Sharing & Caring With Friends

Finding Joy – Part 7

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Welcome back to Joy’s story and continuing on with her life events and how they have shaped her today. (This is a weekly 8 part series.)  If you missed any of the earlier segments, please get refreshed on the website under “A Healthier You” (Testimonies):


In 2008, I decided, it was the last time I was ever going to diet again.  I went on another diet and worked out at Curves 6 days a week.  I white knuckled my way down, 85 pounds, and was now 167 pounds by year’s end.  Done, right?  Nope, because after everything I’ve been through, food had always been my way of coping with non-food issues.  Wished I’d have figured that out then!

Over the next few years, I was thrown curve balls that I just couldn’t deal with.  My dear sweet mother had a mild heart attack and had to have a stent put in.  Problem was, she only had one kidney (only had one for 40 years).  The dye used in that lifesaving procedure killed her barely hanging on kidney.   At 75, she was placed on dialysis as my 79 year old father watched helplessly.   I stepped in to help out and put myself last again.  It’s what a good daughter does, right?!  No more dieting, exercising, etc.  Who had time for that?!  I just didn’t stop to think that if I’m in poor health, I can’t take care of anybody.  I was eating hospital food, fast food, and made quick unhealthy meals for the family, and I watched my weight creep back up to 245 lbs. – UGH!

After almost 3 years on dialysis, my mother declined, and we were losing hope. September 17, 2013, she received THE call from Mayo at 9:30 a.m., and later that afternoon she had a kidney transplant.  Praise God!  The next morning she had another heart attack and emergency surgery to put in another stent.  Two days later, she had fluid on her brain – no!  All the while, her new kidney  functioned wonderfully.  Mom was a woman of very strong Christian faith, and the Lord was not ready for her just yet.  I thank Him every day that I still have her and my sweet daddy too.

Now it’s the day before Thanksgiving, November 27, 2013, and I awaken at 7:00 a.m. to find myself in the middle of a stroke.  My entire right side was quickly becoming numb.  I was rushed to the ER at Mayo and spent the next 6 days in the hospital before being released to a 10 day in-patient stroke rehab program at Brooks.  I finally went home 12/12/13.


I was recovering quite well and then while watching TV with my husband and son (1/3/14), all of the sudden my whole right side felt as if it were swollen 3 times the size of my left.  Visually, it was not but I knew something wasn’t right and back to the ER I went.  As a result of where my stroke took place (Thalamus of my brain), I had developed Thalamic Pain Syndrome.  It’s a debilitating nerve condition which affects my entire right side.  It’s best described as “brain chaos”, and I was lucky the neurologist on call knew exactly what was wrong with me.  So many people go undiagnosed and are put on all kinds of pain meds for years.  Pain meds do not work for this condition, so I was prescribed Gabapentin and eventually they added Lyrica as well.  They’re both membrane suppressants and help to quiet the chaos inside the brain.  Thanks to Mayo’s PRC (Pain Rehab Center), which I attended for 3 weeks in the Summer of 2014, I was given the tools to help manage this chronic condition and actually “live” again.   Of course, we’re told at PRC, “while this won’t kill you, you will die with it”.  Now if that’s not a slap into reality, I don’t know what is!

Wow, Joy has been through some challenges!  But… there is hope!  See you next Monday, (date) for the conclusion of Joy’s journey through health, wellness and weight loss! 



Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • Yes, I was on Lyrica for a while for a neuro condition too -actually lol I’m still on it. Thankfully I’m doing very well on a low dose and sometimes when I’m doing extra good with my ‘diet’ I don’t need any at all. Well done to you, very impressive. xxx

    • Clare says:

      I am glad you are doing very well, Florence! What a nice health testimony! Yes, Joy’s story is amazing – check back next Monday for the conclusion of “Finding Joy”. 🙂

  • Wow, amazing story. Solid faith in Him only gets us through life traumas. I haven’t had anything to this degree to deal with (yet), but in seeing this with other believers, they always see hospitals as big witness fields. I pray that I live the same way.

  • Thank you for sharing Joy’s story. It is amazing how much suffering people go through, but also encouraging as they cling to their faith. – Amy-

    • Clare says:

      Yes, Amy so glad you have been “moved” by Joy’s story… more to come next Monday! And it’s such an encouraging story!

  • Cara says:

    Wow, it is hard getting hit with so many medical and physical challenges. I’m looking forward to hearing how Joy has been able to cope with and overcome some of these set-backs. A great post as always, and truly inspiring!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, Joy has certainly been through a lot – with lots of life’s ups and downs! I am so glad you find her story so inspiring! We will see you back here Monday for the conclusion! 🙂

  • Your story inspires me SO much. Thank you for sharing yourself and the love you have for your parents. God bless you! xo

    • Clare says:

      Joy’a story and her sharing her challenges and health crises is so inspiring! I am so glad you stopped in and glad Joy has shared her journey with all of us.

  • Joy has dealt with so many curve balls in her life. Thank goodness her mother received a kidney transplant and is doing well. But then poor Joy and her medical emergency. Thank the Lord that she had quick acting doctors who knew what they were doing. Joy’s story has so many twists and turns. I am so happy to see a photo of her looking gorgeous and smiling!

  • Clare says:

    Yes, Denay – thanks so much for stopping by and keeping up with all of Joy’s story to get the full scope of her journey through health crises and the like. Yes, she is gorgeous and I encourage you to stop back by next Monday for the conclusion of “Finding Joy”!

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