Sunday, April 14, 2013


I'm standing at a podium in the middle of a small room and I introduce myself,
"Hi. My name is Jan and I suffer from IBS."

Did I expect a response?
From an empty room?
IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
It's not something one talks about let alone announce from a podium.
The choir loft?
In the line at the grocery store?
From the rooftops?
Over the P.A. system at Wal-Mart 
at the risk of  joining the photos of Wal-Mart shoppers?

IBS. A curse.
If you have a flare-up (flare)
you are chained to your bathroom.
If a flare comes at the wrong time 
you could miss your child's wedding,
your mom's memorial service,
your child's graduation from college,
the grand opening of a Dollar Store.

I had my first flare about five years ago.
That's a totally unacceptable experience when you're not at home.
My doctor put me on a hefty dose of a steroids
to get my flare under control.
.......And he kept me on it for.........five..........years,
assuring me that it was often done that way....long term.

He's a doctor, I believed him.
Slowly the skin on my arms became very thin
and they were easily bruised - blood bruises
like the elderly get on their arms.

It continued to get worse.

Oh, I called the doctor's office several times over those
five years and was reassured each time that
I hadn't been on the steroids too long.

It finally came to the point that I talked to my GP, whom
I trust implicitly, about three months ago.
She had me change doctors.
My new lower GI doctor is wonderful.
He weaned me off of the steroids in three days.
My arms started clearing up and 
the skin on my arms toughened up.

At this point you're no doubt wondering why 
in the world am I telling you all of this.

Slow day.

Seriously, there is such an important reason.
It seems that the steroids built up in my body and started
affecting my behavior.
I wasn't aware of it.
Obviously, it got worse as time went on.
.....I have found out that the last year, okay,
probably two, have not been my years to shine.

I owe you an apology if I have ever acted whacked
or talked to you with an unacceptable attitude.
Hey, it could be any of many behaviors - 
I don't remember them.

I think my lack of memory has been my saving grace
in some ways.

It certainly hasn't been in a couple of instances.
May I suggest to those of you that feel you need
to bring to the attention of someone
you love, their behavior or your thoughts
of their mental stability, to do it in a 
loving way so as not to 
make them feel you are on the attack.
Be Jesus when you talk to them.
Be gentle, careful with your words
and most of all, talk to them with the love
you feel for them in your heart.
And, don't wait. Please, don't wait if
you love them. That is only harmful.
What happened to me twice before I even
knew there was a problem was not handled in that way.
Both situations destroyed me.
One friendship ruined,
the other wobbly, to say the least, for 
many months now.

I found out specifics of my behavior 
over the last year or two
from my sister, Joan, in a loving and positive
way last week in Florida.
She was kind and, though made me cry
from extreme embarrassment when
she gave me examples of my behavior,
talked to me like only my sister could.

She started by telling me that she was
so happy that I was back to my "self".
I thought she was talking about my
arms so showed them off. 
But, no, she was telling me that she was
so glad that I was back to her "Jan".
I was honestly confused.
She explained that for the longest time
I hadn't been "me".

She even gave me examples that made
me want to crawl under the truck
(we were in my brother's pick-up).
Verbal attacks based on nothing, mood swings,
becoming a hermit, unquestionably whacked.

I did ask her why she waited so long to 
bring all of this up and she just didn't know......

I was so embarrassed.

I was mostly concerned that my boys
had been thinking that their mom was crazy.
No one else mattered as much.
No one.

When I talked to my eldest, he said that,
no, I had been fine for the last two years.
I had been so physically challenged.......
that's where I stopped him and steered him back
to my concerns.
That sweet boy forgave me for "nothing".
I shared and apologized to my daughter-in-law, too.
The steroids explained so much about
 the start of our relationship.
So glad to have an answer and her forgiveness.

(two down, two to go)

Even the Tank noticed my new behavior
without me having said anything.

The steroids took about six weeks to
work their way out of my body and
allow me to become myself again - to a point.
And, I feel the difference.
I'm full of the joy, the positive thoughts,
the anxiousness to "do",
and I'm happy. So joyful and happy.
I don't long to be the hermit I have become 
(let's take that one slowly - I don't do drama).
I'm me again.
I had seriously forgotten what it felt like
though I didn't realize that.
Confusing?? That's the real me, too.
However, I realize that it takes months for them
to completely work their way out of my system, 
but have been assured that any future "experiences"
will not be as horrid as the ones I've been
told about.

Again, if I have ever done anything odd or whacked
to you, please accept my apology.
This is the most effective way to get
"the word out".
If you feel the want/need to pass this
on to someone(s), please do.

I seek forgiveness.

P.S. Any comments? All and any are welcome. Anyone think this post could be any longer??

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Mom as a child. She's holding onto the
necklace around her neck.

As I begin to pen this chapter of my mom's life, 
I haven't even looked back to see where I had left off
in the telling of her story.

I've put off writing this last part of her story for months.
For a bit I didn't feel comfortable talking about it.
It was too fresh, too new, and too hard for me to wrap
myself around to write this last chapter.

Then I spent literally months trying to come up
with the right title for this post. 
It had to be the perfect title.
As you can see, I lost that battle.

Blogging moves on
(I heard that somewhere)
and I have some other stories I want to tell
but can't until I end this one.
(The Grow Your Blog doesn't count. 
Vicki's ** my friend),
and, oh, a couple of others.

Those of you that have been blessed to have
a great relationship with your mom know
what I'm feeling.
After I grew up my mom turned from "mom"
to "friend". 
We had a great relationship.
She was a beautiful woman and her kids were her life.

She passed on October 12, 2012
at the River Point Assisted Living Center
Kerrville, Texas,
after living with The Tank and me at the ranch
for 6 months.

She was my job for ten months.
Some really good, really funny,
and some very sad, 
heart crushing moments.
I would cry out to God at points in her care
because I couldn't stand the pain
of watching her become someone I didn't know.

Oh, God, it was so difficult.

But, it was a huge blessing, too.
I was with her the last months of her life
and that was a blessing.
I was at the care center for two months,
at least eight hours a day, doing what I could to
help my mom.

And then Hospice became involved.
"Why are you here?? 
She's going to be herself again after she gets some rest."
And, I firmly believed it.
Oh, they had seen it before, I knew that,
but this was different. This was my mom

It's amazing how our brain works
in that kind of situation.
You have to live it to understand.
And, the Hospice workers see
that kind of hope, that kind of desperation,
so many times.
In so many ways.

My mom passed and joined
Jesus on October 12, 2012.

She wouldn't come back even if I begged.
That gives me great comfort.
Mom and Frank, my Tank
South Haven, Michigan,
a celebration of mom's 80th birthday


Thank you so much
for reading all of the
writings about my sweet mother.

I appreciate you so much,

leave a comment??


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