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.


rebaj said...


Karen said...

Dear Debbie,
I have so much respect for you.You are a very strong and wonderful lady.I am always here for you.Just call.You inspire everyone you meet.I thank God I got the privlage to meet you.
All my love ,Karen

Lisa Bylander said...

Debbie, you never cease to amaze me. Your talent and skill for writing is incredible!
Thanks for creating this blog.

Melissa Jones said...

As always, you are an awesome inspiration. Thanks for starting this people all over the world can take comfort in your life story and hard-earned wisdom.
Much love, Missy

ScrapbookDBA said...

Sister -
Jennifer would be so proud of you as I am! You are my inspiration and I look forward to reading your story and learning things about you that I do not know now.

Love always,