Saturday, May 31, 2014

Opposition in all things makes me a stronger person

Another week of decisions not quite clear--however there have been changes that have been written on my soul.  My heart is forever changed and I will never be the same because of these experiences, sometimes I wonder if it better or worse..Mostly because I know when the storms come in my life they seem to rest and stay ever entwined in my heart until I can figure them out on my own. When I say "on my own" all that means is that I have to come to a higher mountain, much higher than the hills I've been climbing.  So many times I have been down or in despair but this time is the worse I have ever experienced, and forced me to get my knees calloused as I have begged for answers.  Many times I have spent times in my car, crying out loud wondering if I have been abandoned--no answers have come.  Earlier this week I received a beautiful note from a young girl who has come to be a 2nd daughter to us.  I was so touched by the wisdom she offered it brought me to tears, and it was at that moment, she needed to hear from me as well as me hear from her. I have not been able to get this conversation out of my head--It's words I've told myself over and over again, but somehow when I think them, they don't quite seem the same.  I've truly seen and felt the truth of the love our Heavenly Father, he's always there, right there just waiting to see how in tune I am......not quite on the same page this week--but the fact is, I am living proof that modern day miracles happen everyday--he hears every prayer, he knows every struggle--it has to make Him feel sad or disappointed when my complaints come in handfuls.  I imagine He thinks, "I've really out done myself with this young lady, she can't even see the possibilities and strength she has" I know this for sure, we can never enjoy the good in our lives unless we have felt of the bad or the trials that life often times brings.  We can't enjoy joy without living through some life changing events.

I will never deny what I have felt, and some of the experiences I've had this past few weeks are so sacred to me, I will not share them on this blog, but will keep them sacred in a draft for my children to read--maybe it will redeem myself from my last post--(I cussed) sorry about that--it was real and raw, should of given a disclaimer before you read.

I knew my family including my sisters would  be nervous when they read my last post--BTW--I'm not planning on killing myself--just at that very moment-I wished it was me, and I was happy for that lady at Mayo Clinic, don't misunderstand and send me emails as to why I shouldn't write or say what I feel--I am no longer amused nor do I want to be entertained by your negative energy.  I'll say it again, please don't read this blog if you are not willing to listen with an open heart--this is not your journey--it's mine--and as the Lord has created us all different we all have different philosophies of how to deal with life changing events--this is my way and I will not apologize for my feelings, and one more thing, I am a Christian woman,who rarely says anything other than what I'm feeling, this does not mean I don't also have to ask for repentance--EVERYDAY--mostly for the uncomfortable feelings I get when I read your emails of criticism.  With that being said, let me update on this weeks activities.

I began by getting my records from Mayo Clinic, we picked them up....we as in Frenches my driver. I am going to the Cleveland Clinic for my 2nd opinion, the doctor is renown for his facial paralysis reanimation surgery for people like me--when his office received the first batch of records and pictures, they were amazed at what they saw--Debbie, was friendly and more than helpful, and I do need to insert here my friend Diana Lents is the person who knows how to get this stuff done, not only that but she is a nurse and will be able to give me my infusions in my picc line twice a day. If Cleveland Clinic  does not work out with have a connection with a doctor from Baylor and Mayo in Rochester.  I insisted on Eric staying home--I can keep him updated--I don't want to put him through anymore than he has to, especially when he needs to work.  So now that I have read all of my reports from Mayo, I think I understand a little more of what is going on.  A quick synopsis is when I was 3 my eardrum was broken due to a blow to the head, with that trauma came many surgeries as a child.  I was told back then I would never get water in my ear--never did--at age 29 I had a mastoidectomy  removed. From that point on, I was told some repairs were done and I could not go under water--the first time I swam was in the Hawaiian ocean when I was 30 years old.  Skip forward to now, after going through chemo and radiation, mostly the radiation the beams stirred up some weird stuff in my ear.  I went a year ago to see Dr. Barr's, he suggested getting the mastoid out and to possibly do the Baja Implant.  I refused at that time to do it, just because I was racking up some surgeries at Mayo and at that moment I was not worried about it.  Skip now to October of last year, my ear began to drain again I went to see Dr. Barr's it was determined at that point it would not be a good idea for me to wait for surgery--we started on some anti-biotics to see how they may help, on December 10th Dr. Barr's went in and took out the mastoid, at that point he took some skin from my upper arm to create a new eardrum because it was completely blown out too.  I took a 2 month leave from work--everything in my ear looked good, it just was not healing like we wanted it to, I was concerned about infection but was told there was no infection and it had been tested by infectious disease.  I was also given a neurology appointment and consult--nothing. After a couple of months on antibiotics my ear began to heal, in fact they were extremely happy with the outcome.  Still one more surgery on the schedule to get all the debris out and re-evaluate, this surgery was successful but since the doctor in the OR before us went over by 5 hours I had to return for another surgery--even after this one it looked good--Dr. Barr's grafted skin from my upper arm to cover some spots that were beginning to show bone.  Now all was good, I had one week to wait for my follow up, Tuesday the night before my appointment, something popped in the back of my head near my skull , an immense pain took over my body,, and not wanting Eric to worry, I went into a different bedroom and hugged a pillow to scream inside it,  I crawled back in bed next to Eric around 5, I didn't want him to know anything was wrong.  I then drove myself to the Mayo Clinic and was admitted immediately. My face looked like it had palsy, no feeling on the right side, and my speech was off-I also could not raise that eyebrow or smile from the right side. This was on a Wednesday, on Friday I had another surgery--the pictures he showed Eric were nasty--it showed where he had taken more skin to graft around the nerve, but within a few days it had gone gangrene, and partially killing off some of the facial nerves. This is not palsy. Now we are a deciding point, as I visited in length with Dr. Barr's, I didn't like any of his options, and he was open for us to get another opinion, so we are.  I realize there is a window of opportunity for nerves, we are asking the family, close friends and now ward and stake members to pray for me and specifically for me to feel peace with  whatever decision we decide is best.  I want to include all my decisions with the Lord, he has not let me down yet.  With the strength of so many people praying I KNOW an answer will come, one that I will more than likely have to accept and forward in faith hoping I can find some peace--My face will never be the same, but it was never perfect before anyway--I'm ready--well I should say I am ready today and hopeful with all the fasting and prayers going out for me--the spirit will strengthen me to another height and again prepare me for what it is the Lord has in store for me, and what I'm learning will help others, even if it gives them a bit of strength to go on for another day, then do it again and again until life becomes a school of learning and a place where they too can pay it forward.

black dead skin December 10,2013

After 1st surgery in December--impressive staples huh?

January--looks like infection

April 28th Surgery

One week after my last surgery, in for a follow up my face has already began to take on a new look.

Your kids deal with situations like this very differently. Everyone was a mess. Everyone was crying. We all thought this was it. But your kids are also very strong. They get that from their mom. They are very good at keeping face in a tough situation like that. I think everyone just thinks that there is always going to be more time with you. That you'll keep fighting, because you have for almost 5 years now! We all love you so much, there are so many people rooting for YOU. There are still so many people who need to hear your story and feel inspired. You were given another chance a few weeks ago, instead of looking at it like another part of you missing or another surgery, think of it as another chance from Heavenly Father. You get to still be here on earth to see more grand kids, to see Mexico again, to watch your girls get pregnant, to see your sisters, to see more places with Eric, to sell more Nerium!!. I'm sure there were days 4 years ago going through chemo when you wanted to die. But can you imagine if your wish was granted then?? You would have missed all of your kids weddings, Ezra, Paris! I'm sure there were days when you were a little girl that you wanted to die. When the pain of your family wasn't going away. But look at your life Monya. Look at all the precious joys you've been given. Life sucks so bad, but with the bad you get joy in ten fold. I LOVE YOU. PUT ON YOUR FIGHTING PANTS AND KICK BUTT. I know how hard this is for you. You're handling it all so well. You can do it. There are so many people who support you and love you. And who will love you no matter what. You came very close to dying a few weeks ago. So right now the only thing that's going to get you through this is focusing on why you were kept here. And the things that keep you going. So many grand babies you don't have yet. So many things with your kids/adopted kids lives that you can't miss. My heart is so broken that you had to go through yet another trial. I want more than anyone for you to be relieved of the pain and misery. You're here for a reason, you're still fighting for a reason.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


First,  before I start on today's excitement, I have not been able to blog for awhile, not because of the neuropathy, because this is a sacred place I like to come, to get real with my feelings and come to a higher ground of healing--I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the new me--I don't like it--I feel like everything that has lead up to this moment was supposed to prepare me, but it hasn't and I feel like a failure in so many ways--with this being said I want to lead up to today's events.

 May 16th -Eric's birthday--I called and asked him to please NOT come to the hospital, I wanted him to spend some time with the family and grand kids--do something fun--being at the Mayo Clinic AGAIN is not fun--he had a hard time agreeing with this--but I insisted.

Ezra and Recker with Grandad on his birthday
I wish I could of been there, but so glad to get this picture text over to me--I love these little guys and really miss them.  Eric was able to go to dinner with the kids and have a great time with the grand kids.

Saturday May 17th
Today, Eric brought me home from the hospital--as happy as I am to be home--I am still drugged up, and cannot wait to get myself off of these pain meds.  If I listed the drugs I am "supposed" to be taking it would blow your mind--it does mine--I know they are doing this to keep my pain in control, as it was an extreme pain while we were in the hospital.  So I started out slow taking myself off of them to make sure I was not in any pain what so ever-- I knew I did not want to go through the pain I had originally felt, so have taken every precaution to make sure I am OK.  The 1st couple of days I slept hours upon hours--then tried bit by bit to slowly wein myself from the medicine, today I am completely off of all pain medicine and back to the regimen I was used to before this episode.  We arranged for a home nurse to come in and teach Eric how to administer my antibiotics twice per day trough a picc line in my upper arm.  Every   morning Eric administers my medicine through my picc line--then that evening 12 hours later he does it again.
Last night the home care nurse came by to take blood--it was a difficult take--my picc line was clogged up and it really took her over an hour to pull any blood out it felt as if blood was being pulled from my heart.--and I think she just  barely got what she could.

Today Wednesday May 21st

Eric and I got up early, he has arranged to be with me at this appointment today, and then head to work after. First he had to access my picc line, for some reason it was extremely hard out of one side it clogged up too--so he tried the other side and it was a struggle with him putting all of his weight into it he was able to finally push through.  Once that was done we headed on our way to Mayo Clinic--I looked at myself and told Eric I don't think I have ever left my home looking like this, he didn't see anything wrong with it.  My shirt was wrinkled, I had no make up on, bruises on my face. arms and hands --- I am a mess....simply put.  To walk into Mayo Clinic today was excruciating,  the smells hit me from every direction--I could see the people I passed looking at me as if I had a massive tumor growing out of the side of my face, my thought was...I should of left my sunglasses on, worn a mask and I would look perfectly normal here--when we checked in the receptionists saw my picc line hanging out of my shirt and asked me if I was supposed to be on the 7th floor at the hospital (equal to the 3rd floor on the Shea Campus--ports, picc lines and chemo) I said I have no idea, the lady who called yesterday asked me to come for blood work to be done before my appointment with Dr. Barr's, I assumed she knew it was to be taken from my picc line. She said no, it was to be drawn from a vein on my arm.  I was immediately called into the lab, where she proceeded to find a vein--nope not that one, after several attempts with not enough blood being drawn, she tried one last time in my right hand.  Yay, it worked she was able to get just enough blood, and in the mean time I found out the blood work was being ordered by my endocrinologist who had recently changed my thyroid medicine, and was checking to make sure it was a high enough dose--I suddenly remembered I had that appointment with her a couple weeks ago so she had no idea what I have been through these past couple of weeks, no wonder the lab draw from my arm. As we stepped out into the waiting area, there is always something going on, but today I was not in the mood.  Still a part of me watched as people came in and out, today there were two people who stood out in my mind.  One was a doctor, who came in his scrubs sat down looked around, our eyes met and then he was called back for labs. In the other corner of the room was a man and his wife waiting to see an ENT, I'm assuming when he tried to speak he had to activate his voice by putting his finger on his throat.  I watched him scare the lady off her chair next to him as he leaned in to ask her a question about some video game she was playing, she apologized and he then returned the apology.  This brought  the 1st smile to my face in weeks, why? Maybe because I saw that they too, found humor in it.

We were called  back sat  in a room where we waited for a very long time, but not longer than my appointment was supposed to be, we had just gotten there so early for lab work.  Dr. Barr's came in with his resident Dr. Coursin (Andy) I have been in such a foggy head, the second I saw him I remembered seeing him quite often at the hospital.  A quite familiar face, one I enjoy seeing, he's quite, yet seems to know his stuff.

I told Dr. Barr's I had completely taken myself off of all pain medicine--I think he was surprised, but mainly wanted me to be honest with him as to whether I was feeling the pain or not.  I reassured him and Eric, I am not in any pain, none--and that I am trying to de-fog my brain of all that junk.  He agreed it was OK as long as my pain was gone.  Then he took a look inside my ear--it is really corroded with dried blood, I was hoping they were going to clean that out today--nope he filled it with bacitracin which was like filling my ear with Vaseline, and the hotter it gets outside the more it melts and makes a mess. Then he asked me to come take a seat next to Eric.    He proceeded to tell me exactly what happened to me during my stay at the Mayo Clinic Hotel (Hospital) The nerve that he covered with a graft of skin, within days became gangrene, in other words the nerve died. He gave Eric a picture of it, the flesh around it is healthy, but the nerve itself died--and is now being covered by packing in my ear.
OK, so what is the  next step?  Dr. Barr's begins explaining, he has a team of Doctors available to help in surgery on June 3rd.  There  are some options, minimum go in and cover the nerve with a graft of muscle and wait. Or go in graft over the nerve, have another doctor there to do something with my nerves in my tongue to reposition over to the nerves that are not working in my face.  I'm sure I got some of this wrong--the whole time he was talking I felt like I was in a peanuts cartoon, the teacher is talking but my ears are not understanding--waaa waaaa waaa-- I continue to look at Eric and make sure he is taking notes.  Eric said "I want my wife back, I want her to be HAPPY again" Dr. Barr's said "if you're asking me if the right side of her face is ever going to be the same again, the answer is no, I'm sorry but the nerve is dead, we cannot bring something back to life that is dead.....You need to start loving the wife you have, and forget about her face ever looking the same again"......I could feel the tension, Eric did not know how to respond except "I never said I didn't love my wife, I just want to see her happy again"  "She needs to learn to love the new Monya, I was fond of the Monya you and I used to know, but I also like the new Monya" When he left the room for a moment, Eric and I looked at each other, with questions what should we do next? are we being hasty to make a decision?  Actually, just the opposite we looked at each other said we are not making any decisions today, we are going to wait, pray as a family and make a decision when we are ready.  I know with nerves there is a window of opportunity and we do need to make decisions, however, not today, not now, please.

 Fighting back tears, trying once again to be BRAVE--I think I have finally gotten to a point where I am ready to say "why?" I've done all that I've been asked to do, everything Dr. Kreymerman, Magtibay, Northfelt and now Barr's has asked of me.  I have lived a life worthy of feeling joy, I know my tears are not meant as a surrendering but I'm tired, this pain is not going away, and I'm not talking about the physical pain, this pain comes from deep within me--it makes me question everything I know to be true, everything I have preached to my children to live by--but I also believe there are times when life throws  us into storms that are unexpected, and it's at those times we are forced to face our deepest pain--it is then that we have to dig deep and decide if the pain is worth it, I know this life gives us disappointments and HARD things come.  I have been forced my entire life to stand up, be BRAVE, put on my big girl panties and move on.  Today, I'm not there--I just want to cry and I deserve to cry until every drop has left my body--

After leaving Dr. Barr's office, we headed up to the infusion floor, 7th floor at the hospital this is where the chemo is infused.  The antibiotics I am being infused twice a day are very strong, and cause my body functions to not work as well as I am used to--I spent a bit of time int he bathroom, several different times while waiting to called.  Eric took care of checking me in and getting out beeper and I positioned ourselves in chairs we could see the outside mountains, dessert and sunshine.  My mind kept thinking about Dr. Kreymerman, most of the time I look forward to these visits knowing I will be able to see him and Heather, even have lunch with them in between appointments.  Today, Heather is not available for hours. I'm nauseous taking in the smells of this floor, this hospital where I was just discharged from last week--it's more than I can handle--just when I close the door on this place it let's itself back in, for some reason it enters my life uninvited.  I let you go, but you find me again, I'm not stupid you take over my heart piece by piece, I can't help but wonder how many times I can pick up these pieces and start over again.  I watched as a nurse came and got Shirley, pushed her back in the wheelchair asking her if she was ready for her IVIG infusion today?  What kind of question is that? Who the heck say's "Hell yeah, I'm ready let's go it's a party back here?"  My thoughts went to Sonya, my sister she gets IVIG infusions once a month just like Shirley, Sonya has always been so brave, and faced the storms with integrity, I love her and look up to her so much, for many years she has been the matriarch for me--and now even she cannot calm this storm I feel raging up inside of me.

This is not just a passing through, this one is BIG, just as soon as I feel like I'm in a good place and can move forward,  like I've let this go, it always finds me again. --my soul is feeling like a resting place--- I can't handle anymore--my body is not a place of dwelling, I wish I could say the tears release my pain  but in so many ways  I feel like I am constantly learning to breath again and again,  this time this is more than tears, it's the sobbing, not wanting to be left alone I can't handle...yet at times wonder if that is my answer--I'm sorry this is so real and raw. I know God did not make my body to be a place to constantly feel this pain. I wonder how long do you intend on staying this time?  The depression and despair, the VILLAIN taking on a different name.

 I watched as plenty of people came in and out of the infusion unit today, some bald, some carrying their chemo packs on their backs in a backpack--I was trying every way I could to have a pitty party, then someone else would step off that elevator and give me a new perspective--a man with one leg, being pushed in a wheelchair by a not so patient wife, or husband and often wearing an oxygen tank.  It took quite a while  before we were called back, but finally a cute young well qualified pcc line technician took us back into a room, she could not access it and had to put some medicine in the line and asked us to come back in an hour.  We went down the elevator I just wanted some fresh air.  I heard over the loud speaker a "code blue" at the entrance of Mayo,  seriously? Could anything else happen today that would push me over the edge?  Right in front of us we watched a woman take her last breath, they worked as hard as they could, I watched and wished it was me. What a hell of an exit--drop down at the entrance of Mayo Clinic on your way to your car, take your last breath and be done, done with Mayo, done with pain, done with having to make medical decisions.......Today, I have no grace left in me, no patience, no remorse, no regrets, no feeling.

Eric was waiting for me in the cafe, he wanted to grab a bite to eat--none of this looks good, so I'll  have bit of everything-- grilled cheese, tomato and arugula sandwich, hot dog (something I never order) minestrone soup and a white chocolate raspberry bundt cake--none of  these were eaten--just itty, bitty bites--As I walked outside to find the perfect table, I glanced over and saw Tony Mendez PA to Dr. Barr's he didn't even recognize me.....I always said "since I've done away with sugar, processed foods and white flour, per Dr. Northfelt's request, if my cancer comes back, my final meal will be filled with all of the above" however, today showed me the exact opposite--none of this looked good to me, none of it tasted good, everything I eat tastes like metal--this is from the infusions of antibiotics I am getting, I want to throw up every time I try to eat--and it mirrors so much of how I felt going through chemo.  If I am honest I can say I would much rather be sitting in front of Dr. Northfelt having him tell me...those exact words "your cancer is back"  at least with cancer it was difficult to go through but the VILLAIN did not win, in fact I really hate when people say "she or he lost their battle to cancer" no they didn't, most people who go through cancer treatments come out on the other side of it a better person, a stronger person given a chance to redeem themselves and help others to do the same.  This thing with the nerve in my face, I feel is not going away--I'm not sure how I can recover from this.  I feel like I have a load so heavy I can hardly breath right now--my strength is gone,  I'm weak--I don't think all of my life I have ever felt this emptyness I'm feeling now. I've asked friends and family to pray for me, to ask the Lord to heal me, or to give me strength to endure whatever is coming many times do I need to do this? Oh geez, I know the answer to that before even finishing that sentence. This a world we live in where nothing is certain, but I know this--HE LOVES ME-- and ---EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON--However, today, right now, I don't want to hear that, I'm sad, I'm scared and I'm angry.

 After we finished up my picc line on the the 7th floor, we were given the green light to go home--I ran to the elevator, got off on the 1st floor and ran past the piano player, as I passed the area where the lady had just passed away less than an hour ago, I glanced over looked at the people sitting in the chairs surrounding that area and said to Eric "I wonder if that guys knows and angel got her wings today, less than an hour ago, exactly where he is sitting" and then I ran as fast as I could to the car I mean I was like a bull trying to get out of the pin--Eric said "sweetheart, you really need to keep your voice down while you're walking or running through the exit"

This has been a very difficult week, looking in the mirror I am a different person--my face has partial facial paralysis, been told it is permanent--I don't want to look in the mirror--this is much worse than when I looked at my breasts for the first time after my mastectomy, at least then I could cover them up, have them fixed, and the baldness was hard but it never defined me--it grew back.  Yes, this is much worse... how can I continue in this body looking like this?  So many will say "but your alive" or like Dr. Barr's said to me today "but you have your eyesight" those words pierce my heart right down to my soul--I know those are supposed to be inspiring and help me to move forward-but right now I need to process  what happened today.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mother's Day- Brave Nerium Friends

I was here in Mayo Hospital for Mother's day.  There may be some typo's as I try to write this is it is very painful, and wrting is hard.  Today, the kids came to see me, and i did get a lot of text messages, today I decided I am going to let my BRAVE come through so my kids can see a me they've never seen before, I tried I was trying so hard,  I even ate a  cupcake.  The kids brought me a necklace from sister Kara Kelly, she is always so generous and I am grateful for the necklace it says BRAVE on it. I am not feeling the BRAVE today--trying though--

My body is not reacting the way I want it to. I hate hospitals, I hate pain medicine, and I hate how my face looks--but  I love how my beautiful children and spouses look--they are so great--I have a great family and have so much to be happy about.  This makes me think of all my Nerium friends, they have stood by me, helped me through the good and bad and shown their FAITH in my healing possibility.
 Eric brought me the new Live Happy Magazine yestersday he knew I would want to see it.

Love these girls

Beautiful flowers


Liz and Danny Nerium friends up for a visit

choose to live happy

my boys--Blake Eric and Brian

Bonus--2 cupcakes--I wish I could say I ate them--but they tasted good

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What happened?

I am in extreme pain, it hurts to type this.  I don't know what happened, I took a hot bath and felt fine. Eric came in to check on me and make sure I hadn't drown.  I laid down to sleep around 3:30 am and all of a sudden had massive pain in my ear, going down into my jaw line and throat--it's difficult to see.  I've had some liquid in the left ear this week but it only lasted for about 3 days and finally cleared up but other than that I think I've done pretty well without pain medicine. The way I feel right now is I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up--I've taken the pain medicine to see if it will help--but i=the pain is getting worse--my eyes are blurring, trying to type this out as a blind deaf person is hard--but just in case I don't wake up I want Eric to know what's happening.
After my bath I brushed my teeth, changed out the cotton ball because it was soaking through. I felt a pop in my right ear followed by immense pain--I'm supposed to be at Dr. Barr's office at 12:00 today,  This is awful--I can't do this, I feel like I have no control my legs won't stop shaking and now
My body is quivering, I cannot stop moving my legs, and my arms have no control--the pain is that bad.
I can't type any more it hurts to badly.

Written Wednesday May 7th

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mastering the Mundane

It looks nastier than it really broke last night
Today I'm happy--not for any other reason than just for the fact I'm Alive, I'm Free, I'm Me--I woke up and I was still Monya. Still here,  the sun is shining through my bedroom window, I got up and walked out onto the balcony off of my bedroom--I remember the day when I could look out there and see the Superstition mountains of Arizona. Although, they are more like hills, comparatively to the huge Mountains in other parts of the world or country.  For us born and raised here in Az we love our mountains.
 I realize I am living this continual roller coaster, one month great, 3 months not so great.  I am always constantly wondering, what I am I not getting? What is it that I should be learning here. I've tried to run and hide, I've tried to ignore it, I've even tried to pretend this is just a big joke....jokes on me.

When Blake was in the Dominican Republic and I was enduring the treatments of chemo and radiation, I often times went in his room and knelt to pray, begging and pleading with the Lord to take my pain away, asking why my son had to be gone for so long, I just wanted one more hug from him, thinking back now I remember those days as daily trials, things were happening so quickly I had a ray of HOPE, knowing Blake was given a blessing by President Greer the night before he left for the MTC telling him if he remained obedient the Lord would bless our family, and that I would be here when he returned in 2 years.  I actually thought when Blake came home, the trials would magically end...after all Blake did all he was asked to do. he was obedient,  he had the best two years of his life, and our family felt the overwhelming power of the Priesthood and the Holy Ghost with us, we saw miracles happen with my health.   I had it all figured it out,  and I prayed thanking Him for bringing my son home safely. Little did I know, my journey was just beginning. Have you ever had a beautiful heartbreak? When ever I hear that song it is as if it was written for me.  Every fear I had and every pain I felt I would pray he would take it all away--I never dreamed I would make it through, now that I'm here where I am right now still with sleepless nights and continual fear, I don't think I would ever trade any of that for anything, nothing I say or write can come close to explaining the emotions I have had through this beautiful heartbreak of mine.

He wore those CARS swim trunks all summer

I love this...Blake thank you

dirty like a boy...he knew Boston was #1

Why get a bowl, bonbon lets me eat from the carton...shhh don't tell mom

Recker would live at the ocean, he never tires of it

Just like Blake was, Recker loves the outdoors

school picture--I love it

Today Recker was here and I watched him swim, no words were spoken I just wanted to watch his happiness, I wanted time to stand still so I could remember every minute every second of his laughter.  This little angel boy has brought me so such happiness, I just want to squeeze him, I hope he knows I love him so much, I would gladly take away his trial,  to hear him say "I love you" to his mom and dad.  Every parent deserves to hear those words, but with Recker he shows his love in so many other ways--I have an open wound on my upper arm where the doctor took skin to graft into my ear.  Today, when Recker was swimming he  scratched his knee and he showed it to me, I blew on it gave him a hug and he was off to jump, splash and play.....when it was time for him to leave he clung to me, not wanting to leave, I bent down to hug him, it was then that he saw the sore on my arm, and in a innocent pure gesture he took my face in his hands stared into my eyes,  trying to communicate he lifted his shorts up to show me his scratch, then he kissed my arm. He was trying to show me, we are both scarred with bruises--in that moment I can't explain the rush of emotions that came over me, this little boy knows how to enter my heart, fill up my eyes with joyful tears that seemed to flow so easily today.   I felt like my heart was bursting to understand, I could not catch my breath enough to be able to say "I Love You", he kissed my cheek then my arm again.   He took me by the hand and we walked to the car holding hands, I gave him a hug like it was the last day I would ever see him again.

I gave a testimonial at one of our Nerium meetings, usually I am composed because I have learned to say when people ask how I am doing "couldn't be better"  Having this moment with Recker today a reality was made clear to me, we are a forever family, we are not without trials, every family has them, they manifest themselves in different ways from family to family, but none of us are without trials.   I'm grateful when I least expect it, the clouds part and a ray of light reminds me who I am, and that God has heard every single prayer, Heaven surprises me always when I least expect was one of those days I think because I have been so desperate for answers, I learned today I have a purpose, something totally different than what I had expected--answers came clearly.  Standing and having an opportunity to explain my story and my "why" for being involved with this company, I listened to others who spoke before me, and each of us had a different "why" some for financial freedom, some for self development, single worthy beautiful women sharing their struggles and wanting not only to be self sufficient but to find fulfillment in helping others find their true potential and happiness.

 When it was my turn to speak, the walls were taken down,  it came from my soul, as I explained my "why" I began to cry (so much for composure), I looked around this room filled with people who are dedicated hard working men and women, my eyes were brought to Crissy Caufman and her sweet husband, I had no idea who they were a few months ago now I include them in my friendship circle I have found, Liz Decker, never knew her before, she's amazing, in the back Danny Jones gave me chills an impressive young man who understands the Atonement, understands life's struggles and teaches me more than he knows, Shelli Richardson who listened to the spirit a few months ago not knowing -- I too was praying for a change to come.  So, my "why" is  different than most in that room, trying to bringing me out of a cancer Mayo Clinic filled life, I've found a way to re-connect with old friends and make new lasting friends, if I never become monetarily rich,   being amongst  happy uplifting people with integrity helping others  is helping to refine me as I go through the bitter and sweet.

 As crazy and strange as it seems, I have found another "why" Recker, he's one of  my hero's, he has more love and sweetness in his little 4 year old body than some 40 year old's I know.  Some may not know what a difficult financial burden it can be on a family trying to raise a child with special needs. I would love to be able to provide a home for them where this little guy can run outside and play, a place to call home.  If I can give this my all with Recker in mind I will be able to achieve that goal.  I will never give up, I just need to learn how to master the mundane -- showing up, doing my part, and then doing it again the next day--for every no I get a little closer to a yes, so I try not to take it personal and recognize it as a learning experience.  The joy I will feel when those dreams become real, is REAL, it is going to happen..........So did I learn anything today, yes a big YES, nothing that I didn't already know but somethings I have forgotten to tap into ..... remember 2 things I am blond so it takes longer to sink in...ha ha and,  He always sends His love it has given me HOPE in the darkness and helped me back into the light, I've been blessed to see that the give and take are exactly what we all need  to help us become who He wants us to be, as He allows those trials to strengthen us, I'm looking forward to see what the next year will bring for me.  Something amazing is about ready to surprise even myself, I can do anything with Him on my team.