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Monday, September 13, 2010

Going backwards again to catch up to now...

Well, this most recent hiatus from blogging wasn't a planned one.  I didn't need a break to refuel my brain, nor was I pondering the merits of sharing much of my life publicly like in the past.  This time around it was because my summer became very busy since my last entry.  I could say I was running in different directions, but that would make it sound as if I didn't have focus, nor purpose.   I actually had a life this summer with an extra dose of purpose and focus!  What a deal!

When I closed my July 17th entry, my goal was to pick it back up and share some aerials of Hamlet, NC.  At that time, my husband and I had hoped to fly again over Hamlet to add to a collection of photos I shot during an early a.m. flight on July 5th.  But, we've yet to fly above Hamlet since then.  Between the winds and our schedules, it just hasn't happened.

I do have some news about the Hamlet Historic Depot Museum, though, where he and I are both volunteers.  Recently, I became their newest board member and right away was given the task along with another volunteer to revamp the web site.  Holy Hallelujah!!!  This is a responsibility I'm elated over and just can't wait to get rolling on it.  It's been a hurry up and wait ordeal for the past 6 weeks, but not for much longer.  There have been some details we needed to work out before a sorely needed face lift could begin, and some actual, like for real, content added.  Thankfully, as of tomorrow we'll have those details out of the way.  So, our project will soon get underway. Yay! Yay! Yay! 

For me, this is much of a heart string project.  I love the Hamlet Depot -- every single inch of the amazing Victorian structure built in 1900 by the Seaboard Airline Rail Road.  My family roots on my mom's side ties to the old SAL RR and that incredible building.  I have memories of it going back to age four, and my mom's memories of it, also go back to age four.  She's 90 now.  So, you can just imagine!

I could share stories my grandfather and uncle shared with all of we grandkids/nieces & nephews over the years, but I'd be at my keyboard forever, if I did.  So, suffice it to say, my goal for the new web site is to reflect the utter beauty and unique history of the Hamlet Depot, and show it off as the jewel it truly is.  Not only in Richmond County, but in NC, along the eastern Seaboard, as well, as in the U.S.  It's the only depot like it in the entire world.  One little known fact, is that the original architect, if there was one, remains unknown. It's a love for many a train enthusiast I've met over the past few years.  And is also quite the vantage point to watch, photograph and film trains as they travel by, or into the nearby freight yard.  Hamlet Crossing is known to countless train watchers from... believe it or not, around the country and even Canada.  I've actually met more people train watching, who could care less about the Depot.  It doesn't strike me as unsual one little bit.  In it's heyday four tracks and twenty-one passenger trains rolled through Hamlet daily.  Now, it's one track, east, west, north and south, with two going into the freight yard.  Yet, the appeal of the trains is still very captivating to train lovers young and old.

Also, at some point in the future, there's another train related project even more important to me.  One which is a heart string project of epic proportions to a cousin of mine and I.  One we hope to do to honor our family at some point in the very near future.  Particularly, we want to honor our Monroe roots and our grandparents and our mothers and our mothers' siblings.  We've back burnered it for a few years as we've needed to get the proper funding for our vision to come to fruition.  It's so special that it's always in the back of my mind, yet when it's not, it's in the forefront.  I've been praying about it steadfastly, and by faith, I believe we are closer than ever now to making it happen.  The funding hasn't happened yet, but I'm sensing the timing is just about right now.  So, we shall see how God's hand works to tie everything together.  He's aware time is of the essence.  He's aware of the need.  He's aware of its historical merit.  We stand ready, when He gives us the green light.  Yet, the more prayer on our behalf, the better.  If anyone would desire to know more, please feel free to write to me privately.

At the end of this entry, I'll share a slide show of the photos I took on the ground and in air on July 5th.  A few of the shots are really unique and a couple I've received compliments from critics who rarely give me a pat on back for any of my pictures, so it must have been a good shoot, overall.  It'll be a repeat for my friends on Facebook, but I also use this blog to log the flights my husband and I take for several reasons.  One is to record our flights for him, more than me, actually.  No matter how good or how bad my pictures are, my husband loves them and he loves re-living our flights over and over again.  He's always complimentary of my photo taking ability.  I also log our flights here in pictures to keeping a running history of some of our best times together -- it's a memory keeping place for me.  One he can easily find his way to, and share with others if anything ever happened to me.  I'm blessed because often when he shares about our flights and the pics I take, he shares about my challenges with Epilepsy, too.  And how God has helped me use photography to rewire some areas in my brain that need it.

A little more playing catch up...

This summer, a new Springer love came into lives by the name of Roxy.  She's absolutely precious and was another meant to be rescue and keeper for us.  She's blended into our Springer pack perfectly, but she's become like a guardian angel to me, seriously.  She has Epilepsy, too.  And her original owner called a kill shelter to pick her up and requested them to euthanize her.  Although, the uncaring owner had not seen fit to even try treating her for seizures.  Much less, take her to her vet for assessment.  Fortunately, God had other plans for Roxy, and sent a very caring Animal Control Officer to pick her up.  The moment he laid eyes on her, he knew she was destined to have a new future.  Once he clarified the former owner's wishes, he said he couldn't get out of there fast enough.  From there, he contacted the Head of Animal Control and Shelter Manager for his area, and he also fell in love with Roxy immediately.  She's so pretty and petite, it's hard not to fall head over heels for her.  He made a snap decision not to put her into the shelter.  Instead, he arranged for foster care.  It was a couple of days before ESRA became involved and my husband and I were asked to go "pull" her, but Roxy was loved and cared for during those two days.  The Shelter Manager called her his "little show dog".  Thank God for that Shelter Manager and the Animal Control Officer.  This is second time we've worked with this particular Shelter Manager and he has such a heart for animals.  The shelter he runs is in a very poor county and there are no physical walls, but he does the best he can for all of the animals in his care.  He works with other rescue groups and does everything he can to place animals in foster homes and forever homes on his own.  God bless him!

This summer also brought with it an amazing high school reunion for me back home in Virginia Beach.  I'll spare my readers from going on and on and on about it, but it was fantastic!  I reconnected with the rocks on my end of Chesapeake Beach that I love so much!  They are my place of peace on this earth like no other.  I reconnected with my old home on Lauderdale Avenue, and Chubb Lake behind it.  Both still hold my heart, as if I still lived there.  I also reconnected with some very special people to me -- friends that I'd missed since I was teen.  One I went to high school with, but we knew each other from our neighborhood.  There are no words to describe how good it was to see her.  The other two took me back to my pre-school and grade school years.  Wow!  What a weekend of reunions it was for me.  I also have made "new" friends with classmates from high school I never really got to know during our years at Cox High.  With my old friends, we just picked up where we left off and didn't miss a beat.  With the others, is as if we knew each other forever.  All it takes is some common ground for people to get along and care about each other in ways that make a difference.  We can have opposing views on important things to us, but it matters not.

Also, I let the anniversary of writing this blog go by unnoticed.  On purpose.  Last year, it was all about making it a milestone and to share some of the methods I believe the Lord led me to do to help myself, and to bring me to a place of healing.  I even made a couple of videos about it.  However, after the first of the year, I took those "marker" videos down.  Although, I still want to be a face for Epilepsy, so people can relate, it's not about reaching numbers any longer.  Or, creating awareness to the degree I desired to at one time,  Part of that was the learning to live with it process.  And, I did contact legislators and still talk to people as I feel prompted to, or when the opportunity arises.  But, to try to lead any semblance of a normal life, I can't focus it on it, nor allow it to absorb my positive energy.  I need that energy for other things.  And energy is a hot commodity for me.  These days, It's about being a witness for the Lord by the life I lead.  It's about trying to encourage others via the net and in person when I get the chance.  These days, it's about making a differences.  And that pretty much ques me in back to me.  During my years working for my old employer, one of my goals was to make a difference to our company and to some of the lives I touched on a daily basis.  Making positive contributions.  Going above and beyond.  I wasn't out to make a huge impacts, but little differences.  Maybe that's a small goal, but I've always been a one on one, small group kinda of gal.  Something I mentioned in my two videos last year.  I still am.  Now, I'm acting like it again.

As for how I am "this blog anniversary", each day is still different, yet still the same.  The 24/7 neuro sensations are constant and on-going.  It gets old!  The dull and sharp pains come and go, as does the shuddering in my head.  The needles and pins throughout my body, the vibrations in my thighs and tremor in my right hand are still very much there.  But, it's not an every moment thing.  Plus, the dexterity issue with my right hand seems a bit better.   Sometimes I keep it all at bay by distracting myself with the activities of the day.  Sometimes, I try, but I can't and when it's really bad, the end result is that I have to give in and be still as it all washes over me.  That's happened more in the past three weeks than it has all summer.  Extra pressure from the atmosphere, a storm moving through, a hurricane off the shore, allergies, or even a slight head cold can kick up what's become norm for me, quite a few degrees.  Rarely, do I allow them to get the best of me, but there are times there's simply no getting around it. 

As for me and the medical profession... it's been over a year now since I last went to Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, and I'm honestly, no worse for the wear.  I feel better having them literally out of my hair with EEG's that just seemed to require another and another.  My hair has actually grown because of it and is breaking off less.  Where it fell out from all of the glue and tugging from several EEG's back to back, has filled back in, thankfully. I still miss my original epileptologist at WF because we were getting somewhere when he was over my case.  The hope I felt was real because he put feet to it.  But, once he left to go to Texas Tech, that was it.  My faith and confidence in WF waned, and it wasn't because I wasn't a good patient.  My experience my last year, still leaves a bad taste in my mouth and even though I know I should pursue treatment at another facility.  I'm just not ready for it.  The diagnostic merry go round, guinea pig try this AED, and that AED syndrome is no fun for someone hypersentitive and idisyncratic with medications, on top of being labeled "atypical".  For now, I'm emotionally and mentally better off being my own person and not being controlled by "them" and their negativity.

In some ways, things are better in that the ever so pesky word retrieval issues have improved verbally a great deal.  In writing, I still have issues, but there has been improvement.  There's still a disconnect between what I write and what my eyes see at times.  I'm not sure how it works.  I can proof read over and over and not see the little screw ups.  Then go back moments later, and there they are glaring me in the face.  Some I leave, but there are others, I feel compelled to correct.   It's always embarrassing.  Everyone says get over it, and it doesn't matter.  It matters to me and as long as it annoys me, I'll keep pushing to improve.  My vocabulary still isn't what it was, but it's grown a little. 

Am I better, physically?  Not exactly.  Am I coping better emotionally?  Yes... since the beginning of the year I've been in a "peace at all costs" mode - groove - mindset.  It's caused me to deal with things and some people differently.  Perhaps, I'll share more about that at another time.

Am I accepting of the disease that wants to control my life?  No.  Absolutely, not.  I continue to push past and through at every avenue.  Sometimes sec by sec, sometimes minute by minute.  When I'm distracted I'm the most comfortable.  Time moves by much more swiftly and I don't feel the sensations so much.  I'm still using wisdom regarding my activities.  I'm still trying to be sensitive to the worries and concerns my mother and husband have for me.  I drive only very very rarely.  Outside when my husband isn't home, at least two of my Springers are always with me.  I get dizzy easily, so I don't do yard work alone outside my fence.  I very much miss my freedom.  Sometimes, I miss it horribly and it effects what I accomplish at home as I hit a same ole same ole place.   But, I've yet to find a comfortable routine.

But, again... as I've said before, I'm blessed.  I have no problems in comparison to what so many people must endure.  Each day is in fact a new day and a new opportunity to look for beauty in my surroundings.  And without the contrast of my challenges, would the beauty I see even in the imperfections, be as vivid and meaningful to me?  Probably not. 

This thorn in my side called Epilepsy has given me an awareness of a higher degree than I've ever had before, and an appreciation for so much in this thing called life...

Where my next entry will take me, who knows?  Betcha it will be sooner, than later!  Ha!

Until then, here's a bit of Richmond County from the ground and a little town called Hamlet, NC...


Rocket Man said...

I loved the slide show, Jeanne, and Roxy is a doll! That depot building is wonderful!

I have a feeling for what you're going through on the medical front. If I had been referred to my current orthopedic surgeon and PCP at the outset instead of bounced around from specialist to specialist I might not be in the boat I'm in now. That said, I'm thankful for what I now have and, at every opportunity, refuse to let my injuries rule my life. That's not always an option but trying to maintain a positive attitude seems to help.

We're keeping you and yours in our thoughts and prayers.

Jeanne said...

Thanks, Rocket Man for your kind and understanding comments. I know you know firsthand what it's like for your life to change unexpectedly, and the challenges and transitions it brings. I'm very sorry that your overall condition could have been much improved had you been directed to the right orthopedic surgeon and PCP. In my own way, I can relate to that as well, but with me, had I sought help at the immediate onset of what were some unique cluster seizures, some brain damage would not have occurred. We all have "what ifs" that can plague us, if we let them. But, they get us no where. Like you, I choose not to allow my "now" to impact my attitude. Regardless of what my "now" is -- if that makes any sense.

Thanks also for your comment about little Roxy. She's an amazing dog, and is keenly tuned into me. She knows we share similar problems and has taken on the role of being my constant, ever present, companion.

Your prayers and thoughts are very much appreciated, and you are in mine, as well. God bless you, Rocket Man!

Gigi said...

One of these days, I will be on a train that takes me through Hamlet - I'm just going to plan for it!! Good luck with the website - how exciting to be a part of was meant to be!

Speaking of *meant to be*...ROXY!! What a sweetheart! Another part of God's perfect plan! I look forward to reading more about her and seeing her sweet face (and hair bows)!

More pictures - YAY! I know you say they're for Steve, but I like to see them as a little gift in my day too! So beautiful - as always...but oh - the morning fog in the trees, the shot of the moon in the brilliant blue sky, the shadow of your PPC on the field far below...I especially loved those!

God bless you as you continue your always, I look forward to your next (sooner rather than later!) post!

Jeanne said...

Gigi, you just say "when" and we'll be at the HHD waving at you! Thanks for your good luck wishes with the web site. It's going be really nice if it comes together as I see it in my mind's eye. It's something I've wanted to change for a long long time, and now the door not only opened up, but the project was passed on to me immediately. That's God! He knew it was a desire of my heart.

Oh yes, little Roxy was meant to be. I've had confirmation, after confirmation. She and I are a perfect match and she fits perfectly in our Springer family. She's honestly the most normal dog I've ever had, too! LOL

And thanks for your kind words and enthusiasm about my pictures. I've slowed down somewhat on my photo taking, but with Fall upon us, I'm sure more opportunities will arise. If you're a train lover, stay tuned...

God bless you, Gigi. You're quite the role model for perseverance and strength. Love and hugs...

September 21, 2010 9:52 AM