Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I let my big girl panties drop today

Today while I was at work, I could feel my ear draining, trickling out and down my neck--I quickly wiped it off with a tissue, hoping no one would see it.  I don't want to put a cotton ball in it, because it needs air, it needs circulation, I do remember Dr. Barr's saying  "there is no circulation in your ear" which seems weird to me, because most of us move our head quite a bit during a 24 hour day.  I am still trying to process this all.  I am barely functioning, yet I seem to be getting things done.

For a few minutes today I let my big girl panties drop to the floor--I couldn't resist, as much as I tried I just could not wrap my head around saying "yes" to another surgery--I promised myself I was not going to do this again--I'm once again asking, "what do I need to learn?" "What is it that I am not getting?" I have come further than I ever thought I could, I guess when Heavenly Father tells me "you can do it" I just believe I can...and I do it.

Today, I had to walk into Us Airways once again and fill out medical leave forms--legal forms--I despise them, it's such a process and this probably sounds trivial but writting out once again on a form letter--my diagnosis--my estimated days away from work brought me to tears.  I love my work at UsAirways, I love my supervisor Diana, she has been patient, kind and compassionate with me through all of my journey.  Just when I have gotten my trust back in the fact I am  healed and ready to move forward, I get slammed back in surgery once again.  I have had my doubt replaced with truth, my fears have been replaced with trust, I know the Lord takes just what he thinks I can handle, this time I am trusting he will make me all completely healed.


On Monday I headed to Mayo Clinic again, only this time I was planning on driving myself there, since Eric has a meeting on Mondays I didn't want him to miss, he takes pride in his work and loves Jeff Blandford.  I waited to tell him I was having surgery until Sunday night, the night before the surgery.  I told him I had it all worked out and that he could go to his meeting and come to the hospital whenever he was ready.  Sonya called me to ask if I had a ride I told her "yes" because I did, me, I was my driver.  She is too smart she asks too many questions and I couldn't lie, I told her  I was taking myself and one of the kids will come with Eric later and drive my car home, sounds like a good plan to me.  I was also asked by my visiting teachers a few days earlier, Kathi Cluff and Marian Priday if they could drive me, I told them I would contact them if I needed a ride.  I do not like people to drive to Mayo Clinic and sit and wait, and wait--and that is exactly what happened today.
Marian Priday came and picked me up, drove me to Mayo Clinic, we checked in, and waited, finally they called my name I went back and got dressed, IV in and ready with a little extra for my nerves.  Marian then came back and talked to me while we waited, it was 5 hours.  Exactly why I don't like to bring people with me, I hate for them to have to wait.  However, I was so grateful to have Marian there with me, she is not only a great friend, visiting teacher and example of compassion and integrity, she also is pretty dang funny.  She waited until they finally rolled me back to surgery, blew me a kiss and off I went.

Thank You Marian for being with me
My new tattoo? No just the magic marker from Dr. Barr's

Headed off to the OR

When I woke up in recovery Eric was there, he said Dr. Barr's told him because the surgery before mine took too much time, he was not able to do all that he had expected to do.  He basically grafted some skin from my arm again and placed it just inside my ear to help with the bleeding.  He told Eric I will be having another surgery, but not sure when.  I love Dr. Barr's and I am grateful he has been so patient with me and my ear issues, he has not given up yet, we will get it all taken care of eventually.

Easter 2014

I'm a bit behind on blogging, so before I go into a blog about my last surgery, I want to post about the most important people in my family.
This year was so fun on Easter, I was able to have all my children and grandchildren here for dinner.  I made these cute baskets for Recker and Ezra

These were so fun to put together for Ezra and Recker

We hid eggs (plastic) in the backyard, and they were not really hidden, the boys are too young to search, but boy did they have fun finding.

WE are so blessed to have these cutie pies come to our family.
Recker..took off running for the pool--no stopping him

Fun dinner outside--and on paper plates...

Jeremy ended up with his boys in the pool

Singing happy birthday to Haleigh
The biggest joy in my life is my children and grandchildren, I know my children get embarrassed by me, they get frustrated with me and they are sometimes disappointed by me--but I love each one of them for their individual talents and triumphs.  I wish I was the "perfect" mother, in fact I wish I knew a "perfect" mother so I could read her book and learn from her....does she exist?  I don't believe she does, I know I compare myself to other mothers who may have a better way of doing things, all I can do is be the best I can be today, and if I fail tomorrow I will try again.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sleepless Nights & Rainbows

There is not much to say, I went to Mayo Clinic today, and will be back tomorrow.  For today, my ear has suddenly decided to take a turn for the worse.  Yesterday I woke up with black on my pillow, I thought it might be some dried blood, no such luck--it was fresh and black, but it was also Easter and I wanted to spend a great day with my family.
I felt really dizzy most of the day, had some problems during sacrament concentrating as my ear was pounding in my head like a heart beat.  When I bowed my head during prayer I thought my head was going to explode and the equilibrium was way off when I stood up.  I saw Stephen Phelps on the stand and focused on the fact that I knew he was in pain too...sounds strange, but it was my way at that time of distracting myself.  He is such an inspiration, not many know of the pain he has, yet every week he's there playing the organ so beautifully, his testimony through his music plays directly to my heart every time.
I wore a shirt today that said "Don't forget to Smile" love that shirt--today it helped me to get past the complaining passengers who were upset about their seat assignment or the guy who could not understand why US Airways would not allow him to bring is sheep on board to ride with the rest of the customers---???  !!!  Yeah, those are the calls I get, my friend who sits next to me is always listening to my calls, he draws a big smiley face and tacks it on the wall in front of me--so today I wore that shirt for Frank.
I was able to meet up with my dear friend Jori today, we had an hour or so to visit while we both got manicures, she is still dealing with the loss of her son C.J. as she explained her Easter Sunday my heart was full and I was trying to hold back the tears when she described the day.  I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father knew I could not handle that one--losing a child is not something I want to ever endure, but if I do, Jori will be the one I go to.  She's strong, and has wisdom I could use.
Tonight, I want to be strong like the branches of a tree, when a storm is raging.  Time to get back down on my knees and ask Him to help me be strong like the wind--hoping that wind will push me further up this hill I'm climbing.
I've done all I can do, listened to my doctors, taken my medicine, tried natural path, now it's time, time for me to decide if what I preach I can put to action.   While at the doctor today, the cute resident who is usually there was not seeing me today, I'm not sure if she is in that department anymore.  Today I saw another cute resident, he looked in my ear, didn't say much, left the room to get Dr. Barr's.  When he came in I said while holding out my shirt "don't forget to smile" trying to keep the energy positive,  he said "I hope you can smile" I was sure he was going to tell me all was well in the journey of my ear problems.  Boy was I off, it was actually the opposite.  He brought in Kathleen his nurse to take a look, then he and she sucked out what they could.  They rattled off a bunch of medical terms I'm not aware of, basically what I was told he wants to get this surgery ASAP--when Kathleen mentioned tomorrow--I was a little shocked--I'm not being given any choices?  I guess I've been hoping putting off the inevitable, I thought I would be smarter than the doctor----big mistake---he's made an earthquake shake my soul today.  So much for that "don't forget to smile" shirt.
Am I missing something?  I've been wanting to move out of the shadows and into the sun, taking baby steps, reconnecting with friends I've not had time to see or spend time with in years, being a partner in a company who's core values are exactly what I believe in.  I'm finally comfortable where I am in my life, an occasional visit to Mayo Clinic would  be OK, these weekly visits are annoying me.  Dr. Northfelt can't tell me I'm cancer free, but I've learned to live with that, cope with it, trust in Him.  Today I felt more alone than I have in a very long time.  I had an appointment after Mayo Clinic, when I left there I pulled over my car and cried a river, then said a prayer, listened for an answer--NOTHING !  When I've searched for answers in the past, I've always trusted He will answer back, He's always shown me that I can handle any trial that comes my way, I've always felt Him beside me, but today, today I didn't feel it.  I'm scared, I know he knows the strength I have, I know He understands where my heart is, what is wrong this time?  I feel like I'm being pulled back into that black hole, the one that took me 4 years to crawl out of.  I need my friends, I want to be with them, but I don't ever want them to see me like I was today.  Tomorrow, Mayo Clinic will show up on my caller ID, so many times I want to go back to the days of no cell phones, stay in a place of happiness until I get home and listen to messages from our home phone, what happened to those days?  Tonight, it's time for me to get to sleep, it's quiet here, Eric is asleep I haven't even had time to talk to him today.  We have been so happy working together with something we both believe in, now I'm supposed to do what? These surgeries will put me so far behind my goals--but for now, I'm going to bed, hopefully sleeping until 4:30 when I will rise up and start my day again.  I said "I will not have another surgery, no more I'm done, it's time to let it go and let  the Lord do what he thinks is best"  I guess taking the rain with the sunshine, is the only way I will get to see the rainbows.

Friday, April 18, 2014


I was contacted by Dr. Compton, a few weeks ago via email and asked if I would be willing to speak to her eager young students at ASU about my journey with cancer.  I was terrified to do it, I can't imagine what I could say or do to help these students who are interested in medicine--I agreed to do it, I was listening to my heart on this request.
Gratefully I did listen to the still small peaceful voice inside of me and said yes.  Yesterday was the day, I really had nothing prepared, every time I started to write notes it was silly, I thought "why am I writing anything down? this is my life, I've lived it, I've felt it, and I'm surviving it"  Eric, being the public speaker said to me "you need to write some bullet points of what you want to cover in case you forget".....I did, but only had to refer to them one time and that was to  quote something I had written on my blog about a night I was  desperate for some relief.
I actually loved being able to speak with these students and Dr. Compton.  I did have a hiccup, my slide show that I thought was in order of dates was not--so it made it difficult to  show them my journey through a power point with pictures from my blog and FB.  When I realized this was not going to work I did the best I could and spoke from my heart.
I never thought I would be able to speak for an hour and 15 minutes, but I did it--I saw one student asleep so pretty sure what I had to say did not resignate with all of them.  Eric came to support me, and my son in law Brian happened to be on campus he too came to support me, it was good to have them there--Brian is always so good about going out of his way for things like this, I love him for so many things, this is just another.
Just a note about Dr. Compton, she is a lovely beautiful woman inside and out.  Those students hopefully, already know what a gem of a women she is, in addition to being a great Doctor, mentor and instructor.  I felt at peace, I felt strong and most of all I felt BRAVE.

Dr. Compton and I.  She is so gracious and kind

Some of the students--the girls are sisters from the Ivory Coast...One just got accepted to Medical School the other headed off for a fellowship at Harvard.  Full Scholarship, such smart lovely girls. These are our future Doctors

Eric loved speaking with them in French

Monday, April 14, 2014

Never Give Up

I have to remind myself of this daily

Oh how many times I've heard those words...."Never give up" but today never have those words resignated with my soul as they did today.  I've been dealing with this ear issue for over a year now, I said after my last surgery "no more, I'm done, I can't do it anymore"
On December 10th 2013 I went under the knife again, my time has been occupied with Mayo Clinic for over 4 years.  I have wonderful family and friends who have supported, prayed, fasted and served me, most of them do it with no recognition only pure intent of a good heart.
With so much time being dedicated to Mayo Clinic, doctors, MRI's, CAT scans, Bone scans, blood tests---etc..the list goes on and on.  I have done everything my doctors have told me to do, I have no regrets.  My doctors have become my best friends, and Mayo Clinic the 2nd home I never saw coming.
I love each and everyone of the doctors on my team....but I need a life....outside of Mayo Clinic.  I made the decision NO MORE SURGERY, no more putting bandaids on things.  I missed a few appointment the last couple of weeks, and honestly can say I didn't care a bit.  I'm tired, I'm simply exhausted.
In January I was approached by a dear friend who I have not had enough time with, but who has always stayed steady in checking in on me.  Shelli asked me if I'd like two tickets to Barrett Jackson, Eric in his wisdom said "let's go, it's time to get you out of this house" I have to admit I was feeling a little vulnerable with my ear exposed, worrying I would be bumped or  touched during the rush of people, still we went.
When we arrived Eric and I were greeted by Shelli, she took me to a booth where a few of other old time friends were working, and anti aging skin product called Nerium AD.  I sat in the booth, while Eric and Mark (Shelli's husband) strolled around looking at all the awesome cars. I sat and listened 1/2 way there and 1/2 way in another world--I saw all of these people, some my close friends who I have not seen for so long, they were all so happy.  Shelli asked me several times if I was OK, and I said I was fine, just watching them..she said to me "I'd really like to spend some time with you, and I have the perfect avenue to make that happen"  My mind was telling me "no, I'll just disappoint you, I can't fit this into my schedule" but my heart was saying "Mayo is not your home, it's time to reclaim your life"
I've been so occupied thinking about dying, I've forgotten to Live.  I handed her my credit card with no hesitation, signed up for a new life with Nerium, bought my ticket to a national conference in St. Louis then went home.
I had no idea what I'd just got handed--a Tender Mercy--at the time it was an impulse, but one that I felt good about, and I've been really good at knowing what is best for me, I listened with my heart this time.
Now I recognize the Lord's intervention once again, HE knows what I can handle, and on that day, January 17th, my little brother's birthday--I was handed another tender mercy.
I have still continued to say "I cannot handle any more surgery" I've been meeting with Shelli every week, and now my circle of friends has grown by 12,000 plus people.
As I sat listening to a talk on Friday afternoon, taking notes, busily listening and laughing with my friends, the speaker said 3 little words that popped me right back into reality--Mayo reality--those three words were "Never give up" it was as if the spirit was whispering to my heart, the tears bubbled up and flowed down my cheeks--I hurried  to make a mad dash to the women's restroom, hoping  no one would notice my emotional tears--I didn't want to bring them down off their high adrenaline rush. I sat in a bathroom stall with the door shut and the toilet seat down, staring at the purple doors, counting the tiles on the dirty floor--trying to compose myself--I did what I've done a million times--I prayed, yes I prayed in a purple painted, dirty floor, public bathroom.  Usually it's in the most random places and when I least expect it that the tears flow--a memory--a song-and in this case 3 words NEVER GIVE UP--I'm not giving up, I'm just reaching for something that inevidably in my mind is never going to happen--I am never going to be done fighting for my life--I feel like I fight these battles every other month, but will eventually lose the war.
 The noise of all the women sharing their happiness, spreading their joy with each other, suddenly left while I spoke to God--asking him, no begging him to 1st help me dry these eye's so no one would know--and 2nd to give me an answer, any answer, just please tell me what I'm supposed to do, what am supposed to be learning here?  Suddenly all the beautiful chatter of those women slowly began to be heard--I sat and cried a bit more, then I stood up with my shoulders squared and head held high, I said "I can do this" I put on my big girl panties, and decided even if I'm never going to be given those 4 little words I've been dying to hear "you are cancer free" I'm going to make time to clear my mind of cancer, step forward with confidence and spread some happiness, not only for me but for my future legacy.  I just needed that moment to just cry, cry with no one watching but my Heavenly Father--and I know it's hard for him to see, but for that moment I needed no one to ask me why I was crying, I just needed to let those emotions out.  I've been forced to face a deep pain, physically, spiritually and mentally--I've been forced to face a villain and there's nothing I can do but just get it out once in awhile--I know this pain is not going away anytime soon--but I need not to be asked when I'm going to stop crying, or why I'm crying--sometimes it just happens.  Life for a cancer patient is just that way, and I know one day all this will taken away, life on the other side is going to be a place I won't feel this pain--I've felt so much joy in my life and these tears are not me surrendering to anything, it's just something I need to do every now and again.  I'm not as strong as I sometimes think I am.
I truly believe in these words "He never said it would be easy, He said it would be worth it"  For now I am reclaiming my life, spending more time with friends I have not seen for so long, and Shelli was absolutely right when she told me Nerium is the way for me to get away from my cancer world. I've had plenty of people ask me what my "why" is for getting involved with Nerium or any other business with all I have going on, and for the fact that my husband makes enough money for me to go and do whatever I want--to those people I say this "the Lord has been tenderly watching over me, giving me his sweet grace and love all along the way, he takes my doubt away and replaces it with truth, Nerium is just the avenue to get me to a better place in my life"  I have also been asked by several blog advertisement companies telling me recently my blog has had over 4 million hits, if I would like to advertise and make money from every click on my blog--I have now turned them down for the 3rd time, I finally added a button for Nerium but the response was "but you could be making so much money" in return my response was "this is a sacred place where I can go and not have distractions--I appreciate the offers, but I only have this blog to express myself openly and honestly, I will not give in to advertising for a few extra bucks.  I did not choose to be a part of the Nerium family for money--and after this conference I know why, I know why I was drawn to this company, it was an answer to prayer.  I sold my wedding business not feeling like I could commit to brides, not knowing in 3 months what will happen with my health.  I honestly feel like being with positive happy people, taking me to a place where my heart can heal, my soul can soar while helping others reach their potential--I've been given a gift by Shelli Richardson, one I am feeling satisfaction, working with a company who believes in giving 10% of all earnings to a church or organization in need,  a company that is more about self development than it is about money--I cannot even begin to explain the fullness in my heart for this opportunity--I will no longer talk about Nerium, and do not want this to be an advertisement for them.
So tomorrow I will once again be headed to Mayo Clinic--being asked again about having another procedure--at this point tonight I am not sure what I will say, I am going to not commit to anything, I will listen with my heart.

Walk With Me

I've had another emotionally overwhelming week.  I'm sitting on my bed rubbing medicine over and around the screw on the bone behind my ear, hoping it's enough, hoping when I go to Mayo Clinic tomorrow the implant has done it's job and my skin has adhered to the bone around it enough for me to have the baha placed over the screw and finally I will have some hearing.  My doctor is out of town so I will be seeing his resident, my ear is infected and has not gotten better, one day it will look green and drip constantly, the next day it will look like black mold is growing in it.  
I believe that people come into our lives for a reason, nothing is left to fate.  
The above was written a couple of weeks ago:
I went back to Mayo Clinic, was able to see Dr. Barr's resident.  She did a full examination, cleaned out the ear, pulled some dead black skin from the inner ear, they now have me using no antibiotic but asked me to rub a small amount of ointment just on the inside of the ear. I've been faithfully following directions. Tomorrow I will see the resident again--hopefully some good news.