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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.