Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Yes, we have a garden!!

Hi Folks!!

We do, in fact, have a working garden!!  As you can see it's a real ugly, unkempt, one (more on that in a bit), but God has blessed our efforts and the harvest is coming in!   

That is one weedy looking garden!!

It has been very hot, very wet, and very humid here in NE Indiana this summer (95F/35C with 90ish %RH) and for the first time in many years, the green beans will likely have a poor showing.  We thought the tomatoes would never start turning red, but they seem to be coming on quickly now and we'll have a good tomato year.  Broccoli did well.  Peppers, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, and egg plant are doing very well.  Beets and sweet potatoes seem to be doing fine.  Cabbage was a total loss as was the brussel sprouts.   Today is the start of canning season for us, so we are "off to the races"!

We have had some hard times this summer, too, in a couple of ways.

On August 5th De's Mom fell in her apartment.  She shattered her shoulder joint, broke her knee cap, some bones in one hand, and maybe her hip.  Her lifelong heavy smoking habit had left her frail, and her kidneys, heart, and lungs could not tolerate the shock of her injuries.  On August 10th, early in the morning, she went to be with Jesus.  De and her other daughter were with her when she died.  Family, Church, and friends all pulled together to get us through this difficult time, and we held her funeral on the 14th.

To complicate matters a bit more, I seem to have developed a new 'thing' over the last few months.  The preliminary diagnosis is lupus, but we may not know for sure until November, which is the earliest available rheumatologist appointment.  I have the usual bone-crushing fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and funky rash across my nose and cheeks that comes and goes, as well as some balance, speech, and cognitive issues. (No stroke - they checked.)   I use a cane pretty much full-time now for balance, when I'm not in the house. (Thus the shoddy looking garden.  Harder to swing my beefy weed whacker when you need to use it to balance some, too.  It can be done, but it's slooowww.)  

Even with all that, we are still blessed.  The outpouring of caring we received when Mom B. passed was amazing.  Everyone has been great in accommodating me and my new limitations - well beyond what they need to.   I'm getting along OK with prayers, rest, and ibuprofen in equal abundance, and I'm praying for a cancellation that allows me to see the rheumatologist soon.  By God's grace I can do most of what I need to do (including the garden) and some of what I want to do.  He provides for what I can't do.  And we have some really good tasting bell peppers and tomatoes!!

Col. 1:9-12,



  1. Oh Mark. I'm so sorry to hear you are facing new physical challenges. No fun! I do hope you get some answers and help soon. Even so, your garden is producing! Something to be thankful for. I think a lot of us have neglected-looking gardens this time of year. It's just a fact of life. Do keep us updated on how you're doing.

    1. Thanks, Leigh. We are very thankful it is producing no matter what it looks like.

      Learning how to fit inside my new 'box' has been a challenge. But everyone, including the folks at the day job, have been so good. I'm hoping my 'box' or 'number of spoons' as it is sometimes explained, will get bigger with treatment but if it doesn't we will still get by.

  2. Mark your garden is doing better then mine. Good for you. Please pass my condolences onto your wife and you too. Such a difficult passage of life.

    Is there no way you can see someone sooner even if it means a bit of traveling?

    Please let us know how you do and please post again soon.

    1. Hi Goatldi,

      Thank you for the kind wishes. It has been a trying time for us.

      I could conceivably see a rheumatologist earlier with a 3 hour drive (one way) at IU Methodist in Indianapolis. It's a research and teaching hospital. For about the same drive I could go to Chicago, Detroit, or The Cleveland Clinic.

      The practice I'm seeing is just under an hour away, in Ft. Wayne. I did debate going to Indy but I'm understanding, at least at first, there are frequent follow-ups. I'm hoping to get in on a cancellation earlier.

      One of the local practices (just at an hour away) wouldn't take me because I also have CVID, a primary immune system disorder, and that complicates treating autoimmune disorders. Dissapointing, but it's good to know when you're in over your head, I suppose.

      I'll keep the community up to date. I do enjoy hearing about all your goings on, too.

  3. Mark, I'm just now reading this post . . . don't know how the heck I missed it before this.

    I am so saddened to hear you've been thrown another glitch to add to what all you're already dealing with health-wise. I have faith that with your absolutely wonderful outlook and belief in a higher power, you will overcome this newest bump in the road. I do so admire you and your attitude toward life.

    My sympathies to De and you on the loss of her mother. Losing a parent is always so difficult to work through.

    Isn't it great how even a slightly neglected garden still gives us so much bounty? My green and yellow bush beans were so plentiful this year that I can't give enough of them away. Stuffing some in a big envelope right now and sending them to you. ;o] Hugs to both you dear people.

    1. Hi Mama Pea!! Yes, August has been a rough month for us. We are both getting along OK, but are looking forward to better days.

      The other things going on in our life are good news sort of things, but one can only deal with so much of that at one time, too. All three of our children have moved (within the same city where they live - not 'cross-country') this spring and summer, and we've helped as much as we can. Grandchild #4 (or #6, if you include the two informally adopted grands) is expected in less than than month. We'll make the 2 1/2 hour drive when we get the call, and De will stay a week after the baby is born. De is an instructional aid at the local elementary school and, along with everything else, is gearing up to teach cursive writing, 1st grade science and 3rd grade science. Our ragamuffin garden is about at its peak production. I'm working full-time, but am working from home two to three days a week. It's all just a lot along with everything else. Not all bad by a long shot, but still just a lot.

      Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, well wishes, and confidence in us. One never appreciates how much those kind words really help heal, until you find yourself needing a lot of healing!

  4. once a Hoosier, always a HoosierOctober 2, 2018 at 5:03 PM

    With your physical challenges, have you ever looked into Low-Dose Naltrexone?

    1. Welcome Once a Hoosier!

      So I looked up Naltrexone and its primary use seems to be helping persons recovering from addictions. I'm assuming there is a secondary use you know about. Tell me more!

      Maybe along a similar line, a rheumatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, thinking my pain might be neurological, prescribed gabapentin which is used primarily for persons with various neuropathies or seizures. It helps with the pain some, for which I'm thankful, but not a lot. It does not, nor is it intended to, help with the balance and cognitive issues

      Once again, welcome!! And thanks for the suggestion!