Trials and Tribulations – Life Is Full of Challenges

I left off in my last post about the heavy equipment I ran which beat the hell out of me physically, so again, I had to look elsewhere…

Life is full of challenges…too many sometimes…anyways,

I finally got an opportunity to broker raw plastic materials. What? The only thing I knew about plastic was cups, silverware and Tupperware!

Trials and Tribulations - Life Is Full of ChallengesMy boss was a one lady outfit, but God Bless her, she taught me everything from the ground up. I did extremely well for about 2 years. The sweet deal was is this was her own company, so when she was to retire, I’d be paying her commission and the company would be mine.

What a dream come true I thought. But, not so fast…again, health reasons got in my way to success…

At the young age of 35, I was struck very suddenly with a double brain aneurysm that hit the physical side of my brain. I’d been sick most of my life, but this was major. But you know what?

I was so determined to wake up from that surgery because for 1 I wasn’t ready to go yet and 2, we just lost my oldest brother 2 years earlier, dying unexpectedly. I didn’t want to leave my family like that.

Ya know, prayer really is a powerful thing. My parents started a prayer chain within our church and well, thankfully I’m still here. What an experience…one I don’t ever want to go through ever again.

But I was so determined…

I decided to return to work after just 3 months which my support group, friends and family didn’t think was such a good idea. Well I did. I was more than ready.

It took about a year to get back to where I thought I was pretty much myself, however, I still battle with different things that surviving an aneurysm can only do to a person, but I know how to hide most of it.

So my story continues as the broker…I was paid on commission. The market started to decline as so did my sales. I ended up paying money back to my boss since I had taken a draw on my account for a few months because of my aneurysm. It was time to go. So much for taking over the business.

This was really starting to get to me. Why was I still around if every job I had kept falling apart?

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired plus, just learning all these different occupations was hard in itself.

Now, I was more determined than ever. I had a house to pay for – medical bills and utilities that all needed paid.

I decided to give the medical field a whirl, placing myself into the occupation of kidney dialysis as a technician helping sick people every day.

What an experience; The way those people coped with that illness gave me the inspiration I needed. I loved those patients. For the most part they were all up-beat and positive in spite of what they were going through. Finally, I found my purpose!

Yea, right.

Once again my body gave out. I was working 12 hour shifts, and couldn’t go anymore. My body wouldn’t let me. So after a lot of tests and blood work-ups, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Fibromyalgia.

The management worked with me for as long as they could, but I finally had to quit. I was devastated. I just couldn’t figure out what the hell I was suppose to be doing.

I had so many questions – my faith was starting to fade – and my happy -go-lucky self was about non-existent.

Yea, life is full of challenges…too many sometimes. Anyways, now what?

Joni Up Close next post: Trials and Tribulations – Coping With Life Challenges

Trials and Tribulations – The Beginning of My Very Discouraging Road

Now, when I become discouraged – frustrated – or ready to throw a temper tantrum because things just aren’t going as planned, I quickly switch my mind onto Joni’s “memory lane.” I look back on all the challenges, trials and tribulations I’ve been through up to this point.

The Beginning of My Very Discouraging RoadWhy would I do that? Because it keeps me grounded… it reminds me of how far I’ve come, what I’ve accomplished and where I need and want to be.

Which is right here, right now sharing my story with you. I always feel personal stories let others realize they are not alone. Yes, our stories will be different, but we all have them.

I hope sharing my story with you will help in some way; whether you can relate too it or pull some kind of encouragement or inspiration out of it.

With that being said, here I go…kind of letting it all hang out. 🙂

Note: My story is fairly long, so these posts will be continued.

My journey began at the ripe age of 16 when I was diagnosed with leukopenia, a white blood cell disorder. I have 1/3 of the white blood cells that the average person has, which left me sick and tired all the time.

I couldn’t fight off infection very well, whether a cold, sore throat or anything else. Being in high school, I felt that I had missed quite a bit.

For example, when I would go to our weekly football games, by half time, my friends would take me out to the car where I slept through the second half. There would be blankets and pillows thrown in the back seat just for me.

Although this honestly was great that my friends would go as far as to get me to the game, even for a short time, it really sucked.

In my twenties, I started to battle anxiety and panic attacks. I felt terrible physically, but now… emotionally as well.

It had gotten so bad that I couldn’t go to restaurants, movie theaters or grocery stores without bolting or finding the nearest door to get out. Driving was also getting difficult, and any sort of group corporate meeting was simply unbearable.

I was able to work, though I missed quite a bit. Some of my jobs included being a bank teller, waitress, accounting assistant and a retail store manager.

Most all of the occupations were dealing with people which doesn’t jive real well with panic attacks. I was truly a basket case most of the time.

I ultimately landed a great job as an administrative assistant in a steel plant, which I did for about three years until my boss decided I wasn’t giving him what he truly wanted….and it wasn’t doing my job well. (yea, he was a real charmer…) This is a story all in itself!

Well, since I wasn’t giving in, the jerk gave me the choice of being fired or to become a member of the Operators Union- working with all the guys running heavy equipment. Mind you…I was 5’2-1/2, 125lbs. Out of spite and hatred for what he was doing to me, I took him up on his offer.

I’m not a quitter, but very independent. I had 90 days to either make it or not, and I knew I was taking a big chance. I figured I’d make it through the 90 day probation period just so he could can me was what I thought. It didn’t matter, I’d take my chances.

The roughest part was I was THE only woman…the first woman ever on that job. That went over like a lead balloon! The guys didn’t want me there either…it was strictly all men and no room for a girl.

They made it very, very difficult for me. You couldn’t imagine the things they pulled, trying to get me to cry, punch somebody or walk off the job site.

I started out as a laborer and eventually operated a 35 ton dump truck. Talk about panic attacks. As you can see from the picture, it was a BIG truck!

I learned everything I could and didn’t make excuses for not doing a job just because I was a girl…no, I sucked it up and it almost killed me I think.

I had to work at least 5x’s harder than any guy there just to keep up.

Just about every night after my shift, I’d cry like a baby all the way home. But after taking so much crap, those tears turned into shear determination.

I worked my tail off.  After being emotionally and physically put through the ringer, I’m here to say I won the respect of every man on that job site. (yet another long story!)

When I left 3 years later, I was one of the best drivers there. But, the size of the truck was beating me up- driving it day after day, so I knew it was time to go.

Oh and by the way, the guys wouldn’t let the boss fire me and, it wasn’t much after that he was fired himself…what goes around comes around…

Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time, so we’ll continue the saga a little later…

Joni Up Close next post: Trials and Tribulations – Life Is Full of Challenges