My husbands heart

It's funny how my youngest daughter (both have Downs Syndrome) sits in her bedroom on the other side of the wall from my office with her play cell phone pretending to be me on the phone with a client. She refers to my clients as "Mom friend". She's right. I think of each of my clients as "friend".

I got the best news yesterday morning! My husband and I have been married 29 years as of this month. As women, we know the learning curve is broad. However, I have also learned we each need to have our unique journey. Everything happens for a reason.

In April 2010, my horse died at age 17 suddenly of heart failure. I discovered he had an extremely severe magnesium deficiency, which is critical for heart function, and so he died 10 years earlier than he should have. All these things may seem unrelated, but keep reading.

My husband has had cardiovascular related health problems since his first heart attack at age 21. He thought is was inherited, because his grandfather had the same issues. I got my breast cancer diagnosis just about the same time my husband had his last 3 heart attacks when we were both 30, so I didn't tell him I had cancer until over a decade later because I knew my cancer would be short lived and I didn't want to stress him over it. Since his last heart attacks, he's been afraid to stop taking the heart medications. He said, "I'm going to do what the doctor tells me to." I asked, "What did the doctor say?" He said he didn't know. "Just take these medications." I kinda took an ostrich head in the sand approach because I was dealing with my own life threatening health problems with continually advancing Systemic Candidiasis, Leaky Gut, progressively deteriorating undiagnosed large abdominal hernia and four prolapses, and severe malnutrition. What kept me going was knowing I needed to get my health back and out-live my husband and my children. I wanted to finish the job God gave me to do, and that's to take care of them.

I had to recover my health and go to college so I can help my "best friend". I've been helping so many people all over the country recover their health, but unable to help my husband. The person who means more to me than anyone else in this world. But, I held space for him and allowed him to have his journey and learn life lessons, while gradually guiding his diet in the right direction. You have to work where you can and not where you can't.

I've had a terrible feeling this past year. It motivated me to do more research into cardiovascular health and the biochemistry involved in that system. What I learned shocked me! I knew medications were bad, but I had no idea how BAD. As I shared bits and pieces of information with him, so as not to overwhelm him, it landed. Then I explained about the magnesium deficiency he's had all this time is the original cause of all his troubles and how it's been getting worse, based on his symptoms. When I connected it with my horse dying of sudden heart failure due to severe magnesium deficiency, it got his attention. I said, "I don't want that to happen to you!" He has learned to trust my intuition and premonitions. They have served me well in the past many times.

Sometimes I've got to put "death" on the table to help someone truly understand the situation they are in. I visualize two outcomes and hold the big picture for them until I must tell it like it is. That happens rarely, but when it is necessary, I step up -- out of love and genuine concern for their future. The truth spoken in love is always heard. I shared with him this story.

Tim Russel was described by his own doctor as a "model patient' who died from his first heart attack at 58 years old. He was on all the classic medications for high cholesterol, aspirin to prevent blood clots and heart attacks, and blood pressure medication. He had mild hypertension, and elevated triglycerides. All controlled. His latest blood work showed a cholesterol of a staggering 105 and rock bottom HDL of 37. You need a total cholesterol of at least 200 to make hormones and the reference range is >199. Seriously! The autopsy revealed an enlarged heart, the early stage of heart failure. In addition, poisoning the enzyme to make cholesterol leads to high blood pressure by compromising the beta-receptors and calcium channels in the heart cell membranes. As a consequence, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers are used for resultant hypertension. Beta-blockers for high blood pressure raise triglycerides and cause diabetes, lower CoQ10 and zinc, and lower HDL. This is the exact opposite of what you want. Both propel you toward a faster death. I could go on, but you get the idea.

God moved me to contact the cardiologist office. I requested his labs for the past 3 years and was delighted how accommodating they were to send them. I was horrified to see the numbers. Not a high LDL but a dangerously low HDL, which is more of an indication of risk for sudden cardiac arrest. The lab reference range is >40. Anything below 60 is cause for concern. Even mine is in the 50's but my husband's is in the 20's. The doctor doesn't say anything about the low HDL and only focuses on high LDL. What they don't know can kill you! Magnesium raises HDL, stops arrhythmias and spasm, acts as a calcium channel blocker and much more. He needs magnesium and a lot of other nutrients, not Crestor.

I requested his cardiologist order a Cardio/ION panel and C Reactive Protein test. Doctors are not accustomed to patients or their spouses speaking to them as equals, but he agreed to order the test. He admitted in all his years of practice he's only ever ordered the Cardio/ION test once. He should be ordering it for every one of his cardiac patients, because the serum mineral levels he's been requesting on my husband are worthless. Regardless of the Cardio/ion panel results, which would confirm what I already know, I'm proceeding with what I've put together to reverse his condition. It is the most ambitious, important and long over-due adventure I've undertaken.

Yesterday, I got the okay from my husband to take over his health care. I feel like a race horse just let out of the starting gate. To my total amazement, he told me he stopped taking all his medications three weeks ago before his last blood test, when I told him what they were doing to him. They cause diabetes and his glucose numbers are creeping up. They poison thyroid hormone, raise triglycerides -- which causes more ADMA (an enzyme) to be made, causing arginine deficiency which makes his kidneys waste magnesium. It is a vicious cycle. The biochemistry needs to be fixed. This is a total 180 degree turn for him, and I had to do an about-face to keep up. When I make up my mind to do something, it's as good as already done. Today, he's going to start a new protocol. It is going to be intense, expensive and a lot of work, but something I have waited years to start. It's "do or die" time.

As women, we are hard wired to care for our husbands. I told my husband several times over the years, "I have more to gain from you being healthy and more to lose if you are not healthy than your doctor does, who you are trusting with your life. Who should you be trusting with your life?"

We get the information we need when we are ready to receive it. I love to watch how God moves us and the interaction that takes place among us. No experience is ever wasted. Everything that happens is connected to the bigger picture. How amazing is the journey each of us is on. For many of us, our husbands are stubbornly resistant to changing their bad habits and diet that isn't serving them. They want to literally have their cake and eat it too. We must take care of ourselves so we can take care of them when their learning curve comes to an end and their ready to do what is necessary to regain their health. It isn't selfish to take care of yourself - first. We want to take care of others out of a cup that overflows, instead of a dry vessel, because that's the only way we can give them our very best.

I learned Taurine (amino acid) deficiency predisposes to seizures and heart disease. Medication for seizures causes taurine deficiency. Dilantin (for seizures) is the first medication my husband was put on at 8 years old. Taurine transports minerals into cells and helps cells retain minerals, especially magnesium, calcium and potassium. Deficiency of those minerals cause seizures and cardiovascular problems. Medications, especially Acetaminophen cause taurine deficiency, and he took it often for headaches, which are caused by calcium and potassium deficiency.

Top sources of taurine are red meat and egg yolks. Sulfur vegetables help the body assimilate and use taurine, but high heat destroys nutrition, so the garlic, onion, leek and sea salt were sautéed over very low heat in olive oil until just tender. Egg whites were cooked the same way and added to the onion mixture and served with raw egg yolks (a multi-vitamin) broken over top and mixed together. The meat was cooked on very low temperature until medium. He said he really liked his breakfast this morning and it was filling.

Don't I wish I had someone like me to take care of me when I was sick for so many years. But that was not my journey. Now I do for him what I would want done for me. I am 110% invested in helping him restore his health. I visualize the outcome I desire and do what it takes to make it happen -- no excuses. When he starts to complain about anything, I say, "Don't attach any emotion to it, just do it (the plan)." Compassion for the human condition and my passion for health consume me, and drive me. I am a force that is unstoppable when my mind is set on a goal. How often I wish I could send myself to each clients home and help them the same way.

Drive to Arkansas

A woman, we will call her Helen, reached out to me through a mutual acquaintance. Her husband left her and took the children. The house was being foreclosed on and she had to be out within the month. Her mother was getting chemotherapy and radiation treatments and exposure to her made her sick every time she'd stop by on her way home from treatments. She was so toxic her home made her sick and she couldn't get a correct diagnosis. She'd been to so many doctors that her state funded medical assistance wouldn't pay for it anymore. They said she was "crazy" and the family was ready to have her committed to a facility. She was desperate for help.

God said, "Johnna, I want you to drive to Arkansas and bring her to your home." We had a conversation! I said, "Lord, I don't know this person! My SUV has 240,000 miles on it. I know you've given me a home where it would not be toxic to her, but why me?" He said, "Go." I thought, 'If I was in her situation, I'd hope for someone to help me.' Okay, so my daughters and I left at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning in July. We arrived at Helen's home at 10:30 p.m., in the rain and we slept in my full size SUV. The next morning Helen left with what would fit in my 8 foot utility trailer and we arrived back home on my mountain at 12 midnight Monday. I'd driven almost 2,000 miles in two days. I am so tenacious, I scare myself!

She stayed with us for two months, during which time she spoke to her mother on the phone who was grateful for my help, because her parents didn't know what to do for their daughter. I kept seeing symptoms that were vague at first but as the weeks passed they became more obvious. We are near Johns Hopkins Hospital, so I tried to get her an appointment with anyone who would see her. The problems is her medical insurance wouldn't pay for out of state doctor visits. One day she fell in the bathroom, so the ambulance came and took her to the emergency room at the local hospital. They didn't know what was wrong with her and wanted to send her home with me. They asked me if she was on heroin or other drug, because of her behavior and I said, "No." I refused to take her home until they determined what was causing her symptoms. I stayed with her over night in the hospital and the next morning when the doctors changed shifts, I implored the new physician assigned to her care to look deeper.

They discovered she had a tumor growing in one chamber of her heart and when it would move and block the valve, stopping blood flow, she had a mini-stroke. She was rushed to Washington D.C. heart specialty hospital and the next day had open heart surgery. God knew she had to get out of Arkansas and end up in the emergency room, where her insurance had to pay, to get help. I was nothing more than a link between where she was and where she needed to be. We have not communicated since. No-one said, "thank you," but I know God was pleased with my service. When He says, "Do," I obey.

During our drive to and from Arkansas, I prayed God would hold my SUV together. I had an uneasy feeling about driving it with that many miles on it, but I trusted God would get us safely home. One week after that trip the differential had a big hole in it and leaked oil. It had to be replaced. Wow! That was close.

Healed people, heal people

In the fall of 2015, God sent me a "memo". It said, "Go see your mother soon, or you may never see her again." Past experience has taught me to listen to this "voice" when it speaks. It comes from nowhere and has no connection whatsoever to what's going on in my thought life or external world at the time. It usually stops me in my tracks. I hope you can relate.

I called my mother and asked if I could visit her in the spring. She was greatly surprised I wanted to travel to wherever she was to see her. I had no idea where she moved to. After I purchased their house in 1996 (God is so good; I bought my inheritance!), my parents traveled the country looking for where they wanted to live. They even went to Hawaii! I purchase their home so my father would move far, far away from me, and it worked. The casualty of that act was I didn't get to see or speak to my mom much. We grew up together and she's always been my best friend. She'd call every few months and we talked for 10-20 minutes, but she never said much about herself or what she was doing. She used to come once a year and stay with us for about 4-6 weeks after we first adopted our girls, but she can't drive anymore and travel just isn't possible for her these days. It had been eleven years since the last time she visited and I missed her.

I had no idea where they decided to call home, so I didn't know where I'd be going, but I was prepared to travel anywhere. I purchased my tickets for Amtrak and a flight on an 8 passenger Cessna airplane. Yea! Like put wings on my Toyota Sequoia — that size plane. My mother asked, "When did you become so brave?" I replied, "Mom, if you lived on the moon, I'd get on the Space Shuttle." What bothered me most is it would be a three hour flight — without a bathroom. Obviously, I couldn't take much luggage either.

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I purchased a new horse in February 2016 but was determined not to ride it until after my trip because I didn't want anything to happen to me that would prevent me from going to see my mother in May, the week before Mother's Day. It was tough, but I didn't ride him. My bags were packed on the living room floor for weeks before my trip, and I repacked them several times trying to figure out how to take only what I absolutely needed for 5 days.

Two weeks before my trip, I started to feel anxiety about seeing my father again. I saw him briefly in 2001, when he came to my home to see my mother during one of her visits. I didn't know he'd come with her. He was staying somewhere else. I thought, 'How would it be to stay in his house again, talk to him, and feel his energy?' I caught myself going into right brain, emotion driven fight or flight thinking and stopped allowing myself to entertain those thoughts any longer. I made the conscious decision to get into my left brain, where logical, creative, wise, authentic mindset is and think through this without attaching emotion to it. My mother told me anxiety was building in him too, anticipating being with me again. I remembered things I learned in college and began to apply those principles to this situation.

In college, my instructor said something that really resonated with me, "Every generation is called upon to heal the wounds of past generations they could not heal." My father was abused as a child by his mother and she was abused by her mother. At nineteen years old, I decided the family curse would end with me and I had my tubes tied. I didn't want to have children until I got my head straight. I would rather not have children than to take a chance I'd do to them what was done to me. That healing took 20 years. I realized, however long you endure something, that's at least how long it will take to recover emotionally from it. We adopted children when I was 39. We never understand our parents better than after we become parents. Despite how much I wanted a relationship with my father, as any daughter would, I found it impossible to have a conversation with him, much less a relationship.

My father hadn't changed much, but I'd changed enough for the both of us. I thought to myself, "I can do this!" The purpose of this trip started out just to see my mom, but turned into bringing healing to my dad. I hadn't thought of or referred to him as "dad" since very early childhood. God was working on my heart and I was overwhelmed with compassion for him, but I wasn't fully sure why.

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The day finally came! I left my home with one focus. I would visualize what I wanted to have happen on my trip, step into my personal power, project that positive vision and energy into the world and make it contagious. What you project is what comes back to you. I would be a blessing to every person who crossed my path from the time I left home, until I returned. It was Monday and my train would leave at 4:05 p.m. I arrived at Union Station in Washington D.C. and learned about a freight train derailment on the tracks between D.C. and Pittsburg, PA. They almost canceled the train, but decided to put everyone on 6 motor coach buses and drive us 6 hours to the station in Pittsburg.

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As I entered the crowded bus, I noticed a very large man sitting in the front seat behind the wall where the steps came into the bus. He was wearing oxygen and looked very unwell. I asked if I could sit with him. He smiled and said "yes" as he sized me up and decided I would fit. I told him I used to drive these busses, but I've never been a passenger before. About 10 minutes into our trip I asked him, "Your legs are very likely cramping up behind the wall. Would you like to change places so you can stretch your legs out in the isle?" He was happy and grateful I made the suggestion, and it was a great relief for him.

Across the isle behind the driver sat two Amish ladies. As we came into Pittsburg, it was almost midnight and raining. I noticed the driver made a wrong turn and I immediately got on my cell phone to locate the station on GPS. I directed the driver and we arrived at the station within five minutes. The two Amish ladies turned to me and said, "We got here thanks to your technology." It was precious. As everyone on the bus was getting off, I suddenly realized I had a "fan club". As we were collecting our luggage, I overheard people saying, "Follow the lady in the pink sweater." Having been the social outcast in school and most of my adult life, this was a totally foreign experience for me. How wonderful it would have been to experience this social interaction as a child, but as an adult I wasn't comfortable with it. They followed me into the station and I looked to see when my train would be leaving and from where, as I got my boarding pass. Seeking to remove myself from the unfamiliar social situation I found myself in, I looked around the station for somewhere to sit. In the corner sat several Amish people, so I went over to them. I noticed a woman sitting beside her teenage daughter with Downs Syndrome holding her doll and decided to show some love to them. As I folded a sheet of paper into an origami frog, I told the mother about my two adopted daughters with Downs Syndrome and she told me about her daughter, Rebecca. As I handed Rebecca the paper frog and showed her how it hops, I felt I'd been a blessing to her mom. I took a seat near the back of that section, satisfied that I'd been forgotten by my fellow passengers on the bus, but thankful to have experienced the love they showed me.

Ironwood 1

It was very late and I just wanted to get some sleep, but the man on the other side of the isle from me in the handicap accessible train car wanted to talk. He was an older man who entered the train car in his own personal scooter. His energy was stagnant and he complained about every little thing. He was living in his own "pitty-party" and wanted us to join him. I tried to be polite and ask that he let me sleep, but it was as if he didn't hear me. Somehow I managed to tune him out and sleep. I awoke early to blissful silence and then the man across from me woke up a couple hours later. As I ate the homemade blueberry pancakes I'd packed, he began to tell me his life story. I was very interested in what he had to say, but asked him to please stop using bad language. His speech was filled with "f" and "s" words. I insisted he stop using those words if he wanted to talk to me because I have standards for how I accept being talked to. He said, "I have standards too!" I replied, "Then raise them please, sir." I respected myself and him to much to allow him to continue talking that way. Then the most surprising thing happened. The other ladies seated behind him said, "Yes, your language is very offensive." The man made the adjustment and was much easier to listen to after that. 'How awesome it would have been if my peers had supported me like this when I was a child,' I thought. I appreciated the experience, if only once in my life. He and I had a nice conversation after that and I learned a lot about his journey. Some of us are chosen to have a rough life filled with trials, but it's what we choose to do with those experiences that determines if we become better or bitter. I believe I was a blessing to him, to some extent. I consider each encounter as a potential — Divine appointment, when God puts me in someone's day for a few minutes or hours to show them love.

When I learned of the delay resulting from the train derailment and subsequent later departure time for the connecting train in Pittsburg, I began to worry about being late for my flight. Then I caught myself and mentally created spaciousness, living as if there was enough time. My mom had been trying frantically to reach me on my cell phone all morning. My husband called and said, "Call your mom." She said, "What ever it costs, please take a cab from the train station to the airport and don't get on the subway train, because you may make it to the airport but your luggage will not." Even though my train arrived one hour late, I ended up arriving 1 hour before my scheduled departure on the tiny plane.

Ironwood 5

The idea of not having a bathroom on the plane for 3 hours almost terrified me. In anxious anticipation of not being able to hold my bladder for more than an hour, I decided not to drink fluids that morning. On the plane, I was so dehydrated it gave me motion sickness. Determined not to use the barf-bags provided in the back of the seat in front of me, I fixed my eyes on a smudge on the wing support outside my window. I'd packed an apple, not sure why at the time, but thankful it was there. It had just enough moisture to rehydrate me and the motion sickness subsided. Take-off was rough until we reached 7,000 feet and coming in for a landing was rougher. As a large plane experiences turbulence, it can be a little unnerving. In this little plane, it was down right frightening. In my mind, I visualized an eagle or large hawk, wings outstretched, soaring over a valley. Its body twisted and wings adjusted as turbulence passed by. 'I was in a slightly larger bird and it's just adjusting to the wind. No big deal,' I told myself. The mind is so powerful, and in college I learned to no longer allow my mind to overpower my will or frighten me into inactivity. I would step out of my comfort zone and experience life. My college instructor said, "If you're not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space."

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I arrived in the tiny airport 30 minutes earlier than expected and waited for my parents to pick me up. The entire building was not much bigger than my house. My mom stepped in the front door of the airport and I was the only person seated there. She always gives great hugs! We walked out to see my father standing by the car they'd borrowed, because their small two person pick-up truck wouldn't accommodate the three of us. I could feel his energy. A couple weeks before my trip my mother told me, "Your father has decided to give us space and just let us have a nice visit." That's the energy I felt from him, but my energy reached him before I did. I dropped my luggage, opened my arms wide and embraced him like never before. "Hi Dad," I said. I could tell he noticed — I said, "Dad." I was taught in college that we resonate with each other's energy, and in that moment I felt his energy was influenced by mine; it shifted. It was 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday.

We went to their home where he'd put together a bed in the living room. I thought it was for me, but he gave me his bed upstairs with my mother. They've always had two twin size beds, like you see on tv shows from the 1960's. I didn't know until Saturday morning that the whole time we were at their home, I'd been sitting in his favorite chair in the kitchen, and he didn't mind. He treated me like an honored guest.

The next morning they drove me 110 miles to meet people who wanted to meet me. 'Obviously, they must have been talking about me,' I thought. While we were there, I stopped at Whole Foods to buy food for my stay. They drove me around their small town and told me about its history. In my mind, I made time almost stand still as I stayed in the present and absorbed everything, because I may never get to come back here again.

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Thursday, Dad went to work in his pick-up truck and I drove my mom around in the borrowed car. We visited antique shops on Main Street and collected colorful stones on the beach of Lake Superior. We stopped at her home for lunch and then headed to the consignment shop, where she worked in a 125 year old building. We were two entrepreneurs sharing ideas and talking about being in business.

She was standing on the top step of the staircase made of thick, rough-cut lumber. A natural stone and mortar wall was behind her and she held the banister in front of her as she flipped on a switch for the basement lights. "I want your opinion about how I can organize the basement," she said. In the second that followed the end of that sentence, she yelled and fell backward down the steps. I'd been walking toward her from about 20 feet away when she fell. As I ran to the top of the staircase and then down the steps, I remembered the memo, "Go see your mother or you may never see her again." I would never be ready to lose her, especially not now. As I came to her, laying on her back with her legs laying straight and about shoulder width apart up the first few steps, I noticed a river of blood running from the back of her head across the filthy concrete floor. She opened her eyes and looked up at the rough cut, thick beams holding the wood plank floor above. She asked, "What happened? Why am I on the floor?" Her world was spinning.

She told me where her homeopathic remedies were and I got them from a drawer behind the counter, upstairs. I gave her the remedies and went to get some ice for her head. I ran to one of the antique shops we'd visited that morning and they were closed. It wasn't until the lady inside saw my bloody hand waving through the glass shop window that she came and unlocked the door. She followed me to where my mother was and then went to get ice. When she returned, there were two paramedics and a police officer with her. My father also arrived. I slowed time down in my mind even more during those few minutes as I observed the paramedics assessing her condition. I expected my father to speak-up when she told the emergency medical team she didn't want to go to the hospital. 'He would know better than I what to do,' I thought. He seemed to fade into the background behind me. My mother sat up and the world started spinning again. I thought, 'Was this something I could handle or did she actually need to go to the emergency room?' I knew, from our many conversations on the phone over the past 25 years, she didn't want them to put a bunch of stuff in her veins and she's very self sufficient when it comes to managing her own health. Then the policeman, who was standing on the step above my mothers feet said, "As the officer on the scene I am making a judgement call and you are going to the hospital." At that moment I had to step up and advocate for my mother, "I'm her daughter and she says she doesn't want to go, so I will take care of her. However, I would greatly appreciate if you could help her get up the stairs. Thank you."

When Dad and I got her home, he retrieved a large tool box from the closet and disappeared. In it was all their medical supplies. Everything I could need, short of doing brain surgery, was in that box. As my mom was on her knees bent over the side of the bath tub, I explored the pancake of debris, hair and dried blood on the back of her head. I said, "Dad just disappeared. I'm going to take that as he thinks I can handle this." She replied, "It's very hard on him whenever something happens to me, and usually he's the only one who can help me, so he manages, but it's very difficult emotionally for him in the moment. It's good you were here." I had to cut the hair down to the scalp and close up the 3 inch horizontal gash in the back of her scalp. I wrapped her head with a gauze bandage and stayed up with her until midnight. Mom and I talked and we figured out what happened. She'd had a stroke. That's why she fell. She had bruises on her arms and back where you could see she tried to grab the stone wall on the way down and then landed on the front edge of each step. The front edge of the bottom step is what struck her head and then she slid onto the floor. She broke a rib, but considering her age she faired very well. Most older women would have broken a hip or something. She felt bad, "I'm sorry. I wanted us to have a good visit." I stopped her and told her about the "memo". "I was supposed to be here for this. It is an honor and privilege to get to take care of you," I said. She went to bed.

I wondered where my father went. I didn't care that it was after midnight and I was too wound up to think about going to sleep. I went down to the kitchen where I found him making something hot to drink. I asked, "Dad, are you okay?" This man who I remember as a child being so big and strong was softer and almost weary of life. I would have to say, I believe we talked more that evening than my mother and I did the whole time I was there. Not so much in words, really. It was the most honest conversation we've ever had. I intuited with him, read between the lines and learned his greatest concern. He watched how his aunts and uncles didn't respect the wishes of his grandmother, who died at 101, the last few years of her life. He observed how his older brothers didn't honor their mothers wishes during her last years. He was afraid I wouldn't honor their wishes when it was their time. I know he doesn't put any confidence in people's words, but he believes what he sees and expects their actions to back-up what they say. I think, seeing me back-up my mother earlier that day gave him confidence that as their oldest child, I would honor their wishes.

Ironwood 9

Friday morning we went to my mom's shop and she opened up for a day of business, as usual. She wore a hat to cover the bandage, but I could see her face looked more relaxed than the day before; almost sagging. Her memory and speech was fine, so I knew the homeopathic remedies had done their job and she was recovering well. We got to do everything we wanted to do during my visit. That afternoon, people came from as far as 80 miles away to meet me. I felt like a celebrity! As I was talking to one of the ladies who came to see me, my father entered and sat down at a table behind me to eat his lunch. The lady looked past me at him and said, "I bet you're proud of your daughter." As I turned my head to look at him he said words I never thought I would ever hear him say., "I am extremely proud of Johnna." For the first time since my younger sister was born, I felt like the apple of his eye and like I'm the only child.

That evening Dad made spaghetti while mom and I sat at the kitchen table. We talked about my daughters and my husband. I got to observe my fathers goofy side and remember his sense of humor. I could appreciate his humanity. I put together things I already knew and what I learned from my mother as we walked on the beach Thursday morning.

  • President J. F. Kennedy had been assassinated November 1963, just after he and my 16 year old mother married on October 21st.
  • I was born in May 1964, when my father was a senior in high school. Before I was born, he stopped smoking and sold his car, so he could afford health insurance. It was he who noticed I was sick and rushed me to the hospital. The doctors said if I'd gotten there just a few hours later, I would have died. I almost died at two weeks old and needed medical care — that insurance paid for.
  • I knew Pop (my grandfather) died when I was six months old. What I didn't know and learned during my trip, was that my father was very, very close to his father. It was devastating for him to loose his father at 18 years old. I can't imagine the depth of his grief.
  • My father graduated high school, took a job sanding cabinets in a carpentry shop breathing that dust all day, and then attended drafting classes at night. He rode the bus everywhere because he had no car. He worked very hard to provide for his new family, and even though we qualified for public assistance, he wouldn't take it and paid the reduced rent in public housing without financial assistance.
  • US forces became involved in ground combat operations in Vietnam in 1965. When they were drafting married men with no children, I was there. When they were drafting married men with one child, my sister had been born in 1967. American society was divided by the ultimately futile war and by anti-war and anti-draft protests. The US began withdrawing men from ground combat roles in the early 1970s. We just barely kept my father out of the war, but knowing the kind of man he is, who is willing to fight for justice and defend those he cares for with his life, my mother and I both agreed he wouldn’t have made it back.
  • We landed on the Moon, July 20,1969.
  • There was increased racial tension in the USA between 1964-1970.
  • There was the recession of 1969-70, which then faltered under new foreign competition and the 1973 oil crisis.
  • Then there was the shocking Watergate scandal in the early 1970’s, which revealed corruption and gross misconduct at the highest level of government.
What a tremendous amount of responsibility he had to bear at such a young age, and during incredibly turbulent times! I had to admire his strength of character, total dedication and tenacity. All the bad memories I had began to be replaced by brief glimpses of his playfulness I remember growing up. As a little girl, I had ideas of how a father should show his love. My love language was hugs, encouraging words and spending time with me. When that didn't happen, because he was so stressed and working so hard, I thought he didn't love me. When I got the exact opposite, I thought he hated me. Now I can look back and see clearly his love language is acts of service, protecting, and providing for his family. When I look at my childhood through that perspective, he loved me more than anything.

I began packing my suitcase Saturday morning and overheard my father ask my mother, "Why is Johnna packing her suitcase?" I felt his heart sink when she told him my flight leaves at 11 a.m. He thought I was leaving on Monday. In that moment, I wished I wasn't leaving until Monday. As we were getting closer to the airport, I overheard them talking about how their day would go. Mom asked, "Do you want to drop Johnna off or go into the airport and see her off?" He said, "We will be opening the store late as it is, so I think we will be dropping her off." That's not what I wanted, so I began to visualize what I wanted to have happen and how I would create it.

I wanted my father to video tape me saying good bye to my mother, but I knew if I gave him the camera first, they'd leave right after and I wanted my mother to video tape me saying good-bye to my father. So, knowing him as well as I do, I decided to have my mother video tape he and I first. Then, he'd have to stay around to video tape she and I. When we got to the airport they helped me get my luggage inside. Then, as I visualized what I wanted and projected my vision out into the world, they not only stayed, but they watched me go through security. Then when I went out the back door of the "airport," which they could observe from the front waiting area, they walked out and around to the side of the building. They watched through a 12 foot high chain link fence as I got on the plane, and as my plane lifted off I could see them still standing there.

Ironwood 10

During the flight home, I watched the video. I could hear my father weeping as he held the camera. When my mother was recording I made sure he was facing her so I could see his expression as I said, "I love you dad" and I hugged him with all the love I wanted him to feel from me for the rest of his days. It was precious.

My mother and I talked every day on the phone for the next week after I left. It took her an entire week before she was able to keep her composure long enough to tell me, "Your father cried like a baby every day for a week after you left because he realized how much he missed you."

His 70th birthday was in June and my mother reminded me. I called and left a message on his phone, wishing him happy birthday. He wrote me a letter and said, "Your happy birthday wish really touched me deeply, especially when you said, 'I love you Dad.' I didn't think anything could pierce this suit of armor I've been wearing for so long."

Mom and I talk on the phone at least once a week for about an hour. Sometimes my father says, "Hi" to me in the background as he passes by her in the store. I can feel his love and that's all I've ever wanted.

Ironwood 7

I wish you many great adventures, optimal health, safe travels, and many blessings!

I understand now

I found God

I have found God! I was raised Atheist. In my youth, I was taught that there is no God. If God existed, why couldn't we see Him?

I believe science has been staring at the "face" of God since Einstein published his papers in 1905. The equation E=mc^2 explains God.

This world is made up of MATTER and ENERGY.

There are a few characteristics about energy that caught my attention immediately, and resinated with me once they were explained.
1) You can't see energy, yet it exists. You can see what energy does, but you can't see energy.
We can't see God. We can only see what He does.

2) Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Energy has no beginning and it has no end.
God cannot be created or destroyed, and He has no beginning or end. God is energy.

3) Energy and matter are interchangeable. It takes a massive amount of energy to create a tiny bit of matter.
Energy (God) created everything that is "physical matter". Time has no influence on God. By our limited understanding of the laws of physics, Energy (God) works or travels near the speed of light. God didn't need millions or billions of years to create. Creation happened near the speed of light.

4) It is important to understand the nature of energy. When a body begins to move twice as fast as it’s moving now, it does not use twice as much energy, but four times more. This is related to the formula of kinetic energy: kinetic energy = (1/2) x mass x velocity 2. This is why the velocity is squared? The planets, which are undoubtably massive, move. It takes 4x more energy to move the them! The energy that moves the solar systems is God. He sustains everything with His energy, because He is energy.

5) Pure energy is electromagnetic radiation, and electromagnetic radiation moves near the speed of light in a perfect vacuum. God said, "Let their be light", and there was light. Visible light is one kind of electromagnetic wave that is commonly known and experienced. God is described in the Bible as Pure Light. Jn 1:5 That's energy.

God destroyed the world with a flood of water. The rainbow He put in the sky, as a promise not to destroy the world with water again, was electromagnetic energy (light) penetrating through water vapor (remember the flood).

6) The conversion of matter to energy, and energy to matter happens near the speed of light, but it also creates light or fire. When wood burns its conversion from matter to energy is what we see as fire. Think of the burning bush and Moses, or the pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness. Ex. 3:21

There are various forms of energy. Our spirits are one form of energy. When our spirits leave our bodies, we will be able to see God, because we will be "like" Him; energy. 1 Jn 3:1-3. This is evidence that our spirit was made to be immortal.

A conversation I had with my great-grandmother when she was 95 years old made this fact very real to me. She once said to me, "When did someone put me in this old body? Inside I feel like a much wiser 25 year old." This was my first awareness that our souls don't age and that we have a sense of immortality. Where will we spend eternity when our education in this physical body is done and we graduate? Either with a passing or a failing grade.

God attempts to explain His nature to us in His word, in a way that we can understand it. God is described in the Bible as "Pure Light". Light is energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. God cannot be created or destroyed. Energy (God) has always existed and always will. Before the world was, "I am," He said. Time has no affect on God. Creation happened near the speed of light. We can't see energy, and that is why we can't see God. We can only see what He (Energy) does. God is energy.

This morning, in January 2015, it all made sense and I had an "ah ha" moment. What do you think about energy? Email me your thoughts. I have been a Christian since I was 21 years old (33 years), but I am not super spiritual or religious, and I don't profess to have attained spiritual enlightenment, but I do always desire to please God by serving others out of my devotion and love for Him, and to gain greater understanding and spiritual awareness.

This new understanding lead me to wonder. Our physical body returns to dust and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Gen. 2:7, 3:19, Eccl. 12:7 Matter is physical substance in general, as distinct from mind and spirit. In physics, that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy, is matter. This is the structure and properties of matter.

As best as I can understand, there are different forms of matter and different forms of energy, but basically everything falls into those two categories; matter or energy. Man is spirit energy dwelling in a physical body made of matter (dust). When the spirit separates from the body, the body stops working. The "battery" (energy source) has been removed, so to speak. The body "dies". Js. 2:26. There is a spiritual resurrection in which the spirit separates from the body, and those who have done good will enter into heaven ("to be separate from the body is to be present with the Lord") and those who have done evil will enter into hell. Jn. 5:29

How would a spirit (energy) experience hell? Hell is described as unquenchable, everlasting fire, continual burning and torment; Mt. 25:41, Lk 16:23-26. It is described as a lake of fire and brimstone, with a great gulf fixed between heaven and hell; Rev. 20:14. Fire is created when matter is converted into energy. But what if the spirit were held there in that transition indefinitely. Is this the spirit's experience of "hell"? Is hell located in that transition between matter and energy?

If the Spirit of God dwells in you on earth (1 Cor. 3:16, 1 Jn. 4:13), then your spirit will dwell with Him in heaven (2 Cor. 5:6-8). Hell is separation from God, and heaven is being in His presence, but both are for eternity, because time has no affect on energetic beings, whether they are spirits, angels or God Himself.

These are the kinds of things I sometimes ponder as I meditate on His word, always expecting clarity from God.
Copyright 2015-2018©Johnna Wheeler

Repeated misdiagnosis almost killed me

When I was a child, it was strongly emphasized many times that because I have Dyslexia, I basically have "no brain." In fact, at school I was put in the same class with mentally retarded children where I got very good grades. But, when they put me in class with average students, I got C's and D's. My value and usefulness as a human being had everything to do with how strong I was and how hard I could work. I am an "all or nothing" kind of person, so I took that to the extreme. In a futile attempt to make my father proud and love me, I worked so hard I broke my body. Weight training was my gym class all through grades 9-12 in school. I was my father's “son". My father said to me, just before he kicked me out, "Your sister is the 'gold' and you are the garbage. I am going to put my money, time and energy into the one who has the most promise. And, you know that's not you. Move out."

Thinking realistically about my potential and ability to support myself, I couldn't see myself as a bank teller, cashier, secretary or other job women typically do. Numbers were not my friend! For the first two years I worked as a laborer on a high rise roofing crew as a penetration technician sealing pipes and skylights installing rubber roofs. Then I got my class B CDL and worked as a truck driver. I drove dump trucks, oil tankers, garbage trucks that pick up dumpsters, freight trucks, school and motor coach buses. When I couldn't work anymore due to rapidly deteriorating health, I started taking care of clients with disabilities in my home. There I could manage my energy better and on difficult days when I could barely function, I was home where no-one would know.

My ability to function decreased with each passing year. I had numerous colonoscopies and nineteen different doctors told me, "You have IBS. Go home and learn to live with it." That diagnosis basically means, "I haven't a clue what's wrong with you." My bowels were irritable, but not for the reasons they thought. I got so backed up in my early 30's, I couldn't eat for a week at a time, while waiting for my elimination system to catch up. I wouldn't eat until something came out. The longest I went without eating was 28 days and still, I had no bowel movement. I developed terrible hemorrhoids and a fissure in my anus (it tore). I began having the worst pain. It was like someone stuck a sword up my butt and was twisting it. It brought me to my knees. I thought, "What's happening to me?" More than a decade passed and I gradually lost a lot of weight. Nightly enemas, where I was spending two hours in the bathroom every night, took me away from my family and after a while they didn't work. How strange that the only time my intestines would move was after I rode my horse! The motion and bouncing caused my peristaltic movement to work. Then that didn't produce results after a while.


With my clients in respite care, my family and I went to an amusement park for a 3 day vacation, but it wasn’t fun for me at all. I could barely walk. The pressure in the bottom of my pelvis was so intense that it restricted the circulation to my legs and my sciatic nerves were being pinched. I pushed a folding stroller-style wheelchair, which held all the meals and beverages I would consume during the day. In an attempt to reduce the weight and pressure of my upper body on my pelvis, I rested my elbows and torso over the wheelchair when we stopped walking, and I laid-down as often as I could during our trip. It was agony, but I persevered. Every day I could feel that time was running out for me. Would I live to see my 50th birthday?

Clients Can barely walk

I had to wait 6 months to see a surgeon who I was told is the best at what she does and would be well worth the wait. They ran every test they could imagine on me. I didn't think I'd live long enough to make the appointment. Finally, there I was sitting in her examining room, hoping to hear how she would make my nightmare go away when I heard her say, "I feel there is more wrong with you than the tests indicate and I don't feel comfortable operating on you not knowing what that is." I went home and collapsed on the floor in a puddle of tears.

While at church one Sunday, I happened to mention my dilemma to my new friend Kelly, who has Cerebral Palsy. She suggested I go to the GYN surgeon who did her hysterectomy.

Searching for a Surgeon who will believe me
At first Dr. Skipper said, “I find nothing unusual.” I asked him to examine me standing up; not lying on my back. I reasoned in my mind that gravity contributes to the downward force of my internal organs, as well as having full intestines, so examining me standing up would recreate the natural conditions I experience during my waking hours. Dr. Skipper confirmed part of my self-diagnosis (uterine prolapse) and scheduled me for a partial hysterectomy and pelvic floor mesh implant in September 2008. You don't know how far something has fallen until it is put back where it belongs. For the first few months after surgery it felt like he gave me a major "wedgie." That only fixed one quarter of what was wrong inside me. I still had 3 other prolapses; cystocele (bladder), rectocele (rectum) and entrocele (intestines), all at the same time.

I had become incontinent. I didn’t even know I had to pee, and I was. It was so incredibly ridiculous! In my travels, I had to duck behind dumpsters or open both doors of my SUV, while parked beside another car, and hide myself from view at a moments notice, so I could avoid an accident in my clothes. Having had a hysterectomy, I traded in my maxi pads for incontinence pads. The doctor I waited six months to see gave me a referral to see a Urogynochologist. He said, "If you just cut your fluid intake in half, you won't have to urinate so much. He gave me a referral to a rectal specialist. I didn't go because I could imagine hearing him say, "Well, if you just stop eating you won't have to do anymore enemas." I knew what was wrong with me! I just couldn't operate on myself.

I found Dr. Harry Johnson. at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore in July 2009. Keep in mind what the Uro-gynocologist said. The tests that Dr. Harry Johnson’s assistant did, revealed that I had anatomical and neurological incontinence. There is a HUGE difference between cutting back on fluids and this diagnosis! That visit with Dr. Harry Johnson was such a relief. He said words I thought I would never hear, “When would you like to get that fixed?” In September 2009, I had surgery to repair my prolapsed bladder. Now keep in mind that my rectum and intestines were still laying on my bladder, but he did such a good job, that it wasn’t as much of a problem as you’d expect.

The vaginal/uterine prolapse and bladder prolapse were only half of the problem, and not the most difficult aspects of my multiple diagnosis to live with. What remained was that my intestines and rectum had fallen. Everything that suspends the internal organs; the fascia (the stringy parts that I cut away from the abdominal wall whenever I gutted a chicken I had butchered), had torn away inside me, leaving my organs unattached and totally unsupported, so that they just fell into a heap at the bottom of my pelvis.

My search for a GI surgeon, who could put my intestines and rectum back where they belonged, led me to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. I thought to myself, “People come from all over the world to J. H. University, because they are well known for having superior staff and the latest diagnostic tests and medical treatments. I live here, so I should avail myself of the opportunity!” Dr. G, at Johns Hopkins, ordered the usual colonoscopy, endoscope and Sitzmark study. I was supposed to do a Fleet Enema prep before the procedure, which involved taking a pill the night before and doing an enema the next morning to get my intestines completely empty. I knew that wouldn’t even come close to getting the job done and explained to Dr. G that I’d have to stop eating for 5 days prior, do enemas every night and then do the Fleet Prep. She thought I was exaggerating, but I wasn't in the least. That’s exactly what I did and still, I doubted that I was completely empty for the tests. It was all for nothing, because the tests revealed absolutely nothing, which was no surprise to me!

It is very well documented in hundreds of research studies and peer-reviewed medical journals that the quickest way to stop the symptoms of most autoimmune diseases, like IBS, Crohn’s or Colitis, and put the patient into remission, is by fasting. So it makes perfect sense to me why my colon looked relatively normal after fasting for 5 days and doing enemas. So, I begged Dr. G, “Please send me for an MRI!”

To begin with, she didn’t believe that anyone could have all four prolapses at once. She said if that were the case, than I should be falling out the bottom. I told her, “Aside from the fact that I feel like I could give birth to my insides through my butt, I have fused pelvic bones, which is common among the women in my family.” She ordered the MRI.

Dr. G stood there, with the results of my MRI in her hand, and with a straight face she said, “You need biofeedback and psychiatric help.” I said to her, “Which of those professions has the ability to put my organs back where they belong? You may make 6 figures a year, but you are fired! You are not the right doctor for me!” I couldn’t have been more disappointed! And yet, a big part of me was aware that every time one of these doctors told me something stupid like that, the reality was that God was protecting me from incompetence and keeping me safe from further harm.

I took the paper that Dr. G had in her hand, and I handed it to Dr. S, who did my partial hysterectomy and pelvic floor mesh. He took one look at my MRI results and said, “You need abdominal sacral coloplexy, and you need someone who does it A LOT!” He didn’t know who did my bladder repair and referred me to Dr. Harry Johnson at University of Maryland. He was the doctor who did my bladder repair the year before. I gave that same piece of paper (MRI results) to Dr. Johnson and he said, “You need abdominal sacral coloplexy, and I DO THAT A LOT!” I smiled inside, because I knew that God had given His stamp of approval, and with a touch of humor too.

Dr. Johnson told me he couldn’t guarantee that I would be able to have normal bowel movements after surgery. By that time, I had come to hate the sound of the word “guarantee”. I said to him, “If you do half as good a job as you did on my bladder, I will be fine.” Again, within two weeks, he had me in surgery. It was September 2010. I was still in recovery when Dr. Johnson came out to my husband in the waiting room. With a look of astonishment, he told my husband, “It’s no wonder your wife couldn’t have a bowel movement. She had a large abdominal hernia, in addition to having rectal and intestinal prolapse!”

The MRI report said, “At push, intestines and rectum descend 7 cm.” I was laying down on my back for that test, so gravity was not contributing to the downward movement of my internal organs. I had already had the hysterectomy and bladder repair. After my bladder repair, the other two prolapses were collapsed on my bladder and produced increased bladder pressure. Yet, my bladder repair was successful. I had to get all this fixed in pieces, because I couldn’t find anyone who would believe me, but also, I don’t think the MRI would have been able to detect all four prolapses at once, since there was no room inside my abdominal cavity for them to slide while on my back. Having the hysterectomy, made it possible to view the other two prolapses more clearly. The MRI didn’t show the large abdominal hernia! What doctors fail to realize is that these tests do have limitations.

The morning after surgery to repair my rectocele and entrocele, I had the most beautiful bowel movement. In fact, I took a picture of it in the toilet. I know, that sounds gross, but consider all the years I endured being unable to have a bowel movement, and all the weeks I went without eating, because nothing would come out. I often vomited after eating, because food was still in my stomach and there was nowhere for it to go. The word “constipation” doesn’t even come close to what I had been experiencing! To me, that bowel movement was art. To say, "life isn’t fair," is an understatement! For twenty-five years I used my body to care for and make the world accessible to people with disabilities and it made me disabled. I have a life time weight lifting limit of 10 pounds.

I never realized how deeply I believed" my value and usefulness has everything to do with how strong I am and how hard I can work" until that moment. As a child I had to earn my keep. I'm not strong anymore and I can't work hard. Why would my husband keep me? I sat with that discomfort for a while and then realized, I can't earn my value any more than a dollar bill can earn its value. For the first time in my life, I had permission to be a woman. I didn't have to earn love. I could ask for help because I wasn't a burden or liability. I am okay just as I am.

Scar tissue grew into my descending colon from previous surgeries. I had a tubaligation (fallopian tubes clamped) and reversal, followed by surgery to remove two of four ectopic pregnancies in my 20’s. Then 3 surgeries to repair prolapses and a hernia. I told my naturopathic physician it felt like my defending colon was being strangled. He injected something along the scars that dissolves scar tissue. The next morning I felt a tremendous difference. Multiple prolapses, a large abdominal hernia, Systemic Candidiasis and Leaky Gut were the images that appeared on 5 pieces of my health puzzle. I had 3 major abdominal surgeries in 3 years to fix 4 prolapses and a large hernia! The pain that felt like a sword was my pelvic floor going into spasm. I'm not aloud to push or use my abdominal muscles. If I do, that pain comes back and each time it lasts longer. Now it keeps me in agony for 45 minutes each time, but I've figured out if I put Cramp Bark tincture in my enema, it stops. Enemas are required 3x daily for me to have a BM. Sorry if it's TMI. Perhaps someone else is having the same struggle and needs to know these things. My lower GI function will never be restored to what it was in my childhood, but it's manageable and better than it has been the previous two decades.

You know your body better than anyone. Keep searching. Don't lose hope. Get a 20th opinion if necessary. When practitioners give you stupid answers, consider that God is keeping you from being harmed by those people.

Sharon Lynn Wythe said of me, "Johnna's life lesson is she needs to learn to use her mind to get what she wants and not her body." Consider your journey is right for your souls growth and character development. Don't just accept it! When you CHOOSE your story as the best way to grow your character and make you the person you are today, it empowers you.

When I see parents praise their little girls for how strong they are lifting their younger sibling or other children, I cringe with the idea of how that unfolds in the years to come. Our soul is put in the body as a type of classroom where we learn life lessons. We are learning how to do life in our body and in the world in a way that works best for us, or not. My father used to say, "Too soon old and too late smart." That was true for me, I hate to admit. Please learn from my mistakes and don't abuse your body. It didn't hurt, but that doesn't mean serious, permanent damage wasn't being done. I learned, just because you “can” do something, doesn’t mean you should. You can jump off a building, but you should not. You can lift a heavy weight, push your body to its limits and beyond, but should you? And for what? You only get one body in this life. If you wear it out or break it, what else is there? Life is fraught with dangers and people have accidents happen to them. Tragedy comes upon us without warning, but to inflict harm on ourselves goes against our inborn sense of self preservation, survival, and nurturing nature.

Drive to Atlanta, Georgia

I consider myself a good friend. A 17 year long friendship with an older woman, disabled by Multiple Sclerosis, caused me to drive to Atlanta, Georgia. I swore I would never drive that far with my family for vacation to someplace like Disney World, but when my friend asked me to go get a lady who had arranged to rent a bedroom from her, and move her up here, I went. When I arrived and saw this woman's "home," I called my friend and asked if she really knew this person as well as the thought she did? I was ready to head back to Maryland without her. I'd taken another good friend of mine along on the long trip for company. She has cerebral palsy and so she stayed in my SUV while I helped Ester get her things. My friend assured me they'd been talking on the phone and emailing for over one year, and it would be fine.

I gave Ester 30 minutes to collect her things and put them into my 8 foot utility trailer. As I watched her pull soiled clothes from the 2 foot deep pile on the floor, I noticed they were covered with dog poop. I felt the floor sag with each step I took and roaches ran in every direction. I'd never seen anything like it! We stayed in a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina and management questioned me about her bizarre behavior and appearance. My friend, who was along for the ride, sensed something wasn't right about Ester too. There was no conversation on the way home because we didn't want to get Ester started.

I dropped Ester off at my friends house with a pair of pajamas and the bare necessities, because I didn't want her house to become infected with roaches. I took the clothes to a laundromat where I discovered balls of poop at the bottom of each load when I moved the clothes to the dryer. I fumigated the contents of the utility trailer parked in the water shed one mile from my home before taking them to her. I didn't want any of that near my property!

Within two months, Ester had her bedroom looking like her mobile home. She was unmedicated, violent bi-polar. After two months, she started to throw objects on the floor around my friends wheelchair so she couldn't move, and abused her mentally and physically. My friend noticed her things disappear around the house and Ester tried to run off everyone who came to visit my friend. It was February when my friend confided in me what was going on and asked me to help her get Ester out of her house. Having been a landlord, I was knowledgable about how to do that. I took my friend to the court house one day when Ester wasn't there. She filed papers and that evening Ester was removed by the sheriff to a women's shelter. The court hearing was two weeks later. No-one who lived hear her would take her to court in case I couldn't get there, so I made sure I did. I left my mountain home at 2 a.m. just before an ice storm arrived and would make traveling impossible. I drove 80 miles to pick up my friend and take her to court.

She was visibly upset and shaking before the judge while Ester sat very calmly across the room, confident and acting "normal". I sat beside my friend for emotional support, but when she couldn't put her thoughts into words she asked the judge if I could speak on her behalf, since I was very familiar with the situation. My friend is legally blind, so I had to enlarge the photos I took of Ester's home to 8x10 so she could see them. I had those photos with me, but Ester had no idea I'd taken them. When I showed the photos to the judge, Ester blew a gasket. The judge decided Ester wouldn't return to my friends home.

Eser 2 Ester 1

I told my very independent best friend, "If you will agree to let me handle your finances, I will make sure you don't need anyone to share your home and expenses again." She was in some credit card debt and paying the interest only on her mortgage. She was included in our family grocery budget for two years, and I helped her get out of debt. Our friendship was so much stronger that she hired be to be her caregiver when I was unable to work anywhere else. I began taking care of her and the first year her health improved so much that she not only stopped spending 5 days a week crashing in bed, but she purchased a hand cycle, lost 30 pounds, got off some of her medications, visited the local mall to have coffee with her new social group once a week, attended church regularly and took a college course on line. During the 5 years I worked for her, I got my health back and then I attended college too.

We didn't speak of Ester much, except to say God has a reason for everything. She and I were His way to get Ester out of Georgia so her family in Ohio could learn about her situation and get her the help she needed. She said there wasn't anything I could have said in Georgia that would have changed her mind about Ester coming to live with her, but when she saw the photos of Esters mobile home, she understood what I was trying to say to her in that moment. That experience brought us closer together as friends.