Tag Archives: pain and swelling

Why Bother?


Experience the experience
I lay in bed, grasping my sides and moaning piteously in my efforts to keep from heaving my insides out even though there wasn’t anything left inside. As I lay there with a raging fever, my aching body thrashed around on perspiration soaked bedclothes, while a single thought roiled in my brain like waves crashing on the rocks below in a wintry storm: “Why bother?”

“Why bother?” The question springs up only in those times when a virulent fever ruthlessly thrusts aside every conscious thought and instead interjects outlandish hallucinations, agonized whimpers and wretched creatures of nightmare.

In other words, it doesn’t happen all that often. When it does, however, I am left drained and depleted, with only scattered images of hellish ordeals, aching and painful muscles, and the ghostly (ghastly) echoes of my own helpless moans as residua. The specter of my father, who committed suicide at an early age, arises again. “Like father, like daughter,” I think (even though he was a young man at his death and I am now more than twice his age). I wonder, yet again, “Is suicide really an option – for me?” How many times have I asked this question throughout the years? And why do I ask? Because, for me it’s all part of my most important question: Why bother? So, once again, I contemplate the idea of ending my life. How would I? Why do it, or why not? And once again, I arrive at the same conclusion that (in my mind), suicide is always an option. Will I select that option? Not today. It’s not time to end this existence. Because before I can take such an action, I need to answer this persistent and nagging question.  Why Bother?

Fever raged through my body for 72 hours, most of which were spent unconscious, at best subconscious. Eventually, things quieted and semi coherent thought carefully poked its quivering nose out, braving the storm to ask again: “Why bother?” It was, after all, the only question requiring an answer. Nothing else could be accomplished until that question was resolved. “So, Jan, let’s have a go at it, eh?”

Why bother … trying?
I reflect on my coaching career as it continues growing toward success for me and my clients.

But … what if I don’t bother? What will happen then?
Someone else will pick up the pieces and create a success for themselves and my/their clients. So … Is success really all that important?  Hmm, something to think about.

Then …

Why bother … speaking?
I think of my coaching clients and how excited I am for them when they ‘get it’ – the pride I feel for them with each step they take.

But … what if I don’t bother? What will happen then?
If I’m not around, someone else will take them in hand and help them succeed. Sooo … is it important for me to feel pride for them? Or for myself?

And what about … with relationships?
Oh, I’ve loved the many special times with family and friends.

But … what if I don’t bother?
Like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life; I reflect that if I’m not around, it won’t really impact their lives in any meaningful way, will it. Life goes on, after all. And really, what’s the main purpose of friends and family, anyway? Is it approval, or acknowledgement, or some form of recognition – of belonging? Do I really feel a need to belong?  And if so, why?

And the ultimate question …

Why bother … living?
Now, that is the real question, isn’t it: Why bother even living?

What is so important that I should keep trying, breathing, feeling, living? Especially lying here, completely wrung out and too weak to do anything about it?

It’s funny, isn’t it, that when an intense question like that arises in our minds (at least it’s true for me) it requires thought and consideration to dredge up an answer. But there is also the awareness in that chaotic swirling, still only semi coherent process, that in reality the answer is irrelevant – it’s the question that is of ultimate importance.

“Okay, Jan, this thing needs a bit of thought organization, doesn’t it? So, thoughts, start organizing yourselves, and answer the question. ‘Cause, there’s nothing I can do, about anything, until you resolve this one thing. Unable to get myself untangled from these twisted bed clothes; no food, no shower, and still not even any energy – so just lie here a bit longer and focus, and answer the bloody question. I’m too weak to do anything but crawl to the bathroom anyway, so it’s easier to just lie here and contemplate.”

Okay: The questions.

Why should I bother continuing to grow a successful business? If I don’t do it, there are a lot of people out there who will step in and do it. So my success isn’t anything truly special, is it?

And what about my coaching clients? What will they do if I don’t bother? Already stated; there are plenty of coaches who will step up and help clients become successful. Which means I’m not really needed there.  Two down.

Why bother with relationships, of any kind? I mean life goes on, doesn’t it. People may occasionally think of me and miss me, but … is that enough reason to bother? I don’t think my life really impacts many others all that much, so why bother? What’s the point?

Now we’re down to the real question, Jan. Why bother living? If there is no ‘purpose,’ no ‘scheme of things,’ no particular goal, and nothing particular to achieve, then what IS the reason to keep on living?

My mind drifts off once more, floating in a nebulous cloud of semi-awareness and silence. No emotions, no needs, no wants. Only the comforting silence. Waiting.

Drifting, like a quiet breeze wafting in through the window, clearing the air and sweeping the fog from my still sluggish brain, words appear: “To experience the experience.”

In Conversations With God, Neale Donald Walsch wrote, and I have to paraphrase here, that there is no great or grandiose purpose, no goal, no raison d’etre for our lives. The only reason we are here, at least in my interpretation, is to experience the experience.

When I first read that book series and made that connection, I thought, “Well, that’s depressing, isn’t it!” I mean, If there is no purpose, then Why Bother at all? As I worked my way through the process and understood that my soul/sole purpose here on this earth is simply to experience the experience, and I mean every experience that I create, a sense of joy flowed through me.  My mind excitedly embraced the freedom of that thought. No longer did I have to try to live up to some unstated purpose or reach some unreachable goal. I was given the freedom to relax into each and every moment and simply experience the experience. The relief, the joy of that discovery was profound.

And slowly now my feverish brain remembered. I remembered that the reason to ‘bother’ is to ‘experience the experience.’ No need for judgment or classifying an experience. The ONLY thing I need to do is let myself BE, and like tree sap in spring, a profound joy began to fill me once again.

Gently thoughts began to glide through my mind. No need to strive, Jan. Just let yourself experience the experience. Nothing more. Of course, success is lovely. Yes, there’s a certain high with success. Yes, yes, yes. But … that didn’t seem an important enough reason to make me want to bother. But … just to experience that experience? Who would want to miss out on that?

What about relationships then? Why else but to experience the experience! How else will you or I experience love, friendship, compassion, happiness, anger, despair and delight? The only possible way to do that is through the experience itself. And ALL we have to do is to experience the experience. Isn’t that amazing?

It’s irrelevant if ANY experience could be labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ make me ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ or ‘mad’ – it’s just all part of the experience – and I remember now that the only reason I am here is to experience the experience. Not to judge the experience, simply to experience the experience. The sense of freedom has my mind soaring.

The process continued; I can succeed or fail in business, do my best for my clients, build relationships, go for a walk or a cruise, skydive, swim in the ocean, sit alone and read a book, listen to music, or meditate. It really and truly doesn’t matter what I do – because my ONLY ‘job’ in this life is to experience the experience – EVERY experience. And to continually remind myself not to judge the experience, simply to experience it. To savor it. Taste it. To smell it, wrap myself up in it, luxuriate in it, and feeeel the emotions of the experience as completely and purely as possible.

To allow myself to LIVE each and every experience, as fully as I am able, and to give myself the amazing experiences of this juicy, luscious, filled-with-emotion experience called living. Even if and in those times I might experience pain.

Since I’m not ill very often, when it does happen, my mind feels ensorcelled and this recovery seems to be slow. But each time I awaken, I discover the answer is always the same, which makes sense since the question is always the same question: Why bother?

Why bother?
My answer: Because the reason I am here, in this human form, is to simply and completely experience the experiences of my life. I feel no demand to serve a greater purpose, no unreachable goal to achieve, no soaring ambition to be fulfilled. The ONLY need I have is to experience the experience – of my life, of living.

You may have different answers. Feel free to share with me in the comments below. I would love to hear from you and the discoveries you have made for your life.

If you feel a knee-jerk reaction and/or compulsion to preach at me and tell me that “finding Jesus” is the only true purpose, you need make no effort to convert me to your belief. However, I eagerly invite you to live YOUR life according to your own personal belief.  For myself, I’ve spent many long hours searching, studying, praying, meditating, thinking, and feeling, and allowing myself to arrive at my own conclusion, which is this: I am here on this earth for the soul/sole purpose of experiencing this experience of life. To allow each experience to flow over, around and through me; to wallow in it and to milk every last morsel of expression from it; to fully embrace and experience LIVING.

What do you think?

Jan Revell

April 5, 2016
Update: My brain finally cleared today sufficiently to research the symptoms of my slow and delayed recovery. Duh. Due to almost 72 hours without food or liquids, I had become severely dehydrated. Should you begin to get ill, I urge you to stock a supply of water/juice/liquids by your bedside for those times when you are aware enough to fumble around at all, and to force yourself to drink, even sips, as often as you can. You may rest assured that I will be following my own advice on this as well.

Please comment and share.

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Laser Vein Treatment for "broken" veins

Three leg procedures down; 3 still to go, possibly 4. The next two are only 2 days apart: the final perforator on a Tuesday and the greater saphenous vein two days later, on Thursday. They tell me that one will probably be “pretty uncomfortable.”

The first 4 procedures consist of laser obliteration of 4 perforator veins (called that because they perforate the fascia – go through it). There are 140 tiny perforator veins in each leg, all of which are supposed to be the size of capillaries. Their job is to carry blood from the superficial veins to the deep venous system which returns that “used” blood to the heart for oxygenation, making it ready for the round trip through the body again. My 4 “broken” perforator veins are/were 5/16″ in size (that’s almost 1/2 inch in diameter!) and have been responsible for keeping blood pooled in the ankle area. This pooling caused lots of swelling, sometimes to 3 or 4 times normal ankle size, and also caused ulcers that took from several months to over a year to heal. Three of those are now GONE! Just one more of those, and then the big ones.

For the greater saphenous vein procedure, the needle carrying the fiberoptic laser (size 14 needle!) is inserted into the vein at the back of the knee and threaded up to the groin. Obviously, a fair amount of novocaine with it! Then he turns on the laser (1000 degrees) and starts pulling the fiber/laser back toward the knee, essentially boiling the blood into steam and obliterating the vein. Two weeks later, they do an ultrasound to see if the lower part of that vein (that goes from knee to ankle) has closed itself. Apparently 4/5 times, it closes by itself. If not, then they have to go in and take care of that one as well.

Following the greater saphenous procedure, the leg is wrapped (tightly) from groin to ankle for 48 hours, then I can remove that dressing and “only” have to wear a thigh-high compression sock for – Yikes! – two weeks.

After that, once they’ve done the ultrasound and verified the lower portion of that vein has closed itself, the lesser saphenous gets the same treatment. That vein goes from knee to ankle only, though, so at least I can go back to just my regular knee-high compression socks for two weeks after that procedure – and then I’m done!

The first one was a walk in the park. The last two have been fairly uncomfortable, but the end result will be NO MORE COMPRESSION SOCKS! And no more swelling in the ankle, and no more open ulcers because of circulation issues. Woohoo!!

This problem has been going on for 39 years, ever since a motorcycle accident, so you can probably imagine my degree of amazement (that it can even be done), excitement as the ankle gets progressively “unswollen” – even after 3 hours on my feet on dart night, and the relief of not having to worry about an ankle ulcer happening anymore. Wow. Modern medicine has some real miracles with it.

Dr. Joyce (Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute here in Punta Gorda, FL) is considered the leader in this type of procedure. He has done over 1000 cases since the laser treatment was introduced – with HUGE success rates. He will be delivering a paper on it in early November to the American College of Phlebology. (www.jvai.com)


A Dubious Anniversary

Today is the 39th anniversary of the event that changed my life forever.

Thursday, October 15, 1970, was one of those beautiful October mornings in Munich, Germany. My boyfriend and I were enjoying our last motorcycle ride of the year through the countryside when a truck carrying bags of cement failed to stop at an intersection. My life changed in that moment of impact between truck and motorcycle.

I was lucky; I was alive – and so was my boyfriend. He broke his elbow and had a minimal back injury. His helmet was ruined from the gravel that was ground into it – but the gravel was in the helmet and not in his head! My foot was 99% severed from my ankle. They sewed it back on because I was 26, thin, and in good health, and gave it a week to see if it would ‘take’. They were pretty sure they would have to amputate it, though, because they didn’t believe blood flow would reestablish itself. At the end of that week, my foot was still pink and alive, and from then on they called me their “Miracle Child.”

Months of therapy ensued, but it was Munich and I was young. During March Fasching celebrations, I wore my mini skirts and decorated my upper leg with felt petals glued to the scars. A brace kept my foot from touching the floor and didn’t stop me from dancing the night away. Youth. The young don’t believe in danger; they thrive on it – as I did then.

My future became a different future, as happens with anyone who experiences such an event. I was clear that “Although I would not wish this on anyone, it was perhaps the best thing that could have happened for me.” And over these intervening years, I learned to compensate for disability and tolerate pain. Each Spring, when it was time to get the garden in shape, I knew there would be at least two weeks of acute pain and swelling. In the Fall, when it was time to clean up the yard and cut wood, I paid again. And every day I spent standing around or walking on concrete, or driving distances, I spent several days with my leg elevated and popping pain pills. But that’s life, right? That WAS my life, you’re right.

Now, fast forward 39 years to today, October 15, 2009, one of the most exciting days in my life Now. Today I visited Dr. Joyce at the Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute (www.jvai.com) in Punta Gorda, Florida. My first visit of 6 or possibly 7 visits, and I could not believe how excited I was! Today, Dr. Joyce would turn one of my veins to dust – and I could hardly wait.

Dave came into the operating room (in the offices of JVAI) and I started asking questions. I wanted to know everything, and with the medical background to understand the answers, things were even more interesting to me. What size needle? (14 gauge) What do they do? How? Dave was delightful and answered all my questions. When Dr. Joyce joined us, my questions resumed. He sat in front of my and pulled the ultrasound screen close so he could see, and I leaned forward as far as possible to see, too!

When he found the perforator he wanted to do first, he got excited, “We’ll do this one first – it’s huge.” He explained that perforators usually can’t even be seen on ultrasound, but this one was 8 mm (5/16”). Later, when he was writing it up, he said, “It’s not the biggest one I’ve seen, but it ranks right up there with the big ones!”

He injected some local anesthetic and made a small cut in the leg, then inserted the needle containing the fiberoptic laser. Blood gushed everywhere – we were all laughing and going, “Wow! Look at that!” If you stuck a needle into a normal leg, there would be minimal to no bleeding at all, but this vein, no longer tiny, had so much pressure in it that it just gushed.

We watched as the fiber was carefully directed into the enlarged perforator and when he was ready, he turned on the heat (1000 degrees) which would boil the blood and turn it into steam, essentially closing (or evaporating in my mind) the vein. We watched as the vein disappeared, but I still saw a fairly large opening and asked what it was. He told me that was the opening to the deep venous system and I asked why he didn’t close that opening as well “We have to be very careful to not get too close to it,” he said, ”because we don’t want the clot to enter the deep veins.” I’m thinking, “Duh, I should have known that!” Thank you, Dr. Joyce!

So there is a little stub of perforator that gets left and that clots off, ‘closing the door’ completely.

That was it. He pulled out the needle and fiberoptic laser, wrapped the leg in a compression bandage that I have to keep on for 48 hours, and we were done. It was so cool!!

FOLLOW UP: Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday was a lazy day. My foot and ankle were swollen, so I was told to keep my foot elevated on four pillows (FOUR!!??), with ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. Since there was no way to hold a laptop or do any work, I read a book and lazed about.

Saturday, the ankle and foot were still a bit swollen but hadn’t gotten any worse. I did a few things around the house and then sat and elevated again. Late in the afternoon (48 hours) I removed the bandage, washed my leg to remove any residue and put on my “normal” compression socks that I have to wear for the next two weeks. I’ve worn compression socks for many years, so what’s another few weeks?

Sunday: My foot and ankle are normal size! No swelling! The puncture site doesn’t hurt and I’m ecstatic. Woohoo! Next Thursday will be perforator #2 – Let’s Do It!

If you have problems with varicose veins or venous ulcers, go to someone who has the experience to do this. Dr. Joyce has done more of these than anyone in the US (or world). He teaches the procedure and will be presenting two papers on it at an upcoming conference. Don’t take chances; go to the best. I did!