Saturday, April 16, 2016

Surgery Tomorrow With Dr. Lettieri


When I came home from the hospital last week I was told to clean the open wound area everyday with a solution Dr.Lettieri gave me and to keep it covered. That night I came home and cleaned out the area and noticed there was a bandage or clear mesh substance covering the area. I began to clean and took that very important piece of integra out of my ear.  I can tell you it was one of the worst pains I have ever felt and bled like crazy.
Looking at this now, I can clearly see the integra
I had a post operative appointment the next day with Dr. Lettieri, he was quite amused that I had pulled out the integra.  It is a glue designed to keep the area covered and only done under  general anesthesia. Imagine how dumb I felt, good thing Dr. Lettieri had an alternative and I was ok with his funny candor as he explained the importance and expense of the integra.
This is what it looked like when I went to see
Dr. Lettieri--Integra Gone
I've spent the past week cleaning the area everyday and keeping it covered. Yesterday I visited with Dr. Lettieri after spending some time with him it was determined I will enter into surgery tomorrow.  Dr. Lettieri is going to debris the wound and fill it with integra again.  I was under the impression the wound would be stitched back up, however he explained to me the risk of another infection.  He will eventually do a skin graft over the area, then we wait and see how it heals. I will be undergoing a few more surgeries.
Day after surgery--Dr. Lettieri Blonde Proofed
the won't be coming out this time.
This surgery has really been difficult to recover from. Maybe it's from the anesthesia but I have been nauseated and dizzy for 3 days.  Today I am grateful I was able to write a couple thank you notes and lift my head off the pillow for a few minutes without sickness lingering in my head.  I have not taken any pain medicine, I will start a regimen of Advil tonight to help relieve some of the pain.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Post-op With Dr. Lettieri

On Thursday March 31st I entered Maricopa County Hospital for my post op to the surgery I had on Monday March 28th. I felt good, had no idea what was about to come out of his mouth. " We are going to admit you in for an immediate surgery it looks like things have made a turn for the worst" The surgery was not long but I was not expecting to be headed to surgery so had driven myself. Frenchie left to take care of some maintenance issues on the condos in Mexico and would not return until Friday night. I wanted him to enjoy his time away, as he loves to visit Mexico and I know this would be an in an out procedure there was no need to alarm him if not necessary,  I quickly sent a text out to all of my children asking them if any of them would be available to pick me up after an unexpected surgery but to please not tell their father. I knew he would rush home only to be waiting on me when he could be enjoying the cool breeze of the ocean. Of course this escalated into a full blown major even when Blake decided to call his father and tell him what was going on, without actually knowing what was going on.  I ended up calling my sister Sonya and she was able to work out picking me up. She said Dr. Lettieri explained to her there was some infection to the peroded gland.  Sonya picked me up and drove me home where I rested for the rest of the day.

Sonya mention when Dr. Lettieri talked to her he told me the cut on my neck is an open wound, he stuffed it with antibiotic beads. I've never heard of them and have to admit I was curious; but I was told not take the bandaging off.  Last night  blood was dripping and causing the bandages to loosen up. I text Dr. Letieri and asked what to do, he said to keep it covered with an ACE bandages around my neck to keep everything sterilized.  It was never sterile, it dripped constantly their medicated bandage was falling off bit by bit, piece by piece....believe me it was not sterile.  One morning I was changing the dressing because it had so much blood, it was very difficult to keep it from leaking. The packaging and taping they used caused the sharp edges of the tape to gouge my neck.

Anti-Biotic Beads--they look like teeth
On Saturday I received a call informing me I would be back in surgery Monday April 4th (today) at 5:30 am. I'm not exactly sure what this surgery is for, maybe to take out the antibiotic beads
Dr. Lettieri place in the open wound on my neck, if that is the surgery it should be quick and I should be home to my comfy bed before noon. Giving me enough time to heal and be on a plane for St. Louis on Wednesday.

I was told when being released from the hospital exactly what I was suppose to do to keep this doozie clean.  It was stuffed with saline soaked gauze, then a dry gauze over that then wrap it up with an ACE bandage to keep it all sanitary and clean.  Pulling the gauze off was brutalizing. Not enough pain medicine could keep from wanting to scream out in pain. I soaked it with as much water as I could.the started to peel away the gauze it was dry and bloody.

now that is impressive
I text Dr. L to ask him if it was normal to feel throbbing pain, not be abel to turn my head one way or the other, and to barley be able to open my mouth....?  His text back was Yes it is normal, but you need to get some ibuprofen in your system then it will start feeling better.  Dr. Lettieri told me to keep the wound wet, clean and covered. He can't stitch this up until full recovery occurs.  I will see him next Monday.

My body has an awful time healing, I'm exhausted quite literally tired of surgery after surgery, weird diagnosis after another; it's time to live an abundant life free of pain, sorrow and exhaustion.  Within one week I have had three surgeries, scraping and cleaning out infection.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Surgery March 28th Dr, Letteiri

I had a hard time sleeping last nigh with only 3 hours before surgery I at least tried.  I'm not anxious about the surgery or Dr. Lettier. Again this morning  doctors and nurses all had positive things to say about him. One nurse said  "Oh My Gosh, I would not have any other trauma surgeon work on me. The anesthesiologist  and his assistant mentioned him as colorful.  I know he tries to come off as a hard butt, I've seen it with the residents when they make a mistake.  However, I know Dr.Lettieri and know he wants to teach these young up coming Doctors how to do procedures the right way, the first time.  He explained to a resident at Mayo if he had not known what I was going under sedation for or understand where I've been, my history, fears and anxiety this cute little resident could have cut off the wrong ear, or with other patients the wrong arm or leg.  Yes, he was a little rough with him but respectful in showing him the correct way.  At that very moment I knew he was the surgeon for me.

So he gifted Eric  and I with his present explained exactly what he was gong to do, then they talked real estate---blah blah blah. When he left for the surgery room Eric sat next me to and held my hand telling me how beautiful I was.  Seriously Nerium works, my skin has never looked or felt better.  Several nurses hearing him talk about my beauty were so interested and rushed over to our little pod.  He then told them how beautiful they were and how refreshing it was to work with such happy women and men today.  All three of them were shocked, it was as if no man had ever told them. Eric snapped a picture with me and them for my blog.

One nurse said when I walked in, there was aura around me, she could feel my energy was one of happiness.  This made me smile without hesitation, she was seeing past my own insecurities. She then asked me to go remove my make-up...very proudly I announced "I don't have any on" she quickly grabbed by chart and sighed..."you are 53 year old?" me "yep and proud of it" her " I want to try it, and even sell it if I can." me "Of course you can, here take this Success magazine and I will get you a sample just as soon as I can get your phone # and email address. (email sent before I entered surgery).

She then asked me about my journey with Nerium, I told her the truth, my life, just like everyone else is full of trials, most we cannot see.  I joined Nerium 2 month before the facial paralysis.  I told her it was an inspired intervention, I've now had 10 surgeries with Dr. Lettieri and 31 total in the past 6 year
at Mayo Clinic with some pretty special surgeons.  I have never slowed down sharing everyday, magazine, bottles, videos, 3 way calls, etc....10 core all the way. The most important things she loved about Nerium was the Happiness Movement and the Night Cream.  I wish the person who told me "If I spent more time on Nerium than I did on #happyacts for the #marchtohappiness I would be making a lot more money, would have heard this conversation. Nerium graciously allows us to do all of them at once. I do, I am always prepared with Live Happy Magazine, pass a along card and stickers--but those always when appropriate come with "Have you heard the buzz about this amazing Anti-Again named Nerium"  I always do at least one #happact a day and feel uncomfortable sharing those on social media, I've always been taught acts of kindness should be done in quiet with a reverent heart.  But since it was the challenge  for March 20 being the international Day of Happiness--they asked us all to do an act a day and post it util March 31st.  Surround yourself with like minded people, I happen to enjoy sharing Nerium and sharing a cookie or two,

This reminded me of a story told in Church yesterday by a bishop who visits the men in Prison. This young man we will call him John made some mistakes as teenager, drinking, drugs etc, but was finally able to reconcile with God and be forgiven. He moved from where he lived to get a fresh start his brother and wife invited him to live with them in their barn until he could get a job. He did and was grateful to them. His brother's oldest daughter told them that John had sexually abused her. This went to trial, but during the trial the little girl told her mother she lied, that it never happened. Johns brother and wife never told anyone, and John was sentenced to 65 years in Prison at age 22. He begged and pleaded with family to help, all of them including mom and dad, brothers and sisters wrote to him and encouraged him to forgive. He's never heard back from his brother or sister in law. It took John 10 years in Prison to finally come to a place of forgiveness and allow the spirit to help him survive. Last month when the Bishop visiting him, he asked the Bishop to lay his hands on his head and give him a blessing, but in this blessing he wanted the Bishopr to ask the Lord to forgive his niece, brother and sister so that they could get on with their lives. I entered the County Hospital this morning for my #31 surgery, as my husband and I walked, in front of us was a young boy probably in his 20'a coming from the prison. with guards and shackles on his arms, hand and feet. Tears rolled down my face, looking at Eric (my husband) he immediately thought I was anxious or scared about my surgery, I then smiled at the young boy, said "hello, have a good day" and my husband said "don't talk to them" My tears were both for all of us who immediately judge, it's a natural reaction, and for this young boy whether guilty or not, we are not his judge our mission it always to cheer up the weak and show compassion for the wounded. What if that were your child?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Because He Lives

Today is Easter 2016.  I enjoyed every minute of the day.  Eric and I attended church, partook of the sacrament and listened to Cindy Packard and Kyhle Powell eloquently speak about the resurrection of Christ.  I was deeply touched by Cindy's talk, as she spoke of our lives in Heaven I closed my eyes and imagined being in a perfect state of mind, perfect body, no scars and being embraced by Eric's mom and Dad.  I so look forward to that day!  My life is beautiful right now, I am finally beginning to be ok with who I am, what I look like and how I speak to people.  I have 4 darling grandchildren and one to arrive in June, these sweet little angel's bring so much joy to my life. Recker is 6 year's old now, today he was so excited to take my phone and watch movies he does not have at home. As I watched him swing the bat at the traditional Williams Easter piƱata his smile was pure and refreshing, he is perfect in every way.  Ezra is 3 year's old now, his laugh is contagious when he walks into the room we definitely KNOW he's here! He will run into any of our arms hug us tight and give us a big kiss on the lips....then smile with those big huge eyes of his.  He say's a few words now we relish in those moments because we know children with Autism can regress, as Recker has at times and we may not hear a word from them again for months.  Phoenix is a blondie just like his dad and his mother were at his age.  He just turned 1 year old and is making a name for himself.  He is darling walking around saying while pointing "that....that.....that...." He say's mom, dad, papa, bye bye while waving and an animated Hi to everyone he see's.  Wesley is our little princess among the boy's.  She is 6 weeks old and purely angelic. 

Because I know He Lives I can face tomorrow.  I love these hopeful words, tomorrow I will enter once again into a surgery with Dr. Lettieri.  I'm hoping to see Eric's mom while I am under sedation no one brings me safely to my comfort zone like she does.  It's late I'm tired and need to get rest, I have no anxiety, no fear going into this surgery I never have with Dr. Lettieri he gives me strength and helps me to see the big picture.  This surgery I am having is because a sore on my neck where the drain was placed during my last surgery will not heal,  that surgery was on December 2nd.  I have a problem with infection.  Sonya explained to me this week that my mother died from an infection she battled for 3 year's, seems I have her gene's running through me.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Miracle in the Desert

In 1954 Reverend Jim and Vera Dingman had a desire to give their lives to caring for children who were hurting and who had faith that God would provide all they needed. Today, Sunshine Acres still is a place of hope for children. No matter the reason why children come to Sunshine Acres – parents in prison, a parent too ill to care for the child or homelessness – they can count on this miracle in the desert for a safe place to call home, food, clothing, activities and, most importantly, love. No child is ever turned away for financial reasons.  

Since 1954 Sunshine Acres has been home to more than 1,600 children and still today children will not be turned away for financial reasons. They do not receive government support for the children and though they are donor funded, they do no fundraising or solicitation for themselves. Many friends, businesses, churches and volunteers contribute and host fundraising events on behalf of the home, and God is still working miracles!
The Dingman's out of pure faith bought 150 acres in the desert of Arizona for $125,000. On Thursday I decided I wanted to drive to Sunshine Acres to find out more about their mission, how many children were currently being housed and how I could help.  As I entered the front office I was greeted with a friendly smile.  I asked if it would be possible for me to assemble easter baskets for all the children.  The happy sweet lady said "Of course, the children will love it."  There are 70 children currently housed, 40 boys and 30 girls.  
Last night I told Frenchie what I was doing, he was surprised I had chosen Sunshine Acres because the builder he works for, Jeff Blandford has donated a boys and girls home on the property and is currently building another boys home.  He asked if he could come to help for a little bit.
This morning I arrived at Sunshine Acres around 9:30 and began to assemble the baskets.  When Frenchie showed up a sweet peace was in the room where we  began to place love into each basket.  He could not stay long but I appreciated the time I had with him.
I am Blessed

I wanted each basket to be perfect, as if it were for one of my own children or grandchildren.  Some of these children have been abandoned, when they arrive it is reasonably difficult for them to open up and trust.  They have been so hurt and disconnected from a real home.  Sunshine Acres is a shield of protection for them.  They teach the children how to be happy, no matter the circumstances. Yes, it is hard, most definitely lonely at times but soon they begin to understand no child is so damaged that they can't change.  They learn that God will always provide a way.  Eventually they discover they are loved, they have purpose and that they do have something to give to the world.  I see Sunshine Acres as a healing place.  From the very beginning it was all about loving a child.  When we give a child love it will change hearts.  We have the power within us to help change the next generation showing them their potential and purpose in life, stopping the cycle of abuse and neglect.
Entrance to the boys home

The Petting Zoo

Donation from Jeff Blandford

Girls Home, named after Jeff Blandford's
mother Bonnie

One of the canvas pictures in the Girls room

The Kitchen storage area

The beautiful kitchen

All the neighborhood children were hanging
out at Bonnie's today!!

Sunshine Acres is solar powered, and what a beautiful view

The front of Bonnie's girls home

The entrance to the church where
every child attends on Sundays

I love that everything including the Church
is on the property.

I was able to take a tour of Sunshine Acres, I was not allowed to take pictures with any children but I can tell you they are happy!!  I was extremely impressed with the cleanliness of each home, and the polite lovable children I met. Today was a great day, I decided my family will all be included next time; a new family tradition.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

#365 Days of Happiness

Today is the International Day of Happiness. I began my day by attending church, during our services today the speaker talked about Happiness being a choice.  He asked if any of the congregation ever see people in their car as they are driving, Happy? He said once in awhile you'll see a person moving and singing to the music but for the most part people tend to drive focused and not looking too happy.

While I believe we all need to be aware of our surroundings while driving, it would also do us well to smile while we are driving, put on happy music, turn and smile at the person next to you the stop sign or light.  I think I will try that tomorrow and see what reaction I get. I asked him after the services if he knew today was the international day of happiness, his response was "No way?" I said "Yes, way!!" We both laughed and he loved it.

After our church meetings I went home and prepared to serve.  I knelt next to my bed and asked for the spirit to be with me today. Yesterday I bought happy face cookies from Sassy's Cafe.  I took cookies to share with friends and a few neighbors who have really supported and cared for me and my family over the last few years.

As I headed to the Assisted Living Home, it brought me to tears knowing today marks 730 consecutive days I have performed #happyacts for other people.  I began this happy acts campaign with selfish reasons hoping it would help me get out of my own world of problems by helping another person.  Well, it turns out it has helped me, it has changed me.  I don't believe it is selfish any longer. Yes, it has definitely helped refine me but I no longer do it out of an obligation to myself, it has now become who I am. I have self branded myself as the happiness queen. Not a bad branding to have considering I could be called a lot worse.

Today these people were gracious and kind, they were delighted when I asked them if I could explain what the International Day of Happiness was.  Then I asked them if I could read to them a few stories from the new Live Happy book by Deborah Heisz, they loved it and didn't want me to leave. I promised them I would return to visit-and I will, in fact I look forward to it.

There's a funny thing that happens when you reach an older have no filter, and it seems to be acceptable.  Today it brought me both to tears and laughter. One of them asked me why I 'waste' my time sharing my time with other people such as them.  This question not only shocked me but it brought me to tears.  I took her by the hand and told her because she is important to me. I explained how infinitely important all of them are, and the contributions they have made to life mean something to me.  One laughed and told me I was crazy, this is when I laughed,  the other's said "Don't mind her she doesn't understand what she's saying....."  I asked them if they had family who visit with them.  They all said "not really, once in awhile we see one of them." I assured each one of them how special they are, and that they have a choice each day when they wake up to be happy.  They were sad to see me leave, but even more important I was sad to leave.

I spent the evening like we do every Sunday, as a family surrounded by my grandchildren, and their parents.  We ate dinner and enjoyed cake from Sassy's Cafe.  We made our own family Happiness Wall and I took pictures (the best we could) with my grandchildren.  I loved everything about today.

This month we were challenged to post on social media a happy act everyday.....this part was particularly difficult for me to do.  I have always been taught when we serve we do it quietly and with out expecting recognition.  I still do believe this, but for the month of March if wanted to truly make a ripple in the world I think it is important to share those small acts of service.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Different Not Less


Boy oh Boy, where to start.  The past 24 hours has been....well it's been eye opening.  1st off my book is well on it's way to being published.  I'm waiting now on little things like copyrights. This book writing stuff is serious business...not what I expected.
She's so cute, I love Weslie 

So yesterday I posted a picture of my new grand baby Weslie and I on Facebook. It was hard for me to post because of the way my face looked.  I take a look at myself everyday in the mirror,  I know what my face physically looks like. Most of the time I'm ok with the new look. I know doctor Lettieri is working hard to help me fight time with the nerve.  Realistically I'm completely aware my face will never, ever be the same but I find joy in the little changes I have been able to accomplish.  Sometimes I look at myself and feel sad or disgusted with what I see.  Then I tell myself I am beautiful, tell my lip to "move damn it" and go about my day.

When I got brave and posted an authentic picture of myself with Weslie, my mouth was not cooperating, neither was Weslies.  She had a crooked smile like mine, so I posted it with a sassy comment about she and I having the same smile.  Maybe I was trying to make other people feel better about what I knew they were seeing too.  I'm not sure but it was a monumental moment for me to finally be able to see it and say it like it is, I never want anyone to feel uncomfortable around me.

A man commented saying and I quote "You look like you're shitting yourselves" (excuse me I couldn't think of any other way to put it)  I'm so glad no one was here to see the reaction on my face when I realized what he wrote....I had to look at it several times to make sure I had read it correctly. I left my laptop went to the mirror and smiled, yep that's what people see! For the first time I was faced with the hurtful words of my reality.

I know the world can be a cruel place to live, but in my world I don't react the way this man did.  I was shocked and read it over and over again-then I cried, I cried like a baby.  I picked up the phone and called my sister Sonya, she of course thought I had been diagnosed with something new or perhaps someone I knew had died; that's how hard I was crying.  She soothed my pitiful heart, we hung up and I cried some more.  My friend Frank Filliapone text me a few wonderful accolades of kindness, to help me through the tears.  Danny Jones called at either the perfect time or the worst time possible....should I answer or not?  I did and tried to be a-ok, but again I started to sob. He was simply adorable and comforting with his words of encouragement. My friend Liz Decker text me too.  Then I had a Nerium meeting at my home, one that I have every Monday night.  I, again had to put on a 'happy' face and pretend everything was ok.  Inside I was dying, I couldn't stop thinking about every person in that room-what they see when they look at me.

On the playground as a child we heard "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me" While this was a good childhood defense mechanism, words can and do hurt.  Sometimes the words said can linger long past the healing time of wounds of cuts and broken bones. Words can also cause pain that my never go away. They create an invisible scar that delicate people carry around their entire life. It's been proven that painful words can cause a lifetime of anxiety, anger, resentment and stress.  

In today's society we unfortunately live in a world much different than when I was a child. Social media is where the mean people can hide and sneak out every once in awhile to strike like a snake with venomous words. Sadly, it's not just children who suffer from cyber bullying and they don't just use name calling like we witnessed on the playground.  The internet and texting is used to hide behind, there now is a power people have to use hateful words they wouldn't dare to utter to someone in person or on the playground.  Some of the words are so hurtful and cruel they cause children and adults who have bright futures to turn to suicide to help escape the bullies.  

On the other side of the coin, the bright side, social media can also be used to spread messages of peace, love and happiness to the world. Kind words and posts on the walls of Facebook supporting one another, loving each other from afar can be supportive and actually nurturing to help people feel good about themselves.  We have the power within ourselves to build people up.  So often, people say something without thinking, I too have done this. Believing what we are saying is justified or they believe what they have to say is right or they think what they have to contribute is helpful.  

Sometimes silence is golden. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  Choosing words of kindness and sincerity are beautifully powerful. I'm not sure about you but I want to spread happiness.  Honestly, there are times I want to slap someone, I want to give them a piece of my mind; but I've learned through having life threatening scenarios happen in my life; those things just don't matter.  The person matters, however my opinion does not, and it doesn't do anything but open up a huge can of worms.
When I walk away, give myself some time to process and connect my head with my heart I believe I walk away a better person.  I learned something from this message yesterday, no matter how much I try to spread happiness there are always going to be serpents I cannot kill, but I can learn from it, remember how it felt and never ever do that to someone else.
Blaise Pascal said "Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured.  They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is."  I choose to be someone who tries to make a beautiful image, one that unfortunately is not going to be a physical beauty, it is a beauty that will come from within me.
Both Liz and Danny left me with these words, go and write down as many things you can think of that you are grateful for.  I did that, and it helped it really helps because I have so much more to be grateful for than I do to be worried about.  The words of an obvious person who needs and desires attention through the expense of other people is really sad and sucked a lot of quality time out of me, time I could have spent on uplifting someone else.
I realized today, like my two grandson's with Autism we are different, not less.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

PBR (Bull Riding)

Eric and I went to the PBR tonight with good friends Taz and Kathy Evans.  I was surprised to hear the announcer ask everyone to stand bow their heads and unite in prayer.  He began with Dear Heavenly Father....a feeling of strength and hope came over me.  With this being an Presidential Election year, it's been a nasty fight.  Our beautiful nation is turning into political attacks, murderers, and liars.  We are forced to choose the better of the evils to vote for.

Schools are not allowed to stand and repeat the pledge of Allegiance any longer--why the word God is used. I have fond memories of standing with my hand over my heart and repeating

I pledge allegiance to the flag,
of the United States of American
and to the Republic for which it stands.
One Nation Under God indivisible with liberty and
justice for all.

My children and grandchildren will never understand those words.  Tonight I am grateful for the country I live in, hopeful for change in our leaders.