This is WAY too LONG...but it reveals a bit of why I've not been here for awhile.  I've edited this to have the poems FIRST, since this IS Poetry Friday!

 BALANCE (an acrostic)

Because the times

Are so tough


All we dwell on is the


Concentrate on the light

Embrace the balance.

by Donna JT Smith, 1/2022

Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday, Carol.  I'm going to try to make it for Poetry Fridays this year.

Hmm.  Upon publishing, I found this Draft post from July 8, 2021 that I didn't publish...I wrote it, but lost the energy to hit "publish".  I find it interesting that BALANCE is included here...


For those who are here watching someone leaving.  

This is not the best writing, but I'm tired.  And some days I cannot find the words.  My brain is on overload, making it hard to express myself - at least without becoming an emotional wreck.  

So I continue to try to keep my balance, stay afloat, plant a smile.  

Thank you for indulging me.  I will continue to try to read and comment on other writers', though I feel I am failing at that, and falling behind.


Missing You

   While You are Here


I am walking on our love-worn way

where roses' thorns would


I am strolling on our stony path,

my unheld hand to


I am yearning for calm clarity

and peace of mind to


I am longing for the quietude

as sliding snails might



I am humming to the sky above

enticing birds to


And watching you step off the trail

for golden comfort's



I'll rejoice the day our routes rejoin

to rise before our


But I'll hide for now in willow's shade

my thoughts as leaves on



by Donna JT Smith, 7/8//2021


As many have said they are trying to do this year - or WILL do this year - I am trying to find the good 2022 offers if we look.  I can't say we started it well... but I have not yet lost my temper during the sewer line fiasco. 

On Jan. 4 we had a new liner to the house sewer line started.  It had to cure overnight, so we stayed in a hotel.  It ended up that we spent two nights and three days there, where I also homeschooled the grandchildren as best I could.  When they deemed the line good, we returned. 

The house plumbing worked fine...but our apartment above the garage didn't. That night we had a plumber  until midnight trying unsuccessfully to get water to drain.

The next day (Friday, the 7th) their master technician came out.  (Not to say "I told you so", but I'd mentioned more than once that they needed to make sure the apartment lines were okay and that they weren't bypassing them...I should'a been a plumber) and of course found out that they had indeed lined the pipe right past the plumbing in the apartment. (Sigh) Yup, putting the liner in, they had assumed... let's just say, never assume...and they bypassed the output lines from the apartment. 

They will be here Sunday morning to jackhammer our garage floor removing sections of sewer line and replacing with pipe sections with new openings...We are hoping that by noon on Sunday we will have a functional home again.

So new word for this year.  BALANCE.  There are so many good words out there.  But I think this year I want to balance my life better. 

Here's the thing that's been going on in the background with me...well, one of the things...I've shared some of what I've been going through with my husband's dementia with a few more factor in why it has been difficult to keep writing and interacting with everyone here.  I need more plates - this one is getting too full!  It's important to BALANCE those plates, BTW.

I am going through physical therapy now due to my covid vaccines.  I haven't said much about this, as I don't want to discourage anyone from having their vaccines.  But we believe my son's heart, blood and brain injuries were due to his vaccine.  He's coming back strong, but we almost lost him a few times in this ordeal in September (which started a few days after his vaccine and is otherwise unexplainable by doctors).  

My reaction began with my first dose, but I didn't put the two together because it again is not a typical reaction.  I began with painful muscle spasms of the legs and back when lying down or trying to get out of bed, and I would get a terrible sharp stabbing pain in my hip/back randomly if bending or sitting.  I got my second dose, the pain became even worse and I could no longer turn over in bed at all, and it was a slow, difficult process to get out of bed.  I was seen by a doctor who recommended PT.  When I got to PA I began PT, but couldn't do much because all motion was too painful.  I was researching what this pain could be and praying it wasn't MS or a few other dire things.  

With time, my pain began to be manageable, and no one said this was a vaccine reaction, so I had my booster. 

Oh, I so wish I hadn't.  The pain that had begun to be tolerable, came back with a vengeance - worse than before!  I was trying to find any position that would be comfortable for even a short period of time.  I'd even tried sleeping sitting up at the table, as the pain of getting in and out of bed was unbearable.  I was afraid I was becoming an invalid.  I had to prop my back up so I could lie on my side without using any muscles.  I moved carefully through my any moment a movement could send me into spasms and excruciating pain. The next doctor advised having an epidural of an anti-inflammatory.  I opted to wait it out...hoping that the pain would subside.  I was really suspecting the vaccine by then and went searching for more information. 

It took a while because searching for vaccine stuff is all about getting the vaccine or the typical minor reactions.  But finally I plugged in the right search words and found a site where people were talking about what was going on with me...and they were all suspicious of the vaccine and asking others if they'd had this happen!  Doctors were basically ignoring it. No one wanted to admit that there are some people who should not have the vaccine.  My family is one of them.  Even my daughter who had the J&J vaccine, one dose, began to have the pain in her back.  We never connected the two events, but we did find it strange that we were both having difficulty lying down.

I am again on the "past the worst" and improving side.  I still have some pain, go to PT, and use the TENS unit electrical stim most evenings.  But I'm not on pain meds and I can get out of bed pretty well.  The bouts of random stabbing pain are subsiding again.  I can pick up things from the floor again - carefully.  I am starting to feel like myself.  

I cannot stand and hold a balloon out in front of me...yet.  I cannot walk a block...yet.  I can lose my balance easily.  But I can sit in most chairs comfortably.  I can go up and down stairs.  I can stand long enough to cook a meal.  The feeling in my legs and toes seems to be returning.  I'm not pain free, but almost!  PT is now helping to build up my muscles again, that I haven't been able to use for so long!

So BALANCE seems a good word for me.  I want to regain my physical balance, my emotional balance, my life balance.  I need to start balancing physically and balancing my time for me.  Things have been out of whack for long enough.  I think for two years I've forgotten to slap on more good stuff when the bad started to outweigh it.

Thank you for allowing my rant and slate cleaning.  I am good.  There's been lots of hard times these past two years, but we've made it this far.  I know there will be more ahead, but I hope to keep the balance. 

I've started by signing up for Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's anthology 101, 201 and 301...for ME.  I need some happy me time to outweigh the times that have weighed me down.

But just so you know, I will not be getting another booster.  I can't.  I think it will literally kill me.



  1. Donna, I have been thinking of you these past months and try to keep up with your FB poetry (That I love). I am sorry that you have intolerable and undeniable pain. My husband has this also but now that found out he has a fracture in his hip and the doctors will not operate until he loses 40 lbs. He is on a very strict medical diet and has lost 18 lbs. so far. He does say that losing weight has made his leg feel better. We did not know that he had a old injury-the fractured him. I am telling you this to rule out others issues that may come up for you. Balance is a great word for you. I am glad that you are going to PT. I swear by it. Please keep in contact with PF and SJT because our communities would be a great place for support. What is your new address now? Stay well and optimistic.

    1. I am able to concentrate so much better since the pain has eased. I also have been playing healing, sleeping, meditation music all night while I sleep, and it's helped me sleep quite a bit. I did have extensive xrays and MRIs to rule out breaks. There is some damage to my spine, but not enough to cause the extent of the pain. That is why I opted to continue PT and not do the epidural. With things as they have been lately, I prefer to go the less intrusive route. Don't need more problems from treatments! I am going to try to keep up with my writing better, and it seems more likely now, though juggling caregiving takes a lot of energy. I just need to start thinking smarter to find the balance in all this!

  2. Donna, you have been on quite a journey over the past few years. I think of you often and admire how you continue to find balance amidst the turmoil and how you continue to create. You are a positive force in this world. Wishing you love, light, and balance as your journey continues.

    1. I am in awe of how strange my life has become. Each incident could be a sitcom or drama episode...or whole season. Even today, after getting the sewer lines fixed again, the guy who was out on Friday neglected to tighten the sink drain after he snaked it. Consequently, yes, I had a lot of water on my floor. I cleaned it up and tightened the drain down. I think we're pretty set. I may pick up some sealer to go around it after I research what I should do. I'll be a plumber yet.

    2. On a very positive note...I could bend down and do that!!! Yay!

  3. Donna, oh Donna! Good heavens, the hardships you've been enduring. I recently read an investigation of the brain-foggy/digestive issues that some folks with long COVID have, but I hadn't heard of this particular pain reaction. I'm so sorry and so glad that you're mending. This makes the beauty of your BALANCE acrostic even more striking, the way it *looks* balanced on the page, the way in such a short space you have failed and succeeded in capturing the delicate balance. Glad to know that I'll see you in Anthologies 101!

    1. I am banking on Anthologies 101, et al, to help me re-energize my brain and take my focus off the weirdness of my current life! Lol!

  4. I like "unheld hand," "watching you step off the trail/for golden comfort's/wing," and your thoughts like leaves. I hope BALANCE helps you add more good, Donna. *hug*

    1. Thanks for the hug! I am doing some "balancing" exercises this evening. We had to move the motorcycles out of the garage today to get to the floor space to be jackhammered. Got me itching to be well enough to go riding! Tim won't be able to ride anymore, but I'd like to ride again anyway, and he won't mind now.

  5. I am so happy to see you here, Donna. And while I know some of what you shared, am so sorry about the terrible vaccine effects you've experienced, hope it continues to improve. As for the drain probs, my neighbor (I'm in a duplex) has had some problems & I thought I would have some but it turns out, it was all on their side. I had some expenses to check the pipes thoroughly but less than I imagined. Best wishes for that, too. I am always thinking of your challenges & wishing you better days for sure. Thanks for sharing so much and I hope all of us surrounding you will help!

    1. It certainly has been a couple years of testing. Some days I fail at being the best me. That's probably the hardest part.
      It was a surprise to have the three drain technicians, each on separate trips out here, say how nice we were, and thank us. They were expecting angry customers by now, after all the trips here to correct their work. Maybe with the pain level lower now, and the other serious weirdness we've survived - it didn't bother me, and I could just laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. That's how I always to be.

  6. Oh Donna. I did know some of this, but not that the pain had not subsided and got worse and worse. You are totally handling full plates X 1000. My friends' bf, a retired a somewhat well-known NYC area surgeon, had major reactions to shot 1. I don't think he has taken the next two. I hope they will figure out why eventually. I can't believe how it has touched Adam and to a lesser degree your daughter. And still you create such lovely poems on fb. You are a wonder and God must be smiling down sending you his healing strength. I pray for it to continue. And balance.

    1. I have never been in such pain. And it would hover over me waiting for me to move, and strike when I least expected it sometimes. I've gone into PT in tears at a loss as to what we could do. They got Medicare to get me my own TENS UNIT stim machine and that seemed to get me through to the next PT session. I am able to do strengthening exercises and am sleeping through the night 50% of the time now - GIANT steps!
      Adam has lost some hearing and has tinnitus from the antibiotics, lost a quadrant (upper right corner) of his vision from the mini-stroke, and gets headaches from working on the computer for more than 30 min. But he is doing cardio therapy and is back to lifting weights at the gym, slowly gaining his strength back. No more vaccines for him, either.
      There have been tough times, but there's been good in it all; God is in it all.

  7. My goodness. I am so very sorry about every piece of this. I have missed your writing but simply had no idea of all that you have been going through. Honestly, some of this makes me mad at how people are being treated (or NOT treated), but that anger won't do you any good. So I will keep you in my prayers, daily, and I will look forward to more of your writing in the future. Take care, my writing friend. God bless you and your family.

    1. There's so much more that I haven't written on my blog. Some of it is on FB beginning in 2020 when I fell headfirst down my full flight of concrete steps of my apartment. I broke my ankle and wrist and damaged the other wrist - so I was in three, then back home with wheelchair, scooter, walker and cane. I was able to make it back up those stairs again in time for covid isolations. Then my younger sister died in June of 2020, we Zoomed the funeral. My 5 year old yellow lab had to be put down on Christmas Day 2020. 2021 started out with my spasms and pain; and son's blood poisoning, congestive heart failure/valve replacements, and stroke. Then there's my husband's diagnosis of FTD and his devastating decline. I don't cry when I list these anymore. I just list them and think, wow. How did we do this? How did we cram this series of unfortunate events into such a short span of time? Huh. Before this our lives were pretty pleasant and calm. Suddenly, it's hard to list and not forget something. I'm sure I've forgotten something terrible. But that's okay. It's time to start forgetting these and start remembering our blessings. Cuz there are a bunch of those, too! I get to homeschool my grandchildren.

    2. I am not sure I knew about your sister, but maybe. This list is truly unbelievable, even though I knew about much of it as it happened when you shared some on fb. But you kept up writing and doing your little darling doodles on your (I think) iPad. Such a list. I think I may have mentioned our friend had FTD and his wife, a writer and poet but no on PF, writes about it. In the end they did have full time aides for him. Also our son's friend is one of the heads of the FTD group out of Philly. I am sure you know there are resources but during your awful times I am sure it was hard to simply put one foot in front of the other. If I can help with anything, please call on me. Today is a new day. May the Lord bless you with healing and hope, I am sure you have had both of these even in the depths of your situation. I am glad the TINS machine is letting you sleep. Back pain is horrendous. I am grateful I have only suffered a minute amount compared to what has happened to you. I hope more answers come forth. Our dr. friend with the bad reaction was on Prednisone for a long time and that is not a great answer either. You are right. You need a whole new set of dinner plates. Know that prayers are being sent for you and Adam and everything you are facing. I am glad the plumbers (finally) got it together and that you are so resourceful you were able to fix the drain. To see the humor, the good, the future, and teach your grandchildren, well despite it all that is to the good. Hugs to you, but gentle ones. God has a purpose in all this we know. Janet F.


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