Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dose of Reality or Just Plain Rude


Today I received a dose of reality, well I think it was reality I have a hard time distinguishing between reality and rudeness these days. I am trying my hardest to be OK with living with a disfigured odd looking face, potentially for the rest of my life.

 I have good days and bad. In my face, directly confronted with these words today "Hey Monya, I'm sorry to hear about your recent surgery" "Thank you, but I am doing well, and glad to be back to work" "....uhh I was just wondering, do you think you could get plastic surgery done on your other eye to create some symmetrical lines?" Seriously, being put on the spot like that was about as uncomfortable as a drunk in church.  I had no idea what to say, after a little hesitation my response was "....I would not, actually WILL not ever have elective surgery, that was my 21st surgery in 5 years, I've had 5 this year and actually thought I would lose my life.  I honestly do not care about what my face looks like anymore" "Well you take good care of your skin, it looks good, except for  the right side is a little off centered from the rest........" interjecting I couldn't help myself "I have to stop you right there, I can't listen to this anymore, I am not trying to be rude, and I'm quite sure you have every great intention that you are not meaning to insult me, but this has been one of the most difficult years of my life.   The fact that I am alive, working, trying my best to be OK with me, not the physical me but the whole self. The parts of my inner beauty I have never seen or known I could possess, has been a long on going process"  the tears started to well up, which really ticked me off because I was trying so hard to be composed. ...."My skin looks good because of Nerium, and the self help I've gotten since my facial paralysis comes from reading books like The Slight Edge, Live Happy and by giving myself daily affirmations that I am good enough, that I am pretty enough and that I can hold my head high knowing I am trying my hardest with all I have inside of me to face people and respect myself, no matter what my physical appearance is" she considered what had just been said and apologized for offending me. Why couldn't it just end at that? Oh no.... I started to walk off and she uttered "I just thought you would want to know, there are plastic doctors out there who can help you"

I walked off acting as if I didn't hear her last comment.  I wish I could say a huge shield of honor came up between her and I but,  as much as I didn't want this to effect me, it did.  When I got off work I went home looked at my face in the mirror and like I do everyday I told my damn lips to smile, I worked it for 30 minutes--actually it was pretty funny--my dang mouth didn't even try--I had to push my lip up over and over again I did that, saying "smile dang it...."  Well guess what? I can only smile with one side of my mouth, and I can only lift one eyebrow, but I can listen with my heart even with a deaf ear, and I can smile with my eyes.  So until, and if my smile never comes back, I will continue to work on true happiness in my life, surround myself with others who are authentically compassionate and kind, and tomorrow I will take her a copy of The Slight Edge and a Live Happy Magazine.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Favorite Things


All week I've been thinking about how hard it is to describe FAVORITES.... weird thought I know.
Favorites for me have sometimes come and gone in a flash.  Depending on the age, the people in my life at the time and the circumstances for which they become my favorites.

When I was a little girl I watched The Wizard of Oz every year when it came on TV.  I thought Judy Garland was beautiful even in black and white.  I will never forget seeing the movie for the 1st time in color--it was so vibrant and alive--I loved it--I despised the monkey's, they scared me.  My favorite part of the movie was when she sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

One day I'll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where your troubles melt like lemon drops
way above the chimney tops, that's where you'll find me

Oh, somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
If birds can fly over, the rainbow, why, then oh why can't I?

One day I'll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Way above the chimney tips, that's where you'll find me

Oh, somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
If birds can fly over the rainbow, why, then oh why can't I?

If Happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

The first time I heard this song, I loved the melody, but the first time I listened to the lyrics I became obsessed.  It was difficult to imagine daring to dream of a happy place, or that dreams can come true. Since those days, I have always been in awe of Rainbows.  When Haleigh and I saw a double rainbow in Hawaii just a couple of weeks before I was diagnosed with cancer, it later became a 

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Baby Boy

What the heck is up with all this modern technology?  3D ultrasounds? When my baby girl, who's having this baby boy was in my tummy--we had an ultra sound too, it sure didn't look like this though.  It showed us Kaitlyn was going to be a boy, I don't think those mistakes happen much these days.

I am so happy for Kaitlyn and Brian, they have been married over 5 years now.  Brian has worked hard going to school full time--ASU graduate in May--perfect timing to take over daddy day care... ?
He looks just like Brian

especially with this smirk on his face--BRIAN

It's interesting as a parent to watch your own children grow up, fall in love, figure marriage out, and now have babies.  This little guy is arriving in February and will be our 3rd grandson.  I have never in my life seen any girl happier about being pregnant .... well except maybe me, I loved being pregnant. Seriously though, Brian and Kaitlyn are so organized with the babies room, diapers, etc.  They have no idea what is about to happen to their lives.

 The joy of parenting is indescribable, and I know they are going to be so much better at it than I ever was.  It's always been my dream that my children would raise a better generation than we did, hopefully with each generation it gets better and better.  I have no doubt this baby will be loved, our family is so excited in just a couple short months this little guy will be all the attention.  When I look at these pictures I'm so emotionally attached knowing where he is coming from--a perfect, peaceful, loving place, and as much as we want him to feel what he is feeling right now as he prepares to say good-bye to his great Grandad, Da Wi, cousins, and siblings he will enter this world perfect, but along the way make some mistakes.  My bonbon advice "It's OK to make mistakes, we all do. The most important thing to learn about life is that you are loved, and it's not about how you start the race it's all about how you end the race. Learn from every mistake, laugh it off, be happy and share your knowledge with everyone, you are the brightest star in the sky, I love you"

I'm trying ....

I have missed out on a few blog posts so today I will probably post 3.  First I went to Cleveland Clinic had my surgery with Doctor Gastman then flew home with Eric to recover.  I'm getting really good at this.  I do not like the pain medicine, Eric gets upset if I don't take it, but I try to muddle my way through without using it.

I received an email message from one of my physicians who reads this blog, so this is for him.... "You made a mistake on your blog, that was your 21st surgery in less than 5 years" "Well excuse me for the mis count, btw your nosey" "No, just want you to be exact" so there you have it, yes I have nosey physicians.  It's a good thing I love him enough to care that he was kind enough to correct me, and that I never say anything on this blog I wouldn't be proud for them to read.

I want to add this little tender mercy to this blog post because it is another one that truly took me by surprise.  I have been involved with a company I feel the Lord placed in my lap a year ago for a reason, He knows how much each of us can handle, and knowing what was about to make a life altering change to my life, He knew I needed to be with people and circumstances that could bless my life, and it has in such a precious way.  I have made lifelong friends, who never knew me before my paralysis or cancer diagnosis.  Most don't know my story.

I recently was invited to listen to a conference call by a woman who I had already admired, for her down to earth, funny, humble way of telling the story of how she and her sweet husband have gotten to where they are today.  Like always I was sitting on my bed with my phone on conference mode with my notepad ready to take notes, learn something that may also help me in my venture.  I was not prepared for the emotion I would feel when I listened in.  So many who have followed my story know I use the word HOPE so much, I have studied it, pondered it, lived it and tried to wrap myself up in the warmth of that word.  Mariel began to speak with her team, (everyone on the call is muted) that's a good thing because it was not a minute or two into the call when I began to blubber like a baby.  It was as if she was speaking to me directly. (this is not the case she had about 800 people on that call)  I am not going to go into all my notes, mostly because I stopped taking them at this point.  She was directly delivering her message to me.  Graceful and gently she spoke of HOPE.  Giving HOPE to others during a time in life when so many just need to know there are people in the world who care, who want to help make a difference. It's been 6 month's that I have dedicated myself to doing something kind for someone every single day, I have been successful doing this, and it has changed my life. It doesn't take away my own needs and realities, but it has helped me to become a better person, to learn that when I fall I can be lifted up and reminded of my potential.  I've been reminded once again time after time as I'm guided to people daily that I have so much to work on, so much to learn but by taking the hand of others like Mariel and Frank I can be lead and guided with thoughts of goodness and mercy, and do it with humility and grace.

I had a few days off for recovery after surgery, but started back to work last week.  I love my job at USAirways.  I really had a breakthrough last week while working.  Probably not the place I thought this would happen, but anymore I am never surprised at what, where or who touches my life in a significant way.

I was taking a reservation for a man, just doing my job when out of no where he asked me if I was OK.  Not knowing exactly what he meant I asked "Yes I'm OK, does it seem I am not doing my job, or have I offended you?" "Oh heavens no, just the opposite you are lovely to talk to and today I feel grateful it was you who answered the phone" a little stunned I thanked him and finished up his reservation, when I asked if there was anything else I could do to help him he said "Yes, you can" thinking he was going to either change the reservation, have me send him to rental cars or add his dividend miles number, you can imagine my surprise when this is what he said "Did you recently have a stroke? I don't mean to be nosey but your voice sounds a little staggered" for the first time I was finally able to hear the truth from someone, a stranger and for the 1st time a light went off in my head I replied "No sir, I didn't have a stroke but I do have partial facial paralysis and sometimes it is difficult to speak clearly, I'm sorry if you had a hard time with me today" I felt this sweet peace come over me, I am healing, from the inside out.

Facial paralysis has been by far the most challenging misfortunate obstacle I have had to come to grips with.  I've felt so many times that I just can't do this anymore, begging for relief, for a complete physical healing.  I have definitely felt broken, alone and misunderstood. To finally say out loud to a perfect stranger "I have partial facial paralysis" may seem so insignificant to other people, but for me it was HUGE.  My physician's have been perfectly honest with me.  Right now, there is not much  hope for a full recovery without more surgery, which I was told from the beginning.  I like to think I want to hear the full truth, the bottom line, then I can deal with it.  Boy, was I surprised at how much I didn't comprehend my own understanding of what difficult was.

I have so many people say "...but you're beautiful"  for some reason that "....but" hesitation has penetrated my heart too many times.  I know there is not one person out there that has said those words to me who is comfortable saying it, but I've come to discern they love me and really just don't know what to say, and that is OK, I don't know what to say either.  The absolute truth is, my soul is trying to heal, and it will take some time for me to be ready to accept this new life I have been offered.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blessed Abundantly

Well I made it to Cleveland Clinic. Rather than dwell on what is coming up, I tried to focus on more positive thoughts. If any of you do not have a LIVE HAPPY magazine, I am a Live Happy ambassador and would love to get you one, please send me your address, it cost you nothing, but will enhance your life, tremendously, I love it.

I had a day filled with tests and pre-op appointments.  It is extremely cold here in Cleveland, not what this Arizona girl is used to.  Eric flew in last night to be with me for the surgery, I reassured my surgeon I am flying home on Saturday, his PA was a little shocked at my boldness, but I need to be with my family. One great thing, I am flying in 1st class, drugged up and will hopefully feel no pain.

I would be remiss to say, over these past 5 years I have been so blessed with positive influences, prayers, sincere friends I like to call  family, over and over again they never seize to amaze me with their receptive compassionate ability to feel my vulnerability.  There are so many who struggle privately, I would be one of them, however I don't have that pleasure, the obvious insecurity and self doubt I have has been public, but has helped me to develop in ways I arrogantly didn't think I needed. To those who struggle anxiously and  quietly, please know I pray for you daily--it's the least I can do and I HOPE for some relief to your pain.

Life is so full of ups and downs, no one is perfect, no situation is always perfect, but for me, right now I am doing all I can to become OK with who I am, what I physically look like to others, and work on my worth as a person not an object.  I love who I am becoming, and realize I have much more to work on.  The beauty of this life, is that we get to start all over again tomorrow with a renewed perspective--and if we don't make it to  tomorrow--guess what? There's still HOPE--He will pick up the pieces and carry us through to our new journey.

I love my sisters deeply, they sometimes are the people I know understand thoughts feelings and emotions that frquenly.  We all need someone to talk to , someone who really truly understands.  For parts of my life Sonya and Kris have been my people. For most parts Eric, my eternal partner understands and helps me to achieve my goals with ambition and constant encouragement.  Amazingly my little Recker looks into my eyes at times and I know he realizes and senses my solitude. Yes, you could say I am blessed in abundance.



Friday, November 28, 2014

Brain Scan-Mayo Clinic

I arrived at Mayo Clinic early this morning, and can I just say that the people who drive to work between 7-8 am everyday......I am so sorry.  It was stop and go the entire way to Mayo Blvd.  I will be getting  brain scans every 3 months FOREVER.  All that really is, is an MRI, 45 minutes of pounding, and hammering on my brain--I survived, not my favorite thing to do, but necessary for Dr. Barr's to see what is going on between my ear and my brain.....not much.


Let me explain this doozie.  When I arrived at the hospital they took me in to prep me for the scan.  Included in the visit is an IV.  I warned the nurse not to use anything less than a 22 needle, and to not use my left arm, wrist, or hand.  She smiled and assure me she knew what she was doing. I then announced "Please listen to me, I know.........." then she plunged the size 20 needle into my left hand, immediately I concluded "you just blew out my vein" The nurse then said "How did you know what size needle to use?"  "This is not my first rodeo, after 5 years of being poked and prodded I've learned the left side has no veins left,  if you had let me finish before you  stuck me I would of let you know, 
my experiences have taught me" She then advised me "Since you've had a port on your right side, you shouldn't use the right side, I'm sure your oncologist has told you not to use the right side for at least 10 years, since your lymph nodes were removed?" "Um, no he has never told me anything like that" "Who is your oncologist?" I looked up just in time to see a familiar face, and she recognized my face also.  Beaming, I said "Lindsay right?" she reached in to hug me, "Yes, how did you remember my name?" "I'm not sure, I just did, but I'm not sure why, or who you are" a few small laughs.  She then affirmed  "I was your nurse on the 5th floor, when you had your nerve go dead, how are you doing?" "I am fantastic, except for this blown out vein ...... just here for a brain scan" "Oh dear, I'm sorry about the vein, let's see if I can get a smaller needle and use the other hand" The previous nurse disappeared and Lindsay finished up.  What a great surprise, I love when I get the pleasure of running into the great staff who have served me over the years.

One of the reasons I love Mayo Clinic so much they always have my results the same day.  I ate lunch, then met with Dr. Barr's.  He is so great, always has a big smile and a sweet compassionate heart.  The results of the brain scan looked good, the cholesteatoma has no regrowth, there was a little liquid build up, but nothing for me to worry about.  Dr. Barr's took time to talk to me about the facial paralysis, he wanted to know how I am dealing with it.  It's hard to say I'm OK with it, I'm not.  Of course I wish things were different, I explained I am trying to deal with 'being OK' if the nerve does not fuse back together.  I added, I'm not used to people looking at me then quickly looking away, I have gotten to the point that I look away now, so they will not have to be uncomfortable.  He then looked at me with his big smile and acknowledged what I was feeling was normal, but that he loves who I am, my personality and my heart.  I have to admit, it was a good boost for me, I needed to hear exactly what he had to say.

I will be going to Cleveland Clinic next week for some more surgery on my eye, I think when I get home I will be finishing all the rest of my surgeries up at Mayo Clinic.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Trusting

I believe the worst pain a mother can feel is knowing her children are struggling with something you cannot understand or comfort them with.
There have been times when my doubt has been as wide as the ocean, feeling like the waves need to sweep me away, not wanting to face the pain.  Our oldest daughter Kayla and her husband Jeremy have two amazingly beautiful boys.  Recker is almost 5 years old, it's so hard to believe how fast he is growing.  Ezra will be 2 in February, he's been a spunky, smily fun babyboy.  These little angels have brought more joy to my life than I ever thought imaginable.  Their laughter and unconditional love is contagious.

Ezra's squint eye..so cute

Ezra love

When Recker was 14 months old he was diagnosed with Autism, he is non-verbal but has taught me to speak with my heart and eyes.  The past 5 years have been so difficult for Kayla and Jeremy.  Something I don't even try to understand, all I understand is that if it were not for Recker, I would have not made it through some days when I could barely get out of bed--he is my sweet baby boy, who saved me from going to a very dark place.

Two days ago, Ezra was also diagnosed with Autism.  I was so sure he was just fine, he was making animal noises, something Recker never did, he could point to the different parts of his body, again I don't remember Recker doing that.  Over the past few months Ezra has started to regress, although Kayla was trying her hardest to prepare us, it could be true, I just didn't want to believe it, after all Ezra was doing everything different, until he didn't, and little by little he has become distant.
Kayla did everything different with her pregnancy, thinking maybe it would be different, Ezra didn't get his shots like Recker did, she just did everything different--Now we know, his diagnosis comes as a shock to Eric and I, but not so much to Kayla and Jeremy, who I can honestly say have tried to  prepare us for.
Recker School Picture--I love this

Recker lives in an awesome world--I wish I could go
there with him.

When I found out I just wanted to scream "WHY?" I still do, I am hurt, angry, sad and blessed all at the same time, these mixed emotions have rocked my little world, and is going to take a few days, weeks or months to get used to.  I just want Kayla and Jeremy's dreams of having a typical child come true.  This does not mean they do not love their boys, they love them more than life, but not to hear your child say "mom, or dad" is heart breaking.  They need time to mourn, I guess we all do.

I don't  in any way shape or form believe these boys are doomed, that they will not have a future that is anything less than we, as family teach them.  I know they can and will be, such a blessing to our family and to others.  In fact I believe through their journey, they will be the ones who against odds will teach us, through their sweet spirits they will teach us so much more about compassion and tolerance than we could ever learn in a book.

So, it leaves me with doubt, fear and the unknown but I know one thing for sure and I can never say this enough, Heavenly Father send those sweet boys to our family for a purpose.  We may never know what that purpose is, but have decided the reason does not matter as much as making the journey with them memorable and happy.  Autism is not fun, it is mis-understood.  I know so little about why a child is diagnosed with Autism,  all I really know is that nothing for me changes, I love them unconditionally, I will take them by the hand as they lead me and guide me back to a place where I want to be HEAVEN.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The truth stings

Hip and back pain, back in Dr. Freeman's pain clinic today at Mayo.  I love my doctors, he is a good man, they all are.  Walking into the hospital gave me uncomfortable feelings of remembrance, being in pain for me has become an issue  I won't address unless it get to at least on an 8 on a scale from 0-10.  The medicines for pain I despise.  When I walked into the hospital today I immediately looked to my left, this is where I watched a woman die while the paramedics tried to save her, and I was jealous, I wished it had been me.  I'm not afraid to die, but enjoy life right now too.

Mayo Clinic "the place"
The nurse came in with  Dr. Freeman  asks my name, birth date and asks "what are we doing for you today?" ha, umm for me or to me? without hesitation I reply "hurting me to take away my pain" how weird is that statement?  They both, not knowing how to respond say "where are we going to hurt you today" laughter "in my hip and lower back" He gives me trigger spot shots, and when he does he jiggles the needle around to make sure he gets the entire area around where the initial pain is.  Every time he does that I want to come off the table, he always says "almost done, I'm sorry it hurts"  I have not seem him since my surgery in at Mayo Clinic in the Spring, we were able to have a good private conversation about how I'm really doing.  That one is so hard to talk about, I'm not sure how I am doing, in comparison to what?
Recovery, drinking my daily routine
I have been staying really busy, working at US Airways, I have the best management and supervisor I could ask for, they really care.  Also, working on being Happy, trying to deal privately with, if my face has to stay the way it is right now, am I going to be OK with that? I don't expect anyone to understand how I feel, but at times I am lonely in THAT world. I have researched partial facial paralysis, gone to the library, online and trying to reach out to anyone who has suffered or is dealing now with this--NOTHING--I guess I understand a little more about what Dr. Barr's was talking about when he said this is rare for a nerve to just die, with no apparent reason.  This is not like having a stroke or Bell's Palsy where the nerve is damaged,  and WILL eventually snap back, this is a dead nerve, which means it will not live again, or regenerate.
This is what a dead nerve looks like--and it's mine.

Going to Cleveland Clinic to see Dr. Gastman was to take a live nerve from my ankle and replace the dead nerve in my head with a good nerve, hoping it will grow together with the nerves on either side.  IF this works,  we will not see any results for a year, and I will maybe get 30% of facial movement back.  If it does not work, they want to cut along my hairline pull my face back and take nerve from my left side of my head and connect it with the one on the right, then wait another year.   I'm not sure I want to go through that again.  Going back and forth to Cleveland Clinic is difficult for me, not getting results or answers is frustrating, wanting to say "WHY" is realistic on some day's.

Getting to hear for the 1st time in 48 years was fantastic, I heard things I'd never heard before, sounds most people I know take for granted.  That first night coming home was one of the most spiritual experiences I've ever had, without a doubt the Lord was smiling down on me along with Colby.  What I wasn't prepared for was going to work the next day, ready to share my new exciting news was quickly turned to sadness.  Actually hearing what people say about me, it hurt, none of them were saying it to hurt me in fact none of them know I could hear it,  and they all were saying it out of love for me--still the sting of truth hurts. Going to the store, watching people quickly look away when we make eye contact I've been able to get used to, but now hearing opinions I am the one looking down and away before eye contact is made. I thought I was going to make new connections and share in the beauty of small sounds, be able to give the gift of not taking for granted, the sound of a pen writing on a piece of paper, or the clicking of the keys on the keyboard as we making reservations, the fact that I could for the first time be able to turn the phone volume down. Instead what I heard was "I feel so sorry for her" "She is so strong" "Have you ever read her blog?" "I don' think her face is ever going to be the same"  "She used to have such a beautiful smile" tears ran down my cheeks as I sat and heard these words coming from I'm not sure who, as I am still trying to distinguish where sounds are coming from.  We have cubicles where we sit,  I quickly wiped my tears so no one could see, and took my BAJA off.  I haven't worn it since that day to work.
So proud of Mayo Clinic, this Cancer Center has been in the
works for year's, it's getting done, they will have a proton
radiation beam, the only one in the Western part of the
nation.  Proton beams are used to radiate certain cancer's and
can pinpoint to  99.9% . 
I am the one who get's to decide what my destiny is, what my life will be and who I decide to share my light with.  I love my co workers, I love my family and friends, but I need to be OK with 'me'.
I will decide where I end up, I'm doing what I can to figure all that out, and until I do I can't wear the BAJA.  I pick and choose,  and I'm taking it slow, because sitting in this moment right now, I'm feeling things I've never felt before.  My heart has never beat so hard in my chest than it has in the times when I've been wearing the BAJA.  I feel blessed to know, the people around me are sincerely my friends, they are kind and loving, at least nothing bad was said--just the truth--the truth I was not prepared to hear.  Reality is, I need to work on me, on my confidence, get rid of the negative and concentrate on the positive.  There's a fire in me that I can never deny, I know He lives and He loves me.  It is my faith and my hope over the years that has given me such peace, given me strength to endure and enjoy the sweetness of life.  However, I've tasted the truth and my heart will never be the same. That is not necessarily a bad thing, maybe I needed a taste of reality.  It's just going to take some time to process what it is He wants me to learn.
Off of my balcony in my bedroom, the moon
is beautiful tonight, this picture does
not do justice.  It is HUGE, YELLOW and
GOEGEOUS
I will wear the BAJA on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, to hear Stephen Phelps and the choir sing Come thou Font of every Blessing.  I have so much to be grateful and have been blessed with a good life---music touches my soul and helps me to heal.  It's just a longer process this time.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

Recker Loves Papa and Pizza

Brian and Kaitlyn--Old Couple--She's pregnant
How'd that happen?


Brad and Betty Walmart Greeters
Haleigh & Scott

Ezra the Lion

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 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 "are you kidding me? I don't 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

My little Recker Love

How can anyone look at this sweet spirit
and be cruel? 
I am so upset tonight not able to sleep, thinking about this special grandson of ours.  He is in pre-school, he has parents who take extremely good care of him. Kayla is protective and knowledgeable about Autism.  Today, I'm sad that he could not defend himself while in the care of the school system.
I thought it would of been another child who hurt him, but it was actually and adult.

He was treated like an animal on a leash, what a horrible sight to see when his recpit  worker picked him up from school.  Kayla is devastated , my tears and prayers are for this sweet little angel tonight.
I'm not sure what I can say specifically about the case, but my heart is bursting with pain. I wish people would listen with their hearts, and say to themselves "kindness begins with me"


Recker has Autism-He is NOT a
burden, He is misunderstood.
Sometimes he just needs to run free

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.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Outcasts


Ok first before I start blabbering my thoughts, I have to blog about this while it is fresh on my mind or I'll forget. (Most of the time I have a note book with me to write down the weird, interesting and funny things I see) I just got home from Sprouts, got a couple bags of nuts, different kinds that I like, you know the self serve buckets? I love the brazil nuts, raw almonds, and one bag of mixed nuts for Eric.  Then I picked up a few fruits I liked and was on my way out the door.  This lady was standing by the door, she looked confused so I asked her if she needed any help.....she said "why, do you work here?" I said "no I just thought you might be looking for a cart, you can have mine if you would like it." I tried to smile, but let's face it my smile these days is not beautiful to look at, she looked at me and said "are you a weirdo or something?" I couldn't help it I started laughing, I replied "yep, I am now what do we do?" She was so flustered she didn't know what to do, I just looked at her and said "Here's a bag of mixed nuts for you, and a Live Happy Magazine.....enjoy your evening"  I got to my car, oh no she did not.....yes she followed me....she said "why did you give me this?"  I said, "because I thought you'd enjoy reading about something happy today" she threw the magazine back but kept the nuts.....???? Seriously, I think it was the best day I've had in a long time. Let's be honest, would you keep the magazine or the nuts?  I'd keep the magazine before I'd keep the nuts, because I'm weird like that, I would not take food from someone I don't know--germs--all that stuff.  That was funny.

Now on to some more serious matters.  I can't get this kid off my mind, I met him, or actually I saw him walking along the road, all alone.  I was waiting at a light that took three green lights to get through, for some reason my head was totally consumed with this kid.  He was walking with his head down, he looked so sad, his clothes were tattered and torn, I wondered  the light turned green and I moved a few inches, I noticed he was going into a Circle K. Yes, I did, I pulled into the Circle K--(something I never do) a little stalkerish, but I was so intrigued for some reason in this kid.  I keep saying kid, I think he was 17-19.  I walked into the Circle K just before him and held the door open , he quietly said "thanks"
"your welcome" I responded.  I pretended to be shopping, yeah right, like what am I going to buy at Circle K" I just watched him, 1st he went into the bathroom--oh great now I have to wait even longer and there is nothing I need from this store.  I asked the person behind the counter "do you carry those, um Troli gummy eggs?" (my son in law loves them) the clerk was very friendly he said "no we don't, sorry"  great, even more time--then I said "can I get a HUGE cup of your ice and pour water in it?" "oh yes, people do that all the time"  Just as I finished filling my cup with water, the boy came out of the bathroom.  He looked as though he had combed his hair and washed up a little. I proceeded to the counter, when I heard the boy ask "are you hiring?" the store manager looked up. gave the boy a look like he was crazy...."Uh, no we are not hiring" again the boy put his head down he looked desperate.  I was so touched by him, I have no idea why, I went and filled another cup with a cherry coke slurpy, paid for it and handed it to the boy. I just told him it was hot outside and I noticed he was walking, maybe the slurpy would help him cool off a little.  To my astonishment he looked down at me and said while looking right at my face "thank you mam" I have not stopped thinking about him, upset with myself that I didn't ask more, or do more.  I don't know why some of us are more blessed than others, but I will never let that happen again.  I feel like some of them are blown around, maybe some poor, homeless, some by choices they have made, maybe by choices out of their control.  Either way I feel like if we don't ask Heavenly Father to help them, no one will.  I believe we are all children of the same God.  I've always said I don't believe in LUCK, we are blessed, not lucky.....lucky is for Las Vegas.

I am usually not one to fear talking to people, and I was in no way scared of this young man, actually the opposite.  It reminded me of kids in school who are or were seeking for friends, but pushed away because they weren't "cool enough"  For some reason the poor and unblessed, the weak and the somewhat odd,  are miss understood and outcast from circles.  I know we are all children of God and need to watch out for each other.  Some would say I am crazy, and that I need to stay away from the outcasts, but it makes me that much more interested, I don't know if I can help or not, but I do know it's my responsibility to at least try...I may get a bag of nuts, or a magazine thrown at me, but when this feeling I'm having will not go away, I KNOW I should of done something for this boy--I left there feeling really uneasy--thinking and knowing-that our Heavenly Father created these children and I know He will never cast them out--and I know He will show them the mercy they did not get here on earth.