I knew there were new cells in my body, I felt grateful that the biggest part of the process was complete. I reminisced about the moment eighteen years prior, when my son, Logan, received his stem cells. I longed to go back in time and help him
through his experience. I wondered again how it could have happened to both of us, and why he didn’t survive. I felt unworthy to have been given a second chance at life when his life ended so young. I wondered if I would also contract
a fungal infection like he did. I felt determined to beat this thing I called “Leuk.”
A few nights ago, I had a strange dream. I know, my dreams are always strange. But this one was disturbing. I dreamed that Logan
had finished the main part of his treatment. I assume maybe the stem cell transplant since I had recently written my thoughts about his and mine both. I just left him. Where? I have no idea. But I left him so I could focus on Casey and Meghan. I felt
they had been slighted and I felt guilty. After several months went by, I realized he was not dead. He was alive. I didn't know how to find him. I knew he would be angry with me for abandoning him and I was worrried about what kind of person he had turned
into. I was afraid he was so angry with me that he turned into a criminal and would hate me and possibly want to harm me. I wanted to see him and touch him, hug him, and tell him how much I loved him. But I was afraid he despised me. I woke
up before I got to see him to explain to him that I had to take care of his brother and sister. The dream haunts me and how I wish I could have seen him and talked to the sweet boy who would never hate anyone. After thinking about this, I believe
I dreamed this because I have stuffed my feelings about Logan's death down deep inside me so I can focus on saving his brother, Casey. Logan doesn't need me right now ; he is safe in Heaven. Casey needs me more right now. So I have some guilt because the child
I focus on the most is Casey. Logan and Meghan have been pushed aside. It doesn't mean that I love THEM ANY less, it means my strength must be on helping Casey Succeed.
Last night our friend Roy gave us a beautiful gift. He made an urn to hold
Logan's ashes in. For years we just had the container from the funeral home sitting in our bedroom. The urn is beautiful and we are grateful to Roy for sharing his gift of woodworking with us. He never had the opportunity to meet Logan, but
he feels like he knows him from our stories. Logan finally has a beautiful wood creation to host his earthly remains. Now I must find a place that will make a plaque for it. No, time does not heal all wounds. Our hearts remain damaged
from the blow his death placed upon us. As I told Meghan all those years ago, one chamber is missing. We have a lot to live for, but I can't wait to see him again.
That made me think about choices we make every day. We have choices here in the USA. We can choose to be rude or polite, friendly
or unfriendly, patient or impatient, kind or mean, sarcastic or genuine, and helpful or unhelpful. Every single thing we do is a choice.
We can choose to go to work or not.
We can choose to eat healthy foods or unhealthy foods.
can choose to take illicit drugs or not.
We can choose to drink alcohol or not.
We can choose to go to church or not.
We can choose to read the Bible or not.
We can choose to cheat on our spouses or not.
We can choose to
be honest or not.
We have choices. Our choices often affect our outcomes. If I had chosen to be rude to the lady and her husband because they were "bothering me" (which they absolutely were not) by answering snottily about the furniture,
they probably wouldn't have even come to look at it.. This woman asked reasonable questions that I would want to know if I were buying used furniture. If I had been rude and then they came out and we realized we had all seen each other at church,
then I would have been extremely embarrassed and would know that I am not showing the love of Christ to my community. It just reminded me that I must be polite and respectful to everyone. It's not just because "you never know who you know in common",
but because it's the right thing to do.
This week I have continued to be frustrated with insurance, pharmacy,
and health related offices. The hold times have been ridiculous and customer service has been greatly lacking. But instead of berating the folks who finally answer the phone, I am making an intentional effort- an intentional choice, to be polite
and respectful to each and every person.
As I said, most of us have choices. Some people do not. We cannot choose our parents or children. We can't choose if we will be born into wealthy families or poor families. We can't choose our earthly heritage,
but we can choose to change many of our circumstances. Sometimes we have to ask for help..Today I am helping with the annual "Homeless Connect." We expect about 1,000 people to be there today for free food, clothing, dental care, and resources.
Some of the people we will serve will be there because they made bad choices. Perhaps they chose not to go to work so they got fired. Perhaps they chose to use drugs so they lost everything. Perhaps they chose to commit a crime so they just got out of
prison. Regardless of what choice brought them to the event, I choose to be respectful, kind, genuine, and helpful. We all have choices. What choice will you make today?
c : to reduce the incidence or severity of especially to innocuous
- control an insect population
Obviously there are many things we cannot control. We often can’t control our health diagnosis or our the outcome, but again, sometimes we get
sick because of choices we make. Sometimes... Sometimes things happen beyond our control and we are left feeling dazed, stunned, shocked, and helpless. These feelings can cause us to become depressed, reclusive, sad, and lost. I was talking with a friend
yesterday and she asked me, “ How do you remain so upbeat after all you have been through? Is it your faith?” I laughed as I responded with, “ My faith absolutely does give me hope and strength, but I have to consciously fight off the bad
thoughts, the discouragement, the stressful things, and the disappointments.” She wondered how I was coping after having to leave my job. She shared with me that she just doesn’t know where her place in life is right now. She was an active community
volunteer for many years, but recently transitioned to a new location. She is not as involved as she has been used to, and said she feels like things are out of control now. I laughed as I told her I knew exactly what she was talking about. People who are
used to being assertive, in control, and active really have a hard time when things change. We begin to feel powerless and that feeling of powerless leads to a feeling of panic, because we are no longer at the wheel steering the ship. My friend has more things
going on besides the move and community dynamics changing. She has some serious family matters that are discouraging her and she feels she can not control what is happening which leads to a feeling of depression. I get it. But we both admitted we have
a choice of how to handle our adversities and by choosing to be hopeful, we can control the outcome to some extent.
While volunteering at Homeless Connect yesterday, I saw many who felt they had no control over their current living situation. Many presented
as despondent, embarrassed, hopeless, and discouraged. My eyes filled with tears more than once yesterday. I saw single moms with children in tow with eyes filled with shame because they were there. One lady in particular really got to me. She and her children
were well groomed and polite. She was cautious and guarded as she briefly explained she was there because she was fleeing a domestic violence situation. She had no transportation and was having trouble finding a job. I wanted to hug her and bring her family
home. Another lady was older and living in her car. That had been her lifestyle for years. My heart was broken. Here were people who felt out of control. Some made choices that caused things to spiral out of control. Others were faced with circumstances beyond
their control because of choices someone else had made. There were some that had been there every single year this event has been offered. They just haven’t made different choices to change their lives. I tried to thank every person for coming and tell
them I was glad they were there. I wanted no one to feel embarrassed or ashamed. I made a choice to show love and respect to each person. I may not be able to control my recovery time, but I can control my daily responses.
The sick germs
have attacked me. I feel pretty bad, but am determined not to get worse. My chest rattles constantly and now I am starting to run a fever. My muscles hurt so bad. I went to Yoga yesterday. I am trying to stretch my damaged muscles into being healed, but I'm
not sure that's best for my hips with all their problems. It was a long painful night for me. I have a meeting this afternoon about Genesis Process so I need to get better. I watched church online today and am thankful for that option.
started the process of putting furniture in my parent's new house. So far it's just the bed and a couple cabinets, but hopefully the couch will be today. It's a ways from being done, but if we can get it organized somewhat, it will definitely feel like a home.
I really like it. I'm glad Mom won't choose to clean for hours each day. My dad has taken two really bad falls recently and I am worried about him. He is so stressed out and isn't being as careful as he should.
I feel like dog doo doo.
I'm going to the local doctor. Wednesday is my oncologist appointment, but I have been told to go today by my Mayo doctor and my dear husband. I am being compliant.
I spent almost 2.5 hours at the doctor’s office. I am thankful I do not have influenza.
What a relief! I am thankful she said I can probably wait until Wednesday when I see my oncologist to get the chest X-ray. She said my lungs sound bad, but she’s willing to hold off on that. She gave me a liter of fluids and IV antibiotics. My heart
was racing. I am grateful I received this care in a doctor’s office and not in the hospital. I am grateful that I have a couch to lie on while I recover. I don’t feel like making dinner tonight, but I am thankful I have food to cook and I will
make myself do it. I am thankful that I am in this warm house while the winds are howling. I pray for those without shelter and I hope and pray they find some place warm to huddle up. God is so good. I am thankful and grateful.
are roaring and I wish Jesus would command them to he still like he did when he was on the boat and Peter was afraid. They are terrifying. My nephew Kyle said he felt like Dorothy must have felt in the Wizard of Oz. Sooner or later the house will blow down
if it keeps keeps up. I am in Anchorage for my monthly Oncologist appointment. As usual, I wonder what my blood tests will show. I heard Overcomer by Mandisa on the way in and it gave me the boost I needed to remember I AM an Overcomer and all will be okay.
I thought about my friend Terri who passed away last year from AML. She was such a fighter. I like to think of he really as an Overcomer because she DID overcome this illness. She's in heaven completely healed without pain. She was such a sweet spirited woman
At the stoplight in Anchorage, there was a homeless man at 0730. I was glad I had my snack bags with me.
My labs looked great. My lungs did not sound great. Chest x-ray was ordered. I have pneumonia again. This time I begged to
just be treated with oral antibiotics. The Infectious Disease doctor thinks that’s okay. My oncologist is uneasy. She wants me to cancel my flight to South Carolina tomorrow. I promised her I will if I am worse. I’m going to see my ANP out
here tomorrow. If she thinks I sound better than I did Monday, I am going. Dr. Spencer told me if I am exposed to anything else, I will end up in a SC ICU. I am praying. I wasn’t going to tell my mom because I wanted to help clean. She asked and I had
to tell her and she sent me home. They need the help and I am no good to them which saddens me. Patrick is helping tonight and I appreciate him doing so after working a full day and driving to and from Anchorage. He’s a hard worker who selflessly loves
his family and is willing to help anyone who needs him. It’s a good quality that we should all have.
The mother winced at the harsh words coming out of her daughter's mouth. Once again, the mother is the target. The pure hatred spews
out as the child expresses such disdain for the woman who gave her birth. It seems the child despises the very core of her mother. This time it was over concern about the daughter's health. The mother carefully chose her words so her child would not take offense,
but work with her. She needn't have bothered as her child will always find fault with her. Her child is an adult, yet still her child. She loves her and has sacrificed so much for her, including her health. The mother has no joy in her life. Just like with
her belongings, the child has also stolen her joy. The mother is physically and emotionally fragile. The stress of her child has caused her health to fail. Her friends tell her it is time to let go. They say she is a good mother, and she shouldn't believe
the words of her addicted daughter. They say it's time to let go and let God. The choice belongs to the daughter. The mother has sought counsel from professionals and friends. All say the same thing; find your joy and be free. The financial strain is real-
she has sacrificed so much. Thousands upon thousands of dollars spent on her child in hopes she will change her ways. The mother has sacrificed her freedom and would sacrifice her own life if only it would save her child. Her child doesn't care. She takes
and takes. The apologies don't mean anything anymore. The mother has heard them all before. Words come out of her child's mouth with the intent of being used to manipulate the mother. She sees it now and her heart has become hardened. She has no joy. Jesus
reminds her that HE is enough and HE can fill her with the joy she longs to have again. I pray for this woman and the many like her. Lord God, we cry upon your name and ask for complete and total healing of our children's minds, bodies, and souls. We ask for
forgiveness, strength, courage, and faithfulness. We ask for freedom from all bondage. We trust you for healing. We ask for your joy. Thank you. Amen.
He's an amazing man who loves God. He is kind and generous. He was diagnosed with an
aggressive form of cancer about seventeen months ago. He experienced a great multitude of problems and complications from the treatment. He sighed a sigh of relief when the last chemo was finished. Then he got his scans. The cancer had come back and it had
spread. He found a new treatment center and flies there at least twice a month for a week at a time. More problems, more complications. He is weak and weary, yet still grateful for another day of life. He starts each conversation with, “ Well, I am still
here!” He’s optimistic, grateful, and considerate of others. He has a newly married adult son who survived cancer as a child. He recently learned his son’s cancer is back. Another reason to be angry and resentful. But not this man, his faith
remains strong and he remains hopeful. When you have a personal relationship with God, it’s easier to let go and let God take control. Lord, I pray for this faithful man of God. I pray his cancer will flee- completely and for all eternity. Help this
man feel better and continue to be hopeful. I pray for a complete healing for his son as well. Bless this family spiritually and financially too, Lord. Send people their way who can help. Thank you, God. Amen.
Our trip to South Carolina was long and
uneventful. I usually don’t experience jet lag, but I had one hour of sleep in twenty-four hours, and I have pneumonia. I am tired. I made myself go for a walk yesterday, but forced myself to turn around when my mind was trying to convince me to go further.
Push harder the little voice said. I then heard the voice of my husband in my mind. He said, “ You have nothing to prove. Be smart and turn around.” I listened to his voice as I took notice of the weariness of my body. Rather than feeling disappointed
the walk wasn’t far, I felt good that I got a little bit of exercise in. I am learning. I AM a warrior. Wonder Woman will regain her strength soon. Patience, Grasshopper.
Seventy-five year’s ago, the world was given a wonderful
gift. My father was born. The world would not be as loving and beautiful without my father in it. He is the epitome of godliness. He’s generous, kind, patient, and giving. He is the hardest working man I know, and I am so proud and happy to be his daughter.
He is a good, good man.
It was a beautiful sunny day in South Carolina. We went to see Robin, Patrick’s cousin, who runs Grace Farm Animal Rescue. Robin has an amazing heart filled with love for all animals. She has horses, goats, pigs, dogs,
donkeys, and cats. She takes them all in. Literally all in. The horses and goats don’t come in the house, but the rest of the animals, including the pigs, go inside for snuggles. She’s truly amazing. Patrick and I have been supporting this non-profit
with a small monthly donation for the past year or so. I wish we could do more to help her with her exorbitant costs. She truly sacrifices so much for the animals. All of God’s creatures deserve love and affection. Her pigs roll over in in ecstasy
when their bellies are rubbed! The horses and donkeys compete for petting. It’s hilarious and can boost the spirits of anyone who steps onto to Grace Farm. Robin has quite the story. She is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who has a criminal record.
She went down a terrible path for many years. She experienced great loss with the death of her beautiful infant daughter, and has lost relationships because of her actions. If anyone has completely changed, I would say it would be Robin. She credits Jesus
Christ for giving her a renewed sense of belonging, healing, and a reason to live. She is quick to share her story and is quick to give God all the glory for her complete transformation. Am telling you, to meet Robin, is to meet one of Jesus’s
disciples. She is loving, kind, faithful, and honest. I just love her compassionate heart.
Isn‘t it amazing to find amazing people here on earth? We have my parents who help every person imaginable, and we have Robin, who helps every animal imaginable.
I have given you just two examples of people who are worthy to be recognized. Patrick’s cousin shared with us that she and her husband “adopted”a single mom and child for many years. They provided financial and emotional support for this
little family. My heart was warmed when I heard all they did for the little boy. It wasn’t just the money, it was the love and the friendship they offered. It was the educational assistance, the discipline, and the teaching of morals and ethics. I
truly wish our media would focus primarily on the good deeds of people and less on the evil deeds. The state of the nation would be so different.
I am not a TV sports fan, but I watched the Super Bowl and I rooted for the Eagles. Why? Because
I had read several stories of the players personal relationships with God and how they credited him for all the good in their lives. They openly shared the love of Christ with the nation, and for that, I am now a HUGE fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The only time THEY took a knee, was when they bowed their hands in prayer. Praise God for bold people.
It doesn’t take much to change the heart of another. A good attitude and lots of prayer can do the trick. Be kind, be selfless, be generous,
and put the needs of others before your own. What WOULD Jesus do?
Today was one of those days we women dream about. My husband spent the whole day doing what I want to do without complaining. For the first time, we ventured
into downtown Charleston. We started out at Ft. Sumter Museum, then walked a mile to the carriage rides. Yes, Patrick went on a historical carriage ride in Charleston with me. It’s our third historical carriage ride in the thirty-one years we have been
married. I love learning about history, and he sometimes loves doing these activities with me. Today was a good day. We walked almost four miles! I was exhausted and my hips constantly hurt when I walk, but I try and ignore the pain. I keep thinking one day,
maybe the pain will be gone.
I had a guy pull me into his shop in Charleston and ask me which eye I thought was my worst. I was thinking, “well I don’t really think either is bad...” He put this “filler” on one of my eyes
and tell me I am going to FAINT when I see the difference! He handed me the mirror and I said, “huh.” I’m really not seeing a difference. Then he tried a microdermabrasion machine on me and told me he would sell it to me for only $1500! He
also offered moisturizer and exfoliating cream. I didn’t realize I looked so awful to others!💔😰😝
Another good point of the day was when I read a FB post Casey wrote about being drug free for seven months and how he sees how drugs took so much
away from him. It’s is good he is willing to publicize his experiences. Hiding behind the shame and guilt does nothing to improve the outcome. Admitting our weaknesses is step one. Step two is surrendering all to God and working on ourselves. We cannot
grow if we cannot admit our mistakes. It’s vital to ask for help from others, and it’s vital for the person asking for help to be just as patient with their helpers, as the helpers are with them. Respect goes two ways. Sometimes a lot of damage
has been done, and the one in recovery must remember it will take time to earn trust and respect again. The one in recovery and the ones supporting them must focus on the common goal; life without the need to use any mind altering substance. Life CAN
be good again for all. The family unit can become whole again. Have faith.
This is what Casey wrote:
7 months on the no drugs diet. I was 145 pounds in july of 2017... today, i float between 195-200 pounds. Now, I never post selfies with my shirt
off, but i decided I should share some hope that transformation, even in the midst of the darkest period of your life; through hard work, is possible. After forfitting all I loved for a high, I was forced to make a choice to either allow my horrific
situation to continue as an almost understandable excuse to stop fighting the drugs hold on me and just release my final finger hold I had on the hope i could turn my life around and stop hurting... or, I could commit to a complete about face on my lifestyle
and decide I would no longer accept a substance control over my life. Accepting the emotional hurt I will encounter daily as I reflect on my part during the years I’ve given up to Drugs and the hard to process experiences I am now left with. However,
by remembering this is all self enflicted drama, instead of complete surrender, and an innability to own these most often intense depressed thoughts, I refuse my pattern of weak character, and daily deny myself the permission to seek an escape through
dope; instead, I turn to anything I can to improve myself mentally or physically; with the goal of being at my absolute best. I am trying to focus my energy now on preparation so when the next opportunity comes along, I will be able to do my best to ensure
i maximize each and every moment and will only lean on my past shame and guilt to give me that drive to ensure I never again walk through times like these👊
I am proud of him.
Yesterday was the day Patrick’s Aunt Maxine was
laid to rest at Beaufort National Cemetery. She was born on December 20, 1924, and died November 26, 2017. She served as a Marine during the Korean Conflict. Maxine was honored with a full military service. I was asked by her only remaining sibling, my mother-in-law,
Michele, to read Psalm 23. I was both nervous and honored to be tasked with this part of the ceremony. TAPS was played and the rifles shot off in remembrance of a loyal Staff Sergeant of the United States Marine Corp. Maxine was known for her sense of humor.
She never married, but loved her nieces and nephews. She was a prankster, known to short-sheet beds, and had a wide smile along with merry eyes. She loved all of God’s creatures. She always had animals of her own, and pet set for others when she was
well. She was a strong and mighty woman and my life has been enriched for knowing her. These past several years have been difficult for her and Michele. Maxine suffered from Alzheimer’s a terrible disease. Her body was strong, but she was trapped in
her body with a mind that no longer could communicate with the outside world. It’s a disease we often say we would never wish upon our worst enemy. I am glad we are here for Michele and Bob. Michele is the last remaining child of eight. How difficult
it would be to see everyone else go before you. She is a very strong woman.
We went to Hunting Island today and Patrick and I climbed 167 steps to the top. I was proud of myself for succeeding at climbing. Before that, I went on a walk and listened
to my praise music. I was filled with hope, love, and thankfulness for God. I spend more time praising him than I do asking for things. I have to remind myself to pray for the specific needs of those I love. It’s easy to just try and block it all out
because to remember, is to hurt. I have new children to pray for. I was told about a couple in Indiana whose daughter just completed treatment for cancer. Their young boy was diagnosed with leukemia just a couple days ago. Two small children, both with
cancer. Please join me in praying for complete healing for them.
I seem to have missed a few days blogging. I got wrapped up in just enjoying my in-laws and Patrick. We had a wonderful trip and it was so good to spend time with them and
attend the funeral for Aunt Maxine. The flight from Charleston to Seattle was fantastic. We got upgraded to first class for free. I truly could get used to the service up there. The flight to Anchorage from Seattle was not so great. We were back in coach.
I got really sick to my stomach and had to wake up the guy in the middle seat to get out. When I stood up, it was too fast and my blood pressure dropped. I was dizzy and swaying. The lavatories were full. The flight attendent took one look at me and took over.
I sat on the floor until they got me to a jump seat in the back of the plane. A nurse practioner examined me. It was truly embarrassing and I hope no one on that flight knew me. Patrick gave them my medical history. When I got off the plane, a pilot
was standing there and asked me how my flight was. I just replied, "okay." He then stepped beside me and shared with me that he has a stem cell for Lymphoma eight years prior. My first thought was, "of all the people on this plane, how did he know I
was the one who collapsed outside the lavatory?" My second thought was "How kind of him to reach out to me and share with me that things do get better. He's an accomplished pilot, a professional employee of Alaska Airlines, and a cancer survivor." I
appreciated him taking the time to share his story with me. It took the sting of the embarrassment off me.
Today I am trying to figure out how to pay all our bills. With me not working, it's been really challenging to cover all expenses.
Due to some unfortunate circumstances, we are financially responsible for some additonal expenses that we didn't anticipate. It's simply draining us and I am nervous, frustrated, sick to my stomach, and overwhelmed. It is to the point where I want
to throw up my hands and say I will go get a job even if the germs and stress kills me. I don't know what to do.
Tonight is the first Genesis Relapse Prevention group. I am both nervous and excited. So far we just have four people
that signed up. I hope they will be blessed by the course. May God put the words of wisdom into my mouth and may he shine through me as I, and the other volunteers, work with those in recovery. May we all be a blessing.
There was this
great video on Face Book today by a little girl depicting the irony and ridiculousness of Valentine's Day. It sums up my feelings well! Ingenious video! The ending truly made the video: “I only do Valentine’s
Day because Hallmark said to.” One day is set aside each year to prove you love your other half. Heaven forbid you don’t get the right flowers or card. Restaurants will be packed with people and the wine will flow. We must prove we love our husband,
wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Or must we really? Do we need one “special day” to show them we love them, or is this something we should do every day? What about the people who don’t
have someone to love them? I can imagine the pain of this day is real. The commercialization of this “holiday” drills in the point they don’t have a significant other to celebrate with. Are they feeling unloved? Unattractive? Lonely? Do we
care? Do we reach out to the seniors, the divorced, the widows and tell them we value them and love them for who they are? Or do we compare gifts just like many do on Christmas. Whoever got the best gift, has the best significant other. Let every day be Valentine’s
Day. Be in love every day. Shower your loved ones with spontaneous gifts, poetry, and cards on days when they are lonely, depressed, sick, distraught, or just because you want to. Live life to the fullest every day and appreciate your partner each and every
day, no just because you are expected to. This is dedicated to my husband who happens to agree with me and I be,over is thankful he’s off the hook for “proving he loves me” by buying me gifts today.
I am not a fan of holidays. I think the one day set aside for a "special day" is ludicrous. Hardly anyone truly understands the meaning behind the holiday. Let's take Christmas- the birth of Jesus. Each year it becomes less
about Jesus and more about how many presents we have to buy. Then there's Memorial Day- a day set aside to remember those who in the United States Military who have lost their lives serving our country. Many think of it as a "free day off from
work and we can have a picnic." What about the loved ones of the lost soldier? Do you think they care about the picnic? How about the Fourth of July? Yep, another day off work and a picinic. Heavn forbid there's not a good firework
show! What about celebrating the great nation of America? Celebrating our freedom and being thankful for it, instead of complaining about what we don't have. There are people in other countries who don't have freedom and I bet they would
celebrate if they did. They would appreciate the holdiay. I could point out a fault with the attitude about every holiday. But because I don't want to depress you or make you feel bad, I'm going to talk about one holiday I truly love. Now technically
it's not a "holiday" but it's a day set aside each year to celebrate me. My birthday. To follow along, just take me out of the equation and think about YOU. Replace me with you and you will understand where I am going with this. My
birthday is special because it's all about me. Face Book makes it easy for people to remember my special day. People I have never met, and people I haven't seen in thirty years, write me to wish me Happy Birthday. I'm usually woken up to a kiss
and hear the words, "Happy birthday, honey." My parents, grandma, children, friends, and family members call me. Some, like my mom, even sing to me! I feel like a princess one day a year and I love it. I strut around like a peacock fanning
my feathers singing happy birthday to myself all day long. I am not expected to do a darn thing. I don't have to cook, clean, or do housework. I am just supposed to pamper myself and enjoy my day. And boy howdy to I do that well. It's the one day
a year I give myself permission to relax and have fun without guilt. I love my birthday. I never want presents, that's not what the day is about for me. I just revel in the realization that I am honored on this day. It's about ME and I am special. I
don't have to prove my love to anyone else. I just simply bask in the glory that God gave me one more year on this earth and I enjoy it immensely. Did I mention my birthday is next month? I am so excited!
In all seriousness, if you love Valentine's Day then enjoy this day. Truly I am not trying to shame anyone or make anyone feel guilty. The important thing to remember is you are loved by God every single day. You don't have to
have a significant other to feel better about yourself.
The shooting in Florida is on everyone's mind. Of course people
are bashing each other's political beliefs on social media. The Democrats are crying for gun control, the Republicans are protesting and saying people need to be screened for mental illness. It is a horrible situation and I don't think there is
any answer to the problem. Except for the need for a Godly nation of course. But violence has been part of our history clear back to biblical times. Wars, shootings, stabbings, murder. Even Cain killed his own brother. Abel's blood cried out from the
ground and God heard. God heard it all.
I pondered about the situation that has held our nation captive to the TV for a glimpse as to "why and how" this could have happened. I started to
think about the situation from an investment standpoint. That sounds a little strange, doesn't it? It started with me thinking about my own son and how much money we have poured out in hopes of changing his circumstances, his mindset, and his future.
A future funded monetarily by us in hopes the investment pays off. It made me think about how we have invested into his life since the day he was born, almost twenty-eight years ago. We invested our love, our time, our money, our hopes, and our dreams
into this sweet little baby boy. We invested into his life by providing him with a safe home and good food to eat. We invested into him by teaching him right from wrong. We taught him how to be a good person by modeling by example.
When he showed an interest in hockey, we invested by funding the tournaments and gear, we paid the exorbitant monthly fees. We invested our time by driving him to and from practice and games. We invested all. We invested all his PFD income into
a nice college fund that would pay for four years of college. We invested in him by educating him at home from the first through eighth grade. We thought we were protecting him from the evil world all while giving him a really excellent education.
We invested in him by paying for counseling when he was having behavioral problems. We invested in him and we hoped the dividends would pay off. We hoped that the return on our initial investment (from his birth to young adult hood) would make
such a leap that no other investment could possibly earn so much. When he turned to drugs, we felt like the stock market crashed. Our "stock" had such potential, and it took a nose dive and we almost lost it all. We didn't sell the stock
though. We have held onto it and continue to deposit short-term additions in hopes of achieving long-term results. There have been times when the stock has crashed so badly we have felt it would never recover. Yet we offer nourishment and we pray and
we hope that our investment will indeed soar off the charts as God intended.
The parents of the young man who killed all of the people in Florida probably invested in their son too. They probably
love him just as much as we love our son. I bet they sought help for him in hopes their investment would not crash and be depleted. Yet their investment truly hit the bottom and it's not worth anything at this point. They will never again
recover any of that initial investment. It is gone forever. If they choose to go visit him in prison, they will feel like a carrot is dangling in front of them. They paid for that investment, but they can't ever reap the benefits of it.
We must invest in our future. We must show compassion and hope to every individual. We must invest our time, our resources, our knowledge, and our friendships to all. We must do away with
the gory video games and TV shows that are all about killing. We need to replace the media with stories about compassion, helping, love, and hope. Let's invest in what is the most important of all- our children. Never stop depositing.
Your investment CAN pay off. If you need the assistance of a professional "stock broker" (counselor) DO IT!!!!! If something doesn't seem to be going right, listen to your gut. Don't let your investment become worthless. Fight for it. I am fighting
for my son and I am praying for your loved one who also needs "regular deposits of encouragement."
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the one who has made the biggest investment the WORLD has ever seen. I am talking about Jesus, of
course. He paid the highest price possible and gave his life because he feels we are worthy of his investment. You can’t get any better than that. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light. Put the most of your investments in him and you can’t
lose. The stock will never crash. The market will be volatile at times, but don’t sell the stock. The end price (eternity) will be worth it.
Twenty-one years ago today, my son, Logan Joseph Marre, was diagnosed with leukemia.
The words no parent ever wanted or expected to hear, burned my ears and seared into my brain. I was numb, I was terrified. Flight, fight or freeze? I froze, then I chose to flee a little bit. I wanted to run for hours, but the mother in me had to be
in control of the situaton. It wasn't long before I began the fight to save my son's life. I supervised every medication, took note of every reaction from the medicine , and tore apart every word that came out of his medical team's mouth. It wasn't enough.
I couldn't save him. I froze, I took flight, then I began to fight again. This time for other cancer patients. I educated, I begged people to listen to Logan's story and help someone else. I felt like I was an outsider looking in. I became
the cheerleader, the teacher, the encourger. But then I got back in the ring myself and fought my own personal battle with leukemia. This time I didn't freeze or take flight. I simply fought. This horrendous adversary wasn't going to win
again. Today I fight again by educating people about the need for bone marrow donors. Today we have a bone marrow drive at the college. I will continue to fight leukemia by sharing Logan's story with others in hopes they will choose to be a hero
and save a life like his.
There were six people who registered yesterday at the Bone Marrow Drive at the Lipgloss & Business event. There were many more who wanted to, but they were over the maximum age of 44. There were
several people from the Harley store that came in. They have a member who was just diagnosed with leukemia and they wanted to help. I was in awe of their giving spirit. I told them people over the age of forty-four can sign up online, but there is a
$100 fee for that age group. They didn't care; they were determined to help. I was so impressed with their attitudes.
This morning Patrick, Casey, and I went to church together. I suppose I should say "afternoon" since it was
the 1:00 service. The sermon was excellent. Pastor Jonathon talked about how we should always be a light for Jesus. Never hide our light under anything; simply shine for him. The song, "This Little Light of Mine" came playing in my
head. It's so true though, we must always do good works in the name of Jesus so others may see him through us. If we all followed this philosphy, the world would be a kinder and gentler place.
Juneau was amazing! I loved my
lobbying to Senators and Legislators. Protecting people from second hand smoke and protecting children from the dangers of E-cigarettes was the cause of the day. Most were receptive and agreed the danger was real. I met some dynamic people that were part of
our group. I want to talk about a few of them, but tonight I will talk about one in particular. She is a successful and friendly lady. She graduated from a couple of impressive and prestigious colleges. She has her Master’s degree and has a great job.
She looks like success has been easy for her and free from complications. She comes from a good family and they were pretty well off. She openly shared with me that she’s a recovering addict. She had it all, and then she didn’t. The pills were
tempting, and her child wasn’t enough. She used, she drank, and she struggled. Finally, she reached out for help and she broke free from the horrible net of addiction. She is free from drugs and free from alcohol. She is successful. She does have hope,
and she is an overcomer. It was an honor to meet her and hear her story.
He's from Kenya and highly intelligent. He holds a Master's degree and had completed all of his nursing courses except for his clinicals. An accident happened
and he lost his legs. I had heard about him several years ago, but like most of us, I felt sorry it happened and promptly forgot about him. I met him this week and I am honored to know him. He tells an amazing story- he left out about the
loss of his limbs and I didn't know he had prosthetics until someone told me. I made a faux pas before I knew. I said, "You are from Kenya so you must be fast. How about you running upstairs to get the folder we need?" He willingly obliged and
when he walked away, Heather said, "You do know he has prosthetics, right?" My heart sank when I realized my joke was really not funny. He was fast. He came to this country to run, but his feet froze and he had to have them amputated. The story he shared
to the group was hiliarious and intriguing at the same time. Back in 1919, his grandfather shot a neighbor's cow. A "curse" was put upon his family. His father got throat cancer. The family was sure it was because of this old curse
for killing that cow. He was told that if he paid for that original cow, which was now worth nine cows because of inflation, the curse would be lifted. So he willingly obliged his superstitious family and paid $1,000 for the dead cow of 1919.
We all laughed and marveled at this story. Things like this don't typically happen in America. Learnng about other cultures is a way to open our minds to how other's perceive their circumstances. His father was a smoker. He knows his father
got throat cancer because he smoked. But yet, the respect for his family made him settle a century old debt. Bravo to my new friend.
Sometimes I get my stories from the support groups I am part of online and sometimes from friends.
. I will never use names because of confidentiality. Sometmes the information is changed just a bit to protest the privacy of those who share. This story is about "Sheena". Her name has been changed for this forum. Sheen has had a drug problem for the past
15 years. She was given everything a young person could possibly want. She was a volleyball star and a popular student. She was pretty and she's knew it. She was self-involved and wanted what she wanted, when she' wanted it. She could be cruel with her words
and her actions. She rebelled more than a typical teenager could rebel. Her mother insisted on meeting her friends and wouldn't allow her to spend the night with anyone unless she's confirmed there was another adult there. That rule doesn't sound too harsh
to me. Sheena hurt her back and her mother took her to the emergency room. She was given narcotics for the pain. When they got home, Sheena through her pills across the room screaming about half-life's and milligrams. Her mother was shocked as she had no idea
what her daughter was talking about. Her daughter went crazy,-screaming that she had the worst mother in the world because she's wouldn't take her back for a stronger prescription. Her mother was bewildered and confused. She wondered how her child knew all
this about medication; she certainly didn't. She wanted to please her daughter, so she's took her back to the emergency room and explained what was going on. The doctor asked her if her daughter hadn't a problem with drugs. Her mother said, "I have no idea.
She is acting like she's does, but I don't know." Unbelievably, the doctor didn't take the time to ask any questions of the daughter. He gave them a stronger prescription and sent them on their way.
To be continued.
when she thought back at that encounter with the ER doctor, she wondered why he wasn’t trained to ask the right questions. Why didn’t he examine Sheena in more detail and ask for a consultation from a trained addiction specialist? If he had, Sheena
may not have continued the long journey with drugs and alcohol. If a professional cared enough to step in, perhaps Sheena’s parents wouldn’t still be dealing with the drug use. Trust me, they blame themselves more than they do the doctor, but wouldn’t
it be good to have trained professionals in our hospitals? Or trained professional people in our doctors office, counselors offices, and schools? We have to keep our eyes open and our ears tuned into what is going on around us. I wish I could say Sheena’s
battle has been successful and she is in recovery, but I can’t. Her parents thought she was drug free for months. Then they found the drugs. They heard the same excuses. Their credit card went missing. She used it to buy cigarettes in exchange for drugs.
Then she prostituted herself as well. She says “she can’t help it, she’s addicted to sex.” She says this shamelessly in front of her parents and grandparents. She has no idea how to respect boundaries.
They have once again
opened up their home to Sheena and once again she has lied, used, took advantage of them, and betrayed their trust. Please pray for this family and for all the families who are in a similar situation,
ALASKA AIRLINES ROCKS!!!!!!
Patrick and I are very loyal to AK Air, but now, I can't get anymore loyal! Sit tight, this is a little bit long, but I must share. I have to go back to Mayo Clinic in April for my check-up. On May 15th, it will be THREE years since my transplant. I am going
a bit earlier this year because Meghan and family plan to come home for the month of May. Mayo had me there for almost a week trying to fit in all my appointments. I truly didn't want to spend a week in Rochester. I asked them to tighten up the schedule, but
they didn't respond. Last night I gave up and bought my ticket and booked a non-refundable hotel room because it was a good deal. This morning they called me to tell me they fixed my schedule. I needed to change my flight and my non-refundable hotel.....I
first called AK Air and got "Morgan" in Boise. I liked her right away. She was personable and helpful. She helped me change my flight. She asked me if I was going for business or pleasure. I answered, "Actually, I am going to get a check-up because in May,
it will be three years since I had a bone marrow transplant!" She responded, "Oh doesn't that hurt?" I told her that was a great question and shared the process with her. By the end of our conversation, she was determined to sign up to be a bone marrow donor.
I offered to fly to Boise and meet with her and help her coordinate a drive. She is going to talk to the officials at Alaska Airlines and see what she can do. I shared the stories of the three ladies I know who have donated bone marrow to strangers and saved
their lives. She was in awe. She has a very giving heart. She asked about costs to the donor. When I told her Be the Match pays for EVERYTHING, she responded with, "Can I donate to them? I'm sure they are a non-profit and need all the help they can get." Yes,
Morgan, they are! I must meet this girl! If you would bear with me for one more AK Air story......When Patrick and I came back from South Carolina, I had a bit of a problem on the flight from Seattle to Anchorage. My blood pressure drops when I stand up quickly.
I needed to go to the lavatory because I was feeling nauseous. I stood up, crawled over the person in the middle, and walked from row 18 to the lavatory. They were full. The room was spinning. The flight attendant looked at me and said, "sit down right here."
Patrick came out of the lavatory and gave them my medical history. A nurse on the plane checked me out. I was embarrassed and a little humiliated, but the flight attendants were amazing. When I got off the plane I thought "no one up here by the cockpit is
going to know." Wrong....The pilot asked, "How was your flight?" I responded with, "It was okay." He said, "just okay? You know I had a bone marrow transplant several years ago. It gets better!" We talked a bit until he had to check into another flight. I
was amazed at his willingness to share his story with me and help me not feel so embarrassed. Alaska Airlines ROCKS!
COPIED FROM MICHAEL CARSON'S EMAIL
THE STIGMA OF OPIOID ADDICTION IS HANDICAPPING HEALING
“ We are in this for the long haul!” Sam Quinones, the author of ‘Dreamland,’ made this statement at a Congressional hearing last month. First, Dreamland is a book Mr. Quinones authored giving the backdrop story
of how we ended where we are now, regarding the opioid epidemic. The subtitle of the book is, ‘The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.’ Second, Sam uses the phrase ‘in this,’ referring to this epidemic, unfortunately,
continuing. And, he adds that there is not a silver bullet ( single solution ) or bullet train. The last term, bullet train, meaning we are not going to reach the destination of resolving this epidemic in the very near future. Again, we are in
this for the long haul.
As you read this first paragraph, you noticed the terms opiate and opioid both being used. Mr. Quinones describes in his book the intersection or collision of prescription (opioid) drugs and black tar heroin. (opiate)
Some times those two terms are used interchangeably. Opioids are synthetic drugs ( prescription) and opiates are drugs produced directly from the poppy plant. ( heroin) Now, the term opioids is being used to describe both prescription drugs and heroin.
Next, the difficulty in resolving this opioid epidemic is due to all the facets and multi-layered aspects of pain management, prescribing, diversion, tolerance, addiction, detox, treatment and recovery from opioids. And, I will
personally, add the ‘stigma’ surrounding opioid addiction. Specifically, the stigma that suffering addicts are ‘choosing’ that behavior, rather than understanding and accepting the concept of addiction being a brain disease.
The most recent brain imaging studies have revealed an underlying disruption to brain regions that are important to normal processes of motivation, reward and especially in the area of inhibitory control. ( Dr. Nora Volkow, MD ) The addiction has
resulted in actually changing brain tissue. Addiction assigns supreme continued drug use over family, career, health and in short, everything else. And this association of abnormal behavior is the result of dysfunction of brain tissue. Just like heart
disease creates cardiac insufficiencies or diabetes, which impairs the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin levels.
If one can step back a moment and reflect on an addict’s behavior, one would have to conclude they are suffering
and sick individuals. Let’s consider those addicts that have been revived from an overdose of heroin with Narcan, but go back to using. And, let’s say they have been revived a number of times, how could a person do that? They are truly in
the grips of a disease that is ‘cunning, baffling, powerful and deadly!’
The stigma of opioid addiction is real and most unfortunately, handicapping our ability to allow understanding, compassion, and most importantly, healing.
We would never shame a person that is still smoking, overweight or even taking medication for whatever reason. And, yes, a smoker, someone overweight or taking medication does not engage in such a degree of self-destructive behavior as an addict would.
But, again, the suffering addict is a slave to the beast of opioids. Yet, they keeping slamming dope, which could very well end with separation from family, loved ones, jail time, or most unfortunately, their death.
understand why we would want to continually revive suffering addicts with Narcan. The last time I checked, “ A dead addict can not get into recovery!” But, we have to remember Narcan is not detox or treatment. As Dr. Jay Butler has
stated, “ Narcan is like a tourniquet. It will save a life, then medical and substance abuse counseling attention is required.” As it takes the average smoker 30 times to stop, it could take a suffering addict a number of times being revived
to realize, ‘Enough is enough!’ And, most importantly, that suffering addict is someone’s child, brother, sister, or even parent.
Besides providing the public with the most current and evidence based research regarding
brain images, the Mat-Su Opioid Task Force believes to break down the stigma, community members have to have a safe place to share their stories. Some members are more outspoken, others softly spoken and still others have not crossed over the threshold into
a venue to speak freely. We completely understand all positions, as we understand there are many pathways to break down stigma and there is a time and place for those stories. Just know, we will be there for you when you’ve decided the the time is right.
And, we are that right place for you without judgement, but understanding and support.
We meet the first Tuesday of the month ( 3/6,4/3, 5/1…) from 4 to 6 pm at Wasilla High School in the Theater. All are welcome. In fact, we
welcome all different opinions and perspectives regarding opioid addiction. We know that every community member has strong feelings about this epidemic and we respect each and every one of those feelings. Our goal is to find common ground, put forth
actions, and continue reaching out to those with different ideas. We must come together as a community to ultimately find solutions to end opioid use and abuse. Please consider joining the good fight to seek solutions for the suffering addict and their families.
And let’s work to prevent youth from opioid addiction. If you have any questions or concerns you can call MyHouse at 373-HELP. ( 373-4357) Thank you.
# Absolute Pursuit ( to knock down the opioid epidemic)
Michael Carson V.P.
& Recovery @ MyHouse and Chair of Mat-Su Opioid Task Force
Today I had the pleasure of sharing Be the Match information with an Alaska Airline representative, I got a call from a friend asking if it was okay to give my
name and number out to her co-worker- they recently lost their daughter to an overdose. Heroin laced with Fentanyl. I was asked to be part of a fundraiser for a local single mom who has cancer, and also given information about a man recently diagnosed
with leukemia who needs help, and purchased a couple stuffed moose to send to an Indiana family that has TWO children with cancer! Tonight I teach Genesis Relapse Prevention to some recovering addicts and then I take my mom to the airport. Oh,
and I prepared a meal for a family from church. I will bake it tomorrow, but the main part is done. I finally feel productive!