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 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.