Tag Archives: pain

World Turned Upside Down


One year ago at this time I was setting up camp with my family in the ICU waiting room of the Florida Hospital in Zephyrhills filled with two conflicting emotions-fear and joy.  The morning of January 9, 2013 my cousin and his wife gave birth to their first born…a baby girl named Ruth.  So happy for them and thrilled for my family to have a new little bundle to love and spoil.  I never imagined a few short hours later by lunchtime my world would be turned upside down and has yet to be righted.

While teaching I received a text that my aunt was at the hospital with pneumonia.  I told my mom, who at the time worked with me, so we could rearrange our schedules and she could go up after school.  Just 15 minutes later, I received another text that stated that they were putting my aunt on life support. I was in told shock.  My mind filled with so many thoughts…tell my mom, make sure she gets to Zephyrhills safely, get my daughter taken care of so I could go up after school, get a hold of my aunt who was in a meeting, and this CAN’T be happening…I NEED my aunt.

Days passed as she was in a coma with her lungs bleeding and filling with fluids.  I would work and go up and sit in her room holding her, talking to her and trying to be so strong. A few times we got some positive news but it quickly would vanish as more despairing news would come.

Then came the time I had to let my little  6-year-old girl know her Nana was “really sick” and may be going to live with God.  This was not a new concept to her as she dealt with the death of her Papa Richard, the man who took care of her since she was a year old, when she was in kindergarten.  She of course wanted to see her Nana.  I was unsure…do I take her to see Nana filled with tubes and wires…do I not so she can remember Nana camping, playing, swimming, loving her, etc.

Finally progress was made and the ventilator was able to be removed, she was moved to rehab, and even made it home.  She even was well enough to attend the baby dedication of Ruth.

Cile and Ruth

Although so thrilled that she was able to be there, a sense of peace never came to me that her illness was resolved and she would continue to improve until she was back to where she was previously.  I have never really been a glass half full girl.

My greatest fears came true this past summer when we received the news that there was no cure for what had happened for her lungs and her only chance for a bilateral lung transplant.

My heart broke. Yes her title maybe aunt, but to me she is another mother.  I was so blessed that while growing up she and her family lived only 15 minutes from us.  Our families did EVERYTHING together.  God had blessed her with a son but not a daughter so I got to fill that spot.  In fact back then and even now if we are together other often think we are mother and daughter because even though she came into my family by marriage we look sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much alike.

And then it broke again as I talked with my little girl letting her know that Nana needed a new pair of lungs but I know I had to…I believe in being honest.

As of now we are still waiting for a set a lungs, we have had one close chance…but that is for another post.

As a family we have been there to support each other and we all have are ups and downs as we travel this path…but one thing we all know for sure it is in God’s hand and we can rest in whatever he does as his perfect will.

I love you my precious aunt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty ’cause you’re a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watchin’
And turn on “I Love Lucy” reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?


By Alan Jackson

September 11, 2001 8:46 am  I was student teaching at Rodgers Middle School.  I had just delivered my homeroom to the basketball court for intramurals and walked back to the classroom where the teacher had turned on the TV and told me that an airplane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.  I was shocked and remember asking, “Is the weather bad?” and hearing “No.” I was so confused.  Then as I saw a second plane crash into the second tower fear begin to mix with the confusion.  My niece attended Rodgers at the time my instinct was to find her, sing her and take her home and keep her safe.  But I had a bigger responsibility at that time, I needed to turn of the TV, pull myself  together and make the day as normal as possible.


As soon as 4:05pm came, I was in my car headed home.  I curled up on the couch with my eyes fixated on the television soaking in the horror of what had happened as tears poured down my face.  For days, every free moment I spent scouring the newspaper, searching the internet, and watching the television trying to soak in all the information I could about this horrible tragedy.  After about a week,  the time came that I could cry no more and I could no longer watch or read more about it.  I began to pull out movies instead to watch on TV.


As a teacher one of the new mandates that has been passed down to us is that we teach about Patriot Day in remembrance of September 11, 2001.  As a teacher and a parent I realize this is a sensitive topic, so I try to share the basic facts of what happened that day and how emotional it was.  I feel it is important to let the student know what happened that day as well as how so many people worked together and the importance of working together.


Daily Progress 1.5 miles at 3.8 mph.
Read the rest of this entry

Bump in the Road


This little heart monitor has been my sidekick for the past three weeks.  We were scheduled to hang out together for another week but plans changed with one little phone call on Monday: “The doctor has reviewed your test strips that have been submitted so far and would like you to come in this week instead of waiting until the 2nd week in July.”

Today was my appointment and the news I received was that the testing strips showed both episodes of early beats and supraventricular tachycardia.  Now this isn’t totally new news to me.  About 8 years ago, I received the initial diagnosis,  I chose at first  treat with medication.  5 years ago I decided to suck it up and have the surgery to what I thought would permanently end the problem.  Guess I thought wrong.

So now I must decide…medicine or surgery.  I have about a month to decide.  During that month, I will be taking the medicines and monitoring their effects.

At this point my thoughts are that I will do the medicine.  i just can’t justify the risk of surgery if not absolutely necessary knowing now that it may not be a permanent solution and I may have to be back on the operating table yet again.

One of the many emotions I felt this time when I received the diagnosis that I didn’t have the first time was the mommy guilt and worry.  Is this a condition that my precious princess will inherit too?

No this isn’t the end of the journey…just a bump that I am working on picking my self up from and brushing myself off so I can continue on.

Memorial Day


The American flag does not fly because the wind moves past it… The American flag flies from the last breath of each military member who has died protecting it.

Americans don’t fight because they hate what’s in front of them… They fight because they love what’s behind them……….from http://ed-bonderenka.blogspot.com/

I have always had a great amount of appreciation for out military!  My dad instilled in me at a young age that pride for those men and women who give so that I may have.  Still it becomes so very different when you experience first hand a loss.

August 15, 2005 things changed for me.  I can still remember vividly to this day every detail.  My husband and a friend were in our kitchen measuring for new kitchen counters.  I was about 5 weeks pregnant with the princess and had gotten home from teaching and was folding laundry and cooking dinner.  The house phone rang and on the line was my sister-in-law who through sobs choked out the words that her nephew, Army Specialist Joshua P. Dingler, just 19 years old- had died in Iraq when his HMMWV overturned in a canal. I gasped and the tears began to flow down my cheeks. I told her I would be right over.  After filling in my husband and friends, I headed to her house.

I knew we had a rough road ahead of us and prayed for God’s strength as we were headed to tell her mom.  Her mom knew something was wrong when we all showed up on a week night.  The grief I saw that night will forever live in my mind.  Yes there was a sweet assurance that Joshua was now spending eternity in Heaven but a deep well of grief that he was no longer here and wouldn’t be marrying his high school sweetheart and fulfilling his many dreams.

Having gone through this experience put a different perspective for me on holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Independence Day. Yes, I still thoroughly enjoy the time off from work spend with family but I also think back to Josh and the many others who have served or are serving and appreciate them and their families.  As a mom it is my job to make sure the princess knows that it is about soooooooo much more than cooking out and having fun.

After 3 days off, I am off to the park for a sunset jog!

The Race


I did it!!!!!!!!!! I completed the 5k in 44:48, meeting my goal of doing it in less than 45 minutes.  The journey doesn’t end here though…a dear friend has already issued the challenge to complete the next 5k in less than 42 minutes.

I have been so focused on physically preparing for the 5k, that I didn’t give much thought to organization that was hosting the event.  I arrived at the race site an hour before start time and stood and watched the many people began to gather.  People who were sporting not only their racing bib but also pinned to their shirts, written on the shirts, or held in their hands pictures and names of many lives forever changed by cancer.  Some were displayed in honor for those whom cancer couldn’t take and others in memory for those who fought hard but lost.

I began to think of my life and how it has been forever changed by such a nasty word – CANCER.  I smiled when I thought of my grandmother who has overcome three different bouts of cancer.  I laugh when I think of my dear friend Susan who has also beat her cancer.  But the tears began to trickle when I remember my grandfather who we lost 10 years ago to prostate cancer, to Papa Richard who just 2 months ago passed from cancer and many others that seem to far outnumber the survivors I know.

As the tears trickled down and I continued to look around, I was drawn to a group I saw forming wearing bright orange T Shirts.  Ironed  on the front in white letters were the words Team Judy.  As my eyes followed up the shirt, I saw the face of a husband who lost his wife ( a dear family friend of ours) to cancer less than a month ago.  I was overwhelmed.  What a touching thought to see family and friends so deeply hurt by cancer rally together to raise support to try to prevent someone from having to experience the pain they have.

This is definitely a race I will do again next year.  In fact I may organize a team and even have the princess join me in the run.

Weight Loss


As of today, I am down 15 lbs. since March 13th.  It has not been an easy thing to do but I have noticed not only a change in my physical appearance, but a change in my self-image of myself.

I have never been tiny, small, or little.  Even as a small child, I remember when shopping for clothes that mine came from the “Pretty Plus” department.  The thought that went through my mind was…What is pretty about being plus?  And why is that remarks that people make are forever etched in your mind over 25 years later.  Even those adults who think they are doing you good, by giving you advice about your weight.

When I started this journey, my weight was 10 pounds more than when I was nine months pregnant with the princess.  I know that I have further to go on this journey but the steps I have taken have been beneficial.  I have actually told myself a few times…Wow, you are looking good.  You look nice! And other positive thoughts.

Once I lose 9 more pounds, I am going to treat myself to a day at the spa!

1 month and 18 days in….


After 2 days off it felt good to pound the pavement again.  Headed back to the park but the gates were locked so parked and took a different path.  The path was a nice change with a few inclines.  A little slow after 2 days off but did 2.8 in 45:50.

My students have asked to spend some more time on poetry so I thought I would share another that I have attempted.

It broke last night in the dark stillness

With the moonlight streaming in.

As it broke the water rushed up…

out of the heart…

past the throat…

through the brain…

down to the eyes.

It poured like a faucet,

Until sleep overtook it.

Yet with the dawn’s light,

It began again.

Bless the plumber with the magic pill who can make it stop.

They get it revisited!


After reading the poem of my student who I have struggled with having him complete assignments, I had to share.

When in life am I going to use poetry?

Why do I have to learn to write it?

It is more useless than a broken arm,

and two severed legs.

Many teachers I know would have been furious with an assignment turned in like this because they view it as blatant disrespect.  Not me, I saw it as a poet who used visual imagery to share his feelings about a subject while invoking emotion in the reader.

So to my reluctant worker you have earned an A+.

There was no jog/walk today as I have been fighting a migraine all day and came home and crashed in bed.




A tiny seed was plant,

Then given such tender attention.




Weeds pulled…

and even pruned.

And soon the bud was opened.


And for a fleeting moment,

its beauty, fragrance, and all it had to offer,

held it master’s affection.

But as time passed,

for reasons unknown,

the master begin to neglect this thing of beauty

that could bring  such delight.

As days turned into months,

and months into years, its head began to droop.

Its color began to fade away.

Its petals began to drop one by one.

Would there be any one who would be willing to bring life back to this object of great beauty…

or would it be forever gone?