Back from the D.R.

I took a look at my visitor stats this morning and was surprised that a rather high number of people still regularly visit this neglected little blog. Well, seemingly neglected.. *smiles*.. It’s been on the back of my mind for the past several weeks and, slowly but surely, I’ve been working on it behind the scenes in my spare time. Before giving you an update on “what’s to come”, I’ve put together a summary of what’s been going on since my return from the Dominican Republic back on March 27th, 2007.

Health Recovery – During the first month of my stay in the D.R., I was in excellent health. I ate well, had regular sleep, and plenty of exercise working in the beautiful outdoors. During the second month, though, my immune system was put to the strain as I was exposed to a wide range of diseases (open parasite wounds and more – scary stuff) and finally, after a few nights without good sleep and a long trip to the Capital, my system gave in and I became sick. The next month or so, up until my return to the States, I stayed sick, going through various diseases and stages of better and then worse health. I had a severe sore throat, followed by really high fevers that had me in bed for a few days (a very rare thing for me) and then continued off and on for several weeks. About 2 weeks into getting sick, I pulled a muscle in my left arm, just below my armpit, which rendered it unuseable for anything that required lifting it above my chest. I developed a severe infection which caused the lymph nodes in my neck to swell in size until you couldn’t see my chin anymore. A few days before leaving the D.R., I had a bad case of food poisoning.. *grins*.. The main thing, though, was my arm. When I returned to the States, the lymph node in my left arm had swollen so much that there were stretch marks. My upper left side was in constant pain and it was a challenge to do anything that required the use of more than one arm. I’d left it mostly untreated because, at the time, I thought it nothing more than a swollen muscle.

Alright, skipping forward. I arrived home from the airport around 2 AM in the morning. My mom, whom I hardly expected to be awake at such an hour (although I’m very happy she was, I missed her!), was awake and helped me start treatment on my arm.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. Having been in a 3rd world country and always up for a good experiment, I decided to try treating my arm with an “un-traditional” method. The technique of choice? Clay.

Yup, good ‘ole terra firma. Previous to this experiment, while hearing that it had excellent “drawing” properties (pulling toxins out of your skin, etc), I had no personal experience and it sounded a bit strange to me. But, following my mom’s suggestion and knowing that while it might be a bit messy there’d certainly be no harm done, I decided to give it a go. We used a green clay (Bentonite), mixed in with water and applied it thickly and directly onto the swelling just below my left shoulder. We wrapped pieces of cloth over it so it wouldn’t get my shirt all messy, safety pinned them together, and I was good to go. We would apply the clay twice or three times a day for the first few days, doing so at least two hours between meals. For nighttime, I’d leave it on all night and take it off in the morning.
Before giving the results, it’s worth pointing out the condition of my arm again. Without excruciating pain, I couldn’t lift my arm above my shoulder. The swelling itself had grown so much that I couldn’t rest my elbow against my side. It was quite a mess.

Now, a week after beginning the very simple clay treatment, the swelling was almost gone! I had nearly full functionality in my left arm once again and the pain was gone. The first 2-3 days into the treatment, the pain became a good deal stronger as the clay drew the infection up to the surface. You could see a very deep red in my skin, marking the spot of the infection. Afterwards, though, the swelling quickly went down.

I had 2 big side effects of my sickness in the D.R. One was a rather dramatic weight loss, taking me from an already somewhat low 150 for a 6’1 male to a very scrawny 126. The other side effect has been a rather interesting one.. *smiles*.. If you don’t use an arm for a month, it gets kind of weak on you ;). On top of that, if you’re not exercising at all for a month because of being sick (bad idea!) you’re whole body gets kinda weak. Needless to say, when I got home, I was pretty weak ;).

A month later, though, with God’s blessing and the wonderful support of my family, I’m in excellent health. I’ve gained a solid 15 pounds eating mom’s healthy vegan cooking and as I’ve been exercising every day my muscles are slowly but surely regaining their strength.
*grins*.. A lot of people in the D.R. felt really sorry for me. “That poor boy, he should go home!” But other than the physical effects which did keep me out of action, none of the diseases bothered me! I was very happy to be there and even when I couldn’t do much physical work, I was still blessed with an active mind and I’m thankful that I was able to help out. And looking back on it, I now have experience in a pretty hefty range of diseases that I can help others with : ).

There’s quite a bit more to be said since my return, but for the sake of breaking the habit of long posts every now and then, I’ll save it for a future entry. Instead, we’ll jump straight to what I have planned next.

Coming Soon:

New Blog Design – Along with an upgrade to WordPress 2.1, I’ll be putting up a new home-made theme for the blog. I’ll look forward to feedback on it once it goes live ;).

– New WordPress Projects – In the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of work with WordPress. My WordPress page will be getting an update soon to share examples of more recent work. In addition, I’ll be launching 2 new WordPress themes along with a new tutorial on WordPress Integration, updated for WordPress 2.1 (from my previous tutorial on 1.5).

– More Writing – While a good percentage of my “work time” is focused on freelance work, I’m still staying active, though quietly, in the world of niche marketing. As I’m blessed with more time, I’ll be sharing more of what I’ve learned in all the fields I’m active in. You can look forward to new articles and tutorials on subjects like: WordPress, SEO, Niche Marketing, CSS, Web Development, and whatever else fits in.

– New Projects – In addition to a few new projects of my own, I’m very excited about a few projects I have coming up with some good friends of mine. I’ll look forward to sharing more information about them :).

Alrighty, it’s time for lunch! I thank you all for your patience between updates and I look forward to making this little blog a very useful resource as time moves forward. As always, all suggestions and comments are welcomed. Have a wonderful rest of the week!

-Jonathan

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