August 21, 2016

Connections within our community is important and it's the lesson we heard today at church. A community can mean so many things. We have communities at work, within our families, within our neighborhoods, within our schools, within our church, and within our social groups. Individually we strive to be good stewards, faithful friends, faithful Christians, faithful employees, neighbors, and students. But there is power when two or more people come together and work together for a cause.  I can have my own thoughts and desires, but I can't, as an individual, plan and institute a major event by myself. I need at least one other person to help me succeed in my plan. That's where "community" comes in. We share ideas and efforts, and our goal, mission, or project is better because of the shared ideas. Have you ever been to a major event and someone took all the credit? I would say they are being way too conceited if that's the case. Because it takes the ideas of more than one person to implement a successful plan.  In the same way, Jesus says, "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my father in Heaven.  For where two or three come togther in my name, there am I with them." (Matthew 18: 19-20) Isn't that a wonderful statement? Jesus is with us. Now does this mean if we have no one that Jesus is not with us? Absolutely not. What it means is we need to surround ourselves with others who care about us. We are not meant to carry our burdens alone. We are meant to share our sorrows, our disappointments, our failures, and our concerns with others. But what it doesn't mean is we are to sit around and complain and cry to 2 or 3 other people and have a pity party. We are to share our concerns and troubles with others and then as a "community" pray for assistance from Jesus. He IS there. He IS here for me and for you too. 

Today I was sharing a burden I have with a friend of mine and she gave me some really good advice. She encouraged me to continue being the person I am and never to deny my faith. What I have gone through has been enough to break anyone. But my burdens have not broken me for I am a believer and a Christ follower. I have used the strength of "my community" of supporters to get me through the rough times. My community is made up of my family members, my friends, my church, my co-workers, and even strangers. This community supported me and helped me through the rough times. This community supported me when I was an emotional wreck after losing Logan to complications following his transplant.

Do you see how important it is to get involved in your community? Again, I am not talking the town which you live in. I am talking about a group of people that have the same goals and focus as you do. Christians who are willing to step along beside you and comfort you, encourage you, help you, and share your joys.  Man was not designed to live alone. Nor were we designed to do this "God thing" on our own. We need others. Sharing our love of Christ with others helps us grown individually and as a team. We are a team for God, right?  When things are rough and you are afraid of being alone, think of the lyrics of this beautiful song, but remember to also reach out to another one who cares about you. Together with God, you are going to be okay and you will get through the storm.

 

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet
Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I realize I've been sold out by my friends and my family
I can feel the rain reminding me
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
Mmm, when my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I'm runnin' out of faith
I see the future I picture slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are falling down my face
I find my peace in Jesus' name
In the eye of the storm (yeah, yeah), You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me (Your love surronds me) in the eye of the storm (in the eye of the storm)
...
When the test comes in and the doctor says I've only got a few months left
It's like a bitter pill I'm swallowing; I can barely take a breath
And when addiction steals my baby girl, and there's nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You, Lord
In the eye of the storm (yeah, yeah), You remain in control
In the middle of the war (middle of the war), You guard my soul (yeah!)

You alone are the anchor (ooh), when my sails are torn

Your love surrounds me (yeah!)In the eye of the storm, You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)

In the middle of the war (in the middle of the war), You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor (ooh), when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm, oooh
Oh, in the eye of, oh, in the eye of the storm
I know You're watching me, yea, ay
When the storm is raging (when the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and my hope is gone, Lord)
When my flesh is failing, You're still holding on, oh whoa
When the storm is raging (the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and all my hope is gone)
When my flesh is failing (my flesh is failing), You're still holding on, oooh
When the storm is raging (when the storm is raging)
And my hope is gone (and my hope is gone)
Even when my flesh is failing (flesh is failing), You're still holding on, holding on
The Lord is my Shepherd
I have all that I need
He lets me rest in green meadows
He leads me beside peaceful streams
He renews my strength
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid
For You are close beside me

Today I heard that the parent of a friend is doing much better than doctors expected after his cancer diagnosis. That's so exciting! I grieve with my friends as they just lost a father, grandfather, and husband.  Last night I heard from another friend whose parent has leukemia and learned her mom is having a tough time and is struggling with what she is going through. This is what I wrote to her:

 

Yes, leukemia sucks and so do the treatments. We don't know if we are going to survive and sometimes we wonder if we are doing the right thing by using conventional medicine. Sometimes we think that maybe we should just enjoy our life as long as we can instead of taking medication that makes us feel worse. But what if the medicine works? What if I survive? How will I know if I don't try? What do I want people to think about my attitude during this process? Do I want them to know I fought as long and hard as I could? Do I want them to have the same strength and tenacity in their lives when trouble comes their way? Yes, I do. So I will be an example and I will fight with everything I have within me. I will fight because God gave me the strength. I will fight because I am a survivor and I am a child of God. He gives me strength and he give me hope.
 
See, I am part of a community of cancer fighters and survivors. I could distance myself and say I don't want to be reminded of what Logan went through and what I have been going through, but that's not the right thing to do. Jesus says to use our experiences to help others.  2 Corinthians 1:3-7
"Praise be the the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation.  If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope in you is firm, becuse we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."
 
We have a responsibility to share our experiences to others within our "community groups." Let others be comforted by what you have to share. Do not be ashamed of what you have experienced. Share so that others may learn and be comforted by the hope you share. The hope of Jesus Christ who comforts us in our distress. These verses I quoted were verses I read to Logan on a regular basis. He wanted something to encourage him and this is what God led me to share with him. Logan took great comfort in these verses and I hope you do as well.
     
I am reading the Raggedy Ann & Andy series to Ollie. I love this last line:
And Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy did not feel a bit lonesome out there all alone, for Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy were thinking lovely, kind, beautiful thoughts. And when one is thinking lovely, kind, beautiful thoughts of course one has no time to become lonesome.
 
8/22/16
 
This entire day was spent at the oncology office. I went in for routine monthly visit with Dr. Spencer, and ended up getting my blood drawn three times (plus one failed attempt) and a surprise pulmonary function test. I had to open my mouth and tell my doctor about my extreme fatigue, joint aches, skin sensitivity, lung issues with exertion, etc. so I was "punished" by further testing. She got Dr. Hogan involved from Mayo. He wanted me to take 20 mg of Prednisone. I finally tapered off to one milligram. I do not want to take anymore steroids. I lose more bone whenever I do. Dr. Spencer agreed I can wait until the results come back from the muscle test blood draw. I know that doesn't make sense, but they are looking at enzymes I believe in my blood that affect my muscles. After meeting with her I got a little bit discouraged. I got in my car and "Eye of the Storm" was on the radio and followed by "Just be Held". God showed me he is with me always.
 I barely made it home because I was so tired. I fell into bed at 4:30 and slept till Patrick woke me up for dinner.
 
Last night I dreamed Logan was back after being kidnapped for several years. I just wanted to rub his back and kiss him over and over. I was so thankful to be with him again.
 
8/24/16
 
The financial impact of my sickness hit me full force again. Not only am I not working, but now this new insurance I have through Patrick's work is denying claims. I got a notice they won't pay for my July labs or PFT (lung test) which amounts to $2,148.92. I called the insurance company yesterday and was told that since it was transplant related, I had to call another company which handles the special claims. I did and found out they were closed. I called this morning and was told by this other company that they don't deal with his insurance company. I called UMR back only to be given the same number. I explained what I was told about them not servicing UMR claims and was then given another number but told I could only leave a message because they don't accept calls. I then asked why UMR doesn't just send my claim to this company instead of me having to make all the calls. I was transferred to yet another person who said, " this should just be reprocessed because you already had the transplant. " so.... I am hopeful it will get reprocessed and paid. We can't afford to pay all these medical bills out of pocket.
 
I upped my exercise yesterday at Dr. Spencer's request. She said I need to exercise more and do more to improve my lung function. Good grief I am out of shape! It's important that I do exercises that increase my heart rate to strengthen my lungs. My walks just aren't good enough.
 
8/25/16
 
Perhaps it is the weather, but I am feeling tired and worthless right now. I went back to sleep this morning after I made Patrick's lunch and sent him off to work. I exercised to the work out tapes I borrowed and finally took a shower about noon. I have been waiting for the rain to stop because I really want to take Ringo on a walk rather than walk on the treadmill. I did three miles on the treadmill yesterday and then walked two miles with Patrick last night. I was so happy he agreed to walk with me. It makes exercising more fun. I talked with Granny who informed me she had been to the doctor, to the store, went out to lunch, and had her haircut. All by noon. I am a slacker.
 
I got a message from the disability plan I bought through the state of Alaska. I have had this plan simce 2008. They are saying since I upped my coverage in January when everyone had the opportunity to do so, they are considering my illness to be preexisting! I am now required to provide even more medical documentation including all my pharmacy prescriptions since 2014. I suppose they are being just like Patrick's medical insurance- just waiting for me to give up so they don't have to pay anything.
 
8/26/16
 
I was fortunate to spend some time with family today. Holly and I took a walk and then I visited with Granny. Granny and I peeled and sliced some apples. she gave me two quart size bags of them and I am going to make an apple pie for dessert when we have company for dinner Monday, I haven't made an apple pie in a few years and I am very excited!
 
Patrick invited me out on a date tonight, it's been quite awhile since we have taken the time to do something fun by ourselves. We went out to dinner and then went to see "Mechanics Ressurection". As usual, I had a buy one/get one free dinner coupon and we had one free movie and a free popcorn that we earned before I got sick and never used. I am a cheap date! I would have been happy taking a backpack of food and hiking Hatcher Pass too. I just like spending quality time alone with Patrick. He leaves tomorrow to set up moose camp. He may come back tomorrow night. Then he will be gone again the following weekend and then he will be in Chicago on business.
 
Meghan called to let me know their next location will be in Sacramento and I am happy! When we go to see them we will also be able to see our friends in Yuba City and my relatives in San Francisco!
 
My doctor's office failed to fax in my mail order prescriptions. They are constantly messing up. I should have just asked Mayo to do it. Found out they sent one prescription to the wrong pharmacy. I can't figure out why they can't do a simple task.
 
8/27/16
 
"Travel off the beaten path with Alaskans who know the way." That's a quote in a magazine Mom sent me. (61 North) This statement resonates with my thinking today. It also matches my calendar quote, " I am stronger than this challenge, and this challenge is making me stronger."  Lord, lead me to a rock that is higher than I. So many people I know are going through difficult times. Their journey certainly takes them off the beaten path, but the challenge of their journey makes them stronger. There IS a rock higher than you and the destination you are striving for is there. Yes, you may have to go through brush, tall weeds, sticker bushes, and rocky terrain, but keep your eye on the prize.  
 
" In deepest sleep one night I dreamed that on the beach I walked. God was by my side each step and quietly we talked. Then on the sky my life was flashed; The visions all serene. Two sets of footsteps were there in every scene. But then I noticed in some scenes of suffering, pain and strife...Just a single set of footsteps at the worst times of my life. God, you said you would stay by me in good times and bad. Why then did you leave me each time my life was sad? My precious child, God answered, When your life had pain, I knew. The single set of footsteps were when I carried you. (Ken Brown)
 
My body hurts so much. I don't hurt when I sit, but when I first get up I feel like I am 90. Every muscle, ligament, and joint hurts. Patrick asked me tonight if I am hurting. I laughed and said, "when don't I?" I could just sit all day and feel sorry for myself, but that's not in my nature. I force myself to move and participate in every day activities. I WILL get better! Today I walked Ringo, did an exercise video, mowed the yard, and did some light house cleaning. If my parents can do all this at their age, I will be darned if I will sit around and feel sorry for myself. I am stronger than this challenge, and this challenge is making me stronger!
 
8/29/16
 
Limitations can be annoying, but some times they are important. I pondered this today and I was painfully driving the speed limit on my way to my oncologist appointment. I wanted to exceed the limit, because I wanted to get there in time. But the speed limit does serve its purpose. How many of us test our boundaries when it comes to speed limits? If the sign says 65, do you go 70? I confess, I often do.  I think it's similar to how I feel while "in recovery". I don't like the limits placed on me, but I understand the value of the limits. Yesterday I met up with some probation officers I knew from when I was working as a PO. One person asked, " What do you do all day?" I am always embarrassed when asked this question because I never feel I do enough. Let's see, I exercise, take a walk, clean the house, read, and take a nap.... Another person asked me if I miss work. I quickly replied, "every day." But my doctors are wise placing limits on me. This may be a tough thing today, but I have to look at the long term goal.
 
Yesterday in church we learned not to place limits upon ourselves during worship. God wants us to exceed our natural boundaries in our giving of praise to him. He wants us to immerse ourselves in his word and in our songs. Sometimes limits are referred to as boundaries. And many of us set boundaries with others. We don't want someone to get to close or familiar with us, so we limit our friendships. We end up missing out on relationships because we have set these limits or boundaries. The most difficult decision we can make is setting these boundaries or limits with God. God desires an intimate relationship with us. He doesn't want us to limit our contact with him, but to rejoice freely, without restrictions, so we may honor him.
 
I saw a very personal declaration of freedom a friend wrote about her husband. Just a few years ago, he was addicted to meth. She and her husband analyzed why he chose that path. Apparently he came from a good and prosperous family. What they determined was, boundaries and limits were not set for him. He wasn't held accountable for his actions and his family enabled him. In cases such as this, boundaries and limits are good. But with God, we can freely worship without limits. Thank God we live in a free country. I pray our nation continues to allow us to freely worship God without limits.
 
I saw Zach today at Dr. Spencer's office. My hemoglobin and hematocrit are down again, but nothing drastic. Everything else looks fine and I am not worried.  While there, I learned the son of an old school friend died yesterday.  He was a young adult and recently married. My heart hurts for his family.
 
8/31/16
Wow! I have been home a year and tomorrow is September 1st. Life really does just fly by. Today I went to Granny's house and peel apples again. I have five bags of sliced apples in my freezer. Monday I had a homemade apple pie to serve our company. I used the apples I got from Granny last week. I love having company. It makes me motivated to clean our house and make yummy dinners. He and Patrick flew to Fairbanks yesterday, then drove to Kasilof. Today they went to Homer to fish and are now fishing on the Kenai River. (This IS a business trip ) He will drop his supervisor off at the airport tomorrow and come home for one night, then go hunting for the long weekend. Tuesday he flies to Chicago for a business trip. So.. I have been alone a lot this past month.
 
Debbie and I went hiking today. I'm really tired, but glad I went. I have to keep up the physical exercise. Today I received a phone call from a step-daughter of a friend who also has AML and is waiting for a bone marrow match. She's really had a rough time, but she sounded good and her spirits seemed to be up. I'm so glad she called. I want to spend more time helping people cope with leukemia and a transplant. I'm happy to be a support for others.
 
9/2/16
 
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anthing, If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him: But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts, is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1 - 2-6
 
Yesterday I went to a local funeral home to get prices on my funeral. It's not that I think I am going to die anytime soon, but I want to be prepared. Does this make me a doubter? Am I going to be blown and tossed by the wind? Or am I just a control freak who wants to have everything done so that when my time does come, no one has to make decisions that will be difficult.
 
I'm trying to figure out what to do about my future employment. Should I take the money out of my retirment and get my Master's degree in social work? I have always wanted to do this. The doubting part of me wonders if I have what it takes to go back to school. The doubter in me wonders if it will waste money. What if IT comes back again? That would be money Patrick could use and I would be taking it away from him. The other part of me wants to do what my daughter tells me to do, "Start living your life and quit thinking you are going to die!" I know what I need to do. Pray and do the research and put it all down on paper and make my decision.
 
Cancer is robbing the lives of so many people I know, as well as my friends' loved ones. Cancer is like the robber who steals in broad daylight. The one who walks into a bank with no mask on. He takes whomever he wants. He doesn't care who gets hurt in the process. He robs and steals the lives and the happiness of people on a daily basis. Cancer does not care who he destroys. He seeks out the good people who have much to live for. He does everything he can to steal joy. Today I learned from a friend that she has a friend who was diagnosed with an inoperable and incurable brain tumor.  According to the doctors, she is going to die. Cancer sucks.
 
Again, I am thankful that no matter what happens to me, I know God is with me and not against me. All things work together for good.  When it is my time to go, I want people to remember my faith and my love and trust for Jesus. He is my rock and anchor. I may have rough days and I may get discouraged, but I am a fighter and I'm going to continue working hard to recover from Leuk's wrath. No matter what happens, he will not win.
 
9/4/16
 
Who am I? We were asked to ponder this question at church this morning. Interestingly enough, before church started, I chatted with an old high school friend I haven't seen in a very long time. She shared with me that she is about to have shoulder surgery AND she was layed off from the job she had for five years. She said at first she was shocked and lost. She exclaimed, "That was my identity!" I can certainly relate. Don't we often associate our identity with our employment, our marital status (and level of satisfaction), our children, our friends, and our family? Somehow along the way we lose who WE are as individuals. We hear of many who go through the "empty nest syndrome" after the last child leaves the home.  I will be honest and state I didn't. I had teenagers who were pretty difficult at times and I am sincere in my declaration that I didn't miss having teens anymore. But what's funny, is now I am going through a period of "empty nest syndrome". I walk by playgrounds and long for the days when my children were young again. I long for the days when I had all three of my children pitter pattering around my house with their gaggle of friends. I long for the day when everything seemed normal. Somehow my identity has been lost. I am without young children, I am without employment, I am without my grandchildren close by, I am without a purpose. Or am I? See, that's how I see myself, but God sees me differently.  I say, "I don't have a job! But God says, "you can volunteer and help others until it's safe for you to return to work." I say, "I miss having my children at home." God says, "But you can love on other people's children and encourage young parents." When I say, "I'm fed up with being tired and not feeling well." And then God says, "But you don't have a regular schedule to follow, so you can rest when you need to and recover." Everytime I try and argue with God, I lose! Why? Because his ways are so much better than my ways. He has my best interest at heart. He longs for me to surrender and just accept whatever comes my way.  "When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, Blessed be the name of the Lord." (lyric in one of my favorite songs) He is my refuge and shelter in the storm and I will cling to him.  "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High to God, who fulfills his purpose for me." (Psalm 57:1-2)
 
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27.
 
Who Am I?
I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I have been justified (Rom 5:1)
I have been bought with a price.  I belong to God. (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am united with the Lord and one spirit with him. (1 Cor 6:17)
I am a member of Christ's body. (I Cor 12:27)
I am a saint. (Eph 1:1)
I have been adopted as God's child. (Eph 1:5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. (Col 1:14)
I am complete in Christ. (Col 2:10)
 
Yesterday I went hiking with four other ladies and eight dogs. We went to Hatcher Pass. The weather was perfect and beautiful. The sights were someting to behold. I sat on a rock and gazed around mesmerized by the beauty. I could hear Logan's voice as I imagined how beautiful Heaven must be. I heard Logan say, "Mom, you have no idea how beautiful Heaven is. What you see right now is NOTHING compared to the beauty I see." These are the same thoughts (or words) I heard him speak when I was at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado just a few months after he died.  I am mourning our first born son. Next month he will be gone for 18 years from this earth. How can that be? We only had him for 11 years, but those 11 years were the best years of our lives. We had a complete family. My heart isn't healed.
 
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I want to honor my son, but I don't know how anymore. We used to do the Light the Night Walk every September, but that's no longer in Alaska. I want to shout from the roof tops, "MY SON LIVED! HE WAS VALUABLE AND GOOD AND HE SHOULDN'T HAVE DIED." I miss him so.  This Saturday I am going to make wigs for little children who have cancer. I guess I am honoring Logan by doing this. He would have gotten a kick out of seeing some of the little girls from Ronald McDonald House wearing a Disney character wig.  He loved those little children and they adored him.  Sometimes I feel like I spend more time focusing on my health and my own journey with leukemia and don't spend enough time honoring Logan. I think sometimes I deserve to have leukemia because my little boy had it. Why shouldn't I suffer like he did? I'm his mom and I couldn't protect him.  But then I think "What does GOD think?" God doesn't desire anyone to be sick and shame on me for having this defeatist attitude.  What is wrong with me? I think I am overly tired. The hike really wore me out yesterday. I napped when I got home, but it wasn't enough. The dogs took over most of my bed so I didn't sleep well. My throat is a little sore, my head hurts, and I feel so fatigued. I am discouraged, but I better snap out of it soon because I am tired of living with myself complaining and whining. Buck up, Marre! Knock this pity party off and get busy living your life. Enjoy each moment and be thankful you have opportunities to do things. So what if you didn't get your 10,000 steps in today. you walked 6,000 and you should be thankful you have legs to walk. Your friend Julie was born paralyzed and one of her legs was just amputated. Your friends' son was paralyzed in a snowmachine accident and he still rides snowmachines and dirt bikes. He didn't give up! Think of Care who has survived multiple diagnoses of cancer- she still gets up everyday and praises God. Think of your mother who is a breast cancer survivor and has many skeletal and ligament issues. She does more than ten healthy men put together. God has blessed you, Kelly Marre. Start rejoicing in what you CAN do and not what you CAN'T do!
 
Well that pep talk helped!!!! I have a new goal: I need to find at least one person to bless everyday. I could do this by sending a card, making a phone call, visiting in person, or giving a ride to someone. I feel cheered up already. I was born to serve others. I have a compassionate heart and an ability to love the lost and the broken. So what if I don't have a job, I can still be a part of this community and bless others.
 
9/6/16
 
I have had a sore throat for a few days, but it's finally improving. If my Granny had her way, I would have been in the emergency room the first time I had a twinge of soreness..... I can't keep living my life thinking that a simple thing such as a sore throat is going to turn into something worse. I did, however, listen to my mother, Granny, and Patrick and not volunteer yesterday at a community event. It was raining and it would have been the worst decision I could have made if I had chosen to go out in the weather. But I sure missed out on volunteering for a neat event the United Way put on. They hosted a clinic, so to speak, to show teens and adults what it feels like to drive after drinking. How many times have you heard someone say, "I'm okay to drive" after having a few drinks? Well, this event gave participants better knowledge of how much is really too much when considering getting behind the wheel. I wish I could have been there.
 
Educating people about drunk driving is important to me. My cousin was in the car many years ago when he was killed by a drunk driver.. My cousin was also drunk. From what I understand, he and his buddy were out partying. His friend was driving drunk and there was an accident. I was 17 when it happened and didn't get a whole lot of infomation because they lived in another state. But his death, and the circumstances surrounding his death, made a huge impression on me. Also, as a Probation Officer, I supervised countless individulas who drove drunk. Some even caused the deaths of other individuals. It was heartbreaking to read all the details about the cases.  There are so many ways to get home now from bars. Why do people put themselves AND others at risk of being harmed or killed? It just doesn't make sense to me.
 
Another thing that doesn't make sense is the opioid crisis across the nation. I am leaving soon for the monthly community opioid task force meeting. Our community is banding together and we WILL erradicate heroin from our community. The drug dealers better watch out, because we are prepared to battle. No more of our children will be taken hostage by heroin. We will find them and we WILL destroy their operations. There's a great support system in place for addicts to begin recovery. We are prepared to help.  I am still waiting for the materials to get ordered by our church so I can begin studying and getting certified to be a substance abuse facilitator at our church. I must do my part too.
 
Debbie and I are going to the cabin for two nights. I am excited to go and stay there. We plan to do some hiking and yes, berry picking. Patrick brought me back a small container of blueberries from his hunting trip which I thought was very sweet of him.  
 
This morning I got to face time with Meghan and the girls. Ailynn was walking in circles and Ollie was bouncing all around. Meghan sure has her hands full! They are adorable girls and I can't wait to see them in a few weeks. We are still reading the Raggedy Ann & Andy books. Ollie seems to enjoy that. Mostly today she wanted to hear all about my low blood sugar. It went down to 31 last night! It was bad. I had mentioned it to Meghan and Olivienne wanted me to explain it to her and make up a song about the event. She is fascinated with medical stuff and wants to be a doctor for Halloween. I think she's so fascinated because all she can remember is "Grammie is sick , Grammie is in the hospital, Grammie has to go to the doctor." Well, she can just grow up and be a doctor and heal sick people! She sure is bossy enough to be a doctor. :)
 
9/8/16
 
Debbie and I had a great two days at the cabin. We did quite a bit of walking and we also picked some blueberries. The dogs were in Heaven just walking around with us. Ufortunately, they don't get to do as much walking and hiking here in the Valley. Chester is terrible to take in the car, unless he's kenneled, and he must be on a leash around other dogs. While down there, he can run free as a bird. 
 
Patrick gets back today from Chicago and then leaves for hunting. Another weekend with just the dogs and cat. I'm sure I can find plenty of things to do around here to entertain myself. I do have some great library books to finish. Then of course I will need to walk.
 
I still have a sore throat. It's been five days now. If it's not better by Monday I am going to have to see Dr. Spencer which is unfortunate.  This morning Ollie and I read Raggedy Andy and the tin gutters. (chapter in the book) I sure love reading to her and singing to Ailynn. In just a couple weeks we get to see them. I cannot wait.
 
9/10/16
 
15,854 steps walked today. I am tired. What a wonderful day it has been. I had an opportunity to make a pirate wig for a little boy with cancer. A woman here in the Valley started creating wigs for little boys and girls with cancer. The wigs for girls may be Ariel, Jasmine, Raphunzel, etc. Boys are more limited. I was happy today was set aside to make wigs for boys. I was nervous about making one because I have no creativity in my body. But it turned out cute and I am so glad I participated. I couldn't help but fight back tears as I made it. I wondered if Logan would have worn it. He didn't mind being bald, but I can imagine seeing him  something like this to be silly and have fun. I honored our boy today.
 
Granny came over afterwards and she and I got a pedicure from the daughter of a former co-worker of mine. Gabby used to work in a salon and offered to come to my house and give Granny and I pedicures. Granny has always been sensitive about her feet as they are badly deformed. When she was young, she had to wear shoes that were too small for her and now here feet are terribly misshapen. Not only that, but she had bunion surgery and they removed some bones in her toes so they just kind of flop on top of each other. Granny was so embarrassed today, but thankfully Gabby reassured her that she has seen far worse. I know Granny felt relieved and happy afterwards. 
 
Ringo and I went for a walk and then I mowed the yard. I was so impressed with my straight lines so I took a few pictures.  Oh the simple joys in my life..... wearing the mask while mowing sure zaps my strength.
 
9/11/16
 
 There will be a nap today. What an awful night. At 11:30, my security alarm went off. I have no idea why. Of course the dogs thought it was time to eat. Before I went to sleep, I convinced Chester to sleep on the dog bed by my bed rather than with me. Once that alarm went off, he was in bed with me. They took up so much room that I had to sleep diagonally. It was a terrible night for sleeping. I am grumpy! I planned on going to church, but we shall see If I can stay awake.
 
I did make it to church. I got confused on what the date was and didn't even realize it was 9-11 till early afternoon. I was disappointed that there wasn't really any mention of the terror attacks today while at church. It is a historic event that America must never forget and tribute must be paid to the individuals who lost their lives in this horrific attack on our freedom.  As most people who are old enough to remember, I recall standing in front of the TV in my bedroom watching in disbelief and horror as footage showed the Twin Towers crumbling down. Patrick was on his way to work when he heard the news on the radio. He called me and I rushed to turn on the TV. I remember saying over and over, "I don't understand. How can this happen?" To this day, the memories of what I saw haunt me. Imagine what it must be like for those who were there inside those buildings. Imagine what it was like for those trapped for hours. What thoughts were running through their heads? I am sure there were regrets and sorrow. Regrets for things they did or didn't do, sorrow for leaving their families behind.
 
America isn't the only country affected by terroism and we must have empathy and compassion for all countries affected. America may seem like the greatest country in the world to we Americans, but others think their country is the best. That's okay. It's all God's country, right? And I'm not talking about the country song either. I do believe if you live in America, that it is your duty to show respect to our country and to our flag. The recent news report of the millionarir football  player who refused to stand up for the National Anthem infuriates me. He believes his race is "oppressed". Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but UNITED WE STAND! I'm about fed up with those who think they can just take a stand for something that divides our nation. We must remain united, or we will become divided and it's going to be ugly. It will be worse than the War between the North and the South. Children will be fighting their parents, brothers against brothers and sisters against sisters. It's scary to even think about.
 
Remembering all that we lost on 9-11 reminds me that I am not living intentionally. I need to appreciate every single moment I have. For I too have survived a war. Every moment needs to be appreciated and special to me. I need to hold my loved ones close and forget the petty little things that divide friendships and familial relationships.
 
Most importantly, remember God is in the center of everything. He is the center of our universe.  Hold your children a little closer tonight and remember what is really important. God bless America.
 
9/12/16
 
I woke up this morning feeling "blah". My throat is still sore and my muscles hurt all night. Of course Mayo said I had to go see the doctor in Anchorage. Zach had an appointment thankfully to see me. I had the usual complaints: sore muscles & joints, extreme fatigue, swelling of my feet, and the sore throat again. I had already suspected I had relapsed. I wasn't going to tell anyone until after our CA trip. (to see Meg, Kirk, and the girls) But in my heart I suspected the blood tests would show an even lower drop in Hematacrit and Hemoglobin. I told Zach my suspicions and told him that after I went to Costco I would come back and get the results. My plan was to keep this information to myself and not ruin our upcoming trip to see the girls.  
I returned a phone call from Renee. Renee has AML and NO ONE, including cord blood, matches her. I was grieving when she shared her news. My  heart just hurt.  She was so positive about her outcome and said, "It's all in God's hands." She shared with me that six years ago she had a terrible reaction to an antibiotic and it affected her organs. She had seizures too. For two years she suffered with complications and low blood counts. She was encouraged to go to a hematologist, but she declined to go at first.  When she finally did go, she was told she had AML. The chemo (combined with her previous organ affected condition) made her violently sick and she decided to go the naturopathic route. Unfortunately, she relapsed quickly. She restarted chemotherapy and is now waiting for a match.  I can't believe that no one matches her, not even a baby's umbilical cord. My heart sank when she gave me the news and I wondered how she would cope if I told her I had relapsed.
 
I went to Costco and then came back and waited in the lobby. It was just a few minutes when Zach himself came to get me. My heart pounded in my chest as I thought, "Oh, no. I was right and it's back." But we stopped at a counter and I thought, "Well, he's not taking me to a room. He must think I can handle the news." He then informed me that my blood tests look beter than they did two weeks ago. I did not relapse. Thank you, Jesus. Some day I hope not to think a sore throat and extreme fatigue means the worst.
 
"Let my faith be bigger than my fears"

Good To Be Alive Lyrics

Hold on
Is this really the life I'm living?
'Cause I don't feel like I deserve it
Every day that I wake, every breath that I take you’ve given
So right here, right now
While the sun is shining down

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive, yeah

Hold on
If the life that we've been given
Is made beautiful in the living
And the joy that we get brings joy to the heart of the giver
Then right here, right now
This is the song I'm singing out

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive
[x2]

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived, to say “thank you”

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be, it's good to be alive

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive

I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived, to say “thank you”
Songwriters: HEATH, BRANDON / INGRAM, JASON / GRAY, JASON
 
9/14/16
 
Happy sixteen month anniversary to My French baby and me. What a ride it has been! It's been more expensive than Disneyland, but the feeling of riding the biggest roller coaster in the world is probably the same. I have been around the tracks, climbed slowly to the top, looked below and imagined what was down there, held my breath and enjoyed the ride. Honestly, I am not fond of roller coasters. They scare me and I get nauseous. Sounds a little bit like chemotherapy, right? 
 
It is almost 0200 and I just got home from taking a friend to the airport. She's going to Florida for her daughter's wedding. She doesn't get to go on many vacations and I am so happy for her. Wendy was a huge support for me when I was sick. She sent me fun gifts which included cool hats, gorilla slippers, and Wonder Woman shirts.  A couple times long ago when Ringo disappeared, she made flyers for him. " Missing dog flyers". She really has a giving heart and it was an honor to be asked to take her tonight. (Or last night- whatever)  Wendy has a lot of physical issues, yet she remains employed and has been very involved in many church activities. It's people like her that make me realize how important it is not to take good health for granted.
 
I spent most of the day in Palmer. My friend Kelly and I went on a walk and out to lunch. We also attended the Prisoner Re-Entry meeting which was really good. You can take me out of the probation office, but my heart is still with that population of people. I have a desire to do so much. I went to the office to visit former co-workers afterwards which is always nice.
 
I attended "Connect" at church today.  Remember how a few weeks ago I talked about the importance of "connecting" and "communicating"? Well the ladies bible study is appropriately named "Connect". Connecting with another woman is what most women desire. We want to be surrounded by "our kind". Who can understand women as well as another woman? It's a time for fellowship, sharing confidences, eating food (always when women get together), and digging into the word of God. We are doing a bible study by Beth Moore. She sure is a dynamic woman; a cracker jack ball of fire. I'm looking forward to continuing this series. I am happy because my friend Laurie agreed to go with me next week. We all need friends.  What I heard today was it is important to use the story of Jesus along with my personal story, to make it "our story." That's my goal.  I want to be different than others. I want people to notice that I am different. That difference is my love and peace in my Savior. I want to share my faith no matter what the circumstances bring.
 
9/15/16
 
There was a break in the rain. The skys were gray, but there wasn't a sprinkle. It was cold out this morning so I threw on some sweats and a hoody. I had just rolled out of bed and didn't bother to brush my teeth or comb my hair. I hooked Ringo up on the leash and off we went. I looked like a "gangsta" with my black hoody up. I was really enjoying our walk as I didn't do much yesterday at all. Then I heard the rain come down in the trees and then I felt the drops. Seriously? So much for my break from the rain. Despite the lack of sunshine, Ringo and I enjoyed ourselves. I let him off the leash until he spotted a sweet little bunny rabbit and took off. When he came back I informed him that due to his disobedience, he must be on a leash.
 
After showering, and yes brushing my teeth, I read another chapter of Raggedy Ann & Andy to Olivienne. This chapter was about the dolls getting medicine. Of course she quickly went to her mom's medcal supply and informed her mom she needed medication. Oh dear. I hope she doesn't get into stuff she shouldn't because of  our story time.  Ailynn was whining and I sang to her and she calmed right down with a happy look on her face. Just a couple more weeks and I get to see those darling girls.
 
I had a scrumptious lunch today as it was the Kick-Off Luncheon for the United Way. I had to fight back tears several times because I am just so impressed with what the UW does in our Valley. I am pleased and honored to be a board member. So many in our community have come together to assist one another. UW truly does play an important role in the Mat-Su Valley. I was priveleged to be part of the process to select a recipient of this year's Dorothy A. Jones award. Ms. Jones was a mover and shaker in our community and we have this award every year to honor another person who has made a difference in the lives of others in our area. We heard about several of these individuals who have been avid volunteers for so many years. What an honor to be in the same room with them.
 
9/17/16
 
It is a beautiful fall day and the sun is just beaming down. God is shining down on us! Merikaye and I went for a great hike this afternoon. It felt so good to get out in the sun and exercise. I love hiking much more than I like walking in the neighborhood. Staring at the same houses gets a little bit boring! I like being out in nature and walking in the woods.
 
I was told by our insurance company the other day that "my share" of the cost for my anti-fungal will be $825.00 every three months. This is the drug that sells for about $19,000.00 for a three month supply. (depending on the pharmacy, but this is what the insurance company is telling me it costs) I just can't justify it. I asked the doctor to put me back on fluconazole instead. It's cheaper. But the problem is, it doesn't protect me against mold. Tomorrow is my last dose of Noxafill and come Monday, I better stay out of the woods without a mask. I don't know what to do. Maybe I am just being too stubborn. After talking with Merikaye, I feel like maybe I should call Mayo and discuss it. We were going back and forth through the portal and Dr. Hogan agreed to let me do Fluconazole, but stressed I wasn't protected against mold. I'm 16 months post-transplant and sooner or later my body has to start fighting these things on its own. But what if I contract a fungal infection and die from the same thing Logan did? What will my family and friends say? Perhaps this, "She was too damn stubborn to pay $825 so she lost her life." Oh dear. I don't want that in the obituary.  I'm going to make the call on Monday..... Although now maybe it's too late because I just had them order the Fluconazole. Maybe they won't send the Noxafill now. Oh dear. This is frustrating. That amount is two month's worth of utility payments! I don't have a job and I'm fed up with draining our bank accounts because I have issues.
 
Unfortunately I missed a phone call yesterday from Be the Match. I want to host another bone marrow drive here in the Mat-Su. I have been wanting to for awhile, but especially after I learned no one matches Renee, one of the ladies I have been praying for. We must get more people on the Registry so that all may have hope. Renee is in the hospital with a fever. Ingrid was just in the hospital last week after a tough time with chemo.
 
Tonight I made the mistake of watching some Hallmark movie about a lady dying of lymphoma and   She had a son she was trying to find a home for. I was crying like a baby when my parents texted me to tell me their dog, Max had just died. Of course I cried more tears. Max was a very good dog and he was very loved. I am so thankful I saw him on Wednesday and hugged him and told him he was a good dog.
 
Life is hard.
 
9/18/16
 
It was good that I could give my dad a big hug today at church. He's hurting so badly. He used take Max to work with him every day. I know Mom loved him too. Max spent a lot of time home with her once he got too old to get in and out of the car easily. Our animals are members of our family and we grieve their loss too. My brother went out and helped bury Max today. I had thought about going out, but didn't. I wish I would have known they were burying him this afternoon.
 
This morning I was thinking about my dear friends who were so supportive of me while I was sick. I talked to Darlene on the phone today, I took a walk with Dorothy, and I will be seeing Pam in CA in a couple of weeks. It's wonderful that we keep in close contact. I saw Mindy on my walk and thanked her again for all the gifts she sent me while I was sick. She would wrap up a bunch of silly things individually and then send them to me. I had so many toys to play with in the hospital which made my time go by a little faster. It made me realize I have been lacking in sending others gifts to make their time a little easier. 
 
My my ligaments and joints are not getting any less sore, in fact, the soreness may be increasing. I'm okay while walking, it's just when I stop to sit, and then try to get up. It's so frustrating.
 
9/19/16
 
We had a beautiful and sunny day today. Sure it wasn't super warm, but it was good enough for a walk around Palmer with Debbie and then with Ringo in my neighborhood. I got in five miles today and felt terrific. (until I got home, but that's a story that will be shared in a minute)  I stopped by Granny's and gave her a thermometer. She wasn't feeling well and suspected she might have a fever. She told me to keep my distance and not come in the house. She cracks me up with how protective she is over me.
 
When I came home from Palmer I ate leftovers from last night and then walked Ringo in the neighborhood. I was pleased when I reached that five mile mark and was impressed with myself. Then I sat down to read the paper and got a funny, yet famiiliar feeling, in my stomach. Oh no. Nausea! I hadn't felt that since May when I accidentaly ate peanuts. It was the same feeling. I took an anti-nausea pill and went to lie down. It wasn't long before I was projectile vomiting in the toilet. Thank goodness I made it to the toilet..... I threw up so hard it came back and splashed me all over my face. Now if that wasn't disgusting I don't know what is... I am sorry I am sharing it. I had to race to the bathroom three separate times to have a "session" of vomiting. I slept from 4:00 to 9:00!!! As I was throwing up, I gave myself a pep talk and reminded myself that I did this for months during chemo and after transplant. I survived that, so I could survive an afternoon of vomiting. I feel okay now and ate some toast. I have no idea what happened. I know I didn't eat nuts. But it's not like a virus either. Someting didn't agree with me. Just when I thought I might be normal. I guess I was never "normal" even before Leuk. I am an anomaly. I am me.
 
This morning I was working on my book. The one about Logan and me. I got up to the 2nd day before he died and had to call it quits for the day. So much emotion was brought back up. It was like I was standing back in that hospital room and feeling every moment again. It's so hard, yet his story needs to be told. The world needs to know that Logan Joseph Marre was a champion and a loving child. He will be honored through this book. God, please give me the emotional strength to share Logan's story. May YOU be glorified in all I am sharing. Let peoople see you for who you are; a loving God who loves his children. Although you didn't choose to save our son here on earth, he is saved because your son died for him. I know that someday I will be with Logan in Heaven again. Until then, please help me be a good mom to Casey and Meghan, a good wife to Patrick, a good grammie to Olivienne and Ailynn and my future grandchildren, a good daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend.
9/21/16
 
I didn't even get out of my pajamas yesterday. I stopped vomiting, but still felt nauseous and just yucky. (for lack of a better word) Patrick came home from moose hunting (no moose) and I had to apologize for not getting off the couch to greet him and also for not having any dinner for him. He heated me up some chicken soup. I spent my day lying on the couch napping and reading.  
 
This morning I thought MAYBE I was feeling better so I took a shower and actually got dressed. I even made myself take Ringo for a short walk. Truth is, I still feel bad. Mayo said I needed to see the doctor in Anchorage today. I made an appointment for tomorrow instead. Always the rebel...... Maybe I will feel so good tomorrow that I can cancel the appointment.
 
I did work on my book again today. I'm excited to be at almost 100 pages.  I have to be deciding on a publisher soon. Unfortunately, a publishing company requires money up front. Darn it.
 
9/22/16
 
I woke up feeling fantastic today! I was pretty excited and thought, "I am over this bug!" Then I took a sip of my smoothie and my stomach rolled. No vomiting involved though. I made myself drink it and felt okay. I then walked three miles on the treadmill. I started feeling pretty good and texted my mom, "I think I am going to skip the doctor appointment today." She wrote back, "hmmmmmmmm". Yeah, I know what that means!!! Mother's can be so passive aggressive. Then Granny called, "What did the doctor say?" Sigh.... I went to the doctor. I saw my PA, Zach. As I figured, it was a COMPLETE waste of time. I like Zach; he pulls no punches. He said, "there's nothing I can do for you unless you want hydration. You just have to wait it out." Now this is EXACTLY what I told Meghan he would say. So I paid my $25 co-pay for hearing what I knew he would say. Money down the toilet. (just like my meal on Monday) I declined the hydration even though I'm sure it would have helped. I don't have a central line anymore and I'm just not up to my veins rolling and collapsing numerous times. I''m just so over that. So, here I am still nauseous. Hopefully eventually it will go away. Unfortunately, I had to miss my friend Ingrid's fundraiser tonight. There was no way I was going to expose her to anything. Plus, I just needed to be home alone wallowing in my self-pity. (just kidding, I am not) She did text me to tell me there were many who came and lots of money was raised to help her family. I am so thankful.
 
We dropped Meghan's truck off to get shipped to Seattle today, so Patrick and I rode home from Anchorage together. I talked him into stopping at the new library in Wasilla. I had hoped to check out a book to read tonight since I'm feeling poorly. But alas, they aren't checking books out till tomorrow. Today was the open house. I am delighted to see such a fine library FINALLY in our town. Don't get me wrong, I loved the old library on Main Street. It is a classic old building and certainly a landmark. But finally there are more than ten parking spots!!! Incredible. There is even a fireplace in the library. I had a vision of teens hanging out here and enjoying themselves. Way to go Wasilla! Years ago I was on the Friends of the Library Board. We tried getting a library way back then. Finally persistence paid off.
 
While we were checking the library out, a dear friend of mine came up and hugged me. I had not seen Ken for several years. We have chatted on Facebook and text, but haven't connected in person. I was absolutely delighted to see him. Ken had a liver transplant two years ago and he's doing fabulous! Oh my goodness it was so wonderful to see such a transformation. He had been so sick before his transplant.  We got to chatting about our experiences and he shared some things with me that I thought only "I" felt. He talked about how things are so different and it's almost surreal to be here. He thought he was going to die and he was accepting that, but he's still here and now he's saying, "What now?" He talked about how he views things differently now and how his mind just races. He was certainly animated when we talked. I felt such a kinship with him because the same things have run through my head. He said that he has put in a request to be a mentor to a student at one of our local alternative schools. He said he feels like he needs to "give back." Again, I can certainly relate. The funny thing is, he got a female liver and he said he thinks that makes him process things differently. You know- be in touch with his feminine side. I laughed and he said, "but you have a boy in you!" I said, "Oh yeah, but I still feel like a female!" He told me about studies that were done on patients with heart transplants and how they started liking the favorite foods of their donor. It was very interesting to hear. I certainly know my baby boy didn't like nuts!! Darn that French boy. But thank you, Jesus for him too! I can LIVE without nuts. Because of his mother's willingness to donate that umbilical cord, I can live..... Of course God had something to do with that too.
 
Tonight I got to speak to my friend Anita about her book she recently wrote. I called her to talk with her about publishers. Anita wrote a book called "In His Hands" by A.J.Cork. you can find the book on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles. I just ordered two of them off Amazon.  Anita is 82 years old! She's a true pillar of faith.  She has been such an encourager of me during this journey. I just love her and am honored to be her friend.  After speaking with her tonight, I am even more motivated and inspired to finish the story of Logan and me. I must honor my first-born son. He deserves to have his story told.
 
9/23/16
 
Today is our niece Melissa's 18th birthday. When Sharmin was in labor with her, Logan and I were in Swedish Hospital. He had been readmitted after transplant. Later of course, we discovered he had a fungal infection and would die a month and a day past her birth.  I remember getting fairly regular updates about her progression of labor and I was so excited. Logan was excited, but he also made a comment about how she was going to replace him. I suspect he was concerned whether or not he would make it, and feared we would just love her so much that we wouldn't miss him. I quickly reassured him that NO one could ever possibly take his place. i told him he is so special and he would always be number one. Poor child.  A few weeks later when we did get his terminal diagnosis, Mark and Sharmin brought Michelle and baby Melissa to see him. He held Melissa in his arms and gazed adoringly at her. He did not want to give her up. He loved her. I think about that on her birthday each year. She was Logan's gift for a short time.
 
I had lunch with my friend Kelly Sandstrom today. I went over to her beautiful home and took my favorite dish; shrimp quiche.  We enjoyed catching up and it made me realize we just don't get to do that often enough. After visiting with her, I visited with Ken and Wendy. The three of us worked so hard on the memorial garden, " Garden of Reflection" all those years ago.  Ken worked for the City of Wasilla at the time and he put forth such effort to make the garden look like Wendy and I envisioned it to be.  I have such special friends.
 
It is now 11:30 p.m. Patrick woke me up about 45 minutes ago. I had fallen asleep after dinner and slept for about four and a half hours. Now I can't sleep. Why do I do this?!
I have still been fighting the nausea, and had to take some anti-nausea pills again today. Interestingly enough, I craved pizza tonight and ate three pieces plus a salad and banana! Weird.
 
9/23/16
 
This is a text I got from Meghan today. I am so thankful she tells her children about her brother. I am also thankful that she truly remembers Logan. May he always live on in our hearts and thoughts.

I debated saying anything but my heart just says I need to.
Yesterday while I was  driving, Ollie started to unbuckle her car seat and I yelled for her to stop because if we got in a car crash she would fly out the window. Then she says :
"If I fly out the window would I die?"
Yes you would!
"Then would an angel take me to heaven"
Yes, probably. All sweet babies like you go to heaven.
"Like my uncle Logan? Would he meet me there?"
Yes(mind you I'm already in tears)
"I don't want him to be there without me, can we drive there?!" -she says in tears.
I wish honey, but we can't drive to heaven.


I have been missing Logan so much lately and I think my talking about him with her is bringing his spirit back here to comfort me.
I hope I don't upset your day with this. I'm just missing him, which I know you do too.
I love you. Have a wonderful day!

 

I loved that she shared this with me. It did not upset me at all; it touched my heart deeply.

 

Today I went on a six mile hike with Debbie. Dorothy walked part of the time with us. It was awesome!  It was a beautiful and sunny day. The leaves are so beautiful. I love fall.

9/26/16

Yesterday I started getting really nauseous again. I went to take a nap and woke up only to race to the bathroom to throw up. This is getting very old. I was pretty discouraged last night. This morning I feel pretty good and pray that continues.

Yesterday I did go to church and one important line that stuck out was: "Gratitude is the natural response for the person in deep relationship with Jesus." Despite the nausea, despite the set-backs, I am grateful to be here. But what's more important is I do value my relationship with Jesus more than I do my own life. Sure it's fantastic to be here, but Jesus is oh so much more valuable than me. Let me honor him in all I do and never take my eyes off him. When I am discouraged or ill, please help me keep my focus.

Wednesday we leave for Seattle and then we'll be off to California to see those girls!!! Yes!

My friend Rhonda just completed her 13th marathon. She shared with me that she fell just a little over a mile on her run Friday. She fell on both knees and also hurt her arm and shoulder. She was in pain and bleeding, but she didn't stop. She kept going and finished that race without complaint. I told her how much I admire her and she said, " I haven't been through what YOU have." I shared with her that everyone has a story and each person's story is valuable to another person. Rhonda started running because she wanted to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle. She has succeeded on both counts. She is definitely an inspiration to me. Her favorite verse is Phillipians 4:13, " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

 9/28/16

There is nothing like curling up in bed with two dogs, a cat, and a husband. I'm not sure I mean this as a positive statement. I slept maybe two hours last night without interruption. That's stretching it maybe. I have been awake since 0300. It's going to be a long day... This is not how I intended for my first day of our vacation to go! I want to be refreshed and full of energy. I am not. But, I am excited about going to Seattle today with our friends Richard and Gretchen. Tomorrow we get to go to a Mariner's game which is so awesome. This part is a business trip for Patrick. Friday begins the adventure driving to CA to see our baby girls and Kirk. We are ecstatic!

Unfortunately, Mayo put me back on Prednisone yesterday for my increased joint/liagament pain. I am not happy. When Carrie called me I said, "NO! I will not take it!" She paused and then said, "So you want me to tell Dr. Hogan you are refusing?" Well when you put it that way, Carrie! Dang it. I despise that medication.

Last night was a great meeting at United Way. We received some extra grants so were able to give out even more money to non-profits. What a feeling that was. Wow! I love our community. Acts 20:35 "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak; remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive." Although this wasn't "my" money we gave away, it did feel good to bless charities that lend a helping hand to so many in our community. Giving of our time is a blessing to God too. The other morning I was watching Joyce Meyer and she was teaching about making good use of our time. We don't want to waste a moment of our day. Even for those of us who don't have a job outside of the home, it is important for us to plan our day and use our time wisely.  For those of you without much to do, perhaps you can consider this:

1.  What have I done to make a difference in someone's life today? Perhaps it's picking up the phone to call someone you haven't talked to for awhile. Maybe it's sending a card to someone who recently experienced a loss in their life. Maybe it's buying an extra can of food and donating it to the food bank. There are so many little ways you can bless someone even without leaving your house.

2.  Am I managing my time well? If I am home, am I getting those projects completed? Is my summer gear stored away? Do I need to clean out a closet? Is my house clean? Dinner planned for my spouse? Did I make a grocery list with a meal plan to save money while shopping?

3.  Is there a place I can go to volunteer for a few hours a week? There are so many places you can visit to see if it's the right fit for you. Some people like working with seniors, some like working with children. Some like the behind the scenes or office work. There are so many choices.

For those of you employed full time you are probably thinking, "I don't have time to even clean my house after a full day's work!" That's okay. Set your priorities. God first, family follows, then commitments. Don't waste a moment of precious time with your family. Turn the TV off and talk. Play a game with your children. They will be pushing you away before you know it. Strengthen those bonds!

Hug your kids, kiss your spouse, pet your dog, and give thanks in everything you do.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:  Be joyful always.  Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's willl for you in Christ Jesus.

No matter what your daily schedule looks like, be joyful. You are here for a reason. Embrace life and strive to do better. Take your mistakes and learn from them. Manage your time wisely and grow.

 

9/30/16

With a lump in my throat, I stare at the beautiful trees and feel overwhelming thanks that I can be ME and journey to CA.  I can put sickness aside and focus on quality time with my husband the next few days. After that there will be quality time with our girls. How excited we are!

We a wonderful time with Rich and Gretchen at the Mariner's game last night. I was just another normal person at a ball game. How glorious! Earlier in the day we got to visit with Rick, Laura, and Brian. All good friends who have been there for us. It's good to have friends who truly care. We also got to see Gary for a bit today which is always a bonus.

 We had an interesting day driving. It didn't go as planned, that's for sure. I had images of the coastal highway in mind for months. We missed the exit for the scenic route so had to drive into Portland. It took forever to get on the right highway and my vision of this trip wasn't exactly what took place. We were both exhausted and frustrated and disappointed.  It turned out okay in the end, but for awhile, I let my disappointment, in the different route, take away from the moment.

My attitude frankly left a lot to be desired. I had it planned out in my head and I didn't get my way. The human selfishness took over. What does it matter if I didn't get the scenic route? The fact is, I was together with my husband and we were on an adventure. We got to Tillamook OR and visited with a high school friend of Patrick's. Bret lives in Colorado, but is here for a funeral. Although that's not a fun reason to come to OR, the timing worked out well for our trip. Bret was always a strong supporter of us when I was sick and it was good to give him a big hug and thank him for caring.

When our eyes fail to stay on Jesus, our attitude of gratitude disappears. Lord, forgive me for my lack of patience and selfish heart. Help me to find the good  in everything and be grateful at all times.

10/1/16

Today's trip was exhausting, yet good. Patrick insists on driving the whole time which is fine with me! We were on the road for about 11 hours today. We started our morning off in the Tillamook Factory. Boy, was that a sight to see! We found Ailynn a purse with a stuffed cow in it for her birthday. We bought some cheese and sausage to eat too. I would have tried the ice cream, but the only kind they had in sugar-free had nuts in it so that was out.

We had lunch with John and Jean Culbertson. John and I worked together at PCC. He's a dear man and I was thrilled to see him again. When I was diagnosed, he and his wife drove from OR to ID to see me. What a man. Shortly after I was diagnosed, Jean suffered brain aneurisms and almost died. It was good to see how well she's doing and to hear her give God the credit for her healing. Even her doctors say it's a miracle.

We stopped in a town named Yachats in Oregon.  Back in 1996, we stayed in a house there with my parents, Mark, Sharmin, Michelle, and our three kids. Logan had his 9th birthday there. We picked Yachats because our friends, Barney and Anita told us about it. It was the last family vacation we had with Logan. We enjoyed it so much. I love that boy and miss him so much. He wanted to watch Forrest Gump. Did he ever love that movie ! Patrick and I reminisced as we stood by the water. Logan swam across a channel. It was no easy feat as it was bigger than it looked from shore. But he did it because he was good at everything he did.

While on the road, I got a phone call from Renee. She is supposed to have her transplant next Thursday. They found a match, but it's not perfect. GVH can be greatly increased with this match. She's checking into last minute options- possible cord blood and different transplant center. Please join me in praying the best option will take place and she feels comfortable with the decision.

I talked with the wife of another former co-worker. He was just diagnosed with cancer. Please join me in praying for this man who is a good man and a believer. My heart is heavy with the burdens I carry for my friends.

Tomorrow we see our baby girls and I am so, so thankful.

10/3/16

We pulled up to the RV Resort late yesterday afternoon. Meghan and the girls were just getting out of their truck. Ollie saw us pull up in her momma's truck and she started laughing hysterically. It was the perfect reaction. So heartwarming and sweet. Ailynn glared at us for a few minutes, but it didn't taker her long to be just as enamored with us again.  I read Raggedy Ann  to Ollie and then she showed me around outside. We have missed our girls. We are so proud of Meghan for supporting her husband while he works out of state. She is alone seven days a week for long hours. That isn't easy to do, especially while living in an RV, away from friends and family. We are also proud of Kirk for being an amazing provider and an attentive man to his wife and children when he comes home.

10/4/16

Today we went to a pumpkin patch. We rode in a hay wagon, went in a corn maze, and a straw maze. What a joyous day! It finally warmed up today. Until then, I have been freezing!

I am hurting for my friends. One has had multiple medical issues and had a heart attack, another's husband has a stem cell transplant this week, another friend had a stem cell transplant next week, another cant find a match, another starts chemo on Wednesday. My heart is heavy!

10/5/16

Today we went to an adventure park in Sacramento. The girls had a great time riding the rides and eating cotton candy. We sure enjoyed being with them. Tomorrow we are driving to Lake Tahoe to see my friend Pam Sweeney. We got a great deal on a hotel through Groupon. It should be a great time. This is another place I have always wanted to go. The girls should have fun in the heated pool.

Simce I have been back on Prednisone, my nausea has stopped and my joints are slightly improved. I don't want to have to run to a pill every time I have aches. I hope this won't be forever.

My phone got knocked into water today and it's in a bag of rice for 24 hours. I hope and pray it's not ruined.  It feels weird to not be in contact with people. I am using Meghan's phone to blog., 

10/6/16

My phone isn't ruined, but it is damaged. Hopefully it can be fixed. We had a marvelous day in Lake Tahoe today. We swam with the girls and sat in a hot tub. We walked around and had a great dinner. I have gotten a lot of exercise the past few days and I am thankful for that. There were a few days when I hardly walked due to driving from WA to CA. I must rebuild my lungs and strength. I am looking forward to seeing Pam tomorrow.

10/8/16

Lake Tahoe was a lot of fun. None of us had ever been there before and we were amazed at the beauty. The hotel was nice and it was amazing that I had the courage to get into a bathing suit again. After transplant I had lost so much weight that my skin looked like an elephant. I never thought I would look halfway decent again, certainly not brace enough for a bathing suit!.

Unfortunately, I started getting a sore throat and body aches. Due to Patrick's restless leg syndrome, I got no sleep.  Before the end of the day, I started running a fever.  We made the best of it and I still enjoyed my family time and also our visit with Pam and Ron.

We watched the girls today while Meghan took some much needed time to herself. I wish they weren't living so far away from us so we could do that more often.

10/9/16

It is 0300 and I have been awake for a couple of hours. Patrick is snoring badly tonight on top of his restless leg syndrome. If I were at home I would have an extra bedroom to escape to. I am going to be thoroughly exhausted again tomorrow. I get so frustrated because I am already tired all the time and I must have sleep just to keep up on a normal day. I am trying to be a fun Grammie and play with the girls. I am frustrated because I can't even get down on the floor to play unless someone helps me get back up. I don't have the stamina to keep up with the girls. I can't even carry Ailynn for very long and she's only 11 months! I hate that treatment aged my body by 30 years. Ollie doesn't even want me doing some things with her and I assume it's because she knows I am not strong enough to follow through. It breaks my heart. But then she does show compassion and concern and "helps me" get up, walk across the street, etc.I feel my grandchildren have been cheated. I watch Patrick with them and am envious he has the energy to stay one step ahead of them. I am thankful he does, I just want that stamina too! The other day I watched him take a flying leap and run up a tree. I told him I can only do that in my mind and wish my physical body could accomplish so much more. I can't even do simple gross motor skill maneuvers. I am like a 80 year old.

Since I am awake and sleep seems impossible tonight, my mind is thinking about our upcoming presidential election. Frankly I am astonished and embarrassed at the lack of adequate choices America has to vote for our commander in chief. America is supposed to be the best country in the nation- the land of the free, a prosperous nation, land of opportunities, a country where dreams can come true. But look at us; we have a health care crisis, a huge drug problem, we lack morals, God has been taken out of our schools, work, and families. America sure boasts of freedom- so much that we are free to have satanic prayers before coty meetings. God is lost. People are lost. Police officers are being killed rapidly. There have been almost 300 officers killed this year alone in America. Our country has lost respect for authority, for God, and each other. 

Our choices for president is simply embarrassing. In this great country can we not find candidates who support the foundations our founding farhers laid out for us? Freedom to bear arms, freedom to worship, and a leader who is honorable? I feel America is doomed. I believe we are nearing the end times. I foresee nations rising up against nations, Americans fighting each other, even more than we already do, a continued lack of respect for others, and more fallingg away from Christ.

All I can say is we need to be praying for our nation and for each other. Let's not be selfish people, let's lift each other up in prayer.

10/10/16

On the eve of my second anniversary of being diagnosed with leukemia, I am brought back to that unbelievable moment hearing the words, " We believe you have leukemia".  It was the second time we heard those words in our immediate family. But I also remember how strong my belief that God would heal me was. I never wavered from my faith. This morning I stopped on my four mile walk to take a moment to write that God gets all the glory.  I have been walking four miles almost everyday while in CA and there are huge hills on this walk. God gets the glory. Thank you almighty Lord. I will overcome by the blood of the lamb. You are worthy of all our praise, Jesus.

10/11/16

Happy birthday Grandpa Marvin. I know you are happy in Heaven with your four boys.

Happy 2nd anniversary of diagnosis to me. I am alive! I wonder daily why God spared me and not my son. I know there is a reason and I am still trying to comprehend it fully. I know part of the reason is to spread the news of his great work in me. Perhaps that is the whole reason! I am not worthy of such a gift. I have made so many mistakes in my life. But God values me as much as he values anyone, which amazes me. I feel unworthy, but he sees me as worthy. My mission in this life  is to share his love for me and for you. A life' without God is dismal and bleak. There is no hope except for Jesus. Even though our country is in such poor shape, we must look to him to guide us along. I saw a post that a woman was just killed in the Valley, apparently by a 14 year old child. Somebody might cry out, " where were you, Lord?" He would answer, " I was here with you all along, but you would not seek my face". Let us not make any decision without asking God first. Listen to his response. Your ways are not his ways. Listen and follow his direction, never taking your eyes off the goal.

Today we leave our girls behind and travel back to Alaska. My heart is in pain. These girls are so precious. We are so proud of Kirk for being such a good provider. He works too hard- 7 days a week and at least ten hours per day. We are so proud of Meghan for taking such good care of her husband and children. We love our granddaughters so much. God be with them.

10/14/16

Leaving our girls, Kirk, and their dog, Kahlua, was very difficult. We cried many tears, but tried to be brave. I miss the way things were; Meghan would drop off Ollie (and sometimes Ailynn) and we would get to babysit. I would make cookies with Olivienne and we would play "kitchen". We would hug and play with Ailynn. Or those times when Meghan would come over and visit too. I want those days back! The only advice I can give anyone is to love every moment you have and don't wish it away. Enjoy each second for you can never get that time back.  Don't complain (even inwardly) at things because complaining takes away your appreciation and your spiritual growth.  Until they are back in this state with us, I will enjoy our FaceTime moments.  Ollie called me the day after we got home and demanded a Raggedy Ann story. I was asleep, but like a dutiful Grammie, I willingly got out of bed and started reading.  We finished another book while we were there. I love these stories!

Since I have been home, I have been busy catching up; grocery shopping, paying bills, cleaning, etc. I have helped Kelsey pack up her kitchen.  They bought a house and will be moving out so I have assisted her in packing. She works so much between the hospital and coaching volleyball that she just doesn't have time to do any packing. Casey is working full time too and is busy with the security team at church.  Yesterday I visited Granny. I tried the day before, but she was not home. She is going blind from macular degeneration and it breaks my heart watching her struggle to see.  I helped her by writing some checks out for her and addressing envelopes. She still strives for independence; she lives alone and wants to do many things for herself. I am thankful she has a lady come to do cleaning and laundry for her once a week.  

This morning my friend Faith called and asked if I would be willing to speak with her son, Bradley about a community service project he is doing in his school. She said, "I didn't realize how much of an impact you have had on my son He wants to focus his community project on helping people who have leukemia.  He wants to start with snow removal to raise money to help people." Faith and I brainstormed. I offered to come speak to his class when I get to MN on the 31st. I have an appointment with Mayo later that day and several appointments on the 1st. But I am very excited at the thought of speaking to 7th graders on how they can help people with leukemia. I have lots and lots of ideas that I would love to share with his class.

That gave me many ideas of course! I wonder if I could speak to any local schools here in Alaska about helping those with cancer.  I have so many friends I am concerned about.

Linn, Renee, Jeremiah, and Donna all need bone marrow transplants soon. John is being treated for esophagus canceer. Ingrid has Ewings Sarcoma. The list goes on and on.....

I know three people with heart issues. Alysha and Kelly just had heart surgery. Tim is having open heart surgery next week. Please pray for all the ones I have mentioned.

I did get some good news yesterday about someone I have been praying for who has addiction problems. He is doing well; he's now working, involved in church, attending sobriety meetings, and is going to counseling. Please join me in praying this continues and he remains drug free, renews his relationship with Christ, and restores his marriage. There are so many addicts I pray for on a regular basis. Please join me in praying for all who struggle with addiction.

10/16/16

Today is Meghan's 25th birthday. Our youngest child is a quarter of a century old.... No, I still refuse to consider myself almost a half of a century. I am still young at heart even if my body says differently. We celebrate Meghan today from afar. We are thankful we got to have an early birthday party for her and Ailynn last week. Meghan is an amazing young woman. We love watching her with her husband and her daughters. She is a loving wife and mother and it warms our heart so much. My desire is that my children and husband know how much I love them. I desire my parents, Granny, and other family members and friends to also know how much I care about each and everyone of them.  I just can't express to anyone how much I care for them.

We spent a wonderful weekend at the cabin getting it ready for winter. Last night we went over to Rich and Gretchen's house and visited and watched a movie. We didn't leave till almost 0230. I was the only one who didn't nod off during the movie. Now that's something that doesn't normally happen! I was pretty proud of myself for my stamina.  I took the dogs on a few walks and they had a blast. Unfortunately the winds are ferocious here in the Mat-Su, so I doubt there will be any outside walking for a few days. Time to use the treadmill again. I also bought an exercise video and must break it out and try it. Time to get into shape!!! I fully intend to be healthy and strong enough to return to work in the next few months.

10/17/16

The winds howled ferociously all night and sleep escaped me. I slept fitfully between 9:30 and 0230 waking up from the scary sounds.  Chester decided to come cuddle next to me, perhaps the wind bothered him too. The 80 # dog snored on one side of me, Ringo was at my feet, and Patrick snored on the other side of me.  Patrick also kneed me in the back again.  Finally after lying there for an hour and a half, I got up at 0400. There is nothing like walking on the treadmill at 0400 to make you feel you have already started your day off in a positive manner. I am trying hard to be positive and happy about being up for the past four hours and it's only 0630......

While listening to my praise music as I walked on the treadmill, I felt such a peace and love for our almighty God. Everytime I listen to my music,  I am reminded at how close I felt to God when I was fighting for my life. I have never been so close to him as I was then. I remember walking the halls and just imagining myself worshipping at the very feet of Jesus. What a vision that is! When I sing the words to these songs, I am in a different place. I am not on my treadmill, I am not in my house, I am with Jesus. You know the saying, "You are what you eat?" I totally believe the same thing is true, "You are what you listen to." For those of you who listen to hateful lyrics that promote sex, drugs,and rock-n-roll, that's where your heart is. If you listen to lyrics that promote love, worship, contentment, honesty, and Christ-like attitudes, that will make your heart pure and happy.  A relationship with Christ is so much more than just going to church. As Joyce Meyer said, " Do life with God." God is interested in everything we do. He is the best friend we can have.  If you are feeling lonely, know that God is with you. If you are scared, know that God is with you.  Repetition keeps us strong in Christ. Memorize those scriptures, but don't just say them, internalize them. Know the meaning of the words and make it personal for you.  

As I attempted to sleep through the sound of the winds, my mind kept imagining that the worst was going to happen; my house would be destroyed.  I thought about the recent devestation of Hurricane Matthew and how scared so many people had to have been. People's houses were literally torn apart, people died, diseases are running rampant through Haiti and the country has been devestated. People were scared. They were frightened with what was happening and they are still afraid of what is to come. Where does their future lie? What's in store for them?  In Haiti they are burying people in large holes- they are literally dumping their bodies all together. How sad is that! 

In Matthew chapter 8, there was a furious storm that the disciples of Jesus were in out in the middle of the water. They were very afraid, but Jesus was sleeping through it.  The disciples woke him up begging the Lord to save them from drowing.  Jesus said, "You of little faith, why are you afraid?" Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves were calm.  Sometimes Jesus takes us out of the storm right away, and sometimes he let's us go through the storm. The best thing is, he goes through the storms with us.  He doesn't leave us no matter how difficult things are. We have to trust him and know that he will always be with us.

This resonates with my soul this morning as I think of all the people I care about who are going through some really rough things.  I think of Tim- he's the father of David, a young man we loved at Ronald McDonald House. David passed away before Logan did and his parents are very good people. Today Tim is having a triple by-pass. I know he and Diane are afraid because heart surgery is scary! I think of Kelly and Alysha who both had recent heart surgery and are in the healing stage. I think of another friend who recently had a heart attack at the age of 47! I think about the ones getting ready for bone marrow transplants: Renee, Linn, Jeremiah, and Donna. I know they are afraid of what is to come. I think about my friends John and Ingrid who are both battling vicious cancers that have no mercy upon the afflicted. I know there is fear there.  But God is with them.  But we can't just pray for those we know who are hurting. We have to do something to help.  I encourage you to send a card, pick up the phone and call someone, make a donation to help with expenses, or send a care package. Let us be helpers and cheerful givers.

Lord, I ask that you show me the best way to help others. I want to be a good and supportive friend to the hurting. Use me however you see fit. Open the doors that you want opened and close the doors you want closed. Your ways are not my ways and I may not always understand the plan you have for me. Help me to be receptive to wherever you lead me. Help my body to continue to heal and recover. Help those who have addictions to be healed. Please restore their brains to your perfect creation.  Please heal every single part of their brains so that they work as you would have perfectly designed them to be. Help them make good choices and to draw close to you. I pray for the ones who have medical issues and pray for relief from nausea and pain and comfort for each of them. I pray that no one will feel lonely. I ask you to  send a mighty army to surround each person so they feel loved and supported. I ask you to bless the nation of Haiti and the states of Florids, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Please send relief to all those affected by the hurricane. I ask protection upon all our officers and soldiers and comfort to the families of the fallen. We trust you, Lord.

10/18/16

It has been another busy day. Last night was better, but I still didn't sleep great. This time Ringo wanted to go out in the middle of the night which is unusual. I tossed and I turned and finally went back to sleep till 0500. Of course I did not get up and do the treadmill this morning. No, I was lazy. I spent my morning getting errands done. We will be renting out the apartment above our garage, so a lot of repairs and cleaning has to be done on it before Jim moves in. I am happy that someone I used to work with will be living there. Jim was a great asset to me while I was sick. He worked hard at getting me leave donations and helped facilitate the continuation of my medical insurance while I was out sick. He was simply an amazing support and I am so thankful to him.

I got to visit with my mom today which was nice. We rarely see each other anymore so I did enjoy that. I timed it perfectly with lunch.... I'm smart that way.  I hope to see Granny Thursday or Friday. Tomorrow I will be visiting with my friend John while he has a treatment done. I will also visit with Ingrid in the afternoon and see how she is doing. Tomorrow will be my visiting day with minimal cleaning and responsibilities.

My friend Tim came out of his heart surgery okay. His wife, Diane, said he's in a great deal of pain, but that was to be expected.  I'm thankful that doctors have the education and knowledge to perform so many procedures. God gave us our minds, but it's up to us to use them. And, may I add,  to use them wisely!

I continue to look for state jobs that are listed, but haven't found anything in the Valley yet. I sure hope Dr. Hogan will allow me to return to work. I feel like I have so much to offer. I feel like I'm just floating around here; not really making a difference anywhere.

10/19/16

Last night I got lazy (was actually cleaning the apartment) and didn't make a homemade dinner. I had one of those frozen Bertoloni dinners in the freezer so I whipped that up. I ate one of those a few weeks ago and vomited profusely. I looked at the ingredients and didn't see any nuts so thought I would try again. Like clock work two hours later, I was engaged in an extreme case of vomiting. Then my blood sugar dropped to 44. I had to eat toast with jelly with a nauseous stomach. I knew if I didn't keep the toast in I was going to the emergency room for fluids and glucose. Thank goodness I was able to keep it down. I even slept last night and woke up fine. I just did 2 miles on the treadmill too while watching Joyce Meyer. God is good!

I heard good news yesterday about Jeremiah, the husband of a PO I know. The doctors in Seattle sent him home and told him he does not need a stem cell transplant! Praise God for that! I am so happy for he and his family.  I thought about the bible verses Joyce shared this morning: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:  For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the fututre, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)  What I take from that is NOTHING can separate us from God. Not a stem cell transplant, a heart attack, a diagnosis, a loss of a child, NOTHING will separate us. Now we can CHOOSE separation. We can blame God for all our adversities and calamities. We can shout, "IF THERE IS A GOD WHY DIDN'T HE SAVE MY LOVED ONE?" We have a choice. We can accept the will of God and continue to praise him- going for that goal of Heaven, or we can deny him and face eternal death.    
"Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him for the help of his presence." (Psalm 42:5)

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinithians 5:7) I don't know what the outcomes will be for all my friends who are hurting. I don't know how to counsel the bereaved or the broken. But I am going to work harder on being there for people. I believe Jesus puts the right people in my life. It's up to me to obey God and follow through with reaching out to people. I don't want to be one of those people who say, "Oh I will pray for you" and not do so. I love my prayer time and try to remember each person I promised to pray for several times a day.

Today I am thankful for what I have and for the healing that has taken place in my life. I am thankful that our son Logan is safely playing in Heaven. I didn't want him to go, but he is safe. As we are approaching the 18th anniversary of his death, I have many emotions stirring inside of me. Thankfulness truly is one of them. My baby is safe.

10/20/16

Yesterday I had the honor of visiting two friends who are undergoing cancer treatment. I first sat with John while he was getting his chemo. John was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus a few weeks ago. He looked good, but I could tell he had lost weight. He is having trouble eating which is never a good thing when you are going through treatment. He was in good spirits and his attitude towards his diagnosis and prognosis was inspiring. He was positive and remained confident in our God's ability to see him through whatever is to come. I love listening to Christians as they speak of their devotion to God no matter the circumstances.

I also visited with Ingrid at her house. Ingrid was told she will not survive her cancer despite the treatment. Yet of course she holds out hope that she will be the miracle the doctors don't expect. We both know that God is the God of miracles. Ingrid is also cemented in her faith and is at peace for God's will for her life. She spoke frankly of her hopes and dreams for her family and spoke of her upcoming potential death matter of factly. She is the epitome of a righteous woman and we can all learn from Ingrid.

Being with two dear friends in one day inspired me to continue walking my own walk of faith, to celebrate life and to appreciate the little things in life. For we walk by faith,not by sight. (2 Corinithians 5:7) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.  Give thanks the the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.  Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1-3)

Cast all your anxiety on God for he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

I got the news last night that Sean, the nephew of my friends, passed away from cancer. He was only diagnosed a couple weeks ago and he has already lost his battle. Or has he? He was a Christian so I believe he did win the ultimate battle. Still, my heart hurts for his family for they are left behind with only the memories of someone so important to them.

10/21/16

What a glorious day outside! I woke up to a blanket of snow on the deck and the snow was still softly falling down. My first reaction was horror;  despite the lateness of the season, I was not ready! But once I really looked at the beautiful sight, I was so enthralled I took Ringo for a walk at 0700! It was still dusky, but the snow glistened and we were able to see. Ringo frolicked happily and I flashbacked to childhood memories of romping in the snow. It's simply beautiful and I am happy. Of course I haven't driven in it yet! 

Yesterday Mom brought Granny and I chicken dinners from KFC and we ate lunch together. We visited for a few hours and really had a good time. Granny's eye sight is badly failing. I helped her fill out her Presidential election ballot. I woud read each section to her and she would tell me how to vote.  I worry about the loss of independence. Right now she's still managing by herself, but I fear things will change. I know I have struggled over the past two years over my independence so I can only imagine how scary it must be for her. I am getting better and am much more able to do things on my own now. She won't have an opportunity to gain more independence; she will lose more each year.  She is soon to be 89 years old and overall is in great health. Patrick's Aunt Maxine has macular degeneration too and is completely blind. She did okay with her blindness, but then she got Alzheimer's on top of it so that has really been a challenge for her. She's a tough bird though! Both of us have strong women in our families.

Yesterday we discussed how we value material items.  Mom said that due to all the losses she has experienced, material things don't matter to her at all. While I certainly understand that, I am still drawn to the items that hold sentimental value for me. I don't care about having the newest and best of anything, but the things I remember from my childhood; things that my dear loved ones owned, mean so much to me.  I know that God tells us not to place value on earthly things, but to store our treasures up in Heaven.  Things WILL pass away, but eternal life is forever. I get that and I am happy about that. But in the meantime, whenever I see that purple lamp of Granny's I am filled with joy, for it bring me a precious memory from my childhood. It sat in the front room of her house and I often touched it and simply gazed at the beauty of it. She also had a picture of Jesus- it's kind of a 3-D type of picture and has a light in it. It's hanging here in my office and brings me peace.  Jesus is kneeling and a ray of sunshine is beaming down on him. A conversation is taking place between he and his father.

Today I learned that the step-mother of a friend passed away from cancer.  Last night I read about a young boy who is 12 years old and has a reoccurence of Lymphoma. His older brother passed away several years ago of leukemia. Why? Why does cancer strike the young? Why do children die? My heart hurts. Not just for the young, but for all who are grieving the loss of someone dear to them. Cancer just sucks.

 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8)

10/23/16

Exhaustion has set in again. Am I just lazy and not pushing myself enough? I'm just not sure.  Friday night I fell asleep at 7:30 and slept till 10:30. I went to bed and laid there and laid there....Finally I got up and went up to the apartment and packed some more boxes for Casey and Kelsey and got their stuff out of the crawl space. I was up there until almost 0230. I finally slept from 0330-0700.  I didn't exercise at all yesterday. I boxed up a few more things and did some cleaning up there and then went to a birthday party for Meghan's 2 year old nephew. For me to go to a child's birthday party and be surrounded by people; particularly children, is a big step for me. Hopefully I won't get sick again.  Last night I did sleep fairly well and managed 1.1 miles on the treadmill and about 15 minutes of cardio exercise. Not much. I just kept using the excuse of, "I'm tired and my stomach hurts." I really need to suck it up and do more than that!

Ingrid thinks the tumors are growing. She's in a lot of pain and it breaks my heart. She wants so badly to live. She has a grandchild on the way and her youngest child is just in 8th grade. She wants to see him graduate. I pray that she will make these goals.  I did hear from my friend Tammy who was diagnosed with a very serious cancer just before my diagnosis. I was please to hear she only has to get checks every six months because she is doing so well.  My friend Rhonda told me about her friend, Danny, who was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus like my friend John. She also told me about a girl who is fighting cancer for the 8th time. There are so many to pray for. Sometimes I am just so weary it's hard to find the words.  I believe God put me in this position to be a prayer warrior for all these people, but it's so hard. I look forward to church today; hoping for a complete refresher.

10/24/16

Eighteen years ago today, we said goodbye to our eleven year old, firstborn son, Logan. Logan was an amazing child; so full of life and happiness. He was a champion and tried to slay the dragon that took over his body.  Logan saw the door to Heaven open as he sat in his chair those final hours. He tried to get up and said he wanted to go through the door behind Miss Dorothy. He was eager to explore it. He knew that God himself was waiting for him. As difficult as it is to be without our son, I am comforted in knowing he did get through that doorway and he is rejoicing in Heaven. Today we honor you, Logan. We honor you for the pure goodness that flowed through your body. You were an amazing fisherman, a gifted athlete, a kind boy filled with compassion, a good looking boy, and an overall amazing child!  Today is a day set aside for you, our hero and champion. This mama misses you, baby boy.

Shortly after I wrote this, I got the news that, the 26 year old son of good friends of ours, died in a car crash. We grieve with his parents, his GF, siblings, and children. We know the pain of losing a child.  

When I shared that with another friend whose son is seriously ill and in the hospital, she said we all must lean on faith.  It got me thinking about faith.  Faith is a mixture of so many things.  

Faith is trust

Faith keeps us strong and hopeful of better days will come where the joy outweighs the pain

Faith is believing that God holds us in his arms, even when we ache

Faith is knowing that God is there, no matter how lonely or empty we feel

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6-7)

Thanksfulness: How does one have thankfulness in times of strife, grief, loss of hope, sickness, and tribulation?

"You have turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." (Psalm 30:11-12)

These words mean that despite our grief and our mourning, God can turn all circumstances to joy.  This doesn't mean I am joyful that Logan died, or that my friends will be joyful their son was killed in a car wreck.  What it means is God will comfort us and bring us good times despite the losses we have had.  Hope and joy come in the morning, not mourning.  I can't imagine going through this grief process without my faith in Jesus.  I am thankful.

10/27/16

Oh my goodness I am tired.  I have been earnestly working on cleaning and getting the apartment above our garage ready to rent.  Tuesday night I was out there till after midnight. I am surviving on just a few hours of sleep each night. I have no energy, but I force myself to keep going. Last night I had an early night; probably went to sleep about 10 p.m. I woke up before midnight with a blood sugar of 46.  I was a mess. It was all I could do to get out of bed and yell for Patrick to help me. He fixed me right up with a good snack.  Every time that happens to me in my sleep, I am so amazed that God designed our bodies so that we awaken when we have problems such as this. I could have easily slipped into a coma, but God woke me up. I never cease to be amazed when that happens. I was even dreaming that someone was trying to kill me.  This time it wasn't Leuk, it was hypglycemia!  I think I just worked too much yesterday and burned up all the sugar in my bloodstream.

This morning I woke up at 0440 (which is sleeping in anymore) and I have already done 3.1 miles on the treadmill. I have lots more cleaning to do in the apartment as well as in my own neglected house.  I am praying the paint touch up job looks okay this morning because I do not want to paint anymore. It's one of my least favorite things to do. God bless the professional painters!

I volunteered at the new Thrifters Rock in Wasilla on Tuesday. I was there for three hours and my job was to clean the donated toys. I was so tired that I had to come home and take a two hour nap. I know, that's ridiculous! I also dropped off a volunteer application at Wasilla Public Library. Until I can go back to work full time, I must do something with my time to help other people. I haven't been able to attend the opioid meetings lately due to my travel conflictions. I leave this Sunday for my Mayo check-up and I haven't even started packing. I am just getting so lazy. I need some motivation.

10/28/16

I am packed for my Mayo trip and I am packed for the cabin. I hadn't planned to go to the cabin, but the funeral for our friends's son is tomorrow and we are going to attend.  It will be very hard on Patrick and I to be present at a service and witnessing the raw pain of parents who lost their oldest son. It obviously brings back so many hurtful and painful memories. But we will be there for our friends and we will not leave them to grieve alone. Thankfully they have a very large and loving family who will constantly surround them with love and support.

I am dealing with unpaid medical bills from my March hospital stay. I called the insurance company and was informed they were waiting for doctor's notes before they could process the claim. I called the medical provider and they said the insurance company told them they were waiting for me to provide information. I am so fed up with medical providers! I have nine appointments scheduled so far at Mayo. I will be using Patrick's insurance and am quite concerned about that issue too.

This morning I took a dear friend out to breakfast before her divorce hearing. My heart goes out to her as I know she is struggling with the decision to go forward with the divorce. Of course she is worried about her fianancial future as well as her personal happiness.  An ending marriage is the death of hopes and dreams and never easy.

 

10/29/16

How do you comfort parents who have had a child die? What words of wisdom do I offer? That time heals all wounds? That's a lie. Do I tell the truth and say, " the pain never leaves and grief can still overwhelm you?"

 I went with a hug and a heartfelt statement that we will be here for them when they need to talk. I told them we paved the road for them and will help them through. The desperate grief in their eyes was a mirrored reflection of my own. 

I felt the pastor had a good message. He said many are likely wondering why God took someone young and full of promise. He went on to share the story of Adam and Eve and how they let sin in the world when they are of the forbidden tree. Before that happened, they lived in a perfect place free from sin. Because of their choice to sin, our time on earth is limited. Sometimes our actions cause our early death and sometimes circumstances beyond our control cause us to die early.  But the most important thing to remember is Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can get to the Father, but through him. I don't want to see another soul lost.

Our good friend, Anita Cork, recently wrote a book called "In His Hands". I am reading it aloud to Granny since she is losing her sight. The first chapter was about Adam and Eve's fall from grace. Anita does a great job taking bible stories and putting them in today's lifestyles so that we may connect with them on a personal level. I can't wait to go home and read another chapter to her.

I leave tomorrow- flying out of Kenai at 11:25 to make my connecting flight in Anchorage. I am a little nervous, but confident and hopeful too. I haven't had a blood test in over three weeks which is a very long time for me! I am sure all is good. I am overly tired, but still feel well. 

10/31/16

My trip was very long- about 12 hours of traveling. I was delighted to see Alaska Air upgraded me to First Class! Since I travel so much, I am an MVP and sometimes get free upgrades. The seats are more comfortable, but the food was terrible! Honestly, coach has better food. On the leg from Anchorage to Seattle, my seat mate was sick and actively coughing.  Even with the mask on, I felt very nervous about catching his illness.

I got to the hotel in Minneapolis about 0100. I slept for four hours, then was back at the airport securing my car rental. I drove an hour and a half to get to Mayo. I was an hour and a half early for my first appointment- the eye doctor. Amazingly, they got me in early. Now I am waiting for one more vision test today and then there will be another one tomorrow. My doctor is considering putting me on a medication that can cause damage to the macular area. Obviously with Granny recently diagnosed with macular degeneration and Patrick's aunt being blind from that, I am more than a little nervous about being on this medication. I will discuss this with the rheumatologist and Dr. Hogan tomorrow. The reason they want to put me on it, is to help with the joint pain.