Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I saw God at Waffle House

I got up this morning in the usual way, in terrible pain but functional, and needed to run a few errands. As I left the house, I was contemplating lunch and talked myself into Waffle House. I rarely go there and Lord knows I don’t need it, but I decided to stop in for one last texas cheesesteak plate before I return to a highly restricted, heart-healthy diet.

I sat down and ordered. Behind me, a man walked by and was talking to the waitress. He wasn’t making a lot of sense, and I could tell that he wasn’t quite right in the head. I sipped my coca-cola for a minute and then I heard the man yell across the room “Did you know that you can copy a 20 dollar bill on the copy machine and it will work in a casino?” I wondered who he was talking to, but didn’t look his direction. He said “She’s not gonna talk to me…” and the waitress approached me and said “He’s talking to you.”

“OH! I’m sorry…” I said as I turned to him and smiled.

Him: Do you know that college called USA?

Me: Yes…

Him: Some kids from that college copied 20 dollar bills on a copy machine and went to Atlantic City. The bills worked! But do you know where they got caught?

Me: Where?

Him: The Cat House!

Me: Oh no! Haha…

Him: There was a write up in the paper about it. Did you know that I copied a 5 dollar bill on a copy machine, put it in a Pepsi machine, and it gave me a Pepsi and change?

Me: Oh wow...

I received my food at that point, and turned around to eat. The man kept talking loudly, to whoever would listen to him I guess. I figured he was in his 70’s or 80’s, and had some kind of mental condition. As I was eating, he got up and paid for his food. I overheard him say to the waitress, “See that girl sitting right there? See her? She’s sitting right there. I want to pay for her coke. Because she talked to me.”

I pretended that I had not heard him. Then he walked back by…

Him: Your drink is paid for.

Me: Oh, well thank you so much!

Him: If you would have sat over there with me, I would have paid for all of it.

Me: Haha, oh well thank you…

Him: My wife is dying. She’s not going to make it to Christmas.

He burst into tears. I’m almost sure my jaw hit the floor.

Me: I AM SO SORRY...I’m SO sorry to hear that.

Him: Sixty years. We’ve been together sixty years. She’s dying of cancer.

Me: I am so sorry. I’m so sorry. I have a friend with cancer and she’s very sick…I don’t know how long she’s going to be around. It’s really tough.

Him: Sixty years. The same wife. Sixty years.

Me: I am so sorry. That’s such a long time. Wow. I’m so sorry that she’s sick.

Him: Can I sit here?

Me: Yeah, of course.

I moved my stuff and he sat by me.

Him: Are you from here?

Me: Yeah. Well I’m from Mississippi, but…yeah.

He started talking about the “good ‘ol days” and how things were so much quieter and simpler back then. Said he never had to lock his door, and would leave the key in his ignition and never had to worry about someone stealing the car. He said he collected stuff and that he had several 13 gallon barrels filled with silver (as in silver dollars). “I guess I need to get rid of all of it”, he said. He talked about being drafted in WWII and the Korean War. Then he switched conversations again…

Him: Whatever you do, don’t go to Providence Hospital. They lied to me. They lied. They said nothing was wrong with me, and the next day I was having pain and ended up in surgery for colon cancer.

Me: Oh my goodness…

He proceeded to tell me about his experience in detail, including when he got out of surgery and couldn’t eat anything without throwing up…as I’m sitting there trying to eat my cheesesteak sandwich and hash browns. Ha! Serves me right for blogging about my dysfunctional uterus.

Him: Are you headed to Tillman’s Corner from here?

Me: Um, probably…

Him: Oh well Tillman’s Corner, you know that Goodwill store?

Me: Uh huh…

Him: Well if you go in there, find me and I can give you a 20 percent discount. I get a senior discount you know. Did you know that?

Me: Oh ok. No, I sure didn’t.

Him: Did you know that they don’t even ask me my age anymore? They just look at my hair.

Me: *giggle*

Him: Do you know where I met my wife?

Me: Where?

Him: The skating rink!

Me: You did? Aw, that’s great!

Him: If you ever want to meet someone, go to either a church or a skating rink. Whatever you do, don’t go to the taverns!

Me: Haha…oh no I don’t go there. I’m a church girl.

He’s still crying off and on…says it’s because he’s thinking about his wife of sixty years.

He talked for a while, then got up and said “Thank you for talking to me.” He went to walk out the door and said “If you go to Goodwill, come find me”.

Me: I will, thanks so much.

Him: There in Tillman’s Corner.

Me: Yes sir, thank you. Have a good day…God bless ya.

And he left. It was all I could do to hold it together. I paid my bill, sans coke, and drove to Walmart and cried. A divine appointment, at Waffle House of all places. Somehow, God used me to touch his life by simply being there when he needed someone to listen. But I can tell you that I didn’t touch his life nearly as much as he touched mine. It was a tremendous reminder that you never know what someone has been through or what they may be going through right now. It was a reminder that no matter what kind of hell you’re dealing with, someone always has it worse by a mile, and that we should always count our blessings. And it was a reminder of how such a small thing as a smile, a shoulder to cry on, a free coke, a skating rink love story, and good old fashioned respect can make an eternal impact in the lives of two hurting strangers at Waffle House.


Lord, may I see the value of every single person that crosses my path, remembering that they are your child, and that as your hands and feet, I should reach out and make a positive difference to the best of my ability, always striving to love as perfectly and unconditionally as you do. Amen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hanging on to hope

I'm having a hard time staying up to date with my blogs...my apologies. Things are absolutely chaotic right now and I'm overwhelmed. Please know that those of you who are reading and have left comments, I haven't forgotten about you. I appreciate you taking the time to come here. I don't take you for granted.

My biopsy was rescheduled THREE TIMES. It is now November 2nd. They did find a problem with my endometrium, and the biopsy will confirm whether or not it is malignant. I am in tremendous pain 24/7 with that as well as the periodic paralysis. I don't say the word hell a lot, but it's all I can think of to describe how I feel right now. I'm going through pure hell. But thankfully, I'm going THROUGH...not staying in. At least that's what I have to believe. If I didn't hang on to hope that things will get better, I would have no reason to go on. Hope is everything. I am hanging on to it for dear life.

"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;"

Isaiah 43: 2-3a

Monday, October 19, 2009

A heck of a time

I don't know what else to call this entry. I'm just having a heck of a time. Lots of ups and downs. My condition(s) are an hour-to-hour event these days. I'll be able to tolerate the pain and weakness and function one hour, and the next I'm so miserable that I have to go to bed. It's just craziness. I feel like I'm being stabbed with a jagged knife 24/7...I wish I could get a break from it.

Nevertheless, I've been fairly active this weekend. Worked at a charity event on Saturday, painting faces...



It was fun. :)

Also worked on a lot of Secretary stuff for the Art Guild this weekend. Oh, I don't even think I've mentioned them here yet because things have been so nuts. I'm a member of the Art Guild at my local college, and they asked me to be Secretary there too. Love those youngins...most of my peers are in the 18-21 year old range so I joke a lot about being the old woman who's almost old enough to be their mother. I love school and will be sad when I have to leave. I wish I was better at drawing (I suck...no really, I do) and I wish so much that I felt better. Some days are just awful and it's all I can do to keep from bursting into tears. Other days are better. I laugh as much as I can (having a silly teacher helps) and try my best to make it through the day. I've missed one class so far...hoping I can make it through the next 2 months without missing anymore. Although, I may very well miss Thursday since my biopsy is Wednesday. I'm really, really dreading that. A lot.

Saturday was my brother Max's birthday. He would have been 14 years old. Hard to believe. I wish he was here.

In a great deal of pain tonight, and can't sleep, so I figured I would give you a short update. I have a lot of pics to share later on when I can...maybe in time for the next MckLinky Blog Hop. Speaking of...sweet little Abby is having the time of her life at Disney right now. It was her "Make A Wish", and I'm so glad for her. Please continue to pray for Abby as she is still on chemo and feeling pretty rough most of the time. I honestly can't imagine going through all that she has. What a trooper. I'll be honoring her at my upcoming Bob Ross charity workshops, which benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So excited about this... I hope to raise a few hundred dollars.

I guess that's all for now. I have a very busy Monday at school, so I am going to try again to get some sleep. Hope everyone has a blessed week.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Conflicted

When people ask how I'm doing, I'm torn. Lie and say "Fine, thanks!" or tell the truth and be labeled as negative. It's a hard decision for me. I am all about being real...I think people can see that. But I don't want people thinking that I'm all gloom and doom either, because I'm not. Yes I'm sick and miserable, but I'm also blessed and I never forget that.

I am having a very, very hard time right now. It takes every ounce of strength I have to climb out of bed and function. Sometimes I cry all the way to school. Sometimes I cry all the way home. I'm weak and exhausted and in horrible pain every single day, and it is getting harder and harder to make it through the day. I never escape the symptoms and they're getting worse. It is down right disheartening. I feel defeated.

I'm so grateful to have wonderful friends, understanding students, and patient teachers. I couldn't possibly ask for more. I'm not at my best right now, and it tears my heart out to think that I would let any of these people down. I'd give anything to feel better.

When I'm not at school or teaching, I'm on bedrest elevating my legs. Tomorrow I have an ultrasound at the hospital, then I have to go teach a class. I've almost had to cancel my Bob Ross workshops, but I am trying my best to hang in there. It is so difficult right now. I've let my students know that I'm going downhill and will have to take a break for surgery and recovery. I hope to continue and even increase my workshops next year, but it's going to take a miracle in my body to make that happen. I barely make it through the few that I teach now.

Praying for answers. Mercy. Healing. Anything I can get to keep going. I tell God every day that I can't do this...at least not without Him. I'm standing on Isaiah 40:31 and praying that I can be an example of perseverance, hope, and God's divine strength. I'm not feeling it right now, but that doesn't mean it's not there. When you can't see God, hear God, or feel God, that's when you just have to trust.

I'm trying. Hard.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The blog entry where I talk about my stupid uterus...fair warning, fellas.

The continuous hormone therapy that I was put on in July in an attempt to bring my pathetic, psychotic uterus under control has not only failed MISERABLY, it has created new problems that are making me even MORE MISERABLE on a daily basis. The culprit? Estrogen. My body simply does not tolerate it AT ALL. Throwing up, doubled over in pain, heart rate and blood pressure out of control, and hypersensitive to everything to the point of crying at the drop of a hat...it is utterly ridiculous. There are few drugs on this planet that I detest more than synthetic estrogen. Useless garbage.

I went to USA Women's yesterday for another consultation with Dr. L. She said there's nothing more that can be done, and gave me two options: destroy it or remove it. I've been scheduled for an internal ultrasound next Wednesday, and a uterine biopsy on Oct 21st to rule out cancer. After those results come back, I will know whether or not I'm eligible for an ablation (burning the inside of the uterus, rendering it non-functional). If they find tumors or other issues that would hinder the ablation, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) would be in order.

I have a feeling that I'll be eligible for the ablation, but I'm concerned that it's not going to work. It is not guaranteed and I know several people who did not have success with it. I could very well have the ablation, then start hemorrhaging a month later and have to go right back for a hysterectomy. That would really suck. But being very high risk in surgery, I have to consider the fastest and safest method of dealing with this. I also have to think about time and convenience. The ablation is a week recovery, the hysterectomy a month. I would also have to find someone reliable to care for me while I recover from the hysterectomy. Not the easiest task.

The logical thing would be to have the complete hysterectomy and get it over with. Problem solved. But I am high risk in surgery, I don't have the time or the money, and I would be out of commission for a long time. The reasonable thing would be to have the ablation, although risky as well, it's safer and the recovery time is much shorter than most surgeries. But, there's a chance that it won't work. So if given a choice, I'm torn as to what to do.

I'm making it a matter of prayer, but ultimately I am going to have to decide for myself unless the docs don't like the test results and make the decision for me. I don't know...I just want it to be over. My uterus has been nothing but a curse to me for nearly 20 years. I just want this misery to end.

The Periodic Paralysis, RTA, kidney stones, pulling and tearing muscles and cartilage, TMJ, migraines, hypertension, diabetes, chronic pain and weakness...I think that's quite enough to deal with. My insane uterus (and the crappy hormone therapy) only contributes to my complications. It is absolutely senseless. I swear I will throw a "Good riddance stupid uterus" celebration when it's all said and done. It is still a hard decision to have to make, however. I've known for a while that I would never have children, and I've come to terms with that, but it's still a pretty traumatic thing to go through regardless.

This is not what I wanted my life to be, but it is what it is and all I can do is take one day at a time and keep moving forward, believing that God is in control.

But I also look forward to the day when this earthly life is done, and I don't have to suffer anymore.