Sunday, October 8, 2017

2017 Updaate

At any moment in life, anything can happen to permanently affect your life. Have you ever taken anything for granted? When was the last time that someone said to you, “You never know what tomorrow will bring”? Well, that little voice inside says that "it will never happen to me" - so we end up learning the hard way.
Image result for for i know the plans i have for you

It all started on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. Rebecca was in town and we were going to lunch in Georgetown. After lunch we were going to shop a little bit before going over Guanella Pass. By the time we got down the street to the second store I could not breath. Rebecca shopped and I sat down on some steps in the shop. She found me and we headed back to the car. I had to sit down two more times before we made it and it was not that far. Yes, we went over the pass before coming home...I insisted.

I still had some shortness of breath after I got home but I made it through the night. Got dressed  and headed to work the next day,  walking. I almost did not make it. By the time I got there I could not breath. They rushed me to the hospital, I did not let them call 911.

I walked into the ER by myself and told them I had severe shortness of breath. Within five minutes I was stripped naked with five/six people in the room at any time...mostly men. I did not even care. I just wanted to breathe...oxygen please.

I don't remember the last time I saw eveyone moving so fast. Oxygen, Blood draw, Chest x-ray and then CT scan. Results not good. It was determined that I had two life threatening sub-massive blood clots, one in each lung. My heart was working too hard on the right side and the EKG was abnormal because of the blood clots.

Now it became even more challenging because of my Cancer diagnoses nine years ago. Diagnosed with two different cancers, one kind straight forward and one rare aggressive metastatic. After five chemo treatments I refused further treatment I was given approximately two years to live so I saw no need. However,  after many, many consultations  it was decide to not to give me the clot buster TPA.  The pulmonologist said they could not risk it because of the high risk and the uncertainty that I had active cancer cells in my body..

Heparin was given and then I was moved to ICU so they  could watch me. Now that I can breath with the oxygen I did not feel sick.-sick. PETscan ordered for the next morning. I was moved to the oncology floor. Listen to me, “I do not have cancer”.

The PET scan was clear - no cancer noted. I told you that my God takes care of me. Thank you Lord. However there was a small spot on my 3rd rib and they did not know what it was. I pointed right to where it is located. With all of the falls I have had I believe it is just a bruise so hey are going to watch it. The doctor wanted to do a biopsy but I explained to him that even if it was cancer I would not have it treated.

The doctor said  that I will not have a stroke from this experience but that I will be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. I will be on oxygen for a couple of months. By then the blood clots should start being absorbed by the body.  I need to be super careful of any falls or hard bumps and brain bleed.

Just before discharge I had to go for a walk. My heart rate shot up to 177 and I was in tachycardia. It went back down pretty quickly. I went for another walk with a different nurse and it only went up a little. They called the doctor. He explained something that I had never heard of. When you are talking you are not breathing - what?  The first nurse and I were talking, the second nurse and I were not talking. WOW  - who knew. I look most everything up just to verify what I am being told.

I was discharged on Friday evening with oxygen. All new to me. The gentleman did not finish installing the oxygen concentrator and teaching me how to use it until midnight.  Yes, I slept in on
Saturday morning.Felt good.

Oxygen is an experience in itself. It drives my nose crazy and it dries my nose like crazy. And my big problem is that I forget to put it back on after I blow my nose. That causes the oxygen level to drop really fast. I think my problem is that when I put my reading glasses on there is something on my cheeks so I forget the tubes. I do have a pulse oximeter thank goodness. The tubing keeps getting caught in my recliner. Lots and lots of tubing for the little apartment. I have to rest a lot, no choice. And I am being extremely careful not to trip and fall.

It seems like I am learning to breath all over again. When I eat, my oxygen level goes down. When I exert myself in any way I start breathing through my mouth and my oxygen level goes down and I get short of breath. I catch myself breathing through my mouth at other times while I am on oxygen but I really notice it now. I  wonder if I have always done that. Breathing is normal - I have just never thought about it. Can you really teach an old dog new tricks?

While I was sitting in the ER,  my question to the doctor was, “Can I go back to work on Friday”. I think you can guess what his answer was. So I like my job, what can I say.
Home now and bored. I cannot go back to work until the doctor says so. Ugh!

Jeremiah 29:11 will be my verse to lean on until the end of my days. I made it through cancer and I will make it through this. I am one of God's miracles and I love Him so!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

I pray that everyone had a Blessed Christmas (2016).

It has been awhile (years) since I have posted on my blog...maybe today is the day. What and exciting year 2016 has been, full of changes at almost every level. I will be starting my 9th year at Francis Heights, May 1st of 2017, and continue to enjoy my view every single day. I just started my 4th year, December 6th, working at Dayspring Villa...How time flies. I do work part-time...3 6 hour days. The commute time is about 5 minutes.

I am doing very well health-wise. No signs of Cancer...Praise God. Diagnosed with terminal cancer in July of 2008. However, I do have osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine and both knees. I was in a lot of pain but have found two different things that help tremendously. I am  90-95% better on any given day than I was a year ago. I’ll take it.

There is so much history where I live. There are 16 acres between 26th and 29th on Osceola. All of this property was managed by the Franciscan nuns until about 10 years ago when the nuns went back to the main headquarters in Wheaton IL. There are many other properties in CO that were originally run by the Franciscan nuns. On this property it started out as the St Clara Orphanage from 1890-1967. Francis Heights opened in 1972 - independent living. Two buildings hold about 400 apartments combined. Clare Gardens opened in 1973 - low income family housing. One to 4 bedroom units. Dayspring Villa Assisted Living opened in 1996. There are about 64 residents at any time.
At the bottom of the picture is Dayspring Villa, where I work, it is 3 stories. The tall building behind, Francis Heights, where I live, it is 16 stories...west building, and I live on the 15 floor.

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -”
- Heraclitus

Early in the spring Fransican Ministries announced that they were selling all of their properties. We were sold to Mercy Housing which was started by the Mercy nuns. One big problem. Mercy Housing is “Affordable Housing” and they do not have any Assisted Living facilities. They had to find someone to manage Dayspring Villa. Dayspring was taken over on July 1st by Christian Living Communities...what a blessing. Francis Heights and Clare Gardens were taken over on August 1st by Mercy Housing. Talk about goodness.

Now on to more change. 2 years ago in April I left the church that I had been going to for 18 years. It turned out to be a harder move than I had anticipated. I did find a church that I honestly love. Grace Church of Arvada. I started a weekly Bible study for the residents at Dayspring. When I would talk about my new church they became a little envious and made it known that they would like to go to church. Well the church is live and I would watch it on-line when the weather was bad. I started going back to work on Saturday evenings and we would watch the sermon together on our little computer screen. When Pastor Rick visited with our Bible study group he looked around the room and asked how we watched the sermon. He was in shock and within the month the church had installed a 62 inch Smart-TV. I just could not believe it.

God does work in mysterious ways. I know that He was not finished with me yet and that is why I am still here. I think most of you know that the Bible verse that I clung to all through my illness and still do:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, 
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

PS - To my Burnell Family: I truly feel in my heart that this man is related to Annie Walsh somehow...if that is so then he is related to all of us. The orphanage had a coach - John Walsh in 1937.
Quotes from the History of the Orphange.
"People gladly PAID to see John Walsh's 'Little Fighting Irish.'"
"John Walsh was the hero to more youths and adults than we would dare to guess."
"John Walsh was with St Clara's four years during which time he earned the title, 'The Father Flanagan of Denver.'"

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Last fall (2012) I had to make a choice to put more money into my 11 year old car, or buy a new one. I made the decision to buy a new one with the idea that I would pay for it by getting a part-time job. I had already tried working at Little Sisters of the Poor but I only succeeded in progressing my spinal osteoarthritis. The job lasted about 6 months before I realized it was not worth what I was making. So, for the past year I have been searching for a job that would fit with my back and knee disabilities. Easier said than done. I applied for several part-time receptionist positions only to have them not return my call or, I received an email or letter of rejection. I am no dummy, who wants a 70 year-old lady working for them when they can hire someone much younger. Age discrimination would be hard to prove when there are so many people applying for the same positions.

A couple of weeks ago I was downstairs talking with my Resident Service Coordinator when she asked what I had done in the past. Turns out that we had both worked for the same Sunrise Assisted Living facility but not at the same time. She said that she had heard about me and the position that I had there as Activity Director. She said that Day Spring Villa had a part-time Activity Aide position open. I went right over and talked with them, filled out an application on-line to the main office in Wheaton IL and then waited for a phone call. After the phone interview from Wheaton and personal interview here, I had to wait on a decision. They had told me what they would pay but when I was finally offered the position the pay had increased considerably. What a blessing. God knows when I am at the end of my rope and once again answered prayers. It took over a year but this turned out to be my Christmas present from God. I started on Friday the 6th of December.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Highlight of 2013 (in earlier postings) - My celebration of LIFE and thanksgiving to God our Father. What fun we all had at the celebration. And then, the cruise of the Hawaiian Islands. I am so blessed.

Ember, my little cat,  was very sick with Renal failure this past year but with an excellent vet and a lot of TLC she came out of it. This was a surprise to all...but I knew it was a blessing from God. "He is in control." (in earlier posting)

It is now December 20th and I absolutely love my new job. God knew what I needed and when I needed it. All I can say is that I am very blessed and thankful. It is so good to get back to work after a five year layoff. I am a changed person.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I will be 70 years old

I do hope that my celebration never comes to an end. God has given me so many blessings that I cannot possibly list all of them. All of my family and good friends are a true blessing from our Father above.

How can I ever thank everyone for the beautiful gift that they gave to me. When I was diagnosed with terminal cancer five years ago - I only had about 24 months to live. God chose to keep me around because He decided that I was not finished doing his work. I do have momentary lapses of exactly why I am still here on this earth and not in heaven with my Father. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

About six months ago I decided that I would throw myself a party to honor what God has done for me and also to celebrate my 70th birthday, which I was not going to see with my original diagnosis.
As I planned my celebration I knew I could not do it alone so I asked Rebecca to help me,  she did - most graciously. However, she also decided that I should have a money tree so that I could take another trip to Hawaii. (Many of you know how much I love Hawaii.) But, I had told her (and kept repeating) that there would be no gifts - that was not why I was having a celebration. Needless to say there was a money tree and the donations that were given allowed me to take a cruise to my beloved Islands of Hawaii. I never thought that I would get another chance.

There really is no way to thank all of you who gave so generously. It was decided rather quickly (because the price of the cruise was right) that there was enough money to take a cruise. If I did not do it right away, and use the money for its intended purpose then it would gradually get spent on something else and I did not want that to happen.
My celebration was on July 13th and Rebecca and I left on August 17th for Honolulu to board the ship, "Pride of America". Rebecca had never been to the Hawaiian Islands so it was such a treat for me to watch her taking pictures and loving every minute of being treated like royalty on the ship.

When we returned on the 25th of August, we were both exhausted after being up for 36 hours straight. We had to be off the ship early on the morning of the 24th and our flight did not leave Honolulu until 10:20 pm. Yes, we flew overnight as most of you know who have been to Hawaii. Then on Sunday we had a five hour layover in Phoenix. We finally arrived home at 3:00 pm MT but we were still on Hawaiian time so it was 9:00 pm by our internal clocks - jet lag - big time!

I had a worse time getting over the jet lag than Rebecca did, but I am also older than Rebecca - good excuse, right! I became a little depressed and grouchy for the better part of last week - I just did not want it to be over with so soon and I was so tired! Someone sent the "Breaking News" posted below - how appropriate.

All-in-all this has been the most marvelous year of my life and I would not trade it for anything. God is good - All the time!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Celebration to God

The party is over, however the celebration will go until my days are over and I go home to be with my Father in Heaven.

The morning of the 13th I woke up and just stayed in bed for a few minutes remembering what day it was. I asked myself, out loud, "What in the world are you doing?" I had been planning this celebration for months and all of a sudden I was just a little panicky - not sure why - except what if no one showed up. I got ready and went to the church where Rebecca had everything under control, as I knew she would.
I did make a serious mistake on the invitation - I put 1:00 to 4:00 pm. This gave people the impression that it was like an open house which it was not. I did have a program and had Marcus to go ahead and start at 1:30 so that we could eat. Guest did continue to come after the program started but it turned out okay and there were about 90 people in attendance.
Cake made by Rebecca Turner
We had a very good light dinner, pina' colada punch to drink, and a beautiful cake made by Rebecca Turner. Natalie and Marcus Allen and Phil Fortenberry sang two of my favorite songs, "He Is In Control" and "For I Know" (Psalm 29:11).
Natalie Allen, Phil Fortenberry, Marcus Allen
My concern was that as the program went on I realized that I did not get around to seeing everyone that was there. I had family members there from California, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. I just felt so blessed that came all that way to celebrate with me. I felt so blessed and it was so much fun.

I had my birthday celebration on the 13th because that is the day I could reserve the Fellowship Hall at the church. My birthday is actually on the 18th. I had Marcus (MC) recognize others that were there that also had birthdays. On the 18th, beside myself, was Mike Reed, Nadia Solorio, and Diane Murphy. On the 16th, was my friend, Ruth Ann Bradshaw, and my cousin Glenn Hedges who is just 2 days alder than me. I loved being able to celebrate with him again, it had been a long time. And on the 13th was Karen Johns birthday - she asked me not to mention it. Sorry Karen It really was your birthday.
Marcus Allen, MC
Marcus had a friend set up his photo booth and everyone was able to have their pictures taken in crazy glasses and hats. It was a huge success.

The purpose for the celebration, well, five years ago, the month that I turned 65 (July 2008) I was diagnosed with a rare terminal endometrial cancer. It was determined that the doctors really did not know how to treat is so I refused further treatment after the fifth chemotherapy. I also had breast cancer at the same time which they would not treat until the endometrial cancer was under control. You see, the cancer was still in the para aortic lymph node that could not be reached because it was behind my lungs and my heart. The cancer continued to metastasize to yet another lymph node and to my liver. After I refused further treatment I was sent home with no further treatments available. I wanted quality of life over quantity of life.
I changed my diet to the Acid/Alkaline diet. Cancer cannot live in an alkaline body - it can only live in an acid body and my body was extremely acid. After less than a year on this diet my oncologist told me that my cancer was not active. "You are not in remission, it is just not active." I will take that and Praise the Lord for everyday that He gives me. You will notice at the top of my blog is "One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus" and that is exactly what I do - take it one day at a time.
I wanted no gifts at this celebration but Rebecca decided that financially I would not be able to make a trip to Hawaii. Everyone knows how much I love Hawaii and would move there in a heartbeat - but that requires $$$$$$. So she put a note in with the invitations that there would be a money tree at the celebration so that I could make another trip to Hawaii. WOW!
Money tree made by Bill Turner
The purpose of my wanting to share my celebration with you is because in July of 2013 I turned 70 years old. At 65 my life expectancy was 24 months. Only my God can do these miracles. And yes, I do consider myself a miracle of my Lord.
For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11