Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day 2012

As I was reminded on facebook this morning, Memorial Day is for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

My husband and two brothers came home from World War II. These three soldiers and all those i knew would be and were quick to pay tribute to those who did not come back home from World War II or other wars!

Four of my school friends were killed in WWII: May God bless their memory on this Memorial Day 2012 and may we continue to recognize their sacrifice made in 1943 and 1944:

James Homer Cook was an airplane pilot whose airplane was shot down in the South Pacific on March 17, 1944.

Quinton " Red "Cole was killed fighting the enemy in Italy on March 9, 1944.

Carroll Adams was killed in France on July 27, 1944.

J.W. Rye was gave his life in Africa on January 21, 1943.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Memoral Day Tribute

May 21, 1919-December 3, 1986
A Soldier for his Country and a Soldier of the Cross.

As I was reminded on facebook this morning, Memorial Day is for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. My husband and two brothers came home from World War II. They would be and were quick to pay tribute to those who did not come back home from World War II or other wars!

Four of my school friends were killed in WWII: May God bless their memory on this Memorial Day 2012 and may we continue to recognize their sacrifice made in 1943 and 1944: James Homer Cook was an airplane pilot whose airplane was shot down in the South Pacific on March 17, 1944.
Quinton " Red "Cole was killed fighting the enemy in Italy on March 9, 1944. Carroll Adams was killed in Frances July 27, 1944.J.W, Rye was gave his life in Africa on January 21, 1943.

Charles Shaw and I married as teens. World War II forced us and many of our friends to grow up a little! Jumping ahead of that long story, we continued to love one another and thought our children were so special.

Charles Columbus Shaw (named for his two grandfathers, Charles Reuben Wilkerson and Columbus Turner Shaw) was a good man, husband and father. He and most of the men and boys of our generation signed up for service soon after the draft started.
After coming home from service in the South Pacific, Charles became a dedicated pastor and gifted preacher, Charles preached his last sermon the Sunday after Thanksgiving 1986 at Rico United Methodist Church In Palmetto Georgia on the first Sunday of Advent and had his final heart attack three days later on December 3. 1986.

In thinking back, Charles had a lot of leadership skills. When he was inducted at Fort Mac, they gave him the choice of what branch of service he wanted to serve in. He chose the Marines. He was put "in charge" of a group that was traveling together to the Marine base in San Diego, California. His later service was in the South Pacific until the end of the war in 1945. He told us the medals he wore in the uniform below were not for meritorious service but were given to all who survived the rigors of boot camp.
Charles Shaw served two years in the Marine Corps from 1943-1945. I think his leadership qualities must have been recognized because he only had a High School education at the time.

Charles, like most Marines, as the Marine hymn states, was “proud to be member of the United States Marines.” He served in the Marine Corps - Semper Fidelis - in World War II in the South Pacific. “Always faithful“ was more than a motto to him and to his buddies and also to the wives and widows of these men who do not question that they were indeed the “greatest generation.”

When he was in the Marine Corps, he wrote a letter nearly every day. The 15 months he was overseas he wrote as often as possible...sometimes several times a week. We were both letter writers. ( I wrote to him everyday ). I am sorry we did not keep the letters.

When Charles was a teenager, he would often write the "love letters" for many of his buddies. Writing letters was a common way of communicating then. He wrote me a letter every week while we were dating. I wish I had kept the one he wrote telling me how much he liked the biscuits I had made. My friend Julia insisted that Charles must eat one of the biscuits I had made earlier. I apologized for Julia making him eat one of my biscuits. As soon as he got home that Sunday evening he wrote how much he liked the biscuit then added, "I would eat anything to be near you." I finally did learn to cook and he did "eat anything I cooked. "
Another thing Charles Shaw did as a teenager which shows his uniqueness was to "adopt" a child at the Methodist Children's Home. There had been a presention in church about the need. So he asked to "adopt a child" and used some of his "hard earned money" to buy toys and clothes for the child they assigned him. Each person took one or more of the children and sent them gifts. Of course, most of those who chose to participate in the "adopt a child" project of the church were people older and with more money than was avaibable to the teen aged Charles Shaw.

But, as you know, Charles was a wonderfully good and "tender hearted" man. And a worker! He delivered newspapers as a young boy. Later he had a dry cleaning route where he went around from house to house and collected clothes his customers wanted cleaned, took them to the Dry Cleaner in Conyers. Later in the week he went back to Conyers to get the cleaned clothes. He delivered them and collected the payments. He made only a pittance but every little bit helped.
As soon as he was old enough, he went to work for Calloway Mills. He made the amazing salary of 25 cents an hour. As was common in those depression years, he gave all his paychecks to his Dad and Mother to help with household expenses. He did this right up to the week we were married.

Your questions have started me thinking about WHY we did not keep his Marine stuff together. It was not a time when one thought about family history as much as we do now. Mainly we did not think of family history because there was not as much leisure time then as now.

We led such a busy life with his taking advantage of the Veterans' Bill of Rights to go back to school and finish college and then going for 3 years more of Seminary and such busy pastorates which he continued with enthusiasm and talent even after two heart attacks and bypass surgery and until death.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In Loving memory of Charles 5-21-19-12-03-86

In Loving Memory of Charles 5-21-19 ... 12-03-86

Today would have been my husband, Charles Columbus Shaw 91st birthday.

I thought it might be a good way to honor Charles today by following the lead of my daughter Joan , (Daddy's Roses ) , Joan helped me set up the Ruthlace Blog moniker back in 2005 and is the family expert in all thing English and Spanish.

Recently on Daddys' Roses, she wrote a great post , citing 13 differences in her and her DH. (Darling Husband). In honor of my DH, here are mine:

1…. Movies. Charles loved movies, especially the old cowboy movies. I am not much of a movie fan. I have seen probably less than a half a dozen in a theater in the last 26 years and not many more on Television.

2.... Seafood. Charles and I both liked sea food. We both grew up eating fish caught fresh from the Yellow River.

3.... Sunday School. Like many pastors, he was not a regular in one Sunday School Class. I enjoyed very much being a part of a Sunday School Class from childhood on and have taught classes in all the churches where DH was pastor.

4.... Pets. Neither of us had much time for pets. We did have Hercules, a chihuahua when the children were small and later a German Shepherd who "followed David home" from school. David named the big dog "Rex" (the name of his Dad's childhood dog) as soon as they arrived home. Rex loved to swim in the large lake in the neighborhood in East Point. He was David's dog.

5.... Vacation Spots. We both enjoyed camping and family gatherings. Charles also loved fishing and hunting and once caught an 18 inch Brown Trout in an Ellijay mountain stream much to the delight of our children and some of the neighbor children who were splashing in the water. He had the fish mounted by Rev. Bob Cagle, who had answered the call to preach as a teen ager during Charles ministry in Ellijay.

6.... Temperature. I am the one who now wears long sleeves even in the Summer. This may be an old age thing. I do not remember either one of us complaining about the house temperature.

7.... Time of Day. He was a night owl; I am an early bird. When he was in Seminary at Candler, he would stay up all night writing papers or studying for an exam. On the other hand, I went to Seminary after his death and would go to bed early and get up at 4 to write any paper that required creativity.

8.... Food. We both enjoyed a dinner of fresh turnip greens and cornbread with a glass of buttermilk as a complete meal after all our children were out of the nest. A meal with dried beans cooked from scratch as the main course was also a welcomed meal to both of us. We failed in passing along the love of fresh greens and those wonderful dried beans protein source to our children?

9.... Family of Origin. I am the youngest of nine and the only one still living. Charles was the oldest of five boys. The last of his four brothers died in January of this year at age 85. My father died when I was 9 but Charles and I both had strong family ties with parents and siblings.

10.... TV Shows. He enjoyed the old cowboy and war movies or shows like Gunsmoke and M.A.S.H. I prefer a situation comedy like Designing Women or Matlock. In recent years, I have lost interest in most of the TV offerings.

11.... Health. He had serious hearing and ear problem from World War II experiences. His first heart attack and by -pass surgery was at age 59 and his final one at age 67. Most of my health issues, except for painful TriGeminal neuralgia episodes from 1990 on have been after age 82.

12.... Religion. Both of us very serious, some might say "overly serious" Christians.

13.... Blog. I enjoy all forms of writing and still write as I live! I doubt that he would have gotten into blogging as he left much of the family writing (Christmas letters etc.) up to me. He was an outgoing and charismatic extrovert. I am more introverted. He would sometimes have me edit pastoral reports and letters while he made sick calls. However he read widely books of Theology and the Bible , was good in New Testament Greek and was gifted in Biblical preaching.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia?
I had never heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia when I was finally diagnosed. Below is a brief history of my bout with Trigeminal Neuralgia which will be of interest and hopefully helpful to other TN sufferers? (1)

My first attack of TN was in August of 1990. I was in my sixties and had never heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia. I was to learn this is not unusual. Many patients suffer for years, going from one doctor to another before being diagnosed with TN

I am writing a sketch of my experience because I wish someone had given me information early on. It might have helped in some of the decisions I made for treatment.
At first, the acute “electric shock” like pain seemed localized in my teeth. I went to a Dentist. No problem there although I did have an unnecessary root canal (the dentist was not 100% sure it was not that bottom left jaw tooth.) After the root canal and the continued unbearable pain, my teeth was ruled out as a problem.

Finally a doctor, after finding no brain tumor or other problems that could cause such horrible pain...diagnosed it as Trigeminal Neuralgia. The first Neurologist I saw at the time seemed to have had little or no experience with TN.

Six years after my first attack, on March 6, 1996, Dr Susie Tindall at Emory Univ. Hospital in Atlanta did brain surgery...micro vascular decompression. (in lay persons understanding was to place a pad to separate the offending trigeminal nerve from the artery pulsating against it.) Dr. Tindall had told me it was “successful in 80 percent of patients.

After the surgery Dr. Tindall told my family that it "did not look like what she expected". My understanding is ... she did not see an artery pulsating against a nerve but she put a pad in anyway? The surgery was not successful so the horrible pain started up again after a brief time. One of the frustrations about TN is the intermittent pain that comes and goes without apparent cause or reason.

After moving to Rome GA, in 1998, my pain kept increasing. My son-in-law Gregg Lewis, a writer, had just written a book with Dr. Benjamin Carson. Gregg knew that Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins also specialized in TN treatments.

On June 10, 1999, I went to Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore MD for Dr Carson to do a procedure ...labeled "Percutaneous trigeminal Rhizotomy with Glycerin Injection".

My pain continued. Later I learned from Patricia Sumerford of Big Canoe, GA about a Support Group she was starting for Trigeminal sufferers. (a friend, Ann Long of Grantville GA, at a meeting happened to overhear Patricia mention TN so gave her my email address ) Patricia was most helpful and gave me information about a Research project taking place at Life University in Marietta under the direction of Dr. Roger Hinson a Chiropractic doctor.

I got in touch with Dr. Hinson and participated in the project for nearly a year and was pleased with my progress. While I was getting Chiropractic adjustments from Dr. Hinson, I gradually reduced the amount of the Neurontin I was taking and got off medication completely for awhile and was practically pain free.

After the Research, when I stopped making the long trip down to Marietta, the breathtaking electric shock like pain came back and became increasingly severe. I tried a Chiropractic doctor here in Rome but continued in severe pain. The indescribable pain become more and more severe.

Dr. Hinson is in private practice now in College Park, Georgia. I am told that medical insurance now will now cover some Chiropractic treatments. I continued with Neurologist (Dr. Bill Naguazewski) here in Rome who kept increasing neurontin medication (a medicine commonly used in Epilepsy patients) and they even put a pain patch on me one day when I was at the doctor's office in such horrible pain I could not speak. I got off the narcotic pain patch after a few weeks believing the treatment was worse than the disease.

Medication (even pain patches) does not help this pain anyway and I certainly did not want to deal with addictive drugs.

The doctors did CAT scans which showed the pad that Dr. Tindall put in my brain in the 1996 surgery at Emory had "calcified." The Neurosurgeons here in Rome (Coosa Medical) were helpless. They said they had never seen anything like it.

We finally sent the scans to a Neurosurgeon in Nashville and then on to Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, Both these doctors had seen the calcification before and both suggested another rhizotomy that would deaden the trigeminal nerve. My family did a great deal of research and finally convinced me to go back to Dr. Carson at Johns Hopkins…reasoned Carson would have a special interest in me because of the previous failed procedure.

October 30, 2001. I was back at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Benjamin Carson did a “Rhizotomy with a modified form of Radiofrequency”. One of the side effects is that I have a great deal of numbness (especially the left nostril) and still have some head and facial pain but no recurrence of the unbearable trigeminal pain since the procedure on Oct 30, 2001. This is not considered a permanent solution (but is expected to last for years) and is still working well for me over 10 years later.

I suppose I would do it again because the pain had become so unbearable. I could not eat (mostly liquids) and could not talk without extreme pain and it made carrying on daily activities difficult.

In order to send this information to a friend who is dealing with some facial pain, I am publishing this article again today (May 23, 2011) . I am still free of the excruciating Trigeminal Neuralgia now nearly 10 years after the surgery by Dr. Ben Carson at Johns Hopkins.

1.There are many TN sufferers out there. I have just finished reading the Winter 2007 TNALERT, published three times a year by (Trigeminal Neuralgia Association). It came in the mail today (January 8, 2008).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Do you Want To Be When you Grow up?

I served as pastor of the Livingston United Methodist Church in 2005-2006. One morning I drove out to the Livingston Community to visit with a young family - James and Mary and four year old Morgan (not their real names) - who had become a part of the church.

Livngston United Methodist Church is about ten miles west of the City of Rome. Rome has been Floyd county's seat for over a century, with it's three colleges "seven hills and three rivers."

But in 1833 when Livingston Methodist Church was organized, that community was the Floyd "County seat. " Most of the people long ago moved away from Livingston church.

It is in a picturesque country setting and is one of the oldest churches in Floyd county. The beautiful cemetary ajoining the church has gravestones dating before the Civil war. But

Livingston membership is now small. We have only a few families, and Morgan is one of the few children in the congregation. I had made an appointment to visit the family because the elderly grandmother - Livingston's revered oldest member who had been a member and leader in the church since her youth - was sick.

James was at work, but Mary was on spring break from the school where she teaches. I had a great visit with Mary and Morgan and Mary’s grandmother, Sarah. Morgan, a bright and beautiful child, already knew her alphabet. She sat at my feet obviously enjoying my visit and writing her name and drawing pictures for me and for all of us during the visit.

Mary told me that someone had asked Morgan a few days ago what she wanted to be when she grew up. This precious little four year old girl said, "I want to be a preacher." Mary told me Morgan sometimes would line up her dolls and preach to them.

The same question was asked of me when I was four or five. I had never known a woman pastor. But if I had, I would have never and could never have envisioned myself as a preacher. In the 1920's when I was a small child, most little girls replied to that question by saying " a teacher" or " a nurse." But I also could not envision myself as a teacher. A teacher had to stand up and talk? I was too shy! A nurse? No! A nurse had to give shots!

What else can I plan to be when I grow up? A wife? A wife! I knew some women who were wives. I loved our Methodist pastor. "When I grow up, I want to be a preacher's wife," was said to be my timid reply.