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October 27, 2016

Health Update: Not All Healing Is Instant

I know it's been a long time since my last health update, and that may be interpreted as "well, it's not working." But that could not be more incorrect. I don't update often because it would be a lot of the same: expected ups and downs but with our eyes still on the prize. Unless you hear otherwise from me, just assume no news is good news. :)

I'm sure that many of you who are praying for me and keeping up with my treatment are wondering why I'm not all better yet, why I'm not at church all the time now, why we aren't all done since we're going on more than a year of treatment. I know you're probably discouraged when Daniel shows up without me, again, and think maybe what we're doing isn't really working, maybe we need to try a different route, and wonder why God hasn't answered your prayers for my healing or hasn't just healed me instantaneously already.

Here are the answers to those wonderings.

Not all healing is instant--the Bible tells me so. If you're wondering any of the above, you probably have a different view of healing than I do. Many expect healing to be immediate or at least a fairly quick fix--none of this year or more stuff. In my mind, healing is something that I know and am prepared to take not just a year but two or even more. I think most people envision healing in terms of a cold or a broken bone, or even cancer with a set number of months of treatment. But this is not a month or even a year-long situation. This is a long-term endeavor, and it's going as both expected and hoped.

As far as God not having just up and healed me by now, it's true that sometimes God chooses to simply heal us in an instant; but sometimes He heals us slowly and requires, for lack of a better word, some effort on our part. You probably are familiar with the story of the blind man that Jesus healed in John 9 by mixing His spit with dirt and applying it to the man's eyes. But we easily forget about the step after that--Jesus then had the man walk to the Pool of Siloam to wash his eyes. This healing was not instant, even though in other miracles it was; in this case for some reason that only He knows He chose to make the blind man put forth effort to reach healing. I can't take credit for this observation, but I am so thankful I found this video (below) by Becky Isaacs (who has, after a few years and many walks to the Pool of Siloam, been healed of some of the same viruses, etc., I have been found to have). "Sometimes, friends, we have to do our part. Not all healing is instant."

God is answering your prayers for healing. The fact that I finally found a doctor (an alternative, holistic one, I must point out) who can even establish all of my true issues is a step to healing in and of itself.

I have now been knowingly sick for six years. (Unknowingly most of my life.) I was treated long-term by a family physician who told me I had Fibromyalgia and depression and offered me prescriptions to manage it all. I saw a rheumatologist who ruled out arthritis and really wanted to discover I actually had bi-polar but was shot down when my answers to his little diagnostic questionnaire did not match the answers I was totally unaware he was aiming for (which to this day is the most bizarre doctor happening I have ever encountered). I saw a gastroenterologist for my IBS (severe intestinal issues) and was told my issues were "normal" for people my age and to take Miralax. I saw a couple of dermatologists for skin and scalp-related issues and told they also were "normal" because sometimes odd things "just happen." I then gave up on mainstream doctors and saw a holistic doctor who pointed me in the right direction of treatment but only made a dent in my issues because I was much sicker than his average patient.

For four years I had thought there was no possible improvement, much less healing. I never would have dreamed I would even be writing a post to encourage others about my "slow progress" because I never would have dreamed there would be any progress to update on.

Then summer of 2015 I found out the truth that none of the above is just "normal," just "how it is," and definitely not just excusable as depression or Fibromyalgia: I have Babesia, a Lyme Disease co-infection, along with Bartonella, another Lyme co-infection discovered later down the road, each most likely gotten from an odd-looking but otherwise overlooked bug bite in elementary school. The chicken pox/shingles virus, which I had as a kid, is still affecting my body. I have many gene mutations, one of which inhibits my body's ability to detox properly, something our bodies should do on their own--chemicals in the air around us to things we come in contact with to EMFs (think wifi) are examples of toxins that load our bodies down, and I have to daily help mine detoxify and feel it if I don't. I have leaky gut syndrome caused by eating foods (like gluten, as I have Celiac) that my body cannot handle, causing my insides to not break down food and absorb nutrients properly and react to many foods like I am allergic to them only because of the damage. I have severe adrenal fatigue which affects absolutely everything, one of the biggest being my body's cortisol, which affects when I am able to sleep and explains why people have frequently seen me on Facebook at 4 am over the past few years. Those are just a few of what we've found that are the "easiest" for me to list. Because of autoimmune issues, my body has been unable to fight these things that other bodies would be able to, and the compounding presence of so many issues has just exacerbated my inability to fight any of them on my own.

Once establishing my true problems, my doctor started me on a treatment I'd never had before and hadn't even known existed. In addition to the expected dietary changes and constantly changing supplements to match my body's evolving needs, I began Field Control Therapy every month and a half, a homeopathic, immune-system-building approach that in essence enables your body to fight the infections, viruses, and pernicious agents on its own. And in the process of being equipped to fight, your body experiences detox effects: temporarily worsened symptoms due to the infections, etc., getting all stirred up and leaving you body. A misery that is so, so worth it. Such treatment takes 10-12 times for the average person to be hugely improved. I am just now to #10 and, as you should see clearly by now, am not the average person. And while we're definitely not done, we are actually moving forward, and that is huge.

No, we don't need to try another route. I don't think there even are "other routes." I've tried them all and they were pointless (which I now know all too well why). My current treatment may develop into other similar homeopathic treatments, but not because this one is not helping.

What we're doing is working. You're just going to have to trust me on this, a fact I am stating not out of blissful ignorance but because of the evidence that I know that someone on the outside of my day-to-day can't possibly be privy to.

In addition to the tiny, day-to-day, gradual changes, I have never before shown measurable progress in my years of sickness prior to that gained through the treatment I am now doing. I get a large amount of bloodwork done every few months to check our progress. Back in March I got the best results I've gotten in all these years of sickness. And this August, I got back even better results. As I've said in a past post, what is this thing called "progress"?? What we're doing is working. I am sorry if it's not at the timeline you've been envisioning, but it is working. And if it ain't broke....

If you're still confused why I'm not all better after a year of treatment, that's because you don't understand just how sick I really am and how much work there is to be done--which you're not expected to, as you don't live with me, and when you do see me, I am put together and, relatively speaking, functioning. You see me once a month or less. Those other days, I'm not put together. My accomplishments for the day are showering and/or making dinner, not usually on the same day. And many days neither of those happen. But those things are gradually happening more than they used to. Some weeks I can't even make dinner, but then some weeks I make dinner and do the dishes almost every day--that has never happened before and Daniel doesn't even know who I am at those times.

I know you may be impatient for me to finally be "all better," whatever the underlying reason for that is. If so I must ask, please be patient; I'm doing my best to do so and I need you to do the same. I need you to trust what you don't get to see: that this actually is working even though it is a very long process, much different than the average person is used to seeing and something not easily understood in a society of instant gratification.

As much sense as the kind of treatment I'm doing makes, I know that if God did not want it to make any difference, it wouldn't. It is up to Him if I stay this sick, improve somewhat, or get all better. And so far, He's allowing improvements and answering your prayers for me, all of which leave me so grateful and persevering in hope. God is healing me--slowly. I'm having to do a whole lot of walking to the Pool of Siloam for reasons I now can only see a tiny fragment of. But in the meantime, go ahead and rejoice for the healing He has allowed so far, because this is the first time I've experienced any degree of real healing at all.

October 25, 2016

New! Fabric Birthstone Designs

Big things are happening at Katya Valera! I mentioned in my Fall/Winter Collection announcement post that several exciting things would be coming to the shop over the rest of 2016, and the first has arrived!

A brand new (totally original, I might add) design that has been in the works for months has finally met reality: fabric birthstone designs! There are (for now) six pieces, all customized to your birthstone color specifications.

First is the single strand necklace, available in a large, statement style and also a dainty, minimalist style.

Large Single Strand Necklace available here

Dainty Single Strand Necklace available here

Your necklace, in either style, is made with sterling silver pendants in the birthstone color(s) of your choice:

And these two styles are also available in bracelets!

Large Single Strand Bracelet available here

Dainty Single Strand Bracelet available here

The default chain for these single strand necklaces and bracelets is silver plated, but there is an upgrade option for the dainty styles to use sterling silver chain here and for the large styles to use silver filled chain here.

Two other designs are available in this fabric birthstone line. First, framed in an antique bronze pendant is a white, subtle floral fabric to let the birthstone ribbons of your choice stand out:

Bronze Framed Ribbon Pendant Necklace available here

And second, framed in a silver plated, round pendant are the birthstone ribbons of your choice criss-crossed over white lace fabric:

Silver Round Ribbon Pendant Necklace available here

And of course, each of these ribbon necklaces is made with ribbons in your choice of colors:

Any of these would make such special, meaningful Christmas gifts, and they're all available in the shop! And as always, if you need your piece a bit different than what is listed, such as bronze instead of silver or a different length, please feel free to message me to arrange a custom order!

October 10, 2016

Vintaged: the New Katya Valera Collection

Introducing the new Fall/Winter 2016 Collection at Katya Valera: Vintaged! Each of the forty-five bohemian, minimalist, and statement pieces in this exclusive collection features vintage or vintage-style components to add decades' or even centuries' old inspiration to a modern design.

There are dozens of necklaces and earrings (and one bracelet ;) in gold, bronze, silver, and gunmetal in all different price ranges and each with a "Vintaged" touch, of course. 

I am extra excited about this collection, as you'll see why below, and here are just a few of the highlights:

"Laced," available here

"Architectured" available here

"Marbled" available here

"Cat-Eyed" available here

"Gemmed" available here

"Hooped" available here

"Pendulumed" available here

"Jeweled" available here

"Renaissanced" available here

"Victorianed" available here

"Flourished" available here

"Peacocked" available here

"Bronzed" available here

"Eightied" available here

"Regencied" available here

"Petaled II" available here

And finally, my absolute favorite pieces, not just from this collection but of all the jewelry I've ever made in nearly five years of Katya Valera!

These four fabric necklaces are very special to me for a couple of reasons. First, these are my first necklaces incorporating fabric, something I dreamed of and planned for many months before the necklaces became reality. In addition, every fabric necklace in this collection features vintage fabric inherited from my great-grandmother, a talented, prolific seamstress with her own deep love of crafting. I am so happy to give just a little bit of her fabric new life in these pieces and think she would be pleased with them.

"Damasked" available here

"Floraled" available here

"Gardened" available here

"Patchworked" available here

If you haven't gotten a chance to take a look at the full collection, you can find it all in my shop right here!

"Vintaged" now concludes a full year of releasing seasonal collections, my first year doing so. I cannot convey to you the time, planning, scheming, and work that went into each of these three collections: "Reborn" for the spring, then "Drops of Summertime," and now "Vintaged" for the fall and winter (all of which you can browse in my shop). That's around 125 brand new pieces planned around specific themes, designed, made, photographed, edited, and listed. (When you put it that way, it sounds way too simple....) Each collection took months of work and was proceeded by my other new launch, KV Wishbox, my jewelry box that let you browse each collection early and choose up to three pieces at a huge discount, a venture that also entailed a massive amount of work.

All that to say, I have no doubt worked harder on Katya Valera this year (and the end of 2015 leading up to it) than I ever have! And I have to say that it was honestly a blast. While at this point I don't have immediate plans of continuing to release seasonal collections or the KV Wishbox in its original format, I am so glad I latched onto those ideas and went for them; they haunted my thoughts for weeks before they even began to meet reality. My overflowing creativity got some extra chances to play, and it was wonderful.

As if all that I just listed wasn't enough work fun for this year (I said 2016 would be big!), I still have some super exciting new jewelry designs headed to the shop very soon, and I also have some HUGE plans for Katya Valera's 5 year anniversary coming up December 9th. That's right, somehow we've been doing this thing for five years (longer than Daniel and I have been married, which is just weird to think about!). And KV Wishbox may be reborn in the near future as well. ;)

So you most definitely want to stay tuned to see what else could possibly be happening at Katya Valera. It may be fall, but this year isn't over yet! Be sure to follow along on Facebook and/or Instagram so that you don't miss out on any of these developments coming over the rest of the year. And in the meantime, feel free to do some browsing in the shop--it's definitely not too early to get some early Christmas shopping out of the way ... which I'm all about!