Its the first of November and I am sleepless in Fresno. When Casey went to jail, I started sleeping again. He has a hearing on Friday and he is filled with anxiety. His phone calls fill ME with anxiety and I can no longer sleep. I also have to say goodbye to my four girls tomorrow and I am dreading it. I know Meghan and Kirk are enjoying this "tramping" lifestyle as the Linemen call it, and I truly am happy for their family. But as a grandparent, I don't like it. I want them nearby us so we can see our grandchildren each week.
I have a few things keeping me up at night. Halloween did not go as planned. All day I told the girls we were going to trick or treat at this awesome place. I found it by searching trick or treat activities in Fresno. It turned out to be a place in the ghetto which freaked Meghan out. We went ahead and got out, but there was no candy left! We went across the street to the games. If the kids did the games, they could get a piece of candy. Olivienne is very hesitant to do things in front of strangers so she was crying. Meghan was upset with her and more tears were had. I felt terrible and responsible. At that point if we had gone into a store, I would have bought them anything they wanted. And at home in Alaska, I bought a HUGE bag of candy for Patrick to hand out and he went out of town! Maybe I can mail it to the girls.... Patrick has business in Kenai, but he stopped by our elderly neighbor's house in Kasilof to help Harold. Christine has dementia and it's getting worse. Harold is losing his eye sight to macular degeneration. It's so sad. We want to help them but it's hard when we aren't down there full time. I haven't talked to Granny for a few days and I am realizing I need to check in with her more often. When I am home, we talk daily. I have not had hardly a moment to myself while here, so phone calls are difficult. Tomorrow I will call her.
We saw a homeless lady each time we left the hotel yesterday. She had one arm and the other hand was deformed. I couldn't get her off my mind. I walked up to her from the hotel and asked her if I could buy her dinner. She requested KFC and I happily obliged her. I asked what brought her to living on the streets. She said it was a story right out of Hollywood and asked if I was sure I wanted to hear it. I sat down on the grass and listened. It was pretty obvious there was some mental health concerns. I am glad I took the time to listen to her. It's unfortunate that not many do. I am thankful there are people in Alaska, especially my friend Laurie Phillips, who take the time to assist people in our community who are less fortunate. Laurie and her team hand out sleeping bags, food, and offer support to the homeless population. Alaska is a harsh place to be homeless in. But I think it would be hard to be homeless in any state!
There are so many needs in our communities. I would like to help everyone. There are needs nation wide. There are needs worldwide! My heart hurts and I want to make sure I am doing my part. I realize I lack so much when it comes to helping others. I do not do enough. I must prioritize my life differently. I want to make a difference.
Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my daughter, son-in-law, and three granddaughters. It was hard. They
The girls don't understand how long it will be until we see each other again. Thankfully they had their Papa Brian and Nana Joyce waiting for them in Redding. They are there until Saturday so that will help with the transition. They are very close to them as well. It would be super cool if I got to see them again tomorrow when Meg and Kirk take them to the airport in Sacramento. But it probably won't work because I will be in Brentwood with my mother's family. Mom doesn't keep in close contact with them, but I have gotten to know them over the years via emails and Facebook. FB can be good for some things! I also am supposed to get to see my great Uncle Dick who is a sweet, sweet man!
I want so badly to go for a nice walk today. I havent had much exercise since I have been here. Now I have time time and of course it's supposed to rain all day. Just being with Pam will be sufficient. Pam has been a close friend for over 28 years. She had Michael six days before I had Casey. I was with her when she gave birth. I was so bummed when she and Ron moved to California. When Logan died, she came to stay with me a few days. When I got sick, she came to cheer me up. She's the very loyal friend everyone wants to have. I want to be a loyal friend too. I want to be true and honorable. I love knowing great people, because it inspires me to aspire greatness!
It was a wonderful two nights with Ron and Pam. I got to see three of their four children and both of their grandchildren. It was just fantastic to be with them all again. Yesterday they dropped me off on the way to their trip to Palm Springs- delivered me to my cousin Jill. This is the second night with Jill and Russel. Today their kids, grandkids, and Jill's sister, and my great uncle came to visit me. It is so nice to get to know my mother's side of the family. I have always been around my dad's side, but I have had limited time with Mom's side. I believe getting to know your family and spending time with them is so important. As much as I love being with them, I am anxious to get home. I miss my husband . Casey is also there. We are now his third party custodians until he gets into treatment. I'm anxious to see him. I am praying so hard that this will be it and he will be done with drugs forever and ever.
I miss my grandchildren!
I finally made it home. I had a fantastic tme with my mom's side of the family. Mom hasn't been good at keeping in touch with them. I think it's because she has lost so much. So many family members have died. Her father at four, her mother at eighteen, her sister, her brother... I think she just shuts off her feelings; like she's afraid to get close to them in fear they will also leave her. My mother is a loving peron; all who are around her adore her. She is a giving person- she will sacrifice everything to make sure another person has what they need. But of course she is wounded from all the losses. I am just a sentimental fool and want to know every family member I have. I don't feel complete until I fully understand my roots.
Jill and Russel drove me to the airport Monday night. Unfortunately a bird had hit my plane that had just come in from Maui. The flight was cancelled. I had to spend a night in a moldy smelling hotel courtesy of Alaska Air. I was certainly worried about the mold smell, but was too tired to ask for another room. It worked out okay because my new flight got in at 7:30 last night which was much better than the 2:00 a.m. flight. I don't like asking anyone to get me in the middle of the night during an Alaskan winter.
I have been having trouble with sore throats on this trip. I think I have just let myself get dehydrated because it's happened when I flew down and then back up. That happens to me. But there is always that nagging thought, "What if it came back?" I had a sore throat the day before I ended up in the hospital. I talked with Karla, my cousin Scott's wife. She had thyroid cancer. She was telling me she reacts the same way anytime a new or unusual symptom arises. She thinks maybe "it" is back. I guess most cancer survivors probably feel that way. It's hard to relax completely. But God is so good and he will be there with me no matter if it comes back or not. I am free!
I fell into a deep slumber about 9:30 last night. I was exhausted after running Casey around all day. The stress is back and I am already feeling it. The exhaustion is great, but it's 0300 and I have been awake for two hours. Today is going to be another busy day running him around to appointments and court. I have an 0700 PT appointment as well. My hips are not happy with me- probably due to the plane ride. I had to skip my massage yesterday and my body is protesting. I had a good six weeks of sleep while he was incarcerated. It seems my sleeping disorder is back and I feel like crying. There seems to be no end in sight. Two treatment centers have denied him and options are limited in Alaska.
Veteran's Day- a day set aside to reflect on all the men and women who have given their service to the USA and to honor those who have given their lives for us as well. Everyday should be a day to honor our military members, but today is special. Thank you, Veterans.
I got a break today and got to go work out. I feel stronger and healthier when I go to the gym. I have a long way to go, but I am gettting there. I am limited on doing anything right now because I am Casey's third party. Unless Patrick is home, I can't do anything. It's limiting for sure. I am thankful he had a friend from high school come see him last night. Chris is a good guy. He brought his two boys with him. Casey felt so valued and cared for. Today Dale, former pastor from church is here. Casey needs to know how many people care about him and I am so grateful they have taken the time to visit him. I believe recovery relies on community. If we support the addicts by encouragement, it helps to hold them accountable and assists them in recovery because they know people are watching and willing to help. I am so thankful he has people around who don't judge, they just care.
My computer quit working and I had to take it into the shop. I am terrified I will lose very important documents on it and am praying hard it will be easily fixed. I also lost my car keys and can't find them anywhere! Lots of prayers for silly things, but also necessary things.
Mom is driving Casey and I into Anchorage Monday. She's also Casey's third party. I have to get my first colonoscopy (yuck) and she will take Casey to apply to another treatment center while my
The nice thing about me being basically on house arrest is the fact I have gotten some much needed organizing and cleaning done. I have made three trips to Thrifters Rock to donate things. After being in California and staying with friends and family, I decided my house needs to be less cluttered like theirs. Nothing like motivation! I have a long way to go for sure. I am so thankful I have a warm house and things to clutter it. Today while dropping off items at the thrift store, I saw a young homeless man. It's cold and windy outside. I had one of the homeless snack bags with me so I gave him that and a toothbrush. It wasn't much, but I hope he knew I cared about him.
Yesterday my great uncle Joe died. He was the brother closest in age to Granny. He had a massive heart attack at 87. I wonder how it feels to be the oldest of twelve with only six surviving children. Granny isn't open about her feelings, but I suspect underneath the bravado, is a sad little girl rememembering all her losses. I admire my Granny and wish life had not been so filled with great losses for her. I am thankful she has great faith in God and is reassured that she will one day be reunited with those she loves. I cannot imagine a life without my granny and hope Jesus comes back before he takes her. I can say the same about everyone I love. Losing someone dear is almost completely unbearable. This is why I want everyone I care about to know . My cough has increased. I have escaped the terrible virus that has captivated the ones I love. I have been impressed at my stellar immune system. Perhaps I got a little too cocky. Hopefully the cough is all I get. Last night my blood sugar dropped to 45 after being denied food all day due to today's colonoscopy. I will be so thankful when this is over. I realize that two days without food is nothing- people are starving everyday and I have no right to complain.
My parents have two offers on their house. I am thankful that there is finally progress on selling it. It's bittersweet, but they really need to sell it. All the memories will have to live on in our minds. Memories of my three children spending happy times there each Friday night. Memories of my dad creating an enormous skating rink in their backyard for my kids to play hockey. Memories of a treasure hunt one Christmas, when it was just my three kids and Michelle. Memories of us living there when Logan was a baby. He got his first bath there. May we never forget the love my parents have for all of us. They built a home, not just a house. Memories- they can make or break us.
Two days of starving myself and monitoring my blood sugars for nothing. I got to the hospital, IV was started, we discussed sleeping meds. I told them what they were going to give me would not put me to sleep. They wanted to add a narcotic and I insisted I couldn't have it because I throw up. The doctor said he would give me something else and guaranteed I would sleep. I did not sleep. But the worst part of it was, the prep didn't work and he couldn't complete the colonoscopy. All that trouble for nothing. He wants me to come back in two weeks. Will the insurance pay for two?? I am beyond frustrated. I have to be the only one in the world this has happened to. I feel like a unique freak.
Rememeber the lost keys? I emptied my purse twice and peered inside it. I felt all around the lining. I checked the freezer twice because I had put groceries away after arriving home. I checked the refrigerator and the pantry. I checked my jeans, my coat, everything and I did so repeatedly, hoping they would magically appear. I repeated the same process today, only I simply reached into my purse. There set my keys. Tell me how they magically appeared? It doesn't make sense at all. I am simply thankful the mystery is solved. I am anxiously awaiting news on my computer and my spirit continually prays that the documents on it will be saved.
I may not have slept during the procedure, but I came home and slept for three solid hours. Now it's 10:30 and I am wide awake. Hopefully I will sleep tonight. I feel like I should sleep for a solid ten hours.
Three treatment centers have now denied Casey. It's really hard to comply with a court order when no one will take him. This is ridiculous. I am praying the one in Juneau accepts him. I have heard it's a good facility. He has to get a physical Thursday and we will send that last requirement for admission to them and see what they say.
I woke up at 0300 this morning coughing like a horse. Do horses cough loudly? I sure was. I don't feel bad- just have a terrible cough and a bit of a runny nose. I am praying it does not turn into pneumonia. I do not want to go back to the hospital.
My left hip has been in so much pain since the airplane ride. I have had two PT appointments and one medical massage this week. I hope it gets better quickly. I want to go play in the snow like a normal person. It's so beautiful out there. We have lots and lots of fluffy white snow.
I must go run Casey to Palmer now. I spent my morning at the doctor's office and then on phone with the insurance company trying to get claims as far back as January paid. It's so frustrating.
I went to the doctor today because I am still coughing. I had an influenza test and RSV swab. I don't know the results of the the RSV test yet. My cough is bad, but the X-ray showed no pneumonia. I am thrilled and so happy that I don't have to worry about that.
My granny is doing better with her cold and I'm so thankful. People who are elderly are certainly more at risk of developing pneumonia than younger, healthier people. I worry about her so much. I really need to get over and see her tomorrow. Tomorrow I am going to go work out and continue working on my strength recovery. Patrick is going to go to help Dad on his new house and is taking Casey with him.
I took two naps today. My first nap was interrupted by several phone calls. My blood sugar also dropped to 37. My second nap, after three visitors, was delightful and interruption free. Patrick made me a delicious dinner. He grilled shrimp that he caught himself, and steak that friends sent us from Omaha Steaks. What a treat to be cooked for and he even cleaned the kitchen afterwards. He is a keeper.
Its 0300 and I cannot sleep. Partly because of my late nap, but mostly because I am very stressed out. Sometimes, no matter what my heart feels or how much effort I put into things, it just isn't enough. I have failed again. There are no words to describe how it feels to be such an incompetent person. My heart is too heavy and the pain is so great. I would appreciate your prayers. My heart hurts so much that I can't pray anymore. Sometimes I think the saying "if you love something set it free, if it comes back it's yours. If not, it wasn't ever meant to be" , applies to people too. .Its hard to comprehend how much pain one has when rejected by someone they deeply love with all their heart. The pain is unbearable. I have failed. Sometimes I wonder why God chose me to live. The person I have tried to help the most despises the very core of me.
Because I heard you say
There's gonna be brighter days
There's gonna be brighter days
I wont stop, I'll keep my head up
No, I'm not here to stay
There's gonna be brighter days
There's gonna be brighter days
As long as I can see your face
And I can't seem to find my way
I know where I am found, so I won't let it drag me down, oh
I'll keep dancing anyway
I'm gonna move, move
I'm gonna move (I'm gonna move)
Keep my head in the game
Everything is about to change
Everything is about to change
But I'm not about to cave
Everything is about to change
There's gonna be brighter days
Saw the endocrinologist. He said it's Adrenal Insufficiency and he's putting me on 10 mg of Hydrocortisone and taking me off Prednisone. He said most likely cause was the Prednisone and Cortisone combined and it made my adrenal glands stop working. I am to get monthly cortisol checks in AK. Just a few adjustments to my pump next. I have nerve testing at noon- EMG. This is a test I have had a few times and it is unpleasant. Needles stuck in me and electrical currents shocking me. The shocking is first, then the needles.. Blah.... This is what I get for being honest about my symptoms, darn it!!!!
I finally felt like eating today, but didn't want to eat too much because I want to go to lunch at Fat Willy's. Fat Willy's has a delicious pork tenderloin sandwich the size of a dinner plate- just like they serve in Indiana. I wish I could wrap one up and bring it home to Mom. She loves them just as much as I do. But I don't think a three day old sandwich will taste so good!
There are so many lessons for each of us to learn. I wish I learned mine quicker than I have. I give great advice to others, but do I follow my own advice? Am I a happy person? Do I dwell too much on the negative things? Am I am optimist? Am I hopeful? Am I faithful? Am I true? Am I an encourager?
Yesterday I had lunch at a local restaurant. I was sitting by myself and found myself observing people. There were many tables of two women sitting together. Those women never stopped talking and laughing. All tables of women were filled with laughter and a closeness many could envy. They shared confidence and trust in each other and they found humor in the other person. They each expressed kindness. I saw a mom sitting with her adorable boy about the age of eight. They sat in silence while the mom was checking her emails and texting. That made my heart sad. I wanted to say to her, "They grow up so fast! Be in the moment!" Then there was a married couple who never said a single word to each other. He never even looked up as he was on his phone the entire meal. She sat in silence and looked lonely and sad. A couple other couples briefly spoke to each other while sitting. What happens to the long term relationships? Do people just get bored with one another? Do they not have anything in common anymore? No wonder divorce rates are so high. We don't put away our phones or turn the TV off and focus on one another. Communication failure is real. It's so important to find a common interest and do activities or plan activities together around that common interest. It's important to talk about your day and share your feelings. Women especially need to feel listened to and nurtured, but they also want to share in their husband's life and usually desire to offer advice and solutions from a woman's perspective. Men seem to want to just leave their "business life" at the office. But by doing so, they are closing part of their life off to their wife. I have enough friends who have divorced to know this is a real concern. Men, take care of your wives. Nurture them, romance them, and love them. When you do, your wives will be friendlier and more carefree. It's a win-win. No one should ever lose.
It is 0230 and I am reluctantly awake. There are drunk guys outside my hotel door.. They are discussing how they were trying to keep from spilling their Vodka and the need to get a new room key. Now I am awake and very irritated. I opened my door and found one rolling around on the floor, hitting my door.. All of my doctors and medical providers have told me repeatedly this trip that I have to get my stress under control because it is causing so many health problems. I thought leaving Alaska and all the issues there would help me relax and be stress free. Instead, I am at the clinic all day being poked, prodded, shocked, stuck with needles, and completely exhausted and I can't even sleep because of drunk guys. What is it going to take to be able to live a less stressed life? It seems I can't get away from it and can't get a decent night's sleep whether it's here or at home.
One of my favorite people have a birthday today. Mary Theresa Kleewein Oathout Welch is 90 years old. My Granny lights up my world with her compassion, care, empathy, wisdom, and faithfulness. She is a Godly woman deserving of praise. And.... a woman deserving of a good party which we plan to do. Everyone who knows Granny is invited to attend to celebrate her great life. I had planned to call people and send invitations, but due to my chaotic life and being sick, I neglected to do so. This is one time I am truly thankful for social media as I was able to spread the news there.
My last day at Mayo was a bit frustrating. I saw the neurlologist and he said I should have had a different test than the EMG. He wanted my small fiber nerves tested to confirm the Diabetic Neuropathy. Based on the exam, he is convinced I do have that. He tortured me with more needles. Some parts I could feel, and other parts I could not. I finished up the day with hip injections. The doctor injected both gluteal muscles with a numbing medication. The idea was to see if that worked for a certain period of time. If it did, then we would know where the likely trigger is for all my pain. After four hours I began to feel the pain again, and before twenty four hours was up, I was in just as much pain as before. So perhaps that means I just need to be numbed every few hours?? The orthopedic doctor wanted me to get cortisone shots again, but since that cortisone and prednisone caused my adrenal gland to stop working, I am hesitate to do so.
I took an hour long stress relieving class while at Mayo. I came home with booklets and short videos. Yesterday and today are both stressful, so maybe I can start it Sunday. There is simply no time until then. I look forward to a day when I learn to relax. Patrick leaves this afternoon for Seattle. He's going with friends for the weekend. I am pretty disappointed he won't be spending the day with me at Granny's party. He is cooking the turkey and ham for me this morning, so that helps.
Deep Thoughts by Kelly Marre
1. Smiling at a stranger makes you feel good and seems to make others feel good.
2. Babies bring out the best in most people and tend to make us smile.
3. If you are in the middle seat on the plane, you really should consider not spilling over onto the person next to you. Some of us like personal boundaries.
4. If you have a cough, please cough into your sleeve, not on the rest of us.
5. Why would anyone NOT sign up for the electronic coupons for Fred Meyer and Safeway? Why doesn't everyone want to save money?
6. Keeping in touch with friends makes you both feel valued.
7. Send a card to someone you know who is having a difficult time whether from grief, illness, job,or family issues.
8. Say three positive things for each negative comment.
9. Be thankful for what you have- you never know when your life is going to change. Appreciate the moment.
10. Always say I love you when talking with someone important to you. Don't say this to your boss though- that's just weird.
11. When using your seat tray on airplane, don't yank it open or slam it to close because it's annoying to the person seated directly in front of you. You can actually lower and raise it gently. Try it and you will see it works.
12. When you are really frustrated with someone, picture them as a cute little baby you want to make smile. Just don't tickle their chin- you might get slapped.
Granny’s party was so much fun. She had seven surprise guests (all relatives) fly up from Colorado. She was very happy and I am thrilled so many shared her special day with her. I wish Meghan could have come up.
I haven’t taken the time to do any of the meditation lessons I was going to start as soon as I got home. i have had tons of paperwork to catch up on as well as paying bills. It’s hard to relax when I don’t make the effort to relax. Saturday was nice- Dorothy came over and we visited for a couple hours. Sunday I went to church and a sweet lady prayed over me to help me with my stress level. My doctors, medical providers, and my counselor are all telling me my stress level is out of control. I know it is, but there is not much I can do about it. I know I am not pleasant to be around. God help me.
"Bless the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his commandments, harkening to the voice of his word." Psalm 103:20
Today I am grateful for friends. My faithful friends who called to check on me encouraged me so much. Blessed are they for caring enough to reach out to me when they have their own things going on. One also had a bone marrow transplant and has had a multitude of problems. The other currently has cancer. They have so much to deal with themselves, yet they called me to encourage me. My first friend called and prayed for me over the phone. I prayed over the phone for my other friend. God restored my heart. How blessed am I! My mood has been uplifted because God sent "his angels" to comfort me. Lord, forgive me for complaining. Help me to remember how blessed I am to be alive and well. Fill me with gratitude and take away my negative thoughts. Thank you for all you have given me and help me be a better Christian. I love you, Jesus!
Yesterday I had a fantastic day with Casey. We spent the day decorating the Christmas trees and the house. We got along so well and I truly enjoyed him and I think he enjoyed being with me. I am determined to continue with this attitude adjustment i have had and it's helping me to be less stressed and happier.
What is Stress?
The dictionary defines stress as "a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances." Stress targets the weakest part of our physiology or character. Stress is a natural and normal part of our daily lives. Are any of us immune from stress? I think not! Stress is a part of our everyday life. Perhaps it is an unending pile of paperwork on your desk, a demanding boss, an unhappy relationship, problems with your child, family feuds, financial problems, addiction issues, or just simply being overwelmed with it all. Sometimes I think stress is good for us because it helps us complete tasks in a timely manner. I remember the research papers in college and how knowing I had to complete an intensive paper within a certain amount of time stressed me out. Since I am one of those "high strung, type A personalites", I would complete my research paper well before it was due. Why? Because the stress of KNOWING the paper was due would send my emotional state into a tizzy. It was all I thought about and I could never relax. Getting it done in advance alliviated so much stress.
Stress affects our minds and bodies in several ways. Stress causes changes in emotional, physical, behavioral, and cognitive ways.
Memory problems, poor judgment, inability to concentrate, and self-doubt
Depression, moodiness, instablility, panic, anxiety, and frustration
Drinking too much, increased use of caffeine or nicotine, using illegal substances, isolating from others, and sleeping problems- either too much or too little
Chest pain, heart rate increases, frequent illnesses, upset stomachs, and high blood pressure
Wow, stress really does a number on our bodies, doesn't it! What can we do about it? We can practice meditation which basically means letting our minds empty all of our worries and consciously control our breathing and our heart rate. It's going to our "happy place". We can do yoga, exercise, seek spiritual support, and practice self-care (by getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet) We can ask for help and delegate duties to others. We can cut back on some of our commitments and we can schedule time to fulfill our own pleasurable activites. Perhaps it's going to a spa, getting a massage, or playing fetch with your dog.
We may not be able ot control the stress in our lives, but we can control the way we handle the stress. I have found that negative thinking and compaining only exacerbates my stress. I have always despised the phrase, "Just think positive", but truly, thinking positively about things does destress our lives. Learn to recognize destructive and negative thinking. I refer to this as "stinking thinking". Instead of beating yoursef up, praise yourself for accomplishing what you have managed to do each day. If you made a mistake, think of it as a learning lesson on what not to do and what TO do next time. Give yourself permission not to be perfect.
Stress is different for each person. What stresses me out may not stress you out. Stress can be short-term or long-term. It is important to get a handle on it quickly before temporary physical problems become permanent physical problems.
Here are some things we can find about deaing with stress and anxiety in the greatest book of all, the Bible:
Phillippians 4:6- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Isaiah 41:13- For I am your Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear. I will help you.
Psalm 34:4- I prayed to the Lord and he answered me and freed me from all my fears.
2 Corinthians 12:10- When you have done everything you can do, that's when God will step in and do what you can't do.
Amazing reminder of God's promises for us. He gives us the tools to "destress". It is up to us whether we utilize those tools or not.
After a weekend of not feeling well, I had a super good day today and I am so grateful. My day started off visiting with Lynda, Trina, and Aaron, while Lynda had chemo. She rocks it like a champ. She is so positive and such a fireball and advocate for God. I just feel like a special person around her because she is so kind and uplifting. I got the news that a treatment center reversed the decision to accept Casey and he is treatment bound as of Wednesday! It's a true miracle of God and I am so delighted that he can move forward in this process. I followed that news with a visit with my Granny. All is well in the world of Kelly Marre right now. I am blessed.
He was covered in tattoos and his eyes told the story of living a life of hell for many years.. He tightly clutched his backpack, which likely held all of his limited precious possessions. He still had a hospital bracelet on from being in the emergency room. He laid on the floor and tried to sleep-while attempting to push the demons away. The staff was kind and assured him someone would be there shortly to return him back to detox. He said he hoped after detox he could just do outpatient treatment again. He was the kind of guy most would steer clear of if they ran into him at the store. He came across as a lost soul, one who knew this wouldnt be the last time he would be asking for help in slaying the dragon.
Tbe couple sat across from me and I tried not to stare. They looked normal, healthy, and intelligent. They looked like a couple one would find in a church meeting. But they were there for the same reason the haunted man with the tattoos was- they needed help slaying the dragon.
The others were a mixture of young, eager, and friendly individuals. They all seemed happy and supportive of each other. Did they used to use together? One day they shared needles, and the next day they were roommates in a detox center? What happened? Why do they want to change now? Do they truly want to change or are they there because the court mandated them to be? When is the last time? What is the deciding factor of quitting forever? Why can some people quit and others continue using? Why can't they the dragon die?
As we drove away, Patrick said, "Casey doesn't belong with people like that." I wanted to agree with him. Casey is different! He is loved and supported. He has everything to live for. But, he's not different. He is one of them. One who desires another life, but doesn't know how to achieve long term sobriety. He's hopeful, but he had the proud attitude of an addict. There's "pride" amongst addicts for being the baddest of all. You and I don't understand it and we wouldn't want that trophy. Casey is loved by so many and this mom is hopeful. This mom believes that this time is the time permanent sobriety will be achieved. The prayers for Casey are many and freely flow from the lips of those who care. He is going to make it. He will slay the dragon.
Walking through those doors a year ago was surreal. The halls were famiiar- I walked many miles down those halls, yet it seemed so long ago. I walked back into Kootenai Hospital a year ago as a survivor. I had beat it and I was there to thank my doctors and nurses. I took a commemorative walk around the floor trying to remember how I felt the two years before. I closed my eyes and thought about my desperate prayers, my hopes, and the fears I had experienced. I went to the small chapel and sat there askng God what I was really supposed to be doing while there. I clearly understood that I was supposed to visit someone and bring them hope. I had already said goodbye to everyone, but I went back to One North and said, " I need to visit someone with cancer. I can't leave until I encourage someone else." The nurse thought for a moment and said, "Katie! You can visit Katie." I went into Katie's room not knowing what to expect. She was in her early 30's, bald, weak, and in pain. Yet her smile lit up the room. She told me she had been diagnosed with ALL, had a transplant, then relapsed with both ALL & AML. She had multiple stomach surgeries and everything that could go wrong, did. Yet Katie smiled. She shared her pain so matter of factly. She gave God all the glory and shared her faith with me. I was supposed to encourage HER, yet she gave me the best encouragement anyone could ever give me. She was simply amazing. This past year she and I kept in touch via FaceBook. She had another transplant- this time a cord blood transplant like I had. She was hopeful. She posted pictures of visits with her boys and husbands. She was always hopeful and positive. Just a few days ago, she had posted this awesome picture of her with one of her sons. It was his birthday and her smile just radiated through the computer. I complimented her fabulous eyebrows. She responded that her sister said she has "caterpillar" eyebrows. I had to agree- they were fabulous though! Mine grew back sparse and gray. She shared that she had relapsed again. My heart sank as I knew likely she would die. I didn't expect it to be so soon. Yesterday, her husband posted that she was gone. She left this earth for her much deserved Heavenly reward. Katie will never be forgotten. I am so thankful I obeyed the calling of God last year. If I hadn't gone back to One North, I never would have been blessed with having Katie in my life.
I have it all planned out in my head. We are going to text Meghan about five minutes before we arrive at their RV park. Patrick insisted we fly to Califonia and surprise the girls for Christmas. We had some miles to use so it made it affordable. Casey is in treatment and we miss our girls so much. He cleared it with Meghan to make sure we wouldn't be an imposition. The girls don't know. In my head it's all planned out. We all know that life isn't easily planned out so I have promised myself I won't be upset if my surprise plan doesn't work. But I want it to work. I want Meghan to say, "girls, go outside and play!" They will open the door and see us. Meghan will video tape the surprised look on their face and catch them running to us screaming, "Grammie!!!! Papa!!!" Oh, Lord let my dream come true!!! It's the dream I had while undergoing chemo. A dream to be loved by multiple grandchildren. Now I have three! When I was diagnosed just three years ago I only had one! God has blessed me.
Mom and Dad are exhausted from working so much. They are closing on their house in a month and have just started packing. I have not been there for them and now I am leaving. I went out Saturday and packed several boxes of dishes. That made barely a dent when considering all their belongings. Thirty-three years in the same place means lots of stuff to pack. The timing of our trip is not ideal at all. I blocked off the first two weeks in January- dedicated to helpng them. I wish the house they bought in Texas did not need to be remodeled. I wish they had the money to pay someone to complete the house they are building. When you are in your mid-70's, you should not be working on houses! It's just too much. It breaks my heart to see them so stressed out. I haven't been there for them and neither has any of the multitudes of people they have helped. I wish we all would step up to the plate and help. I am determined to be there for them upon our return. May God look over them and guide every moment of their days.
My plan worked. We sat at the picnic table and the girls screamed when they saw us! Ailynn even took off in the other direction because she didn't know what to do.. My dream came true and we are reunited with our three baby girls.
Life is good and comfortable right now. There is still so much uncertainty, with my life, my health, Casey, etc . Sometimes I feel confused and lost, but I have to remember that God knows the plans for me. Plans to prosper me and not harm me. He knows the number of hairs on my head. I will be still and let God take the wheel. When my mind wanders and tries to do the "what ifs", I will remember that he is in control.
Parenting is definitely for the young! I just woke up after taking a short nap in the backseat of the car. The girls are wearing me out, but I love the time we are spending with them. Last night the four of us were in bed watching cartoons. When they all fell asleep, including Patrick, I snuck over to the other bed and stretched out with a blissful sigh. After a bit, I woke up and discovered Patrick was beside me snoring. Then Ailynn had three episodes of crying in her sleep. Then I felt a little body curling in beside me. It was Ollie. Then Patrick's alarm went off. Little Ailynn popped up on the other side of him. My dream of sleeping alone was gone..... Patrick went to breakfast with a friend. Ailynn got in my face and said, "Grammie, it's not night time, it's morning!" It was 0630 and I felt like I havent slept in days. But t was cute!
The guy in the elevator asked me if I was done with my Christmas shopping. I immediately felt irritated. Christmas has been reduced to the ultimate material waste day; we buy things because we think we should. Often times the gifts don’t even come from the heart, they come from a sense of obligation. I thought of the Hallmark movie I recently watched when a man hired a personal shopper to buy his family and his employees gifts. Sure she was able to personalize them, but they didn’t come from HIS heart. I could skip Christmas all together. As a child, I loved the spirit of Christmas because it seemed magical. When I had young children I made it magical for them. When they grew up, I saw how greedy we all are. We want and want. I think about all the people who are sad because they don’t have anyone to spend Christmas with. Why does it matter about one day a year? We should be sad because people go all year without friends and family, homes, and a nice meal. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but few seem to remember the reason for the season. To me, Christmas should be everyday. Each day we should give gifts from the heart. That could include our time, our help, our love, fulfilling needs, and just being a faithful friend.
So this year, no matter where you are or who you are with, remember this is just a day. Make this, and every other day of the year, count. Be he best you can be and be the best friend, neighbor, community member, and family member you can be. Let’s make each day a Merry Christmas. And if we want a Happy New Year, we must work for it. It’s not going to come to us without effort.
I ended up in the hospital all night. I started vomiting and my blood sugars dropped to the 30's and 40's. I had to go. My heart rate was very high and my BP was very low. I was finally released about 10 this morning. It was a long night in a busy and noisy ER. I am thankful to be out, but I don't be have the energy to do anything. I'm still nauseated and so tired. I feel like my granddaughters are cheated. I wish I could be normal for them. I feel so bad for patrick too. He deserves a healthier and better wife.
As dire as all that was, I still found some humor in the whole situation last night. I knew I was going to throw up and I was too lazy to get off the bed. Patrick brought me the trash can. I was so proud of myself for getting all the enormous amount of vomit in the can. What I didn’t realize was I didn’t get it all in the can. It was everywhere. My knight in shining armor cleaned it up, but he gagged as he did so. The hotel towels went into the trash. Here I was with a terribly low blood sugar and I was worried about towels. Then Patrick sat down and ate chips after gagging just five minutes before. I decided we had to go to the hospital and I had to call the insurance company to see which one I could go to. She said she would email me the addresses of approved hospitals, but she sent it encrypted and I couldn’t open it! Then Patrick couldn’t figure out how to put hospital directions in his phone. By this time I was crying because I was so sick. Pathetic I know. We got to the hospital and he tried to go in the EMS door and was literally trying to pull the doors open. We finally found the right door and I laid down on a small chair. He was begging them to get me back right away. I heard her delaying it and then I vomited all over the waiting room. Amazingly, they got us back right away! When they discovered how low my blood sugar was, there was panic in the air. The scary thing is now I can hardly feel the severe lows. That’s super scary. I am afraid one day I just won’t wake up. I made the triage nurse mad because I told him which vein to use. I know my body well and I know which veins won’t work. He said, “this is a life or death situation,” yet he used the requested vein. I also made the doctor mad because I refused to have my temperature taken rectally. Really? NO thank you! Then he wanted to put me on more steroids and I refused. I don’t think they liked me there. My face has broken out terribly on my cheeks. I look like a teenager with acne. It’s caused by my newest medication I am on to treat my low cortisol level. I truly want off this train. I am done.
Today was a reminder that time with the girls is running short. Tomorrow we leave them behind as we return to Alaska. I have a feeling I will be sobbing as we get on that plane. It’s a good thing that they are not dropping us off at the airport. Ollie asked me when she was going to see us again, and I was very close to “losing it”. I don’t like this tramping lifestyle of theirs. I want to be a full time Grammie.
My nausea is still present and I hardly ate today. my nurse case manager called me and I got quite the lecture for stopping the hydrocortisone. She told me my life is more important than the ugly rash on my cheeks. We compromised with the blood test results we will find out on Friday, if my cortisol level is still low, I will go back on it. I’m just so fed up with all this stuff.
My dad wrecked his truck today. He totaled it and hit two other cars. He’s physically okay, but worried about the elderly lady who was injured. He doesn’t have full coverage, so his truck won’t be replaced. My parents are so loving and kind as well as generous. It breaks my heart that they have such bad luck sometimes. I don’t believe in “luck”, but sometimes it sure seems like it. I wish I were rich and could take care of them financially,
Its almost the end of 2017 and I don’t know how to sum up my year. I don’t even underatand what happened this year. I do know I feel like my world had been upside down for a few years now. I thought things would be normal again. I have figured out that’s not the case.
My year started off on an exciting note as my dream of being an author came true and I held my published book in my hands. The excitement was real and I was happy. I turned fifty this year and we celebrated in New Orleans. Fifty used to seem old, but this year I was just thankful to be here. Then we found out how bad Casey’s addiction had gotten, we were floored when his marriage ended and he spiraled downhill. We spent our summer stressed out and on edge while trying to be the best grandparents we could be to our precious little girls. The fall brought our third granddaughter and we were grateful and hoped for new beginnings.
The holidays brought on stress and I ended up in the hospital just before Thanksgiving, and again Christmas Eve. We were disappointed to learn of more side effects from my transplant. I have been disappointed in my attitude. The year of stress has been hard on me and I am not the cheerful and happy person I used to be. I feel as if I have disappointed everyone around me due to my defeated attitude.
I have learned that addiction has taken over the lives of so many adult children of our friends. I have watched marriages destroyed, lives destroyed, and families being ripped apart due to addiction. I want to do so much to help others and I realize I haven’t done enough. There are so many things I want to do and I am impatient with my recovery. Mostly I want my family to be okay. I want each person in my family to know Jesus. I want to be a true example of a Christian. I want to spread joy and happiness. My 2018 New Year’s resolution is to have more joy and be kinder to myself and others.
What can 2018 Bring You?
Or Better Yet, what can YOU Bring 2018?
We want to be happy, beautiful, thin, smart, rich, and content. It’s human nature to want more for ourselves. Is it wrong to want more for our lives? Be careful about comparing your life with someone else’s. It’s easy to look at our neighbor and covet what he has, but is his life what God destined for yours?
I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I am a big supporter of goal setting. I like to set short-term goals, yearly goals, and long-term goals. If you are married, I highly recommend asking your spouse to do the same thing. It’s important to compare goals and respectfully discuss the differences. Once you agree, post the goals where both parties can see them, and stick to them!
Here are some examples of personal and family goals:
1. Do you want to get out of debt? This is a simple one! Set a budget and stick to it. Remember that short-term deprivation means long-term gain. For instance, cut out eating at restaurants, espressos, excess clothing purchases, brand-new cars, and frivolous items.
- Save money for a newer vehicle
- Have at least three months expenses in a savings account that you don’t touch!
- Faithfully enter ALL purchases in a spreadsheet or a budget app.
- Clip coupons! Stock up on sale items that you normally use.
- Use different apps on your phone to check for discounts on services and products.
- Periodically review your insurance policies and cable subscriptions. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount.
- Have a separate account for vacations. Don’t travel unless you have the money to pay for it.
- Do not take out loans or use credit cards to buy things you don’t need. See above- open a special account and save for a special purchase.
2. Are you a little overweight? Stop saying you are going to diet or exercise and just do it! Start today! Don’t wait until tomorrow.
- Get on the scales and write down your actual weight.
- Be realistic in the amount of weight you would like to lose.
- Download free exercise apps on your phone. Some have exercise programs for just 3-7 minutes per day!
- Park further away from the store than usual.
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
3. Are you having trouble getting along with people? Do some self-examination. If everyone seems mad at you or you have conflicts with pretty much every person you meet, then look in the mirror. What can change about yourself to get along with others better?
- Treat every single person with kindness.
- Respect each person’s point of view.
- Listen.. listen…. Listen…. Don’t try to come up with a rebuttal when someone is talking. Take the time to listen to them.
- Repeat what the other person said and make sure you understood correctly.
- Self-examine! What about the situation is making you angry, uncomfortable, or irritated? What memories is the situation bringing up for you?
- Practice forgiveness daily. Bitterness will suck the life right out of you.
- Change a bad or toxic situation. You have the power to do so.
- Go to counseling- whether it is individual or marital. Be open minded to change.
4. Has someone asked you to cut down on drinking? Are you abusing prescription drugs or illicit substances?
- First step is acknowledging you have a problem and asking for help.
- Find a specialist in your area.
- Talk to a pastor or a trusted friend.
- Find a support group.
- Seek medical intervention if necessary.
5. Are you overwhelmed? It happens to most of us from time to time. Here are some suggestions of alleviating some stress.
- SAY NO! Are you the one everyone comes to when they need help? You can’t help everyone, especially the same person who asks you for help every week. Just say no.
- Write down your daily, weekly, and monthly commitments. What can you cut out? Even cutting one commitment per month can help!
- Ask for help. Why do you think you are the only one who can do something? Train someone else. If you died tomorrow, someone is going to have to take your place anyway!
6. Are you lonely? No one likes to feel lonely. It’s okay to be alone sometimes, but being alone ALL the time is not healthy. We were created to be social creatures.
- Find a hobby you like and see if there is a group you can join to meet other people with the same interests. Examples: Book Club, Quilting Club, Running Club, or Sewing Club.
- Volunteer! (see number five to make sure you aren’t overloaded) Find a cause that interests you and commit to 1-3 hours per week.
- Visit a senior center or retirement home.
- If you are single, find a single group at church or online.
- If you like sports, join a league.
7. Work on tax preparation all year long. Keep accurate expenses and deposits as they come in. Don’t wait until the end of the year to total them up.
8. Give yourself permission to have fun! Life doesn’t have to be all about work. It’s okay to enjoy your life. Don’t feel guilty for doing so.
9. Donate to charity. Not only does it help others, but it will make you feel better too. Pick a cause that you are interested in and donate. If you don’t feel you can spare the cash, clean out your closet or home and donate items to a thrift store. The money they make usually goes to help certain charities.
10. Never stop learning.
- Take a class.
- Read a non-fiction book.
- Watch the History Channel.
- Be involved in local politics or town hall meetings.
Be all you can be! Make yourself proud.