holding it up for an hour would cause your arm to go numb and feel paralyzed.  She explained that it’s the same with stress.  While it may not kill you, it can destroy your quality of life.

Most chronic conditions will not kill you, but they can destroy your quality of life as the person you were is stretched and changed and limited beyond what you were and had ever envisioned for your life.

If you’re ever seen the movie Facing the Giants, you’ll remember that scene where the coach has the football player close his eyes and he coaches him a few inches at a time to eventually get him across the entire field with another man on his back.  When he opens his eyes, he is amazed at how far he had come because he was certain he couldn’t make it all the way before he started.  Life is like that.  We can stand just about anything for a short time and then we need encouragement and inspiration one step at a time to make it to the end…or just keep making it each day as some struggles don’t have an ending this side of heaven.  It’s how the old saying goes about how ones eats an elephant…one bite at a time.

There are actually six reasons why chronic issues are so different, devastating, and destructive.

1. What doesn’t kill you may, indeed, destroy your quality of life.

…and very few who have not experienced a chronic issue will truly understand this.

  • Over time these experiences will change who you are.  Not necessarily for the worse, but it may seem that way at first as you no longer will be able to do the things you once could.  If it’s financial, you will no longer be able to afford things like luxuries (or in extreme cases even basic necessities) that you once could. If it’s health related, you will no longer be able to afford the energy to do the things you once could or loved or desire.
  • Chronic issues force you to think ahead much more than you used to, to plan things ahead of time.  In the case of financial matters, you will be forced to not go to dinner all month in order to be able to afford to go to a birthday dinner with friends next month.  In health issues, you may need to plan to take it easy this week in order to have the energy to go out to lunch with friends next week.
  • It can be increasingly frustrating not to know when, or even IF, your current crisis will end.

2. Most people will not understand. 

  • They’ll make comments like, “You don’t look sick.”  or “I’m broke too, but I’m going to buy a nice gift for Mom. Why can’t you?”  They don’t understand…”chronic illness can’t be all that bad if you look ok on the outside.”  Their idea of broke may be different from yours if you can’t pay rent this month.
  • Friends and family will use the words tired and exhausted interchangeably to mean they stayed up a bit too late last night and think that’s how you feel when you share why you can’t make the trip to Vegas this year.  After all, they’re tired too.

I remember a time when we were so broke, we drove an hour to a grocery store because it was the only one in the area who took credit cards at the time and we had no money for milk and bread.  We mentioned our financial struggles to a friend of ours who said they understood how we felt as they were down to their “last $10,000 in their bank account.”  True story and, yes, they really thought they knew how we felt.

3. Feeling guilty for all the things you can’t do for others. 

  • For all the gifts you can’t afford to buy for your nieces and nephews…or maybe your own children
  • For not being able to spend time with others who are hurting because you just can’t physically make it out to see them.
  • For not being able to give money to deserving friends or family when they are in need.
  • For not taking your kids out to a movie or signing them up for an extra curricular event because you don’t have the money or the energy to get them there.
  • For not volunteering at church.
  • For not offering to make dinner for a friend in need because you can hardly sum up the money or energy to make your own.

4. You will feel the need to push yourself beyond what you can comfortably give to others. 

  • and this will cause you to over extend your energy levels or financial situation beyond what it can hold.
  • and this will cause you to have consequences like having to give up working the next few days to recover or give up some repair because you ran out of money before you ran out of month.

5. Getting angry or defensive when challenged.

  • and you will be challenged.  You may find yourself having to explain to the very same relative why you can’t come to the big shindig next year in Tahiti even though they were able to save up for it this year.
  • Explaining for the 20th time how you may have to cancel lunch for the third time because you just don’t feel up to it today even though you did feel up to cleaning the house yesterday.

6. You may find your faith eroding as you wonder why God hasn’t healed you. 

  • because He did heal So and So
  • You’ll wonder if God really cares for you if He is willing to leave you in this trial all this time.
  • You may wonder why me? What did I do to deserve this?
  • You may wonder if God is really there at all.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  It’s so important in our struggles that I put it up on the top of this blog.  You see, we can get down in the valley after a while such that we have a hard time pulling ourselves out.  That’s when we need others to help us up.

John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Just knowing that someone understands what you’re going through and justifies your feelings about what you are dealing with can help pull you out of the valley.  And that’s why I’m here.

I am not a doctor or a financial wiz kid. God may not choose to heal you or put an end to your financial struggles, but I can help you pull yourself out of the valley so you can begin to see the joy and live a life beyond surviving!

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Why doesn’t God heal me?

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 19•17

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why some people are allowed to remain in their struggle while others are delivered from their suffering.  We ask God and sometimes even demand that God tell us why He keeps us this way.  To some, this may sound like sin and maybe it is, but it is human nature and I believe the Lord understands why we, who have chronic conditions can come to a point where we can only moan a prayer or get to the point where we are so incredibly frustrated that we yell at Him or to Him.  Can you relate?

I think most of the reason we feel this way is because of the many devotionals (and I’ve read them all)  that point to Job when sharing about suffering.  They point out how hard life was for Job and all he lost.  But God healed Job and gave him back many fold that which He allowed to be taken away.  Have you noticed that God hasn’t done that for you?  He hasn’t for me.  But did you also notice something else?  He didn’t for Paul either.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but God doesn’t ALWAYS heal.  He doesn’t always solve our problem. Sometimes He says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9) as He did with Paul.  Paul talked about a thorn in his side that God allowed to stay in his life.  Paul expressed that he felt it was because it would keep him closer to God, relying on Him.  Maybe this is the case with you.  Or maybe it just isn’t your time.  Maybe God has a different plan for you.  He seems to for me.  I’ve struggled with chronic illness since I was a teenager.  I’ll be 55 in September.  In case your brain fog has beat out your math skills, that’s about 40 years…or in chronic illness years: FOREVER!

Sometimes God allows His child to continue with the thorn for many years.  Sometimes He allows it until His child comes to the other side of Heaven.  Why?  Why would God allow such suffering?  It’s not always because that person DESERVED to suffer.  It’s sometimes in spite of the fact.  Like Paul, His child has a mission.

Think about it this way.  If God had healed me, I probably wouldn’t be writing this weekly blog.  I probably wouldn’t have a heart for those who struggle daily with pain and fatigue.  And you probably wouldn’t listen to me if I didn’t truly understand what you go through, would you?

If God has you in a season filled with struggle, pain, fatigue, hardship, heartache, maybe He has a mission for you.  Maybe He is using this time in your life or the rest of your life as He is using mine.  Maybe you aren’t a Job.  Maybe you, too, are a Paul.

What is it that you, and maybe ONLY YOU, can understand that might reach others?  What might your mission be?  What can others learn from you?  How can you lead them back to God?  How can you ease another’s suffering?  Speaking for myself, I can honestly say I’ve been to the point I spoke of at the beginning of this post.  I have shouted, “Why me, Lord?”  But I’ve also felt a sense of purpose in these last years that I’ve been posting my blog. Somehow it makes my days of pain and fatigue easier to live with.

I’ll have more thoughts on this next week, but for now, how do you think God can use YOU because of what you’ve been through?

When Your Symptoms Argue with Each Other Over Treatment

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 05•17

Remember how your kids used to argue over a toy? Mine! Mine!  Well, as you gather more and more chronic conditions, your symptoms don’t work and play well with others.  Just to list a few examples…

Years ago, my Hashimoto’s Disease and adrenal issues had my doctor put me on the Everything Diet.  That’s where your down to bread and water only you can’t eat the bread.  I was to cut out all dairy, all carbs, all artificial anything…blah blah blah…and even the water was ideally to be filtered by God.  However, years later, my parathyroids developed growths and leached all the calcium out of my bones.  My new bone specialist said to eat a bunch of dairy.  Seeing as eating nothing didn’t seem to help my Hashi’s any, I happily complied.

After my hysterectomy, I was thrust head first into full menopause and started gaining weight. I decided to cut down again on the carbs and sugar, but several of the diets I saw getting rave reviews called for eating certain fruits as snacks.  Well, I have Reactive Hypoglycemia so if I eat something with sugar, even natural sugar, and don’t have any protein, I get shaky.

My 18 year battle with insomnia and Fibro forced me into taking muscle relaxers, Melatonin and magnesium before bedtime.  I was told to take the magnesium with a meal.  Meals after 8pm tend to contribute to the delinquency of my hind quarters so I am straddling a fine line between heartburn and obesity by eating a slice of turkey or cheese and half a banana right before bed.

The last two to three months have been spent walking to the point of jogging daily M-F.  It’s supposed to be great for weight loss (I’ll believe that when I see it) and for my osteoporosis as well as my fibro.  On the other hand, it makes me tired and increases my pain so…whadaya gonna do?

I was taking Black Cohosh for my hot flashes, but my Oncologist advised against it due to the fact that even plant estrogen reacted with my biopsy so ANY type of hormone (HRT) is contraindicated.  Isn’t that special?!

Speaking of the hot flashes, my body is in a permanent state of “WHAH?” Most of the time I’m freezing. My hands and feet are like icicles and I’m often found under the blankets on the couch where the heat vent blows up through the cushions.  HOWEVER, when I get a hot flash, WATCH OUT! I could melt the paint off a Buick!

Somewhere in my head, I have a picture of a flame with an evil grin battling an ice cube wearing a parka…where all my symptoms choose up sides and Dueling Banjos is playing in the background.

How’s by you?  Have you got arguing symptoms?  Is there a battle field inside you?  Spill.  I’d love to hear I’m not alone in this…

When you feel alone…God

Written By: JoJoisms - May• 22•17

I’ve talked to so many women with chronic illness in the past several years that I’ve been writing my blog and there is one thing that we all have in common: we all feel alone at times.  We may each have a different set of issues, symptoms.  We may be different ages, have a different life experience, have different family dynamics, but we all feel alone in our struggle at some point.

I live pretty far from my family, though I talk to a few of them on the phone often.  I live one state over from my daughter and her husband. My son will be moving across the country for college soon.  I’ve moved away from many of my friends over the years and even the lovely ladies I’ve met at church live far enough away that I don’t see them much outside of church.

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one on the planet that feels like this?  Has your symptoms?   Has to put up with your struggles?  Day in and day out without a break?  With few to help you?  And no one close by who understands?  I know.  That’s why I started this blog.  But even my articles can’t be with you every day.  I am only able to keep up once a week and I can’t reach out to each of you every day to uplift and comfort you and to tell you that you are not alone.  But I know someone who can.  God.

When you feel alone…God is there.

When you feel nobody understands…God does!

When you feel you can’t go on another day…God can give you strength.

And when you don’t know what to do next…pray.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” –Deuteronomy 31:6

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” -Psalm 23:4

I’ll be exploring more about this topic further at some point so stay tuned for some encouragement that I pray God will give you through me.  Please feel free to share with me your thoughts on feeling alone in your chronic illness/issues…and how can I be of more encouragement to you?

My Weight Loss (Gain) Update

Written By: JoJoisms - May• 02•17

So about no score and two months ago, I set forth upon this continent a new weight loss journey conceived in the loss of food liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal…but not with women!

In that time, I have spent my weekdays either walking around my house 10x including up and down the stairs (did I mention TEN TIMES?) or walking on the treadmill for 20-25 min at a pace that would rival a go cart (okay it just feels that way).  I have, in addition, severely decreased my intake of carbs, sugar, and just about anything that tastes good, while trying not to starve myself for fear my body will be under the delusion that it was starving to death and store all my calories as FAT (but mostly in my hind quarters and thighs).

During that same time (actually it was only two weeks), my husband had cut down on his salt, sugar and carbs while cheating in the early evening with ICE CREAM and exercising naught.  (For those of you that don’t watch BBC America, that means NONE!)

Results: 

  • In two weeks, my husband had lost six pounds.
  • In two months, my post menopausal female body GAINED…eight pounds!

Yes, you read that correctly.  He lost just shy of what I GAINED and it only took him one quarter of the time it took me!

Does this seem a bit…I don’t know…UNFAIR to any of you?!  Yeah.  Me too!

So here’s what I’m doing about it.  I’m slowly stepping up my game.  Instead of 20 min on the treadmill at level 2, I’ve been incrementally increasing the level and am now at level 3 and, as of the time of this writing, I have seemingly lost two pounds, though the scale lies. It seems to depend upon what time of day I step on it, how many hairs I’ve lost in the shower, and whether or not I have inhaled a bit more air.

I know it may be an uphill battle only six months after my hysterectomy and full menopausal status (which took almost 18 yrs in coming to fruition), but I am determined to keep going…at least until my legs fall off.

And so I continue such that these calories have not died in vain… that this body, under God, shall have a new birth of weight loss — and that body of the JoJo, by the JoJo, for the JoJo, shall not perish from the earth…until skinny.

What’s your post Meno Weight Loss Story?  Did you also reach your *plateau* at the BEGINNING of your weight loss journey?  Or am I alone in this?

God is NOT a Genie!

Written By: JoJoisms - Apr• 25•17

I’m going to go into this a lot more in detail in the coming months, but I just have to put this out there.  God is NOT a genie!

When you are chronically ill, you often run into devotionals and gurus who tell you to pray and God will take away all your issues.  The Name it and Claim it crowd will try to convince you that you can have whatever you want: wealth, health, success, love, crunchy peanut butter, and the horse it rode in on just by believing in it and/or praying for it. Further, they’ll try to convince you that if He doesn’t heal you, it’s your fault because you have unconfessed sin.  

God is not our genie. He’s our Lord, our Savoir and He knows what is best for us even if we can’t understand it at the time…or ever.  How many times have you seen a movie about someone who achieved great things despite overwhelming odds or great tragedy?  They inspire others, don’t they?  Think about some of the Bible’s examples of being faithful to God?  Did God always heal them?  

This is not even biblical.  Where in the Bible does it tell us we can have whatever we want whenever we want it.  It tells us we can have the desires of our heart, but only after we submit to Him. It also says that the Lord can say yes, no, or wait when we pray.  I submit to you that God often says no or wait.  At least that’s my experience.  In the Bible, He told Paul, “my grace is sufficient for you.”

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

The problem with believing that God will heal us if we only ask, aside from it not being scriptural, is that you end up angry, frustrated, and weary.  Weary from constantly praying for something that never happens, frustrated because the struggle now includes wishing and waiting for answers on top of just having to deal with the every day problems we face just having chronic illness.  And angry at God and others for what we have to handle instead of being at peace with how we are and just concentrating on the struggle at hand.  Instead of looking for God to do what we want, we should concentrate on doing what God wants of us.

Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”  -Abraham Lincoln

War Wounds

Written By: JoJoisms - Apr• 18•17

Ever notice that boys love to show off their war wounds?  They eagerly relate the stories that came to create their scars–each in his turn trying to top the other’s story.

Women don’t do that.  In fact, we tend to hide our scars. We cover them up with clothing, makeup, and embarrassment.  It becomes a source of stress that someone will notice and that we will have to apologize for it.  We desperately look for ways to keep our wrinkles at bay, our skin from sagging and crinkling. We take sometimes drastic measures to keep thin, to lose weight, to cover up our widening hips.  In the dark of night when nobody is watching, we may cry over the person we once were and can no longer see in the mirror.  We look at our bodies and despair over what has happened to us.

Well, I’ve decided to take a page from the Men’s War Wound Playbook. I choose to look at my scars, premature aging, turkey waggle, and car accident deformities as a sign of strength that declares to the world that I lived through all of that and I’m still here to tell the tale.  Somehow that makes me bold instead of weak, an over-comer instead of a victim.

Most of my scars are in areas of my body only my husband and I will ever see, but one of them is now proudly displayed on my neck where all can see.  Some day the scar might fade and the lump may finally disappear completely, but for now, here it is in all its glory.

The first is a headshot of me with my laugh lines (well earned) and my turkey waggle and a hint of my parathyroid surgery war wounds.  The following two show more detail of the latter.  

The last one is a picture of my hand after the car accident and shows how my middle finger now likes to cozy up to my ring finger upon making a fist.  I sure am unique, right?  I’ll bet none of you have the same combination of war wounds.  

Won’t you join me?  What’s the story behind your scars?