Sunday, March 24, 2013

I Wouldn't Choose This Lens, But It Has Sharpened The Image. Here's Why.

We are vacationing in Israel. Today we visited Machane Yehudah, the food market in Jerusalem. If you've ever stepped inside you might be wondering why on earth we would venture there on the eve of Passover, when we didn't need to shop. 

But it was precisely the chaos of it that drew us into the fray...... 

It was thick with crowds and noise and fruit and vegetables of every color, shape and size. It was packed with tourists and housewives, and children and grandpas. It was overflowing with languages: Hebrew, Arabic, French, English, Russian and Chinese. It was a muddle of hardware stores and rogelach and haggling and hugging and we looked around and drank in the life force that was bubbling. The sheer exuberance of the crowds, the animated faces of young and old and the force of the swarm of people made my heart rejoice in the everyday activities in which they were taking part. We were mesmerized by the ordinariness of these interactions and thrilled to go with the throng. 

Two years ago in April 2011, we visited Israel for Passover, to meet up with our oldest son Benjy. He was here on an extended trip with his school. 

That Passover was BEFORE  the resurgence of trigeminal neuralgia* in August 2011.

It was BEFORE the downward spiral of my husband Jonny's health that lead to a two week stay in hospital. That stay included brain surgery followed by complications from surgery and a long recovery.

That visit was BEFORE our world was turned upside down and the contents of our lives shaken and scattered in to messy piles. That Israel visit was a trip where we were still blissfully unaware of the most brutal effects trigeminal neuralgia or any serious illness can have on the whole family. How its tentacles wound themselves around Jonny and me and our children and held us in a vice for what seemed like forever.

And yet.

And yet, as I am typing this post, I am sitting in an apartment in Tel Aviv on the eve of Passover 2 years later. We are back in Israel visiting our middle son Aron, who is taking his turn on the extended school trip. 

It is incredible to me that we are here. That Jonny was able to manage the ten hour flight. That it didn't bring on headaches or facial pain from the pressurized cabin. That we are here AFTER trigeminal neuralgia slammed Jonny's face and our lives. We are here together AFTER the most frightening, unpredictable, and lonely experience we have been through as a family.

Of course we cannot go back to being who we were two years ago. One of the differences is, that we have a newfound appreciation for the world around us. For today at least, in Machane Yehudah, the memories of the last couple of years were dulled and our senses were sharply focussed on the vibrancy of the moment. 

My wish for all of us, is that this Passover, Easter and Spring season give us the opportunity to focus on appreciating the moment, not to banish our past experiences, but because of them. 

Wishing you a Chag Sameach, a Happy Easter and a beautiful Spring (even though, unbelievably some of you have snow!)

Please leave me a message about a time you saw a familiar sight through new eyes and if you enjoyed the post please remember to share it.


(Taken from The Johns Hopkins Website)

"Trigeminal Neuralgia is an extremely painful condition usually involving one side of the face. It usually occurs spontaneously. It has a characteristic feeling of “shock-like” pain which travels through the face in a matter of seconds, but can occur in a repetitive fashion. Sometimes it is triggered by specific things ,mostly it starts and stops for no reason and an episode can last from minutes to hours at any one time.
The intensity of the pain is exceptional, and it is felt to be more severe than experiencing a heart attack, passing a kidney stone, or even having a baby. There is no other pain quite like this.

Trigeminal neuralgia can be very active for a time, and then seem to disappear, sometimes for long periods, but always recurs later, often with more intensity. We also know that the most commonly accepted theory of what causes trigeminal neuralgia is vascular compression. There are blood vessels that travel with the nerve, and if they cause pressure on the nerve or irritate it, pain can occur.

**Microvascular Decompression - This is the most permanent and curative procedure that exists today for treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. It is usually offered to patients who are in reasonably good health and are not too advanced in age (70 years is a usual cut-off age). This is invasive brain surgery, and takes about four hours in the operating room under general anesthesia."
For more information  visit The Facial Pain Association website or Living With Trigeminal Neuralgia site They are excellent resources for anyone wanting to find out more about this horrendous condition.
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  1. Natalie BillingtonMarch 24, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Beautifully written as always. Have a wonderful time in Israel, enjoy the sunshine and the lack of queuing!!!

    1. Thanks Natalie! Is it really snowing in MD?? You can be sure there are no queues-just pushing & shoving. :-) Love it.

  2. Enjoy your trip Gilly. Wonderful that the flight didn't give Jonny any problems.

    Spring time here in Scotland is also bringing lots of snow....just getting a little fed up of it now. Not a lot we can do though :)

    1. Thank you Liz. Too much snow can get tiresome, I'm sure. Hope someSpring flowers are peeping through.
      A Happy and healthy Easter to you!

  3. Chag Sameach! Can't wait to see you all when you get home!

  4. Gilly - as usual, marvellously descriptive and very moving (shall forward this to Uncle Gerald)
    So happy to have seen you and Jonny this evening - you look 16 and as lovely as ever....and Jonny's looking good, too.
    Great idea of Colin & Hazel's to host this B'day dinner for Samuel....and it gave so many different family units super, catch-up chat time.
    Because of your Brainstorm blogs, there's a special closeness - which I treasure.
    Enjoy the rest of

    1. Wonderful to see you and all the family. it was one of my most favorite parts of our trip! Thank you for all your support and feedback about brainstorm-means a lotto me. Your encouragement keeps me writing!
      Love to you always

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