Welcome to the new readers who have subscribed to TMG this year. Hopefully, you’ve searched the site and found an abundance of information to help you become more successful in the garden. If you don’t find what you need, feel free to email me with questions. Growing food is an important part of being able to take care of yourself and I want you to have that skill.
A Thank You
To the many friends and readers of TMG who have left comments on previous posts and have sent emails expressing concern for Bill and me during this difficult time — we’re so grateful to you. We’ve derived strength and encouragement from reading and re-reading your messages of care and loving concern.
In January of this year, when I first alerted you (here) that Bill and I were facing a major challenge, I also promised to share more details when the situation was not so emotionally charged. Although we are far from finished with the challenge, now is the time for that update.
My intent is not to “air my troubles” — (as my friend and reader Jack from New Jersey might call it), but to encourage you to walk in the direction you want to go – no matter what your situation may be.
Many of you have guessed correctly that our challenge is a health issue.
For about a decade Bill has been dealing with some health issues that we’d managed to keep under control. This past year things escalated and he’s been and is very ill. The illness has only been visible to others in the past 6 months.
The healing protocol that we started on in 2014, is something we should have started many years back. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that until it was too late.
Painting a True Word Picture of Bill’s Condition in as Few Words as Possible
(Pictures of Bill before and now are at the end of the post.)
The Winter Begins:
- Has not been able to sleep in a bed for more than 1 1/2 years
- Has not been able to paint (that’s how we make our living) since the end of 2013
- Did not go out of the house after Christmas week of 2014
- Passed out several times in the middle of the night going to the bathroom. (Fortunately, I got to him in time to catch him)
- Severe bleeding internally
- Severe pain all the time and couldn’t sleep because of it. Many times he was “out of his head” with pain.
- He couldn’t get downstairs. I had to take everything upstairs to him.
- Stopped eating for 3 months. AND his body was shutting down and it seemed only a matter of time before he would not be able to take nutrients and fluids.
- I got someone to help me move him (and his chair) downstairs towards the end of January. (I was very afraid he would fall down the stairwell that he had to pass on the way to the bathroom when he was upstairs.)
- After we were downstairs, I slept on the sofa next to his chair. I was up to attend to him every 20 to 40 minutes 24 hours a day. (This just about finished me off. Fortunately for us both, Bill found strength inside himself to get strong enough to take some of the pressure off of me.)
- He got worse.
- He couldn’t stand any light. Stayed in total darkness.
- He couldn’t stand any talking, other than just a few words.
- He was always freezing. (Our electric bill for one month was double the highest bill we had ever had in the 17 years we’ve been at this home.)
(Had our power gone off in the 3 severe storms we had, Bill would have died. He couldn’t have made it through because he just couldn’t stand ANY cold.)
In the middle of all the horror, here’s what has HEALED and is GONE:
- A 3 year old umbilical hernia that was very severe.
- Severe internal bleeding.
- A tumor the size of a lemon that ached constantly and enlarged over the past 3 years.
- A severe problem with his feet that he’s had since he was 13. Twice, all the skin on his feet thickened and turned black and peeled off. After 60 years of living with this problem, it’s gone!
Sudden Change Towards Life:
At one point, I couldn’t recognize “my” Bill. Looking at his face was like looking at a skull. His hands were like a skeleton’s hands. He didn’t even sound like Bill. And without clothes, he still looks like a walking skeleton.
As I mentioned, his body was starting to reject all fluids and nutrients. He couldn’t eat (and didn’t for 3 months) and couldn’t taste anything.
Then things suddenly changed.
- He started eating, tasting and gaining strength.
- His face under his cheek bones is filling out just a little, but enough to make him look like more than just a skull.
- The abdominal pain that was constant – now comes and goes and has lessened.
- He has the lights on 24 hours a day.
- Voices don’t bother him.
- He is exercising his hands and is trying to rebuild. (It’ll be a long process because he’s nothing but bones right now.)
- He put his glasses on after 5 months.
- He started reading. (He’s reviewed more than 50 of his art books and is now reading Tolkein again.
- He started sketching things in the room.
- He is trying to gain strength and when the temperatures have been over 80 degrees he ventured to the back door; then down the steps (holding well to the handrail); and then walked around with the walker just a little. (His goal is 3 times a day.)
(He hopes to be able to stay out longer as the days progress and do some watercolor sketches.)
- He is able to sleep about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours at a time, but gets adequate rest and sleep over a 24 hour period.
The Problem Causing the Severe Pain Still Needs to Heal.
In spite of that, Bill’s attitude is absolutely amazing. He won’t allow me to give up even the slightest bit. He’s determined that we’re going to BOTH come out this better than we went in.
About a week ago, I was so bad off, that he “gave me orders” to start sleeping upstairs again where I could get more oxygen (window open) and could do hot and cold water therapy in the shower each morning to help some of my “new” problems. It’s working and I’m getting better.
He has a bell to ring, should he need me during the night.
It’s a Full Time Job
Tending and fixing for Bill takes most of my day. Bathing, soaking, nutrients, washing and fixing juices and food, cleaning and everything else. I’m exhausted most of the time, but am improving.
I’ve not been timely with many things I usually do in the garden, but it’s growing nonetheless.
And as you well know, I’ve not written as much on TMG as usual. But that will change too. And although it might take some time, I hope to be back in full swing and better than ever in every aspect. Bill won’t hear to anything less. 🙂
Dear friends, I can’t thank you enough for your loving concern over the past months. It has spurred us on, encouraged us, and lifted us up. I hope I can do the same for you over time.
With much love and appreciation,
Theresa (and Bill!)
Pictures of Bill – Before and Now
Below is a picture of Bill taken in September of 2014. The second picture was taken only 8 months later on one of his first trips outside with a walker.