Freedom

7/4/17

God Bless America despite the sounding voices of many who shout ,"There is no God. God doesn't belong in our schools, in our government, in our businesses." God does belong in America. Our country was founded upon Godly principals. America is great, but God is greater. The Heavens and earth declare he is the almighty one . He is here to save us from our own sinful destruction.

Today we honor all those who have helped keep America safe. Thank you to our current and past military members. Thank you to our future, upcoming soldiers. May God protect you always. May you know God so you will be rewarded with eternal life if you lose your physical life fighting for our country.

This blog should be renamed "Killing Leuk and Heroin". I'm going to tell you a story. It's a true story that is heartbreaking.

Anthony has had issues with drugs for several years. He was raised in a Christian home with two parents who love him so much. They gave him everything they could- both materially and emotionally. He went to Bible camps, sports camps, youth groups, and had a large supportive extended family. None of the assets he had kept him from using pills as a young teenager. He hung out with the "bad kids" despite the pleading of his mother to choose better friends.  They pressured him time and time again to try some prescription pills they found in their mother's medicine cabinet. She naively left her narcotics  out and available. These boys regularly used them and loved the way they made them feel. Despite all Anthony had, he was missing something in his life. He never felt right with himself. As a young child, his mother described him as difficult. At 18 months, he was banging his head on the table over and over. He was an angry child- he was difficult and obstinate.  Things got worse when his older sibling died. Despite the counseling and grief supports his parents took him to, Anthony kept rebelling-becoming more defiant and angry. Finally, after weeks of being pressured to take the pills, he gave in. He later described that day as  one where he had never felt so good. That started a lifetime of spiraling downhill waiting for the next high.

He grew up and got married to a sweet, innocent Christian girl. His parents thought his rebellious streak was over. He was a married man and going to college. Later it became apparent that he still had issues with pills. He humbly asked for help and enrolled himself in a treatment center. This began the pattern for the next several years. He went to six inpatient treatment centers. His mother said he completed two, was kicked out of one, quit two others, and ran away from the last one after just a day. They were shocked when they discovered his pill use had graduated to heroin. He began stealing from his family- thousands and thousands of dollars worth of items. For years his parents would quietly go to the pawn shops to buy  their own and other family member's possessions back. Each time they would beg the pawn shop owners not to buy things from Anthony because he was selling stolen goods. They would promise not to, but the next month it began all over again. They thought about calling the police and having him arrested multiple times. They sat up nights worrying about him- praying out to God to save their son.

Anthony would humbly ask for forgiveness and ask for help. His parents would again help him, only to be crushed when he failed again. He never put enough effort into his sobriety. He would start feeling better after being clean a month, and would insist he could do it in his own. He was slowly killing himself and his parents and wife stood by helplessly.

After seven years of marriage, his wife said enough. She made him leave his house. He was still using heroin. His parents said he could stay for a week, but only if he was clean. The second night he was there he snuck out of their home. His mother found him at the house he had shared with his wife. He was with a known drug dealer. His mom convinced him to go home with her. Her heart was breaking, but she put on a strong facade. For a week she endured his rants, his defiance, his anger. He cussed her out and said horrible things to her. She took his abuse because she knew deep inside, her little boy was still there. Somewhere in there he was there. He had to be. She carried him for nine months. She loved him and had sought out help for him from the start. When his father came home at night, she would quietly go to her room and cry.  She knew better than to cry in front of Anthony. Over the years he used her tears against her. He would curse at her and belittle her and make her feel inadequate as a mother.

They took him out of town for a few days thinking the fresh air would do him good. He refused to leave His room . He slept all day while his parents stifled their disappointment with his lack of commitment to sobriety. His mother offered to take him to NA meetings, church, whatever it took to help him. They would talk for hours at night about goals and aspirations. The only thing he would talk about was winning his wife back. He wouldn't acknowledge the need to fix himself- to get the long term help he truly needed. All he would focus on was his wife. 

After two nights of taking turns trying to "watch" him, his parents fell into an exhausted slumber. His dad was even in the same room as his son, but the toll of the last week crept upon him and he fell into a deep sleep. He didn't hear his son tiptoeing past him with only socks on his feet. His mother didn't hear her car start outside her window. A few hours later, they realized their car was gone. He snuck out like a thief in the night. Which is what he is- a thief. His mother thought she hid her keys well. His father thought his wallet was safe. Not only was the car gone, but so were his dad's credit cards.

They knew he was a danger to himself and others. He was not in the right frame of mind. He didn't even have shoes on! He went into store after store attempting to use the stolen credit card. Surely the shoeless man played a factor into the denial of many charges. Troopers were called. After several hours, Anthony returned. He didn't appear remorseful. He made excuses and said he just needed to go for a drive and clear his head. He said he was sorry. He was angry and blamed his parents for the demise of his marriage. He said if it weren't for them, his wife wouldn't have decided to file for divorce. He left. His parents made the choice not to have him arrested. Again, they enabled him. He's now on the streets somewhere, location unknown. If only they had turned him over to the troopers they would know he was safe. 

This is a true story of a family torn apart from addiction. Our families are in crisis. Children are lost. Yes, God, we ask you to bless us all, not just America. Without you there is no hope. Come Lord Jesus, come.

7/5/17

She heard the wounded cries of an anguished mother as she drove. She realized it was the sound of her own cries. She had gone grocery shopping which should have been a normal activity.  As she was shopping, all she could think about was the little boy who was. Where was he sleeping? What did he have to eat?  She walked as if in a daze. Nothing made sense. It was all she could do to grab a few items and pray she didn't run into anyone she knew. She wasn't strong enough to have a conversation with anyone.

She passed by homeless people in the aisle of the store and the stench overwhelmed her. It was an unpleasant smell of people who hadn't showered for days. She wondered if soon, people would be repelled by her son because he has no shower to clean the stenches of drug abuse and hard living off.  He was such a promising child. He was smart, nice looking, and charasmatic.  Years of drug abuse hardened him, but every once in awhile, his true inner self manifested and gave them all hope.

His mother has no hope today. She fears the worst. She did see her son earlier today. He stopped by to ask a favor from her. It was all she could do to say no.  She wanted to help hm. He looked so vulnerable and desperate. He was full of ideas and plans about how to get his life back in order. She wanted to believe him, but she had heard it all before. Courageously she refused to give him a ride.  She finally stuck to the boundaries she had set.  He looked her coldly in the eyes and told her never to contact him again- he did not want her in his life.  She calmly told him she loved him. He walked away and her heart ached like nothing felt before.

Later, after going to the grocery store, she scanned all the men walking on the side of the road. Was it Anthony? Was her son one of the homeless men out there with no food or transportation? What was he thinking? Does he realize HE did this? Will he ever take responsibility for his actions? Will he die before his mother can witness him conquering addiction? Those thoughts are what stemmed the ravaged cries of a mother who mourns the loss of her son. He is still alive for now, but for how long?

My observation:  I have sent out dozens of emails to churches in the Mat-Su Valley inquiring as to what services they offer to our addicted to community. Of the dozens sent, I received two responses. That's pathetic.  Our children are dying and the church is ignoring the problem. WAKE UP FAITH BASED COMMUNITY!

7/6/17

We have a beautiful summer day in Alaska! I woke up before 0500 and was walking Ringo (or was he walking me???) by 0700. It felt good to feel the warmth and the sun on my face. I actually have on shorts today and am thrilled to be warm for a change.  It's supposed to rain the rest of the week unfortunately.

Tonight we are supposed to be seeing Meghan and the girls. Hopefully Kirk too! We haven't seen them for a week so we are pretty darn excited. I have a pizza from Papa Murphy's and am making a salad. Maybe the girls can help me make some cookies for dessert. Can you tell we are excited?

In the meantime I am working on the resource list for the faith based support in our community. I got one more response so am up to three..... Mostly I just get voice mails and no return calls. We need to find a way to help all our hurting community members.

7/7/17

I got to visit with Alicia, Connor, and Carson yesterday afternoon. What a pleasure to see these three individuals who have been through so much the past twelve years. Connor had a bone marrow transplant for leukemia eleven years ago. ( I think that's correct) he was so young. He is 13 now. He has many complications from his transplant. He had a terrible bout with GVHD and it's still going on. The repurcussions from it will haunt him forever. His wrists don't bend right- his growth was stunted, he struggles when moving, he had to have surgery to stretch his hamstrings! What doesn't always kill you can cause lifetime problems. He is the sweetest boy. He had such a good attitue and never complained about anything or whined about how unfair it was. His case is unique as most people with GVHD that bad die.  I remember a little boy here in our community that died about a year ago because of GVHD.  I am thankful mine was so minimal. His mother is his biggest advocate and his brother, Carson, is a delightful and mature child. I truly enjoyed their visit.

Just after they left, Meghan came over.  We got to visit while the girls slept in the truck.  She's always a delight to be around. I love this daughter of mine. She's mature, kind, compassionate, and smart. She's a good friend, not just a good daughter. She cares about me and looks after me and tries to help wherever she can.  I'm pleased she let us keep the girls all night!  They are still sleeping, but I doubt for long as Ringo is pacing back and forth upstairs and it will probably wake them up.  Since I missed my nap yesterday afternoon, it was a miracle I could stay up till after 10 PM. Ollie and I made strawberry shortcake. Ailynn helped with the dishes. She loves to be a helper.... Today we are going to hang out for a bit before I meet Meghan at Granny's to deliver children to her. I am a blessed woman.  Last night Patrick was digging holes for me so the plants my brother gave me could be planted.  It was a beautiful night (until the thunderstorm) and the neighbor girls were over. The four girls were riding their trikes up and down the road, through our yard, and in our garage. I felt so happy. Pure joy right there. They range in age from 20 months to 8 years. (Ailynn being the youngest)

**** update on Anthony and his mother

She saw him yesterday. They talked. She hoped he would be remorseful, humble, willing to do treatment. His attitude was disturbing. It's almost like he has no conscious.  He was so self absorbed and the anger seethed out of him. He told his mom she had no right to question him and he could "lie to whomever he wanted." She was sad and had to walk away. The tears were streaming down her face, but he has gotten so hateful and cold that he did not care. All she could think about was going home to her safe place.  But truly there is no safe place for her. He violated her safe place by stealing year after year from her and her husband.  He would go into their home, take their stuff, pawn it, and then his parents would go into the pawn shops and buy it back. What kind of life is this to live? This happened so many times over several years.  The locks were changed multiple times, but somehow he always managed to get in.  Their home is not safe because he is out on the street. His mother keeps her doors locked whenever she is home alone. What if he sneaks in? Would he be violent towards her? The little boy she raised would never hurt his mom. But this is no longer her little boy. This is a man who is completely changed by the drugs he is using.  Heroin was his drug of choice. His mom suspects now that he is using meth. That's the only explanation she has of why he never seems to sleep. He had told her recently that he mixed heroin and meth together when shooting up.

It rained all night and his mother kept waking up wondering where he was sleeping. (if he even sleeps at all) Did he find shelter in a doorway? Did he find an old abandoned truck that he could sit in to get out of the rain? Is he thinking about all he lost? Does he still blame his mother for him losing it all? As if it were her fault that he chose drugs over his family. His mother doesn't think he's hit rock bottom after all despite the pending divorce and family members who refuse to let him into their homes. He thinks he's invincible and untouchable.  His mother worries all day long and cries in her sleep thinking of her lost boy.

This is just one of the very sad stories I hear about across our nation.  Children are dying everyday. Drugs have taken over and families have been destroyed.  I talked to a mother yesterday whose son has been clean for ten years after using heroin for two years. They offer a great support group for addicts in their church. Praise God for that and I pray our community gets on board and offers more support to our addicted community.

7/9/17

We spent a delightful afternoon at John and Annette's, celebrating John's 65th birthday. They are such good people and they have a large group of really good friends and extended family. We enjoyed our time visiting.  Our granddaughters were there too which was awesome! Ailynn wouldn't let me near her, but Ollie snuggled with me.

****

Anthony showed up at their house yesterday. He asked to come in and his father said yes. His mom didn't say much- she's been his target and often she sets him off without her understanding why. Finally, she asked him if he wanted her to make him breakfast. His face lit up and he declared he was so hungry. She was glad to be able to do something for her lost boy. He gobbled down the breakfast and asked to take a shower. His mother agreed, but said he had to use the bathroom upstairs. She didn't trust him to go downstairs as he recently took items from her office and hid them in his old room. He cursed at her and told her he never took anything. Mind games. He makes her feel she is crazy, There were lots of keys he found by rummaging in her private things were taken. They were all placed in a drawer in the dresser by him. A drawer that was empty before he stayed with them. She assumes he was trying to find keys to the gun cabinet. How many times did he steal guns from his Parents? Several times they said. Some guns they got back, some are lost forever. Stolen he said. By drug dealers. He has described having guns pointed at his head at least three times. What kind of life is this? They have offered him a way out by sending him out of state. Why doesn't he take it?

He asked his dad to rent a car for him. He said he would pay him back. Of course his dad sad no. First of all, his parents had to replace three different credit cards because he stole all three. He doesn't understand the concept they didn't even have a credit card to use. Of course it's not his fault.... second, there's no way they could trust him to return the car and they will not be liable for his debts. He stormed off on foot. His dad offered him a rain jacket and he refused. His mom sent him a text and said she wished he knew how much they loved him. He replied, "Get over yourself."

The rain poured down all night and all she could think about was her lost boy who lost everything.

7/11/17

Debbie and I went to the Elk's Lodge yesterday afternoon to help set up for the Seattle Seahawks dinner.  We walked the mile to the lodge after I had already walked almost three miles with Dorothy a few hours prior. We worked and worked and then it hit me. The wall. The wall was there and I needed a nap. Thankfully someone was leaving about that time and gave us a ride back to my house. When I hit the wall, there is nothing anyone can do except let me sleep. I had my afternoon nap and then was good to go for the fundraising dinner. We had a great time and a lot of money was raised to help fund Play 60 which is an annual event held in Wasilla (actually tomorrow) where Seahawks and Seagals work with the kids to teach them about the importance of exercise and healthy play. Such exciting things going on in our community.

In between the walks, I went to visit Granny and then went to watch Ollie have her first swim lesson. We'll just say it's the swim lesson that never happened. She got frightened at the thought of being in the pool without her mama and became inconsolable. Poor little girl. She told me she would try again when she was grown up. :(  So back to Granny's we went and Granny gave her a sewing lesson instead. :)

Today I went to Anchorage and met with the executive director of the Blood Bank of Alaska. He's a very nice man. I am trying hard to get cord blood banking in Alaska, and so far am not having any luck. It's all about the money.....$$$$$$$$$ which is so sad. People are dying without matches. Even people who sign up on the National Bone Marrow Registry often back out! I can't imagine being the patient who had a perfect match only to find out that the perfect match doesn't want to donate marrow to me!  It was bad enough not HAVING  a match at all. I'm thankful for the cord blood donation I got from France. I think it's ridiculous though, that many states in America do not participate in the cord blood banking. It needs to change. I have to figure out how to make this happen.

******

Anthony sent his mother a text today. She responded with how much she loved him and gave him some resource suggestions. He filled his texts with hateful profanity and told her he wouldn't contact her again because she wasn't supportive. She is at a loss. She has literally tried everything over the past few years to help him. What she gets in return is hateful attacks. One of Anthony's friends stopped over today. He shared his story with Anthony's parents. He had used IV heroin for three years. He has now been clean for five.  It was an amazing story to hear and it gives Anthony's parents a glimmer of hope. His friend told Anthony's mom not to take anything he says personally. He said his words are from his addiction and that the hatred is directed at himself, not at his mom, even though it feels that way. His mom knows this, but it's hard for her to accept that even though the few people she has shared Anthony's story with have told her that. She hadn't shared her story with many because of the stigma. The stigma is bad. People always want to blame the parents. She knows she and her husband didn't do anything wrong, but she still knows people will blame her and point fingers.  She feels embarrassed that so many have learned the truth, but mostly she just feels concerned for her son.  She doesn't want him walking the streets. She doesn't want him to die.

7/11/17

I got a cortisone shot in my left hip today. I said a "bad" word and whined a bit. After it was over I felt really silly because it wasn't that bad. The doctor said, "I'm sure you have had a lot worse." Yes, six bone marrow aspirations awake were worse.... I'm a baby. I go back in two weeks for the other hip. I won't whine or say any bad words next time.

I tried to take a nap today. First the phone rang. But I went back to sleep for a bit only to have the doorbell ring. Do people NOT understand I take afternoon naps???? Geez!!!!

Tomorrow will be a busy day.  I got the yard mowed today so tomorrow I will concentrate on cleaning inside. We have company coming Friday night. So the deep cleaning begins... Sigh.

7/14/17

This is the day of the big bone marrow registration at Palmer Friday Flings. It's going to be such a long, long day for me. I have to be there by 0930 to start setting up and it goes until 5:00 Of course we hope that it's going to be very busy with multiple people registering to be a hero and save a life. Right after the event, I am going to the fundraising dinner for Garrett, a young man in our community who is dying from cancer.  It's going to be emotionally hard for me, but of course I must support him and his quest to raise money for a cabin.  Who could deny a dying boy his wish? I pray he has many more months or even years to enjoy that cabin. My heart hurts just thinking about it.

We kept the girls all night last night and had a really good time. I was very, very tired because I didn't have time for a nap, but tried to be the best grammie I could be. I was getting a bit cranky towards the end of the night though. Thankfully Patrick is a night owl and he put the girls to bed.

Linn, the mother of two friends who has been fighting AML, died.  She had a bone marrow transplant several months ago and just never really got better. She had a lot of complications. She was 70 when she got the cancer. My heart hurts for all of them. She tried to keep a positive attitude the whole time and she and I corresponded a bit. I was impressed with her attitude. I think it was just too much though. She was weak, tired, and weary. :(

John seems to be doing okay right now and his cancer markers are down a bit so I take that as a hopeful sign.  He's such a good man and I want to see him (and everyone else diagnosed) beat this monster.

Today is Meghan and Kirk's 5th anniversary. They are a great couple with beautiful kids. Baby number three will be here in September.  I'm so proud of them for being such hard working and generous people.  This mom is proud.

*****

Update on Anthony:  Anthony is still missing in action. He lets his father know he's okay most days, but they have no idea where he is. They do know he seems to be failing mentally at a rapid rate. Things are not good with his mental and emotional state. They are very worried, but helpless at what they can do.  He is an adult, they can't force him to see mental health care or go into substance abuse treatment. He swears he is clean, but his actions make that diffiult to believe.  All she can do is pray that Anthony seeks the help he so desperately needs.

*******

What a long day! It started off rainy and ended up warming up, but the wind never quit. We sat up three tables for the bone marrow drive in Palmer. The wind kept blowing out papers everywhere. I think the lack of warmth kept many away. We only got five people registered, but you know, at least one of them may be the one to save a life! Sandra ran into her son's old teacher (who isn't old) and registered him after the event. Me? Let me tell you a story....

There was a lady who went to a bar.... she sat there all alone. She didn't go to the bar to drink- she went to participate in a fundraiser for a young man who has a terrible cancer. She felt a little out of place and it was probably obvious to all around. But still that lady sat there and was happy to help by contributing. But then the emcee pointed her out and said, "Kelly Marre can register you on the national bone marrow registry." So my identity was discovered. I registered a young lady so all together we got seven on the registry today!😀 If I have to go to a bar to find people, I will!

I was holding up pretty well until they Skyped Garrett on a big screen. I don't know him, but that doesn't matter because I care about him anyway. He looks so young, healthy, and happy. Then I was introduced to his parents. I offered to speak with them anytime they wanted to talk. It's a journey I have been on, so I get it. His parents looked so happily in love. That's a great thing because they are going to need this strength for what is to come. I gave them my book, Killing Leuk". I hope it is a blessing to them.

7/17/17

There's a lot of sevens in this date! Must be a lucky day, right? Actually, I don't believe in luck. But still, lots of sevens seem cool.

It has been a very busy weekend for us. I picked Gary up from the airport Friday night and we got home about 0100 Saturday. My sweet mother made us a great breakfast Saturday morning before we left for Kasilof. We got here Saturday afternoon and our "compound" is quite full! We have three motor homes parked here, our nephew Kyle and his friend are staying in our old 5th wheel and Patrick, Gary, and I are in the cabin. Thursday we expect four more men to arrive. I have been doing lots of cleaning and cooking . I am so very tired and am ready for a nap before I start tonight's dinner. They are all out fishing right now.

***+

Anthony stole a gun and four wheeler from his parents. They weren't home and he has learned to be very sneaky and crafty. He asked them for money the other night.  When they  refused to give him money, he stopped talking to them yet again. They are painfully learning just how manipulative he really is. They are shocked and disappointed, but are determined to set boundaries and enforce them once and for all. They truly fear he is having a mental breakdown. He is not making sense at all and he's quickly spiraling downhill every day. He needs lots of prayers.

7/19/17

We are having a great time here on the "Marre Compound". Patrick had to go back to work for a couple days, but he will soon be back. I have been busy entertaining guests. One of the guests is a sweet couple from Colorado. We have a lot in common. I believe God puts people in our lives for a reason. This couple recently experienced the death of their oldest child. He had cerebral palsy and really went through a terrible ordeal. The wife is also a cancer survivor. There are so many similarities- life parellel- that are simply eerie. I have found that we really can take solace in meeting others who have walked a similar journey. It's  not that we want anyone else to experience the pain we have experienced, but knowing others have, makes it just a little easier. We need to know we can get through terrible ordeals without a complete breakdown. There are so many who share similar stories and heartbreak is rampant through our world. What a day it will be when this world is over and all tears are washed away.

I drove our guests to Homer yesterday. I love Homer. It's a quaint little fishing town and the road ends here. Unfortunately, it was a rainy and foggy day and they couldn't see the majestic mountains and th incredible view when driving on the road that overlooks the spit. We still had a great time going into all the stores and looking at the Alaska Native art and jewelry. We finished up our evening having halibut and crab chowder at our friends , Rich and Gretchen's house. What a fun day. I am thankful for so many friends.

Yesterday I had a conversation with someone that again showed me how interconnected we all are. It showed me how so many of us experience a commonality that surprises us. We often think we are alone, walking this path of life. Our Opioid Task Force in Wasilla stresses the need to de stigmatize opioid addiction in families. Michael Carson, the facilitator for the group, has been speaking to organizations about stopping the stigma. Families are embarrassed and ashamed, and often hide behind the truth because they don't want anyone to know their child is an addict. Good people have children who make bad choices. My conversation yesterday was with a man who has been in law enforcement for over 30 years. He spent many of those years on the drug unit. He is a highly intelligent man who knows more about drugs than most people. Despite his knowledge, his efforts to stop drug abuse, and his love for his family, his daughter is an addict. It can happen to anyone. My heart went out to him as he shared his story with me. We must use our experiences to help others going through similar battles. This man is doing so by shutting down as many drug dealers as he can, and by sharing his personal story.

Sometimes life can be so overwhelming. I am thankful I serve a mighty God.  

7/23/27

Three years ago today is the catalyst that changed my life forever. I was stuck with a dirty needle while working, and went on medicine which I believe caused my Leukemia. Three years ago. It seems both like yesterday as well as one hundred years ago. So much has changed in three years. There are days when I can scarcely believe all I have gone through. I remember the days of terrible sickness, but I can't really remember how bad it was. It's good the memories are fading. Yet my emotions are still affected. My body is healing, but my mind still feels a bit traumatized. It seems so strange to be conscious of that, but I often find myself alternating between being ecstatic for being alive and healthy, to mourning the losses I have experienced which have changed my life. Sometimes I feel as if I am all alone and no one understands how traumatized I am. I read posts from people who have been through similar experiences and see that they feel similarly. Yet so often I feel alone in the aftermath madness of a traumatic experience. I get angry with myself for not being stronger. I listen to people tell me how strong I am and I feel like an imposter. If they only knew how much I truly struggled they would no longer be so quick to praise me. When will I be normal again?

7/28/17

Meghan came over with the girls last night. She brought dinner for us and Ollie cheered us up with her silly antics. Ailynn was asleep most of the time she was here and didn't wake up in a very good mood unfortunately, so I didn't get to spend any time with that cute baby. They are going to get me through this. Oh bless their little hearts. I'm so thankful for my loving and wise daughter. She has been one of my greatest supports over the years.

I got a cortisone shot in my right hip a couple days ago. My blood sugars have been out of control because of the left hip injection two weeks ago, so I expect things to get even worse with the most recent injection. Last time I let myself get anxious about the shot. This time I went to my "safe place", the one I went to each time I had a bone marrow biopsy without anethesia. Six times of going to "that safe place." I withdraw into my self and ignore what's going on with my body. It was so quick and painless this time. The doctor looked at me funny and asked, "Are you okay?" I said, "Oh yes, I was trying out some meditation." I think he thought I was a little nuts, but that's okay, it worked!

We have a wedding to go to in Girdwood tomorow and then we are going to spend the weekend at the cabin.

I'm scared for my own health. This stress isn't good for me. I'm scared that my stress level will cause my leukemia to return. I don't want to go through this again. There is so much pain.

7/29/17

I listened to the people around me and heeded their advice. I have tried to focus just on my husband' and  myself this weekend. We went to a beautiful wedding and had the most fun we have had in a very long time. We truly enjoyed ourselves.  We danced like it was 1999! My hips didn't hurt and I felt normal. There was a lady on the tram who told me how beautiful I looked. My heart soared as I thought about how I looked two years ago. With great satisfaction, I thought how awesome it was that no one who didn't know me would ever be able to tell by looking at me that's I was so close to death just a year ago!

Today we went fishing on the Kenai. I slept most of the time- curled up on the boat. I am absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue. 

We left the cabin proud of ourselves for blocking off the entrance to the deck so Ringo could have the use of the deck and the cabin. We left plenty of food and water for him. We got home and back he didn't come to greet us. I got concerned. Then I realized, somehow he locked himself into the bedroom so he was without food, water, and sunshine today. I feel like a terrible dog mommy!

As we sat at on our deck tonight, the tears started again. Every time I am here I cry, for this is the special place I longed for all those months away in the hospital. I am eternally grateful for my second chance at life.  

7/30/17

Victory is mine!!! I shot my Glock today and rode a bike as well! No, not at the same time. It has been three years since I had done either activity. I feel vindicated; Leukemia has nothing over me anymore! Dang it feels so good. Patrick and I have had a marvelous time here at the cabin. We decided to leave at 0430 for the long commute to Anchorage tomorrow.  We just couldn't bear to go home yet. I'm feeling better than I have in a long time. Happier and more peaceful.

8/1/17

We enjoyed our 2.5 hour commute to Anchorage yesterday at the wee hours of the morning. There was barely any traffic. When you think about it, it's really only 1.5 hours longer than Patrick driving from the Valley. The bonus for us was the extra night at the cabin.  After he went to work, I went to meet my friend Pam and her boyfriend Gearhart, for breakfast. Pam was my first and best friend I met in Alaska in 1983.  We met in our "Child Study" class and were both members of the FHA Club. "Future Homemakers of America". That's a role we both welcomed as we both stayed home for many years to take care of our children. Pam moved to Germany after college and met her (then) husband, Hubert. Together they had four children and raised them mostly in Germany, although they did live in Missouri and Colorado for a bit. Pam and I have kept in touch over the years and she even flew over to Idaho to see me while I was going through chemo.  Good friends are lifelong friends. I am grateful for her and her friendship. Gearhart brought me a beautiful green glass cross his cousin made.  Pam brought Patrick a German beer..... I think I got the best gift of all. Green is my favorite color and the cross reminds me of the sacrifice Jesus made for me. I can't wait to hang it up.

I hit the ground running when I got home. I finally vacummed my filthy floor. I can't believe I let it go like that, but between all the running back and forth to the cabin and dealing with Casey's stuff, I just didn't have time. Today I balanced my checkbook and am working on the boring household duties. I have a very busy day today. This morning I will be getting more cortisone shots in my hips; this time by ultrasound as recommended by Mayo. My hips are not doing well. The surface injections have really not helped which is unfortunate. My blood sugars are still horrible though. I'm not in constant pain which is awesome and I appreciate that. I have not been feeling well at all. I am suffering from a lot of nausea the past few days. I woke up all night long- first confused as to where I was. I couldn't understand why there was a cat bothering me all night when we don't have a cat at the cabin. Then I couldn't figure out why my eye drops were in a different spot. I have to use them several times a night due to my extremely dry eyes. Then the nausea overwhelmed me. I slept very little, but that's nothing new. I haven't slept well since I was diagnosed with leukemia! It finally dawned on me that I was not at the cabin, but at home. I felt a little silly.

We went over to see Meghan and Kirk last night and get some grandbaby loves in. Their cousin, Kaycie was over and the girls were ripping around the yard on an electric jeep. They entertained us quite well. Poor little Ailynn got her nose smashed in the blow up play center and she was not a happy camper at all. Kirk smoked a brisket for dinner and we enjoyed the yummy food. Meghan is such a beautiful pregnant woman. She has easy pregnancies and simply glows. We are looking forward to baby girl # 3 in about seven weeks.

I felt extremely blessed yesterday when I checked my home phone voice mail and there was a message from someone I have known for years, Diana. She had heard about Casey and wanted to offer me encouragement, support, and prayers. Diana's son is currently incarcerated, and has been off and on for many years, for drug abuse. I pray for her son daily- I used to be his probation officer. I think her son is a great person; he's just a man who has a terrible drug addiction. She really blessed me by her phone call. Then I went to my mailbox and found a beautiful card of encouragement from my friend, Rhonda. It's times like these when we know who are real and true friends are. My heart is full.

 

8/3/17

Tiredness. Fatigue...falling out hair...rising blood pressure (not a bad thing since mine is normally low), nausea, high blood sugars.....I'm a walking hot mess. The cortisone shot by ultrasound did not give me any improvement, but did increase my blood sugars even more. In fact, now my feet are numb. I was having electrical pains in the inside of my ankles and my thighs and my outer left hip. So weird. Of course the PA who did the injection said, "this has never happened before."

We kept the girls all night last night. It probably wasn't the best night to do so as I was very tired and didn't have a lot of energy. I took them out to my parent's house to visit while Patrick smoked salmon. Ollie fell asleep on the way home and Patrick was able to lay her in bed and she stayed asleep. Ailynn wasn't so easy, but Papa got her to bed. I got smart and took a couple Ativan which is a anti-nausea pill but also helps me sleep. All the times I have tried it after waking up in the night, I found didn't work so well. By doing it this way,  I slept for five hours straight which was fabulous. I needed it so much.

The girls woke up at 0530 and were cranky. I was trying to get things done and nothing really got done well. Next time I am just going to have to understand the girls come first and I must ignore all the rest of the chores and paying bills till they are gone. They need first dibbs with Grammie.

 

8/5/17

Ailynn ran to me with open arms yesterday when I stopped by to see them at Granny's. How my heart soared! I spent some great quality time with them, Meghan, and Granny, as well as Meghan's friend, Megean, and her new baby boy, Byron. It was nice to hold a little baby again. The girls adore him and I have a feeling they will be holding their new baby sister lots. Hopefully Ailynn won't throw her sister down....

Its a gorgeous day in Kasilof and we are going fishing of course. Ringo and I went for a walk this morning. I was in tears- my hip was hurting and literally had to drag my leg to walk. I was determined not to give up. I cried out to God and my hip popped and I could walk again! I went back to the orthopedic doctor yesterday. The three cortisone injections I got did not help. What they did do was make my blood sugars completely out of control.  Both my feet have gone numb since the last injection. They think it's because my bloood sugars are so high. I am losing more weight- down to 118.8. I was convinced I had relapsed. I saw Dr. Spencer yesterday and my counts are good. Some day I have to relax and not expect it to come back. Someday I have to put all fears aside. Please God, let that Day be today. I cannot handle these mood swings. I am horrible. I am thankful for my sweet and loving husband who puts up with my craziness..

8/7/17

Meghan told me she dreamed about Logan. Each pregnancy she has she dreams she is handing her baby over to meet  Uncle Logan. She shared with me that she mowed my lawn while we were gone and was remembering the dream while feeling Logan's presence here. She broke into sobs and Ollie was comforting her and begging her to tell her what was wrong. My daughter has lost two brothers. One to Leukemia and one to drugs. This is so unfair. Right now life seems to suck..

The stigma was overpowering for so many years. I really don't care anymore. My son is an addict and he is going to die if he doesn't stop. I have lost one son. I fear I will lose another. I don't value my own physical or emotional health. I am a walking disaster. I have all these volunteer committments and no enrergy to follow through. I am a lost soul too. I cant' stay in the moment. I just want to curl up and sleep it all away.

I thought I was so smart, educated, and experienced. I am a fool. Every decision I have made has been wrong. I thought I was helping him, but I made it worse. I need to do the exact opposite of what my gut is telling me. I need to learn to detach and not let my emotions get in the way.

8/8/17

It's time for cheery Kelly talk. Today I helped stuff almost 1400 backpacks for underpriviledged children in this community! United Way secured some grants to purchase the backpacks and school supplies. There were at least 75 volunteers there ready to help. The assembly line was efficient and everyone was in a great mood. It was another sunny day in Alaska and our hearts were filled with gratitutude because we were able to serve our community in this way. Happy day.

 

8/9/17

I have been awake since 0300. It's going to be a long day..... Every morning I seem to wake with the song "What a Beautiful Name it is" going through my brain. I cannot get it out of my head. The name of Jesus is more than a beautiful name. It's a powerful name. A name that brings hope and comfort to the hurting. He's the one who is with my prodigal son who is somewhere out on the streets temporarily lost....... I cannot relax. I cannot truly enjoy my life because I cannot shut it off. Today I have a counseling appointment. Perhaps I can get some relief by talking to a professional.

8/11/17

it is 0145 and I haven't fallen asleep yet. My life is a comedy show? Horror show? Psychotic show? My mom and I had to laugh today about how dysfunctional our family is right now. We had the attitude all these years that our family didn't have "issues like other people have." What snobby thinking. I bet everyone' else in similar situations thought that too. We are no better than anyone else. Crap happens. Suck it up and deal with it Marre.

 

8/12/17

Sleep continues to allude me. Will I ever sleep again? I never used to have trouble sleeping until I was put in the hospital for my leukemia treatment. Dang leukemia! Ever since then, I wake up continually through the night. Last night I fell asleep a little early- maybe around 10, but have been awake since 0300.  At least I am getting things done!

I woke up this morning with a song running through my head. For the life of me, I can't remember what it was!  But then I thought of another song as I grieved the attitudes of so many in our world who expect things to "just happen" for them and their loved ones. We expect God to wave a magic wand and take it all away. We don't want to put the efforts into helping ourselves or the problems in our country, world, homes, and communities.   Jesus tells us to visit the sick and those in prison. Are they not as valuable as others?  Perhaps I need to take on another ministry- one that supports people in crisis. Actually, I have suggested that to our leadership before and was ignored. No one had any interest in me starting it up. I get that churches are busy, but when you have someone who actually tells you they will do the work, why WOULDN'T you take them up on it?  

Here are the lyrics that resound with my soul today:

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now, thought
How’d we ever get so far down, and
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, yeah, I created you” (now listen)

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something, yeah
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
Oh, it’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking about
How we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire and
I wanna be the one who stands up and says
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something, yes it is, come on
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
Oh oh, it’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill
We’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No, we won’t stand still
No, we won’t stand still
No, we won’t stand still
No

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now
It’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something
It’s time for us to do something
It’s time for us to do something

Written by Matthew West • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
How about YOU do something? I'm trying hard to do something. I'm only one person and I am a basket case. I have so many volunteer committments and I'm in over my head. I am so weary. Weary to the bone.  This week I was happy to spend a couple half-days helping stuff and give away school backpacks to our needy families in the community. Most were really grateful, but we had a few with attitudes. A few who wanted to take advantage of the giveway which really disappoints me. I guess there will always be a sense of entitlement for some.
 
Today we have two weddings to go to. My cousin, Karsen, is getting married up at Government Peak at 3:00 pm. I told her I would help set up this morning.  Meghan and Kirk's friend, Luke, is getting married at 5:00 pm in Sutton. We are going to rush from one wedding to another. Oh my goodness it's going to be chaotic. Olivienne and Ailynn are both flower girls in Luke & Kasara's wedding so we are excited to see them perform their cute little duties.
 
Meghan came over with Ailynn yesterday. Ollie was here too, sort of. She remained in the truck sleeping.  Ailynn and I had a fun time together. She's simply adorable!  They spend a lot of time with Meghan's friend, Meagan, who just had a baby boy. Those girls love to hold the baby and it seems they are going to make great big sisters.  We are thrilled to soon have three little granddaughters.
 
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I plan to. Last night my brother and his family met us at our parent's house for dinner. We laughed, joked, shared, and ate way too much. We have all been under such great stress due to Casey, that we felt we needed to get together and talk about everything BUT Casey! We did pray for him so he was thought of. My little lost boy who is really a lost man. Please pray.
8/13/17
Two weddings- one day. Both outside in the rain. Alaska outdoor weddings are not the most ideal. Sure it's great if it's a beautiful & sunny day! No matter; the brides enjoyed their special day and that's all that mattered. All the guests seemed to have fun as well. Patrick and I had a blast. The first one was a family wedding. My little cousin, Karsen, got married. She looked as gorgeous as could be. Her mother, my cousin, Holly, did an AMAZING job with the decorations. Holly is a very creative lady and it simply was perfect. I enjoyed visiting with our family, but we had to leave early to rush off to the other wedding. The other wedding was for Meghan and Kirk's long-time friend, Luke, and his bride Kasara. Another beautiful wedding with fun to be had by all. We got to hang out with friends and we danced the night away. My hips were hurting pretty good and I was exhausted, but it was an exhilarating feeling of survival out there on the dance floor! I am so thankful and blessed to be here. The feeling of gratefulness will never go away. Thank you, Lord, for healing me!
I have a new symptom that's bothering me. My face is fat! I think it's from the Cortisone shots. The Prednisone surprisingly never gave me the fat face, but I sure have it now!!!! Skinny body and a fat face. Doesn't make sense.
 
This morning I get to see Casey's friend Ryan. I'm really excited. I am taking him out to breakfast and then he's going to church with me. Ryan is a young man on fire for God. He's been all around the world doing mission work. He has a heart for the hurting. He will be seeing Casey this afternoon before he leaves. Casey doesn't know Ryan is here and I know he will be blessed to have him visit.
8/14/17
Today is Olivienne's 4th birthday. My oldest granddaughter is 4! I was there the day she was born and I am grateful Meghan and Kirk allowed me to share in their special moment. I really wasn't needed- Kirk had it all under control and Meghan had a few midwives in the birthing center with her. I felt a little out of place because I had no real purpose, but that didn't stop me from staying! The joy I felt holding my little sweet Olivienne was overwhelming. She was a little bundle of joy. Meghan was so patient and loving with her. She struggled with nursing for the first few weeks, but never gave up. I am so proud of her. I can't wait to give Ollie a big hug this afternoon. Her birthday theme is trolls. I bought an edible screen cake template and will put it on the Costco cake I got. I have never used one before so I sure hope I don't mess it up! There will be a bunch of kids at Kirk's dad's house and they will all be zipping around on their electric cars which will be hilarious. Hopefully no bumper car moments will happen.
 
I enjoyed my time with Casey's friend Ryan yesterday. I took him out for breakfast and he shared his passion for ministry with me. He said he didn't really have a personal relationship with God until his senior year of the Seventh Day Adventist Academy. His senior year became the year he truly felt God. A terrible thing happened to him that year- he was attacked by a kid in his school from behind. Ryan felt his neck pop, but just ignored it for a few days. It got worse and an x-ray showed he had a broken neck! He had to have a special MRI in Seattle and they found he had been walking around with a broken neck! His injury was similar to that of Christopher Reeve's. He could easily have been paralyzed. He wore a neck brace for eight weeks and God healed him. Amazing story!!! God is so good.
Poor Ryan- he left his wallet at a friend's house in Anchorage. He had no money and no driver's license, only his passport. I filled up his gas tank of his rental car and bought him lunch before he headed back to Anchorage. The friend was out of town so he couldn't even get his wallet before he flew to Nome!
 
 
Patrick and I walked Ringo yesterday and this morning at 0615, Ringo and I went for a walk. I slept in until 0440 this morning. Perhaps sleep will come back to me which is a great thing.
 
8/15/17
 
My thoughts of sleeping through the night came to an end......I woke up about 0100 this morning. I dozed till about 0330 and gave up and was up for the day. I took a walk with Ringo and once again hit the ground running. I left in the middle of a meeting. I hit the wall. Crashed bad. I barely made it home without falling asleep. I went right to bed and slept for an hour. I missed another important meeting, but it couldn't be helped. My health must come first.
 
Tomorrow Debbie and I are going to the cabin to spend three wonderful nights there. We will hike, berry pick, and simply relax. I am very excited to get away. I am referring to the stay as my mental health break. I truly need it.....
 
We had so much fun last night at Olivienne's 4th birthday party. All here friends were adorable and she was the queen of the party. It's hard to believe she is four.  She was born and a whole year old before I got diagnosed with leukemia. So much has happened in her short little life and I am grateful to have her. She's always been Grammie's special little girl and I treasure her. I went back up there tonight to visit since I won't see them for several days. I can't wait to be reunited with them next week.
 
8/17/17
Debbie and I arrived at the cabin yesterday afternoon. We stopped to walk in Soldotna Park by the river, then walked my usual route down here. We went through a lot of rain, but were thankful it ended up being sunny. It's 0600 absolutely I have been lying in bed awake since 0400. I am going to take a shower and get ready for our big day of walking around in Soldotna.😊 Ringo deserves a nice walk first of course. 

It feels good to have these mental health days! Of course I am still dealing with Casey's crap and organizing bone marrow drives and planning volunteer duties and scheduling meetings, but for the most part, I am relaxing.....If only my mind could shut off.

My heart is heavy as I think about a friend whose father is dying from COPD. How difficult it is for the families of those who are so sick. So much hurt and pain amongst those around us. We never really know what's going on in someone's life. Be patient, kind, and compassionate. Stop and think before you take offense, before you judge, before you form  an opinion. You don't know the whole story. Be kind. Be a helper. Lend a hand. Reach out to someone who is struggling. Be a friend.

8/19/17

My moods are so crazy. I had three glorious nights at the cabin with Debbie. We relaxed, laughed, talked, shopped, walked, and had so much fun.  My heart was lightened and I felt freedom. I got home, tried unsuccessfully to nap, then got ready for my friend John's medical retirement party.  

I am a work in progress. LIfe is not easy. I am thankful that I can "praise him in this storm."

8/20/17

"As we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not ive by the truth." I John 1:6

"Because the Soverign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.  Therefore I have set my face like flint and I know I will not be put to shame." Isaiah 50:7

 

JESUS TODAY by Sarah Young says,

"Walk in the light of my presence-rejoicing in my name all day long exulting in my righteousness.  This world is increasingly dark, but the light of my presence is as bright as ever.  In fact, my glory shines more vividly against the dark backdrop of evil.  When Christlike goodness collides with worldly vileness, be on the lookout for miracles!  This collision of spiritual opposites creates atmospheric onditions that are conducive to my powerful interventions.

No matter how difficult your circumstances may be, you can still rejoice in my name.  The essence of all that I am is distilled into this one word: Jesus.  You can use my name as a whispered prayer as a praise, as a protection-and it never loses its potency.  Even in the darkest situations you can exult-rejoice constantly in my righteousness.  Nothing can tarnish the righteousness which I have woven into shining garments of salvation for you to wear forever.  This is how you walk into my light by making full use of my holy name and by wearing the robe of righteousness joyfully."

I had a great service at COR today and was encouraged to cotinue in intercessory prayer for Casey. I can never, ever stop praying for his recovery, his salvation, and his life.

I got to visit with Meghan and the girls over at Granny's. I also got to visit with Holly, Aaron, Mark, and Sharmin too. It was nice to have an impromptu family get together. Those girls are the light of my life. They are so stinking cute. Ailynn is still one. When asked how old she is, she replies, "one-two-none!"  She is fully potty trained and started talking- all within the last couple of weeks. It's like she grew up over night.

If I got more sleep it would help. Last night I slept from midnight to 0300, then I was awake until 0530. I woke back up at 0550 screaming in agony as both of my calves seized up on me. The pain was unbearable and my calves have been sore all day today. I didn't have time for a nap today. I sure hope I rest today as tomorrow has one appointment after another.

8/23/17

Everytime I get through my days, I give myself a mental pat on the back. I take on way too much and I don't know how to say no.... I have to learn to start or things are not going to improve for me mentally or physcally. :(

Tonight we get the girls all night long! I'm so excited. We are going to make a pie together and my parents are coming over for dinner.  It should be a good family filled evening.  Tomorrow my plan is to take the girls to the fair and have Meghan meet me there. I want the first hour at least to be just me spoiling them rotten. :)

8/24/17

We had a marvelous time at the state fair. The girs had so much fun and they got to do everything they wanted to do. Meghan and Kirk ended up meeting me there at the same time and I have to say that was probably a good thing! The girls are a lot of work. :) I enjoyed them immensely, but I also enjoyed hanging out with Meghan and Kirk. Those two are wonderful parents and just genuinely nice human beings. They ask nothing of me- they want to bless me more than expect blessings from me. It's refreshing and heart warming. All in all, it was a wonderful day and I am very thankful for my daughter and her family.

Tomorrow I will spend the day at the Opioid Summit. After that, I will be heading into Anchorage to meet up with Patrick so we can spend a few nights at the cabin.  Monday will be a crazy day- I have a bone marrow drive at the state fair all day.. Sometimes I just have to say no to working my schedule around him and just follow through with my commitments. 

8/26/26

The Opioid Recovery Summit was incredible. Picture this: a stage full of recovering addicts who were once deemed to be  the worst of the worst. Some had been in prison, most had  estranged relationships with family, one was found with a gun in his mouth ready to end it all, and all had no hope. Fast forward a few years and the common denominator is God. God rescued them all. Sometimes he sent peer support, sometimes he uses the judicial system to get them in a safe place, and then he arranged (through officials) Christian programs in prison to share the love of Christ. All of these lives were changed and all gave God the glory for it. There was no boasting of how they recovered on their own as sobriety is not normally achievable without the support of others. They stressed the need for us all to stand beside those in recovery and offer hope and accountability. Addicts CANNOT so this on their own. We must stand beside them. We must stop the stigma and the hate. We must be United to help ALL who need us. Senator Dan Sullivan was there and shared his support for all in recovery. He's a dynamic speaker who genuinely cares.

I had been awake since 0145 that morning and I was surprised I could comprehend anything at the conference. I thought maybe I would be able to sleep on the drive to the cabin, but still, sleep alluded me. Finally I slept last night. I woke up at 0100 and panicked, thinking I would be without sleep again, but thankfully I went back to sleep and slept till 6! I'm so happy!

Monday morning we will leave at 0430 to head back to Anchorage and then the Valley. I am organizing a bone marrow drive at the Alaska State Fair on Monday from 12-6. It will be in the Borealis Tent so come see me! We hope for many, many people to sign up to be bone marrow donors.

I hope it doesn't rain all weekend. I would like to go on some good walks with Ringo and I would appreciate not being drenched. I haven't exercised enough this week. My face is still so fat from the Prednisone and the Cortisone. I'm surprised at how few people have said anything. I guess they don't want to embarrass me which is nice, but I'm already embarrassed. I remember how Logan struggled with the fullness in his face too. I thought he was adorable. I miss him so much. As my friend is about to lose her dad to lung issues, I can't  help but think about Logan's struggle to breath the last few weeks of his life. There is nothing like watching your son gasp for air and knowing it was going to get worse. It haunts me and i have to keep it at bay so the grief doesn't take over again. Last year when I had pneumonia, I got an idea of how he felt at the end. I was desperate for air  and scared. I was sure I was going to die. My prayer for my friend's father is that God just fills him with peace and all panic is gone. He knows where he is going. Soon he will be dancing with Jesus. A Celebration is coming for all who believe. God is so good.

8/27/17

Yesterday was a beautiful and sunny day. Ringo and I took two walks for a total of four miles. I was pretty tired at the end of the second walk, but I felt accomplished. I also got a nap in yesterday which helped. Patrick worked all day installing an oil heater since the wood stove had to be removed due to my damaged lungs. I know he is disappointed- he loved having a wood stove. But he never complained a bit. He went fishing with Roy for the evening as a reward for working so hard. My plan is for us to go to church down here and then go blueberry picking. We shall see if he agrees to anything besides fishing...It would be wonderful for me to have him hike with me and berry pick. It's not his thing though, so most of the time it's more relaxing to just go alone.

Tomorrow is the big bone marrow drive at the Alaska State Fair. I hope we use every single one of the swab kits I have! That would be amazing! Maybe, just maybe, someone who registers tomorrow will save a life!

8/29/17

Sunday night I got about 2 hours of sleep. I woke up wide awake at 0100. We ended up leaving Kasilof at 0430 so Patrick could get to work. I came home and loaded up all my bone marrow supplies- praying I would stay awake. It's amazing how well I have adapted to no sleep. I had four wonderful volunteers and Channel 11 news was there and ready to help spread the word about the registration. Unfortunately, we only registered one person?! I could not believe it. I was extremely disappointed. It seems to be the theme lately for Alaska drives. All I can hope for is that one person is the  person who saves a life!!!! We have four more drives scheduled in Anchorage in September and October. Hopefully there will be better turnouts for those.

Last night I did get a great night's sleep and I'm so thankful. I slept until 0500 when Patrick's alarm went off. I got up to make him breakfast and lunch and then showered and was at physical therapy by 0700. I had several errands to do for Casey, had another appointment, then went grocery shopping. I came home and took a lovely nap. I am so thankful for the good rest today.

Tonight we went out to Sutton to see the property Meghan and Kirk are purchasing. It's a beautiful piece of property and so perfectly located; right next to the elementary school! I love it and I'm so happy for them and so very proud of how together they are. They are so young but the parents of three children (the 3rd here in just a couple weeks) and so mature. They have an amazing group of close knit friends. I have really felt that having close knit friends can save a marriage. When you all do things together and have each other's best interest at heart, I believe people are closer. The couples who just keep to themselves and don't talk to each other have a harder time with communication and just enjoying each other. Meghan and Kirk have figured it out and I'm so happy for them. I'm sure going to miss them when they go back to California. 

Addiction destroys so many families. It just sucks the life out of everyone it touches.  Heal our nation, Lord!

8/31/17

The room was packed- every chair was taken and another dozen or so people stood, eager to be there to support the thirty-six bed expansion for mental health and substance abuse treatment at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.  We were united for the cause and implored the State of Alaska to allow MSRMC to build this addition out of privately designated funds. No one was asking the State of Alaska for money, we were simply begging them to allow the hospital to renovate to offer these services. It seems ridiculous that the SOA has to give permission for this. 

We heard from nurses, doctors, social workers, counselors, law enforcement, several mayors, court employees, mothers, fathers, and siblings. Everyone had a story to share. Stories of desperate people asking for help and there were no services to be found. Stories of people turned away from the hospital because there wasn't anything else that could be offered to them. In 2016, Mat-Su Regional Hospital was over capacity 234 times! In 2012, they were over capacity just five times. Does that not tell us all that we have a growing population of people needing behavioral health and addiction services?  Michael Carson reminded us of a quote from Dr. Jay Butler, "If drug houses are open 24/7, then we need to be open 24/7."

One woman spoke of losing her brother to suicide. A few years later she lost her son to a heroin overdose. Now she's fighting for her daughter who is an addict unable to find services to help her. She's a professional woman desperate for help. Another woman spoke of her heroin addicted son and the desperation she feels because the services are not readily available. John Green spoke about losing his daughter, Kelssie to a heroin overdose in jail. He thought she would be safe there, but she died because of lack of proper medical treatment. 

The stories are real and there couldn't have been anyone in the room who was untouched by what was shared. The state initiated a recovery ready community by implementing  Senate Bill 91, which was designed to help the addict recover- to get the treatment they need. As Kristin Hull from Wellness Court said to state officials, "How could you not allow us to do this in our community? We are ready for this."  The experts have done all the statistical evaluations and have determined this is necessary, plans are in place, the money is secured, and now we just need the State of Alaska to allow MSRMC to expand services. How could they refuse?

Heres the contact information to show your support:

Alexandria Hicks Cert. of Need Coordinator
Depart. of HSS, Office of Rate Review
3601 C St., St. 978
Pleasw do this before September 11th.