This is an Unhappy Experience with a very very Happy Ending

Underlined words are links to explanations in my lay person understanding.

While I was writing this in my journal… I realised I needed to write about “Graves’ Disease” and a “Firestorm” in the body, so they were written simultaneously, and I hope provide better understanding. *Smile*

That is also the reason for some repetition. 🙂 

Jess in 2012


My daughter Jess has Graves’ Disease, with the added and dangerous complication of a “Firestorm” in her body… and yes that is the very real medical term her specialist uses.

It’s been four years since Jess first became sick, and more than three and half years since she was diagnosed. With prayer and blessings, our great medical specialist, medication and diligence, I believed as a family with Jess, we could face and overcome this challenge in a year to 18 months… however, within months of Jess stabilising on her medication… and then weaning off, she had a major relapse, fortunately though she has never been as ill as she was in 2012 – 2013, although her struggle continues daily.

As her Mother, I think the greatest sadness I have experienced with Jesses illness… is her loss of inner calm and balance, her strong and quiet confidence in herself, disrupted by anxiety and stress, mainly caused by her illness, rather than any mental and emotional issues.

The vibrantly happy young woman Jess used to be, was shrouded in a cloud of toxic medication haze. Her ease of learning and studying… mental comprehension and understanding… comes and goes rapidly, by the dosage of medication she has to take on a daily basis.

Some days if Jess hasn’t slept well… just a small disruption can cause her to feel overwhelmed and stressed, even causing an anxiety attack, that I have learned to recognise very quickly, so that I can talk her through a simple routine that she isn’t even aware of at times, *Smile* and that calms her down without her becoming overwrought.

Last year wasn’t a good year, and Jess experienced a relapse, for the second time… and then just a few months later… again, the third time much more severe than the second.

From May 2015, we were diligent… but it has been difficult, and by November 2015, Jess was sleeping more and more, as a result of her increased medication and the Firestorm raging. Unfortunately, because Jess was so ill, she wasn’t able to write exams, so another year has been added to her studies.

During December 2015, and the early part of this year… Jess was able to sleep and rest, and relax and regain her health, and she finally stabilised with her medication in late February 2016.

I must admit… the last 18 months have been even more difficult, even though the previous two years were challenging, I seemed to have been able to cope much more… probably because we had fewer other challenges to deal with.

When Jess stabilised this year, I felt a huge sense of relief… and an easing of the burden of this challenging trial for the very first time during the past four years.

I have endeavoured with all my might, strength and faith to ensure that Jess remained stable, even though it was still on her medication.

And despite the many stressful challenges that we have had to face alone and together these past few weeks… we were actually doing great.

During the past two weeks Jess has had to write exams – increasing her stress.
She had to deal with a relationship altercation – increased stress.
One of our dogs got hurt, and discovered it could jump over the wall, when our fence extension was stolen – increased stress.

Then this particular 11 month old puppy, during just one evening… chewed Jesses favourite jeans, her best shirt, her socks and her underwear… plus her new shoes, this only two weeks after chewing her iPad and cell phone cable, all of which was on her desk, and obviously as a result of the dog learning to jump on the table. *Sigh*

Despite the frustration we have dealt with most of these problems rationally if not altogether calmly. *Smile*

Although some of Jesses ‘dormant’ symptoms have ‘awakened’, we have been determinedly diligent in staying off another relapse, ensuring that we drink water, eat healthy – lots of green smoothies, rest and getting enough sleep. It’s easier for Jess to make and drink “Green Smoothies” if she thinks she is making them just for the benefit of my health. *Grin*

Jess has two places where she feels really safe… probably because I am usually always present and close at hand… at home and at Church.

Last Sunday, after weeks of not feeling well enough to go to Church, we both went together. It was a lovely day, and we enjoyed the meetings and socialising with people we haven’t seen for a while.

After Sunday School, Jess dropped her iPhone into her bag to go and hold a friends baby. I went to chat to another friend, leaving my bag next to Jesses on the floor in the Sunday School room.

Less than an hour later I collected our bags, and when Jess reclaimed her bag she was unable to find her iPhone. Avoiding panic and stress, we phoned Jesses iPhone, only to hear that dreaded message, “the subscriber you have dialled is not available at present!”

Definitely not good in a situation like this.

We asked and looked… and asked and looked, and we couldn’t find Jesses phone anywhere. Turning our bags upside down, searching inside out… and even in the car, however to no avail.

I sent out a message on our Church Whatsap group, and most were almost as distressed as Jess was.

Fortunately, Jess has a password on her phone, so we hope that has protected her personal information and journal. We changed her iCloud password, and did an iTrack, and were able to find her iPad that’s in for repair, however the iTrack on the phone has never worked properly.

The distressing part of this situation is that… First, Jess bought the phone herself, and even though it was second hand, it’s a great phone that serves her well. Secondly, Jess uses her phone to journal, read her scriptures and for her job… as she has three students that she tutors, and while her iPad is in for repair, she uses it for communicating with her students, researching and sending them their spelling and lesson plans… and of course it’s a necessary social tool, as Jess doesn’t get to go out and spend time with friends as much as she wants too.

The phone is gone.

Then it should have been found and returned… and it still may.

It’s a very disconcerting thought, especially considering where we were.

I was determined that this very upsetting experience was not going to be the ‘hair that broke the camel’s back’ sending Jess into ‘relapse hell’ …because I just don’t want to go there again.

Dave, Jess and I, spent much of Sunday afternoon arguing, talking, laughing, crying, freaking out just a bit… however dealing with the negative, upsetting emotions and feelings and after a prayer, feeling better.

Making the determined decision that we weren’t going to let the loss of said iPhone, become a detrimental backward motion challenge.

We all slept really well on Sunday night, and bright and early my cell phone rang… which I answered, even though Jess was still sleeping, forgoing her early morning lessons.

It was the mom of two of the students that Jess tutors… one of the students being who Jess bought her phone from.

I chatted to Amanda, the main topic of our conversation being Jess and how she was doing and of course the missing phone. Jess in her half awake, half asleep state, couldn’t resist and wanted to chat to Amanda herself.

When Amanda and her husband heard about what happened to Jess, they decided to help. They upgraded their eldest son’s phone contract receiving a new phone for him… giving his very well cared for second hand iPhone to Jess.

Jess is overjoyed with her new iPhone, and is ‘re-connected’ in less than a week.

Dave and I are very happy and even more appreciative… and very grateful to Hiram and Amanda. They are great people, and even better… wonderful employers, treating Jess more like she is part of the family than an employee. Thank-you so much.

Jess has not studied this past week, taking time to relax and find her balance through solitude and reflection, and realising that although she loved her phone, she isn’t attached to it in a detrimental way, and her anxiety at the loss of her phone was because of the repercussions to her job… and the divulgence of her person journal.

I hope that the iPhone password lives up to its security promise.

Through the trials and challenges of life… and my own personal experiences, I am discovering that more and more, although we face our personal problems alone, they are never only just our lessons to learn and burdens to bear.

We can’t possibly go through every worldly challenge, trial and experience that there is… however, we can learn and grow from our own personal experiences, and from others.

By sharing… being aware of our own reactions, thoughts and feelings… and then by what we do to ease the burdens of others.

I’m grateful to those who have reached out in empathy… sympathy and support, and especially that they have understood what the loss of a cell phone can mean to someone like Jess. Not just for her personal use and pleasure, and for her job… but that it is essential for her health and wellbeing, especially when she is away from home, while she is ill and needs that vital connection to maintain a link to us, her parents.

I have kept Jess very close to me all week. *Grin*

I’m truly grateful to Amanda and Hiram, your support and help have been invaluable, and greatly appreciated, thank-you.

I am grateful, that sometimes our trials and challenges… are not always just our lessons to learn… and that if we believe and have faith, there is always a blessing to be found in even our greatest challenges.

I hope you find the blessings in you challenges this week.

Be awesome,


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