October 1st already! Despite the turmoil in America over COVID, this year truly has flown by. I chuckle as I think about how many people are so ready for 2020 to be over. What I thought was going to be one of the best years
ever turned out to be a dud. But, there were some good times, and many of us are doing okay. Thanks are to Jesus!
Like many of you, I watched the Presidential Debate. Like many of you, I was disgusted! I have never been so embarrassed
to be an American in my entire life. "You shut up!" "No, YOU shut up!" Oh my gosh, it was like watching my granddaughters arguing. Disgusting and completely embarrassing!!!
Tonight Patrick and I are getting on a plane to visit his mom and step-dad.
Meghan and the girls will be joining us in Seattle for the flight to Charleston. We are all very excited. Well, the girls aren't excited because they don't know where they are going OR that we are going to meet them! What a wonderful surprise
that will be.
I went to the eye doctor today, and my eye dryness is worse. She is recommending a procedure that insurance won't pay for. I plan to get it because she feels it's very important to do. I don't want to lose my eyesight.
I fear there will be snow on the ground when we get home. I am SO NOT READY!!!! That doesn't matter, though- the weather doesn't care about my feelings. :)
There is nothing like the element of surprise. I love to surprise people, and
I love to be surprised. That is if it's a good surprise. I doubt anyone likes a bad surprise. I have this habit of planning things out in my head, and things MUST go according to my plan, or I am extremely disappointed. The girls did not
know where their mom was taking them, nor did they know we were meeting them. I wanted us to be seated at the terminal and have them spot us as they went to sit in our section.
My plan did work, but there were some moments when I wasn't
sure. Our daughter has never been known for being early for anything. I was getting pretty nervous when the plane started boarding, and they were not there. She sent a text that they were on their way. I hoped that meant on the way
to the gate, but since they had spent the night in Seattle, it could have meant they were on their way to the airport. Alas, they arrived, and things fell into place just as I imagined. The girls were as happy to see us as we were to see them.
At that moment, all felt right with the world again.
How many times do we feel disappointed when our plans do not come to fruition? Sometimes the job we wanted didn't work out; a relationship ended against our wishes, our children make decisions
that we know are not the best for them, or our health gets in the way and interferes with our hopes and dreams. It is hard to trust and let God direct our lives. We think we know what is best for us. Sometimes no matter how long we have planned
for something and think that God's plan can change instantly. It might leave us with confusing feelings that we don't know how to deal with, or we may readily embrace the change.
Personally, I am a creature of habit, and I have difficulty accepting
change. Throughout my experience with leukemia and all of the effects of treatment, I have felt proud of myself for "rolling with the punches." I hope I can learn to be more adaptable in all of life's circumstances.
we went to Beaufort, SC, and took a horse and carriage ride throughout the historic district. Ollie, at the age of 7, is becoming aware and starting to understand slavery. SC is full of history, of course, and I enjoy encouraging her to learn. I stress to
her that God creates everyone as equal, with no one being better than another.
Raising children in today's world is stressful and a bit frightening. We all need to be praying for this next generation.
ago today, I was diagnosed with leukemia. A couple of days ago, a picture popped up in a memory feed on social media. The picture was of me holding Ollie when she was a baby. I had written, "see you in a week, my special girl." I studied the picture closely
for signs of sickness. There were none. I remember feeling poorly, suspecting I had leukemia, but I hid it well. I looked incredibly healthy and happy in that picture.
Six years later, I am doing fairly well. I had hoped that I would be back to
my old self, but it's clear that's not going to happen. But I have accomplished a lot in six years. I survived a bone marrow transplant. I have survived pneumonia a couple of times, RSV, Coronavirus (Before it became a household name), GVHD, lots of pain,
doctor visits, graduated with my master's and dealt with physical & emotional trauma. I am a survivor, and God has given me a spirit of hope, a desire to fight, and I have complete trust in him.
As we head home today and say goodbye to Patrick's
mom and stepdad, our daughter, and grandchildren, I thank God for another year on earth to enjoy the ones I love.
When we were in SC, we visited some historic
places. I explained what slavery was to our 7-year-old granddaughter. I told her that God loves each of us equally, and none are superior to another. We took a carriage ride, and the driver told us about Harriet Tubman's involvement in freeing the slaves in
South Carolina. Ollie was fascinated. I received this in an email today and thought it was so fitting after my recent conversation. It is important to value the lives of ALL people. Harriet Tubman is a true hero.
Harriet Tubman was a woman of faith, unlike anyone you have likely met. A slave in the deep south of the United States, Harriet's life was full of horrific injustices. She started
work as a housemaid when she was five, enduring whippings and even starvation. As a teenager, during a trip to a dry goods store, she happened to be nearby as an overseer was trying to capture an enslaved person that had left his labor camp without permission.
The man threw a two-pound weight at the runaway and hit Harriet instead. Part of her skull was crushed, and her very life hung in the balance for days.
As we often
see in our own lives, God is with us in our darkest days, which was no exception for Harriet. She drew incredibly close to her Creator and had a faith that made her fearless.
At the age of twenty-seven, Tubman was facing the possibility of being chained to other slaves and carried away to a new labor camp. She hid in the woods and escaped, walking 90 miles to Pennsylvania, where slavery was illegal. She was free!"I
looked at my hands to see if I was de same person now I was free. Dere was such a glory over everything, de sun came like gold through de trees and ober de fields, and I felt like I was in heaven."But her freedom did not bring total satisfaction; her people
were still enslaved. She took to the underground railroad that had carried her to freedom, and lead over a dozen rescue missions to free others who were enslaved. Infuriated slaveholders posted a $40,000 reward for her capture, but she was never apprehended.
When the Civil War began, she volunteered as a spy and scout for the Union Army, and lead a military mission where she helped approximately 750 enslaved people escape with Federal troops.
Harriet was no stranger to racism and injustice. In these unimaginable horrors, her light shone brighter than the darkness that threatened to consume her. Her confidence was in God. Her salvation was secure. Her strength came from
an unshakeable faith in the deliverer and protector of the weak.
In times of injustice, pain, and unrest, God is still working. Through the stories of true heroes
of the Faith, we can see how God walks with us in our pain and uses His people to do remarkable things.
Yesterday, Franklin Graham had a post about an artist who lost her business because she refused to draw
an art piece representing transgender. I replied that a business owner could choose what she is comfortable creating and can refuse to create something she is not comfortable creating. A friend, who is a homosexual, saw my post and blasted me.
I apologized for offending him. He continued to tell me I was homophobic and told me to stop contacting him. This is a man I have been friends with for over 10 years. I am not homophobic. I apologized profusely, I asked his forgiveness and asked
him how I can say things better. I have been crying all morning. I never want to offend anyone, and I tried so hard to make it right. I have such difficulty understanding how a "friend" can easily be angered and spew hatred when I am openly apologizing
and asking how I can say things "correctly" so I do not offend. I am reminded that the world will hate us when we stand for Jesus. I love all people, and I do not condemn, criticize, or judge those who are homosexual. But I do believe that
it's not fair to force our beliefs on others. I don't do that to people, yet so many people do it to others. I don't understand the anger and hatred some have when another person has a different perspective.
Our subconscious minds have the ability to make us feel more emotional or anxious, and we don't always know why. I've been feeling anxious and sad, and I am extremely
emotional. This morning I was going through picture albums trying to locate a certain picture. Instead, I kept finding pictures of the kids when they were little. There were pictures of Logan- healthy Logan. There were pictures of Casey where he looked healthy
and happy. I couldn't look at those pictures knowing Logan has passed, and Casey still struggles due to the effects of the substance abuse disorder he developed years ago. I couldn't look at the pictures because I feel guilty. Guilt that I couldn't save
Logan, and guilt that I didn't do enough to help Casey use healthy coping mechanisms. I couldn't look at the pictures because the 22nd anniversary of Logan's passing is next Saturday, the 24th. My subconscious mind knew; I tried to block it consciously. I
wanted to block the pain of Logan's loss, the pain of our family's emotional crisis, and Casey's addiction, partly caused by the pain and trauma of losing his brother. I don't want to feel pain and guilt over not doing enough to ensure Casey and Meghan felt
safe and secure after Logan's death. I was so traumatized myself, and despite what I believed, I didn't do enough to help them through their own grief and loss.
Guilt is not from God. Consciously I am aware
of that, but there is that subconscious part of my brain that says, "You did this. You didn't do enough to save Logan, and you didn't do enough to protect Casey." I hate that voice, which I believe is the devil himself trying to sink me into despair and depression.
I heard a new song today. It's by Josh Taylor, "You get the glory from this." I love the lyrics, "no matter what I go through, you get the glory." There's persecution, affliction,
and turmoil, but all things work together for good. God has plans not to harm us but to prosper us. I believe that, and I am encouraged today. Last night my friend Dorothy stopped by. I was reminded that I do have friends that care about me.
29th birthday is today. I am thankful for her life and everything about her. She is a wonderful human being, and I love being her mom and her children's grandmother.
Casey blessed me with a phone call yesterday.
He called to let me know he got his first tattoo. I'm not a tattoo fan, but I was sold on the idea when he described what he got. First, he got his brother's initials on his chest. What an honor for Logan. I find that special and beautiful. But he didn't stop
there. Gulp.... He got a full sleeve. He chose St Michael stabbing the devil. I asked him what that meant to him, and he said his guardian angel was destroying the devil who has caused him so much pain. He got a timer to show the time he wasted and the time
left in his future to succeed. He got a rosary and a crown to show what Jesus went through to save us from sin. Lastly, he got the scales of justice.
I am proud of him.
The snow was coming down today as I looked out the sliding glass door. I was filled with dread for the next 7 months. Sure the snow is pretty, but with it comes slick roads, freezing temperatures, and drives that need to be plowed.
Call me Scrooge or whatever, but I was not ready for this even though I knew it was coming.
There are so many things to dread in life that we forget to appreciate what is in front of us. I think fear
has a lot to do with dread. We are afraid to step out in faith to start a new career, a new job, a new relationship, a new friendship, or simply a new way of doing things. I have recently found myself almost paralyzed with fear over something that I
will discuss in a couple of weeks. Those old thoughts crept up in my head, "You aren't worthy of this, you will destroy someone's life, you are going to make a fool of yourself, you don't know enough, you will fail." I keep reminding myself those words are
not from our Lord God. Those words are from the devil himself, and I keep telling myself not to believe his lies. I think about the song "Fear is a Liar" and remind myself that God knows me. He knows my heart's desire. He knows how to put me in
places that are right for me, especially right for him.
Oh, kindness, where art thou? We have lost you, and I am anxiously awaiting your return. I went to vote yesterday.
Early voting opened up then. For a short moment, I was proud to be an American. I was proud to be a Wasilla resident. Until a man in line started loudly berating a man for not wearing a mask. He insulted him; he made a very vile comment that could be construed
as insinuating a sexual assault. It was awful, and I just stood there and minded my own business. I wanted to start meditating and explaining how rude the guy was, but I left it alone. I also ignored the rudeness of two ladies who cut ahead of me in line TWICE!
I had tears in my eyes as I mourned the loss of simple moments of kindness.
I also mourn the loss of "being in the moment." I saw a meme that perfectly summed it all up, "You had a great life; you were too
busy staring at your phone to notice." Twice this past week, I was looking forward to quality time with friends. Both friends were on their phones during our entire visit. I really needed to experience the intimacy of friendship. It's time to put our phones
down, to be present at the moment, and to offer kindness to strangers, family, and friends.
Several family members have tested positive for COVID.
Thankfully, none appear to be terribly sick, and I pray that it stays that way. I'm so thankful I never got around to visiting a few I planned to see last week. I've been visiting Granny, and I certainly don't want to expose her to anything.
It sounds like one of the ladies I have gotten to know through Be the Match may not survive much longer. There have been SO many people I have met through this journey that has passed. My heart is heavy, and
I mourn the loss of so many beautiful people. There are times I question myself for getting to know people. But then God reminds me that he placed these people in my life to share his love. This lady doesn't know Jesus. I shared my book with
her and shared a few things. I hope she accepts him before she passes.
I want everyone to know Jesus. I want everyone to see Jesus in me. Help me be the kind of person you want me to be,
Lord. Teach me to love everyone, to hold no resentment towards anyone, to serve you in all the ways possible, and to love every single creature created by you.
Being peer support for Be the Match is a wonderful volunteer job. I’ve gotten to know so many people over the past few years. We’ve shared our stories, and I help them emotionally prepare for a transplant. I care about each person
I’ve “met” even though we don’t get to meet in person. This summer, I was connected with Lori. Lori was an athlete who never failed to impress me as she even rode a stationary bike in the hospital, just after having a transplant! After
her release, she went on long rides- 12 miles one day! Just before transplant, she rode 20. She was one determined woman. She beat breast cancer, then several years later, was diagnosed with AML. Her transplant failed within two months. She developed a fungal
infection. She got into a clinical trial. Yesterday her body failed her, and she’s gone. I cried last night for this woman whom I never met but yet knew. I cried, wondering why I am a survivor, and others aren’t. This Saturday, it will be 22 years
since my son, Logan, died from an SCT due to a fungal infection he developed. His diagnosis was ALL. I’ve lost countless friends that I’ve met through this cancer journey. The only thing I can think of is God left me here to make the best
life I can make. I’m here to enjoy life, appreciate the small things, help others, and be the best person I can be. I will do that and remember my son, Lori, and all the other friends and family members who have died from cancer.
When you died, part of me died too. I wasn't sure if I ever would be whole again. It has been 22 years, and I have realized that there will always be a piece of me missing. How could
there not be? I carried you for nine months, eagerly awaiting your arrival. I labored for 24 excruciating hours as I longed to hold you. You were absolutely perfect in every way.
As you grew older, we realized
what an incredible and special child you were. You were intelligent, kind, compassionate, and wise beyond your years.
You were such a wonderful big brother to Casey and Meghan. You loved them both so much.
You even helped me parent them! You did have a mischievous side- that sparkle in your eyes would come out when you were preparing to tease or prank Someone.
When you were diagnosed with leukemia, you
took the news matter of factly. Oh, you were angry, but you did what you needed to do, and you showed more courage than most people. You hurt for the other children. I remember when you asked me to sit with Conrad in the hospital because no one was with him.
You hurt for him as he cried himself to sleep each night. I remember how you told me it's not fair that ANY child had to go through cancer treatment. I remember the many pranks you played on your doctors and visitors. I remember how you missed your dad
and worried about Casey and Meghan feeling left out. I remember you telling me you never wanted to be forgotten. I remember you trying to get to the light that last day. You saw Jesus.
Logan, I love you forever
and ever. There is not a moment that goes by that I don't remember you. My heart will never heal until I hold you in my arms again. I love you. Love, Mom
The walk down the corridor
was familiar. The smells were the same; the sterile environment was almost comfortable because it brought back many memories. Some good, some bad. I thought, "it's what I know, and I was closer to Jesus during that time than any other time."
For the last month, I have been having nausea, aversion to foods, and a lack of interest in eating. Yesterday I woke up at 0100, knowing "something wasn't right." At first, it didn't seem to be a pain, just a "funny feeling" in my
upper stomach, the same area affected by my bile duct last year. Then the pain started throughout my abdomen. I debated going to the ER but held out for my endocrinology appointment. My doctor was honest, staring gastroenterology is out of his wheelhouse.
I called my gastroenterologist, who told me to go to the ER. I spent six and a half miserable hours in the ER awaiting labs and an abdominal CT scan. Finally, the news came that my appendix was inflamed again and my cecum- lining on the colon. The doctors
thought my appendix should come out. I was reluctant. They don't understand GVHD here. My doctor came late last night, telling me he recommended it be removed. Ten minutes later, he came back in saying he and the surgeon discussed doing a month of antibiotics
and then a rescan. I told him he got an A-plus for that plan. I'm waiting to hear if I can get out today. I don't hurt anymore.
I was finally released about 12:30 yesterday afternoon.
I thought I would be ready to go out dancing (joke) after lying in a hospital bed for two nights, but I was exhausted last night. I am supposed to have a CT scan tomorrow and see my oncologist. I will see the surgeon next week to find out if and
when they will remove my appendix. This latest problem was completely unexpected, but I am trying to roll with the punches. God has this, and although I am experiencing some anxiety, mostly, I feel assured that he is taking care of me.