The Rest of the Story

It’s been three years since I updated this blog, but it still brings comments and emails from neuropathy sufferers. I’m glad to know that so many have found comfort (or at least camaraderie) in its pages. The most recent comments reminded me that I really need to update My Story with all that has happened in the last three years.


You can find the update at the end of ‘My Story’ in The Final Chapter – Dying with Dignity.


The Postman cometh

PhotoArt by LymanWade

Wade got a call back on a job he had applied for last fall. It was one he really wanted – driving a truck for a company that contracts to the post office. It is a local run, so he is home every night. Something else he wanted. 

He mentioned something about one of the mail bundles that made me realize how rarely I get personal mail. In fact I rarely get bills, since I pay all over the internet. 

As a child I was a pen pal with my Aunt. I remember waiting for her letters. It made me feel so grown up to get my own mail. During my short time at college, I waited anxiously for letters from home. 

As a young adult I exchanged long letters with my best friend when her husband took a job out of state. Long distance calls were charged by the minute and phone calls had to be kept agonizingly short. But, in letters we could pour our hearts out to each other. 

Finding Wade again, after 30 years, reminded me of waiting anxiously for the mail. At least once a week, he mailed a letter, card or photos of what was happening in his life. There were emails and phone calls as well, but it was the act of taking the time to write, address and stamp a letter that really got to me. Seeing his thoughts in his handwriting went straight to my heart. 

When he first moved to Tennessee, he was an over-the-road driver. I could tell you every place he stopped for fuel. I received a post card from each. Sometimes he was already home and gone again by the time the post card reached me. That didn’t matter. It was the act of taking the time to write the short message and putting it in the mail. 

How many children growing up today have even seen a handwritten, mailed letter? I doubt many. I bet most rarely see emails, as IMHO abbreviated ‘texting’ has already begun to replace that. 

I have seen so many technological changes in my lifetime. Most I marvel at. I remember when I would spend hours in a library researching local regulations. Now, my fingers need only type, and I have the entire Code on the screen in front of me. I can take virtual tours of the Smithsonian, the Louvre, and the Sistene Chappel. It is an amazing age, and I have been so glad to have grown up in it. I only wish… 

…the postman would bring the occasional handwritten letter.

Cagney & Lacy

Sometimes I have to wonder about myself. Last week I found a topic about the use of magnets for pain. Since my lower back pain has been worse the last couple of weeks, I decided to give it a try and ordered some magnets from eBay.
They arrived today, and I was so anxious to try them out, I thought the mid-day nap would be a good opportunity. So, I quickly scanned the magnet thread, pulled out my surgical tape and ace bandage, and went to work on my first attempt at using magnets. And, I do mean Work! After 15 minutes I was so exhausted, I fell into bed sans magnets.

Let’s start with the fact that the magnets came in a roll, like a roll of nickels. Of course they were magnetized together, and my fingers just didn’t want to rise to the challenge of prying them apart. And, when I would finally get one pried loose from the roll, it would snap right back. It only took my brain about 20 attempts (may be an exaggeration) to realize that I had to place the newly freed magnet about 5” from the roll to lessen its strong desire to return.

All this, Cagney & Lacy found extremely fascinating. They would creep closer for a better look, only to jump back again when the magnet snapped back to the roll.

Once I got the hang of prying the magnets apart, I started to place them on the tape. This is where actually reading the thread carefully would have come in handy.

I laid out one long strip of tape, and attempted to place the magnets on the tape side by side. But, they kept escaping the tape and snapping together. I finally figured out that if I placed them an inch apart, it curbed their desire for companionship. When I had finally succeeded in getting 5 magnets placed on the tape, I was ready to tape the strip to my back.

I picked up one end of the strip, and snap, snap, snap. The tape folded accordion-style between the roll of magnets. My attempt to straighten the tape back out, was what finally ended today’s experiment. I took hold of each end of the strip and pulled. The magnets flew off the tape, clattering against towel bar, commode and sink. Thank god one didn’t venture near the window.

If the bathroom door had been open, Cagney & Lacy would have bolted through in their mad scramble to escape flying magnets. Instead, they both took to the bathtub, where they found one of the errant magnets had landed. I left them trying to pry it loose from the tub drain, while I recovered with a nap. Their success was no better than mine had been with the roll. The darn thing kept snapping back to the drain. They were still playing with it when I woke.

If nothing else, I have found a great way to keep them entertained.

Ride the Train

Photo by LymanWade


Neither a wise man
nor a brave man
lies down on
the tracks of history
to wait
for the train of the future
to run over him
(Dwight D. Eisenhower) 

. .       



I have been a little negligent posting over the last week, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve thrown myself in front of a train. Wade has been working at the Census and has little time for photography or photoart, so I have had little inspiration. I have kept myself busy by updating the Resources page.

There have been a lot of frustrated people posting to the boards lately. People who sound like they are about ready to lay down on the tracks. I realize I could be one of them, if I hadn’t found a way to redirect my frustration. I am grateful everyday to have the support of family and friends who encourage me to turn the negative into a positive.  But, I do realize I am the one who has to make the effort. I wish there was simple way to sum up how that is done. It starts with getting out of bed each day, and everyday making the positive affirmation that:

“Today, I will Ride the train.”

It’s Better To Be Happy

PhotoArt by LymanWade


When I am happy, I feel like crying.

But when I am sad, I don’t feel like laughing.

I think it is better to be happy.

Then you get two feelings for the price of one.

(Lily Tomlin)

Filled with Joy

PhotoArt by LymanWade


No one

is guaranteed happiness.

Life just gives each person

time and space.

It’s up to us to

fill it with joy.

(H. Jackson Brown, Jr)


Not an easy concept. How does one find joy to fill the time and space of our lives. I know the things that bring me joy – flowers, birds, my ‘kids’, Wade. But how do I stay filled with joy in their absense? Or, when outside influences override their presence? Truth is, I don’t.

For the last 2 years, I have enjoyed the spring and summer evenings on the porch with Wade. Watching the birds feed and bathe. The river slowly moving by. The flowers blooming. So, how do I enjoy it without his company?

I’m about to find out, as his job with the Census will go into at least June and possibly September. I know he won’t find time to tend the flower gardens, and evenings on the porch will be rare. Can I find joy without him there to share with?

I will take comfort in knowing that he is missing the time together as much as I am.  I have taken over his old camera, so I can photograph what he is missing. And, I will remember it is up to me alone to fill my life with joy.

It is Good

Photo by LymanWade


It is good to have an end to journey towards,

But it is the journey that matters in the end

(Ursula Le Guin)