lymphatic Draining

Lymphatic Drainage – Natural Pain Management

What is the Lymphatic System?

You may be wondering, “what is the lymphatic system”? I know that, for me, I have seldom thought much about it. I’ve heard of others having cancer moving into the lymph nodes and that was pretty much a death sentence. It has much to do with our immune system so it’s important that we make sure we are giving it some attention.

brush images by SPA Västkusten from Pixabay

But what is it?

It’s like an additional circulatory system that moves vital hormones and such throughout the body. The lymphatic system consists of all the lymphatic vessels and lymph organs. For example, the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, as well as, lymphatic tissue found in the small intestine and throat (adenoids, tonsils). It works together with the blood-producing system in the bone marrow, thereby playing a vital role in immune responses to protect the body from various pathogens. It also helps transport nutrients and waste products in the body.

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at risk now what

At-Risk – Osteoporosis – Now What?

I recently wrote about many of the things that cause bone loss. There are many causes from genes to medications to inactivity. I was surprised when I received the diagnosis. You might be too. So why not go to my first post and take the risk assessment quiz. Then come back and learn how you can work to prevent osteoporosis.

Surprising Diagnosis

Usually, your doctor isn’t going to order a DEXA bone density scan until you are 65. Since I am on Medicare due to disability, I get all the notes that Medicare people get. A year or so ago, I saw a note asking, “Have you had a bone scan yet?” I ignored it because I was under 60. But this spring, I thought, “Why not ask?” And my rheumatologist jumped right on it to say “Yes, have your PCP order it this summer.”

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osteoporosis Are You a Risk

Osteoporosis ~ Are You at Risk?

What is Osteoporosis?

If you know what this is, you probably already have it or someone in your family does. So, You may be wondering what is osteoporosis (OP)? In short, it’s a weakening of the bones where they are becoming less dense. If you took a crosssection of a healthy bone, you will find that there are small holes throughout it; however, when you have OP, these holes get larger and larger (less density) causing your bones to more easily fracture or break.

bone cross-section
image credit Mayoclinic.org

So what causes osteoporosis (OP)?

I would like to share a bit about this because I recently received a diagnosis of severe osteoporosis. I was shocked. Being a dairy farmer’s girl, I have always loved my dairy foods. And even though it has been many years since I was on the farm, I still eat plenty of it. I have also, always had great posture. So why did my bones get weaker? What else may have been causing the problem?

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Pros and Cons of Prednisone

Reconsider Your Use of Prednisone

When I was first hit with Chronic Pain (Story Here), prednisone turned out to be my best friend. It was amazing stuff that removed all my pain. I had not felt that great in a long time. I didn’t even experience any side effects while taking the medication. But ten years later, I have some warnings to share with you. I hope you will take heed of them because as I learned, your doctors aren’t going to warn you or even express concern.

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not shaken

Even in the Night, I Will Not Be Shaken

Shaken to my Core

If you knew me in my young years, you know that I could have been the Dairy Poster Child. I grew up on a family dairy farm. Once I left the farm, it seemed that there was nothing to talk about but cows. There was nothing like a tall glass of fresh milk right from the bulk tank. It’s what I missed the most, I think. It took me a while to get past the taste of pasteurized milk and I didn’t dare drink 2% milk. When I visited a friend’s home, they offered milk, I would ask, “Is it whole milk?”

So when I learned that I have osteoporosis. It was quite a shock to me. For a day or two, I really could not grasp how it could be that my bones are not strong; that I was at risk for fractures and breakage. Adding this to all my other diagnoses was more than I could bear. Like David, I cried out to God, “How long, oh Lord? I can’t take any more problems. Please no more pain.”

God Speaks

Since I had morning appointments that day, I didn’t get to sit down with the Lord until that afternoon. (Maybe that is why I was so shaken… I had not invited Him into my day yet.) Anyway, God began giving me messages all day. As I did my study with Gracefully Truthful, He said to me, “I will not leave you as an orphan. I will come to you.” (John 14:18) Thank you, Lord, for this reassurance. I began singing this song the rest of the day.

Encouragement from Friends

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”

Proverbs 16:24 NIV

They may have not known that what they shared was for me, but it was. All through the day, I received gracious words just at the right time. Have you ever seen a cross-section of a bone? It’s like a honeycomb. Unless you have osteoporosis… then it’s more like swiss cheese. See National Osteoporosis Foundation

The words of my friends were like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Friends offered up prayers. Sometimes it was just sharing a quote or scripture. They had no idea that God inspired them to share it for my purpose. That night my dear friend at Alabaster Girls post this prayer.

Father, I am loved by You, an extraordinary God, a good, good Father. Your love makes life worth living. Because of You I don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow.

You are my peace.

Thank You for Your grace that truly is sufficient to carry me through the difficult places. I don’t like the difficult places, Lord — You know that. And yet I find You there. You draw near and strengthen me. You pour out Your love on me and it quiets me, giving me strength.Help me keep my eyes on You, Lord.

In Your presence I find joy, courage, and the tenacity I need to keep moving forward.

Bless You, Lord. What a wonderful God You are.

In the Name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Nan Trammel Jones, The Alabaster Girls

But I Still Tossed and Turned for Many Nights

All these things and more I have known since my youth. I know that God will not abandon me. I know He will see me through. But I am tired and my pain has been unbearable lately. Just the pain alone was waking me up and then my mind would start running away wondering what would happen next.

One of the girls from The Alabaster Girls group had friended me earlier that week but I was not “in the mood” to talk with a new person. She was from halfway around the world. And I wasn’t sure of her connection to me at that point. She kept gently prodding me to respond to her. But I like being the encourager and I didn’t have it in me to chat with someone new. Then she sent an audio clip… She sang “Pass me not, oh gentle Savior, Hear my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” And tears came to my eyes. It was my prayer. We chatted and I shared a bit of my story. She promised to pray for me.

Preaching to myself

On the second day, I saw the writing prompt for Five Minute Fridays – “STRONG”. I wondered, “Could I write about strong bones when it was so raw to me?” In the past, I have looked through my old posts to see if there was anything I could update and share. And there it was “When I am weak, He is Strong”. As part of that post, I shared an old hymn written by Annie Johnson Flint. I didn’t know it then, but Annie was orphaned as a child, and by her teens suffered severe arthritis and was soon wheelchair-bound. I’m learning more and more that it is those who go through great trials that have the most beautiful poetry and songs. Do you know her hymn, He Giveth More Grace”. That’s the grace God is giving me.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done

when we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun

He GIveth More Grace, Annie Johnson Flint

I Will Not be Shaken

Finally, I stumbled on this scripture which woke me up to realize that God has got this. I do not need to be shaken. It is quite appropriate with words like: “even at night”, “my thoughts trouble me”, “I will not be shaken”, “my whole being rejoices”, “my body rests securely”, “You will not abandon me”, “You will not allow your faithful one to see decay”.

I will bless the Lord who counsels me—
even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad
and my whole being rejoices;
my body also rests securely.
10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol;
you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
11 You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

Psalm 16:7-8

I Need to Memorize This Verse and Quote it in my Bed at Night

Interesting that just last year, verse 11 was my verse for the year. I should have read more of the context, eh?

A Word For You

Don’t allow the old devil to get you shaken. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus for in His presence we have abundant joy!

Mandy

Jessie- In Every Broken Place

It’s been a while since I’ve shared

broken places

I’ve been busy

Work has been good

God has been good

It’s been almost a year since I’ve started a new journey

Along the way God has continued to affirm in me

This person He’s created me to be

As I began to work with people with disabilities

I was nervous- I didn’t want to fail them

In the still small moments He whispers… I listen

Truly a confidence in Him

And I wish I knew a way to articulate it

Now in so many ways

I look back at the past ten years

All of the hard and painful things

God was teaching me

All of the hard things

All of the painful moments

Broke my expectations

Kept me still

God was teaching me

Be still

And know

He is God

He has met me in every broken place

Every place of solitude

Every painful and angry moment

And taught my heart to be still

And know He is my God

Jess

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Mammogram options

Mammograms ~ You Have Options

My first mammogram was one of the worst days of my life. To make matters worse, it was my anniversary. It was so traumatic for me that I spent the whole next year dreading the next mammogram. I did everything I could do to skip having mammograms. This is NOT a good idea. I didn’t know it at the time but I have fibromyalgia – a sensitivity syndrome that makes everything more painful than it should be. But I have learned that I have options, so now I share these with you.

Traditional Mammogram

Elias Alacorn at Pixabay.com

Mammogram: An X-ray of the breast that is taken with a device that compresses and flattens the breast. A mammogram can help a health professional decide whether a lump in the breast is a gland, a harmless cyst, or a tumor. A mammogram can cause pressure, discomfort, and some soreness that lasts for a little while after the procedure.

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=4268

That’s the medical description. Here’s my description…. they place your breast between two plates. The plates come together and squeeze your breast to take a picture of the tissue. I’m not sure this was the cause, but I am short and I think that the machine was not only squeezing my breast but also pulling it upward. It doesn’t take that long but, for me, it was way too long.

Genius™ 3D Mammography

image credit Mayo Clinic

A 3D mammogram (breast tomosynthesis) is an imaging test that combines multiple breast X-rays to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast.

A 3D mammogram is used to look for breast cancer in people who have no signs or symptoms. It can also be used to investigate the cause of breast problems, such as a breast mass, pain, and nipple discharge.

When used for breast cancer screening, 3D mammogram machines create 3D images and standard 2D mammogram images. Studies show that combining 3D mammograms with standard mammograms reduces the need for additional imaging and slightly increases the number of cancers detected during screening. But more study is needed to understand whether 3D mammograms may reduce the risk of dying of breast cancer more than a standard mammogram alone.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/3d-mammogram/about/pac-20438708

I have heard of these but didn’t realize that it may be a more comfortable way to get your imaging completed. Looks like something to look into. It takes a bit longer to get the image, so this would be something to consider for those of use with pain issues. How long can you deal with the pain?

Thermography

Thermography is a test that uses an infrared camera to detect heat patterns and blood flow in body tissues.

Digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) is the type of thermography that’s used to diagnose breast cancer. DITI reveals temperature differences on the surface of the breasts to diagnose breast cancer.

The idea behind this test is that, as cancer cells multiply, they need more oxygen-rich blood to grow. When blood flow to the tumor increases, the temperature around it rises.

One advantage is that thermography doesn’t give off radiation like mammography, which uses low-dose X-rays to take pictures from inside the breasts. However, thermography isn’t as effective Trusted Source as mammography at detecting breast cancer.

https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/thermography

Not considered a good way to detect cancer. False-positive results can sometimes result because other issues could be causing the inflammation. Suggested only for women under 50 who have dense tissue. This is obviously a non-evasive procedure unlike the mammogram but the mammogram is a much better detector. You will find it difficult to get insurance to cover this procedure and probably have to drive a few hours to find a place that has the thermograph.

Since it shows changes in your breast. I’ve thought it would be good to start early in your twenties to have a base picture to look at. But again, read more at Healthline for more information.

Breast Ultrasound

Photo credit: Herscan

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves rather than radiation to produce pictures of the breast.

For the procedure, some gel will be placed on your skin. Then a small transducer will be guided over your breast. The pictures will appear on a screen.

This is a painless procedure that typically doesn’t cause side effects.

Ultrasound of the breast may be used after an abnormal mammogram or in women with dense breast tissue. It’s not usually used in routine breast cancer screening for women at average risk.

https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/mammogram-alternatives#ultrasound

I have opted for this one the past two years. No pain to speak of. Since Fibro is an issue where pain arises from pressure, one can feel some tenderness in some parts of the breast. But this option is much better for my situation. Your insurance will probably approve the procedure but you may have a deductible or co-pay.

Check into Herscan that travels around some states doing this procedure. They have a fee which is about what your co-pay for an ultrasound would be.

Water Mammogram

water mammogram
image credit catholic.org

You’re lying face down on a massage table, your breast encased in a water bath through an opening in the table. Tiny ports from a surrounding ring fire ultrasound waves. There are no X-rays and no pain. There is no holding still for 20 minutes or more.

https://www.catholic.org/news/national/story.php?id=29641

Water Mammogram is a relatively new option. My PCP told me about it. I haven’t tried it yet. The above link is an article about it. It seems to be just as helpful as the traditional mammogram. I may try it next time.

Other Options for Mammogram

As I researched these options today, I saw that Mayo Clinic has an article on Molecular Breast imaging. I’ve not heard about this one before. It seems to use dye and imaging. See more info at Mayo Clinic article.

Healthline also discusses several options.

Hopefully, you will find an option that is less evasive for you. It’s been a great help for me. Otherwise, I would not be getting checked at all.

Feeling Your Pain;

Mandy

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occipital nerve block

Occipital Nerve Block – What to Expect

I recently had an Occipital Nerve Block done. It can be a bit scary to think about having a long needle stuck into your neck going upward toward your brain. I have had about a dozen of these and they are so helpful for me. So… I thought maybe I should explain what it is and share my experience.

Why Do I Get Occipital Nerve Blocks?

I have rheumatoid arthritis (also known as R.A.). One day I will write more about that but just a quick explanation. R.A. attacks the small joints, such as your hands and fingers, feet, and toes. But it also goes after the C1-C2 joint in your neck. Mine is deteriorating which is causing pain from the base of my head radiating upward to the top of my head. These nerve blocks have worked exceptionally for me. I get one every 6-9 months.

What is an Occipital Nerve Block?

occipital nerve block

An occipital nerve block is a safe procedure that may be performed in a doctor’s office or pain clinic.  The occipital nerve block technique is relatively quick and convenient, and is done with minimal invasion (i.e. intrusion into tissues with medical equipment). For the procedure, you’ll be seated or lying down. The injection itself only takes a few minutes, and is done without full sedation.

During the procedure:

  • A local anesthetic may be applied to your skin above the occipital nerve to be targeted in order to avoid discomfort during the procedure.
  • Then, a fine needle (like a hypodermic) is inserted, until it is in an appropriate position near the nerve.
  • Next, steroid medications are injected. These drugs reduce inflammation and block the transmission of pain signals to the brain, thus inhibiting the sensation of headache pain.

If an occipital nerve block has been successful, you may feel that the side of your head that has been injected has gone numb.  Your physician or pain specialist may request that you stay in the clinic or office for a brief period, during which the actual degree of your pain relief may become apparent.  The time elapsed before you experience pain relief does vary from person to person; it may be nearly instantaneous for one individual, but take a day or more for another.

An occipital nerve block does not often interfere with normal function or routines following a procedure. The patient may not notice the full effect of the intervention until a few days after the procedure. This may last a month or more, at which point the patient may arrange for a repeat injection. However, some patients may require two injections in quick succession to elicit an optimal effect.

The above is from The Pain Doctor Website.

https://paindoctor.com/treatments/occipital-nerve-block/

My Experience Getting a Nerve Block

I am so fortunate to have Mayo Clinic as part of my medical team. This place is amazing. After about 2 years of diagnosis and care for my Central Sensitivity Syndrome and R.A., it was discovered that my C1-C2 disks were already deteriorating. I was experiencing quite a bit of pain in my head, neck, and shoulders. SoI was sent to the Pain Clinic.

One of the biggest advantages of Mayo Clinic is everything under the same roof. The doctors all work together on your health. No matter which doctor you see, they can pull up all my records and see what the other doctors are doing and thinking.

So back to the topic at hand…

This procedure is done right in the office. Mayo Clinic just remodeled this part of the clinic and the clinic now has a beautiful procedure area. First, the nurse will sit down with you and talk to you about the side effects and wound care. She will ask the level of pain you are experiencing at the moment.

image credt Maxres

Then you just “pull up” to a gurnie with a pillow and lay your head down. (If you have long hair, bring a scuncii to pull your hair up our of the way.) The injection is going in right at your hair line.

The doctor arrives by this time and he and the assistant set up the ultrasound and find the greater occipital nerve. They find precisely where they want that needle to go. Then the injection area is cleaned and prepped.

Just a quick plug for my doctor.

Dr. Mark Hurdle is amazing. So understanding and compassionate and very personable. When my daughter was getting married, I asked if we could go ahead and schedule my next injection just before the wedding so that I could (hopefully) be pain-free that day. It was no problem. We scheduled the procedure that day. And as hoped the injection did its thing and I was pain-free for the wedding. My appointment following the wedding, he came in asking how the wedding went. I share that to show that he is involved in his patients’ lives.

On the professional side, Dr. Hurdle is THE expert on this procedure. He goes all over the world teaching doctors how to do this procedure. That fact alone makes me very calm about the injection.

And now the injection

An anesthetic injection is given. I noticed above that it says “A local anesthetic may be applied to your skin”. NOTE: I would ask about this because I actually get an injection for numbing. I’ve had others say that this procedure was VERY painful. Some even said they had the doctor stop. This must be why my experience has not been terribly painful.

We wait for the numbing to take over (just a couple of minutes) and then the procedure begins. It’s a long needle (so my husband says) and it is worked in along the occipital nerve using the ultrasound. Then he begins to inject the medicine. At times, I can feel the burn of it entering but it really isn’t that bad for me. Not any worse than going to the dentist.

To divert my attention, I recite scripture in my head or sing a song. Before long, it’s all done. And immediately I have lots of pain relief. I sit up and they let me wait to get my senses back. You can feel kind of woozy for a bit, but I have some balance issues anyway.

I let my hair back down and we are done. The worst effects are goo in your hair and a bandaid in your hairline that can be a challenge to get out the next day. You can take a shower that night, but don’t get in a jacuzzi or soak in a tub.

Follow-up

They sent me home with a page of instructions for wound care and things to watch for. This most recent injection, I woke the following morning with a flushed face. I shot off a message to the clinic and got an immediate response that this is normal and not to worry.

Two weeks later, I received a call or message to ask how my pain is doing. I recall one time that my pain had returned to some extent and again they called immediately with questions and instructions.

My recommendation

I totally recommend this procedure if you experience severe migraines or head and neck pain. Just be sure to find a doctor who knows what they are doing. We drive the 2 hours to Jacksonville, FL to have this done though I am certain there are doctors here in Savannah that would do it. It’s a long day trip but worth the drive. Plan to take the next day off to rest.

I’ve had this done about a dozen times. (every 6-9 months) This is a procedure that can be done indefinitely until it doesn’t work. And the alternatives (neck fusion surgery taking a good year to recover) are not desirable.

Feeling your pain!

Mandy Farmer
Nuclear Stress test

What to Expect at Your Nuclear Stress Test

When you get to my age, you can probably expect to get doctors’ orders for a stress test. After all, we have all got to keep a check on our hearts. Heart attacks, strokes, and other issues can easily sneak up on us without even a clue. To learn more about the why of stress tests, go to this Mayo Clinic page

Two Types of Stress Tests

There are two types of stress tests, the regular treadmill test and then there is the nuclear test. Ironically, both my husband and I have had to go in for a stress test in the past month. My DH had the treadmill test. He came home saying that he wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It was a tough test. basically, they hook you up with nodes and then watch your heart while you walk the treadmill.

My mind first went to the Bill Cosby clip where he is basically dancing and playing on the treadmill, but listen … This thing starts hard and gets worse. The treadmill is elevated while you walk. You do this until your heart gets up to a certain rate. DH said that the technician indicated for those who are in “great shape”, it could take 20 minutes to get your heart rate up to where they want to see it. [It didn’t take near that long for DH]. The whole process for him was about an hour.

The Nuclear Stress Test

On the other hand, I am disabled, so I was given a nuclear test. I have had other nuclear tests where they inject “stuff” into your veins and then scan the body part of interest. I had a nuclear body scan as part of my diagnosis plan at Mayo Clinic. The nuclear stress test was very similar.

Cardiologist Consult

free from Pixabay

The paperwork I carried home from meeting with the cardiologist said that the whole thing would take about 4 hours. There were actually several different procedures they would be doing.

  • Insertion of IV port
  • ultrasound of the heart
  • echocardiogram
  • actual nuclear stress test
  • second echocardiogram

There were waiting times between all these, so I was in and out of the waiting room. [You may want to bring a book with you.] With the COVID-19 scare. I wasn’t able to bring my husband with me. We do all our appointments together. Going without him was unnerving for me and I was a bit concerned after his stress test experience.

I knew it would be different, but it was not at all like I expected. I expected to feel my heart rate rise and have my heart pounding out of my chest. It was none of that.

So, Let’s begin at the first of the day.

I was required to fast from caffeine for a full 24 hours and a full fast with nothing but water for four hours. As it turns out, this may have been the hardest part of the test. Thankfully, I was instructed to bring a snack and juice with me so that I could eat as soon as possible. I was also instructed to wear comfortable clothes. This is especially necessary if you are doing the treadmill test. I wore my favorite LulaRoes and a thick t-shirt.

This may have been the hardest part of my nuclear #stresstest. #hearthealth Click To Tweet

I was also informed that I would have to remove my bra for these tests. This was fine because with my fibro a bra is NOT comfortable; however, being cold natured as I am, I about froze to death. You might ask if you can bring a sweater or a lap quilt/prayer blanket. I think it would be workable, it would just be one more thing that you are carrying around all morning.

IVs and EKGs

To begin the process, I was called back to have an IV port placed in my arm and those sticky nodes for EKGs. This technician talked with me about what all would be happening. He was very kind and understanding when I shared about my fibro pain. I told him I could not have my BP measured on my left arm. He said that was fine and that I could actually have the monitor placed on my lower arm of my right arm. This was a great relief to me.

Heart Ultrasound

Is was straight in to have my heart ultrasound at this point. Another lady took over and I went to another room. Here I had to remove my T-shirt and bra and put on a paper gown. Then she came in and did the ultrasound. No problem here. It is the same as getting an ultrasound anywhere else.

She placed warm “gooo” on me and pressed the gadget against my chest. It was a bit tender which she said was very normal; although remember I have fibromyalgia, I am tender everywhere. This whole process took maybe ten minutes. Then it was out to the waiting room until they were ready to do the next part. This is where I got the coldest and why you should wear a thick shirt and maybe have that sweater or blanket.

Cardiac Imaging

After about a 30-minute wait, they called me back for the imaging. This is similar to a CT scan or MRI. You sit in a recliner type chair and the machine is brought up close to your chest. The biggest challenge was that I have a bad shoulder and I needed to raise both arms above my head to bring the machine in. I can’t raise my left arm on its own, but I was able to grab my wrist and pick up my arm. Once the machine was in place, I rested my arms on top of it. This process took about 8 minutes. Then back to the waiting room for maybe 15 minutes.

Nuclear (or Chemical) Stress Test

It was now time for more nodes and wires hooked up to me. (Like an EKG) In another corner of the same room was a treadmill and a computer and reclining chair. I sat in the recliner and they injected me with the chemical. It burned as it went in and I had an instant headache. They tell you to let them know of any symptoms because they can help that. For the headache, I was given a Coca-cola. (Remember that I still haven’t had anything to eat since the night before.) The coke helped a bit.

Side Effects

The paperwork I was given said that people can various side effects:

  • chest pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • irregular heartbeat
  • flushing
  • numbness and tingling

As I mentioned the headache was the only one that I noticed. I truly expected to experience nausea and chest pain. I really expected that I would feel my heart trying to jump out of my chest, but I didn’t feel any of that, only the headache. This whole process didn’t even take 30 minutes.

Almost Finished

There was about a 30-40 minute wait, but I was now allowed to have that pack of crackers and juice I brought with me. I managed to read a couple chapters in my book and then they called me back for another echocardiogram. Same procedure, just a couple minutes shorter.

All finished but removing the sticky nodes. Ouch! and Putting yoru bra back on.

One More Thing

My doctor had also ordered a heart monitor halter to be worn for three days. So I waited again in the waiting room until someone from the doctor’s office side was ready to install the monitor. We’ll talk about that another day.

The nurse called me in a day or so with preliminary results on the stress test. But I have a three-week wait until my appointment for the treatment plan.

Have a heart!

Mandy Farmer
book review on grief

In Search of Resources for Grief

In search of Resources for Grief

This month on the blog, we have been sharing journeys with grief. Today, I want to share a few resources for grief that I have found this month.

Personally, I am not on a journey with grief; however, there are many ways to suffer a loss that requires a grieving process. I (Mandy) have lost much in recent years including my health, my ministry with my husband, our home, our bank account, and our small annuity. I shared more specifically on this two years ago with my friend and fellow blogger, Nan Jones.

In searching for what to share this month, I discovered a new book just getting ready to release in November. It was on a list of books to preview and review so I picked it up.

A book release, Loss, Survive, Thrive


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Just like the other posts I have shared this month. Loss, Survive, Thrive is a collection of grief stories from grieving parents. Stories told by fathers and mothers who have lost children due to many senseless tragedies:

  • Loss of a Baby
  • Death Through Illness and Disease
  • Loss through Accidents
  • Loss Through Suicide
  • Through Mental Illness Leading to Death
  • Drug Addictions
  • Murder
  • and Even One who Experienced Multiple Deaths

There are no words

Mark Twain, always a master at painting pictures with words, was left utterly speechless when attempting to express how he felt after the death of his twenty-four-year-old Susie. He wrote, “To do so would bankrupt the vocabulary of all the languages.” To this day, that is the best description of grief I have come across.

Susan Whitmore, Loss, Survive, Thrive

These stories will tear at your soul and tug at your heartstrings. They will bring tears to your eyes. But still, no words come to mind to make the journeys easier.

However, this book is not all sadness because these families also walked through the strife into thriving. Each family found a way to make sense of it all, if only slightly. They found ways to speak this child’s name for eternity; a way to remove the senseless reasons behind the grief. Of course, grief journeys will always seem senseless but if we look closely, we can find a way to keep them from being useless.

Grief journeys will always seem senseless but if we look closely, we can find a way to keep them from being useless. #netgalley #bookreview #losssurvivethrive Click To Tweet

These families have found that in sharing their journeys with grief they are able to help others travel through similar sorrows. In doing so, they found that their own grief became just a tinge easier to bear because now we can all bear it together.

C.S. Lewis says, “We read to know that we are not alone.” Anyone striving through a journey of grief can read this collection of stories and maybe, just maybe it will hold them up a bit.

Susan Whitmore, Loss, Survive, Thrive

Finding Ways to Thrive

Someone once said to never let a trial be wasted. Grief works in ways that teach us to help others. When I lived far from home and would get lonely, my mother always told me to reach out and help someone else. It really does make a difference and somehow brings joy into any situation.

Some of the ways these families have found to pay something forward include establishing groups or foundations that can help support others in the same place.

If you need some grief support, maybe their actions will be the place you find peace in your sorrow. Here are a few resources for grief shared in the book.

“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”

-Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Thank you, NetGalley, Meryl Hershey Beck, & publisher, Rowman & Littlefield for giving me a copy and allowing me the opportunity to read and review this new book.


But something was missing

I found this above-mentioned book excellent for finding connection with others who have lost children. Also, it is encouraging for finding a way to thrive beyond the grief; however, for me as a Christian, I found something missing.

While some did mention God, I found it quite lacking in stories of faith. Families that leaned hard into the hope that comes only from God. So I went looking for another option for you. I remembered my author/blogger/friend, Karen Sebastian who writes about the hope she has found in the dark places of her own life.

Ride the Waves to Comfort

I realized that I already had purchased two of Karen’s books and they were waiting for me right on my Kindle:

  • The Power of Hope in Mourning: Ride the Waves to Comfort
  • The Power of Hope for Caregivers

Karen’s The Power of Hope in Mourning: Ride the Waves to Comfort is about her journey of losing her father. “Ride the Waves” was a phrase her father used while she was growing up, encouraging Karen to “go with the flow” and things would turn out alright.

Relating to our day-to-day, even moment-by-moment, journey through grief Karen will walk with you through your pain. She “rides the wave” with you as you, knowing that God is there carrying you through.

You will find her guidance towards hope neatly put together with lessons from her own journey with grief, practical advice, and spiritual guidance. This Hope that is missing from the aforementioned book review is everywhere in this book.


A thought of my own

We often hear others say that God will not allow us to go through more than we can bear. However, this statement is not Biblical. The truth is that you WILL go through much more than you can bear. But the joy in this is: GOD CAN BEAR IT! Just rest in Him and His comfort.

Rabbi Harold Kushner reminds us “We can endure much more than we think we can; all human experience testifies to that. All we need to do is learn not to be afraid of pain. Grit your teeth and let it hurt. Don’t deny it, don’t be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever. One day, the pain will be gone and you will still be there.

Additionally, I must add to Kushner’s thought; lean hard into God. He promises to take care of us. He promises to go through the high waters with us. And when we come out on the other end, we will be stronger, wiser, more understanding, and probably a bunch more.

when we come out on the other end, we will be stronger, wiser, more understanding, and probably a bunch more. #grief #trials Click To Tweet

Hold to His Promises of Hope;

Mandy Farmer

I pray these resources for grief are helpful for you. May God hold you in His arms and comfort you today and always.