My Life

My wife and I on my 55th birthday

Now and then I enjoy posting randomly about my life and things that interest me.  This is one of those days…

Our daughter and granddaughter flew down from Portland to spend ten days with us.  Our daughter needed possibly two root canals and she and her husband don’t have dental insurance and they were looking at a huge bill.  My wife found out about a place near us that charges not much at all.  So it was easily worth the trip down to have her work done.  She saved at least $2,000.00 so that was good.

Now the rest of the story.  Our daughter is three months along with their second child.  While here she came down with some type of viral bug and couldn’t keep anything down.  She was advised to go to the E.R. and we were there four hours while they hydrated her and gave her meds intravenously. She slowly got better and is fine now.

The night before they were to leave our granddaughter developed a deep cough and was having trouble breathing.  My wife and daughter ended up taking her to the E.R. and they determined she had croup and gave her steroids which have her on the road to recovery.  They are now back home after an unforgettable trip. Thankfully things weren’t worse.

I absolutely love listening to music.  This dates back about 45 years!  Music has played an important part in my life and is the reason I decided to share music here once a week.  God can use music to speak to us and to calm our souls. I love discovering new artists and then sharing a few of their songs week to week.

I have come to a place in my life where I am comfortable listening to “non christian” music.  Now and then I will take a week and post favorites from my youth as a change of pace. I love the music of the 60′s and 70′s.  There was a time I was taught that as a believer this music had no place in my life and as a result some thirty plus years ago I sold all of my vinyl records.  The I got rid of all my vintage Sports Illustrated and Sport magazines that dated back to the 50′s.  I was told I would become closer to God and less worldly.  Maybe those are your views and I have no problem at all with that.  I’ve found we all draw lines in different spots in the sand.

For the last month I have been making green smoothies with my Ninja kitchen device.  And I am totally into it.  I’m type 2 diabetic and I have always detested eating vegetables….. long story!  :)   A friend helped me come up with ideas on what to use in these smoothies and you get to read about it!!

I use spinach, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, celery, beets, chard, carrots, avocado, red cabbage, pomegranate seeds, lemon, yogurt, goji beans, chia seeds, and flax seed meal.  The latter three are considered super foods because of all the nutrients they contain. I’m going to be buying a big bag of frozen berries tomorrow as well. I like how they taste and I’m getting more nutrients from veggies than I ever have.  I’m even riding my exercise bicycle again as before I had zero energy.

I have not been a good diabetic for the four to five years I’ve had it.  Why????   Because i  LOVE  all the wrong foods. At times I think I know what it’s like to be addicted to smoking, drugs, and drinking.  I can’t count the times I’ve gone out and gotten a Blizzard from Dairy Queen, or big cookies from Albertson’s that are made fresh daily, how about do-nuts?  Then there’s fast food. We have within a half mile of our home a Taco Bell, El Pollo Loco, and an In-N-Out burger side to side to side.  I have been so fortunate my blood sugar has stayed under control.

So now I’m hoping to change things at the age of 58!  I’ve getting much better at avoiding the goodies but I realize I can’t quit them cold turkey so I’m seeking to cut back gradually and so far so good.  I’ve also been a yo-yo dieter for the last 2o plus years.  I became a life member at Weight Watchers when I lost 50 pounds but I gained most of it back.  Can you relate?  I’m happy to report I’ve lost about 13 pounds and that will help me as well.  But it’s not fair that the good food isn’t good for you.  So lord willing I can incorporate these changes in a long term way. I’ve proven I can’t do it on my own.

I’m a big sports fan but nothing like when we were first married 36 years ago.  I like baseball, basketball, and pro football and some college games.  I really enjoy track and field as I used to do a lot of running years ago.  I routinely ran 5K and 10K races and completed a half marathon.  I blew out the bottom of my foot when I was training for my first marathon and I never got to achieve that goal.  I’m saddened that there’s so much cheating and lying in sports these days. Yet I realize people have been doing anything to gain an edge for as long as there’s been competition.

I’ve lived with panic attacks/agoraphobia for about 16-17 years.  I’ve always been scared as far back as my memory takes me.  I was terrified of my alcoholic father and my fears grew worse and became more ‘irrational’ as I got older. Avoidance was a way of life and survival for me as a youth. It’s the only way I knew how to survive.

I was surprised all of that didn’t vanish when I came to Christ.  I thought it was all part of the deal. All the bad stuff leaves and I would live a victorious Christian life.  I so wish I had learned about trials and the Christian life early on so I might have had a more realistic view of the Christian life.  As a result I was totally unprepared for what would show up years later.

You can get away avoiding things when you’re healthy and things are going well.  What a trap that can be.  For two years about 20 years ago I began going through things I didn’t understand.  I had trouble breathing and catching my breath when I went on sales appointments or when I was in crowded places.  I would lose rhythm breathing and would clutch for the table or counter closest to me.  At a men’s conference through church at the Anaheim Convention Center I was losing control as I was having trouble breathing.  I was so downcast as thousands of others weren’t having to think twice about breathing.  What in the world was going on?  I went down and asked some men for prayer and they really didn’t get what was going on as most everyone else didn’t in those days.

Finally on a November Saturday morning I had an appointment out in Palm Springs to meet a business owner at a Denny’s restaurant.  So I brought our daughter and her best friend along so they could eat while I conducted business. But on the way I had my first blown panic attack.  I can only describe it as I thought I was going to die or go crazy.  We got there and I went to the back parking lot after I took care of the girls and got on my knees asking God to take it away.  I rushed through the appointment as I was having trouble speaking and at that point simply wanted to go home.

As we drove home the symptoms subsided the closer we got and by the time I was home they had abated. I we:nt to church for counsel the next day and the man told me not to worry as he rebuked whatever was wrong in Jesus’ name and told me to listen to praise music on my next appointment.  I followed instructions and had a worse panic attack in downtown Los Angeles.  Thus began my journey.

I was able to continue working with the use of medication and God blessed me as I become the number one sales person in the office and was recognized as sales person of the decade nationally in the year 2000.  It was after this that my anxiety grew worse and I had bouts of deep depression.  I took a few leaves of absence for depression but it was clear I was losing the battle to be able to work. I spent afternoons sleeping in my car at parks, the cemetery, or anywhere else I could be alone.  Eventually the company had to let me go as I couldn’t work any more.

We went through my 401K, my stock options and our savings as I was out of work and out of any unemployment.  Things were very bad for us.  Finally a few friends suggested I apply for Social Security which I did and was quickly approved.  That was maybe six years ago.

I haven’t been able to get better to where I can work.  I’m drastically limited in how far I can drive and despite therapy and meds haven’t gotten better.  My beautiful wife went back to school and got her degree at age 50 and was the number one student in her graduating class.

I have had a deep rooted fear since I was a teen. I was a sophomore in high school before I ever went to the dentist.  My parents never thought to take me and I only went then because the pain so was so intense. They had to pull that tooth.

When I have panic attacks it all centers on my mouth.  I can’t swallow, I can’t talk, and I have terrifying thoughts I’m going to swallow my tongue. They are absolutely terrifying.  So this ties into the dentist as I’ve had panic attacks in the dentist office in the past.  I am at a place where I will not go to the dentist because I am convinced it will be the end of me. If I needed dentures I envision a life of terror or worse for the rest of my life. I can’t seem to trust God in this area and it eats at me. No counseling has been able to help and I’ve had people pray for me as well.

I want to conquer this but I am filled with doubt and a lack of trust in God for any kind of breakthrough. He has done so much for me and it’s easier to retreat than to face the battle and this eats at me terribly.

I am a wounded person and yet I do this blog. I don’t ever want to put up this picture of a man who’s got it all together and is filled with wisdom for people who drop by.  I am not.  I am a fellow traveler with each of you who has been way up and has been down in the dark pit.  Thank you if you made it this far.  Allan

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8 Responses

  1. Hi Allan

    Thank you for your blog and I thank God for you and your blog :). I follow your blog and through your blog I have been able to help other people. Quite often you post something that becomes relevant to me or someone I know within a few hours! Sometimes our Father bless other people with our weaknesses. I know that sounds horrible, as if you are the sacrificial lamb!

    I just want to say thank you that your blogs quite often help people living in the southern tip of Africa. :)

  2. Dear Allan,

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    I find we have many things in common. A few weeks ago I was at Walmart getting groceries. I probably had 80% of it done (I hate grocery shopping). Suddenly my hearts starts racing, pounding and I start losing my breath. I then felt like everyone was staring and I felt like screaming and running. I knew so clearly what was happening. I left my cart and ran out of the store in tears. I sat in my car for nearly 30 minutes trembling, frantic, breathless and sobbing. I called my mother and husband crying hysterically. Of course, they answer the same usual manner, to stop hyperventilating, breathe in and out, and simply breathe. I needed to learn how to breathe (they just don’t get it) it is not so easy because I really have no control at that moment.

    “I want to conquer this but I am filled with doubt and a lack of trust in God for any kind of breakthrough. He has done so much for me and it’s easier to retreat than to face the battle and this eats at me terribly.”

    I too feel guilty. I know someday I will learn to face it and hope to conquer it. For now I still hold on to hope. I wish this will be the same for you.

    Please continue sharing, I always become stronger when I hear some one share their stories (although I wish we did not struggle). I know I am not alone and someone else truly understands me!

    Allan again thanks for a sunny morning!

    God Bless You!

  3. cathcorTina, What an encouraging post for me to read. Africa….. Really??? :) That made my day.

    There are times I like to share the reality of my life as I hope it would somehow encourage or let someone know they aren’t alone. Thank you for dropping by and sharing. Allan

  4. Miranda, I’m sorry you had that panic episode. Is this something you’ve experienced before? I’ve been there and it’s no fun! :) I’m happy you were uplifted by reading.

  5. Thank you for sharing your life. I relate to much of it especially the panic disorder. For many years, I was on medication to keep the attacks away. It is a horrible way to live. I am no longer experiencing those attacks but I can remember it like it was yesterday. I believe my chemistry has changed somehow. I am forever thankful that I don’t have them but I empathize with those who do. You help so many people by being able to share and tell how God’s grace is affecting every aspect of your life.

    As Christians, we are not promised sugar coated lives. I was like you…thinking that the Christian life is one of trouble free existence. It is anything but that. The Bible tells “lean not to your own understanding”…and I have come to terms with that. I realize that I have misunderstood a lot. Everyday is a learning experience. You help so many from where you are…and where you have been….and others are blessed by it. I am one.

    You and your wife make a lovely couple.

  6. Dale, I’m sad you experienced the panic attacks but so happy they are a part of your past. I am slow to share my struggles as I don’t want what I share to be seen as a sympathy play or to in any way trip up a reader. Maybe it’s my pride. Thank you for your kind words.

  7. Powerful. Thank you for all the work you do on this blog to help and enlighten and encourage others. I consider it a great blessing to have come across your blog. God be with you.

  8. j, Thank you for the kind words. I’m happy you dropped by! God bless.

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