Friday, July 31, 2009


Yesterday was my appointment with the spinal surgeon. I was hoping for better news...a magical cure like another injection or a magical pill. He said that in addition to having the severe spinal stenosis, I also have spondglolisthesis...a big word meaning that I also have shifting. He said that I would need to have the spacers put in for the stenosis, and will also need to have screws put in for stability and to keep it from moving. He said if I had come with this problem five or ten years ago or if I came with this problem five or ten years from now, the treatment would be the same. He told me that I can live with the pain or have the surgery to fix it. Not exactly good news in my book. I have asked Dr. Curtner to refer me to another doctor for a second opinion. In the meantime, I will keep praying for God's guidance and answer to this situation...yes, Kimberly, I will listen to what God tells me....He is the Great Physician and is in control, not me!

Monday, July 27, 2009


In celebration of my ten year anniversary of being a survivor of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, my awesome sister and friends totally surprised me! Words could never express how loved I felt and how very, very grateful I am for my sister and friends! My words that get me through.."I get by with a little help from my friends"!

My sister-in-law, Judy, and my two precious great nieces from Bloomington, Illinois went to church with me. I thought that Judy, the girls, Kimberly, Lisa, Stacie and I were meeting after church to go to lunch to celebrate my anniversary. I was surprised when Edwina said that we needed to go downstairs and have a special prayer for my leg and back....I knew that I needed prayer, so didn't think much about it. I was in shock when we got downstairs and saw the wonderful party they had surprised me with. They thought of everything...M&M's- purple and pink, of course- with Debbie and Survivor printed on them, the most beautiful pink and purple cake made by Angel, pink balloons, pink, brown, purple and white chocolate butterflies and turtles, pink flowers, pink ribbon pins for all the guests, a slide presentation in my honor, a delicious buffet of the most wonderful food ever, a piggy bank full of stamps (what will the post office do without my weekly visit?), wonderful, wonderful gifts, a bucket full of cards and notes from friends, even some Dawn McVey cards I had been drooling over all week from her blog-Dawn is one of my favorite designers for Papertreyink and am an avid follower of her blog. YaYa's Leigh, Anne, Stacie, Mandy (who had probably just worked 100 hours last week) and Denise were there as well co survivors - Sherry, Lisa Ellison, and Anita! Charlotte, Linda Young, Linda McKnight, Chelsea and Zhane (I am their proud Granny Pen) all made the day so special. That little Zhane is so adorable and happy! I am still floating in the clouds right now...I am sure that I have forgotten many things that I will need to add later....I just feel so very loved and so grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life! Thanks and love to everyone!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Yesterday was a very hard day. My father-in-law passed away in the early morning hours. He was 88 years old and had nine children! He had been very ill for quite a long we know that he is no longer ill and is happy and healthy. Even though we know this in our hearts, it is still so hard to say goodbye to a loved one. He was a very funny man and will be missed by all. Having lost both my parents, I know that it is not easy being an orphan and missing all the special times you share with your parents.

Another hard thing was my trip to Dr. Slater, my orthopedic doctor. I was very hopeful that this past injection, my third, would do the trick and I would be out of pain and back to work by the end of next week. He has referred me to a surgeon....which I truly do not want to have to have surgery of any kind, especially on my back. Dr. Slater said that my stenosis is pretty severe and he may not be able to help me. If this is the case, I will learn to accept this and go on....very
disappointing news!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


It is hard to believe just how much your life can change in just ten years! Ten years ago today, I was just going about life in an ordinary way...working at a job that I truly loved and still do...raising a beautiful daughter that was turning into an awesome young woman who was enjoying life - despite the fact that she had Cystic Fibrosis, being with my husband, sister, friends and family, going to Hot Springs to visit my parents..just going through life's ups and downs! Then, on July 29, 1999, my life was forever changed!

A much postponed trip for a mammogram started this roller coaster ride for me! After the mamogram, I immediately saw Dr. Hagans and was told that I had Inflammatory Breast Cancer...every family on my Mother's side of the family has had someone who has had breast cancer, but I was the first to have IBC! I had never even heard of this type of breast cancer. Things moved pretty quickly after this diagnosis...within a week, I had met my wonderful oncologist, Dr. Sternberg - a specialist in IBC, got an infusaport inplanted and started chemo! With IBC, it is found that you have to have chemo first to shrink as much of the tumor as possible before having surgery. I was diagnosed at Stage IIIB, not a very good diagnosis - I had about a 30% chance of survival. Dr. Sternberg said they found out that if you did surgery before shrinking the tumor, that before you even got finished with the surgery, the cancer would have spread to the chest wall....thank God for leading me to Dr. Sternberg and Dr. Hagans for treatment. I had six months of chemo before my surgery followed by six more months of chemo followed by radiation. I had sixteen out of twenty-one positive lymph nodes, which wasn't very good news either! One thing that this experience has taught me is that God is in control and He has the plan! He knew that Jennifer needed me here to take care of her and be there for her....I will forever be grateful for that!

Fourteen months after my diagnosis, I was able to return to work! The people I work with are really like my extended family...we have all gone through alot with each other....

One of, if not the most positive thing, resulting from my diagnosis, is having a long time friend, Joanna, do my radiation! She and I went to Levy Methodist Church when our children were young and we also graduated high school together. She invited me to come to the church that she now went to ..Fellowship North. I accepted her invitation, and Jennifer and I went that following Sunday. As soon as we walked through those doors, we both knew that we had been led to where God wanted us to be.....I truly feel as if I have another wonderful family now. Even though I now live in Hot Springs, I will still go to church there and hopefully continue to grow in my walk with Christ!

Over a year after my surgery, while at work on Christmas Day, my incision from my surgery busted open...took many, many months to heal and thus leaving me with my big cartoon Popeye arm! Just another hurdle to jump and deal with...took me a few years before meeting a wonderful physical therapist that has helped me tremendously with this obstacle...still have infections and flare ups every now and then...but nothing like before.

Three years after my diagnosis, my husband lost a kidney, then the following year, he had a quadruple bypass surgery. Thirteen days after his heart surgery, I lost my best Mother! Within three months, I not only lost my Mother, but a sister and my Dad, as well. You look back on those times now, and just wonder how you made it through it, but you know that you made through with the stength God gave you. My Mother used to tell me over and over that each of life's struggles make you stronger and a better person....I am ready to be strong enough!

Three years after losing my parents, I lost my most precious gift of all...I lost Jennifer! Of all my life's struggles, this is the hardest and most devastating of all. We are not supposed to bury our children. I KNOW in my heart that Jennifer is happy and healthy now and that all my countless prayers for her to be healed were answered the day she went to be with her Heavenly Father....but there will always be such a hole in my heart and life until I see her again...I miss her every second of every day!

Yes, my ordinary little life has changed alot over the past ten years - lost my parents, a sister, my daughter - diagnosed with IBC, had a hysterectomy, arm infections, broken leg, and am now dealing with my second bout with a herniated disc, spinal canal stenosis, arthritis in my Dr. Sternberg told me...we got rid of the cancer, but caused a train wreck in the process...somehow I keep on chugging along.

I believe that good things come out of life's bad experiences too! I now have a passion or guess I should say - obsession - with card making and scrapbooking, a new church family, many new friends, my best friend in the sister Kimberly - as my main cheerleader, the encouragement and inspiration from my friend - sister Lisa, my treasured life time friendships, my rekindled friendships (thanks to facebook LOL), the advent of the "Jennifer Project" to help give other CF patients a little goes on and on! I am hoping and praying that this latest struggle with my back will soon be resolved and I will be back giving care, love and hope to the special patients at ACH!

Yes, these past ten years have definitely been a roller coaster ride! There have been many, many sad times but also many happy times that I am so grateful for....being a ya ya, a member of the "Pajama Mama's", rediscovering the joy and happiness that a child can bring through some wonderful great nieces and great nephews...not only in person but by being able to have a long distance relationship with them through correspondence and giving them the "card making bug" LOL! Yes, I have many, many things to be thankful for, I have many precious memories to cherish.....I truly do "get by with a little help from my friends"!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7 WAYS IN 7 acknowledge the power of God! Day7

Today is day 7 in our challenge to acknowledge the power of God! Today we were asked to focus on His Holy Spirit! I can see the work of the Holy Spirit all around me...I can feel the Holy Spirit in my thoughts and prayers...I work to be closer to Him and to have a closer relationship with Him!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

7 WAYS IN 7 acknowledge the power of God! Day6

Today we are asked to focus on His healing grace! We pray for the healing of many people and loved ones...sometimes begging God to please heal them. I prayed countless prayers asking God to please, please, please heal my precious Jennifer and find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis! I can't explain why God heals some people and not day we will know the answer...sometimes I ask why was I healed from Stage IIIB - inflammatory breast cancer (I will be a ten year survivor on the 29th..Praise God), and others with less severe cancer don't survive. I do know that God is in control, and He is the One with the plan for us and He knows what He is doing. As I was reminded last Sunday by our pastor, Harold, sometimes our prayers are answered by our loved ones being taken Home and never have to be sick or unhappy again...ever! That is being healed! I know that Jennifer IS now healed and more struggling! I take great comfort in knowing that I will see her again! I just miss her so very, very much!

Friday, July 10, 2009

7 WAYS IN 7 acknowledge the power of God! Day 5

Today, we were asked to focus on transformed lives! When God enters our lives, we can see things differently....we see more love, faith and hope. We know that God is with us and hears our thoughts and prayers! We know that He listens to us and knows our troubles, sadness, grief, struggles and problems! We also know that He knows our happiness and love. I have seen many peoples' lives been transformed by the acceptance of Christ, as their saviour! People have turned from being bitter and mean to loving and caring...from being selfish and self centered to be giving and serving others...from giving up many kinds of addictions to being addicted to loving God and wanting to follow Him!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

7 WAYS IN 7 acknowledge the power of God! - Day4

Today's focus is to acknowledge the power of His Salvation; people come to know Him! Without His salvation, we wouldn't know Him and His great love and gift to us...eternal life! We wouldn't get to see Him and our loved ones that have passed before us! Due to His amazing gift of salvation, we WILL see Him, our loved ones and have everlasting life! God gave us His only son so that believing in Him, our sins would be forgiven! When I reflect on this amazing gift, I want to be a stronger christian, and I want to follow more in His footsteps!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

7 WAYS IN 7 acknowledge the power of God! Day3

On day 3, we are to focus on His love! This is an easy one...GOD IS LOVE!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

7 WAYS IN 7 acknowledge the power of God! DAY 2

Today is Day 2 of our 7 ways in 7 days challenge. Today we are to focus on His sovereign rule! God is always in control...He has the final word..He rules over us all...He is the King! I know that this is true...sometimes I just have to keep telling myself that He is the one in control....not me! I trust Him and keep trying to follow Him closer and closer!

Monday, July 6, 2009

7 WAYS IN 7 acknowledge the power of God!

This week our pastor, Harold, asked us to take some time each day this week to acknowledge the power of God at work within us and around us. He gave us seven areas to focus for each day of this week.

Today, the first one, is to acknowledge the power of God in His beautiful creation! This is an easy one....the power of God's beauty is everywhere we look. We can see the beauty in the sky, the stars, the flowers, the mountains, the lakes, the trees, the faces of children, the hands and feet of a newborn baby, the birds, the butterflies, the ladybugs, a song, a poem...everything we see and hear is a product of the power of God's beauty. I have said many times that I don't know how anyone could look at the ocean and not believe in God!

Today, I ask you to take a moment to realize and reflect on the power of God's beauty in your life....and to thank Him for it!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


The last few days I have been missing Jennifer so very much. I miss her every second of everyday...but thoughts of her have totally consumed me these past days. I kept thinking about that last day. None of us realized that she was doing worse...I had talked to her the last thing before going to bed that night before and called and talked to her nurse that final morning before going to work.....never expecting that would be the last time I heard her sweet voice and the last time that I could tell her I loved her.

I can remember all the prayers then and the prayers now that I said and still pray...asking God to please end this devastating disease, Cystic Fibrosis! I truly believe that a cure will be found...and what a joyous day that will be! I can remember many times Jennifer telling me that had she not had CF, she wouldn't have met and known alot of special people in her life. Last week, I read a card that she had given me for Christmas in 2004. She talked of how much she loved me and appreciated all that I did for her. She said that her doctor and counselor told her that she needed to tell me and her Dad that she has never blamed us for her having CF...she said that she knew no other life, and that CF was who she was. I know that our genes is the reason she had CF, but we had never even heard of CF before Jennifer was diagnosed. We didn't choose to take that chance. I truly believed that a cure would be found and that God would heal her!

Our series at church this summer is on sex, money and power. This morning Harold gave the sermon on the power of God. He said that he and Dena had a friend who had kidney stones and then found out he had kidney cancer. He was thirty-three years old. Harold said that he and Dena prayed and begged God to heal their friend. He said that yesterday he gave his friend's eulogy. He said that at first he wanted to question God about why He didn't heal this young man....but quickly realized that God did heal him by taking him home....the young man's work here on earth was over. This helped me so very much with my loss of Jennifer.....I prayed for a cure for her and God gave it to her by taking her home to be with Him! Since Jennifer passed away three years ago, I have learned more and more about the lives she touched in her short twenty-eight years she was here! I am so proud and so blessed that God chose me to be her Mother! I will continue to miss her until the day that I will see her again. I do know that she is happy and healthy now....I always knew that, but thank you, Harold, for reminding me once again!