Happy New Year to all of you. I am ready to tackle 2017 like a champ. I know God has good things in store for me, for my family, and all of you. I will praise him in the storm and in the sunshine. I'm ready to get my book out there and need to find a good content & copy editor before I submit it for publication. When I re-read parts this morning, I realized I really have been through a lot and I have a story worth sharing. A story of hope and strength. I want this story to be a blessing to others.
I have started my exercise program again after taking a week off for the flu. Yesterday and today I walked three miles on the treadmill. I have plans to continue that every day. I can feel the strength returning to my body.
I wonder how long it will take for me to get used to writing 2017. Any year that ends in a 7 is a big year for me. I turned 30 in 1997, 40 in 2007, and turn 50 in 2017. Wow, 50! It sounds so..... OLD! I used to freak out about my age and I never would disclose how old I was. Look at me now. I am putting it here for everyone to read it. I suppose when one faces death head-on, one feels fortunate just to be alive and worries less about people raising their eyebrows at the ancient age one is. I simply don't care anymore. But that's not to say I still don't work out to look good, fix my hair and put jewelry on when I leave the house... I shall not let myself go! I just have a little bit more humbleness for sure. Don't even get me started on the things I don't like on my body.
I am more interested in talking about the fantastic Opioid Task Force meeting last night. There must have been 50 plus people there wanting to help the people in the Valley who have an opioid addiction. There are people from all walks of life; professionals of many sorts as well as community members and recovering addicts. These people just don't talk the talk, they really walk the walk. They love on addicts and facilitate services for positive change. I'm thrilled to be a small part of this group.
There is a remembrance ceremony on January 10th at Nunley Park. This service will honor Kelsie Green, a 24 year old woman who died in Anchorage Jail 1/10/16 from a heroin overdose. But it's not just to honor Kelsie, it's to honor ALL who have died from a drug overdose and to encourage those in recovery. It's time to take the stigma out of having a family member with addiction problems. The Mayor of Wasilla spoke last night and said the Mayor of Fairbanks disclosed his daughter was a heroin addict and a prostitute. That took some courage to admit, didn't it?! A trooper admitted his son is serving life in prison for a drug related crime. That also took courage. Good parents have good children who make terrible choices. Who are we to blame to the parents and mock the afflicted? We need to stand beside those with addictions and help them find lifetime recovery.
I spoke with a friend last night who shared that her son has been clean for 18 months. Before he relapsed, he had been clean for six years. SIX YEARS and then he went back to that lifestyle. He lost everything, including the custody of his children. It's enough to make me want to just sit and cry. I want to fix it all, but I can't. But I can certainly be involved in groups and task forces and spread the word.
There are many meetings in the next few weeks and I am excited about being part of the change. I plan on going to the Prisoner Reentry Meeting next week, I will be helping with the Homeless Connection in a couple of weeks, and in February will be attending "Mental First Aid for Adults." In February I will also be coordinating a blood and bone marrow drive at Church on the Rock. I am excited to have a purpose!
I got to read Raggedy Ann & Andy to Olivienne yesterday on Face Time. It was so fun to see her and her expressions. She held Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy while I read to her. I may have purchased those dolls for a Christmas present...... She kept getting distracted by her parents talking to her and would say, "We can keep Face Timing, Grammie, Dad just said something to me." She is so mature for three years old. They are having the time of their lives traveling across California. They are headed to Kirk's next job site: San Diego. In six weeks we will be joining them in Hawaii to fulfill our difficult duties of being nannies. Yippee!!!!!
I have procrastinated long enough. This has ben a lazy morning for me. I slept in because I was tired after being woken up all night with bad dreams. Now it's time to buck up and get on the treadmill and do my three miles. Then, some heavy duty housecleaning will follow. Be grateful for every minute of your day. That's my new goal. Every moment...
This morning I listened to Joyce Meyer while doing my stretching. I could just sit there in front of the TV, but why not do a few sit-ups, leg lifts, and stretch my tight muscles? Not tight as in firm or lovely, but tight in "they haven't been stretched in awhile". Back to Joyce.... She is doing a study on Ephesians and one thing she said resonated well with my soul. Basically she was saying to enjoy the ride. I may not be where I want to be, but thank goodness I am not where I used to be. Enjoy the journey that God is leading me on. When I went to the book of Ephesians myself, I read in Ephesians 1:9-10: " And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. To be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ." I glean an understanding that God is in control of my journey and of yours. There IS a greater plan that he has laid out for us. We may not understand it, want it, or have asked for it, but it's there and it's up to us to follow along. God tells us that we are to give thanks in all circumstances. That doesn't mean we have to enjoy every horrible thing we go through. But in all bad things, there can be good. Sometimes the only good thing we can get out of a terrible situation is knowing that God is here for us and he does care about us and someday every tear shall be wiped away.
I thought about all of this while doing my praying on my treadmill. Thank goodness my brother and SIL loaned me this treadmill. I do my best praying on it! I'm sure that's not what they thought about when they loaned it to me, but I think of it as a dual purpose. I can't do one single activity at a time. I do believe I have ADHD. I can't just sit and pray. But I can walk at 4.1 mph, stare at the cross of Jesus in front of me, listen to my praise music, and pray my heart out. This morning I was especially burdened for my friend John who had a six hour surgery yesterday. They removed part of his esophagus and part of his stomach. He has cancer of the esophagus. They already did six weeks of chemo and radiation. Now he has a six week healing period, and then will have six more weeks of chemo. I prayed for Katie who is having surgery this very moment. Katie has been diagnosed with both AML and ALL, plus she has an abscess in her stomach. This morning they are removing that abscess and possibly part of her stomach. I thought of Ingrid who is in the hospital with unbearable bone pain from her cancer that continues to grow despite the chemo. Oh how my heart weeps for my friends who have such pain. There is a purpose to it all and God has not abandoned them in their journey. All things will be brought together to glorify our Lord. I know it, but when the pain is overwhelming it is hard to be happy and content in all of our circumstances. "When the darkness closes in, still I will say: Blessed be the Name of the Lord."
Yesterday I ran some errands and then volunteered at Thrifters Rock for three hours. I may have made a few purchases too. I love volunteering and I get $1 an hour towards merchandise! Yesterday I was able to get exactly what Patrick and I were trying to find; hooks to hang his steins on. Mom noticed them and pointed them out. I was thrilled to find them. I paid about the same price for four of them as one costs at Lowes. Yay for thrift stores! I also got a brand new toilet seat for $2.50. (don't laugh, we needed one!) I also picked up our blood/bone marrow posters advertsing the next drive I am coordinating on February 12th. Today I am volunteering for an hour at the thrift store and an hour at the library. I just love it when I can give my time to others.
Last night I got to visit with a friend I hadn't seen in years. Michelle and I met at Children's Hospital in Seattle. Her son, Christopher, was diagnosed with ALL a short time before Logan. Chris was very, very ill and died on Mother's Day, just a few months after being diagnosed. It was a devestating loss for the Johnson Family and for all who knew and loved Chris. Logan was so sad about losing his friend and I am sure he was afraid for himself. It was good to catch up with Michelle again. Those of us who have lost our children can empathize with one another. We truly "get it" and can support each other on the bad days.
One of the girls who also had ALL at the same time, just had her second baby last night! Ariel was about 2-3 when she was diagnosed and she loved Logan. Ariel was a cute little girl and had a lot of spunk. I am so thankful that she survived and is now a mom of two little ones. What a blessing it is to see children survive leukemia. There is hope in all things. Ariel's legacy will continue through her children, and Logan and Chris will continue living on in our memories and the stories we share with their siblings, nieces, and nephews.
Sometimes the grief is overwhelming. Reliving memories with friends can be difficult. In my reading of "Jesus Calling" today, the author shares how important it is to have a cheerful heart. She says, "A joyful heart will improve your health-spritually, emotionally, and physically. So fill your mind with thankful thoughts until your heart overflows with joy." Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
I don't know about you, but I don't want dry bones. I want a cheerful heart that feeds my mind good and positive things about myself and my circumstances. Each day I am going to focus on being cheerful and happy. I will be kind to myself as well as think kindly of others. Today's sermon at church was about loving God, then others, and then ourselves. When we focus on God first, we are filled with peace and cheerfulness. I challenge you to try it!
A couple of weeks ago, I had a mammogram. A week later, I got a notice in the mail that there was an area of concern. I went in last Friday for an ultrasound. The radiologist relayed to the technician that she's sure it's benign and just to follow up in six months. I let Mayo know, because I would rather have the re-check there. Dr. Spencer just called me and said she wants me to see a breast surgeon just to make sure. So, add another doctor visit for me. I'm sure everything is fine.
This morning I found out Renee is doing fairly well at 79 day post-transplant. She's having quite a bit of stomach issues, but overall seemed very positive and encouraged. I shared with her I heard from Terri, who is having all sorts of issues with her AML/chemo side effects. Renee prayed for Terri while on the phone with me. I was astounded that she sat aside her own issues and worries and prayed for someone else. What an amazing Christian lady. Terri will be having surgery tomorrow on her knee. She has a bacterial infection in the fluid around her knee and in her blood stream. She also has fluid around her heart. Things are scary for her right now.
I heard from John's wife, and she said he had to go back into surgery. I am awaiting news and praying hard for him and all my friends.
I went over to Granny's today for a sewing lesson. If you know me well, you know crafty things are not my forte........ I can't even cut a straight line. I was doing fairly well until I wasn't.... We bagged it for the day. I'll finish it up another time. Poor Granny didn't feel well. She was very patient, but I'm sure frustrated with me.
Last night I went to my nephew Kyle's basketball game. I had a really good time with my family. I hadn't seen my brother and SIL since September. That's pretty sad when we live six miles apart. It was a fun time together and I'm so glad I went. I looked at Kyle out on the court and I couldn't help but feel some sadness. He wears 24 just like Logan did. Logan loved basketball and played it since he was very young. Kyle even looks a bit like Logan. Seeing him out there, brought back both good and sad memories. Logan's last basketball game was the first indication something wasn't quite right with him. He was very anemic (we didn't know that at the time) and struggled during his game. We all gave him a hard time for not playing better. My poor son.
Logan also loved baseball. That's another sport he played from the time he was old enough for T-Ball. He had a friend named Tyler whose father coached Logan the last couple years of his playing. At Logan's service, I gave Tyler a new testament that was inscribed as a memorial for Logan. Out of the blue- 17 years later, Tyler sent me a private FB message and asked me if I remembered him. He shared that he just came across the Bible and thought of Logan and wanted to reach out to me. I appreciated that so much. I don't think Tyler had any idea how much that meant to me to know that my son is still remembered fondly by his friends. They have not forgotten you, Logan! You were and are still so important to your family and your friends. What a blessing Tyler bestowed upon me when he reached out and shared his memories of his friendship with Logan.
As I am writing, I am looking at all the pictures next to my computer of my children. They were so beautiful and innocent. I wish I could go back and be a mom of young children again. I would do so many things differently. I would love them better. I would be more patient and tolerant. I would be less selfish and impatient. How I wish I could go back.
Circumstances and changes happen everyday. I try to enjoy each moment and not regret what has happened. I always had the philosopy of enjoying every moment of my childrens' growth and not mourn them getting older. I always have told that to friends/family who have dreaded their kids getting older. I say, "Each moment of age has it's advantages. Don't be sad they aren't babies anymore. Enjoy each second with them for each age is fun." But here I am with grown-up children wishing my kids were little again..... I guess it would be more helpful if I saw my kids and grandkids more often. I miss them!
Yesterday I invited myself out to see Casey and Kelsey's new house. It's so beautiful and I'm so proud of them for working so hard on it. When Casey showed me the garage with his tools, kayak, etc. I beamed with pride. He has his own garage for his own things! I think for a man, that's the realization of "I did it!" Kelsey has the house decorated so beautifully. Finally, she has a home of her own. I'm very happy for them.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to 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
God's love is forever and this mother's love is forever. One day, I will be reunited in Heaven with all my three children and there will be no mourning or disappointment. We will be together forever and it will be amazing.
Friday the 13th.... I have never been superstitious so this day doesn't bother me at all. I have been awake since 0400. It's not even 11:00 and I've done three miles on the treadmill, checked my e-mail, did more revisions in my book, and showered. Yay for me. Not...I think about all the people who have been at work for hours and feel like such a slacker.
I'm meeting a friend for coffee, dropping a box off at the post office to mail to Meghan, and then volunteering at the library for an hour. It's been a good week and things are going well. Yesterday I volunteered at Thrifters Rock and it was a lot of fun. It's great to see the many volunteers who take the time to come help set up. Life is fun and life is good. As long as I stay busy helping people, I am satisfied.
I am busy alright... I"m trying to coordinate the Blood/Bone Marrow Drive and it's stressing me out. I love it though. I need about 10 volunteers and I have to arrange the training too. I'm limited in what I can advertise at the church itself, so that makes it a little bit difficult. I need people to donate blood and I need people to get on the registry. I love these drives, but they are always a bit emotionally draining. Logan would love this though and I'm glad to do it so children like him can find a match.
Church was great today. The pastor talked about the importance of discipling people. It sure made me think about who I am helping to become a stronger Christian. I know he meant it to inspire us and it sure did inspire me to reach a little further than my comfort zone.
Yesterday was a GORGEOUS sunny and warm day. It was at least 20 and we had about 6 inches of snow. It was so beautiful. I shoveled the deck and three sets of stairs. I felt invigorated and accomplished. I took Ringo on a VERY short walk. I met a neighbor who lives just two houses down from me. She seemed very nice. I was embarrassed to learn she has lived there for 11 years and I had never met her. That is pathetic. What kind of neighbor am I!!! That in itself was a lesson to me.
I have nothing on my calendar tomorrow, so I plan on doing some housework and giving my book one last look before I submit my manuscript on Wednesday. Wow! The time has come. I am sure the editors will be making many suggestions of change, so it's going to be awhile before it's in print. But a book will be coming to you soon!
Martin Luther King Jr's birthday is being celebrated today. He truly was a great man. Thankfully I wasn't alive when people were forced to segregate according to race. I can't imagine witnessing blacks sitting in sections "with their own kind", unable to mingle with white people. I can't imagine being on a bus where blacks would have to either sit in the back, or give their seat to a white people. Discrimination and racism is a horrible thing and I want no part of it. I know that there are still racial tensions around the world and it saddens me that we can't all accept one another no matter the color of our skin is. Today I am thankful that Mr. King stood up for civil rights. He deserves to be honored.
My heart was happy this morning when I saw a video on FB of young college girls dressing up as Disney characters and visiting sick children in the hospital. How wonderful that is! I am fed up with seeing the news portraying all the movie stars and rich people. Who cares what they are doing? What matters most is what WE are doing to help our fellow man. Life isn't about how much jewelry we have. I saw that Kim Kardashian had millions of dollars in jewelry stolen. Who needs that much jewelry? It's stupid and ridiculous and I don't care. I care about people all over the world who are starving to death. I care about people who don't have homes. I care about people who are sick, who are dying, who are missing. I ask myself daily how I can help the less fortunate. THIS is what is important. We need to refocus our priorities.
We got snow dumped on us again. I am happily going to shovel this morning. I am thankful I am alive and well enough to do it. I am grateful.
I need a nap. I'm so tired today. Yesterday I kicked butt though! I walked three miles on the treadmill, vacuumed the whole house, cleaned two bathrooms, dusted the whole house, and shoveled two decks and three flights of stairs and then made dinner. Today I'm feeling it..... I still volunteered at Thrifters Rock, shoveled one deck, one flight of stairs, and attended two meetings. But, I am exhausted and need to nap badly.
God is good and faithful. Because of HIM, I coud do this.
Yesterday I got to go to Bible Study- "Connect" and really had a fantastic time. I have gotten to know more people since volunteering at Thrifters Rock so I feel more like I belong. Our church is so large that it makes it difficult to feel a part of "the group" unless you get involved in smaller groups. I suppose that's why Life Groups are recommended. I'm looking forward to getting to know even more people. Having a relationship with another Christian woman is so important to me. I like knowing I will be held accountable for my words and actions. I want to be discipled and I want to disciple others. God's been such a tremendous blessing in my life and I want to share my story so others can be blessed.
Today is my appointment with the breast surgeon. I am SURE everything is just fine, but it will be good to hear those words, "Nothing to worry about" from the expert. After my appointment, I will be visiting both John and Ingrid in separate hospitals. I can't wait to see them both. I know John is finally doing better. I believe Ingrid is having a rough time. My heart hurts for them both. I got a text from Terrie and she described her chemo as five hours of Hell. She needs prayers. She said her blasts have greatly increased. That is not good.
This morning I watched Joyce Meyer and she had Dr. Osteen on the program. (Joel's brother) He is a surgeon and he spoke about miracles he has witnessed. He said medicine and God go hand in hand. Sometmes God uses medicine to heal people, but God is always a part of it. I totally believe that. God can do instant miracles, but sometimes there is a lesson or reason why we are not instantly healed. He and Joyce both emphasized the need to pray to God to find out what God's plan is for us. I prayed that prayer when I was diagnosed in Idaho. God showed me that being in Idaho was the right place for me. The doors also opened for me at Mayo Clinic. God orchastrated the whole process. We must open our hearts and our minds to hear him as he directs us.
How do I sum up my day without writing an entire book? Before I drove to Anchorage for my appointment, I met Paula and Lisa for coffee. I hadn't met Lisa before, but Paula wanted us to meet. Lisa was diagnosed with AML in 1997, the same year Logan was diagnosed with ALL. Lisa's story was crazy! She was sick for months before they figured out what was wrong with her. What that poor lady went through, is unbelievable. It's a complete miracle she is alive. She acknowledged God was a huge part of her outcome. She was wonderful to talk to and she really blessed me with her story. It was SO good to see someone doing so well after all these years. Wow!
Finding parking and the breast surgeon's office was difficult. I drove around and around and around the parking lot before I found a spot. Finally, I parked and began walking. Some parking attendant came over and said, "you can't park here, its for valet parking only." So back in my car I went. Finally, I found a spot. There were no clear signs showing the door to get into the clinic. I walked into one area, only to find it went nowhere. At last I found my way into the building. I was freezing! While it was minus 17 at my house, it was only minus two in Anchorage,but I was still cold! I had to cross a sky bridge, take an elevator up to the fourth floor, walk some more, and then presented my ID and insurance card at the desk. After sitting there for 20 minutes, I was ushered into the doctor's office. She asked all the background information she could think of. She was astounded at the history of cancer on my mother's side. I was then directed into an exam room. She didn't find anything during the exam that concerned her. But she did not like the radiology report from our local hospital. There were contradictions in the report. She asked me if I would be okay repeating the ultrasound with a technician she knew and trusted. I still felt it was overkill, but knew I should probably see this through. They got me scheduled right away. I asked for directions and was told I could either drive or take the sky bridge. I chose to walk. After what seemed forever, I finally go to the desk to check in.
I was told I was at the wrong department.... so I kept walking despite my frustration. Finally! I was in the right place. They took my slides and reports and asked me to wait while they uploaded them. Twenty minutes later, I was told it would be another ten minutes or so. By this time it was 1:00 and I hadn't eaten since 0700 and my blood sugar was crashing. I went to get a sandwich. I was able to finish it before they called me back.
I was told to take off "everything from the waist up" and put on the lovely gown with the opening in the front and have a seat in the semi-private waiting room. There was one lady sitting there. I thought, "should I make a joke, or just sit here awkwardly?" I could have said, "oh, we shopped at the same store! Or don't you just love these designer gowns?" I chose to sit in awkward silence instead. I hid my embarrassment when maintenance men walked through the room with their eyes diverted. I'm sure they were just as uncomfortable. Soon, I was called out of the uncomfortable waiting room and my ultrasound was performed. I was again directed to sit in the waiting area. I was called into another room where I was given the good news that everything was normal. Thank you, God!
It was time to go through the maze to find my car. I retraced my steps, went up the D elevators, crossed over the sky bridge and turned right. I was a bit confused so I stopped. An employee asked if he could help me. I told him I was trying to find the parking garage. He told me to go the other way, take the B elevator and I will find the garage. I followed his directions to a T. I found the parking garage, but it wasn't the parking garage I had parked at. I was back at the main hospital. I retraced my steps again. I asked a different person who had me turn the way I was originally going to go. Finally, success was mine. I found my car. I was close to crying because I was so frustrated with myself. Normally I have a good sense of direction. Not today! Parking garages do tend to throw me off though. Mom and I got lost in the parking garage at AK Regional the first time we went. We made the mistake of not looking at the floor we were on. I swear they could really use better sineage than they do.
Ingrid had her sister send me a text to tell me she was in too much pain to visit with me. I was disappointed I couldn't visit her, but I certainly understood. I went to see John. He was in good spirits and was told he might be released this weekend! I'm so glad he's doing better. His wife and I went on a walk around the floor Did THAT ever bring back memories! Good grief.
Snow, snow, snow..... I shoveled two decks and three flights of stairs again. Maybe I can finally get some muscles in my floppy skinny arms. I shoveled Granny's deck yesterday and of course it snowed again. Hopefully someone will take care of it as I'm not sure when I can get back over there.
We are having friends over tonight and I'm happy that we can visit with people. Not many people come over and I get pretty darn lonely. I have the table all set and most of the food prepared. Patrick nicely agreed to mop the floors for me so that was a lifesaver for sure.
It is 0430 and I have been awake since 0330. I am tired of being tired. I am fed up with not sleeping. I finally fell asleep last night about 11:30 p.m. and slept sporadically until 0330. It has got to be the Prednisone. I sent Dr. Hogan a message this morning, begging to be tapered off of it. My joints are feeling so much better. I really, really need to sleep!
We had a nice time with our friends on Saturday night. I love visiting with people and I was happy to host the dinner party. I talked everyone into playing a game called, "Spousology". Basically, it is questions and answers for each couple. It was an easy game for we three couples and we all tied. It's a good way to know if you really know your spouse! I could also see how this game could get some couples in trouble......It's interesting how we look at things differently, isn't it!
Later this morning I will be going to stuff "goody bags" for the homeless in our community. Tomorrow is Homeless Connect and I will be volunteering for that most of the day. We got many donations and I am so excited to be a part of this great event. It's the 7th year United Way has headed this project. People don't realize how many homeless people there are in Alaska. Many of them just "couch surf" from house to house. The lucky ones do anyway. Others are forced to live in tents or broken down cabins or in doorways of buildings. It's incredible how many teenagers don't have homes. It's heartbreaking for sure. There are many reasons why people are homeless. Some have lost jobs, some may be mentally ill, some on drugs and some struggle with alcoholism. No matter the reason, it is our responsibility as a community (especially Christians) to assist those in need.
"Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed into the enternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you did not clothe me. I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me." They also will answer, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or in prison and did not help you?" He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." (Matthew 25:41-45)
My prayer for today, "Lord, help those in our communities who do not have food, clothing, or shelter. It's cold outside and I can't imagine what it would be like not to have a warm house and a refrigerator full of food. Parents are desperate right now because they don't have enough food for their children. Their kids are hungry and they don't have enough warm clothes. These children get made fun of at school because they don't have nice clothes like their classmates. Both parents and children are feeling desperate right now because they need a warm place to sleep in. They need beds, food, and clothing, and they don't see a way out of the poverty. Help us be good stewards. Help us to be mindful of other's situations. Open our eyes to the people around us who need to be loved and helped. Help us to become selfless rather than selfish. Help ME focus on others before myself. I pray that many will be served tomorrow and the community will see the love of Jesus in all of us. Thank you for providing for my needs."
IT IS DONE! I submitted my manuscript yesterday. Oh my goodness, I am so excited!!! Of course I know I will have editing to do and there are still things to finalize, but the hardest part is over. Thank you, Jesus!
Yesterday, many of us gathered together to stuff "goody bags" for the homeless. We had donated canvas bags and we put shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, snacks, toilet paper, etc. in each one. We did 300 bags. Today is the big event and I will be there. Since I can't be around crowds, I am in charge of monitoring the volunteer food. I will tell you that I would much rather be in the midst of the needy and ministering to them. I would love to hear their stories and offer them hope and encouragment. But I have to be smart about my health and remain upstairs away from the main crowd. Some day I will be "fully operational" again.
I spoke with Terrie this morning. She was told that she does indeed need a bone marrow transplant. She sounded completely confused about the whole process. I feel bad for her. I know how overwhelming it can be. I went into my treatment with a deep understanding because of Logan's experience. I can't imagine how I would have coped if I didn't have a grasp of the process. My heart hurts for her.
I heard from Rebecca, who is taking care of her mom, Linn, who also has AML. Linn will be having her transplant next week. Rebecca told me about another lady from Wasilla who just had a transplant for AML. I feel the need to do something. I truly wish I could start a non-profit to help others with cancer. I planned to after Logan died, but I just never had the energy to start it up. I really don't have the knowledge either. I wish I had someone to walk me through the process because I really would like to start the Logan J. Marre Foundation to assist others with cancer expenses.
God is good and I pray he shows me how I can help others.
My day started off a little depressing. I learned about the death of a woman's son from a drug overdose. I then learned about the daughter of a friend who is being treated for heroin use. But then I learned that one of the men I've been praying for, the son of another friend, is doing fantastic and thriving in his walk with God, but he is in prison for five years. He needs this time to be sober and grow in the Lord so he may be able to resist the drugs when he is released. Another friend told me about someone she thinks of as a son, who was just sentenced to two years in prison for drug use. This was all in one day!
But my day got more inspiring as I saw on the volunteers who came to help with Homeless Connect. There were more volunteers than there were clients! Not a bad thing for sure. What I loved most was all the teens that were there to help. They were absolutely adorable and so willing to assist us in any way we needed. When things look grim and you see all the bad stories about teens, just think about our little town in Wasilla, Alaska and know that there are good teens in our community!
I was utterly exhausted by 1:30 p.m. I finally left at 2:00. I hit the wall. I crashed for an hour, but felt "weird" all night. I think I'm just super tired. The nights without sleeping and my volunteer duties are wearing me out. I don't have much on my schedule today except for bible study and then a teleconference for training for the upcoming bone marrow drive.
Yesterday I lost everything I had written while in my ocologist's office. It's such a frustrating thing to have happen, but the good news I got overshadowed my disappointment. All my blood tests were absolutely perfect. Leuk has definitely been destroyed. I believe I am completely healed and I give God all the credit for that. I never cease to be amazed by him. I still am not sure why "I" made it and so many didn't, but God has a plan for my life and I guarantee you, I am going to follow his plan. On my way home, I finally had a revelation about my life. Remember how I have struggled trying to figure out my purpose? Honestly, I'm still not sure what exactly my life is going to look like, but I finally realized that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. God knew 30 years ago that I was going to be diagnosed with leukemia. He KNEW! That means that everything is planned out with his timing, his goals for me, HIS purpose. I am exactly where I am supposed to be and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Wow! What a revelation that is. I am where I am supposed to be.......But there is still one problem. I am continually searching for what I'm supposed to be doing in the future. I thought there was nothing wrong with planning ahead, afterall, I have always been a planner. But last night, I was looking at a scholarship applicaton and told Patrick that maybe I should get my graduate degree in social work afterall. He shocked me when he honestly and openly shared that he is so frustrated with me beccause I can't just let things happen- I'm always trying to do more than I should. He said, "Why can't you just be happy being home and volunteering to help others? Why do you think you have to do more?" Wow! I thanked him for sharing that with me. He usually keeps his thoughts to himself. I shared my revelation earlier that day with him. He looked at me like he thought I was nuts because I believed my revelation, but was still looking at jobs, returning to school, etc. I'll be honest with you- I am CONFUSED!!!! I know I am where I'm supposed to be, but does that mean I shouldn't look ahead and plan for the future? Just when I thought I had it all figured out, he pointed out I am still striving for more. I'm seriously confused. There's a purpose in everything and I want to obey God's purpose for me.. Someone help me! :)
The current bible study I am attending is helping me figure things out. Obviously, due to my struggle, I am going to need to attend ALL sessions.....Anita Keagy has quite a story. She was a good Christian girl, the daughter of a preacher. She followed Godly principles without argument. She did everything right until prom night. That night, she let the wordly desires take over, and she became pregnant the first time she allowed herself to be compromised. Anita knew that she was in no position to raise a child. She did the most loving thing she could do, she gave her baby girl up for adoption. She knew many people could not have children and she sacrificed her desire to raise the baby herself so that her daughter could be in a two parent home and loved unconditionally. She mourned her decision for years. She wanted a relationship with that baby girl. At last, she received a letter from her daughter. She treasured that letter and she devoured it continuously She couldn't wait for a more in depth relationship with her daughter. Soon, God spoke to her and told her he wanted her to feel that way about HIS letters. What a wake-up call to me. If we were that enthusiastic about GOD'S letters and we devoured HIS words, what a difference it would make in our lives, right?
We tend to go to God when things get bad, right? We cry out, "Where are you God?" Why did you leave me? Why aren't you fixing this? Why did my loved one die?" What if we went to God ALL the time? What if we would seek him when things are going well too? What if we read his letters to us every day and meditated on his words? Would our thoughts and lives be changed? Would our relationships with others improve and mature? Would we start sharing God's love with others more? Would we be kinder to others and ourselves? I think we would. What if we treated God like our best friend? What if we went to him when we feel lonely and scared?
There have been many, many times since I have been sick that I have felt lonely. Many of my friends work or they are just too busy to entertain me all the time. I have Ringo and he's great to hang out with, but he doesn't talk because he's a dog. Many times I have cried because I was lonely and had no one to visit with. (Sounds pathetic, doesn't it!) I didn't use God to feel the voids. I just whined about how lonely I was. I didn't hear his voice saying, "Kelly, I am here. Want to go on a walk with ME?" Nope, I just whined and felt sorry for myself because I felt "friendless" at times. He was there all along wanting to have a deeper relationship with me. If I had read his "letters" to me, I would have felt fulfilled rather than empty. When we surround ourselves with other Christians (like at bible study) or just spend time alone with God, our moods greatly improve.
I was able to share my revelations with someone I care about this morning. He is someone my family has known for years. This person has had a lot of problems over the past several years because of his drug addiction. I have prayed for him and many, many others for years. This morning Cam called me and shared with me that his wife has put her foot down and demanded he treat her with respect. I had to hold my tongue while he shared his heart. I asked him if I could speak the truth in love to him. My spirit prayed that my tongue would speak the words of truth without making him feel bad. I told him I was happy his wife put her foot down and it was about time she stood up for herself. I told him that even though he has never physically hit her, his anger, his emotions, his words, and his actions have been very emotionally abusive and it is considered domestic violence. I told him that he has to get his heart right with God before healing could take place. I don't know details, but I know he's done awful, awful things because of his addiction. I know he has self-hatred. I know he was raised in a Christian home, but has not allowed God into his heart for years, mostly because he feels he is unlovable and unworthy. He said he desires a deeper relationship with God, but when he prays, he is overcome with doubt because he hears a voice that tells him he doesn't deserve to be free from sin. You know how God puts things in front of us to help us? Sometimes we wonder why we choose to watch a certain program, listen to lyrics of a song, attend a bible study, or listen to someone speak. Well I have figured it out. God puts things in our lives so we may share our revelations with others. This week I was watching Joyce Meyer. I was a bit annoyed because I had seen the same program several times. But Joyce was talking about rebuking that bad thoughts that come into our minds and keep us from praying and really listening to God. I told Cam that when those thoughts come into his mind, he audibly say, "Get away from me Satan! You are slime and I despise you", then to just say, "Sorry, God, I got temporarilly distracted. Back to you- what were you saying?" He laughed and said he thought that was a good idea. I asked him what he thought "praying without ceasing" meant. Being the intelligent and intuitive person he is, he answered wisely. But then I took it a step further and shared with him how I talk to God all day long. God is my best friend! I don't do anything without running it by God first. (yes sometimes I don't listen well) I encouraged him to ask God to give him words everytime he speaks to his wife. Where the was anger and bitterness, give him love and kindness. Where there was hopelessness, give them hope. I also shared with him that God has been giving me visions of he and his wife for years. Visions of them standing in front of hundreds, with their arms wrapped around each other, sharing their story of how God healed their marriage and healed Cam from addiction. Their story is a powerful one, because it's a story of God's faithfulness, and they can use it to save marriages and save lives. I believe Cam is alive only because God has a purposeful plan for his life and for their marriage. God's amazing and I wish everyone knew how amazing he is.
Patrick and I had a wonderful time at the cabin. It was very relaxing and we got a couple walks in. The weather was fantastic and we took advantage of the 30 degrees and went for a nice walk across frozen Johnson Lake. While we were basking in the balmy weather in Kasilof, our home in Wasilla was getting pounded with snow. We came home to about 6-8 inches which meant Patrick had to plow the drive and I shoveled decks and stairs. I didn't mind though. It's great exercise and the snow looks so pretty.
On the way through Anchorage, I saw a sign at Brown's Electric that read, "Be the kind of person you needed when you were a child." I pondered that for awhile and came up with many different scenarios. For some, it could mean be a mother or a father, a brother or a sister, a teacher, a confident, a friend, a mentor, a disciple, etc. So many things. Basically, think of it this way, many had sad childhoods and a good influence was needed. BE THAT PERSON! Give back in areas you lacked assistance. You might know how it feels to be hungry, unloved, not cared for, not listened to.....Give a child the gift you didn't have. Change a generation! Make a difference in the life of one, and you will make a difference in the lives of many.
Yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with Lisa, who is 19 years post-transplant. Lisa and I were sharing our appreciation for being alive and healthy. She said she still feels amazement for surviving. She had an awful time while going through AML treatment and her bone marrow transplant. She greatly suffered from GVHD. We talked about how we really do want to make a difference in the life of another. I shared with her my dream of opening the Logan J. Marre Foundation. She encouraged me to do it. I have had this desire since we lost Logan. I want to raise money so that cancer patients in the Mat-Su Valley can be blessed by his foundation. Honestly, I just don't know where to start so I havent started it! Maybe now is the time. Perhaps I can sell lots of my books and use the money to start this foundation. I wish I had someone to guide me on the path. If God wants me to do this he will send the right people my way.
The last day of January. I have enjoyed this month, but I have to admit, I am exhausted. I have really hit the wall the past several days. I am beyond fatigued. I am no longer frustrated with my limitations. I accept them and know I am right where I am supposed to be. I am still volunteering, I am still spending time with my husband, I am still involved in various activities, and I'm still keeping up with my household duties. I am thankful! I am thankful I have a house, food to eat, clothes to wear, and people in my life who love me.
God's timing is his timing. He has blessed me tremendously and I am grateful and humbled.
When I was a kid I devoured Trixie Belden mysteries. Trixie was a teenager who spent her time sleuthing and solving all kinds of mysteries. I remember in one book, she made a wish the night before, said "Rabbit, Rabbit" the first thing the next morning and her wish of another mystery came true. Now that sounds a little silly, but wouldn't it be awesome if our desires were answered that easily? Instead of saying "Rabbit, Rabbit", try saying, "Jesus, Jesus." The desires of our heart may not be instantly granted, but if we ask in the name of Jesus and that's what HE desires for us, it really can be that simple. Sometimes we ask for silly things- a new car, new clothes, better relationship, etc. Obviously our human hearts are selfish and we tend to desire material items. But what if we genuinely desired spirital things? Can you imagine what a blessing we woud be to those around us?
I am thinking more and more about God's purpose and plan for my life. Three times on Monday I was hit with similar messages from three different people. If that's not God, I don't know what is. Here is one text I received:
Kelly, Believe in me and the truth of my words! There will always be times of questioning, but no matter what, trust my words of truth that come from the father above. Keep coming to me. Take me in. My spirit is with you. Relax and stop evaluating and judging yourself. Let my prescence flow through you. You are filled with my spirit. Keep your eyes on me and stop focusing on the past regrets or future fears. The most important work I want you to do right now is to believe in your heavenly father who sent me. Know that I am your bread and I am enough. For today, come to me. Rest in me and feed on my words. I love you! (From God)
This was the third message I had on Monday that was directed to ME. The first was Joyce Meyer's program, followed by Andrew Womack's program. It was pretty darn obvious God had me in mind when I watched those programs and also when I got the text in a group text. Other people may have seen those programs and read that text, but I am telling you, God used these people to share his message for me in exciting ways.
The biggest issue I have right now, is knowing whether God wants me just to sit back and enjoy the ride, or start looking for employment in the future. Am I supposed to wait for someone to come to me and offer me the position God wants me in, or am I supposed to seek it out? If I start seeking employment (I'm not even released from my doctor at this time) does that mean I don't have faith that God has a plan? But if I don't, does that mean I am not doing my part? God doesn't like the trait of laziness in people. Am I being lazy? I have heard all these messages, but what am I to do? I think God is telling me to continue studying his word and grow in my faith. I really think the answer will become clear, all in HIS timing.
Last night I received a text from Ingrid that broke my heart. She invited me to come see her in the hospital. She said, "My doctors and family decided I won't go home again. I'll die here." Oh Lord, have mercy on your faithful servant, Ingrid. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. She is a strong Christian woman. I don't understand why you didn't heal her like you healed me. Your plans are perfectly aligned just as you meant them to be, but we don't understand why some people like Ingrid and Logan aren't healed and others are. Basically, life on earth is unfair and unjust. It doesn't always make sense. But Father God, we know you love Ingrid and we know you love her family. I am thankful she has this time to be with them and say goodbye. I know they are making the most of their time together and I am thankful that they are able to say what they want to say to one another. Sometimes people are taken from us without warning and we never get to say our goodbyes. Thank you for not leaving Ingrid and her family during this time. When I see Ingrid today, help me to say your words to her. Help me be a blessing to her. Help me to encourage her. Let her not see me focusing on MY pain and sorrow. Let your words of mercy and encouragement flow out of my mouth.
Ingrid looked beautiful and she was so happy and content yesterday. She spoke of her upcoming death matter of factly. She has no fear of death itself, but expressed fear of the pain that is often present. While I was there, a doctor who specializes in alternative pain relief, came in to talk to her and offered several suggestions. I am hopeful he will help her come up with a plan to ease the sometimes unbearable pain. I told Ingrid I am a little bit jealous she gets to see Jesus and Logan before I do. She laughed in understanding. Our visit was meaningful.
I saw that there was a "march for life" last week and 325 showed up in Palmer. The week before, 1000 showed up for the Women's Match - protesting our president and demanding the right to choose abortion. So 700 more people care about women's rights more than the rights of our unborn children. This breaks my heart. I think of Brianna who has tried to have a baby for years. She's had multiple miscarriages. Finally she's pregnant, but her baby has a genetic condition which could cause another miscarriage or possibly physical or mental defects. Brianna and her husband are hopeful and they love this baby. I think of Daniele who has had at least two miscarriages and desires a baby. I think of Toni who adopted two boys after years if infertility. I think about so many who desire a child and I think about all the babies who are killed each year knowing they could have had wonderful homes. It is so wrong on so many levels.
My friend Ingrid is fighting for her life. Her body will soon give up, but her spirit will live forever. Ingrid fights because she values life. Life begins at conception. Let's value life every day. You were given this life for a reason. Value your own life and the lives of others.
I have had a wonderful, yet very busy week. I have no idea how I used to work full-time and also be involved in community events. I barely have the energy for the events now! It's all fun and enjoyable, but man, I am tired!
My great-aunt Toni died today. She was one of my granny's younger sisters. Aunt Toni used to teach my kids how to paint rocks. She was very creative and did a tremendous job of it. She's been ill for quite some time. What I regret the most is that I didn't get in touch with her before she died. I planned to send a card today. I feel like a pretty lame niece. I have written about the importance of telling loved ones that they are loved, yet I failed miserably myself. I worry about Granny as she is the oldest of all her siblings and so many have died. I know she wonders why she is still here and they are not. It's a feeling I know all too well. It will be important for me to spend extra time with her the next week as she struggles through the emotional roller coaster.
I made a video with Lisa today informing people of the bone marrow registry coming up. Lisa is the lady I recently met who is a 19 year post-transplant survivor. She's so sweet and I'm thankful Paula introduced us.
Tomorrow I am volunteering at the library in the morning, and then will have the United Way Masquerade Gala in the evening. If I don't get a nap, I will be nodding off at 6:00 p.m. like usual....
I'm happy to share that I made it until 10:00 p.m. Saturday night. The fundraiser for United Way was very fun. I was saddened to hear that many decided not to come because we weren't serving alcohol. I was sad because it's a shame that people think you have to drink to have fun. UW took a stand in our community against substance abuse and alcoholism. We wanted to show that we CAN have fun without using mind altering substances to "relax". For those who didn't come, they missed out on a really good time!!!
I was worried about the event because of my low stamina. I had a busy weekend and I somewhat dreaded it because I was worried about my fatigue level. My saturday started off volunteering at the library, then I went to visit my friend John in the ICU. John recently had surgery for his esophagus cancer. He ended up being in AK Regional two weeks longer than expected. He went home for a day and a half, and was rushed back to the local hospital for a heart rate of 190 beats per minute! They actually had to shock his heart. John is such a good guy and he's had a very rough time. It was good to see him.
After our visit, I managed to sleep for just under an hour. I was concerned it wouldn't be enough, but I did okay. Sunday I had to be at church bright and early to set up my table to register people for the blood drive next Sunday. I was disappointed that only a couple people out of HUNDREDS signed up to donate blood. I hope that our schedule fills up soon. There's such a need out there and I can't comprehend why healthy people won't give the gift of life. I'm so tired of hearing, "I am afraid of needles." Well you know what? Perhaps the person GETTING the blood is afraid of needles too, but maybe getting blood is the only thing standing between life and death for them. If they don't get it, they will die. Giving blood (and bone marrow as well) are two of the most selfless acts people can do for one another. Today I heard about a nanny who gave part of her liver to the little girl she takes care of. What a selfless thing to do.
We finished our Sunday up by hosting a party to celebrate my dad and brother's birthday and the Super Bowl of course. I spent a lot of time cooking and cleaning. Patrick picked Granny up and brought her over. We had a lovely afternoon together. I was exhausted and couldn't wait to go to bed. I was just ready for bed when my blood sugar dropped down to 57. I had to drink juice and eat a banana. I needed to change my insulin site, so I pulled it out. A geyser of blood shot out and I had to have Patrick bandage me up. I was soaked in blood. At last, I crawled into bed at 7:30 p.m. and fell into an exhausted slumber.
This morning I watched both Joyce Meyer and Andrew Wommack while on the treadmill. Both of them had the same message as our pastor did at church yesterday. Evidently I was supposed to hear it! The gist of it all is being a good person and a friend to everyone. The pastor and Joyce Meyer talked about Face Book and how we have little "competitions" about how many friends we have on FB. Pastor Jonathan pointed out that they aren't true intimate friends, because how many can truly have 1,000 plus intimate friends?! We have a few select friends that we choose to share things with. We have to be able to trust them before we share our intimate thoughts and feelings with them, right? How many of us have been "burned" by someone who shares our secrets? I imagine we have all had that happen from time to time. The biggest person we have to trust and share our secrets with is Jesus, of course. When we reach for Jesus, rather than the phone, we find healing, comfort, and friendship. Jesus is the best friend we can have and he's definitely the most trusted.
We also have to have good character to be a good friend. Andrew Wommack gave the example of a mother having problems with her teenage son. She invited Wommack to her home and he witnessed her attitude towards her son. He pointed out to her that the way she talked to him and treated him, afffected their relationship. He suggested that although we are supposed to be kind to everyone, that we show our families more love behind closed doors than we do when we are being scrutinized by the public. How easy it is to put on a facade in public that we have this wonderful and perfect family, but behind closed doors, we are rude to one another, critical, and emotionally distant. When I hear about people having difficulties in their marriage, I encourage them to treat their spouse the way they would their best friend. If we treated our best friends ugly, they wouldn't be our best friends for very long, right? We have to show our spouses AND our children love, compassion, encouragement, and respect.
In order to love as Jesus commanded us to, we have to love ourselves. Jesus says, "Love your neighbors as you love yourself." If you hate yourself, how can you love? Jesus isn't telling us to have the "proud and conceited" kind of love for ourselves, but to love ourselves as he loves us. When we love ourselves, we can truly love someone else. Twice in two days I have heard this, "Jesus does not love us equally." SHOCKING! Parents are supposed to not have "favorites" or to love one child more than an other. I believe that Jesus loves us UNIQUELY! He doesn't love us the same because we are all different. We have unique traits and characteristics. We are not cookie cutter people like the gingerbread men. No, we are special and unique. We have different gifts that he has given us. So often we don't like certain traits about ourselves, but those traits are part of our character. Learn to accept them and share them with others. Now, there are some exceptions here! If you have a "trait" of bitterness and anger, that is NOT a trait God gave you when he created you. That is not from God. Work on that and don't make the excuse, "Well God made me that way." Oh no he didn't! But don't beat yourself up for it either and make it a "character flaw'. Work on it, conquer the oppression, and use it to share how God brought you out of it! We are all to use our experiences and our journeys to help others who are walkig similiar paths. It's all for "his purpose." "For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)Whatever you may be going through, if you let him, God will work it into something good.
Yesterday I spent 10.5 hours editing and proofing my book. I got the first editing round comments back from the publishing company. Overall, my book was in good shape and the editor seemed please. There were some minor changes; clarifications and expansions on some areas to fix. But I chose to reread the manuscript and made some other changes. I worry that I didn't give certain people enough credit. I don't want anyone to have hurt feelings.
I got a nice call from Casey in the middle of my work. He is working nights and is having trouble sleeping during the day. He was asleep until he got woken up by several text messages. He sounded good overall and we had a really nice chat. It always warms my heart to get a call from my children.
I was asleep by 7:30 again last night. Still no stamina for this gal. I was up at 0420 this morning and completed my exercise regime by 0545. Now I need to pay some bills, straighten up the house, go to the store, and go to bible study- all by 10:00! I have company coming over this afternoon. Three sweet girls I have known forever are coming over with their children. One of them is Ariel. We met Ariel at RMH. She had ALL like Logan. She is completely healed and the mother of two children. Praise God!
Patrick's cat woke me up at 0330 today. I laid in bed until 0400, then decided there was no point in remaining in bed as I was wide awake. I have breakfast cooking on the stove for Patrick. Hopefully he slept through it all since he has to work today.
I had a wonderful visit with Jaylin, Ariel, and Kate. Their kids are all so cute and it was fun to hear the sounds of children in this house again. Ariel shared with us that she met her husband at a camp for kids with cancer. Yes, he had had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma when he was 13. We never can understand why children get cancer. But if these two hadn't gotten it, they never wouldn't have met and had two beautiful children. "And we know that in all things God works for thh good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Again, there is good in everything. Hallelujah! What a story they share.
Yesterday I had to upload some more things for my book. I have minimal expeience with track changes so it took me awhile to figure out how to accept them all, delete the editors comments, and re-upload it. I also had to submit an author's photograph. I think the best pictures of me are the ones BEFORE I got sick. But that's like cheating and showing a picture of oneself at 20 when you are really 50.....That's how different I look now. I sent them three to choose which one formatted best.
I took an hour nap after my company left yesterday, then fell asleep around 7:30 p.m. again. I have this new habit of napping from 7:30-9:30, then going to bed at 9:30. I guess I may as well just climb in bed at 7:30. I am so very tired all the time. I wish I had more energy. I hope I have more energy next week when we are vacationing with the girls.
This morning I am volunteering at Thrifters Rock with my mom, then will spend a couple hours at Granny's house sorting through her pictures again. Another busy day. My nephew has a basketball game tonight and I want to go to it, but it starts at 7- my bedtime!
While listening to my praise music this morning, the words to the song, "Just Be Held" resonated with my soul. I finally figured out what they really mean. Here are the words, "I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held." It took a long time for me to really understand what this means. We often use the idiom, "Just hanging on by a thread" or "barely holding on." Jesus is telling us NOT to hold on. He's telling us to let go of whatever is bothering us and just let him hold us. Does this give you as much peace as it does me? I love this! I can't believe I never thought about it so deeply before.
Most of the things I looked forward to, but yet dreaded because of fatigue, came and went and I made it through! It was a terribly busy week and I had to force myself to do everything I had committed to doing. I have one last activity today; the bone and blood marrow drive. I will be working at the church for 7 hours. I am exhausted just thinking about it. I hope it will be a success. We have used social media to advertise it, I wrote an article in the People to People paper, and I advertised it in the Frontiersman. I hung up several posters as well. Unfortunately, I have only had one phone call from someone I don't know who was interested in giving blood. He was adorable! 74 years old and the first time he has donated blood. I am so impressed! I hope that people actually stop in today to donate blood as well as register for the bone marrow registry. Frankly I have been disappointed at the lack of response and enthusiasm for this drive. There are many people out there desperate for a bone marrow match. It's so easy to save a live and I have no idea why anyone would ever hesitate to be a hero.
I am marching forward and headed out. Tomorrow I will be basking in the sun with my dear husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two precious grandchildren. I am praying the sun gives me back some strength I seem to have lost. Happy Sunday to you all.
I let a few days go by without writing. I have tried to spend every moment i can with the girls. Yesterday, Meghan and I took them to the beach while the guys went fishing. Then later, Patrick and i watched them while Meg and Kirk went out to dinner. Unfortunately I went to bed during the second time we were left in charge. It was 7:30 and my bed time. I hate that I am so tired. I never want to miss out on anything!
Many of Kirk and Meghan's friends are here, but I also got to visit with a friend from Alaska. My friend mike was here a week before we got here and he's leaving today. It was fun seeing him here. I also ran into a friend from church at the airport. I guess maui is the place to be!
The last update I had on ingrid was the end time is very near. It is a wake-up call for me to enjoy every single moment I have. Ingrid is not going to live to see her first grandchild and that hurts my heart. This week is extra special for me because I am able to be here- on earth-AND on vacation with my granddaughters. I am no more special than Ingrid and I can't explain why I am here when so many don't survive. I have a long list of friends who need serious prayer. So many are fighting to survive. My focus must remain on helping everyone I can and certainly my prayers must earnestly continue.
Today I will be the best wife, mother, and Grammie I can be.
What a joy it is to have so much time with the girls. We are thankful Meghan and Kirk let us take them for several hours a day. The last couple of days we have all gone to the beach together, and then Patrick and I take the girls with us so meg and Kirk can stay with their friends. It's been a blast! Ailynn has such a cute personality, and Ollie never ceases to amaze us with her intelligence.
Today would have been the wedding they all came over for. Unfortunately, the bride cancelled the event three weeks ago, after everyone went to a great deal of expense to be here. I feel very sorry for the groom. I believe we are all getting together tonight for a barbecue to support and encourage him. One thing about Meghan and Kirk's friends is they all stick together. They love and encourage one another.
My energy level seems to be a bit better. I haven't had to take a nap during the day. I'm still ready for bed by 7:30, but it seems to be working okay. Tonight I hope I can stay up till 10!
My friend Ingrid is now in Heaven. None of us wanted her to leave. She was young, highly intelligent, competent, loving, and a good person. She was expecting her first grandchild next month. The cancer that attacked her body was vicious and cruel. It caused her great pain and discomfort. Cancer sucks and I hate it. But it didn't defeat her, her soul is in Heaven and she is seeing her loved ones and Jesus right now. Her face lit up when she told me how excited she was to see Jesus. She told me she would hug Logan for me. What a precious sight I evision . I will miss my friend.
There are so many people I pray for each day. They are truly battling to live. I just don't understand how so many could participate in harmful activities when others are desperate to be healthy. I was awarded a grant to go to Atlanta in April for a substance abuse summit. The information I learn there will help me be more successful in helping people with drug addictions. These are the people who are throwing their lives away. I am desperate to help them. I cannot help a cancer patient get better, but I hope to help a drug addict get better.
God has many plans for me during this continued recovery time.
I do believe I forgot to mention we registered 30 people on Be the Match. Perhaps one of them will save a life like mine! We also had a good turnout for the blood drive. The Blood Bank wants to come each quarter. I would love to arrange it, but it's a lot of work! It would be nice to have a helper.
Our last full day and night here. How do we say goodbye to these precious little granddaughters of ours? We will have to make the most of every moment today.
Yesterday and a Patrick and I took a drive to Hana. It was a long, narrow, winding road. It was nice to explore together. Today we will all be together and fill up on loves and snuggles to hold us over.
we have lots of snow plowing and shoveling to look forward to when we get home...
The struggle is real. It's 0200 and I am sitting in the jeep in the parking lot of the condo trying to sleep. There is no escaping the snoring or the restless leg syndrome of my dear husband when we are on vacation. At home I can go to a different room- i don't have that luxury tonight. I did not want my last night in Hawaii to be a night without sleep. I want to be awake and fresh to spend the last few days with our girls. I tried to go sleep on a lounge chair by the pool, but they have a chain on the door!
I survived my lack of sleep. Our day yesterday ended up being a little bit chaotic which is not what any of us wanted. Meghan was notified that their flight had been delayed by six hours! This was not welcome news, for what was she to do with those girls and no condo to stay in? She insisted the accomodate her with a different flight. Kirk had to go back to work today. Fortunately, they did put her on Hawaiin Air and they arrived home sooner than their original flight was going to arrive. But that flight came with a price....She had one hour notice to get to the airport! We hadn't even loaded any of our suitcases. Patrick was in charge of conducting the last sweep of the condo for forgotten items. That didn't work well with me being a control freak... But he remembered my phone charger, I-Pod, and I-Pad I left by the dresser. I am impressed. We didn't really get to say goodbye to the girls. We rushed to the airport to help them. They were in such a hurry all we got was a quick kiss and hug and off they went. Perhaps it's better this way because I would have cried and then they would have cried. I miss them so much.
As I sat there the day before we left, I gazed at the girls playing on the beach. I thought, "How did I get so blessed?" There I was, sitting on a beach ALIVE and doing well. I am so so thankful. I thought about Ingrid and how badly she wanted to live. She died before the birth of her first grandchild. I could hear her sweet voice telling me to enjoy every moment and not get upset about the little things. Losing someone to death is always a reminder of how important it is to live life to the fullest.
We ended up just staying at the airport for the few hours before our plane left. We made the best of our time by reading our books. The flight home was great. I didn't have a child hitting the back of my seat this time. Despite the lack of sleep the night before, I really couldn't sleep. I dozed off for short periods of time occasionally. My blood sugar dropped to 39! The flight attendants were definitely attentive. They brought me fruit and juice and checked on me several times. I appreciate that so much. I will be sending in a great review for them.
When we got home, Ringo cried like a baby.. He wrapped his paws around me and cried and cried. I think he has flashbacks to when I was gone for all those months. Poor baby. He's going to be sad when I leave again in a couple of weeks. Patrick has a business trip to Texas and I am going along. Last year I didn't get to celebrate my birthday because I was in the hospital. This time we are celebrating my birthday in Louisiana! We are driving there after his conference is over. I am excited.
Yesterday I had the priviledge of attending "Mental First Aid for Adults". It was a fabulous eight hour training that provided the average "lay" person with skills to help people who are having emotional/mental problems. It will be a very valuable resource to have when facilitating the substance abuse support group I will be organizing and leading. I finally got registered for the training, now I am just waiting for the workbooks to arrive so I can start training. It looks like it's going to be a really good one and I am excited to know I will be directly helping people with substance abuse issues. I am still tossing up the idea of going back to school and getting my master's in social work or substance abuse counseling, or just obtaining a certificate is substance abuse counseling without going through a master's program. I just want to learn and I want to help those who are struggling with addictions. But I also want to help cancer patients and people going through bone marrow transplants. I have such a desire to help. I just wish I had the energy. I had a hard time staying awake in yesterday's class, and not because it was boring.
Mom and I volunteered at Thrifter's Rock on Thursday for three hours. I had to come home and nap. It's ridiculous how tired I am all the time. I had trouble sleeping last night because my shoulder hurts so badly. I think the snow shoveling caused an issue. It didn't hurt till yesterday and I shoveled on Wednesday. I think something is inflammed. It's similar to the issue I had last fall, but I think it's a different shoulder this time. I can barely move it. It seems like it's always something with me.
I chatted with Terri yesterday. I have NO right to complain. That poor woman has been in the hospital for MONTHS! She finally achieved remission which is great, but is now being transferred to another hospital to have knee surgery. She will remain there for two months, then be transferred back to the current hospital to prepare for a bone marrow transplant. It's just unbelievable how much stuff she has gone through. I wish I knew how I could help her.
I also spoke with John yesterday. He is doing so much better and they took his feeding tube out. I was very happy to hear him sound so upbeat. People don't realize how detrimental cancer treatment is to our emotional health. Look at me, 21 months post-transplant and I am still struggling with my moods because of my issues; fatigue, limitations, and so on.
My mind just doesn't shut off. I have so many desires, hopes, and dreams. I see why God left me here. I have His work to do. I spoke with Tori at Be the Match today. We are planning more bone marrow drives for me to lead/coordinate. So much to do! God is so good.
Church was so good today. The message was so similar to the one I heard in my "First Aid for Mental Health" class. The main point of both messages was to listen and validate what others are saying and how they are feeling. We often want to just talk, talk, talk, and make it all about us. We are eager to share OUR story, but we really should be listening to the person in crisis's story. Tomorrow I am going to work on these very skills. I am meeting with a lady after my volunteer library duties. Her daughter and her brother both recently died. This lady is really struggling. She's numb, yet hurting at the same time. I am aware of how that feels. No, I don't know exactly what she's going through even though my son died. But I do know the pain of losing a child to death. I hope to be a good listener and encourager to her tomorrow. I thank you in advance for your prayers. Please pray I have a good listening ear and words of wisdom from Christ, to speak when appropriate.
I am struggling still with the pain in my shoulder. I slept a bit better last night, but not by much. I went up for prayer at church this morning. I want to be better so I am not miserable, or make Patrick miserable, on our next trip. Having this pain makes me appreciate all the good days I have. Being constantly fatigued is nothing compared to constant pain. It's a good lesson to be grateful for so much more than I give thanks for. No matter what our circumstances, we CAN find good in every situation.
Yesterday's sermon was perfect timing. A sweet lady in our church, who is highly involved in ministry, is grieving the loss of her 19 year old son. He died yesterday in a snow machine accident. The hearts of church members are grieving with this beautiful family. How devestating for the family. I'm so thankful that the majority of people who ministered to them yesterday heard that sermon and just listened without trying to "explain or make them feel better." I so badly want my book to be ready to give out. I wrote quite a bit in the first section about dealing with the grief of losing a child to death. There are so many WRONG ways to handle talking to someone about grief. I simply shudder at the hurtful things people say. I don't believe anyone intentionally sets out to hurt the person who is grieving, but often times, our words do hurt. I want to stress how important it is to just listen and let the grieving person talk. They may scream, cry, throw things, etc... That is okay!
Hearing about this recent death and thinking about the grieving mother I am meeting with today, has inspired me to inquire as to whether or not our church will start a grief support group. I am willing to co-lead it. I think it's important to have a specific group that is for the bereaved. There are so many needs. I am not allowed to work because God has other plans for me. I can serve our community as a volunteer. I just have to be careful not to get too exhausted.
I woke up with body aches today. The scales show I have lost weight again. I don't feel like I have, in fact, I would have guessed I had gained weight. Perhaps my scales aren't working right. I checked my temperature and it's 94.7 which is lower than I usually run. Usually I am between 96-97. Something odd is going on with my body. Of course my first thought is, "relapse". I will not dwell on that or worry. I see Dr. Spencer on Wednesday and blood tests will be done. I am sure everything is fine.
Okay, I feel satisfied that I am doing exactly what God wants me to be doing. I finally feel like I have a purpose in life again and I'm tickled with my life. And then last night, I had this aggravating dream that I went back to work as a probation officer. In my dream, Patrick was upset with me, I was exhausted, and I wasn't sure I made the right decision. In fact, I knew I had made the wrong decision. Why did I have that dream when I finally felt at peace with everything?! Goodness gracious it is frustrating.
I participated in a great training today; an expo of community service providers in the Mat-Su Valley. It was great to see and hear about all the different services available in our community. There are so many resources. I love resources. Perhaps I should see if our church wants me to volunteer as a resource liason! That would be a good title for me I think.
Tomorrow I go to the doctor. It will be good to see Dr. Spencer so I can go over all my ailments. She has to listen to me because I am paying her to listen to my complaints. :)
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