Wednesday, August 17, 2016

As I work, as I walk from place to place, as I type, talk with others, fight to focus, it seems feelings and emotions threaten to overwhelm me, and I am left standing by myself in some field or space, while people work and live all around me. I am not alone, and yet I am. Can I walk forward, can I walk on?

And yet, people come as blessings from the One who watches over me. They lift my spirit, I can go another minute, another ten, even an hour. Continually, He flows blessings unto me. I must reach out my arms and hands, open my eyes, and allow myself to feel and acknowledge the blessings.

Maybe it is like recovering from surgery, and I’ve done that. You start with one step, then 10 and then 100. You walk around your block once, and then twice, and soon, you can’t count the times you’ve made it around that block. But you look forward, not back. You must look forward. I must. I will.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

34 years old

Dave Ramsey, the Financial Peace University guy, has a radio talk show Mon-Thurs evenings that I listen to from time to time.  The debt-free cheers of couples who've worked hard, sacrificed, and lived quite frugally so they can be more empowered in their lives, more independent, and better help and lift others really inspires me.  During the program, Dave has all types of people call in on the show with questions seeking advice for their family finances, etc. 

Just now, I was in my car, about to head back into work, but stayed to listen for a few minutes as a father of two little girls (4 and 8yrs old) shared a bit of his financial mess after the passing of his wife.  She died 8 months ago at age 34 from cancer.  The man didn't have to say a ton for listeners to know how hard this was for him.  Dave was able to send him his course and to a "Smart Conference" later this year.  As this man moves forward picking up the pieces, encouragement was given to all of us to get our lives in order.  What a needed message and so true.  But I was struck even more by something else.  She was 34 yrs old and I couldn't stop the lump building in my throat as I thought about my 34th birthday, laying in a hospital bed after life-saving surgery essentially gave me every chance at living as normal a life as anyone else.  What was she thinking as she lay in her hospital bed?  How was that for her, for her husband, for those little girls?  It hit me hard and emotion seemed to come out of nowhere.  How did I get this chance at life when she had a husband and two little ones??  I just work. 

There is so much I don't have answers for...we move forward with faith, right?  Yes.  My mother would say we also go forward with gratitude.  But how do I get to be the one going forward?  Well...forward in this life?  Fairness is a concept I must let go of - it is so different for everyone.  While I may feel spoiled by my life, I have responsibility to give and do much with what I've been given.  And the Lord's ways truly are higher than mine.  That is the only way I know how to make sense of life.  Since March 2013, a few of my friends have passed in their battle with some sort of cancer, and four family members due to complications with age.  Maybe they love it on the other side, I believe they must.  It is us who are left to grieve, to miss them, to make sense of loss and pain.  To move forward, I must celebrate them and celebrate the life God has given me.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Now for something fun and new

It's about time I blog again...and about something other than my health ;)  So here we are.  Recently, I asked a guy out who had a great idea to blog about our experience and invited me to be a guest post on his blog, so here you are :)  I hope you enjoy the read.

Charlotte asked if I wanted two tickets to KUTV’s pops concert and I couldn’t resist so I said, yes!  “Who will you take?” she inquired.  She is someone I work with and was really excited for me to experience this patriotic concert.  After realizing my niece and nephews would be out of town, it hit me, bex, you should ask someone…like actually ask a guy.  Hmmm…it’s not that doing so is so very foreign to me that I’ve never asked someone out…but usually I’m already dating them and well, what if I asked someone out and they thought that was weird or felt concerned that I felt stronger than I did since I’m a girl and was doing the asking?!  What if, what if…  Then I laughed at myself and said, what the heck, it’s about time, let’s do this.

It was the middle of the week and the concert was the following weekend, so I sent Petey a text to see what his plans were and if he would be free that evening.  How do you ask that in a cool, chill way ;)?  If he said yes, I knew it would be a great date.  And…he was free, awesome!

We are both in choir together and at rehearsal that night, Petey was stellar, he came up to me with a hug and asked about the details of the date.  I stuttered, realizing I hadn’t thought past the fact that I had tickets for us to attend the concert together.  “Right, yes, of course,” I began, thinking fast…of course!  I’d asked him on a date, why hadn’t I thought about dinner and the other details??  During choir, I collected myself and we chatted briefly afterwards.  Phew.  Not a total failure, but boy, there was more to this asking someone out than just having tickets in hand! ;)

The next week went by so quickly and before I knew it, we were just days before the date...had I figured out dinner and transportation, etc.?  Not more than thinking about those details…it felt funny every time I did, I just wasn’t sure what he’d like to eat.  I wanted to check with his friends about his food preferences and all the sudden found myself wondering about the implications if I chose this place or that one!  Hilarious.  Options, I need to give him options, I thought.  And I should be the one picking him up, and should give him a time-frame to plan on.

And that is how the rest of the experience went…me going through a process any guy could do in his sleep but for which took me quite a bit of extra thought and seriously gave me greater appreciation for the many dates I’d enjoyed while often taking for granted the effort and planning my date had gone to for me, for the one evening, that singular experience.  They must have stressed a little like I did…and needed reminders like “what is the dress code for this?”  Details can escape you…it makes me wonder if there is a cool check list guys use to remember it all.  And another thing, you want to make the other person’s experience great, doing things they enjoy while also taking the lead so they don’t have to essentially plan the date you’ve asked them on – haha.  But boy, deferring to them sure seems easier.

Picking up Petey on the night of the concert was so easy.  He was ready on time!  How many times have I not been “quite ready” and needed extra time?  He was the opposite of picky and that left me ultimately deciding where we would eat…and again, that is something for which I’ve so often deferred to the other person.  Maybe I’ve been lazy, for the most part I like most food so it’s been easy to let the other person decide in case they have an opinion.  

Third times the charm and that’s how it worked with choosing our restaurant due to the wait and our short timeframe…and that was kind of like an adventure for us.  When it came down to the meal, it was so fun to say,  “Have whatever you like” as we looked at the menus…I kind of giggled.  That evening became a game to me to see if I could copy what I knew of my role from the great examples I’d experienced in the past.  It really was a lot of fun, especially once I let go of wanting things to be perfect… And let’s be honest here, this was like being a novice who wanted to perform her part well without first practicing ;).

The concert was lively and so much fun.  Petey was the best person to take on a date, and he seemed to enjoy the experience, sitting back, letting someone else drive the “date mobile”, while being his encouraging self.  It really is a fun role ;).  We laughed through the experience and he was super forgiving and flexible which made it so much easier to have a great time regardless of my nerves.  Being with someone who cares about others more than himself and who values relationships with others quite highly inspires me to treat others similarly.

So, the conclusion is, being the asker was the right choice :).  It may have started a little awkwardly, but became an awesome, fun experience.  And yep, I’d do it again…and…I’ll be a better and more aware date in the future!

Thank you, Petey!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Four Weeks

Moving upward and onward.  It's true :)

Every night my head hits my pillow, I remember the past 4 to 11 months.  I remember laying there during recovery and I remember the direction we're headed.  I feel grateful, I feel humbled, I feel prayerful, and I feel emotion.  Time is so many things to us, and it can also be a friend.  Time is filled with memories.  As time passes, it takes our present friend and travels her into the past.  And though good, its painful too.  I never want to forget this time, this experience, the stopping, the questioning, the thinking, the crying, the wondering, the laughing, the outpour of love, the learning and learning and learning :).  I want to hold onto and never let go of the time with those dearest to me, time with Tim, my  mother, my dad, my sisters, my brothers, my aunts, my cousins, my friends.

Benni said I would experience the phases of loss and grief at different times, that they might reoccur, and that it was okay.  As crazy as it may seem, part of that experience is losing this experience of loss.  No, I haven't completely lost it (now I sound crazy ;)) but the time is passing, and I am moving forward.  Though difficult to explain, part of moving forward is tough because it is truly letting go, accepting what happened, realizing it is okay if I don't learn or remember everything I needed to know, accepting myself again and again, and then looking to the future.  I'm not trying to be dramatic, no, truly my situation has been the best it could be, I'm in awe at how fortunate and blessed I am.  Saying that, I still feel the need to acknowledge that the tears are okay, even though I don't always understand them, that though I'm grateful to have such a good life, I miss it, her, them, then.  So much was happening deep inside me, so much still is.

But again, deep breath in, hold, now out.
Because of Him and all of you, we're moving onward and upward :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two weeks :)

Wow, time has really flown by.  Things have been quite similar and quite different this round.  As I headed into surgery on June 3rd, and as I was laying on the flat chair/bed/cot thing looking at the ceiling with the oxygen mask on, knowing in moments I would zonk out ;), I realized what a different feeling it was this time internally.  This time, there would be changes, but no DCIS, no mass that needed to be taken out, no fear that certain parts of the skin would need to be removed, no concern about cancer in the lymph nodes, no saying goodbye to the left side, just hello to the new, no hospital but a surgical center.  There was no snow on the ground, it was not cold nor dark outside, but rather warm, green, and with obvious signs that the sun was beginning her day here.  This time, mom, Tim, and Mel were with me, and I would wake up to dad being with me too.

We arrived around 7am, and I believe the surgery was some bit after 8am.  After being under general anesthesia, I awoke around 1:30pm-ish.  I want to write how it was, but no worries or feeling bad.  Really, my experience was quite good.  At any rate, as I awoke, I felt incredible pain, as I had after the first surgery, but somehow this felt worse, and perhaps that is because of all the nerves working on the right side that may not have been as engaged on the left side that first time.  My body was shaking a good bit, perhaps from the anesthesia, but it felt a bit rough and I didn't seem to be able to stop myself from crying.  After a bit, I was moved to a place where my mom and dad came, and that helped - I was so surprised and glad to see dad, and happy to focus on something other than how I felt.  Dad and Mom were wonderful, and then so were Tim and Melanie.  They were all cute and cheerful and got me through that first while.

When I was good to go home, everyone was so helpful.  I was shocked at how soon I could leave and really impressed by how my body seemed to be able to make the location change.  It was much more difficult trying to move around after that first surgery.  We made it home and dad and Tim helped me into my bed.  Dad became my pillow engineer throughout the week, and everyone helped me be as comfortable as possible.  Getting up and out of bed required lifting assistance from others, eating also did since I was in and out of it a good bit at first, but still needed to eat something in order to take my medications.  It was kinda cute with dad feeding me those first few days; I asked him if it reminded him of feeding me as a little child :)

It is so sureal to go through surgery and have others taking care of you, I can't explain it, but I feel so grateful for everyone's help, so grateful.  I feel grateful for a dad who woke up during the middle of the night to give me pain medication, who kept alarms going for my pain and antibiotic meds, and who was always checking my water and ice bag needs, and helped me get up and down.  It was sweet having Tim sitting on the floor reading quietly as I rested, being fed ice cubes and water by him and dad, having Mel bring over a pillow of hers and visiting with her, having my ever considerate and loving mother always checking my food needs, helping me in the bathroom, washing my face, brushing my hair, helping me in the shower, etc.  I loved going on walks with my parents later in the week, spending time with them, with Tim, with my aunt and uncle's family watching a movie together...something I rarely do.  Meals brought by others were so generous, and messages, texts, visits, and calls to check up on me were so thoughtful and so kind.  It was a gift having mom help me organize my room, me not doing much, and her doing pretty much everything so that I could feel more clear with less clutter.  Having my parents with me was something I just can't adequately describe.  I will always treasure it.  It was sweet, it was enlightening, it was tender and it was full of growth.  I loved my discussions with them; talking with them helped me get through some of the difficult emotions I processed, especially that first week.

Things are so good now.  I'm moving forward and the Lord is really helping me gain strength every day.  What a gift it is to walk, run, swim, bike, hike, sing, laugh, talk, move.  What a gift our bodies are!  What a gift it is to take time to sit, sleep!, listen, pray, read, be still.  What a gift family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances are.  There is soooo much good, we each have to look for it, but as we do, we will see more, and doors that close will reveal doors that are opening.  I love how my mother keeps reminding us to be thankful for the difficult, the painful, the uncomfortable, the things we struggle to overcome, as well as alllll the good.  The Lord has a plan for each of us.  I'm striving to understand my plan, and looking for ways to discover it, fully live it, and keep lifting up my eyes to Him.  Continually, I see my "lackings", but that's all part of it.  I will be grateful for them :)

What a good situation I've been given, what a good reminder of my blessed life.  Thank you to each who has touched my path.  Thank you to my Father in Heaven who continues to preserve and bless me with far more than I could ever deserve.

Monday, June 10, 2013

One Week :)

Just as an update, I'm doing better, improving every day :)  It's a process and I have to be patient with myself, but that's good for me to learn :)  It's definitely faster this time than last time.

Loves to anyone who reads this.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Moving Forward and Onward :)

In case any of you are wanting the details of tomorrow's party, I mean surgery, here you are :)

Location: Utah Surgical Center
Address: 3715 West 4100 South, West Valley City
Check in at 7am, surgery at about 8am
Stay: til about 12 noon, release same day - awesome, no?  :)

This is the last part of the reconstruction process, in case you're wondering.  I'll be home for the next week with my amazing mom and dad.  They both have miraculously made it work to come and help/support me.  Feeling really grateful :)

Thank you all for your care, concern, prayers, thoughts, messages, cards, flowers, visits, assistance, etc.  It is impossible for me to adequately express my gratitude.  I truly have a blessed life.  Loves to each of you!