Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So now what?

Well, I've already indicated that there's been a meltdown happening around here.  And the problem is just this: if we do not learn from our mistakes we're no better than if we were just currently wallowing in them.

One of my issues has been the ease and superiority from which I "freely" give advice to people.

In my mind, you see, I'm a World War II veteran, or around that age, so I should have the clout and liberty to wax eloquently on everything from soup to nuts, child rearing to husband handling and let's not forget pancake flippin and realty investing.  yeah.

So, it bites me in the butt.. once. in. a. while.

O.K. I like to be told what to do just as much as you do.

And IF I give advice as poorly as I get advice, my friends are ALL in a world of hurt.

And yet...

And yet I persist!  I do. not. learn.  I keep looking around and seeing the crap that (I think) is going on and think I need to swoop in there like some cape-wearing elasti-girl superhero, super-nanny and tell them exactly what I think they need to do.

How to make enemies and not influence people.

And yet...

And yet if you asked me, I would say that my motives are good.  I am "helping" people by trying to save them the pain of making a bad decision.

You know what?  Here's a new thought.  They don't want it.  They don't want my help. or me. or my lukewarm advice.

And I can relate.

Just this week someone was actually trying to help us by recommending an acne product that worked well for their children.. "cleared it all up"  and what could be more awful for a teen than acne?

(Yes, we are acne sufferers..all of us at some point in our lives..)

So, I asked if the product was accutane.  If you are a cystic acne sufferer, you know exactly what I am talking about.  If you (or your child) has the kind of acne that no topical treatments work, it is probably cystic acne--the kind that starts from the inside of your skin--not the outside, like topical acne.

Well, back in the 80's, there was a "wonder drug" that was designed to treat cancer and was accidentally discovered to work on acne.  That drug?  accutane.  The side effects?  legion.

Everything from suicidal tendencies to joint pain to ulterior colitis is associated with (get this) just ONE treatment of accutane.  And yes, I was an accutane user in the 80's also.

The repeated law suits and controversy have caused the makers of this drug to remove it from the shelves.  It is a banned drug in the U.S. right now.

So, now fast forward into my own little life.  I am keenly aware of my child's problem with acne.  I am trying to do what most parents would do--buy her the best products on the market, talk to her, encourage her and watch her for signs of reclusive tendencies related to the problem.. so far, so good.  Scarring? yes, but manageable.  Emotional drama? some, but not exaggerated.  Outlook on life tarnished?  not at all.

So, how did I feel when a well-meaning, well-intended brother in the Lord insinuated that we were doing very little to help our child in this struggle?  Or how did I feel when his well intended advice was to recommend a drug that is so harmful that it has been removed from the market?

I had a variety of emotions going, but it put everything into perspective for me.

We do not always understand the entirety of the situation.

We do not always have the right perspective on the solution.

When someone is looking for solutions for a problem, they will most likely go to those with whom they feel are praying for them, not judging them.  

We all need to assume the best of our brothers and sisters, even when the methods they are trying are not producing great results.  We should not let their struggles or lack of success in an area be a reason to pounce in with a better solution.

And when the well-intended person gives the advice, I think we have the freedom to thank them and help them understand the situation better.  I'm sure that our friend had no idea of the harmful side effects, many lawsuits, and controversy associated with his advice.  He was just trying to help.  And so, I let it go, after I sent him a few links.

And since we're talking about advice.  Do you have any advice on how to treat cystic acne naturally?
I would appreciate the input because wearing a colostomy bag for the rest of my child's life is not worth having clear skin for.

And for those of us who are trying to rid the world of its badness, one piece of advice at a time, you can  make the mistakes that I have made or currently am making by following this simple rule:

If the fish aren't biting, don't force the hook in their mouths.  They come up all mean and nasty about it and don't taste any good when you do get 'em. 

'just sayin.


Jessie said...

Oh Accutane... definitely DON'T give in and go that option. My brother has no colon, and a transplanted liver thanks to that stuff. And he's just barely 30. I'm so sorry your family has to deal with such severe acne--it truly is so frustrating, because it's such an outward thing--but for what it's worth, I think your children are all beautiful, just the same. They just shine with an inner beauty that I know you helped create in them.

And as for the advice thing, well, my family struggles with that too :) but I think as long as you don't actually push it onto people, but rather just offer it when you feel you can't resist, you're probably going to be ok.

I love your blog. You are so honest and real and wonderful. Thanks. :)

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh Jena, I really think we were separated at birth!

I, too, tend to give advice freely... too freely. But then, I don't mind when people give it (it's often just water off a duck's back). But if it involved insinuations that my/our parenting was deficient, that would be touchy!

Sorry about the acne. I had it awful when I was in my teens and twenties. I still get pimples. My skin was clearest during the summers when I was in the water and sunshine all day long (we lived on a lake and I loved to swim).

It's awful that something like that can have such a large impact on our lives, but when you say that her outlook on life is untarnished... well, that's the best thing! She is taking it in stride. Sure, you'll do everything you can do help her (without causing harm!) and you're all going on with life, to the glory of God.

I wish I had a wonderful remedy, but I don't. Still, I think you're handling the bigger issues JUST FINE.

And you can give me unsolicited advice any time you want ;D


sara said...

This is one of your most endearing posts yet - very sweet and honest. Dispensing advice that seems condescending but isn't meant that way is something I do regularly.

I also have a theory that bloggers who have or pretend to have expert knowledge, those who endeavor to instruct, get more followers than those who admit they're just winging it. I think this is generally true, but I don't really know what to do with that.

Bernadette Veenstra said...

well, you could....
Just kidding. I have no idea what you could do. But, it sounds like you and your family are handling it very well.
Keep your chin up.=)

nitalinb said...

Love the advice on advice. :-) Needed here, too. As for acne, one of my children successfully rid himself of it by staying off sugar ~ but another did not. For him, a strict diet helped, but did not eliminate the symptoms.

Mrs. Santos said...

Hello ~

Thank you for the post and your honesty. My husband used to suffer from acne for years and I have a close friend who did also. We use a product called Body Balance (it is a whole raw food). This may not be an answer for you, but it worked for my friend and my husband. Also, Colloidal Silver (as a spritz) or Pau d'Arco are great products that have given them results too.

God bless you always. You have been a great blessing to me over the years through your blog.

the link for Body Balance if you are interested in www.lifeforce.net

Organizing Mommy said...

What a beautiful response from everyone!! Thank you so much for chiming in--everyone!

Jessie--Sooooo sorry about your brother! Wow! There are class action lawsuits for cases like his. I am so thankful my issues were not as severe. But I do not need to risk anything with my daughter's health.

Mrs. Santos-- thanks for the leads! When life is less of a swirl, I'm going to research that stuff.

Nitalinb-- thanks also! Going off sugar? Uffda. It's up to her, if she would like to try that. I think going off of milk might be a start..

Sara-- am I the winging it blogger or the other?

Julie--had a dream that I had a lot of money and spent it going out to see you in real life. It was a nice dream.

Mrs. Parunak said...

When my Grandma and her sister were teens, the "miracle" acne cure was radiation. They both got cancer when they were older in the same areas where they'd been irradiated. So often our cures are so much worse than the original trouble!

And great thoughts on advice, too! I struggle with knowing when/if/how much to say sometimes. And I probably should keep some things to myself.

Kathi said...

Every time I read your posts, I smile and think to myself, "Oh, Jena, I love you so much!" Thanks for making us laugh at ourselves. I'm right there with Herding Grasshoppers and sara...and lots of others! I'm worst with my husband, who could save himself a great deal of pain if he'd just listen to me (right?)!! We can't really see all the way into another's heart or understand the entirety of how they think or what they need. So, why don't we just learn to keep our mouths sweetly closed and pray, only offering honest opinions WHEN ASKED??

sara said...

Jena, Since you ask - If you don't mind my honesty, it seems to me that when I got here you were a bit of an expert and have transitioned to the much more lovable winging it side.

Your most powerful teaching tools to ME have been your stories. You've taught me a lot of practical things (like having fewer outer clothes and more underwear), but the best thing you have been teaching me has been to laugh at myself.

I hate looking silly or foolish and I really need to lighten up. I watch your example - how you're not afraid to tell stories about yourself in which you look ... funny? silly? vulnerable? I don't know what the right word is but whatever it is, it doesn't look bad when you do it, it just looks human. I'd like to be able to do that too. I'm working on it.

Jena, I put my foot in my mouth a lot when I try to say personal things and I hope I'm not doing that now. I hope you can hear my heart here. I like you and I think you're terrific.

Jenny P. said...

If it helps, I've never felt any condecending advice from you :) Only genuine interest and things to think about.

I've always had acne. Not as bad as Jo's, and it's usually the topical kind, but enough that I know the pain of relentless teasing and anxiety. I've recently started using coconut oil - the unrefined stuff, not Louanna - on the areas. Google it, it's awesome stuff. It's definately helping and 100% natural.

Jenny P. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RS Gold said...

Love the admonition on advice. :-) Needed here, too. As for acne, one of my accouchement auspiciously rid himself of it by blockage off amoroso ~ but addition did not. For him, a austere diet helped, but did not annihilate the symptoms.