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With A Little Help From My Friends

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tomorrow evening somewhere around seven Iíll be sworn in as president of our local chapter of The Optimistís International. I wasnít the first choice for this office. Three people turned it down and I said yes. The look on the election committeeís face was one born more of relief than elation. No matter. I WANTED to do the job. The national president as well as the regional governor will be there to swear me in along with a whole slate of officers. If you are not familiar with Optimists International I encourage you to do a Google search and learn more. Basically our motto is ďOptimists bring out the best in kids.Ē I have to give a speech somewhere in the midst of all of this hoopla and grandeur. It has to be short and inspirational.

I had a difficult time sleeping last night because it was warm in our bedroom. It was one of those fall nights that werenít really warm enough for the AC and not cool enough to open our windows. I laid there for a bit wondering what I could say that would inspire a group of people to inspire an even younger group of people. As I rolled over, it came to me. Iíd share what I have learned here. For each of us it is different and if you been my friend for a while you have read this before.

No matter what you do always believe you are deserving and worthy of being successful. No one is better than you and no one can do what you do and bring to this world what you bring.

You are worth all the work, effort, blood sweat and tears you put intro you own success. Whether itís a 5K run or a 5 pound loss, your value canít be measured in tangible terms. Every sacrifice you make puts a definitive stamp on your individual value, worth and greatness.

Finally, you are who you hang around with. Great people seek out other great people and challenge each other to be even more than they could imagine in their wildest dreams. When you associate with positive and optimistic people you become stronger and better. Leadership is no more or no less than setting a great example and following through upon it.

I learned this from you. I wish I could put you all in a bus and have you join us. At the end of my speech I turn towards you and clap with heartfelt appreciation and recognition. Youíve taught me so very much and I am grateful.

The Optimist Creed begins with the following two words ďPromise yourselfÖÖÖ..Ē Whether its health, fitness or simply life I challenge you to live those words with me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 10/12/2011 3:15PM

    You know those three people turned down the job because you were supposed to have it!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARCYNA 9/27/2011 10:23AM

    Congrats!!! I'm proud of you!!!

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NASFKAB 9/27/2011 2:01AM

  Great piece

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SNOWANGELDIVA 9/23/2011 12:01PM

    CoNgRaTuLaTiOnS on your Presidency, John. This is F*A*B*U*L*O*U*S!!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CARTOONB 9/21/2011 11:08PM

    Congrats on being the new president! You will do a great job!

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CLOVER2 9/21/2011 10:45PM

    You will be awesome at this, your wisdom and inspiration have touched so many of us, it's been great!

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LYNMEINDERS 9/21/2011 8:02PM

Congratulations....>I love your speech and your are so so right....
we lwaern so so much off each other that we can pass on to the younger generation...
That's really what life is all about....
Go you

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CHAITEAKITTY40 9/21/2011 5:49PM

    Congrats! I know you will do a wonderful job! emoticon

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SPARKLISE 9/21/2011 3:03PM

    Good for you!
I know you'll do a great job!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    They are getting one "heck" of a leader. You should have been first choice!

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GIRANIMAL 9/21/2011 1:56PM

    I can't fathom a single soul who could fail to find inspiration in your eternal, sincere optimism. You are a perfect choice for this position, and your speech will prove it!

For the record, I'd totally get on that bus for you. emoticon

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NJMATTICE 9/21/2011 12:22PM


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GETFIT2LIVE 9/21/2011 11:51AM

    You will do well in the position and in your speech, I have no doubt, John. You live the Optimist's Creed and have taught us here to live it as well, maybe not perfectly (for who of us is perfect, right?), but a little better every day.

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BLACKROSE_222 9/21/2011 11:34AM

    Your speech will be great - that is an awesome idea to speak about. Great work, and congrats!

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SUSUSUZZZIE 9/21/2011 10:53AM

    emoticon I'm sure you will make an awesome president!

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SANDYBRUNO 9/21/2011 10:39AM

    Congratulations on your position. The important thing is you really want to do this so you will do a great job. It sounds like they are getting a great man.


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KKINNEA 9/21/2011 10:00AM

    Congrats, I can think of no one finer to lead the group!

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FROGGERHKC 9/21/2011 9:42AM

    Congratulations John!!

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HDHAWK 9/21/2011 9:00AM

    You're a great choice John!

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WORKINGSTIFF 9/21/2011 9:00AM

    Hail to the Chief, baby!

You are exactly where you need to be. You are a very inspirational writer, so I have no doubt that your words will inspire as well.


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WALKNLOVE 9/21/2011 8:51AM

    Congrats! No one deserves it more than you! Three cheers for John!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 9/21/2011 8:24AM

    I'll be there in spirit. I'm glad you said "yes" to the presidency. They are blessed to have you!


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My Attitude Determines My Altitude

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Iíll admit loud and clear that I am unabashedly a fan of Zig Ziglar. Oh the other motivational gurus are fine, but when I am in desperate need of a pick-me-up, a lift of the spirit or simply a kick in the butt, Old Zig is who I go to.

Zig tells the story about traveling to a speaking engagement with a colleague of his. Flights were delayed, mostly by weather, some rescheduled, and some cancelled altogether. At 2:00 AM Zig and his friend found themselves in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. They were scheduled to speak at 8:00 AM and their flight wouldnít depart until six. It gave them just enough time to shower and shave ---- no sleep.

Zig said he was furious. He plopped down in one of those really comfortable airport chairs and began to fume. After a bit, he noticed his traveling companion was quietly reading and humming. As a matter of fact it dawned on Zig that this man had remained totally unruffled through the whole ordeal. Zig tapped him on the shoulder and asked him how he could remain so calm in the face of the entire calamity. The man put down his book.

ďWell, I figure I can be happy or I can be mad and it wonít make any difference. Iím still stuck in Dallas/Ft. Worth. I might as well be happy. ď

I crawled out of bed this morning, struggled into my swim gear and spent thirty minutes in the therapy pool. I am sore, I ache, but somewhere as I exercised, this story came back to me. I have lower back issues. My lifeís been changed, at least temporarily. In a sense my world is upside down. I can choose how I feel. The pain will still be the pain, so I choose to be John.

Itís not fair that life often hands us situations we canít control but in His infinite wisdom God gave us one thing no one else is master of ---- Our Attitudes

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 10/12/2011 3:13PM

    I guess Zig Ziglar even had to have eye-opening experiences!!

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NASFKAB 9/27/2011 1:59AM

  Grear lesson

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GODDESS181 9/24/2011 10:23PM

    Thanks for the reminder, we choose how to experience what life sends our way.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JPRICE217 9/24/2011 10:06AM

    Great blog is was a real eye opener emoticon

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CARTOONB 9/21/2011 11:10PM

    Choosing happiness works for me!

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GEEMAWEST 9/20/2011 7:49PM

    I love Zig Ziglar, so does my hubby. We actually got to see him speak once and it was great. And he told that same story. It's so true. Thanks for the reminder, friend.

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LYNMEINDERS 9/20/2011 7:31PM

    Just brilliant....and so so true.....
It would help us all through our days if we remembered that story.....

the choice is ours....

thanks so much for reminding me not to get caught up in my attitude.....

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HDHAWK 9/20/2011 7:26PM

    I have Zig downloaded on my mp3 player. I can hear his voice when you tell that story. emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 9/20/2011 6:09PM

    Ohhh, you and your awesome timing! I get this -- I really, really do -- but I have been having an awfully hard time actually practicing it for, well, most of my life. I'd say it's high time! Thanks, John.


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    Good old ZIG. I agree with him and I choose to be happy. I don't let anyone or anything steal my joy.

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VALERIEMAHA 9/20/2011 1:41PM

    Thanks. Definitely food for thought! And YEAH, "I might as well be happy!!!"

I love what the amazing Victor Frankl said: "Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."

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SOULFISH80 9/20/2011 1:18PM

    So great. Thanks so much. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this mornig, "poor meeing" myself, not wanting to do anything but be back in bed, eating something surgary and sedating myself till work. But somehow, this morning just gets better and better. Did my 6 mile bike ride, have my lunch planned, read some amazing blogs, including this one, life is good. Thank God for SP, it really is helping me transform my life. Blessing on your day. Hope you feel like John all day today. emoticon

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HAPPYSOUL91 9/20/2011 12:41PM

    Excellent thought and PS, I also love zig ziglar

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BLACKROSE_222 9/20/2011 11:58AM

    Awesome reminder to us all, John. Glad this thought came to you and helped.

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KKINNEA 9/20/2011 11:05AM

    Great reminder on attitude - thanks!

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MISSROCKABILLY 9/20/2011 11:04AM

    Such a great story! Thanks for sharing it, and thanks for continuing to be you!

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-CORAL- 9/20/2011 10:55AM

    Wow, I will definitely remember this the next time I'm pouting about life circumstances. Thanks for a great blog.

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GOOFIERNU 9/20/2011 10:18AM

    Want to hear something fabulous? My facebook post last night was:

"Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect, it means you've decided to see beyond the not so good stuff and enjoy every day. "

And it is SO TRUE.


Prayers and good, happy thoughts that your pain will be short lived!

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GRAMLORI 9/20/2011 10:02AM

    Ohhhhhh, I needed that one today, John. I, too, have been fighting the lower back pain that no two docs can agree on the source of, and nobody knows how to relieve. On the 3rd, when we took our San Pedro River Walk that I blogged about, I fell, and pulled a muscle in my shoulder....and of course, "just rest it and take pain pills and if it still hurts in 2 more weeks we'll try something else" is what I got. I still haven't figured out how my mind can be young enough to still have the want-to, but my body is so stiff and sore that it says forget-it!!!
I'll be praying for your back, John. And thanks for this one, today. As that OLD commercial for some aftershave with the baby said, "Sanks. I needed dat."


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ANATASHIKI 9/20/2011 9:32AM

    that's what I was saying before . everybody around me is stressed and unhappy , counting the days and waiting things to be like "before". maybe they will never be , maybe it will be worse , maybe it will be better, why worry and think about what you can't change? wouldn't it be better to embrace the present and enjoy the good parts? and don't say there aren't good parts , there almost always are .I like your today attitude! emoticon emoticon

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CMA444 9/20/2011 9:31AM

    Wow! Another great blog! This really spoke to me:

"Well, I figure I can be happy or I can be mad and it wonít make any difference. Iím still stuck in Dallas/Ft. Worth. I might as well be happy. ď

What a perspective! Makes me really thing! Thanks for posting this out here!

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NUTSNUTSGETEM 9/20/2011 9:19AM

    John - if you get a chance, listen to this song by John Gorka - Good Noise -
BlTxRPI&feature=related - it goes hand in hand with your blog. One of my all times favorite songs. The lyrics are here -
R>Have a good day!

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A Matter of Perspective

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our oldest son moved into a new home. Heíd lived in the same apartment for over ten years. You can imagine what he accumulated!! One bedroom was akin to entering an archeological dig. As we helped him sort through his collection, sitting in a corner, covered with dust, was an old stereo he received as a Christmas present over twenty years ago. If you are old enough, you remember the kind. It has huge speakers that stood on the floor, a turn table, a dual cassette player and a very early version of a CD Player. In its day, it was very cool. To my horror he was going to throw it away. He forgot it was there. After begging and pleading with Joan, I was allowed to load it in our car. (Basically she kept asking me what I was going to do with it and basically I kept telling her I didnít know. I donít think it was so much that she consented to letting me have it as she gave up in exasperation.) It sits in my office, the wood veneer all polished and shiny. I found a needle for the turn table and dug out my vinyl. (They used to be called ďrecords) Very cool. It took a while but I found some very old cassettes. Everything works!!!

Enter my six year old granddaughter.

She stood in my office looking at the stereo with a puzzled look on her face.

ďPappy, what is that?Ē

ďItís a stereo sweetie.Ē I explained the concepts, the intricacies and the coolness of the equipment. I expected her to get as excited as I was. She looked at it for a few seconds and then looked up at me.

ďWouldnít it be easier just to use your IPod?Ē

For a few seconds I teetered on real despair until I realized there was so much wisdom in what she said. No matter what we cling to, life is a matter of perspective. Whether itís our health, our diet, or the vehicle we use to enjoy our music, life always presents us with other options. Itís up to us whether we take advantage of them or not. To my granddaughter the option was simple: Why take up space when you could carry something better in your pocket?

Sheís a bright little girl, but I still keep the Pledge wipes in my desk drawer and polish the speakers every Sunday after church.

I like the way they shine.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 10/12/2011 3:11PM

    I had hundeds of albums, hundreds, maybe thousands, well, over a thousand. Finally gave them to my musician son last year. I am making progress with letting go of things. You keep shining those speakers!

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NASFKAB 9/25/2011 1:42AM

  like old things too

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WANDAH3 9/20/2011 7:26AM just have to love little children and their take on the world.

Enjoy the polishing.


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LYNMEINDERS 9/20/2011 5:15AM

    Go you....If I had a steroe I would do the same....
We do have one but it is black wood and came from my dads after mother died....
I too have "records"...a lot of them ranging from 78's to 45's through to Lp's.....
Can't play the 78's any more as I can't get a needle for the stereo....

You keep pledging your amazing stereo.....there is not many of them left....they are precious.....

BUT...I do hear you when you say "life is a matter of perspective"....
So easy to loose that at times.....

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DUTCHIEKIWI 9/19/2011 10:34PM

  Love it love it love it!! I feel your feelings and I totally feel hers too... lol I'm the " in the middle generation" I had records too, we called them LP 's just realising I owned those makes me feel terribly old. But there were awesome!!!
But an IPOD... let's face it... it DOES fit much better in your pocket!! ;0)



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CARTOONB 9/19/2011 10:22PM

    I do remember those! I'm glad you have one and that you like it...even if you can't put in your pocket.

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SMOCKON 9/19/2011 6:30PM

    Hah! I still remember the point where the 8-track switched on some albums.

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    My hubby has ours out in the garage and he treasures it too. It's a man thing. LOL.

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HDHAWK 9/19/2011 5:40PM

    emoticon This blog makes me smile. My 22 yr. old son is working on getting his stuff shipped back here from Phoenix so he can look for a job. He can live with mom and step dad for free, which fits his budget and mine. He has several boxes, which are no big deal, BUT we have to have my mom's old console stereo with the 8 track shipped back! He loves his albums and would be happiest playing drums in a band the rest of his life. I say enjoy it John. We have the kind you're talking about too. The needles cost a fortune now. They used to be so cheap!

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GIRANIMAL 9/19/2011 4:44PM

    I purposely bought a record player -- with AM/FM stereo AND tape deck -- about five years ago. And *gasp* I do not own an iPod, though I am starting to see uses for it. emoticon But lest you think I am a total Luddite, I do have subscriptions to XM and Netflix. LOL

My BF just sold his old receiver on Craigslist for a guy who wanted to use it solely with a record player as well. Neat.

But yes -- sometimes it's hard to see new options past our old habits. Thanks for that reminder embedded in such a fun story. emoticon

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ANATASHIKI 9/19/2011 3:29PM

    emoticon I just god rid of my last cassettes , sure that the device doesn't exist anymore. I think my mom still has some vinyl hidden somewhere emoticon I can't wait for the day when the i pads will be ewww , so old emoticon

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GRAMLORI 9/19/2011 11:34AM

    Love it!!!

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BLACKROSE_222 9/19/2011 10:49AM

    LOL - that is one smart cookie, your Granddaughter. And yet, we are all guilty of this. I did something similar with the first Laptop I ever bought - it was so out of date, and the battery didn't work anymore, and you had to hard boot it more times than you were actually on the thing. But I still have it.

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SUSUSUZZZIE 9/19/2011 10:19AM

    Oh how I forgot about the monstrosity that came in to my life with my marriage and then left about 5 years later in a garage sale to someone who was THRILLED with their find. It was win-win. I'll have to bring up your bog to my DH tonight at dinner.

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PATTILYNN224 9/19/2011 9:12AM

    Sometimes I think its just not about the equipment. Sometimes I think its about the warm fuzzy feelings that go with the memories of things from long ago.

I'm very happy for you and your find. I hope you play those records for years to come.

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JSPIN74 9/19/2011 9:07AM

    emoticon emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 9/19/2011 9:05AM

    Yes, it is a matter of perspective. For portability, an ipod can't be beat. For sheer listening pleasure, though, there's nothing quite like vinyl. We do have to make choices, though, about what we keep and what we let go of, both with stuff and with ideas and ways of doing things on this journey.

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MARCYNA 9/19/2011 8:38AM

    WoW....I am moving this week after 10 years and, yes I have a stereo just like yours...without the CD player.....should I keep it??????????

Comment edited on: 9/19/2011 8:39:05 AM

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    Periodically I get an e-mail listing all of the tings that the students entering college were born after. Your e-mail was but another trip down memory lane.

Make it a great day

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GABY1948 9/19/2011 7:45AM

    This took me back a bit. I too, remember exactly what you describe...and even older than that. One way I am different than you, I would have been like your wife and gotten rid of it too! But I have one like you here at home with me...must ba a MAN thing :) Thanks for posting these memories! emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/19/2011 7:45:56 AM

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Walking Up The Hill

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First and foremost many thanks to those of you who took time out of your day to show me some love, encourage me and give me advice on dealing with my back and leg issues. I have not been absent from Spark this past week by design. I have been very busy as it relates to work and have been traveling. Next week doesnít look a whole lot better, so Iíll pause on Sunday and give you an update.

I had my fist PT session Wednesday morning. The young man in charge of my therapy is a student being supervised by a PT and I really like him. He has that youthful energy about him and assures me that he and I are going to lick these back issues. My gym is part of a hospital complex and the PT department is adjacent to the gym. He had already talked to my trainer and some of the other staff to assess what Iíd been doing in the past. This really impressed me. Starting tomorrow I will be going three times per week. Iím cleared to do whatever I am capable of doing. He suggested rowing, (as one of you did!!), recumbent cycling, walking and doing squats in the therapy pool. He gave me a series of stretches to do at home and they have helped.

I am still in a degree of pain. Itís not constant anymore and I have actual moments where I feel normal. I am learning so much about myself through all of this so be prepared for future blogs that share my revelations.

As well as I write I do not know of words (Sorry Angie the thesaurus doesnít have them!!!) to express how happy I feel to have all of you as friends. I am appreciative of your concern and most importantly the strong kick in the butt I have received when I needed it. As each of you remembers me in your own, so I remember you in mine.

Be blessed this Sunday

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 10/12/2011 3:05PM

    I'm so happy to hear the PT is working and stretching is helping (yoga is the ultimate stretching and improves and works on each internal organ, etc, etc). I hate sounding like a missionary, and don't want to push my beliefs on anyone, I just want you to be pain-free. And by the way, yoga is not a religion. I had to edit my comment after I used the missionary word, thinking you might misconstrue my meaning.

Comment edited on: 10/12/2011 3:06:21 PM

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NASFKAB 9/25/2011 1:41AM

  Glad you started therapy

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SMOCKON 9/19/2011 6:23PM

    Yeah! So glad to hear you are making progress. A full recovery will take a bit. Don't give up--you'll get there. I love the fact that your gym is attached to a hospital complex and you have so much support from the professionals there. Excellent!

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    Things are looking up. You will be back on the jogging trail soonish.

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GIRANIMAL 9/19/2011 4:39PM

    LOL -- you know you're having a real-life emotional experience when you can't find the words in a book!

I'm really relieved to hear you feel positively toward your new PT. That trust is important when you're trying to transcribe physical pain into language -- not always an easy task, even for word maven. emoticon


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ESHERRILL3 9/19/2011 10:50AM


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PGNBRI 9/18/2011 11:25PM

    Good Luck! Hope you continue to feel progressively better!

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CARTOONB 9/18/2011 10:00PM

    Fist PT? I don't think I want to know what that is! emoticon emoticon emoticon

I'm glad to hear you are feeling better.

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TRACEY5280 9/18/2011 6:40PM

    I'm very impressed with the PT you're working with. Chronic pain can be so wearing. I pray for your continued healing and strenght and enthusiasm - both you and the PT!

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GEEMAWEST 9/18/2011 3:57PM

    I hope this works for you , John.

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KENDRACARROLL 9/18/2011 2:54PM

    Sounds like you put yourself in good hands and help is finally on the way. The world is a much friendlier place when you're not in pain. Wishing you well.

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TRISTAROSE 9/18/2011 12:49PM

    I hope this PT will get you on the right road and relieve your pain. Thanks for the update and take care.


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JJSSKINNYGIRL 9/18/2011 12:30PM

    Thank You John 4 the update & kind words!

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_AIYANNA_ 9/18/2011 11:22AM

    I hope you continue to make progress and feel better. Thinking of you and sending happy thoughts your way.

Elen xxx

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GOOFIERNU 9/18/2011 11:16AM

So SO happy to hear you're on the mend!!!
emoticon BACK!

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FROGGERHKC 9/18/2011 9:50AM

    So glad to hear the PT is helping!!! Sounds like you have a great person helping you. Good to hear from you!! :)

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GRAMLORI 9/18/2011 9:42AM

    You sound so much better! That's such a blessing. My lower back has decided to make life difficult for a even going to go to the doc about it AGAIN, since I think I wrenched it somehow, and did something to my shoulder a couple weeks ago when we went walking by the San Pedro river and slipped in a muddy spot. I will keep you in prayer, please do the same for me.
Have a blessed Sunday,

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TERRIPAL1 9/18/2011 9:38AM

    You sound great John energetic, it's good you have a student,all a student can see is Potential!

Have a blessed Sunday too!!

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GETFIT2LIVE 9/18/2011 9:19AM

    John, I am so happy to hear the hope coming back to you! Having a good PT who listens and genuinely seems to care makes a huge difference, as does getting some relief from the pain. I'm praying that it continues to improve until the pain is all gone and you actually feel GOOD again. Have a blessed day yourself!


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HDHAWK 9/18/2011 9:07AM

    I'm so glad to hear you like your PT and he's figuring out some ways to help the back pain. Everything looks better when we're not in pain all day. Good for you!

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Learning To Deal

Monday, September 12, 2011

Life is made up of events, both large and small that determine our outlook. No one ever has a free ride. It often seems that way, especially when we see ourselves standing at the bottom of a steep hill and everyone else is at the summit and appears to be having a good time. Often, we have little or no control over those events. All we can do is determine how we allow them to affect us. In the parlance of todayís generation we ďdeal.Ē

When we live in a world that invites inaction and encourages entitlement in dealing with lifeís difficulties dealing with reality is the last thing we want to do. Itís often better, we rationalize, to sit back, lick our wounds and allow the universe to feel sorry for us, because, after all, no one has gone through what weíve gone through. We lose weight and we clap. We gain weight and we slink away ashamed and embarrassed of what weíve failed to accomplish. Itís as if we have a large scarlet ďAĒ branded on our foreheads. We exercise faithfully and then one morning we run out of motivation and one morning leads to two and then we forget where the gym is and we take out our branding iron and stamp ďfailureĒ all over our bodies.

Success is for cartoon characters and magazine heroes. It happens to our neighbors, our friends, but never us. We are often, in our own minds a foot note in the grand scheme of life. We sail along happy and healthy and then we trip and fall hard and we just canít believe it.

I havenít been able to exercise for close to three months. My legs ache, my ankle stiffens, I get cramps. MRIís, X-Rays, consultations galore simply tell me whatís not wrong. Do you know I actually dream about being able to walk normally and Saturday night I dreamt about running in a huge field and OMG I was so happy and it was so real and I woke up and realized I was dreaming. I cried. I buried my head in the pillow and I cried. I have not been a good Spark friend recently. No blogs, little encouragement for others, just licking my wounds and wondering why. The neurosurgeon I saw last Tuesday told me to lose weight and exercise that would help the soreness and pain. Uhm, Mr. Doctor, I canít walk any more than two hundred feet without getting cramps and my left leg getting stiff.

I am tense all the time. Joan says a lot of the pain and stiffness comes from we walking like I have a board up my butt. I am depressed. I benchmark activities against how hard it will be for me to walk and donít look forward to a lot. I am tired of feeling the way I do, both physically and emotionally. So I decided this morning that I need to deal. Iíve decided that I may be this way forever and if I am I canít sit around like Oscar The Grouch for all of eternity. I have reached my own ground zero. Whether I ever get to walk normally again is not going to be an excuse for giving up on living and loving. Oh yeah, Iíll get frustrated and please donít ever mistake me for a saint.

My massage therapist who stands five foot, one and weighs a whole one hundred pounds told me it was time to start taking my own advice. It hurt and it stung and deep inside I got madder than hells but I turned my head and looked at her and realized she was right. A Spark friend I admire deeply told me last week the thing she admires about me the most is that I donít quit. I donít and I wonít.

It really sucks having people do stuff for you. You lose all sense of control, and destiny. You have to open up and ďaskĒ for things. People give them gladly, but itís the sinking sense of vulnerability that makes you feel so damned naked. Scared? Yeah I am. My worlds been rocked. I feel perfectly fine as long as Iím sitting down. As soon as I stand up life becomes and adventure.

So, Iíll deal.

I am worth it. I deserve it. I am who I hang around with and life is what it is.

Thank you for being someone who is willing to help. It is appreciated.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 10/12/2011 3:02PM

    Sometimes I love the comments you get almost as much as your blog!!

Yoga, yoga, yoga. Of course in the beginning you will probably be sitting in a chair, but I have a yoga tape for older people (yeah, I'm one of them now) and she does teach it from a chair. Baby steps...but steps none the less. Yoga works.

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NASFKAB 9/22/2011 1:26AM

  All the best

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TERRIPAL1 9/16/2011 4:17PM

    emoticonoh John you must be so frustrated! emoticon,it's hard when you have any kind of pain.I don't remember if I already asked but have you thought of swimming?? Or any water exercise, it probably won't hurt your leg or back cause of the water & you will get to work out making you less cranky emoticon. I hope you recover & feel better so & in the meantime I hope you find a way to deal with it!!

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GIRANIMAL 9/16/2011 10:59AM

    SMOCKON is spot-on. emoticonThrough all my disc problems, the key has been core strength. Strong core muscles protect the spine. Talk to your new PT about "undoing" some of your muscle guarding too!

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SMOCKON 9/15/2011 3:41PM

    I find it easier to listen to my own advice than to other people's! emoticon You haven't said what your specific disk issues are, so I don't know if they're the same as what I had. I got to a point where I couldn't sit, walk, or lie down without hurting. I finally went to a chiropractor every day for a week and then twice weekly for the next two weeks. That got me to the point where I could walk and bend without too much pain. The chiropractor said that even with surgery, I would need to strengthen my core muscles to keep everything in place. At that point, I went to the gym and started rowing.

At first I could only row for about 5 minutes without feeling like my heart and lungs would explode. I concentrated on good form, though, keeping my back straight and using my arms and legs. Over time, I got up to about 45 minutes. It took about 3 months, but I finally got rid of the back pain--and no surgery.

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MARCYNA 9/15/2011 10:43AM

    Have you tried any Pilates class? Or Feldenkreis???They should work alright for you!!!

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CLOVER2 9/14/2011 8:15PM

    I have been wondering about you, thinking about you a lot! You have been and always will be one of the first, most important people here on Spark that made me feel like I could really do this, I was worth it and I deserved the happiness that had been eluding me. I am so sorry to hear that you've been struggling, but the fact is that now we can be here for you, just as you've been there for us! A helping hand, eagerly extended to pull you up that hill to the party at the top!
emoticon emoticon

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CARTOONB 9/14/2011 12:19AM

    Take the board out of your butt and it will all be good! emoticon emoticon

I'm sorry that you're still struggling and that you have to learn to let things go and let people help. If I were in your shoes, I don't know that I could be as "accepting" as you are. (Accepting is in quotes and I think you know why.) Good luck on your process and I hope that walking get easier soon.

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TRAVELINGLITE 9/13/2011 2:43PM



Comment edited on: 9/14/2011 2:42:08 PM

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HAPPYSOUL91 9/13/2011 1:54PM

    I so understand your frustration and fear. That's what it is....fear...that you can't do it. But you can, just find a way to work around the issue and keep searching out answers from the Drs. Someone must know or have an idea what is causing you this pain. Hang tough, I am cheering you on and saying a prayer for your recovery.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 9/13/2011 8:47AM

    Wow John. I said recently that life was kicking me in the tail. Sounds like it's giving you a few swift kicks too. My dearest friend has some of your same physical complaints and after me begging and pleading with her to go to the doctor, the advice she received is the very words she told me they'd say. "Lose weight and exercise and it will get better." I would like to make it malpractice for a physician to utter those words. Sighs.

Hang in there my friend. Surely life is teaching us something valuable. We just have to dig thru the dust to find the sparkly stuff.

I'm cheering for you! emoticon

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ESHERRILL3 9/13/2011 8:45AM

    It's never easy to to follow your own advice. You have been through a lot recently but the fact that you're still here means you aren't about to give up. Find something you like to do and focas on day at a time...that's all we can really do.


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LYNMEINDERS 9/13/2011 1:52AM

    Ground Zero is a hard place to be however it is usually a good place to be and there is always a way and that is up....

You can deal to this John....with God's help you will conquer all this and go forward ...
I was ready to email you to ask if you were ok as I hadn't seen you for a bit....

Prayers coming your way...

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CATHERINEL66 9/12/2011 9:13PM

    Ugh! This is frustrating to hear.

Here's my two cents: remember when I had the bad experience abdominal surgery this winter? The one the hand-out said that would make me sore for a "couple days" and then I'd be able to walk as much as I wanted but to "refrain from hiking" or "heavy lifting" ?? Yep, that one -- that kept me useless for a good month, and mostly sitting down for 3 or 4.

Once I came through the fog, I realized that I had to reset my expectations. My first "walk", which I should have got a medal for, was only to the mailbox and back. Two days later, I walked to the corner, and then home. And so on.

While you're working on diagnostics, maybe you can walk to the mailbox? And try the chair stuff. And what about the big cycles at the gym (not the smaller spin bikes, but the big comfy cycles?). The reason I suggest and wonder on your behalf is that I just think it would make you feel better.

Hang in there. I've been in the holding pattern (more times than I care to count), and I am positive that you can lose or maintain weight while you're on hold from heavy duty exercise. The biggest battle is in your head, I think, and it's the toughest. YOU CAN DO THIS!

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HDHAWK 9/12/2011 8:27PM

    You are so worth it John! I had my own pity party this summer when my back was on the fritz. It hurt, made me grumpy, and I had to ask my mom to vacuum for me! I don't "ask" well either (I see a similarity to you here). I asked, I healed, and if I'm careful, it's been better. I'm seriously thinking about adding yoga to my mix. I've done it in the past and I did enjoy it. I have to get over feeling like I'm not really "working out" if I do yoga. I can't say how much less flexible I have gotten in the past couple of years. I feel like staying flexible is pretty important as we age. You can do this John!

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WEEZYB7881 9/12/2011 7:20PM

    john, thanks for the welcome to the community team. I wish i had some wonderful words of wisdom to help you on this journey, but I don't. I do think you're an intelligent articulate man who will find or learn or uncover his answers. I have no doubt of that.

again, thanks for the welcome.

be well; get well; know you are appreciated


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GIRANIMAL 9/12/2011 5:46PM

    Maaaaan, I know what you're going through -- not that that helps you one darn bit! I have been here with similar pain, and I am at the point of struggling toward acceptance and not knowing how not to let that lapse into complacency, etc., with my food and other issues.

I kind of want to trip that neurosurgeon. (Nasty, but it's true!) That is NOT an acceptable lurch to leave a patient in.

You said before that hot water helps -- what about water aerobics? I also like the chair idea. No offense, but there are arthritis workouts like that. (I had such a a DVD when I almost thought I had ankylosing spondilitis -- yikes.)

Also, how about that chiro idea?

I know it's not in you, but it bears repeating anyway: don't give up -- it took me a long time to get a diagnosis and treatment that worked, but when this started I couldn't straighten up getting out of bed or walk more than half a I am biking 10 miles a day with relative ease. You'll figure this out. And we'll be here to help you every step of the way in whatever we can, humbly asking that you try not to feel so vulnerable for it.


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ANATASHIKI 9/12/2011 5:18PM

    find something you can do and do that. I live with constant pain and I got used to it. any kind of walking is a miracle. I know how it is to wonder if you're ever going to be able to walk again. the good thing is that he didn't tell you you need surgery. if you can't run maybe you could switch to swimming or water aerobic , or something. you just have to adapt to the new conditions. and don't count the days until you're like before. maybe you'll be like before , maybe not. it doesn't mean you can't find a way to feel better if not good.and forget about winning and failure . those are just words. it's not a war here . and with who? it's just you , living your life the best you can.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/12/2011 5:21:18 PM

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    I know a lot of experts at dealing with pushing through the pain. My mother and grandmother were experts at this and I am too. When I started walking, after my near death experience, I started by getting up out of my wheelchair and walking across the room. I couldn't make it any further but I kept getting up and kept walking across the room and I made further every day. Eventually I made it out the door. So I really won't listen if you tell me you can't walk because I know you can. Take my advice. Walk across the room once or hundred times a day if you need to until you can go further. This isn't an all or nothing approach. Rome wasn't built in day and John won't be running a marathon tomorrow but he can walk across the room until he can go further. Allow your body to heal and go slow You are being taught the lesson of PATIENCE. If you want it, you can have it.

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WANDAH3 9/12/2011 4:08PM

    John, I'm sorry that you are going through a rough patch at the moment. You are not a quitter so what are you going to do about it?

So you are having trouble walking, that doesn't mean that you have to stop exercising. Try armchair exercises, try some deep water exercises...they really do work and no stress on the legs or joints. I know you will figure it out soon...I have faith in you and deep down you have faith in you too.


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GETFIT2LIVE 9/12/2011 1:37PM

    John, I am with IFDEEVARUNS2, I am concerned that you still haven't found the cause. Sometimes it's easier for doctors to blame weight itself for things that are only aggravated by the weight--yes, deal, but fight to find out what's really going on in your body. The chair exercise team has some good ideas for how to exercise while your mobility is more limited. I'm praying you will find the root cause of the problem and get that solved so you will be able to get out and move more.


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ELYMWX 9/12/2011 1:05PM

    Yes we deal. However, I like to say that we play the cards we are dealt, and the thing that counts is how long we stay in the game.

In my case (not as serious as yours) I have two injuries (one that was major and is healing and one that's minor and also healing) that are limiting what I can do, but I'm working within those limitations because I have to.

You can do this.

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KATHRYN1955 9/12/2011 11:45AM

    People always talk about "raising the bar" higher. Maybe you need to do the opposite...set lower, but attainable goals for yourself until you get some answers to your health issues. And if you need to sit a spell, you can always make the most of it and meditate by focusing on the breath or whatever works for you. I was out of commission for several months after a serious break of my ankle and lower leg and I can empathize with the feeling of vulnerability and relying on others.
Anyway, keep reaching out....we are here for you.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHERRYJVP 9/12/2011 11:38AM

    I am glad to hear they have ruled out the 'bad' things. Have you thought about joining some of the chair exercise teams? getting some of the videos? they are a bigger work out than most people think. Also...I am thinking of going to a chiropracter again....for headaches. That might be something to consider.

You will get through this..and you will walk again. Do those 200 feet every chance you get!!!!

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SPARKLISE 9/12/2011 10:21AM

    Growing older sucks!
Growing older and being in pain double sucks!
I hope the doctors can find what is wrong so you can go back to having a normal life.
I'm like you,when things hurt,I have a hard time coping and being myself.
I have been missing your long blogs,but I understand your reasons for not feeling up to being up beat and encouraging.
Don't give up and keep coming back for encouragement-you gave some for so long-it's time to take some in!
And btw,a lot more people are at the bottom of the hill then we realize. Some admit they are but others pretend they aren't! emoticon

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JENNY888 9/12/2011 10:19AM

    You will have to pull yourself gradually back into the exercise thing. Start a streak you can do. It might only be 3 minutes (or less if that is all you can do). Do it consistently and try to increase it a minute when you can. The Dr. said you can exercise so work your way back up. That is the only way you can do it. If you give in to not exercising because it hurts you will only get worse. You will feel much better when you are accomplishing something. My prayer are with you John in this difficult time.

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GRAMLORI 9/12/2011 10:09AM

    John, sometimes real life gets in the way of what we want to do. It is very hard to stop and sit when your mind feels like it whould accomplish what it did 20 or 30 years ago. You are not alone. Maybe God is trying to get your attention about something? Or maybe you just need to sit for a while. Don't know, but I'm glad you joined the reality of life....even if it stinks sometimes. You will find your way, and will push yourself to the limit. You're just that kind of guy. Sometimes you have to suck it up and drive on. A new kind of normal. Let's see......have I given you enough empty plattitudes??? Actually, I mean it all. Hugs to you, John, and I look forward to continuing to hear about your victories, even if they are "small".....and THAT is a relative term!!
Hang in there, you can do this!!

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WORKINGSTIFF 9/12/2011 10:06AM

    Part of the lessons being learned here (by all of us who read this) is that you (and all of us) are vulnerable's part of being human.

We don't mind being asked for help, and gladly give it, but now you get to understand what is on the other side of that request. That for every need you fill for another human being, there's someone who needs help.

Again, being in need doesn't have to mean that you are weak. Not at all-asking for help and accepting help graciously takes strength.

You've spoken so eloquently lately of your father and how he is dealing with his own health issues. Imagine what it takes to humble one's self and to accept help from others or from a higher power in his current situation.

Even in the midst of asking for help, there is still a lot one can do to still provide help, just maybe not in the form we're used to.

I hope that you find the source of your pain and find relief.

Yes, every time I'm sick or injured, it makes me that much more appreciative of a little thing such as being able to walk, stand, move unassisted.

I am praying for your recovery.


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KKINNEA 9/12/2011 9:59AM

    We are here for you. I am hoping and praying that you are able to get out and be active again. You are such a great thinker and I really appreciate these blogs where you delve into issues we all have with boldness. Thanks for being here and not quitting!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/12/2011 9:50AM

    No doubt you will deal with it; but I'm concerned you still haven't found the cause. I just pray that in dealing with it you also continue to fight to find out what's wrong. I don't buy that this pain just happened with no reason, and I know you don't either. Deal, but continue the fight.

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