Monday, October 13, 2014

Something Amazing


I AM ADDING THIS TODAY BECAUSE I HAVE RECEIVED SOME EMAILS. I GUESS I DID NOT EXPLAIN IT ENOUGH, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT BEEN FOLLOWING.
I HAVE BEEN DEAF IN MY RIGHT EAR FOR 48 YEARS DUE TO A BLOW TO THE HEAD AT AGE 3. IT JUST HAPPENS TO BE THE SAME EAR I HAVE HAD MULTIPLE SURGERIES ON THIS YEAR.  MY LEFT EAR I HAVE BEEN USING TO HEAR WITH FOR ALL THESE YEARS, IT'S MY GOOD EAR, THE ONE I CAN NOW HEAR OUT OF, EVEN THOUGH THE IMPLANT IS ON THE RIGHT SIDE, IT TRANSMITS SOUNDS WAVES TO THE GOOD EAR ON THE LEFT TO IMPROVE MY HEARING. MY RIGHT EAR IS NOW COMPLETELY EMPTY, NO INNER CANAL, NO EARDRUM, NO NOTHING, THE DOCTOR TOOK SKIN FROM MY HEAD AND MADE A NEW LOOKING EAR FOR ME.

Today, something amazing happened to me.  I had appointments at Mayo Clinic, I met with Kelly Conroy in the hearing department to have my Baha hearing device finally connected to my implant.  I was not prepared for what would happened, I normally go to Mayo Clinic without thinking much about why I'm there or who I am supposed to see, I just don't let my mind think about it unless I'm going to the 3rd floor then I need to prepare myself.
I have met with Kelly before for hearing tests and to be fitted for my Baha, but it's literally been almost a year since my implant was placed,  so much has happened since then, the Baha has not been on my mind.  Today, I was blessed with a Tender Mercy from Heavenly Father, one that I really needed right now.  I now have a new person to love at Mayo Clinic, I will never forget today, and I am so grateful Kelly Conroy was the one I shared this moment with, she was so compassionate and loving.
Kelly placed the device on my implant then made some adjustments on her computer to customize the hearing device to my hearing needs.  What happened next was simply amazing, I wish I had it on video, or that Eric could have been there to share it with me.  When she activated the device I could hear everything so clear and crisp, I smiled, we sat and talked for quite awhile so she could make sure it was working well.  We both cried as I explained some of my feelings I've had this year. This was not even the amazing part, because we were in a closed small office it did not register with me that I could actually hear things better, until I got to my car.
I opened the door to get in the front seat, when I started the car my music was so loud, I quickly turned it down, I smiled, backed the car up--and the sound of putting the car in reverse was something I had never heard. As I drove down the beeline highway, I noticed a man walking, I pulled over and asked him if he needed any help.  He was so out in the middle of nowhere, I was worried for him.  He assured me he had AAA on their way, and thanked me.  I wondered "why is he talking so loud?" I was overcome with emotion, I had to pull the car over a few miles away, get out and walk through the wild flowers, never before had I seen anything more beautiful, I looked to the sky, brilliant blue with fluffy white clouds and cried, I heard a bird chirp it was absolutely beautiful.  All these years I thought I knew what that sounded like, but today it was clearer than I had ever felt it or heard it.  I knew at that moment and time, He loves me, He really, really loves me, and not only me, He loves my biological father Colby Belshe.  I could feel his presence, this was more than an emotionally draining day for me, but at that very moment standing with my arms high, twirling in the Arizona desert I could feel that finally Colby was happy, his daughter could hear.  Colby never could forgive himself for being the fault of my deafness, I had forgiven him I don't ever remember being angry with him, not hearing was all I ever knew, I had told him many, many times I was OK, that I didn't blame him, but even to his death I believe he took that guilt with him.  Today, that is over for him, he watched me, I felt him and I know he is now able to move on.  Thank you Heavenly Father for such a beautiful gift you have given me.
I picked myself up and got back in my car, called Eric and could not believe how loud he was, I smiled tears running down my cheeks I smiled.
When I got home, this is when the real magic happened for me.  I opened the door and I heard the door knob turn, I smiled, when the door shut behind me I screamed it was so loud, it scared me. I did the same thing when my phone rang, I have "Happy" as my ring tone, I about jumped out of my own skin, but I smiled.  Walking across my wood floors I heard every step, in the kitchen I opened the microwave and shut it several times to hear the sound, did the same thing with the refrigerator, I smiled.
When my hand touched the staircase to walk up, I heard my hand even softly dragging, I smiled.  I sat on my bedroom floor weeping, all alone just the way it should be, I'm sure it was not too pretty.  I could even hear the carpet as I ran my hand across it, all I could say was thank you, thank you so much for this unexpected miracle.  Tonight I pulled the string on the dental floss and the sound was nothing I'd ever heard before, I did it over and over again until the container was all gone. Turning the pages of my scriptures was amazing, I heard every crinkle, and I smiled.  I sat on my bed in awe of what my Heavenly Father has blessed me with, at such a critical time in my life.  I wanted to shout it out on the top of my lungs, HE LOVES ME.  I don't think I have smiled like I did today for so long, and even though it was a half smile, I didn't care, I couldn't help it.  Nothing, and I mean nothing is as beautiful as being able to hear everything, all the creations He has created for us to see, hear, feel and smell we take for granted.
I can't wait to hear more things.  I immediately turned my primary music on, my favorite song has always been My Heavenly Father Loves Me....I cry every time I hear this song.

My Heavenly Father Loves Me:

Whenever I hear the song of a bird,
or look at the blue blue sky,
whenever I feel the rain on my face
or the wind as it rushes by.
Whenever I touch a velvet rose
or walk by a lilac tree,
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world,
Heavenly Father created for me.
He gave me my eyes that I might see
the color of butterfly wings,
he gave me my ears that I might
hear the magical sound of things
He gave me my life, my mind
my heart, I thank Him reverently
for all his creations of which I'm
a part, Yes, I know Heavenly Father
Loves me.

Today these words mean more to me than ever before, I can't help but think that Heavenly Father has been waiting for this day, preparing me, and refining me, preparing Colby too as he has suffered with this guilt for so long, I am so happy for him too.  I cannot stop crying, I am just so blessed, the tears are flowing like a river with no end in sight.  I just want to open and close things, I want to hear my grandkids laugh, oh I can't wait for that, I thought I loved those belly laughs before but I have a feeling as I get used to this new blessing I am going to continue to have tears, learning so much of what we take for granted.  So if you see me tear up, I'm ok I'm just hearing something new and enjoying it for the first time. I don't know if I can say thank you enough to Him who gave me this gift today, and I know He is smiling down on me too. I've been so lost these last few months, trying so hard to understand what I am supposed to do, what I am supposed to be learning, and maybe I will still continue to ask, but not today, today I am grateful, this is a feeling I will never ever forget.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

I'm a woman of infinate worth


Another night of insomnia, I cannot stop thinking about The Wentworth Family tonight.  Our girls danced together for years, Darbie and Sierra have always had a special place in heart, especially offering their personal prayers for me when I need or needed them. As I knelt to pray tonight, I asked God to wrap his arms in and around their hearts, comfort them with His love.  I have  perfect knowledge that their son Buddy is being watched over and taken care of, he is in a peaceful place that is nothing like earth, and he will be with his family again.

I recently received this bookmark from a dear friend, who I admire and love for her strength and love of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  She too lost her son, it just never seems fair that a child should go to Heaven before their parents.  Living in this world we face so many challenges, and what makes it all worth it is knowing the Savior died for us, we have knowledge of the Atonement.  We hear all the time "The Lord never gives us trials we cannot endure"  I have had some bumps along the way, especially in the last few years, but I am grateful the Lord knows I could not handle losing a child or grandchild.  I'd rather take on any pain or heartache to keep my children and grandchildren safe from harm.

I love this...Thank You Carla Kelly. I see this everyday
when I read and it reminds me of great promises.
Even when we are feeling broken, we are loved.  It's hard to heal from a tragedy like this, but the hands of mercy and grace offer us a peaceful feeling of HOPE and FAITH in something bigger than ourselves.  I know I am loved, I know He is aware of me and I know what I need to do to return with honor to Him and live with my family forever. There is a reason we are all here on earth, we are all children of infinite worth, and we are part of His eternal plan, we may not always understand what that means, but as we discover His unconditional love for us as individuals we start to understand just how hard it is for Him to see us suffer, we are His children.  I know I've had to turn to the Lord for peace on days when I have not wanted to be here anymore.  Searching your soul and finding out who you are, I mean the REAL authentic person you are, has been more fulfilling to me than any one thing I have learned in the past 51 years.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

El Casa De Monya

I spent most of the summer months in the hospital, Mayo Clinic for a few weeks, and then Cleveland Clinic.  Eric, myself, Blake and Chloe had planned a trip to the Dominican Republic where Blake served his mission.  We soon realized that I would not be able to make that trip, but I begged them to please go, my heart told me that they needed to go and visit the people who loved my son for 2 years as he served, and they served him.  Oh how happy I am today, I received this video and article from someone who I have never met, but wanted me to have.  I was extremely emotional  watching it. The impact it had not only on myself but also on Eric.  It must have been quite an experience because they have not talked much about it to me, Eric is a compassionate giving man, but is quiet about it, he never shares these types of things with others, he does them with a pure heart, not expecting a high five so to say.
here is the link if you would like to watch http://colormyworldkids.org/2014/06/19/color-my-world-home-announcement-the-alamonte-family/

To these gracious people, and to my husband for having such a giving heart I want to say I am overwhelmed and grateful to you tonight as I sit alone watching this.  The tears are flowing, I am so thankful to have meet you two years ago when we sat at your dinner table, and I am honored that you would dedicate your home to me. Thank you for watching over my son while he was away from his mama dealing with cancer, seeing the love and respect you have for our son during this difficult time is so touching to me, and I cannot thank you enough.  I will be there with you again one day, and we will break bread together, again in joy and happiness.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Find Me-Frozen Inside


There have been times when I want to curl up and stay in the safety of a cocoon, much life a butterfly does.  I have had days when I  feel like I'm locked in a glass house with no way out, no key and no way to fly free--I'm emotionally healing so much slower than I expected I would.  I'm trying so hard to break out of these four walls, I wish I had someone to talk to. I'm losing my grasp, having a hard time being authentic.  I hide how tearfully hard it is for me not to be able to smile a full big smile, I feel my frailties are being masked, by a strong woman who has hard time admitting her weaknesses.

I ache at times trying so hard to hold back smiles or laughter for fear of what I look like to others.  I caught myself wanting to laugh when I heard Ezra's huge belly laugh--he is so cute--but I caught my reflection in the mirror of our entryway and suddenly realized "this is what other people see"  This immediately took me down to a low I can't explain.  I still feel so much happiness in my heart & want to share it, especially with my grandchildren but for some reason, I've let the adversary control my thoughts.  The confusion is a contradiction of what I feel inside,  I don't understand it, so I of course do not expect anyone else to understand it either.  I'm trying my hardest to Live Happy, going out and serving others, while I'm in the act of service it warms my heart and lightens my load.

I love the Happiness Movement the United Nations agreed upon, the 1st celebration was and will continue to  on March 20th.  I know and believe with all my heart that one person can make a difference, a rippling effect which can be wrapped over and around the hearts of people all over the world, no matter what race, culture, or religious belief.  I am an ambassador of Happiness, still I wonder sometimes if that too is a contradiction of how I feel on some days.  I feel like I am on display, I see how people look at me then quickly look away, I know because I too have done it.  I've said before on this blog, I don't believe people in general are vindictive or mean any harm, it's natural for a person to take a double look at something that is not what they are used to seeing.  I just never thought I would be the one on display.   I see them look, then look away and whisper to their friend, mother or neighbor, they both look and quickly turn their back to me, usually because they know I have just seen what they did.  The only thing that really holds me together is knowing He see's me, the REAL me--He knows I want to be me again, the sad part is because of what I've experienced I know I will never be the same again, and I believe this is a good thing.  Although, I didn't ask for this experience I'm living it.  I also realize at the same time, I do have control over how I deal with the inner aching I continue to feel. I may not be in charge of my trials, but I do have control how I deal with them, and I choose to take it slow, understanding all that is expected of me, then proceed forward in faith, and with desire to continue to be the best I can be.

On the days when I work at UsAirways, the security guard always asks me "how are you doing today Monya?" and my answer is always the same "better than I was yesterday" I wrestle with what has been lost in my life, It's more than just dealing with cancer with all of it's side effects.  I expect so much out of myself, I've always been a goal keeper.  I carry a crushing weight on my shoulders when I am unable to achieve  my goals.  I'm simply not able to do this on my own, my soul is tired and I need a rest.  I've pleaded for help so many times, I seriously think I don't have any tears left to cry.
I'm giving my all, but there are times I don't want to hear the answers. Saying I'm deaf is literally an understatement.  I am so vulnerable right now, I know I need to be willing to put all my trust one more time in the Lords hands.  I've been down this road before, I know this feeling.  It's difficult to take a step forward, and also hurts to look backwards. I want peace to speak louder than my fear. I have asked again, and again, and again "what am I supposed to learn" "What do you want me to do next?" I know when I'm finally ready to listen I will go and be or do what He needs me to be or to do.

I know this fear and pain that I am feeling needs to be turned over to the Lord, but for today, just for now I'm frozen inside.  No regrets, I've felt this pain before, and I will not bury it, I know I have to live it, feel it and when I'm living in those shadows He will find me, take me by the hand and lead me to a brighter place.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding strength in Adversity


I just can't seem to sleep tonight.  I am in Dallas, in a hotel room listening to my favorite VonSlade family sing to me, and then Josh Menden--I am tearful today.  I have felt the Lord's love, and I trust His plan for me.  I have seen angels in different faces lift me up.  Sometimes those angels come at the most unexpected times, today was one of those days.  A man by the name of Kym, he was my angel today and I know the Lord directed him to me for a purpose.  Kym has no idea how he helped me, I'm not sure he had any intention of helping me, but today because of Him. I learned that I DECIDE which life I want to lead, I am writing the story of my life and get to decide how it will end, don't worry it's a Happily Ever After kind of ending.

Many of my readers know me, some not personally but through my blog you have listened to my stories, we have laughed, cried and ranted together.  Right now sitting in this hotel, my heart is beating in my chest and it's hard to hold back the tears, my faith has taken deeper and stronger roots than I ever imagined I could.  I have never felt the peace I am feeling right now, I will never be the same as I was 5 years ago, there is no looking back I am forging forward.  I know what HOPE is, and I have so many good reasons to believe through my Faith and Hope, even if I am not completely healed when a person looks at me with the naked eye, I am beginning to heal from the inside out, He knows the strength I have, and the purpose of all things happening in my life.  Everyone around me who loves me and truly cares for me, sees the heart inside me, but I feel bad that they have to look at me with the look of anxiety and fear of hurting me.  I am dealing with this adversity a bit differently than when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.  I'm not sure why, mostly because I too have bought into the belief a person's physical appearance is the first thing people see....the face.   I took my smile for granted, and I miss it. I want to laugh again, out loud with my friend Jenny, I want to jump on the Hotel beds and act like little girls again--but I fear that childhood innocence  is gone, I know too much, I've seen and felt too much to ever go back to who I was before the paralysis.

I do know the best is yet to come, I can look forward with faith knowing I have a responsibility to be me, the REAL authentic ME, that hasn't changed.  I wake up everyday, grateful for one that I woke up and two that it's always a good day to have a good day.  I've climbed some big mountains, and stumbled over a few hills, through every bend in the road I feel like I have done what is right when no one was around, I have lived with integrity.  I know my family, the girls including Chloe, and the boys including Blake, Brian, Scott, Jeremy. Eric, Recker and Ezra are number one's in my life.  I want them to learn to open their hearts and listen harder, look for a good purpose, help others who have less than us, give a smile, or open a door, say please, and thank you--when we do this together, we shine bright for the world to see that we can make a change, each of us day by day, tip toe by tip toe those good deeds when practiced daily, will soon turn into HUGE GIANT steps towards the YOU you were meant to be.  Choose your destiny, and remember your children are watching you, the choices you make they will mimmick, because you are their HERO's.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Making Connections

Ford Trimotor 


Today while working at USAirways, I received an incoming call from the cutest couple.  They were each on the phone line, one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom.  They made a reservation with me, and the gentleman asked me what type of aircraft it was, I told him it was a CRJ. Then he proceeded to tell me a story about when he was around 12 years old (he was born in 1928) he and his friends were playing in a farmers harvest, and the owner came up to the boys and asked them if they would like to go for a spin in his Ford Trimotor airplane.  He said to me "I don't think I ever did tell my parents that story"  When I asked him if it was because he thought he would be in trouble, his response was so sweet, he said "no, I knew they would not be upset, I didn't tell them because I didn't want them to be sad knowing they would never in their lifetime have the opportunity to fly" His wife was on the other end of the phone with the kindest voice saying "Oh darling, we need to let this girl get to work"  I loved to hear her laugh, while I was preparing their itinerary they were talking as if I couldn't hear them.  It reminded me of Vi and Ray--I asked them how long they had been married, and they laughed, both of them, so cute.  He said around 68 years, but that they had known each other since childhood.
This was such a great conversation, I think one reason why I loved it so much was because they had no idea what I looked like, a voice on the other end of the phone was being kind and considerate, as they were with me also.

They were going to the funeral of their son.  " I'm so sorry, It must be a difficult situation to have your son pass away before you do" she said "no, he was old,  lived a good life and was struggling with cancer the past few years, so we are glad he is no more pain, I wouldn't mind visiting him soon"  Then they laughed again....under normal circumstances I would of felt uncomfortable, and wondered what to say to that, but I didn't I fully understood.

This has been a difficult week for me, I really never thought It would matter to me what people think about my face, but it does.  I went to a spanish speaking meeting with one of my partners.  Have you ever felt like someone was looking at you?  You know the feeling I'm talking about, you want to look back at them just to see if your feeling was right.  I did, I looked at these two women who were talking about me in spanish, I know this because the older woman looked at me then whispered something to her daughter (I believe it was her daughter not positive) then they both looked at me, and the mother made this really strange face, again they both looked at me.  At that very moment I was more vulnerable than I had ever felt in my life.  I could not concentrate on the speaker after that happened, some of that was because it was completely in Spanish.  I wanted to leave, but I didn't I stayed stood tall and made it through. I don't see any changes in my face, and I know when I smile it is crooked, so it looks different.  I love to laugh, I love to smile--that has been taken away from me, hopefully temporarily.

I know I will never look exactly the same, I can recover and reprogram my brain; but I will re-form into a person different--hopefully better, stronger, happier than I have ever been. I trust in the Lord and the plan he has for me, it's just so dang hard on days like today when reality of how I look is slammed in my face by others.  I have a new journey now, one that I hope I can recover from.  Hopefully one day I will be on the other end of a phone conversation making a reservation and be able to smile with my heart like this couple did.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why are you happy?



I was recently asked "why are you happy, and how do you remain happy?" The truth is, I have to work on Happiness every day of my life.  I did not intend on being diagnosed with late stages of breast cancer, or the side effects that followed.  I thought at the time it was a joke,  I was still going to continue training for that Marathon I always wanted to run.  To me, I was happy, after all I had the life I always dreamed of, stay at home mom, room mother for all 4 of my children's classrooms, loved driving the girls to dance and Blake to baseball.  My life was surrounded with good friends, and a wonderful family.

 I have always been a runner, kick boxer, cycler, core trained and weight lifter, this was my life and I loved every second of it. The day I had to listen to a doctor explain to me what type of cancer I had I did not respond, Eric was crying it was such a blur, why was he crying? This is not real, we will get a second opinion and of course I will continue to train because this is not real. Even now when I look back at that day, it amazes me how I responded, no tears, no emotion at all.  Blake was at the airport flying up to Utah to see his girlfriend Lecith, and Kaitlyn was living in Utah going to school and loving life, she had found the man of her dreams and I could not be happier with her choice. Eric called Blake and asked him to come home, he wouldn't, he told Eric to just tell him what was up. When Eric told him, he was angry thinking we knew for awhile and just didn't tell him, I explained to him the doctor had just told me I had no idea....we did not hear from or see Blake for a week, he went to Utah and would not answer his phone.  We then called Kaitlyn to tell her, and she reacted just like I did, no emotion--however, Brian told me later that she was really upset, maybe she thought like I did, this was just a little thing that was going to go away.  Kayla, Jeremy and Haleigh met us at the house and I remember Eric standing at the kitchen sink, the kids and I were sitting at the table, I just said it "I have cancer" immediate silence entered the room.  Kayla started to cry, Eric was still crying, Jeremy was in a sullen mood, not sure how to react, but asked if I wanted a blessing. Haleigh, she was and is my baby girl, this announcement could not have come at a worse time for her, it was a week before her senior year of High School.

Since that day I have had to learn to smile with my eyes, and listen with my heart.  I had no idea what was about to explode in our lives as the Villain took over. The "things" that were so important to me, suddenly were insignificant.  The first 3 years I never went one minute of my life without thinking about the Villain, every appointment, bone scan, MRI, and test that was written out on my Mayo Clinic itinerary gave me anxiety.  I still get anxiety when I step off the elevator onto the 3rd floor of the Mayo Clinic, I can smell the chemo, the sickness is in the air.

Tonight, I just can't sleep my mind is racing, I feel unprepared for this trial I am having now.  I need some calmness in my life.  I just want to fall asleep and be with Eric's mom and Dad, dream of being in a safe place, with no pain, no hurt and in the arms of people who unconditionally love me.  I have to remind myself everyday of the many blessings I have.  I see my reflection in the mirror and want to cry. I don't expect anyone to truly understand.  Now, I have to learn to accept the person I see in the mirror, and remember to smile with my eyes.  I loved Elder Holland's talk about depression, I have read it over and over again. Depression is REAL, if you have ever experienced it, you know what I am talking about.  When Robin Williams took his life recently, so much discussion on how selfish he was.  I know I cannot completely understand his reasons, my heart was with him, how well he hid his depression and made us all laugh, while he was struggling with his own demons.

I don't think a person can actually go through some of the things I have endured and be unchanged.  So I say to the people who feel discouraged and mis understood, have faith,  hold onto the knowledge you have of Hope for a better day. I loved when Elder Holland said "above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can ever comprehend" It's amazing to me that the love He has for us never leaves, He will always love us, that love is unconditional.  I so wish I could say I am happy all the time, that simply would not be true, I struggle with it daily, but know it is a choice and it feels better than being depressed.You can wake up everyday and decide to make the most of the life you have been given. It does not  necessarily mean changing your world, but changing the way you look at it.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What is a Saint ?

When I think of someone as a Saint, my mind immediately goes to Viola Williams, Eric's Mom.  In my eyes she could do no wrong, she actively would seek out the weak and weary and take them into her home for comfort from their worldly worries. Many times, the knock on the door was in the midst of the early morning, or late night, but she never turned anyone away, she loved unconditionally.  Life to her was beautiful, she was raised in humble circumstances, served a mission in Hawaii, and married the love her life Ray Williams. Ray was a postal worker, and she was an accountant.  I never saw them quarrel, they learned the art of laughter and happiness together as they struggled through life's challenges together, I miss them both dearly.   I look to Vi as my ultimate example,  and know without a doubt I will feel her loving arms around me again when I leave this life and start my new journey.

I recently had someone say to me "you are a saint" to that person I said "I am not a Saint, unless you think of a Saint as a sinner who just keeps trying to be better than they were the day before" 

Honestly, I keep tracing the steps of where I've been these past 5 years and cannot comprehend how I've been able to continue on.  I read some of my old blog posts, and I can see the Lord's hand writing those words, He has been with me every step.

With this past trial I am trying to deal with, there are times I feel very vulnerable, it's hard to speak sometimes to people, my eyes tear up.  The aching of this is so real to me, I remember not being able to get the Villain out of my head, it was a day to day struggle, fighting to stay alive.  I have poured out my heart and soul to the Lord at times feeling his loving arms around me, and at times feeling deserted and alone.  The feeling of peace, and knowing His grace remains with me,  has certainly gotten me through some unbearable times.

While talking to Doctor Northfelt, I told him it's hard for me to look in the mirror,  and be OK with what I see.  This is a change even I have to get used to seeing, and right now I am dealing with it my own way.  It's hard to feel attractive for my husband, in my head I wonder if I am sexy to him anymore. Will I be able to live with this face if I have to?  I asked Eric if he is embarrassed to walk with me or hold my hand in public, knowing already what his answer would be I still needed to ask.  This transitional period is hard, very hard.  I'm grateful for Dr. Northfelt, although not all of what I just shared here I shared with him, but he is always so good at listening.

 The people who know me, know my heart and that has not changed. I do feel a sense of loneliness sometimes, when I was going through chemo and radiation I had a support group, people I could talk to, who were either going through it themselves or had already been down that road.  We all had similar feelings and could help each other get through the bad days.  I don't have anyone to talk to, I  don't know anyone who has or is going through this life altering trauma.  I do my best to keep positive, but smiling is hard, because it looks so weird, one side smiles while the other is "normal"  Even when I am happy I catch a glimpse of what I look like when I smile and it is hideous to look at.  So this leaves me in a predicament, do I never smile or laugh again?  No, it does mean that I need to learn to smile with my eyes, and listen with my heart, knowing others who love me don't see that ugly smile they see the heart of the same ole' 'say it like it is' Monya.

 I quit trying to understand why, or how this happened.  I instead have been focusing on happiness, what does happy mean to me?  In December after my 1st ear surgery a dear friend called me, and invited me to a Nerium event, I think the 1st three times I said I'd be there but either forgot, or simply didn't want to know what it was.  I don't remember, but Shelli reminds me of it.  Finally, she invited Eric and I to the Barrett Jackson event, I really didn't want to go, but Eric wanted to get me out of the house.  I was still feeling post surgical pain, so I sat with the girls in Shelli's Nerium booth, I sat and observed (you know how I love to people watch) there were a ton of men coming up and buying this cream, at the time I thought they were probably just coming back because all of these girls are drop dead gorgeous. I observed the interaction these girls had with people, then I was approached by Liz Decker she said "so what do you know about Nerium?" I said "Nothing, but I want in, it's time for me to get out of this cancer world and I heard you mention you are all going to St Louis in April, sign me up for that too, I need a girls trip" I went to St. Louis had an incredible time watching person after person serve and help each other. It really was quite amazing, EVERYONE was so happy.  This was exactly what I needed, get out of my cancer world and start living my life with friends I had excluded because of my diagnosis.  Shortly later I had the emergency surgeries at Mayo Clinic, all those Nerium people came to visit me, that pierced my heart knowing these people are REALLY genuine. Then when I went to Cleveland Clinic for 7 weeks, they were so supportive and kept in touch with me.  I continued to share my thoughts about Nerium with people and even shared enough that I was able to sign up a partner from a bed with my computer.  I gave out Live Happy Magazines to everyone, day by day I could see and feel myself gaining confidence in who I am again.  When I came home, I was welcomed back with open arms and tearful eyes.  We took off again just where I left off, not skipping a beat, or feeling vulnerable at all with them, my face is different, I thought it would be a deterrent and was afraid to face them, this is an amazing anti aging company promoting beauty and looking younger, how in the world can I represent them?  Now that I look back on that, I can see the Lord's hand leading me and guiding me to this place I thought I could never be in again.  With that I have to say "thank you" to all my Nerium Family, who has truly loved me like family.  I may not be moving as quickly as I had originally goaled, I've learned the goal is still the same, the timing is just different, and finally I've learned that those who truly love you will never leave you, this my friends is unconditional love, so Saint I may never be, but trying to be better day by day, yes I can do that.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Botox....seriously?

Yesterday I was at work sitting at my desk, a girl walked up to me and said in a whisper "where did you get your botox done on your forehead" I whispered back with a shhh and finger over my crooked mouth as if to say "it's a secret so shhhhh, "are you kidding me? NO I DID NOT HAVE BOTOX" she said "then why doesn't your eyebrow move?" "Umm, because I have partial facial paralysis" she then said "Oh you were gone for awhile and I just assumed when I saw you that you must of had some  botox, or plastic surgery done" again I'm laughing inside, but I replied as I took of my reading glasses "look at me, I mean really look at me, does it look like I had plastic surgery? If this is the result of plastic surgery I got ripped off and jipped out"

Wednesday I had an appointment with Dr. Barr's at Mayo Clinic.  I was a little anxious to see him, and to see what his reaction to me would be.  I love him, and was worried he would be upset with me for going to Cleveland Clinic.  I couldn't of been more wrong, he came in with his big smile, arms out reached for a hug and said "as I live and breath, who is this beautiful patient?" Pleased as I could be I jumped up and hugged him back.  I told him I felt like I was HOME at Mayo Clinic, not that there was really anything I didn't like about Cleveland Clinic, but there is a reason Mayo comes in #1 every year with ratings from patients, and medical statistics.  I told him Dr. Haberkamp was great to work with, and that me leaving had nothing to do with him, it was more about the procedure the other doctor proposed at Mayo.  I was just jabbering, he shook his head and said "I was never upset or took it personal" even if that was not really how he felt, he was classy enough to make me believe him. He sat down on the chair in front of me and wanted to hear the whole Cleveland Clinic experience.  I also told him Dr. Haberkamp said he wanted us to tell Dr. Barr's his work on my ear was impeccable.
He examined my ear, and said everything looks good, but we will need to have MRI's a couple times a year on the head. Kathleen came in to visit with me, she is beautiful inside and out, and was so concerned about me, she embraced me as she left the examining room and said "I love you"

  My eye is still the biggest concern now, he agrees but I'm doing all I've been asked to do.  Cleveland Clinic is calling to schedule the next surgery, I told Erin (gastman's PA) I can't think about that right now.  That chapter needs to end, ironically enough I think it's just the beginning of the end.  This is so hard.

Today, Friday I had the privilege of seeing my oncologist Dr. Donald Northfelt.  I think for most cancer patients this is a bitter/sweet appointment to have.  I started to fret and worry last night, my mind has been so pre-occupied lately with all that has happened, I have not let my  brain think of today.  No panic attacks getting off the 3rd floor elevator today, that's progress. Maryann came in to see me, greeted me with a huge hug, we both had tears.  She is incredibly insightful, when I was in Cleveland she said a prayer with me over the phone.  We visited awhile, it felt warm and loving to be with "my" people again--I know both Mayo Clinic campus's like the back of my hand, but today being back was a feeling of reunion, rather than burden.  Anxiously waiting to see Dr. Northfelt, I am so grateful I listened to the spirit when I was led to him for my oncologist, I love him.  He went over my blood work and said it looks good right now.  For me, for right now, as in today, this is who I needed to see. Dr. Northfelt promised to be with me the entire journey and so far, he has, he gets it. Once he was done with his report and examination, he sat down looked at me, no words needed to be said, I could tell by looking in his eye's he could feel my burden was heavy. We talked a bit about the past few months, but didn't hover...we moved on to happier thoughts.  I told him about working with Nerium and how positive the atmosphere is for me.  I also explained to him about the Live Happy Movement trying to get more happiness in the world by spreading my own happy thoughts with others hoping they will also spread the word to BE HAPPY no matter what the circumstance. We had a great visit, I will never be able to articulate the feelings I have of HOPE just because he is who he is, not only a wonderful doctor but knowing he deals with people like me everyday, I always feel like I am his only patient, and that he loves me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to Work

I made the decision to go back to work, my doctors in Cleveland would of wanted me to wait a bit longer, but I can't sit around.  I look in the mirror and I am still not quite ready to accept what I see, I really thought I was.  Last week I finished my work, it was a difficult transition, my eye continues to be such bothersome issue.  Cleveland Clinic PA told me to massage the lower lid to strengthen the muscle, I have been doing that still it waters constantly to the point of not being able to see out of my right eye. Mayo Clinic says I have chronic dry eye, which is weird since it waters all the time, the are trying to fit me in this week.  Work was really hard, my foot is was so swollen by the end of each day, I have had a hard time getting my shoes on. I tried to spend the weekend elevating it, I don't have a strong education about how nerves all I know is it takes a year for things to truly heal.  If this last surgery did not work, this is what is next.  The will make an incision from my hairline, ear to ear, pull back my face and take the nerve from the left side and attach it to the nerve on the right side, then wait another year.

Being at work I felt vulnerable as I walked into the building, I usually like to smile and greet  people with a happy attitude. Problem a lot of people did not recognize me with my short hair and odd looking face.  I even had someone ask if I gained all my weight while I was gone....Yes I did...I was on 2 different steroids and ballooned up a bit.  I am now off of them and back to my normal eating habits so hopefully I can get back to my normal weight.  I know when others notice, then it must be an obvious change.

I am always amazed at what my brain can retain, and what takes time to recall.  My job at US Airways is in the International Reservations Department, there is a lot of information most people take for granted that they know how to do.  I've realized since being back, how amazing my brain is, reactivating those brain cells and muscles I have not used for a few months is slowly coming back without having to look at my notes.

Personally, I am struggling to keep my spirits up and stay positive. Some of the ways I do this is to continue to read from a good book everyday for 30 minutes...this gives me HOPE in my purpose in life. It is so easy to wonder "why" when that happens, I have to get on my knees and say "thank you for this trial,  I am trying so hard to understand, please give me guidance and strength to know what to do, now that it is done there is not much I can do to change it, but now it is time for reality and for me to live with it, I accept that, but please help me along the way, give those nudges of the spirit when I am bombarded with doubt" 

I marvel at my ignorance, I once thought I had all I could deal with as a youth, and that my Heavenly Father had given me quite a challenge to overcome, and when I finally did and was able to truly forgive and move forward I just knew that was it for me .....  I seriously thought if I could overcome that, I would be left alone for life...no more trials.  I think He really does give us what He knows we can handle, but I believe He is also trying to teach me something through all this.  I had a dream that allowed me to see and was specifically told that I have a purpose here on earth, it's just so hard to grasp what I've been asked to do and not say "why? why me?  I try to believe that I am of infinite worth and that I  should be saying  "why not" Maybe because I know all my faults and know the things I need to work on, I am not a special person, no different than anyone else, it seems the world is filled with people who are struggling.  There is a part of me that wants to negotiate my way out of this one.