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A personal note

A difficult message. I’ve started it a number of times, but it’s not
the sort of thing I generally write. Oh well, here goes.

I’ve been very quiet in the jewelry lists for a while, though I have
been managing to read them, and I’m still doing some jewelry work.
The main problem is that I’ve been fighting some worrisome health
issues, which have made working difficult, sometimes very difficult.
I finally got fed up and went in for tests, and it turns out that I
have degenerative arthritis in my neck (among other places) and this
is why I have problems with my arms and hands. Numbness, tingling,
and, unfortunately, a fair amount of pain.

My main worry, which put me into a very bad mood for a long time,
was that it was an injury that I just wasn’t getting over, and that I
was making it worse when I worked. It turns out that there is
basically nothing wrong with my hands or arms, and I can safely
endure the pain without worrying about causing further damage with
each twinge.

I’ve also been having some serious problems with my right eye, after
cataract surgery and a corneal graft, but that seems to be under

So, I’m going to try to get back to work, tying my decorative knots
and teaching others how to do them as well. My business has fallen
off so badly that I’m in a rather serious hole, but I’ll be able to
turn it around as soon as I can get some workshops organized, and
maybe get a few jewelry orders. I’ve been keeping my hand in, so to
speak, tying knots in string to give away as bracelets, and I’ve
kept up my dancing to strengthen my lower back, so it’s not as if
I’ve been sitting in some dark corner, sulking or pining away. :slight_smile:

In fact, just a few weeks ago I decided to see how far I could push
my arms, and I tied a new one of my rings, using stainless steel
locking wire. Quite a challenge, but it made me feel good. (Or maybe
that was the painkillers? No, those wore off, and I still feel good
about it!) You can see it heRe:

Anyway, I just wanted y’all to know that I have been reading, just
not saying much on the lists, and I still think of these virtual
places as parts of my neighborhood.

Thanks! I hope you all have a happy and prosperous new year.

I've been very quiet in the jewelry lists for a while... 

Hi, Loren, I’m glad you’ve decided to let us all in on what’s going
on with you. I almost feel as though I know you well enough to scold
you, though of course we’ve never met. What are friend for but to
share your joys and your troubles? And I think it is fair to
characterize this forum as friends.

It sounds as though you are recovering, psychologically at least. You
don’t say whether anything can be done about the degeneration. The
ring looks great-- keep up the good work.


Loren, I just bookmarked your tutorial page, and hope to get a chance
soon to read them. They look very interesting! Sorry about your pain,
and although I have not been to the doctors, I have similar numbness,
tingling, pain etc, even as I type this, sigh

Hi Loren,

Send me your postal address and I’ll send you some Goanna Oil
Arthritis cream (there is no animal in it despite the name).

This stuff is marvelous for arthritis, and you can treat it as a
gift :slight_smile:

Regards Charles A.

Loren, I saw a great cartoon the other day. It said I am not getting
older, just crunchy. I feel for you. The 30 plus years bent over a
work bench are taking a toll on this mid 50 body too. I try to
exercise, massage, hot tub, arnica gel,wonderful stuff, and my
chiropractor, to keep working. Too young to retire, and too young to
give up what I love. I hope you find a way to keep up your wonderful
knots, though not in your neck. Janine in Redding CA, hoping for
rain tonight.

Saw your ring after reading your note.

It is gorgeous! I suffer from fibromyalgia and mental illness. I can
relate to your trouble with pain and difficulties in working the

Keep the chin up as it can be hard to do at times. I have found
teaching others a way to cope.

Your have inspired me to learn another facet of metal/wire work. I
thank you for that.

Blessed be
Samantha Ann.

I use a topical medication called Traumaeel. I purchase it at Whole
Foods. This is magic cream. I broke both my ankles five years ago and
cannot manage without it. R


have you tried Cortisone injections? I’ve had 4 to date right into
my lower spine, my doctor calls them “Epidurals”. Now I can walk &
stand, my life has nicely resumed. Heck with those damned
pain-killers, the side-effects can make your life ever so miserable.

I too, have had my share of ‘fun’, 6 screws into my spine due to
three degenerative disks. What I had was a “spinal fusion”. Now I can
fully enjoy my two grand-daughters…


Thanks, all of you, I appreciate the messages on- and off-list. Yes,
I’m feeling a lot more positive, even though they offered me no hope
of improvement, short of allowing them to take me apart and carve up
my spinal column. Not an attractive option!

Basically, this is what I’ve got, and it will progress at some rate,
possibly slower if I keep active. That’s the plan: keep working, keep
exercising, and stay away from boring and depressing influences. :slight_smile:

I appreciate the offer of Goanna Oil, that sounds interesting. I
won’t refuse it, but don’t feel that you have to send any. My contact
with post office box, is on my website for anyone who’s


I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing you all the best as you work thru
all of this frustrating and frightening medical stuff, Loren. I
usually don’t like to recommend holistic stuff to others but I’ve
had good results from using vitamins/herbs specifically for the eyes.
Helped me a great deal when I had a cataract surgery go wrong. In
any event, all good wishes and thoughts to you. Your knots, research
and work is something I’ve always found beautiful and inspiring and
so I really want you to continue.

Lisa Van Herik

Hello Loren,

Thanks for sharing what is going on in your life. I’ve missed your
input. It is good to see your posting again and I sincerely hope you
can continue to make your knots. I recall seeing your knotted shirt
at an Orchid dinner some time back. Really a work of art and love!

Keep on Truckin’,
Judy in Kansas, where it’ll be a chilly night!


Loren, I just bookmarked your tutorial page, and hope to get a
chance soon to read them. They look very interesting! Sorry about
your pain, and although I have not been to the doctors, I have
similar numbness, tingling, pain etc, even as I type this, sigh 

I have taken Loren’s classes and he’s always a lot of fun and an
excellent and patient teacher. If you have the opportunity to take
his class by all means do so. I don’t know where you are located or
what his schedule is, (I think he’s putting it together now). If you
can find about 6 people in your area that would likely take his class
give him a call and see if it fits his schedule. I have all of the
jigs he made as of this past summer and his DVD too. Working with
Loren is an opportunity not to be missed.

Pat Gebes

Hi loren,

My best wishes are with you. As for that ring, why not value it
properly as to labor + materials and offer it to the world. There
may be a cruising sailor somewhere who really can’t be removing his
ring all the time, who would LOVE to purchase it! Carry on!

M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler

(((Loren))) - That’s a cyber hug, by the way :slight_smile:

I’m sorry to hear about what you’re going through. It’s a difficult
time, I know. I myself just got diagnosed with MCTD, an Autoimmune
disease which affects the joints/connective tissue, for life. Like
you, I continued to work, taking pain killers to no end, trying to
ignore the pain for almost half a year, until it just got so bad I
had to suck it up and go get tests done. It’s great to see you
haven’t given up and will continue to follow your passion and most
importantly, will continue to live.

Just know that you are not alone, and if it ever gets you down and
you need someone to talk with, please don’t hesitate to email me.

It’s worth trying some of the holistic alternatives to help treat
the pain/inflammation. Not sure if there is inflammation with
degenerative arthritis, but if there is, I’ve been taking several
and have noticed some minor changes in my condition. I’m not one to
try to push herbs and supplements on anyone, but if you’re
interested in knowing more, send me a message and I’ll be happy to
give you more I’m lucky, I have a doctor who believes
in and treats with a more holistic approach, as well as the regular
old Western medicine style.

Hang in there, and keep doing what you love as much as you can.



I am late to reading this string, but I too have permanent nerve
damage in my spine from an injury, and Fibro all over my body as a
result of my fall. If you have a Spinal Pain Clinic in your area, ask
for a referral. They understand chronic pain, and have all the latest
modalities that can help keep you from prescriptions as much as
possible. I ended up opting for the spinal injections, which can be
scary at first, but they are SO helpful in the long run.

The team of doctors collaborated on my case & built a game plan to
treat me over the long haul. They started with a microsurgical
procedure inserting a scope into my spinal column to clean out as
many adhesions as they could get to and open up my severe spinal
stenosis. The results as far as a decrease in pain generators was

Now I undergo a procedure called “Radiofrequency Spinal Nerve
Oblation”. It is usually needed every 8months to 1 1/2 yrs. They use
high frequency radio waves to de-mylenate the spinal nerves thereby
blocking the pain impulses from being transmitted to my brain. It
takes care of most of the pain without causing any long term nerve
issues that would keep me from being able to move. It is a little
scary, but the benefits far out way the constant electrical shock
like pains that travel up & down my left leg. I continue to have the
dull deep hot ache in the left buttock, but I can move and actually
get some work done in my studio. (My new saddle chair is a God send
at the bench too!)

I am routinely managed with oral medications when the breakthrough
pain is bad, and some days are pure hell, but I swear by this
procedure. It literally saved my life, as I was not functioning
hardly at all prior to referral to the pain clinic. I also wear a
stretch pant that is permanently wired for nerve stimulation with a
TENS unit, directly to the effected nerves. All I have to do it pull
it on under my slacks & turn the unit on, so I don’t have to mess
with putting on all the wires and patches to use my TENS.

Whatever decision you make to manage your spinal issues, I wish you
much luck and offer you up in prayer for healing and health.

I know how hard it is to hear “This will be for the rest of your
life, there is currently no cure for your spinal problems.” You learn
to find coping mechanisms and to use correct body mechanics in
everything. And if the house is not as spotless clean as you used to
keep it, well you make choices on what you can live with.

Gods Bless & good luck!


Send me your postal address and I'll send you some Goanna Oil
Arthritis cream (there is no animal in it despite the name). This
stuff is marvelous for arthritis, and you can treat it as a gift

Let the record reflect that there are incredibly nice people in the
world, and Charles heads the list for me. Got it today, thank you
very much!


And now there are many people who work with their hands googling how
we can buy it in various countries! Barbara, on another snowy day on
PEI where the fox comes by around four - for tea?

Let the record reflect that there are incredibly nice people in
the world, and Charles heads the list for me. Got it today, thank
you very much! 

You’re very welcome.

Sorry it took so long, but I’m glad it got to you.

I hope it helps you, as it helps me when I need it.

Regards Charles A.


I too have been slow on the uptake here, and am very happy to see
the wonderfully caring and positive side of Orchidians worldwide
responding to you.

My world turned around over the last 12 months, and what started out
unexpectedly negative, then progressed into cancer, has had an
unexpected turn which I believe may be pertinent for you Loren.20

Over the last couple of months I have been under the direction of
NCCF, North County Cancer Fitness, at the Tri City Wellness Center.
That has led me to a very large, heated therapeutic pool four to six
days per week. Within there one comes to meet, greet and know others.
Some far better than others.

What I am coming to know is the extraordinarily healing powers of
motion in warm water. One class delivered six persons arriving on
walkers, and one in a wheel chair who was power lifted into the pool.
Once the class began, a total of 20 people in directed ROM, range of
motion movements, it was impossible to determine just whom was whom.
Even the paralyzed gal walked and moved with the aid of a bouyancy
belt around her waist.

Some are post surgery on all quadrants of the body, others are
avoiding surgery. Every one of them are moving far more freely, and
without pain. Age range is up to 94. Degenerative bone disease is
almost on top of the list. Frozen shoulders, scoliosis, recalcitrant
knees, joint problems galore, all leave with a smile and gather in
the wonderful hot tub to feel the wonderful bubble massage.

One instructor says that before her hour is over, we will have moved
every joint in our bodies. One great exercise is Playing the Piano.
Standing feet firmly planted, shoulder high in the water, arms are
swung across the body as widely as shoulders will allow, and all the
time the fingers are fluttering knuckle by knuckle as if strumming a
keyboard. Another hand and finger exercise is to steeple the hands,
fingertip to fingertip and one set at a time beginning with thumbs,
twirl them around each other in both directions, joint by joint, all
under water. We who do work with our hands need to find ways to
exercise every joint as I am learning to do. I know even at the
computer my fingers are far stronger and less creaky.

So Loren, my friend from the 80’s, your head is in the right place,
now try to find a warm pool and begin to seriously move in warm
water. There are web sites with range of motion exercises posted. The
next time you are out here and we go dancing, look out, I will have
the stamina to keep up with you. This door is always open, my
household welcomes you, and let’s find the students to get you back
out. My home is open for teaching, and I have several friends with
sizable studios.