Part 16 of my journey: The A’s and a little magic. Finding relief in trying times

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Hey all I am back again and I’m going to go ahead and plummet myself right back into my journey. Just a quick update on life… things have been really chaotic lately. The retail company I work for is closing as of December 9, I’ve been searching for a new job, trying to apply for classes for next fall, working on set a bit and really just trying to get my grounding all while still trying to regain my health and my strength. Time and time again I keep getting knocked back down, but I keep praying and believing that God is working.

Now, I left off last post at the end of my visit with my family during which we attended my grandmother’s memorial and returned to the Bay Area to spent the day touring San Francisco. After everything that had gone down over that last year combined with the PTSD episode caused from the stress of wondering if my dad was going to show up at my grandma’s memorial… I was pretty much an emotional wreck when I came back. It was wonderful to see my family, but my body and emotions had totally had enough! I spent a few days resting and trying to regain my strength, and I headed right back into a semester of summer classes. Over the spring semester, my tablet had fallen and broke. This happened just before the end of classes and I had to frantically pull together all my homework that I had emailed to myself to keep as back up so I could turn it in. Going into the summer semester, I spent most my time at the school using their computers because I had no other way to do my schoolwork. Thankfully, I only had library studies, yoga, and swim… yes, (upon approval from my Dr. And Chiropractor) I made another attempt at trying to re-balance myself and keep my cardio up so that I could eventually return to running and racing again.

With the start of my summer semester came a huge blessing! A sister in the Lord who has seen many of the situations I had been through I had been secretly saving for a car for me. When she told her employer a little bit of my story and what she was doing, her employer told her that they had an extra car in their garage that they didn’t use and that they would actually be happy to give it to me! On July 24, 2016… she came out for surprise visit at my home. She kept acting kind of funny and was asking me how I had been getting around. I told her that I was catching rides from my mom, friends, taking the bus, etc. to get to and from places. Mind you, we live in an area that is semi remote. It’s a tiny town that has one convenience store and one gas station. The nearest full sized grocer is about 5 miles away. In order to get to them, you have to either take the bus or drive being that the roads getting to the other cities are freeways and back roads that are really curvy and unsafe for people to walk down. In other words, there were days when I could only afford groceries and was not able to afford bus fare, so I would have to stay home and just wait to see if my mom could take me to the grocery store at another time. Getting to and from places meant that I had to be a burden on other people and their schedules, or that I would end up spending several hours taking buses. I was by no means ungrateful for the transportation that was available to me, however it was definitely draining for me to get to and from places especially battling the bodily pain that I had been battling for so long. She just looked at me and smiled real big, and pretty much informed me of what she and her employer had done AND that husband had spent time fixing up the car as well… I. Just. Fell. APPART!!! There I was, getting ready to start a new semester, and I finally had freedom to get to and from school without being a burden on anyone else!

Fall classes came with quite a big load! I had human physiology, English 1A, English tutoring session, and drama 125 lined up. For the first time in my college career, I had opted out of PE courses in order to get my body in line. At the beginning of the semester, I found that just in walking down to Drama, my sciatic nerve on my right side had become so compacted that a cause severe pain in my calf as I tried to get down to the theater. On top of it, the class took place directly after physiology which was when my professor had open lab and study time available to anyone who needed to finish homework and lab work. This time was incredibly crucial to my success in the class, so, I had to let go of the Drama course and my two stress reliefs were deleted from my schedule. No fitness and no Theatre… my heart sank. Also, the battle for my health had only just begun.

As classes started, I started a new round of bloodwork with my new doctor. In that process, she found that my white blood cell count was extremely low and my kidney enzymes were low as well. On top of it, I tested positive for hepatitis C antibody‘s. Thankfully, there was no presence of actual hepatitis C in my body, the presence of antibodies just showed that my body had contracted it at one point in my life and fought it off. I was furious! I never used needles when I was using drugs, though I was actually active, I did TRY to be careful. As a result, I had to go back and get tested and retested it to make sure that I didn’t have it. By the grace of God, I don’t! I’m healed of it!

As for the low white blood cell count and the low kidney enzymes, well, along with the pressures of classes and going from different chiropractors and physical therapists, working, housesits and volunteer work, I was being screened for cancer and various auto immune diseases. I began to numb myself with school. As someone who has suffered sexual abuse and physical abuse throughout my life, being continuously poked and prodded by doctors with needles along with the chiropractic and physical therapy that was actually making things worse… I was traumatized and I began find refuge in my studies and also refound my ability to draw!

In the midst of all the chaos, God provided some relief! The organization called the Glasslipper foundation that the Lord placed on my heart to help raise money for was going to be out in the Oaland area to attend an A’s game at which Reverend Donnie Moore was having a faith and family night.

During this night night the two teams would play and Donnie Moore and his team would get up in front of the crowd that stayed after with warship and showed everyone superhuman strength! After that, players from both teams began to share their experiences with God. The best part of this night was getting to meet with all of the young woman that the Glasslipper was helping at that time along with several of their volunteers. The head coordinator was such a sweet and amazing woman! I got to hear her story behind why she wanted to help abused and trafficked women and also got to share my story behind why am so passionate about the cause.

At the end of the night, we went about our separate ways and I begin to drive home when something inside me reminded me that I had seen the Oakland Greyhound station on my drive out towards the stadium. I made it a point to MapQuest my way there and stood in front of the station where, at that point, I had stood nearly 10 years prior with my mom, got into her truck and started my new life of freedom from homelessness and drug addiction.

I sat there and began to weep. I asked God why he wouldn’t let me run anymore! I promised him that if he would just let me run again that I would tell the world about how he took drug addict I made her an ultra marathon runner! I drove back to the house at that I was staying at and continued with my homework packed up and went home.

Another moment of relief came in the form of one of my favorite performers. Alex Ramon, the magician who had come just after I originally nearly lost my ability to walk was coming to Hilltop again to perform for the harvest festival! Like a little kid, I was so excited! I volunteered to work the door that year and greet the kids as they came in to give them their bags. I got the blessed with opportunity to meet up with Alex‘s mom and direct her to her seat and even chat with her a bit. What a sweet, sweet woman! Once everyone was seated, I got to sit down and enjoy the show with my little nephew! You see, with all the chaos of classes, work, etc., I was barely able to spend time with my family. This was such a blessed time of enjoying that cute little smile on my nephew space while getting to witness Alex do an underwater escape! On top of it, his magician’s assistant during that time (miss Meghan Doyle) blessed me with huge basket of goodies and a beautiful card that encouraged me to keep going! I was so overwhelmed by their kindness!

Then… it was back home to face reality.

Soon, a woman who is a very precious part of our choir and had been reportedly very ill had died. My heart sank as I remembered the time I held her hand and prayed with her for miracle. I was almost angry at God! Just a few weeks prior to her death, I had made a drawing for her, but wasn’t able to give it to her so I gave it to her caretakers. Through this precious woman‘s death, a gift was given to me. I was given the honor of singing at her funeral and bidding my precious friend farewell. The sacrifices she continuously made right up until she could no longer make them for choir and for the church as a whole have left a legacy in my heart and mind that will last me a lifetime! Alice Romero… you will forever hold a special place my heart!

Back at school and work… Despite my struggle to walk, I continued to press on! Thankfully, the disabled students office helped me get to and from classes when it was too hard for me to walk up to physio from my English course. Also, after multiple trips to the ER due to allergic reactions to medication and severe colds/ flus that I caught throughout the semester, answers begin to come! As it turns out, I’m severely allergic to all NSAIDs, and was tested negative for cancer and autoimmune diseases! Apparently my body had just taken a total beating from the years of malnutrition. By the end of the semester, my white blood cell count had increased just a little bit, but enough to know that my body was moving in a positive direction.

In the mix of it all came possibility of transferring to California East Bay to receive my bachelors degree in their wellness program. Upon talking to a counselor I found out that I was just a few classes shy of receiving two AA degrees and a STEM certificate! Upon completion of my scheduled courses for the spring, I would be graduating with honors and headed to another school! I got right on it, began my paperwork and… was accepted! All the excitement from this gave me so much strength and energy to keep focused!

Finally, this semester drew nearer to an end and I started to see what all my trials had been for! You see, my term paper for physiology was on eating disorders and their effects on the body. Instead of doing one long term paper, my professor actually had us do several short papers throughout the semester and had us do one major presentation that took highlights from each of those papers into our final projects. Throughout the semester, a light started to shine on all that I had done to myself on physiological level through malnourishment. It all really struck a chord with me! Again, while I was trying to eat more (between 1600 and 1800 cal), I still wasn’t eating enough for the weight gain that needed to be done (between 2500 and 3000+ cal), but at least I was gaining a little weight. I was also tackling major food fears (which also helped me recognize which foods I’m actually allergic to sensitive to and which ones I can actually enjoy without a problem). In the presentation I was able to pull out what is done on the psychological and physiological level in someone with an eating disorder, and, I got share my “why” in choosing that topic. The whole class got to see me on a whole new personal level. Most of the class already knew that I was recovering, for some reason I’ve always just been really open about it, however; this gave me the opportunity to explain the devastation that let up to my lack of self-worth. I also got to see a lot of the progress that I had made despite the trials that I have faced. Most of them knew that I always declared that it was by the power of God!

The best part out of the entire final project was getting to see everyone else present theirs! Countless times I was brought to tears seeing so much passion rise in each and everyone of my classmates and seeing whole new side of each of them!

As finals approached, a sense of bittersweetness came over me. I was so glad that classes were going to be over, BUT I was really going to miss Dr. Ellen Coatney (physiology professor), Dr. Eiknerlynch (my English professor), my lab partners, the student aids, my sweet friend Victor that was such an encouragement to me and gave me the opportunity to help him his English course (and I even pointed him the direction of the Theatre arts on campus) and the many, many more people that I came in contact with that fall. While I looked forward to having the pressures of classes taken off and the hopes of being able to regain my strength so I could, Lord willing, walk and run again, I dreaded the idea of the possibility that I could very well end up in bed again.

That year, just before classes ended, I got to sing in the singing Christmas tree, but had to sit off to the side of it because of the severe pressure on my back and legs. This was a nightmare for me, someone who loves to be active, to nearly have the ability to walk being taken away from me… yet it was such a blessing to be part of such a beautiful production!

The semester ended, grades came in, and yes, straight A’s again! I guess to me, this made all the work and the pain worth it! All the hours of studying, being shut away in my room away from my family, The pain I endured as I spent hours sitting down at a computer trying to do my homework and finish writing papers, the struggles of dealing with pain as I tried to walk from class to class, the pain I endured at work while often times being treated improperly by customers, having little to no social life, living in constant pain, yes, those A’s definitely made it worthwhile! Though know we’re not supposed to put our value in our grades or anything else… to know that I was actually seeing results from the sacrifices made somehow seemed to ease the pain.

Looking back on the semester, yes… there were car trouble, yes… there were issues with my health, yes… my chest began hurt at times and scared me that I might end up in the ER again with chest pain, BUT through it all YES!!!! MY GOD WAS THERE FOR ME!

As winter break came, my body had had it once again. No, this time I didn’t end up in bed, but I kept attempting to walk and it was still a struggle. I was so ready to throw in the towel. Despite the pain, I chose to enjoy Christmas with my family along with my mom’s birthday, did the best I could to get more hours at work, and prepared myself to face what I thought would be my final semester at CCC.

Sooo I guess it’s time to leave off here! I was hoping to cover a lot more in this post, but I realize that it would be a bit too lengthy. Thank you all for joining me as I continue to share my story, looks like I’m almost done though! As always, whatever you’re going through, I can’t state it enough… God. Is. There! Keep pressing on!

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Carnival, Magic, plus pumkin brealfast bars!

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Hey y’all! I hope you had an amazing week! Mine was… well…. eventful! I started the week (as I mentioned in my last blog) with a visit to Dr. Runco then a stop to see my god Grammy who is still in the rehabilitation center. One of the greatest things I’ve been able to truly grab a hold of in this season is the value of people and relationships. Seeing god Grammy was like a breath of fresh air! While there, I was able to discuss (with my god mother’s sister) some possible positive goals to set my feet towards as far as education and/ or employment. By the end of the visit, I felt excited and ready to face some new challenges! The following day held the challenge of recovery. I did a very light, gentle, two mile jog and headed home. Wednesday I headed out after bible study for another jog. This one was about 4 miles. Then… my muscles tightened up and pain began! I consulted Runco and he instructed me to take it easy the next day and do a lot of stretching, so… I did just that! A light 3 miler with lots of stretching and ice… thankfully, stiffness and pain was gone by Friday morning! Mom took little guy and me to Fernandez park and like a happy little puppy, I headed off for a 4 mile run. Just as I was headed over a bridge to finish the last mile, I felt a tug in my left side. So, I pushed myself in by taking shorter strides. I made sure to cool down, stretch and prayed that it would subside. Meanwhile, I refocused on the Hilltop Community Church Harvest Carnival. I was set up as a volunteer to help with the games, so…. I shrugged off the worry about the tug I felt, and prepped myself to enjoy an evening of laughing kids, handing out candies and enjoying a free magic show put on by Alex Ramon (former ring leader of Barnum and Bailey Circus, head magician at Illusion Fusion voted best show two years in a row)! When I arrived at church, the set up was BRILLIANT! Huge jumpies filled the parking lot, games flooded the old sanctuary, and the anticipation of the illusionist show was in the air… and like a little kid…. I wanted to meet the guy behind the magic who actually attended my church in his childhood! After my volunteer shift ended, I waited with the crowds in the foyer for the doors to open, then we headed in for an amazing treat! Alex’s modern twist on classic illusions along with new ones of his own were amazing! I can honestly say that it was pure art! After the event, Janet (our pastor’s sister and church treasurer) told me if I wait till the crowd died I’d get to meet him. So… I waited. As I waited, I talked to his assistant, Meghan who is really involved in fitness and wellness and told me about Alex’s sister who does something called the ring wellness! As we chatted, I began to get even more inspired to set out on the quest I’d talked to my God mom’s sister about on Monday. As I continued to wait I was blown away by what I witnessed.. Alex took time and shook hands, took pictures and talked to pretty much everyone that walked up to him! My reason for waiting to talk to him? Well, here is someone who was raised by a teacher and truck driver (both hard and humble jobs to work), found a form of art that he practiced and perfected, now travels the world blessing people with his giftings, comes back to his home church to do a FREE show and takes the time to make each guest feel important. Ummm that shows a LOT of character! When I got up to talk to him I told him how encouraged I was by his story. We talked a little about what I do and when I told him why I run, he said, “tinkeredeemed! You tagged me on instagram!” Apparently he remembered me from a picture I’d posted and tagged with his name to advertise his event and apparently, he read my mini instagram bio! Wow! What a blessing! Anywho, like a kid I asked for a photo and autograph and like a sweetheart he gave me both =) I then headed home with new ideas and a heart full of hope for the future!
The following morning, I woke up and… I faced my current reality once again. Still unsure if whether or not the tug I felt was anything to worry about, plus worries about finances, the possibility of having to care for little guy while my mom works this upcoming week (meaning I risk further injury due to having to lift him) being that we can’t afford day care thus week… poor little guy. It’s not easy on either of us. uhhh I headed out to Kennedy Grove to the one place I knew I could jog, clear my head, and… pay my respects to my recently deceased God Dad. I pulled up to the fire trail entrance, parked and jogged in. I quickly paid my respects and headed out of the park and onto the streets for my favorite run in my original training grounds. About one third of the way out toward Valley View, the tug in my left side started up again. I carefully pressed on, went to my turn around point and headed back, tug again then… again… SOMETHING was off! I stretched out, got in the car, took off to do some quick errands and headed home. Man… my heart ached. I’m trying so hard to get back up only to continually get smacked down! Again, I shrugged it off and finished my day with a smile. Sunday, church… pain… I almost wanted to stay home, however I sucked it in, kept a smile on my face and headed off to enjoy the purple book class and service. This I’m glad I did! The presence of God was so thick if it were an ocean, I cold swim forever in it! On top of it, Pastor Jim’s message really helped me dig deep! It talked about the faultlessness of God and how Good calls us to pursue holiness. That we should be like Isaiah who, even though he was the”holiest”of men in his time admitted that he was a man of unclean lips the very moment he stepped into the presence of God! Man… something to definitely gnaw on for a while. I didn’t want to leave because again, outside of those doors the realities of life awaited me like laughing giants. After service, my family and I headed home. After lunch, my mom decided to take little guy and me to the park. There, I walked a bit only to feel the tug worsen. I’d hope that it was just muscle tightness, but the pain worsened even more when I headed to the car to go home. I nearly couldn’t walk and I told my mom I needed to see my Chiropractor our go to urgent care. Neither were opened, and tomorrow, well… I face taking care of little guy, praying that I’ll be able to do it without any pain. Not sure of if and when I’ll be able to get some relief from this… I just keep on focusing in the promises of God. No matter what, I’ll continue to believe that God will turn this situation into something good. In the mean time, I’m thankful for the fun that I’ve gotten to have along with the time spent with loved ones. As far as running and racing… honestly, I can only hope and pray for a miracle. Dr Runco has done an amazing job and hopefully he’ll help me get to the root of the issue and Lord willing ( now that I finally have medi-cal ) I may be able to get some sort of physical therapy. However, I choose to keep my chin up despite the pain and frustration of my current situation and encourage those who are in the position to race, run, and even just live in good health to do their best and give it their all. In closing, I just want to say that whatever hand life has dealt you, find something to smile or laugh about, love fearlessly, cherish times with your loved ones and most of all seek the Lord and He will guide you through even the darkest of times! Now on to the recipe!
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*Pumpkin Breakfast Bars*
Ingredients/ Crust
-1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-1/2 cup apple sauce
-1/2 large, ripe banana mashed until liquid smooth
-1/4 cup nonfat or 1% milk
-1/3 cup honey
-1/4 tbs vanilla
Ingredients/filling
-1 15oz can of pumpkin (trader Joe’s)
-2/3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 cup (packed and slightly heaping) brown sugar (you can also use honey)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° spray an 8×8 square baking pan with olive oil cooking spray. Mix banana, Apple sauce, milk, honey, vanilla thoroughly. Mix brown rice flour and oats together, then slowly mix liquid ingredients. Once thoroughly mixed, take 2/3 of the mixture and cover the bottom of the pan setting the remaining 1/3 aside. Now, for the filing, mix pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar. Take mixture and cover the dough (inside of the pan) evenly using all of the mixture. Take the remaining 1/3 of the dough mixture, create little crumples and sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin. Place in oven uncovered for 30 min or until crumbles are golden, place out on a rack to cool and serve!
I hope y’all have an amazing and blessed week. If your get to try the recipe I hope your enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it! GOD bless 🙂
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