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.