Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Greatest Hour

On my drive to clinicals, it took me through the country and I could not help notice the big oak tree in the picture down below. On the last day, I left a little earlier than usual so that I could stop and get a picture. I looked in my rear view mirror to see if there were any cars behind me so that I could pull to the right safely. It was then I noticed the sun rising up behind me. I loved how the road met the sun. It was quite a scene. I snapped the shutter button and then turned around to take a picture of the oak tree. I noticed how the sun shined on the tree and made it seem all the more grand.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths. If only because... you went through it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sun Through Dark Clouds ~

What a journey this has been!

I decided to take a Medical Terminology class this Spring semester. Incidentally, the class started the night before I took the NCCT. I told myself when I enrolled at the beginning of January that I should be prepared enough to take a three hour break and attend the first class and have it not affect my studying. The class will be challenging, there are 350 words to memorize and know (it is a matter of knowing how to break the word down), but if I pass with a 90%, I will get a certificate. I came home and immediately started going over my flash cards for the NCCT. My brain was tired and everything coming in seemed like there was an electrical short. Yet, I had no problem comprehending the thoughts of self doubt that started charging throughout my mind. The "WHAT do you think you are doing? You can't be serious... you are NEVER going to be able to pull this off! Pffft ~" I felt overwhelmed with these kinds of thoughts. I was exhausted and then I could hear my girlfriend Summer telling me two days ago, "Get plenty of rest - big test coming up! It takes two days for lack of sleep to catch up, so getting plenty of sleep tonight is important. Break a leg!" I crawled into bed and as I laid there, I felt the tears stream down the side of my face. I began to pray that God would just bind those negative thoughts up and would put a hedge of protection around my mind... to help me know my self worth through Him.

I got to the building where the NCCT was to be taken. The anticipation was killing me. I just wanted it over and then I didn't. So much was riding on the next few hours. There were six of us taking the test and we were finally asked to sit at our computers. You are not going to believe this: not even 1/3 of what I studied for in preparation for the Phlebotomy Tech 1 test was on it. Twenty questions into it, I started to get nervous. I took every bit of the 2 1/2 hours they gave us to take the test. I had 37 minutes left and decided to go over every question again and then ended up with 13 minutes left. I just sat there and thought, "This is it." I knew that once I pressed the "Finish" button there was no going back. I was so scared that I might have failed. My hand guided the mouse to where the icon said "finish". I hit the finish button on the computer and the word "PASSED with 80%" came up on the screen. I couldn't believe it! The lady who watched us take our test came over to me and said, "Congratulations! Good job! You may go now." I got into my car and just sat there. As the rain poured down like crazy, I sat in my car for twenty minutes and cried my eyes out. I felt myself let go to all of those "self doubt thoughts" I held onto and thanked God. I got a hold of myself and called my husband and daughter (who were waiting so very patiently) to tell them the news. I went home and laid on the couch pretty much the rest of that day because I felt worn out (and still do)! I am so glad that is OVER with!

I will be going out to dinner next week with my fellow classmate Sarah to celebrate both of our passing the NCCT. She took the test on Christmas Eve in Walnut Creek. I knew there was no way that I could have done that with all of the holiday festivities. I took the next available date and she has waited for me to take my test. Now we can go.

For those who have lifted me up in prayer, kept me in positive thoughts and supported me throughout this crazy journey of mine, I want to thank you. I was telling my sweet friend Sheila, if it wasn't for my family and people like you (and her) in my life, rooting me on and basically being the wind beneath my wings, I couldn't have done any of this.

You'll never know how much it means to me and I thank you... from the bottom of my heart.


Monday, January 18, 2010

A Feeling ~

This morning, I woke up at 4:30. The house was dark, except with the glow of my little accent lamps and night lights leading me to the coffee pot. As I started to make the coffee, I could hear the wind through the sweet melody by the way my wind chimes were flowing. I stepped outside to grab a couple logs of wood to start the fire and could hear the rain drops hitting the water in the pool. I breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly. Ahh ~

As I sat still, in my favorite green chair by the fire, I let my body wake up slowly and just listened... I let myself be there in the moment; be a part of it, accepting it fully.

My day is just getting started ~

I am going to make myself a bowl of creamy oatmeal with sliced banana's, sprinkled brown sugar and finely chopped walnuts. Mmm...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Long Healing ~

Christening the New Year 2010

I told myself that the day after Christmas, "There would be no more messing around for me," and I HAD to get serious about studying for the NCCT. I stayed away from the computer, phone, television and got down to business. Although on New Year's Eve, I did manage to stroll through my favorite blogs to see what everyone was up to and how they were celebrating the transition of the old and coming New Year. I came across a blog post that touched me deeply. Darlene decided to do an exercise of looking back on the past decade that left her reeling. I decided to try this exercise and I started writing down events that happened in each year. There was a couple of years it was very hard for me to remember things. As I wrote, it was interesting to me what lead to the loss of memory and looking at it made more sense to me and helped me to understand where I was at that time in my life.

Looking back I realized the first two years were preparing me for the next eight. The first year we had a lot of friends that we spent a lot of time with. We had dinner on a regular basis, went shopping and scheduled our vacations together. Time was rarely spent with our immediate family. The second year, I started to feel a shift in the circle of people we spent so much time with and started to see things for what they truly were; there is a reason why it is said, God ~ Family ~ Friends. I started to rely more on God than my friends and everything started to fall into it's right place. I got a call from my dad saying that he wasn't feeling well. The next eight years were rough. My sister and I took care of my dad for a little over a year while he had lung cancer. He unfortunately lost his life at a young age of 59 years of age. Seeing someone you love go through an illness like that was very hard. For the next year, I crashed and if I wasn't in bed sleeping, I dragged myself to work (school cafeteria for 3 1/2 hours). Charlie took me to see our doctor and I was put on an anti-depressant for almost a little over a year. I then started noticing changes in my daughter. She finally realized and admitted she had a eating disorder; it got pretty bad and she went to Stanford for a while. I got off of the anti-depressants and crashed again. Long story short, I started taking care of myself. My son Rob went into the Military and that was scary all on its own. I started learning coping skills to help deal with life. Things were starting to look up and almost five years after my dad died, Charlie wasn't feeling good, went to the doctor, and he had cancer. I will never forget the first two days of learning this news; I was in a fetal position lying on my bed. I remember picking myself up and getting on the computer, trying to learn everything there was to learn about cancer through swollen eyelids. I had to be strong and be there for my husband; we were going to get through this. I will never forget the support of family and friends through this difficult time. We had friends that came to the hospital (one who would tell me to take a break), family and friends that brought us dinner (at home and in the hospital), friends that stayed with Charlie when I couldn't be there and friends who would leave me messages on my blog and emails from all over the world lifting us up in positive thoughts and prayers ((Thank you)). Charlie sat me down after his chemo was finished (Feb-May) and said I had to go back to school and get my high school diploma because it was making him sick to think of what might happen to me, if something happened to him. I concentrated on getting him stronger through the summer (he got down to 115 lbs during chemo) and I enrolled in Adult school that September. I had to take the exit exam and graduated the following May. (I have to tell you though, I was asked to speak for our graduating class and also got a scholarship that helped pay for Gurnick). The next month in June (of this last year), a scan that Charlie had said that he may have had bone cancer. Roller coaster of scans to follow. In September I enrolled at Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts in the Phlebotomy program (Charlie lost his mom two weeks into this program) and got my certificate in November. The end of this last December we finally learned via a Pet scan Charlie underwent, that there was no evidence of bone cancer and also no other cancer was apparent. He has three more years to have tests ran. Our doctor told us these tests aren't bullet proof and we are not out of the woods yet. Although this is very good news!

Now, in all of that time, all three of our boys got married and we have seven grand children between our two oldest. Our son Rob finished his four years and processed out of the military this last September and is back home with us. Diandra graduated from CSUS last June (who knew me High School and her college LOL!) with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and was accepted to the Master of Arts Graduate program in Psychology. She is currently getting ready to apply to colleges all over the country in the Fall to get started on her doctorate the following year. Our Nessa also graduated from CSUS last June.

It has been a journey but I/we got through it. I wish that I could say that I have traveled the world and the seven seas, but then I would not have been stretched the way that I have and grown in ways that I could not have imagined otherwise.

How does that saying go? "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."