Friday, May 27, 2011

15 Months have come and gone

On the 25th of this month, I reached 15 months of recovery. I was hoping by now, I'd be normal, but I'm not. The idea of normal is flexible. In different societies, we define it differently, right? So, why am I so obsessed with my version of normal? I think that if I can become 'normal,' I can stop being defined by my tumor. I will no longer have to make excuses about my speech, gait (walk), or time it takes me to eat. I will be confident that I can run after my kids in the backyard or wherever. I can seek out volunteer or work opportunities without fear of judgement or rejection immediately when I open my mouth. I can have a lazy Saturday nap while my boys nap. I can bite into a juicy burger without a second thought. I can get a minor cold without fear that it will turn into Pneumonia or worse. I can sing again in church. I can take my boys of adventures without fear that something will happen to them or me. I can breathe easily. I know in 15 months, I have made remarkable advances toward recovery and I believe I'm not done yet, but I can't help but occasionally ask the whys. I do hypothesize with answers, but that's just it, a guess, not definite answers. I know that God had a reason for it all, but some days that doesn't make it any easier or less disappointing. I want for every body's sake to be 100%, but I'm just not there and reality tells me I might never get there.

I listened to a recording that my Mom had on her home voice mail of me speaking before my surgery. It brings me to tears every time because I am grieving the loss of that voice. I also listen to a recording my Mom also has of me calling from the hospital 4 weeks after surgery. I know it is me. I have the memory, but it doesn't sound like me at all. I listen to recordings I have taken the last day or so and I'm astonished by the change.

As I reflect on the past 15 months, with goals, hopes, and dreams I have for the next 15 months I am reminded by my favorite verse:
James 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

May this also be your prayer for the journey you are on!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Other People Hurtin

I'm sure that many of you are just as saddened about the tornado that destroyed Joplin, Missouri, Sunday. I am reminded so often that I am blessed and this horrible event again brought that to the forefront of my mind. I, like many, may not always rejoice in my current circumstances, but I can rejoice that I'm alive, I have clean clothes to put on, a house to live in, food in my tummy, and friends/family surrounding me. I have heard countless stories of neighbors helping neighbors, people driving from nearby states to feed folks, clear destruction areas, and do what they can do to help. To me, these people are hero's! One story that I find particularly uplifting is the one that shares the double rainbow that was seen over Joplin shortly after the tornado hit. Gods promises! Go to You Tube video : to see.

Please join me in helping these people out! Please pray for these people and what they've gone through and will go through. Please, if you can & are willing, donate to an organization that will help these folks out. Many organizations have already mobilized in the area, just be cautious about giving to someone you've never heard of before. A safe bet is always the Red Cross at where you can specify where you want your donation to go. Thanks again!

Quick synopsis on me: recovery is still trucking slowly along. I've noticed minor differences in the last few days and I'm excited to see where they lead.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I write this with a heavy heart. My 95 year old Grandpa passed away on Wednesday. Although I am a woman of faith and believe that he is now in Heaven with God and his sweetie, I still am sad. I know it was his time and I don't question that. I question whether or not I will live up to the legacy he left. He was a man of very few words. He listened a lot and rarely interjected his thoughts or feelings. It wasn't that he didn't have them, it was out of respect. He always let the spotlight fall on someone else. He was the last to complain and the first to say Thank You! I can still hear him call the ladies in his life "doll". He reserved "sweetie: for my Grandma, who he was married to for 60+ years, and who met Jesus in February 2004. His passing was on his terms and very peaceful and I am thankful for that. He truly was a remarkable man who taught his family about the importance of food, fun, faith and family.


Grandpa could make a mean cheeseburger and homemade french fry that could challenge the best out there. On one visit, Grandpa wasn't feeling too good so he went to the local hospital around dinner time and when they told him they would have to medivac him to Anchorage because he desperately needed a pacemaker, he told them that he would instead prefer to go home and finish making tacos his style. To make a long story short, he flew to Anchorage and we had taco's, but they weren't as good as his would have been. I'm told he baked beautiful & delicious homemade bread and there are no words for his excellent smoked salmon that was so flavor fully tender that it almost made you cry.


There was never a shortage of fun at Grandma & Grandpa's house. When they moved to the river, he put up swings for all of us grand kids. Bikes were always there to ride around on. Fishing trips were available too if you dared to try and tackle the mighty Kenai King. Then there was the garden and surrounding raspberry bushes and strawberry patches. Oh the treats we got outta there. Then there was the hand brewed soda he made. Any flavor your heart desired and made with love for you.


Grandpa & Grandma were always involved in the church. Grandpa never said much about his faith, but you could see him study the sermon each week from the second pew. Grandpa & Grandma were pillars of their little church and everyone knew them. I will never forget when we gathered at that church to have Grandma's celebration of life. He stood there with his shoulders bowed forward and silently cried through the service. I know he knew she was in Heaven, I think he missed her so. He continued going to church even after Grandma had passed which displayed his feelings of how important it really is. I bet there is a large party going on in Heaven now as Grandma & Grandpa celebrate being together again and watching all their loved ones below.


Grandpa was a quiet man who loved his family. I watched him smile with joy as he watched his grandchildren marry and when he first met his grandchildren. I will always treasure a picture of Grandpa just staring at Zachary when he was little. When you would ask him about his grandchildren, I heard him say, they are magnificent. What a compliment! He had three daughters and one son. He had 10 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, and he knew them all. He had pictures of his entire family scattered around his house to remind him of all his love had produced. He loved his family so much and we will miss him dearly.

As I reflect on his life & legacy, I only hope that I am doing the same. It has been hitting me hard lately, the deficits I still have and how I am going to overcome them. I understand that I may not beat it 100% but I'm gonna try, even unconventional ways. As Summer settles upon us, I grieve at the inability I have to do things. Things I use to take for granted, like running after my son or clearly being able to discipline him. I wish I could run to the store with both kids to pick up milk, but at this point I'm unable. I get super frustrated with things like this and I need prayer to help me with this.

Thanks for listening!


Friday, May 06, 2011

Family Pictures

To mark Kadin's first birthday and my first Tumor Free birthday, we had pictures taken. Enjoy! These are only some of the wonderful shots Jennifer Hughes caught of our family.