Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene

I have been back to work at US AIRWAYS now for a couple of months....I think I'm  finally  getting some of my memory back, it helps to have notes next to my desk..... Just in time for Hurricane Irene to ravish the lives of so many people I met over the past couple of days.  Friday I went in the reservations center to find out I was mandated 12 hours of overtime not only Friday but Saturday Sunday and Monday...whew...I am not used to that,  it sure gave me an appreciation for my co-workers who do it day after day just to keep food on the table.  My arm was swelling up from my lymphodema I wore my sleeve to keep the swelling down, my feet were swollen up from sitting, my hip was killing me,  and I had a headache by the end of each day. . . . . however,
 Just when I started to feel a little sorry for myself, I would get a phone call from someone stranded trying to get to their loved ones funeral, or wedding, a lady who's brother's remains were being sent, he died in service to our Country,  people sleeping in hostel's  or sleeping at the airport for a week because they cannot afford a hotel/motel or they were all booked to capacity, so many desperate stories of people's lives, it touched me and brought me back to reality.  I really do have so much to be grateful for.  LIVE FREE LIFE IS GOOD

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blake's Picture of Recker

It's getting closer---yes Elder Blake Williams will be home in 5 weeks.  The little stinker sent us this picture this week--really made the flood gates of tears start--He has never met Recker yet, so much has happened since he has been serving his mission we are preparing and dreaming of that first hug--so excited.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Evolution of L♥VE

I've been thinking a lot this week about what the words "I LOVE YOU" mean to me.   So many songs are written about this word LOVE, just about every "chick flick" has to do with LOVE .... does it  have different meanings to different people?  From the beginning of time there has been LOVE, Adam and Eve were created to LOVE one another, and through all generations of time LOVE has been interpreted in so many ways.
Is LOVE taught, or are we born with that natural instinct? Even though I never heard the words " I love You" growing up, I'm pretty sure my mother loved me.... I mean seriously how could you not, right? ha ha
No really seriously, I think when a mother holds her baby in her arms for the 1st time, at least this is how it was for me--it was instant LOVE--more than LOVE it was I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU, I want to protect and care for you forever and ever.  This type of LOVE grows for a mother and father as they learn to serve that child everyday, changing diapers, bathing, soothing, burping, cleaning up after, restless nights with no sleep--that kind of service and sacrifice can only be understood by a parent who unconditionally loves--  As the child grows they too, learn to say "I LOVE YOU" they learn to trust in you and respect you for the rules that have been set in the home--then something happens when they become teenagers--pushing the buttons, trying to get away with things, some rebel more than others and make it difficult to LOVE unconditionally-- some teens  may stop saying the words "I love you" they may even act as if they don't want to hear it from you, but we never stop saying it those are the years they need to hear it the most, so faithfully we continue to love them, we get on our knees praying morning and night  hoping they will understand why they need to be obedient.  The most rewarding words I have ever heard from my children were "I love you, because you loved me no matter what"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I need Thee every hour

Once again I am feeling like I need  help from  my  Heavenly Father to keep my soul  still and lift me through the thorny parts of life.  I have learned to listen to my heart, and search my soul,  but I sometimes still doubt myself and pray that I am making the right decisions..there are things sometimes we need to let go, but still I question if I am doing all the Lord wants me to.  I so want that chapter of my life to be over--but how?
  I spoke today with my mother's bishop and he advised me that she is not doing well and refuses to get the proper help that she needs, the church has done all they can do to help her financially, physically and spiritually--they will continue to help her financially however,  he explained that she needs 24 hour care, she cannot take care of herself, she told him and others that she will not move away from her home. I asked him if I could help financially, he said he wished it was that easy--Her heart has become so hard, the women from the church have gone over and helped her dress morning and night, take her doctor appointments, clean the house, and so much more.  She has blamed them of stealing things, and over stepped her boundries with these wonderful woman, she has caused them all to run.  Oh how I wish this was easier, for years I have prayed that she would soften her heart.  Going through my cancer treatments I was so grateful to have family and friends to help me, but I have always longed for a mother to love me, to laugh with, cry with and share with.  I am trying to recover from the last couple of years, I have learned to rely on the Lord for everything--I love deeper, feel more compassion, look at life as a gift, always talk about service to others, and treasure everyday I wake up to children I adore and a husband who keeps me smiling.  Now, as I am faced with this,  I wonder what I am supposed to learn--If I thought for one second I could change her heart I would be at her doorstep in a heartbeat--but I'm scared, I've been so hurt, the Lord has answered so many prayers in this respect telling me to move forward and live my life, be the mother I always wanted my mom to be, be the wife I dreamed of being as a teenager.  I've been told over and over again to stay away from stress, my doctors have warned me adding excessive stress can feed my type of cancer--I know that should be the answer right?  It's not that simple, she's my mother--our Heavenly Father would not turn his back on any of his children, non of them, so now what? I can feel the anxiety coming on right now--
(the above was written by me on Sunday)
Today is Tuesday, I am just now getting around to writing about some of the experiences I have had this week.  Sunday after I spoke with my mother's bishop I decided I really needed to pray about this situation--so as usual I found a quite space in my son Blake's room and knelt to pray for guidance in this situation I've been placed in.   That night I had a hard time sleeping, but finally got my mind to think of my happy place in Paris--I fell asleep and dreamed, I dreamed of a time when my mother was soft and gentle--in this dream I was perfectly aware of the life I am in right now, but was feeling the emotions  of a child --this part is hard to explain.  I went to my kitchen table and wrote a letter, a heart-felt letter, one of love and compassion but also one letting her know how I feel today as a woman, a woman who knows what it is to be a mother, a wife and most important a daughter of God.  In this letter there was no blaming or accusations of any type,  just allowing myself to hopefully let her see a part of my heart that she has never known--then the next part of the dream I mailed the letter to her Bishop and asked him to read it to her--I woke from the dream and knew that my prayers had been answered, I need to write that letter.  I love that the Lord knows that I need him every hour, even while I'm sleeping.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Give Me Experience-Trystan

WOW. life just comes atcha sometimes.  Recently I posted a blog about getting away from life's trials, after this post I received dozens of emails asking me to tell more about what happened with Trystan.  One person left an anonymous comment, that left me to believe it was Trystan ....Over the past few years I have posted so much personal stuff about my life and there are times people will leave an anonymous comment, those have never bothered me because I understand and can appreciate if they want to express to me how they feel without revealing who they are thank you for your comments by the way I look forward to seeing them,  if it was you Trys I hope your life is going well I continue to pray for you, if it was not Trystan I hope you will understand why I am cautious.
With a lot of prayer and consideration I decided I would blog about some of the details of what happened with Trystan and how we came to find out she was not being truthful.  Please know that I,  in no way shape or form want to re-live this again, it has been a terrible experience and I am still trying to make some sense out of it.  With that being said I also want to make some awareness so that others will not have to go through this, actually most of you are much wiser than I am and would not allow yourself to be put in this situation, but if you know someone like me have them read this if you feel they are.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am not a complicated person, I say things like they are and everyone knows where they stand with me, however, I open my life up to people because I love people and want to badly to help and be there for anyone who needs it.
I started this blog before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, for the purpose of sharing a part of me with my family, especially my children, maybe a part of me that they don't always see,  a peek into my heart and soul. After my diagnosis this blog made it easier to express myself, share the details of my journey with the VILLAIN, little did I know it would have an impact on many woman who were also being treated with chemo and radiation.  Those woman have touched me and strengthened me in ways that I really would not be able to explain, they are woman who truly understand the struggles of being a mom, a wife and juggling the effects of the VILLAIN taking over our lives.  I also thought for me, it was important to journal my entire journey every detail so that woman could know exactly what a person goes through when they get this type of diagnosis.
I began to get a lot of emails from people all over the nation and even some in Europe who were experiencing the same thing. I loved every connection I made with these woman and emailed each one of them back.  One day I received an email from a woman who was going through chemo, she only had 2 more rounds and wanted someone to talk to.  I began to email her, the story was heart wrenching she explained how she and her 2 year old daughter were in a car accident 5 years ago and  her daughter did not survive as she was lying in a hospital in a coma, the doctors told her husband that she would not make it through the night, he went home wrote a suicide note and took his life.  After many months of being in a coma, she did wake up, imagine her devastation finding out her only child and husband were gone.  She then had to endure months on rehab, learning how to read, write, walk and talk all over again, now she was living with the VILLAIN.  I cried when I read that email, I could not believe any one person could endure what she had and at such a young age.  I remember praying that night, asking the Lord to please relieve her of her pain from chemo and strengthen her with FAITH and HOPE, just like I had been strengthened through my experience.   I felt this connection with her, something I had never felt before and I continued to keep up with her progress.  When she had her last chemo, I celebrated that day with her, our conversations became daily and were emotional as well as humorous, I think it's safe to say we trusted and admired each other.  She shared with me that not only was the VILLAIN a big part of her life, she was dying from kidney failure and needed to be admitted into the Mayo Hospital in Rochester.  My heart went out to her and I continued to talk and email her everyday.  One email I sent her was me telling her how I wanted to start a non-profit organization for women with breast cancer who do not have insurance.  Through the contacts I have made with all these women I realized many of them do not have health insurance, and many states will help them pay for treatments but not for reconstruction, so I wanted this non-profit to help those women get the reconstruction if they wanted it.  I asked her what she thought about my idea, and she was very supportive and wanted to help me.
She explained to me how her family was not close, her brother and sister in law have 15 month old twins, she told me her brother was the drummer of the band REM, I had no idea who they were.
 She explained that when she was in the car accident with her daughter, Honda had given her huge amount of money for her payout (200 million) the second highest payout ever from the Honda company.
She then told me she was going to donate a million dollars to my organization, you can imagine  how excited I was because I knew this would help to jump start this organization and get the help to women right away.  She told me about an organization she has, she bought a home in Hilton Head on the beach for children with terminal diseases to go with their families for a week, she then sent me a magazine article she was featured in about her organization and the fundraiser she did for it in July of 2010.  REM. Loretta Lynn and several other performers came to Hilton Head and did an all day concert, she told me she would help me to get my first fundraiser organized and that she had all these connections to help me.
I was so grateful to her for her generosity and told her I could never repay her for all her help, but that she would be blessed.  Her stay in the Mayo hospital was long and dreary.  We talked everyday, sometimes for several hours, I just did not want her to be alone and I enjoyed getting out of my little cancer world and helping to cheer her up. She asked me if it was OK for her doctor (Dr. Williams) to email me and give me updates on what was going on with her, because she did not want her mother knowing she was in the hospital or her brother to know the severity of her illnesses, I said yes and her doctor began to email me every morning and sometimes nights to give me updates.  I was told her kidney was only working at 20% and that she needed a kidney transplant, she was peeing straight blood by now and her heart was failing.  Both she, and her doctor asked me if I would be willing to give her my kidney, after discussing it with Eric we decided it was the right thing to do, however I was not sure with my health condition if I would be a good candidate, her doctor assured me she knew I was a match, and that she knew God had brought her and I together for this reason.  During this time was when I too was having some issues and needed to see my gynecology oncologist, Dr. Magtibay.   She and I talked about everything with each other, she told me about a time when she was in John's Hopkins Hospital for kidney failure, she was blessed to get a kidney from a donor, however while she was in the ICU a nurse physically abused her by putting a drug into her IV which made her paralyzed, but she was awake and aware of everything going on, he raped her and vaginally cut her up, she was rushed to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale for a vaginal reconstruction surgery and her doctor was Dr. Magtibay, with the assistance of Dr. Williams they were able to "fix" her but the trama from this event has never left her, she could not sleep and was deeply emotionally scared from it.  Dr. Williams begged me to please try and get her to talk about it with me since she had never had any therapy and refused to talk to anyone about it.   I prayed as to how I could help her, being sexually abused myself I felt like I could talk to her more freely about it,  but I knew this was going to be emotionally draining on me as well, I have never discussed with anyone the details of what happened to me as a child, teen and young adult, nor did I want to start now, after all I had put all of that stuff behind me, except for one little thing, when the doctors told me they wanted me to get a hysterectomy it always scared me and brought up some past issues, this is the reason for me never agreeing to that surgery, until now.  I began to talk to her, I told her little at a time hoping she would open up to me.  During this entire interaction with Trystan my children were extremely worried about me, they told me that they felt something about Trystan was not right and that I needed to let go a little and get more information about her.  This was difficult for me to hear because I was enjoying being able to have someone to talk to, especially someone who could totally understand what I was going through.  (I forgot to mention that she and I had become friends on Facebook early on in the friendship also) There were several times she was near death and her brother would text me and ask me to please pray for her.  I had been emailing Blake and telling him about Trystan, he emailed me one week and suggested we have a family fast for Trys, so I suggested it to her brother, at the time Trystan and I had just had surgery on the exact same day in January but she never came out of her sedation.  I  explained that we would start the fast on an evening and close on the following night, 24 hours with no food or drink and lots of prayers.  The next day she woke up--it happened to be on my birthday--I had posted that the only birthday gift I would care to have would be for her to wake up--and she did.  All of this time she was supposedly in the hospital her doctor Dr. Williams was emailing me and having me update her "Care Page" which is available through Mayo Clinic so everyday sometimes several times a day I would update the page so all her friends could keep up with her recovery-or lack of. I received emails and comments on my blog from Loretta Lynn, and her brother and sister in law.  Just when we thought she was strong enough for me to come and visit, Dr. Williams emailed me one night and said that Trystan needed some vaginal repair done and that she was going to call Dr. Magtibay at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and ask him to do her a favor and fly out there for a couple of days to do the surgery, she told me that her and "Paul Magtibay" were friends and collegues and that he "owed" her for some things she had done for him.  For any of you who have followed my blog you should remember that Dr. Magtibay is my gynecology/oncologist, Dr. Williams told me that when Trystan was abused at John's Hopkins she had to be flown out to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix to be operated on my Dr. Magtibay, she asked me to never discuss this with him as there is a dr/patient confidentiality problem with her discussing all these things with me.   In the mean time I received an email from Blake telling me that a woman in Scotland named Shannon had emailed him and told him that she was in fear of me being hurt and that he should tell Eric right away about Trystan being a fraud (the same thing happened to her) except that she did not have cancer.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lots of ♥ from Haleigh

Click here to read the blog post my daughter wrote.  Haleigh is an inspiration to me, she was the only child living at home when I went through my breast cancer treatments, she saw it all and never complained even though it was the beginning of her Senior Year in High School and she had to deal with the VILLAIN everyday--my heart filled with  love and tears ran from my eyes when I read this.  Honestly, I had no idea she even remembered the date .... shame on me for thinking she was not as effected as she obviously was.  I am so grateful to the Lord for protecting her and keeping her safe during that time of our lives.

Paris 2011-European Smile Experiment- My Happy Place

It's really hard to believe a year has gone by since Eric and I took our fairytale trip to Paris--Now here we are back again.   We loved it, stayed at a very nice hotel--it was all part of the Euro-Pass package--Euro Pass not so great--Hotels-- 5 star plus and beautiful--and free

Frenchie is back

The Park, the panini's the fountains

Bikes, Crepes, the beautiful buildings

The gargoyles, Frenchie, My favorite bird man

Eiffel Tower, Seine River, pigeon lady

Pastries, parks and castles

Self Portraits-waiting for our bikes

Bike Rides in My Happy Place

We loved this tree

Last day in Paris, the hotel, the man selling Sorbet out of his truck

Fontainbleau France

The Castle--European Smile Experiment

Michael Jackson dancing in the streets

Our last meal in Paris -- Frenchie eats Mussels-Steak & Potatoes-Chocolate Mousse
Monya-french onion soup-Spaghetti -Flan with Caramel Sauce

The Macaroons-buildings-doors, and graffiti 
Our time in Paris was magical,  one day I told Eric I wanted to try an experiment -- I told him to smile at every single person that he sees and see what happens--he then told me that in Paris you need to say Bon Jour first then the smile--I said "nope, this is my experiment no talk just a smile"  I did it my way and he did it his way--Eric was correct, every person he said Bon Jour and smiled at, gave the same respect back to him--me not so good, I noticed eye contact was difficult, I struggled to get smiles in because they were so busy walking and looking at the ground rather than looking at who was walking towards them.  The picture  above with Eric and the lady on the bus makes me laugh I smiled over and over at her, not only did she not smile she frowned at me, but good ole Frenchie says Bon Jour and smiles and she is his best friend. One little girl looked at me and I smiled--she immediately looked at me with a weird half smile,  half "whatever" look and turned away--the only people who gave me any attention were Americans -- I am in no way saying that Americans are better or that they communicate better , it is just a difference in cultural backgrounds.  I actually found the Parisians to be extremely helpful and quite polite, I think we live in a world that we all need to be more excepting of each other. I remember doing this same experiment last year when I was going through cancer treatments and had to be at Mayo for a day--for the most part every person gave me a smile and at least a nod of the head in acknowledgment.

The day we took the bus out to my "happy place" to ride bikes was my favorite day ever--last year we did the same thing and I took that memory with me every time I had surgery or had to face an anxiety attack coming on--I feel at  HOME in that place--it was beautiful nothing had changed--my thoughts as I rode my bike through the beautiful  tree lined paths was that this is peaceful, no outside world to influence me, no noise but the birds and wind blowing in my face.  I saw no cell phones, no computers, no distractions--I was deep in thought and as Frenchie and I sat on a rock talking next to the lake I told him "please don't spend money on an expensive casket for me when I die, just cremate me put me in a Dixie cup, bring me here and spread my ashes"  he laughed but I was serious.  I love that place, this is the place where I am completely FREE, free from all life's worries, here there is no VILLAIN, no-one to disappoint me or hurt me, everywhere I look there are people holding hands, kissing, hugging, laughing--simply put they are enjoying LIFE.  On my shirt that day were the words C'est Bon -- Frenchie said it means "It's all Good"  perfect words for the day I had -- Life is Good --

Friday, August 12, 2011


I wish I could of been able to blog everyday on our trip, the cost of using the internet on the Ship was outrageous, Eric actually did buy us a plan because he knew how important it is to me to keep a journal of all we do, however, it would take over an hour to upload pictures or post anything that ended up costing us, even the email I sent to Blake he didn't get in time--so here I am blogging the experience all at once-better than nothing I guess--I always have a note pad with me and write down feelings and impressions as I get them anyway.
1st off we decided at the last minute to book this cruise-a few months ago Eric and I attended a fundraiser and he donated some money,  in return we were given a  1st class Euro-Rail pass--sounds exotic and fun huh?  Not so much for people our age--the pass includes being able to visit 5 or 6 countries all having to border eachother--we never took into thought that we would have to also lug our luggage through railway stations, up and down stairs and through cities with cobblestone roads--we both laughed and decided to make it an adventure never to forget--and in true form of all that I believe in--LEARN SOMETHING FROM IT--Never take more clothes than you need--one carry-on- easy to wheel around is perfect--

We were on a balcony suite this is our room and view at Sunset

Croatia is beautiful--lots of sunshine and beaches to see

We met this guy with Eric who was from the Dominican Republic, he
lives where Blake was just transferred from

The small streets and alley ways are beautiful

We rented the red car, loved all the local organic fruits
and veggies, and no we did not attend the Nudist Camp just thought
it was interesting--never seen this before
The cruise part of the trip was wonderful, we ported from Venice-then our 1st stop was Hvar Croatia-we have both always wanted to visit Croatia and this cruise gave us an opportunity to make 4 stops. In Hvar we explored by car-- a small little red beetle bug--it reminded me of my sister Sonya she loves these cars and has a cute little red one.  We had so much fun exploring a new country.

This is Split Croatia--

Our next stop was Split Croatia-it is the 2nd largest city in Croatia and it is on the Adriatic Sea.  We walked and explored the city by foot, it was beautiful and the beaches and water are so clean and clear.

The next day we ported in Kotor Montenegro, a country I really had never thought of visiting but I am sure glad we had the opportunity it was beautiful.  Eric and I had different ideas of what to do, so we first wend on a boat tour to see the back side of this beautiful country--I am not a fan of tours, but being with Eric I am a fan of so off we went--
The River Tour

I know Eric really didn't want to hike 1300 steps up
then 1300 down again--but I was so proud of him

The beautiful view from the top of the fortrest

We were hot and sweaty afterwards, but it felt so good
to get a good exercise in

Part of the river tour and the steps to start our hike

River Tour
Day 5, 6 & 7 we stopped at Dubrovonik Croatia, Korcula Croatia and Trieste Italy I combined all those pictures. Dubrovnik  has stone walls and breathtaking medieval monasteries and marble paved squares with beautiful fountains, and architechture.  Croatia is simply beautiful in all aspects of the word.
Eric bought this ring and pendant for me

Creme Brulee' my favorite

Eric ate all of these desserts one night on the cruise

just a picture from one of the staircases of the cruise ship

Trieste Italy

Trieste Italy

The cruise was so fun and we saw some incredible countries, we enjoyed every second of our time together.  Now  we are off to Paris for 4 days.