Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I can hardly believe that tomorrow is Christmas Eve...where did this year go? I miss Jennifer every minute of everyday, but the holidays seem to amplify the emptiness. I just keep recalling all the wonderful holidays that I was so blessed to have shared with her and with my parents.

Last Friday, our grief support group had a gathering and shared how hard this time of year is without our loved ones. There is nothing, nothing at all, that we can do to change it. We just have to somehow go on with life. One thing that I have learned for sure, is that God is in control and we have to put our faith and trust in Him to get us through the hard times. I have also learned that we should not ever take for granted our family and friends. We should let them know that we love them. We need to slow our lives down, give thanks for what we have, do for others, and follow God.

I am working this Christmas. We will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow, Christmas Eve, with my wonderful sister, Kimberly. She is so loving and giving. I am so blessed to have her for my sister and friend! We will have dinner with her and then go to Christmas Eve Service at church.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year!


Since the passing of little Ginger, we have really felt a loss. Yesterday, we were blessed with a very special Christmas gift...Emma Grace! My wonderful friend, Stephanie, gave her to me. She is just adorable! She has been with us less than twenty-four hours, and has already won our hearts. Jazzabelle wasn't too thrilled to meet her at first, nor was she when we first got Ginger. Jazzabelle is such a loving and accepting dog...she will love having company when we aren't here. Little Emma is so sweet and it seems like she has always been here. It has been rainy and icy here all day. It is wonderful to see her new "Daddy" get the leash and ask her if she is ready to go out. She is longer and taller than Ginger was, but has alot of Ginger's facial features and her eyes are like Ginger's. Her "Daddy" calls her weenie dog...but she looks nothing like a weenie dog...she looks like Emma Grace....our new little angel!!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Yesterday, we had all my in-laws over for Christmas dinner. It was a good day...lots of food...too much food. It was good seeing everyone and being together. It is rare that we can all get together in these busy times. Life is so short, we all need to slow down and take the time to be with friends and family. Our great niece, Brianna, spent the night with us and she says she is never going home. It has been a long time since we had a four year old around and she has been a joy...life through the eyes of a child!

I am still working on finishing my Christmas cards, and plan to get them in the mail for THIS Christmas...I hope that I can start earlier next year!

My sister, Kimberly, said that she knew it was really Christmas when I told her that my sweet husband was making pecan pies for the Christmas dinner...something he does every Christmas.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

December is Here!

I can hardly believe that today is December 1st...where did this year go? Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. I went to North Little Rock to church, then to Kimberly's to do some major crafting. Kimberly and I ended the day by attending our friend Lisa's program - Advent Lessons and Carols - at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock. Lisa is in the choir there and it was a beautiful service. We really enjoyed it.

Kimberly was on vacation this week and worked very hard getting the Jennifer Project Christmas bags ready to be delivered to the hospital. Lisa made some really cute things for them too. I am so proud of this project and so happy that we are keeping it going. I am sure that Jennifer would be very happy for this project.

This is such a busy time of year. I hope that we will all be able to remember the reason for this season, slow down and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas!!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It is so good to be with family and enjoy being with each other and giving thanks before the hectic season really begins. I have to admit that the holidays are very hard since the loss of my parents and my precious Jennifer. Turkey was one of Jennifer's favorite foods....except cheese, of course. This is the first time I have been able to bring myself to buy a turkey and cook one since her death. My precious sister, Kimberly, has been doing that for us. This year, I am going to cook for her!!! Bless her heart, she has been the hostess of all the holidays. I am looking forward to having Thanksgiving here this year. We will celebrate on Wednesday this year because we will be working on Thanksgiving. Even with all the heartache we have had, we know that we are truly blessed and we are grateful for what we have. Our family is shrinking, but we have many friends that are like family to us. I have a huge in- law family and they have done alot to help us through hard times. Hopefully, we will all be able to get together soon for a dinner. Everyone is always so busy, but life is very short. This Thanksgiving, I will give thanks for all that I have, my family and friends, and for all the wonderful memories that I shared with my loved ones....Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our Precious Ginger

After Jennifer passed away, my sweet nephew in Illinois gave me the most precious gift....a little Yorkie named Ginger. She won our hearts within hours after coming to Arkansas. Jazzabelle was Jennifer's beloved cocker spaniel. She was not too happy at first having someone in the house that quickly became her shadow. It didn't take Jazzabelle very long to accept or at least tolerate little Ginger. Ginger followed Jazzabelle everywhere and did a good job keeping up with her. After our move to Hot Springs, they really became almost inseperable. Everday they would run and make their rounds around the garden and the pond. Ginger would come running as fast as she could behind Jazzabelle.....then they would take a long nap together before going out again. They were so well mannered and good natured. Richard would always call them Mutt and Jeff because they looked so funny and cute together.

Yesterday morning Richard was cutting wood up by the creek. They didn't like the sound of the saw, so they came back down. Richard cut a tree down and went inside to get some tea. He saw Ginger lying in the yard in her usual place. When he came back out, he sat down beside her to rub her back as he always did....but she was dead!! We can't understand how if the tree fell on her, she could have gotten out from under it.....or maybe when the tree fell, it knocked her over, or maybe she had a heart attack. I would always say that when she ran, it sounded like she had asthma or CF, because she breathed so hard. The vet never found any problems with her when she went for her checkups...the only thing she had to have done was four baby teeth pulled that didn't come out. We will probably never know what happened to her, we can only speculate. What we do know for sure is that she brought us so much joy and happiness....and that we will always miss her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Where does the time go? Just wish that there was a way to find more of it. I thought that when I lost my precious Jennifer, that time would just stop. Somehow, it keeps on going. I still miss her so much...my heart just breaks, especially this time of year. Jennifer loved the holidays so much, as well a did my Mom. Mom would get so excited this time of year, and she would always try to keep that childhood excitement in us. I remember after losing my Mom and Dad, one day Jennifer told me that she didn't see how we could lose our parents and still breathe. She was so loving and had so much compassion for others. Sometimes I wonder myself how life can go on, and why things happen the way they do. I know that my new favorite book, The Shack, shows us how we have to go on, even after the loss of a child. (I still want everyone I know and meet to read this book). My Dad told me many times how the older you get, the quicker time passes. I must really be getting old, because time sure gets away from me.

On my friend Lisa's blog, she challenged us to slow down this Holiday season and to only commit to and do things that mean alot to us and our families. I accept her challenge. I hope that everyone will slow down during this busy time of year......just take time to know and remember why we celebrate Christimas! Jesus is the reason for the Season! Enjoy this truly wonderful time of year, and cherish your friends and family!!

Monday, November 3, 2008


My friend, Linda, gave me a copy of the book...The Shack by Wm. Paul Young for my birthday. Ever since I opened the front cover, I have been captivated. It is the best book I have read in a very long time. It seems like every time I mention the book to someone, they have read it or are in the process of reading it. I just don't want to put it down, but also I don't want it to end...it is that good. It has been said that if you read one fiction book this year, it should be The Shack. If by chance you haven't read or heard about this book, I urge you to read it. There is also a website...www.theshackbook.com. I must go now and get back to my reading...just had to stop and pass this along.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I don't where the time is going.....I just wish that I had more of it. I can hardly believe that it is almost November. Thanks to Aunt Toots and Lisa, I delivered fall bags to the hospital for the patients. Aunt Toots decorated the bags in a fall theme and put some cute fall things in them. Lisa had made some darling CD mobile kits and magic wand kits. These should keep the kids from being quite so bored in the hospital and give the XBOX a rest. I love going into their rooms and seeing that they have been busy with our little projects! Jennifer would be so proud that we are doing this!!!

We are FINALLY getting settled in Hot Springs....still alot of work to do, but there always will be....it will be an ongoing project for a long time. I had almost forgotten what a beautiful drive it was over here when the trees start to turn. Fall and Spring are my favorite times of the year!! I love the crisp air and the briskness!(is that a word?)

I am looking forward to having our next Ya Ya day here. Wish that we would have all our projects completed....but we won't! Just takes time and money. I am learning to be more patient and accepting......and grateful for what I do have!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


This has been such a hard week for everyone at ACH. One of our coworkers lost his baby son in a horrible accident. Another friend's son lost his good friend. In times like this, you just wish that you had the magic words and wisdom that would help these precious families. I know from losing Jennifer, that caring thoughts and prayers is all that is needed right now. Nothing else will help ease the pain. We will all just have to be available for them and do whatever is needed. Please keep these loved ones in your prayers.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Popeye Is Back

Don't know why, but out of the blue from nowhere, my Popeye arm (the name the grocery clerk gave my arm before therapy) decided to flare up. It was about three o'clock in the afternoon...took off the sleeve so that I could wash it and do my therapy. Thought I was feeling a little puny and maybe coming down with a cold....then when I saw "Popeye", he was all red and hot...then the fever and chills started. The next morning I called Dr. Hagans and got started on Levaquin...wonder drug!! The fever broke and hopefully I caught it early enough that the infection is on its way out!! It just doesn't make sense to me....how this could just flare up....no scratches, cuts, hangnails......maybe it is just to make me more grateful for how much better my arm is now. We were just talking about my arm Monday at work and how well it was doing....perhaps, we jinxed it....who knows...but it is great to be on the way to recovery again...not fun to have chills!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Thanks to my wonderful, smart, sweet, computer savvy sister, I'm now reconnected to the computer world. You don't know how much you miss it until you don't have it...sorta like electricity, the last hurricane left us without electricity for a week and land phone service for almost two weeks. As of now, all is connected and working!!

The other good news we have is that my husband was able to be transferred to the Hot Springs Kroger store...thus saving him two hours of driving time a day, plus the extra miles on his body. We are very thankful for that!!

I have been staying busy working, making cards and doing an awesome Bible Study!!

Am glad to be back on line...will write more later.....

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Prayers Answered

God is an awesome God!!! Yesterday Richard (aka Pete) had his angioplasty. We were really anxious about it...it has been five and a half years since his quadruple bypass surgery. The good news is that three of the bypasses are still working. There was one that was almost totally blocked, but Dr. Conley was able to put a stint in. He gave us before and after pictures (that will be a great scrapbook page). He said that his heart muscle was strong and working good! What great news...now for some prayers for life style changes for him! Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement during this trying time!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Confessions of a Pack Rat

As I continue packing and getting ready to move, I am just amazed at all the stuff I have accumulated. I am truly trying to follow the rule that some wise person made...if you haven't used it in a year, you probably aren't going to, so find a new home for it. Of course, this doesn't apply to all my crafting supplies. I just KNOW that I really will get around to using all of this stuff. As for the extra dishes, pots and pans, cooking gadgets and such, I am doing a pretty good job. For almost every box that I take to Hot Springs, I donate one to charity or give to someone I know could use it. I am truly going to try to be alot more organized in this next phase of my life...even with my crafting. I am going to try not to let it overpower me as it sometimes does. I hope to finally get caught up on all the scrapbooks that are dancing around in my head as well. My friend, Lisa, is so very organized with her crafting...I hope to follow her example and know where everything is....I am sure that this will result in alot more completed projects!

As for all the clothes that I have kept thinking they would one day fit again, I have now realized that by that time, I wouldn't want to wear them again anyway...if that day comes, I will reward myself with new clothes.

I know that all my precious Jennifer memories will always be with me. I have no desire to part with them, because they bring me happiness. I love reading cards and letters from her and looking at gifts she gave me and other precious gifts I have been given in her memory. I will now have more room for the things that make me smile!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Coming of Age!!!

I got my internet hooked up in Hot Springs today....wireless...how 'bout that? Also, while the cable company was here, they installed DVR. Kimberly has been telling me a long time how much I will enjoy DVR.....just hope that I will be able to figure it out...sounds a little complicated. At least, I will never have to miss American Idol again!!! Jennifer would be proud of me!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

1 Peter

Our church is studying the book of 1 Peter. We were asked to take a photo of us holding our booklet of 1 Peter somewhere where we found hope this summer. Since we work at Arkansas Children's Hospital...truly a place of love, care and hope, we thought that taking a picture of us at work would be the best place to find hope. Linda, Edwina and I were in our Respiratory departement when we took this photo.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


How can it already be July?....I don't know where time goes....just wish that there was more of it. I have been staying busy this summer preparing to move to Hot Springs and also taking a class at church. It is a grief support group, called "Grief Share...Your Journey from Mourning to Joy". This is a hard class, I will be the first to admit. Everyone in the class has suffered losses, and we are learning that everyone grieves differently, and that there is no wrong or right way. We are learning from each other...things that may help us and what a vital role trusting in God has. I know that knowing that He is always there for me and listens to me has helped me tremendously. It is a twelve week course.

I am also taking a class called "Talk it Out" about racial unity and how our church can become more diversified and reach more people in the community. I am proud to be part of a church that has this mission.

This will be a stressful month because we found out that Richard (Pete) has three blockages in his heart. He will have an angiogram July 30th and hopefully they will be able to correct the problem with stints. He had four bypasses previously....three of which are still patent. I am very thankful for that news.

Last month, Kimberly, Lisa and I went to Memphis to celebrate Lisa's birthday. We had a great day. We each got a wonderful facial, went to a great scrapbook store, then had a wonderful dinner at The Melting Pot...yum! Also, we stopped at several Cracker Barrel Restuarants...not to eat but in search of my new passion....rooster dishes...they are great!

In the fall, we hope to go on another road trip to Gulf Shores. I know that this will be hard because Jennifer and I loved going there or to Destin so very much. We shared so many special times on the beach and I have such special and precious memories of our times there. I know that I will feel a sense of closeness to her there...we always talked about how close we always felt to God while sitting in the sand and looking at the ocean and all its wonder. Kimberly found a cute little place called the Bird Cage that we would like to stay in, if Lisa and I can get our time off coordinated. We are so hoping that Mandy and Pig will be able to come too!

Monday, June 16, 2008

More "Jennifer Project" Bags

I just got home from delivering more of the "Jennifer Project" bags to the hospital. I think there were about sixty bags this time. A very special thanks to everyone for helping keep this project going thus keeping Jennifer's memory alive. Kimberly, Pig, Aunt Toots, Denise and Lisa really contributed so much time and talent. I appreciate it so much. The journals, pens, bags, finger puppets, bookends, paper men, filled decorated boxes were all so very creative.

I will miss Jennifer forever, but doing projects like this sure makes me feel that she is right here with me. She loved children so very much and she sure knew what it was like to be isolated in a hospital room for two weeks.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Today was our 38th Anniversary....can't believe it has been that long. We had a wonderful day together. Kimberly treated us to breakfast at Cracker Barrel....it was yummy as usual. She gave us a beautiful butterfly wind chime and the most precious statue for our Jennifer Rose Garden. It is a little girl with pig tails with her foot on a soccer ball. We both agreed it looked like Jennifer when she played soccer at the YMCA!! I have the sweetest sister in the world!! Then we went to Hot Springs and planted a dogwood tree and a crepe myrtle tree in honor of our anniversary...we can watch them grow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pajama Mama Picture

A picture from our last Pajama Mama outing...we go to IHOP in our pajamas...lots of fun and laughs.

Jennifer's 28th Birthday...March 28,2006

This picture is of Jennifer celebrating her 28th birthday...so hard to believe it was just twenty-four days later that she left us. I love and miss her so much.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Advent of the Thairapy Vest

Jennifer, at age fourteen, after the advent of the Thairapy Vest. It gave her alot more freedom with her treatments, but she still always loved for me to "beat" on her. Treatment time was always a special time for us. We would practice spelling words when she was young, do multiplication tables and just talk....I loved those times.

Jennifer as a baby

Precious baby Jennifer....Aunt Kimberly always said she looked like a cute little baby monkey in this picture. I don't think so.


This is one of my all time favorite pictures of Jennifer on the trip to the West that her Aunt Kimberly took her on.
They had such a wonderful time.

Delivery of Jennifer Project Bags

This is a picture of Kimberly and I delivering our first of the "Jennifer Project" bags to the hospital. We were so proud to do this on Jennifer's thirtieth birthday. We are now in the process of getting ideas together for our next delivery. Any ideas for teenage boys would be greatly appreciated!!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Craft Bags and Pay it Forward

I was so happy to learn that the hospital only had about ten of our "Jennifer Project" bags left. I know that this would make Jennifer happy knowing that we are keeping her memory alive by doing something for other children. She loved children so much, they would always make her smile. I am looking forward to keeping this project alive for a long time.

I am so glad to be able to be back at work. It is amazing how much better my neck and shoulder feel not having to support that huge cartoon arm. Troy, my wonderful therapist, was really put in my life's path by God. It has been called a miracle by many. I was able to "Pay it Forward" by telling my boss at work about Troy, after she was experiencing alot of pain with lymphedema in her leg following surgery. Troy has helped her so much already. Now she is writing to her doctor to tell him about Troy, thus once again ,"Paying it Forward" and helping other people. I just want to tell everyone about this amazing therapist....he has made my live so much better. Thank you, Troy!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Calendar

When the calendar is turned to April, it used to be such a happy time with the beginning of Spring and planting flowers. Now, when the calendar is turned, I can't help but feel anxious. My Dad passed away on April 19th and we lost our precious Jennifer two years ago today. It just doesn't seem like after such a loss that time would move on, but it does. I do know that Dad and Jennifer are happy and healthy now. I am happy for them. My sweet Mother used to tell me that God picks the prettiest flowers for His garden.....maybe that is why He chose to call them Home in April. Today is a sad day for those of us who loved Jennifer so much and miss her so much. I know that in reality it should be a happy time, knowing that she is with her Heavenly Father. In my heart, I know that Jennifer is happy now and would never choose to come back. I am so grateful for all the wonderful memories that I have of her. She will always be with me and I know that we will be together again.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Back to Work

I was FINALLY able to return to work. I worked Thursday and Friday. What a great feeling to be back. It was like going back and being with my family. Arkansas Children's Hospital has been a part of my life for thirty years now. We started going there when Jennifer was five months old, and it has been a part of my life ever since. I started working there in 1990 and that is really where my heart is! I know for a fact that if weren't for this wonderful place of care, love and hope, we would not have had Jennifer for the best twenty-eight years of my life!! I am so happy to be back!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Celebrating Jennifer's Birthday

On Friday, March 28th, we celebrated Jennifer's 30th birthday by delivering 30 craft bags for the Cystic Fibrosis patients at Arkansas Children's Hospital. We had a wagon full of our bags and were so proud and happy to see this vision become a reality. We are so grateful for all the ya ya sisters for working so hard and putting so much into this "Jennifer Project"!! I know that Jennifer is smiling and so proud that we are keeping her memory alive by doing for others.....that was the way she lived...always thinking of others. We are looking forward to keeping this project going for a long time...already thinking of ideas for our next delivery!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Today I finally got my sleeve and glove!!! I think I can FINALLY see that light at the end of this long road that I have been going down!!! When I started this, I never dreamed it would take this long or especially take me to surgery....but I always seem to take the long route to get things done.

It will definitely take practice to get this glove and sleeve on....sorta like being "fluffy" and trying to put on a girdle and pantyhose at the same time!! I do have a gadget called the "butler" that helps. ..I still think it will be alot easier than wrapping with all those layers of foam and bandages. I already have more flexibility in the use of my hand. I was actually able to sign the papers for the glove and sleeve!!

As my sweet Mother would say..."If the Lord is willing and the creek doesn't rise", I will get to go back to work next week!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

March 28th

March 28, 1978 was the happiest day of my life...the day my precious Jennifer Suzanne was born. I have so many precious and happy memories of her. She was most definitely the light of my life...and she still is. On March 28, 2006, she just thought it was awesome that she turned 28 on the 28th. She was so beautiful and happy the night we celebrated her last birthday! None of us would have ever guessed that in just twenty-four days she would be gone forever from our lives here on earth.

I miss her more and moe each day. I do realize that I had her with me longer than anyone thought I would. I am very grateful and thankful for that....how I treasure those memories. I feel her with me all the time...sometimes I smell her hair and really feel like I can just reach out and touch her.

This year Jennifer would have been thirty years old on her birthday!!! I am a member of a wonderful group of women called the art ya ya's!!! We get together and scrapbook and make cards. This is an awesome group of talented and diverse women...we even have a member in Washington state that came to Arkansas last year and we all got to meet in person!! I am always thinking of ways to honor Jennifer and keep her memory alive....thus the advent of the "Jennifer Project"!! When a Cystic Fibrosis patient is hospitalized, they are in isolation in their hospital rooms for two weeks...no playroom visits or visiting other patients. You can only imagine how quickly boredom could set in. With the help of Kimberly and my wonderful ya ya sisters, we are going to provide gift bags with craft projects for the kids while they are in the hospital. My Aunt Toots in Tyler, Texas has already hand decorated about 100 bags for us. On March 28th, we will make our first delivery of 30 bags to Arkansas Chikdren's Hospital. We will deliver more bags every three months or sooner if need be. Happy Birthday, Jennifer!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I think we have found the source of my infection --my infusaport!! After thinking about it, the pain and redness was in my shoulder and in my chest in the area of my port. I saw Dr. Hagans on Tuesday and we will say goodbye to the port next Thursday, the 13th. I have had it in for eight years and thank God that I haven't needed it for chemo. I have only used it for infections. Since any foreign object in the body can cause infection, it is best that it comes out, my new skinny arm won't need it. I was able to start my therapy back on Monday and the fluid is going down once again.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Monopoly Game Piece

In one of Jennifer's journals, she said that sometimes she felt like a game piece on a Monopoly game board.....always getting set back before she could pass "Go"!!! Well, yesterday I had a much better understanding of her analogy. I was so happy to get fitted for my sleeve and glove and to be able to clearly see the end of this part of my therapy and have use of my hand and arm again....be back to work and card making. I even had a few hours after getting measured before I had to go and get wrapped again.

When I got up yesterday morning, I didn't feel really great...just hoping that I was not getting the flu....then when I was getting dressed to go for therapy after taking a wonderful bath (without a plastic bag arm), I noticed that my shoulder and top of my arm was red and hot to touch. I showed it to Troy when I got there, and he had me call Dr. Hagans right then. I was able to pick up a prescription for antibiotics when I left. I was only able to have my arm wrapped up to my elbow and couldn't have the drainage therapy, Troy explained that the drainage therapy could spread the infection. He said that my arm will swell again where it is not wrapped. As long as I don't have redness or pain, I will be able to keep my hand and lower arm wrapped.

I know that this is just a minor setback...but sure is frustrating!! I can hear my sweet Mother telling me "Life's hurdles make us stronger."

Monday, February 18, 2008


IF I could play the drums right now, I would. Just got back from therapy and my arm is down 65%!!!! Amazing...I am thrilled with these results. It has been a hard road for me, I will admit that I have been frustrated and whiny at times. I can see the end of the road now. I will get measured for my sleeve and glove on Thursday. It will take about two weeks to get it back from Germany and then I will have the use of my right arm and hand. I will be able to return to work, write and make cards. I am so grateful that God sent me to Troy - the best physical therapist ever. I am ever so grateful and thanful for all the love, encouragement, prayers and support from my family, friends and co workers.....thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Week Three

I am now in my third week of treatment for my lymphedema. My arm is now reduced by 57%.....pretty awesome. I will admit that I have been pretty whiny at times. I truly thought that I would be able to work while in therapy, but it would be pretty difficult to do patient care with the use of only one arm and hand. I have gone to therapy seven days a week....have had some major skin breakdown, but that is improving.

Through all this, I have felt my precious Jennifer at my side cheering me on......the things she went through keep me looking ahead....she was such a trooper. I hope that when I grow up, I can be as strong as she was.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Just finished my seventh treatment today.....Troy even saw me on the weekend. He is wonderful and so encouraging. I must admit that this has been alot harder than I had expected. I truly thought that I would be able to work during this but am unable to use my right hand at all. I have had some major issues with skin breakdown causing pain and burning. It is all worth it when the bandages come off each day and I can see my arm shrinking.

When I start to feel sorry for myself going through this, all I have to do is recall some "Jennifer Inspiration" and I am fine. I just have to remind myself of all that she endured without ever complaining...she will always be my strength, inspiration, and light.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Answered Prayers

I had my fourth treatment for my lymphedema today. Yesterday, before my third treatment, Troy measured my arm........I could hardly believe it...I had a 29% reduction, after only two treatments!!! God is sooooo awesome. I still can't use my right hand...have to peck with my left hand, cannot write right now, but this is really working. Today, I actually saw my wrist for the first time in about five years. Thanks to everyone for all the prayers and encouragement.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Arm therapy

I just wanted to say that I can feel all the prayers and support for my arm. I am looking forward to starting this therapy on Monday. I will give it my very best and will let God have control over this as He does everything else. There was a reason had this latest problem with my arm and was sent for this treatment....who knows, maybe I will be able to buy some Spring clothes that fit both my arms. Thanks to all who are praying for me....I love you and appreciate your continued support.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cartoon Arm

One of the young men that carry my groceries out at Kroger's, told me one day that I had a cartoon arm....I told him, yes, it was my Popeye arm. That has been a joke among family and friends for awhile.

I saw the new physical therapist yesterday. He was very nice. He told me that my "cartoon arm" was about 70% larger than my other arm, and had fluid in it that was equal to four 20 ounce bottles of coke. He said that my Lymphedema is Stage III, making my immune system equal to that of a HIV patient, and that I could be at risk for some types of rare cancers. My breast cancer was Stage III, so guess my body likes that stage, huh? I knew that my lymphedema put me at risk for infections because I have had them, but didn't realize the other risks. He said that he studied lymphedema in Germany for a month last year, and is up on all the newest techniques. I will have to have massage therapy, then wear compression bandaging while trying to reduce the fluid, then will have to wear a sleeve the rest of my life. This news is pretty hard to accept, but I will do what I am told, and be a good patient. Jennifer was not thrilled with all of her treatments and therapies, but she did the best she could. I am still drawing on her strength to get me through things. Troy, the physical therapist, says that he believes he can get the "cartoon arm" reduced sixty to seventy per cent in about six weeks. I will pray everyday that it works. One of my main concerns is that I will have to be able to wear a glove at work to care for my patients. Hopefully, this will be possible. I will put it in God's hands, and know that He will take care of me.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Today, I will see a new physical therapist for the severe lymphedema in my arm. I am hopeful and prayerful that this will work. It would be wonderful to be able to buy shirts that fit both my arms. I am by no means a very vain person, but I would be so happy to even be able to reduce the arm a little. I will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


How I wish that I could make all these wonderful memories that I have of Jennifer come to life for just one more day....her smile, the way she would make me laugh, the way she was always planning and dreaming about the future, the smell of her hair, even the way she always left her cheese papers everywhere, always being on the phone, watching episodes of "Friends" and "Sex in the City" over and over again. How we take the little daily things people do for granted. It is those little daily habits that make up the person. Jennifer's treatments, medication, insulin shots were all a part of her. I miss asking her before each meal: "Jennifer, did you take your pills"? I miss asking her when I talked to her each day if she had taken her treatment. I know I probably drove her crazy, but I would do it again, if I had the chance. That was part of our daily life just like eating meals and taking a bath. Don't take the little things in life for granted....they are precious.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mom's Birthday

My sweet Mother would have been 81 years old today....oh, how I miss her. I can't believe how my life has changed in these past five years. First Mom's death, then three months later, my sister Karen died followed by my Dad four weeks later...then the loss of my precious Jennifer. It is so hard to accept the fact that they are all gone, and there is nothing you can do to change it.

Today is Elvis Presley's birthday too. My sweet sister, Kimberly, said that Mom is up in Heaven trying to get Elvis to sing just one more song for her while Dad and Jennifer are watching, shaking their heads.

Somehow you keep going....you try to just remember all the good memories and keep telling yourself that you know they are all happy and healthy, and in just a blink of an eye, we will all be together again.

There was a reason why I lived through cancer, and I will continue to try to help people and do God's work. I will always treasure their memories, and try to keep them alive.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Roses and Ribbons

I guess I need to explain how Roses and Ribbons came about. On March 28, 1978, Richard and I were given our most precious gift in the world, the birth of our wonderful daughter, Jennifer Suzanne Nelson, weighing in at 7 pounds and being 19 1/2 inches long with beautiful thick black hair and gorgeous eyes. All our dreams were finally fulfilled. Our lives were soon changed to a different course after we realized that our precious little angel would have a lifetime of medical problems. We soon learned that she had a heart defect...two holes in her heart, then our vocabulary soon included the words Cystic Fibrosis, which we had never heard of. At the young age of 5 1/2 months and weighing only 6 pounds, Jennifer had open heart surgery to repair her heart. Soon after her surgery, she began to start to grow. Breathing treatments, chest physical therapy, antibiotics, enzymes before meals and nutrition became as much of our daily routine as is brushing your teeth and combing your hair. Jennifer was a very vibrant, active and happy child. She accepted going to the hospital for periodic "tune-ups" (IV antibiotic therapy) without complaint. She met wonderful people and formed some wonderful lifelong friendships. She told me once when she was five years old that if she hadn't have had CF, she wouldn't have met Dr. Warren and all the other wonderful people.

The Ribbons part of Roses and Ribbons came on July 29, 1999. I soon discovered the special meaning of pink ribbons as I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. With the grace of God, the guidance of Dr. Jack Sternberg and Dr. James Hagans, the prayers and help from my wonderful family and friends, I am now an eight year survivor and was told two weeks ago by Dr. Sneed (Dr. Jack has retired) that he felt safe for me to now go to annual checkups. It really is true that "you get by with a little help from your friends." I have so many wonderful friends that have helped me as well as my second "family, Arkansas Children's Hospital, where I have worked as a respiratory therapist for the past seventeen years. I surely couldn't have made it through without the love and support of my wonderful sister, Kimberly. I cannot tell you how much strength and inspiration I received from Jennifer. Her life and the strength she had to fight her on going health problems was my fire and inspiration. She handled her disease so gracefully, without ever, ever complaining or feeling sorry for herself.

The purpose of this blog site is to somehow be of help to others who may be battling one of these diseases or some other problem in their lives. I will try to continue my story weekly, as well as offer other insights along the way. I know that it sure helped me to know that I wasn't alone in these battles.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


My wonderful sister, Kimberly, has wanted me to create a blog to talk with people who share some of the same life experiences that I have.

The name of my blog is Roses and Ribbons....On April 21, 2006, I lost my precious daughter, Jennifer, to Cystic Fibrosis(also called 65 Roses, by victims of the disease who could not pronounce Cystic Fibrosis)....the Ribbons in the name was derived from me now being an eight year survivor of breast cancer(pink ribbons).

It is my hope to be able to communicate with other people who have lost children with CF or who have a loved one with CF. Even though Jennifer's life ended at the young age of 28, she led a pretty amazing life and touched the lives of people she came in contact with.....she left her signature on the hearts of everyone she knew.

In July, 1999, I was given a 30% chance to survive my Stage IIIB inflammatory breast cancer, but I am still here today. If I could be of any help by listening or talking to others with this disease, I would love to.

I am very new at the whole computer world, but am trying to learn more.