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Saturday, August 27, 2016



I have wanted to write for so long now but the words do not come and when they do there are times the tears come with them. I had promised to share this journey of life honestly and hope that it might help others who suffer difficulties. There were plenty of words and things to share but finding a way to be honest and share things that might be helpful to others rather than depressing and distressing was almost impossible.

It has been almost a year since I wrote a blog. It is not because I did not think of it or care but this has been a year of challenges to stay alive let alone keep hope. Nothing seems to be simple or easy. Complications can kill.

I have lived with such tremendous pain in my spine that there are no words to describe it. Years ago the doctors told me how very sorry they were because I have a degenerating disorder that affects bones and joints. It is a slow process that I have lived with for years but now as I am older the progress and problems have intensified until there is not a day or hour there is no pain. The object is to be able to continue and live life and appreciate all the wonderful blessing I do have.

When they first told me I broke down and cried. It was hard not to slip into a severe depression as I thought about my future. I not only understood what they were telling me but had seen it first had year by year and day by day in my own grandmother and mother. I watched as the pain stole away the happy times when she could have joined in but had to sit back unable to walk or take part in so many things. As the years went by it was like a horror movie in real life as she became a prisoner of her own body. No matter how much family tried to help it was impossible to do at home and eventually she had to go live in a nursing facility. She was a prisoner in her own body. Her mind worked but she was trapped in a body wracked with pain hour after hour, day after day for the years that remained. One day she turned her head and the bones gave way in her neck and it cut the spinal cord.

I hear people say how badly their backs hurt and each in their own way thinks their pain is so much worse than most others. When I say my back hurts it is so intense that it is sometimes hard to breathe. The pain is and was so intense that my blood pressure became uncontrollable. Trying all different medications and dosages helped but the pain continued as the more the pain the higher the blood pressure.

August 24th of last year I wrote a blog about a wonderful doctor that helped not only relieve the pain but restore hope for me and my husband.  He not only is an amazing doctor but a person of heart and care for others. He has done so much for me there are really no words to tell. He did the same thing for my husband as he suffered head aches that incapacitated he and left him no peace or hope. What can you say about someone who cares and dedicates their life working to ease the pain and suffering of others?

They have always been cautious of pain medication with me because of the limited lung function after they had to remove all of the upper lobe of the left lung. I not only had a mass under the aorta but found masses in the lung and surrounding the arteries that supplied the blood flow for the lung. That was another challenging and difficult time in life.

The pain in the back had escalated to the point it not only hurt and ached but burned in the whole spine. August 17 of last year I woke up with a stiff neck. It was uncomfortable but the next day it really hurt to even try to move it. Albert, my husband demanded I not wait but go in and get it checked out. I felt stupid going to the urgent care medical facility over a stiff neck but we went. One doctor examined me and immediately called another to confer about what they suspected. It amazed me I was getting so much attention over a stiff neck but realized it may be so much more by the way they were acting. I assured them I wanted to know the truth even if they just suspected a problem. I can deal with thing easier if I understand than if people try to protect you leaving me feel like I am crazy to feel so bad if there is nothing to concern me. When they said they were sending me to get an MRI or CT scan I knew they suspected something serious. I demanded to know what. When they said lymphoma my heart sank. I asked when I would have the tests done and they said right then. They had arranged with the hospital to take me right in.

That was the beginning of a long fight. It has been a fight to survive. I thought I would be able to share things here and hope it might help others but I have been working so hard just to live. I have also tried to stay ahead of depression that could steal away the will to live.

The pain in the back intensified as the lymph nodes enlarged along the spine. When I came back to the vehicle where Albert waited to hear what they said, I could not speak at first. The tears could not be held back and I fought for breath before I could say the word lymphoma. I told him that I could not do it. I was not strong enough for something like that. I had lived through so much after a head on collision, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack 4 stints in the heart but lymphoma, on top of all the other things was more than I could do.

We sat quietly in the pickup truck we drive and tears streamed down my face. He sat totally silent. When he finally did speak he asked when they wanted to do the tests. I told him we were supposed to go directly there and that they had arranged for me to go right in. He started the engine and said, “then that is what we are going to do.”

Arrangements were made for a cancer specialist and I have been blessed with an amazing man who is fantastic in his field but does everything he can to ensure my overall safety with all of the other specialists and problems. Dr. Monte was determined to keep me alive. Before they could do anything to help me they had to get a biopsy and see exactly what kind of cell they lymphoma was to design a treatment. That does not sound to difficult. They do needle biopsies, see the cell type and go from there. It often seems as if the things in my life become complicated and difficult. The needle biopsy did not get live cells they could use for diagnostics. I will skip on ahead to September. Every minute we wait this mass was growing. They found not only swelling in the lymph nodes but a mass around my carotid artery, filling the chest area and around the heart. It was growing so quickly and aggressively that it was already pressing on my air way. We could not get a live tissue sample to begin treatment and I felt as if every day I died a little more.

Again I was blessed with a wonderful doctor that was not going to give up on me. Doctor Woodward agreed to do surgery to try to get to living tissue for the diagnostics we needed. They all agreed they had never seen a patient that had such difficulty being able to get a simple biopsy. I always worry about being put to sleep. In my past that has also been an issue that left me on life support. I made it through the surgery with no problems September 23 of last year and eagerly awaited the findings.

I could hardly believe it when they again had no live tissue to examine. They explained that the type of cancer I had was extremely aggressive and fast growing. It was so much so, that the tissue reachable was dead as the cancer cut off the blood supply to the upper tissues. My heart sank, thinking how quickly my life was ending. Every day I felt closer to the time when there was no hope left. Before I could even begin the first surgery I had to work making sure the respiratory would survive the anesthesia. The pulmonologist, cardiologist, the endocrinologist and now Dr. Woodward all worked together trying all they could to help me. They said it was the first time ever it took 4 biopsies and two surgeries to get a diagnosis of the cell.

After all of that I still had to go to surgery and have the port put in for the chemo treatments. That went well with no extra problems.

When they had the live tissue, we prepared to fight the cancer with a full plan of treatments. I knew I would loose my hair and felt that was nothing to stop the cancer. I wrote a blog about that too. I had had long hair for so long but seeing it fall out felt as if I was watching my own body die a little more each day.

When I first came in for the chemo treatment, I was shocked to see how many people there were there, all fighting for their lives. We sat in the waiting room silently waiting for our turn. I glanced at the faces of those around me and could actually feel the extreme emotions. You could see sadness, worry, fear, and some almost looked defeated. You could tell the patients and there were also the loved ones who came with them and the worry in each face. It was time to begin the fight and I was determined not to give up. I was going to do my best to live.

Since it took me almost a year to begin this blog I know I will not be able to do it all tonight but I will be back soon. I had promised to write as much as I could and as honestly as I could and that I will do. I will also finish the book of Art, Words, and Inspirations and the new novel and so many other things that I have in my head and need to get worked so I can hold them in my hands. I will admit that pain is still and issue with me. Some days I can hardly sit up but I will not give up. One day at a time I will live and not just be alive. I am so grateful for all of the wonderful support of family and friends near and far. I have heard from so many of you and seen when you have shared my posts and words for me and it means so much. You too have had a hand helping me to live and feel I have not been forgotten. You have helped me to have a voice when I felt to weak to speak for myself. I thank you all. I have felt the love, prayers, cares and support. With all of the problems and pain I feel I do not walk alone. The prayers have been heard and I am still here, alive, and not giving up.

I will be back again soon and hope you each have a wonderful night and your lives are filled with love and bright times ahead.

I am sharing a few pictures of from then to now and what a journey it has been..


Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Birthday My Hair Fell Out

Yesterday was wonderful as my daughter and grandson came a day early to surprise me for my birthday with a fantastic cake they made together. We enjoyed the day and it left me with a smile. I mentioned that my hair was really thinning from the chemo treatments.
Last night my scalp seemed to itch and burn a bit all night long. I tossed and turned and when morning came felt something very odd. I seemed to have my hair standing on top of my head in a lump. I started to brush it out and it came out and kept coming out. Most of it had fallen out and was tangled with the few strands left.
It is an odd feeling even though they told me this would happen. Since I was a teenager my hair has been long. It has been very long.

 I got it cut when I started with the cancer treatments knowing it would eventually fall out.

 That was a bit of a shock but as the days went by I saw my hairbrush filled with hair and in the last few days I could run my fingers through my hair and have a hand full of hair. At one point I cried. That seems silly, knowing this would come but it was an odd feeling to live it instead of say it. I thought about it and think of it this way. If the treatments are doing this to my hair they must be doing something to the cancer. It is not a sign of things ending but things beginning to offer me a chance at life.

In the last few days I have looked out the window and see the leaves that were once vibrant green turn to golden colors and now rain down brown and forgotten for this year leaving the trees bare and almost dead looking silhouetted against the sky. I sort of felt like that. I had once been filled with life and now struggle to stay alive. There have been times I felt more dead than alive. The days have been dreary and filled with rain as in my heart I have felt tears like the rain drops outside. The rain brings water to sprout new life in the Spring. The tears today quickly form to make a determination for life to come. It will be Spring this time next year before I am though with the treatments and it will be time for flowers and new life.
I feel bad I have been unable to get the book of Art, Words, and Inspirations done before Christmas. I thought it would be such a beautiful gift to not only give a book but the hope for the future to see beauty and life. Now I accept I am limited on the time and things I can do. This is taking me so long to do but I want to share the feeling, ideas and hope.
I feel more peaceful now than frustrated with the book knowing what I want to create is something to share any day any time and its time will come. Right now I think of all the love and care others have shared with me. I see the internet and even as I sit here inside, the world has kept me company. You all have reached out and touched my heart. One friend fixed a meal you would not believe with enough I had a variety for days after my other chemo treatment. Family and friends have been so loving and caring. How can I stay sad for long?
Tomorrow I go for another round of chemo and I know know how very sick I become. At one point I really feared I would not see another day and felt so desperately ill I did not mind except I do not want to leave those I love and do feel I have so much more to do in life.
Every day is special and this birthday is one I will remember.....a new hope....and time to fight to live for all of the tomorrows.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Count My Blessings
Part 2
From Then To Now and Never Give Up

I have cried. I have felt fear. I am not so much afraid to die but can not abide the thought of leaving those I love and all of the friends in person and online who have been so loving and supportive in so many ways. I still have an occasional cry but am determined to begin the journey of living and staying alive.

I believe in prayer and am thankful for all of those who pray for me now and before. I know the good Lord will be with me and see me through however things work out but am hoping and praying it will be for me to continue in this life.
The things that I am facing now and will face even more in the near future are so uncertain with the final outcome but I have been thinking back to other challenging times. Many of the thoughts and feelings of the past are now again my present.

I have wanted to write this for some time now. When I think of the title it is impossible to tell of how many blessings I have had in my life. There are some times and people that do come to mind and I can not forget.

Right now my thoughts have drifted back....way back. We would never have dreamed I would be here today typing and finding so many more things in life to be grateful for.
I ran across some things I wrote long ago. This is from

I went in on December 28 for a CT scan and waited for the results. Every time I called they did not have the results. Last Wednesday I had a doctor’s appointment and was curious to hear what they found. I was shocked. I was happily shocked. I had not explained that last summer I found out that the tumor under the aorta was growing. I have lasted so much longer than the six months that we originally thought that I had to live, but have felt for a long time that every day may be my last.

Unless you have ever suffered a devastating illness it is hard to explain or for others to understand what it is like when you say that you are tired. I get so very tired there are no words to describe what it feels like to a healthy person. You can work or play all day and be so tired that you can not stay awake, but it is not a frightening thing or a bad feeling such as the tiredness that I feel. There is no way for a person to understand what it is like to hurt and live in pain every day of your life and know there is no escape but death. Even in the late night hours it can wake you from a sound sleep, if you get into a sound sleep.

I had wanted to write books to entertain and hopefully sell and help support myself and family. I had wanted to write poetry and stories and other things. I wanted to write things that could make other people feel and think. I have tried to do all of these things. I have completed 3 novels and hundreds of pages of other works. I have written poetry and have another novel well on it’s way. I have not been able to find an agent or publisher and fear that time may be short. I do not and have not given up, but am very tired and have been very close to deciding that I am too tired. I am too tired to keep fighting to go on. I am tired of the constant pain.

When I feel like that, I get a visit or call from friends or family but especially from my angel boy. He really is my little angel. He makes me smile and laugh and look for tomorrow. He helps me to live life instead of being alive. He may never realize how very special he is, but the patience and love he shows is beyond his age of 4. He is a blessing. My daughter brings that little grandson to visit and helps in every way that she can. She never forgets us and you can see the love in her eyes.

When it took so long to get the last test results back I feared that it was not good news. I have made sure this time that I did not run out of the herbal tea. I have even increased the amount that I drink. I am trying my best, but how much can a little tea do with tumors under the aorta? Essiac tea has helped more than others would believe.

The Jonesboro Church Health Center has been a life line for me. We do not have insurance or the kind of money it would take for the usual medical care. This place has served and helped so many people for so many years that would otherwise have had to go without any medical help. We are not all eligible for the programs or able to afford insurance. The clinic charges fees that are reasonable and offers not only some medical care, but excellent care.
There are all kinds of ways a person can do a job. They can do a job well. They can do it proficiently and efficiently. The people that work at this place do all of that, but they do so much more. They do their work showing compassion, and care in a respectful and intensely sincere manner that allows a patient to feel like a person. It allows a patient to feel as if there are those that care about them and not just the case that they are. I know that these people and this place does all that it can to help me and that I would not have lived as long as I have if it were not for them and the way that they care about other people. When you talk about doing something special in life, these people do it every day.

There are other people that work with them to help. How can you thank a doctor or specialist that takes the time to volunteer or treat at reduced, (very reduced rates compared to the normal fees) people who have no way to pay what they would have to pay or thank them as they deserve. The doctors help so much more than they can realize. If you have a problem and no way to get help you have to either live or die with it. That may be a simplistic way to describe a difficult situation, but it is the truth. There have been doctors, and they know who they are, that have helped so much and did it with heart and compassion. They work and have volunteered to help because of the special people that they are. I believe that God knows and sees people such as these. Bless you each and every one.

The reason it took so long to get the results is not because I was being neglected or overlooked but because the results seemed medically impossible and they wanted to be sure that they had read the right results in my report. They double checked and verified that the tumors had not grown at all. There were no new growths. I am not well or cured, but for over 8 months things have held as they were instead of getting worse. That may not sound like much, but to me it is a miracle. If it had grown as it had before, I would either be dead or not far from it.

Instead, I am looking forward to warmer weather and our next visit with the grandson and the times we can go down the road and listen to the music with friends and neighbors. There is no way I could say too much about these people and what they have done for me. I do not think that they realize what an impact their friendship has meant to both of us. Things are not easy for Albert. There are times I see the worry in his eyes or the watchful way he spots when I am too tired or the pain is unusually intense and it is time to go home. Most of the time, he fixes our breakfast. I try my best to fix the other meals but sometimes he does that too.

I had an idea for a book that I wanted to write that would incorporate these blogs or what ever you call this journal like thing I am writing and often posting on the internet. I thought about writing a book called ‘I Die a Little Each Day, But Am Not Dead Yet…Not Today.’ I was afraid that it might be a little to real or depressing for those that are close to me if they read some of the things that I am actually going through. What I hoped for in writing such a thing, would be that others who are going through difficult times would realize that we can not give up. I will continue to think on that project. I have so many things in mind that I want to do and write.

There are so many people suffering devastating illnesses and injuries and so many that suffer with pain, disabilities and debilitating disorders or deadly illnesses. It is easy to feel alone. It is easy for depression to either slowly drift in or descend like a blanket that smothers a person. It is easy to feel helpless and hopeless. If I allow all of that to be my lot in life, then I am already dead even if I am still alive. I believe that there are so many people that never really live their lives. I want to live and be alive. I want to see the smiles of the grandchildren, hear the laughter and enjoy the good times. I want to be there to comfort, support, show love and care. I want to hold them and cry with them when times break your heart. I want to be, and do, and live. How to do all of that is a real question.

I get so tired and hurt. I am trying to write. If there was a way for others to know and read my words then I would not be alone. They would not be alone either as we share thoughts, feelings and dreams and fears. I had hoped that I could find a way to use words to reach out and touch others. I wanted to be able to use words to paint pictures and make people feel and think. I hope that I have done that in the novels and other things that I have written.

The woman who lives in the area and had the little boy that suffered the serious burns thanked me a while back. She said that what I wrote touched them all and that it reached others and made such a difference to so many people that read it that the donations they received after it was published in the newspaper were enough to meet all of the child’s medical needs. What she told me meant so much to me. I could not bake cakes or do a lot of the work to make the fundraiser a success, but if my words could help an injured child, then I had indeed accomplished what I am trying to do with that. Maybe it helped someone else who read it.

I have had a few letters to the editor published in the local paper, but I do not think that these things that I write from my heart will be read or heard. I see no way for people to even know that it is here for them to share. If we ever get the money to go on line I would love to have my own web site and be able to share and try many things. I used to sculpt and paint. I liked to do bead work and candles and many other arts and crafts. I may not be able to do a lot of things, but who knows, if I had a place to show and share, there might be others out there who would want to help and buy the things I make. They might be able to feel a little less lonely as they read some of the things I wrote or know that we are never really alone. I do believe in God and that he is here with us. There are miracles that happen every day and often we overlook what is right before us.

We may have problems and pray to God saying that there is no way we can work these things out and beg for his help. Later when the problems are better we smile and say that we knew all along we would find a way and we did. There are other times that things happen and we blame God or angrily wonder how he could have allowed such an injustice or cruelty. I do not have those answers and have even thought them myself before. What I believe is, that if we knew all of the answers we would be God, because only he knows all. It is by faith and trust in him, that we may find peace and know that all is not lost. There is more to come.

I am growing very tired and will take a break and try to write more later today. I have so much more I want to share, but it will have to wait.

As I look back at the words I wrote so long ago I have many emotions and thoughts. They would never have found the mass under the aorta if it had not been for the pneumonia that had set in. I had coughed so hard that I broke a rib and by accident they found the mass.

Later in life I had a terrible pain where I had never hurt before. It became so intense I could no longer stand it and went to the hospital. When they x-rayed my back where the pain was, they saw so much more. They saw the tumors in the left lung that could so quickly end my life. I could say it was also by accident they found them just in time....we hoped it was not too late....
When I got home from the hospital the spot that had hurt so badly no longer hurt at all and has never hurt there since.

What I had written in 2010 about doctors that volunteered at that clinic I have to tell a bit more about one named Dr. Sifford. He is amazing as a doctor and a blessing as a human being who cares for so many and helps in every way that he can. If I count my blessings, he and that clinic are blessings to me and so many others.

Dr. Sifford worked with me for years there at the clinic as I have always had upper respiratory problems. Seeing him in different times of need and he was always still there helping those who suffered, offered me a chance to know him. He did not give up on those who reached out to him. He cares. I have never known him personally or even had a cup of coffee with him but I do think of him as my friend and my doctor. A friend is someone who cares. Once in a while in life you meet someone special and he is very special. My whole family feels the same way about him and all of the help he has rendered. He is that to so many people who reach out to him for help.

I ran across another thing that I wrote August 25, 2010 at 2:51pm

I want to make my dreams come true and not give up.

I said that I was going to write no matter what and be honest in what I wrote, so here I am. Honestly….I have been tired. I have been very tired, but I am not giving up. I hurt, but I am not giving in. It is not a stubborn attitude or ignorant denial that I am not receiving the usual medical course of treatments. I have more than one thing wrong and there is no recommended treatment. My previous notes explain all of that in detail. They explain more of the whole picture.
What they do not tell is how I have been up all night because I hurt. By morning I could not take it anymore and spent until now in the ER, tests, ct scans and all of that. When trying to find the cause for the pain they found more. They found that the tumor must have metastasized from what it had been and there is another one large enough they do not want to wait at all for the biopsy. They know that if they can not find a way to stop it soon I will have no more tomorrows. WOW.. this is hard. It is so hard for my husband and daughter. He and my daughter are the only ones that know until now.
I have been sitting here thinking many things. I cried. I feel frustrated. I feel angry. I feel afraid that I will not be able to do as I have always said….Make my dreams come true. Not give up.
A couple of days ago I was so excited. I am going to have one of my books published. This is what it is….
The Family of five found themselves in crisis as they were evicted from their apartment after the father lost his job. With great trepidation they accepted help from a relative that offered them a place to live and new start in life. They had no choices except seeing their family homeless in a rough part of the city.
Against protest from the two eldest children they moved. The differences in all that they had known were immense. It was not an easy adjustment for any of them as they experienced moments that would test their sense of humor and times that would test their strength of character.
Life became complicated. There were some difficult issues they would have to face and how they responded could have life altering consequences. Situations escalated for different family members in different ways that could destroy them and those around them or test them and force them to make choices and face the consequences. Learning what family can mean was a lesson each person learned in their own way.
This is a story of people and a place they would work to make their home. It is struggle, heart, moments of triumph and times of despair. It is a story that talks to many of us in different ways as the characters struggle with life.
They had weathered the difficult transition of the relocation and would face new challenges as life goes on for them all. Life Goes On is a dramatic story worth reading and remembering.

I understand that publishing a book is only one step. How can people know about it, want it, or decide to get it? I am going to do my best. This is my dream. I want to publish it then one other novel before the children’s book and coloring book that goes with it. Then I have another novel completed and one I am working on. I am not going to give up or give in. I will try to keep my dreams not only alive, but make them come true.
As I am doing all of this, I do intend to keep a journal type of record in my notes here and also on blogspot and any other I might be able to start. I do at times get tired. I am still excited about the book, but the way things are health wise is difficult. I have been in bad shape before and am not dead yet….NOT TODAY. Lately I have begun to wonder if this is the day. Late at night when it is so hard, I have at times felt so alone. Then I realize I am not alone. I believe not only in prayer, but that God will be there with me and help to give me strength. One day at a time….Life Goes On….just like my book.
I am going to wait and write more tomorrow. It has been a day.


Life is filled with choices. Some are big and life changing choices. Some are so subtle and casual that we hardly realize we are making them. This has been a time of many choices and decisions for me. I have been, and am so excited to see the novel I wrote finally being put into book form. There are decisions and choices...many choices...what font, what size, what templates, what about the cover, the book size, design and many more. What will we have for supper? Should I have the biopsy Surgery or no surgery? Can I wake up from the anesthesia? Can I live through a procedure that big? Can I survive and function afterward with part of the lung gone? How will I manage when I first come home? How can we afford this? Will the function test show that I can tolerate any of it? We will know very soon. The growth rate of the tumor is not allowing me to wait to decide. I wanted to get my book out. If the function test is good enough they will still do a total body scan to see if it is only the 4 we know of, or there is no use in going through all of this at all. Every time the do an x ray they find a tumor. They checked on the broken rib and there is the one under the aorta. They check a vertebrae and now this one that is really growing.... and so on.

I have been trying so hard. There are no words to tell how difficult it can be and how desperately tired I get. There is no way to say how difficult it is, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Now is the time that I have to make the right decisions. I want to be there for my children and grandchildren. I want to see them grow up and know me. I want to hold that little hand in mine and feel the magic in the touch filled with the love of a child. I do not want to go. I want to share laughter and love and good times with my family and be there for my angelboy. I don't want to go...Not today. I want to reach out to the world and make a difference.

It seems unimaginable to share such thoughts with so many people that I have never met. I have to say what a wonderful and inspirational outpouring of love, care, and sharing there has been from so many. I want to thank each and everyone one of you because you cared. I want you to know that it makes a difference. You have made a difference. I want to thank you for the kind words, cares, prayers and messages. Pray that God grants me the wisdom to choose wisely, the strength to endure and the courage to face the future and the blessing of life for another day.

I have been so tired. Mom is doing better and has been transferred from the ICU to a room. Tuesday they will do another function test and then make a decision if I am strong enough to have the surgery. I will try to keep writing. I know there are so many with problems and hardships and I hope that we all can keep hope, keep faith and never give up.

We have not got the biopsy results yet. I think that if it was good news they would have called me but want to wait and talk to the other specialists and then talk to me in person. We kind of knew that going on. We have no idea about the surgery. It has risks....big risks....I may decide to just try to keep on keeping on. I may decide to give it a try. You can not understand what it feels like to make such choices, but life is not always easy. Mom is doing a lot better for the shape that she is in. At her best she only has 30 percent of heart function now. It is hard. She knows what is going on and so does daddy. is stable now and that was the good news....the other is that the tests are done...the biopsy showed that it is malignant and not in a good operable location. This is not good....but I am not going to give up

Today I had good news and then some other news. I will probably be going through with the surgery soon....and today I got the proof for the book that I wrote and approved it. They already have it available at the one web site and will have at two others in about 3 weeks. It may be some time before it is available in local bookstores but I will work one step at a time.

I loved the feeling I had as I held my book in my hands. It was like holding a dream and feeling there was hope. The emotions I had during that time of life are beyond words. I did try to find words so that others having difficult times could know they are not alone and to never give up but there were times I was so close to feeling no hope for myself.

The worry for my mother was intense as she battled congestive heart failure and some other problems. It seems that problems never come one at a time. I guess I can think of those times a challenges.

It seemed as if every heart beat the tumors were growing and in such a bad location that it could easily become inoperable if we waited. The problem was that if I was not strong enough to survive the surgery........

At that point they refused to do the surgery. I pleaded but the answer was that the doctor would not do something he thought might either kill me or leave me a vegetable on life support.. He was right but I was desperate.

I am feeling so much better. I still get tired and have been busy doing treatments 4 X a day but it is working. We will find out next Friday if it is enough.

I hope to find out today what they decide can be done. Last night was a long one. My husband and I talked of many things...we had to make some decisions either way. Everyday I have to wait the cancer is growing at a rapid rate. The sooner I go in for surgery may also be the last day that I have. Those are some intense thoughts.

I said that I would keep writing and I am trying. I have one thing I need to decide today. Should I go ahead and go crazy? I would not have far to go. I have been trying to keep a positive attitude but sometimes I think I am positively going to shatter into a million little pieces. Too many things going round and round in my head and too tired to find a way to stop them long enough to sort them out. Oh well, I will write on my notes, blogs, Fan Page and take them one at a time.

Last night was not a bad night but it was a long night. Thoughts would not quiet allowing the peaceful sleep that refreshes. Thoughts flew round and round and the hours slowed down to a crawl. It is not daylight yet but the new day is near.

Tomorrow I go for another pulmonary function test to see if they can perform the surgery without leaving me on a ventilator. Part of me is eager to begin the long recovery. The other part fears what could be. I want a chance to live life to the fullest doing and sharing so many things.

I want to step out and watch the sunrise of a new day breathing in the fresh sweet smell of the morning dew. I want to see the sky color as the new day begins. I want to feel the touch of my grandson's magic hands as we start new adventures and share special times.

My precious grandson hugged me last night and spoke as he gazed directly into my eyes. "Mamaw, I'm gonna hug you forever and ever and love you and never let you go." Now, there is the medicine that can make a weak heart strong and a tired old woman like me work to live and get hugs and love forever and ever.

His hands are magic. I told him that they were. I have problems with my hands and they often ache and hurt and often swell. That is odd because the sensory mechanism of touch seems like a delayed response. I am loosing the feeling in both hands. I can not feel when I type now or hot when I am cooking until later when it is too late and I am already burned. The tests show the loss of feeling but they do not know why or what to do. If you can not fix it I am not going to run up more bills. Even with all of that, my bones hurt. It is not a small pain but one that becomes a part of you as your hands and feet twist and swell.

A look of concern crossed his small face as he stood beside me. For one so young he is extremely sensitive. He has concern and compassion that knows no bounds. I explained that my hands hurt. He gently placed his little hand on mine as he slowly and gently rubbed watching me the whole time. "Did that help, Mamaw? Did it make it feel better?"

The look of concern and love on his small face touched this old heart as tears welled in my eyes and it did feel better and it made me smile. I told him that and he smiled brightly. "I really do have magic in my hands." Now, every so often he uses his magic hands to make me feel better.

My daughter smiled as she had some memory of long ago about who knows what, that I had told her as a child. "Mom, why do you tell him he has magic in his hands? He will believe you." We did not realize that he had returned and was listening.

"Because it is true. He has so much love in his heart and his hands that it is magic. When he reaches out to rub my hands and ease my pain is with love and....Love is magic and it works wonders. Love makes the whole person feel better, the pain hurts a little less and the day so much brighter. That is magic. Yes, he has magic hands, he surely does," She had to agree.

I have had so many thoughts of so many things. I have thought about my writing, the things I have written and things I am writing and things I want to write. I think of the paintings I am doing and the sketches and pictures I want to add to the children's books. There are so many things that I want to do and then I am tired.

I want to write all of the things from my heart for each of my loved ones. I want to always be there for them even if it is in a letter. I want to share thoughts and memories from the past and dreams for the future. I need to know that I have a chance for a future. I have to admit that I am filled with stress and apprehension. I wish that I could have the surgery and be on my way to a recovery, then I think of what else might be. I need to put it in the Lord's hands and trust things will work out. I will try. I will be back to write more soon.

I am not afraid to die....Just not today.

As I looked back at posts I made through the years I wanted to share hope that no matter how difficult things may be we can not give up. There is hope and even in the darkest times we can find so many things to be grateful for.

What I found was too much to put in a blog. I had said it was developing into more of a book than a blog and that is so true. There was too much that is too intense to repeat. What I see and feel so much, is a gratitude for the doctors who work so hard and try so hard to help. I have been blessed with doctors that not only a very good at what they do but care about their patients.

My husband has not been so blessed in so many ways. I think we are lucky he lived through much of it. He just went through a surgery to repair some of the damage from when he fell and fractured his skull 2 years ago. When you see someone so mistreated or lack of treatments, it breaks your heart and is so frustrating. The doctor he was finally referred to that did the reconstruction is wonderful. Dr. Woodward did not hesitate to help him and make his life so much easier. A talented doctor who cares about those who come to him in need. It is a shame it took two years before anyone would refer him.

All of that makes me even more grateful for the care and doctors who have done so much for me.

When they told me of a mass under the aorta we did not know how long I would have to live but I am still here. It is not gone but every day really is a blessing.

When they found cancer and I lost much of my left lung we did not know if I would even wake up but I am here and still going. The lung specialist is still taking care of me and looking after me. Dr. Sifford does so much for so many. The man is an amazing doctor but more than that,.....he cares. I met him when we had no insurance and no way to pay for a doctor when we needed one.

He referred me to Pro Med of Jonesboro and Greg Brooks for oxygen. What I got was more than that. All there are caring and supportive people who never fail to help when they can. When you need medical supplies it makes such a difference when they show such dedication to their clients and really care.

I will wait for another day to share the present as I think how thankful I am to be blessed with so many praying and showing support. When I think of the doctors trying and working so hard to give me more tomorrows it warms my heart and gives me hope. When I think of the love and friendship of so many I smile and the tears are no longer filling my eyes are replaced with knowing I am not alone.

Every day is special. I am working my best to do the book I feel inspired to do combining my art and words, thought and feelings, and hope for not only myself but others. This is one of the things I will review for my own life but there are so many others.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Count My Blessings Part One The Pain Never Ends


Count My Blessings

Part One The Pain Never Ends

When I think of the title of this I realize I have too many blessings to really count. I have been blessed with family and friends that warm my heart. My little grandson has been the sunshine of my life and my daughter is always there for us. My husband knows more than any the endless days with me groaning in pain and trying my best to go on in life and be able to feel I am not worthless. Together we try each day to do the best that we can.

There are others. There are so many others who have helped. Even with all the help and encouragement the pain never ended. I have lived through a lot of pain in this life but my back and at times my foot never stopped. Even in the night, it never stopped. I began to lose hope and feel so desperate. I did not want to die but how could I live and have any real life? 
Even in the hospital the doctors said how sorry they were for me after the MRI and CT scans showed what was going on in my spine. They can not give strong pain medication or I might now be able to breathe and the lung I have left might begin to fill with fluid. They offered counseling.

Eventually I was referred to a pain management specialist named S_ _ _. I will not call him a doctor. I have never been closer to giving up in my life than after one visit with him. He had not read any of my records or considered any other problems I might have. He announced that my only problem was that I was lazy. I was selfish being so lazy to my family and all around me. He said he was going to go in and do a nerve branch block and I needed to get an exercise bicycle.
I told him I had been going to the Health and Wellness center 3 times a week and it was helping so much and I was able to loose 1 ½ to 2 pounds a week. He announced that was useless and a waste of time. I was just lazy.

I asked how he would prevent excessive bleeding and swelling if he did anything to the spine. He paused and looked confused saying he saw no reason it would be a problem. I reminded him on what blood thinners I was on. I knew he had not even read my medication list let alone any other health issues.

He told me to quit taking them for two weeks. I was outraged and repeated what the cardiologist said after the 4 stints were put in. He told me I would die if I did not take them and allow the stints to heal in place. He said to not even miss a single dose let alone two weeks.

The response was to hand me a prescription for pain meds and tell me to just skip a day or two and he would do what he thought was best. He ranted on saying I was worthless and lazy and other things. He said there was no excuse for lazy people like me.
I did what I thought best and never went back. I did not fill his prescription and just went home. When I got home his loud and abusive tirade echoed in my mind. Memories began to flood in of my mother and grandmother.

I remembered my grandmother laughing and smiling and all of us gathering together for every holiday. I remember her as health issues seemed to be stealing away the joy and ability to enjoy life for her, no matter how we tried. The answer for her was medication and more medication. Pain meds, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, tranquilizers and more. Medications to treat the side affects of other pills. At that time it was common and sometimes still is, to treat anything with pills and if that does not work just give more pills with more side affects. She had a whole case full of pills and still suffered with pain as her spine deteriorated more and more. The more it hurt the less she moved until she was a prisoner in her own body. The suffering as she lay with bed sores growing and not even able to turn over was heart breaking.

I remembered my mother, who we had just lost, suffering with spine pain and eventually almost bed-fast and in a wheelchair. She had lived most of her life on so many pills of all kinds. So many pills and each with their own side affects. There were times she drooled from her mouth and could not even talk but always more pills.

There are no words to explain what I felt that night after my visit with S_ _ _. I have never been closer to giving up. I wondered if there was any hope for me at all. I did not want to leave my family and felt I had so much more I wanted to do in life but what hope was there left?

The level of pain I endured made controlling my blood pressure impossible. Terrible pain can not only steal the joy from life but kill a little at a time or even quicker if the heart gives out or a massive stroke lay in the future.
I tried one last thing and agreed to see another pain doctor named Dr. Gera. By then, I had begun to feel there was no hope left for me. You can only live so long when the pain never ends before the body gives up. Our life was filled with challenges. With Albert unable to work we often had to go to food pantries for what little they could help with. Worry about if we could afford the blood pressure medications and others I was on made me dread the day I would end up with a stroke lying in a bed and nothing to fill the hours but more pain. Hope was dim or almost gone.

Dr. Gera did so much more than ease the pain. Dr. Gera restored my hope for life. He not only is an amazing doctor but a person of heart and care for others. He has done so much for me there are really no words to tell. He did the same thing for my husband as he suffered head aches that incapacitated he and left him no peace or hope. What can you say about someone who cares and dedicates their life working to ease the pain and suffering of others?

My whole family is grateful for the help he has given me. My little grandson said he has been so worried about me. He said he could feel how sick I was and he loved me and wanted to help me but did not know how. Then he smiled and said he could tell I am doing so much better and seem happier. He smiled even bigger and told me someday I could go outside with him and Papaw (Albert) and we could all roast hot dogs together. They gathered up their things and headed out to cook our supper. When they came in they were smiling as little Zander announced that he cooked my hot dogs himself and did them just like I like them.

What Dr. Gera did for both of us helps our whole family. I don't know if he could ever really know what a difference he makes. We had to go and pick up my medical supplies. The woman there noticed I was doing so much better and I told her it was because of Dr. Gera. A big smile came on her face as she told me her sister and sister's husband also went to Dr. Gera. She told me how grateful the whole family was. Her sister had gone to Dr. S_ _ _ and after one visit was so devastated and depressed she had to seek counseling and they worried she might become suicidal. The woman was filled with outrage as she continued to tell of how destructive that one visit had been. Her sister had been told she was just lazy and apparently the same treatment I had received. 
I asked how her sister was doing now and she said thanks to Dr. Gera, she and her husband were doing great and so much happier than she had been in years. She told me how her whole family is grateful to Dr. Gera and I shared our story too.
If you know of someone in the North East Arkansas area I hope you share this with them if they are in pain and know the hopeless feeling not knowing where they can turn. I trust this man with my life as well as my care as he works so hard to help in this difficult time of life.

If I wanted to count my blessings I would have to say Dr. Gera is that. He is a blessing to not only my husband and me but so many others.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Night To Remember

A Night To Remember 

           I look at the sun shining and feel the warmth on my face. This past weekend was the first time I could enjoy sitting out back on the deck. It was wonderful. I can not walk well and become weak and short of breath easily but comfortably sat watching my husband and grandson building a little bonfire with one of the neighbor children joining in for the fun. Hen the fire was just right they brought out the hot dogs and even cooked some for me. It was a wonderful time filled with smiles.

           I have seen the world through the window or pictures my husband takes for me of the wildlife that visits in our back yard. Most of the time I have left the house has been for doctors visits, therapy, and occasionally to the store. We used to visit our daughter and family (my precious grandson) often but any travel has been painful and tiring. I worked to gain strength but day by day felt worse. I had caught a cold. That does not sound so bad but for me it is a fear. There is little difference between a simple cold and my lung filling up. I lost all of the upper lobe of my left lung to cancer and have COPD. I hear of so many people my age who all have COPD with some barely having symptoms and others near death. I may not be near death but wanted to keep it that way. I also have some problems with my heart and can quickly build fluids.
           Day by day it became more difficult to find the bright side of life. There were moments I began to think I was more of a burden in life. I continued to try to gain strength but even going from one room to another was a challenge. I live in a world of pain. That is something that wears on more than the body. This past year I have been undergoing treatments on my back that have help immensely. The bones have deteriorated to the extent that there was not way to stop the pain short of killing the nerves. There pain might be there but lessened in the areas where I could not feel it. We can not deaden with nerve branch blocks my whole spine. This is not only a challenging thing to endure but to accept and realize that bit by bit my body is giving way makes seeing hope for the future difficult.
           I have wanted to be active on the internet, writing, and the new books I am working on but even sitting in a chair is a challenge. I have wanted for so long to be active in person and not just on the internet and the telephone but have not been able to do it. Even if my health improved it is difficult to find a place to meet we can be sure is available. Those things depressed me but there was more intense problems soon to occur.
            They can not give me strong pain medications without risking respiratory failure. The pain is so intense that my blood pressure is often dangerously high. The medications for blood pressure can only do so much. I have some wonderful doctors working together to do all that they can for me.
           The problem is, what more can they do? The 'cold' got worse. The coughing was severe but I kept thinking if I did all I could and took the medications and breathing treatments I would get better. I am pretty tough and have lived through some difficult times. I could do it. I could get better and stronger. I got a prescription of antibiotics and was sure that would make the difference. I had once had pneumonia and coughed so hard I broke a rib. I feared the cold was much more than I wanted to admit.
           That was one month ago. I had been enjoying the pictures and sites out out back windows. I am working on a book of Art and Words and Inspirations. I am using my paintings, photos and those my family takes to help me. I am excited about it as I think there are so many times I need a happy thought for the day or reminder to never give up and want to share the feeling of hope.

           Winter had set in with a vengeance. We had not only terribly cold temperatures but also ice. We had some snow but by then we had six inches of ice. The little animals that live in the wooded area here are stressed to find food. My husband got some bags of corn and began to put out portions out back. It was wonderful. The yard would fill with all kinds of birds in the day. Other times we would see deer coming one by one and then two and finally whole groups for the food they could find when all else was buried in ice.

           One deer has only three legs. She cold not stand and slap at the ice with her front hoof because she only had one front leg. I was fascinated seeing the creature who proudly survived the wild with such a limitation. She did not give up. She came every day and as we often watched her out the window the alert creature began to take an interest in us too. She would often stand right outside the window and look in. The heavy shroud of ice began to feel like a prison as we waited for warmer weather and surviving the cold.
           It soon became a nightmare in ice. We live in the hills with curving roads. We had six inches of ice on the ground and more falling as I found myself in a life threatening situation and needing help. I could not breathe.
           My husband called 911 and they assured us help was on the way but the roads would make it difficult and they would be there as soon as possible. The 911 dispatcher maintained a calming and reassuring tone to the call as they gathered as much information as possible to assist in the situation and dispatched Emerson Ambulance. Every moment was a terror as I fought to breathe. My chest felt locked as in or out was little more than wheezing gasps. I could hardly speak and soon felt lurching and jerking spasms as I fought to live and breathe. Every moment was a life time.
           More than ice covered roads presented a problem as our drive is long and steep and was covered in ice. The ambulance got a run at it and made it to the top to turn around getting in a position for them to be able to load me in. That was not to be as the ambulance with the attendants slid unstoppably to the bottom.
            I have fought so hard to stay alive and be able to live my life with family and friends and do something special in the time I have, but at that moment I doubted I would see another day. The EMT Tonya McColum and Paramedic Adam Karr could have called for more help or waited to find a way to assist me but they did not hesitate. They did not wait as I fought to breathe. They had to trudge pulling the gurney or stretcher up that ice covered hill fighting for footing all the way. They braved dangerous footing not hesitating to reach me and render help.
           We got me out of the house, strapped and secured with more icy slush raining down on us. Trying to safely negotiate me to the waiting ambulance and the equipment and help I needed was not going to be easy but it was something to remember. You have to understand that from my point of view I could not see it all but I heard enough to know it took courage, determination and professional calm to do what had to be done for me. Adam and Tonya risked their own safety but did not hesitate. My husband was by my side helping as best he could too.
            The stretcher began to slide faster and faster down the icy slope. The ice from the sky continued to rain down on us and there was no way to stop or slow our descent. I could hear my husband saying he was trying to find some traction but there was nothing he could do. One of them mentioned they could not let me tip. There would be no way to stop for any of us. The stretcher with all four of us gained speed sliding through the icy night. We stopped at the bottom at the ambulance. Even loading the stretcher was a problem as ice had frozen under the stretcher making it difficult to fold the wheels. They got me safely in the ambulance and immediately began care for me and to transport me to the hospital.
           I was amazed as the Paramedic and EMT showed not a moments hesitation not only getting me to the ambulance but immediately starting to work on me. I know after our slide down the icy slope the adrenalin had to be pumping in all of us and knowing how serious it could have been if the stretcher had tipped creating even more stress but the calm was more than the actions to help me. Even the tone of voice was reassuring and an IV established before we even left the drive.
           When we are hurt or in need of help, those we call to are in our mind at the moment but we often forget the courage and dedication these people show every day in so many different situations. When there is a fire we are so grateful but if it is not us in need do we remember these people work and live at the ready to assist and even risk their own safety to help others? When we are afraid or needing a police officer do we remember in other times he or she is risking their lives every time they answer a call? I want to always remember and be grateful to all of those who work so hard helping others in so many professions. The people who brave the freezing and stormy weather to restore our electricity and so many others are often forgotten in sunny days.
            When we are in a hurry and an emergency vehicle is approaching, the moment we take to pull aside and stop could make such a difference. The drivers are flashing lights and sirens for a reason and every second could count. If it was my house burning those few minutes could mean so much. If a prowler was breaking in to my house what a difference a minute or two could be to the outcome. What about the safety of those who hurry to aid others? Every trip and every day they stand ready to help.
           I was not sure I would see a tomorrow but they got me safely to help and took care of me all the way. Any one who pulled aside, if there were others out on such a night, helped me to safety. too.
           I spent time in the ER then to Accute Care and after that to a regular hospital room at St. Bernards and have to say I not only had excellent care but constant positive reassurances and interactions. I was not just short of breath, I needed help and that is what I got. I am so blessed to have such wonderful doctors and medical care, family and friends, but also all of those along the way who work each day reaching out to others. What a night to remember.