REALLY?

Hello all,

The way I see it is, are the most ‘popular’ or well-known issues of our lives worse because of what “experts” and “celebrities” say and how they feel about it? Can it be that for the sake of being with the “in crowd” (old expression) I sacrifice my own convictions, whether popular or not?

Does it really matter what this professional says about what I ought to do? Does it really matter about what ‘superstar someone’ says publicly. Am I to change how I feel or become intimidated about how I really feel, just to be counted with these people, people who don’t even know I exist? I DON’T THINK SO. If you had the good teachings of your parents that’s advice you can take.

The old widow woman down the street in your neighborhood, who still plants her flowers ever year, who has raised all of her children successfully, and has a lot of grandchildren who come by and love her is better able to give me advice for my life regarding the issues that come up, than anyone who doesn’t even know me.

That man who lost his family because of an addition and made up his mind he wasn’t going to live any longer captive to it, who went into rehab and with the support of professionals who knew what to do to help him, can better tell me about my struggles than well-known strangers in the news.

Trials and troubles are kindred in this world, they happen to everyone. No one is exempt. But I value the advise of those who have endured and come out the better for what they endured than the three words coming from notoriety: LIGHT, CAMERA, ACTION! That’s how I see it.

Rosa

WE’RE CONNECTED TO OUR LOVED ONES

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This is the face of a young woman who is taking her last round of Chemotherapy, yesterday, Tuesday, January 24, 2017. I am grateful to God for all of His mercy. 

Guess what? I didn’t realize until yesterday how much my daughter’s illness had taken a toll on me, too. But when I knew that she wouldn’t have to be extremely sick for days on end; when I realized that she wouldn’t blow up any more (she got bigger from the 3 different chemo medicines they were giving her), when I knew that I wouldn’t have to hold back my own emotions when she would say to me, “Mom, I’m just sick, so sick,” after she took those treatments; when I saw that she smiled genuinely in this photo; when she called me and said, “Mom, in two weeks we are all going to Red Lobster, and I am going to eat and enjoy it,” (she didn’t enjoy eating for months because she said that all she could taste was the medicines they gave her). When I could see that she wouldn’t spend hours just lying in the bed trying to rest from those treatments; when I knew that eventually her hair would grow back; when I knew that my youngest daughter had changed tremendously during this ordeal and that she’d never be the same; she had grown up that much more; when I knew that she was planning for the future when she said to me, “Mom, I want to move to another state…” When I weighed all of these items, I realized that I was weak with relief. I really couldn’t do much yesterday except thank God. 

Friends, we’re connected to those we love and what happens to them affects us. You may say, “I know that.” But when you have to stand by and helplessly watch as the one you love suffers, whatever the issue, be it physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or spiritually; you’ll see even more clearly that you suffer along with them. 

For the first time in months I am focusing on myself. But if I am to be honest, I still have one eye on her. She will still have rounds of tests to do and blood to be drawn from time to time, but on a whole I have to say WE have come a long, long way.  

 

Rosa

BREATHING EASIER EACH DAY NOW!

Well, it has been a while but I am able to say that my daughter  Johanna, has taken her last Chemotherapy treatments and just a few more tests and then a CAT Scan and I believe she will be in good health. 

I have to share with you that she has changed since last year. The baby-like daughter that made me laugh because she loved to be babied, has gone. In her place is a young woman who told me just today, “Mom, I’m alright.” I smiled at her and thanked God for His mercy to her and to all of us, her family. She wants to move to another state now. I can see in her eyes she wants a different future, and I can tell she isn’t afraid of it either.  She still has to be checked out every three months for the next five  years to ensure her health remains, but we’ve all come this far and we’ll go even further. Her journey isn’t completely over, but the road isn’t so rocky now. Praise God!

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5-year old Johanna

5-year old Johanna

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To Johanna and all others who have battled cancer of various types, and their loved ones who supported them the best they knew how…

To everyone who whispered a prayer for my daughter, Johanna, and rooted for her…

To everyone who said a comforting word to my blogs and gave words of encouragement…

THANK YOU AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Rosa

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY PART 5

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Johanna and her older sister Erika brighter and happier days

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Johanna and her sister Erika difficult days

 

You  may or may not know that Johanna is a writer and has published two books. She has publishing contract for 3 books. The problem with the 3rd book isn’t that she cannot write it. The problem is getting the strength and stamina to write it. I said that because when I saw how sick she was last week, I really thought she was going to have to go back into the hospital. Not only that, but twice she said to me, “Ma, I can’t think straight. I can’t think.” I was so concerned about it when she said that. We both found out that her not being able to think clearly is what the Chemo nurse called “Chemo Brain.” Have you ever heard such a thing?! The treatment makes her fuzzy for a time. I have been totally helpless as to what to do. But after about 2 days, she’s sharp as ever. When she’s clear-headed, she can think once again. 

I confess that her illness has taken its toll on me, too. But, my own feelings aside, I’ve seen my youngest daughter blossom under this affliction of cancer into a much more mature  young woman who is already thinking about relocating to begin her life anew after she wins this battle with cancer. I love the human spirit that God gave. It never gives up. It may get down at times, but it never gives up.  

More tomorrow.

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Johanna at Chemo clinic for her treatment – sad days

 

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY – PART 4

I CAN FINALLY TAKE A BREATH!

Late last night, Sunday the 11th of December, I spoke with Johanna before she retired for the night and I could tell that she wasn’t so strained. I asked as I always do, “Johanna, how are you feeling?” When she spoke I could immediately tell that her voice was a bit stronger. She said, “I am a little better, Ma.” When she said that, I took a long deep breath. I smile as I think about it now. I really didn’t realize that when she and I spoke I was holding my breath. Most of last week and the weekend she was terribly sad and sick and she had little to no strength. When she would cry a bit, I wouldn’t really know what to say. It’s normally easy to speak when not sitting in the hot seat. But it wasn’t easy for me, so I just sat quiet and she began talking. That did my heart good. I just listened. I think the short talk was therapeutic for me, too. 

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I can breathe easily for a few days as she is stronger than she was all last week. When you love someone, especially your child, and they are going through difficulties and illnesses that you can’t take away or cure, you’ll find that everything gets in perspective. All of those “other” things that were so important before are quite unimportant. In fact they are an insult to the present circumstances. My desires fade away into one request: “God please let her get a little rest tonight.” That has been my one desire and the Lord granted my request. She is even laughing and talking more. I can finally take a breath.

More tomorrow.

 

Rosa

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY PART 3

This past week of intense Chemotherapy has left Johanna, in her own words: ‘SICK.’ She has been heaving every day. When she gets up she up-chucks, during the day she is throwing up. At night she can’t even take the medicine to help her stop heaving because she can’t get anything in or keep it down. It’s been a long week for her.

Johanna has an angelic voice. She writes music and sings it. She wrote a song some years ago and she sang it in church once, too. Here are the lyrics. I hope you are encouraged and inspired by them as you go throughout your day.

 

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LIFE WILL BE BETTER

Verse 1

So you’ve got problems, I’ve got some, too.

Feels like the whole world is against you

Like there is no one who knows what you’re going through

Well, I’ve been there and I can tell you.

Chorus

When you learn to trust in Jesus

When you give Him your all

When you show your faith won’t waver

Then life will be better. Then life will be better.

Verse 2

Feels like there’s no hope. I’ve felt that too.

Pain is your present, your future, too.

Just want a day when your heart’s not in two.

Well, I’ve been there, and I can tell you…

Chorus

 

Verse 3

Cried through some long nights, I’ve cried some, too.

Praying for the moment when dreams will come true

Life ain’t so easy. It’s harder on you

So just do as I tell you to do.

Special Chorus

Life ain’t the best and you’re just living

Things can’t get worse but then it is

How can you see the forest for the trees

Well, I know just what you mean

Chorus

But it’s when you learn to trust in Jesus

It’s when you give Him your all

When you show your faith won’t waver

Then life will be better. Then life will be better

(Written by Johanna Parker, who lovingly gave me permission to reprint it.)

More tomorrow.

Rosa

 

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY PART 2

It’s very interesting to watch twins grow up. In a nutshell Jennifer the older twin is an African Violet. Johanna the younger twin is a shrinking violet. Truth. But where Johanna shies away from the public eye, she makes up in love for her family. She is one of those people who love to be around her family and that’s enough for her. High school  not withstanding, Johanna made very few waves. That’s just not her personality. When something happened or she became more of an extrovert, it was because I insisted on it or she was with her sisters. 

Her  mindset for many years was that of a young child. What I mean by that is she argued vehemently with a 6-year old and she was 14. You would have thought that they were two grown women arguing. It was so funny. She saw nothing wrong with arguing with her 6-year old cousin. So, she was baby-like in those matters. Another aspect of Johanna is that more than any of the other children, she knows her daddy well. She can understand what’s in his mind. She’s been able to do that since she was about 6 years old herself. Johanna had a simple wisdom then and she has a much more mature wisdom now. She hangs onto every word that daddy says:

Johanna: Mom, my ponytail came out at school today (she was about 10 years old) and the other kids laughed at me.

Me: Oh that’s not nice. I am so sorry.

Johanna: That’s alright Mom, because Dad says that when people laugh at you and make fun of you they will be laughed at, too.

Nuf said.

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Daddy and daughter just before surgery in August, 2016

She and her dad have always been close, but this illness has made them compadres. My husband takes her to all her appointments, the pharmacy, clinic for chemo, surgeries she had to endure. He cooks her breakfast, lunch, and dinner, he calls her “princess” at times, too. He takes her food to her most of the time because she is often weak and sickly these days. She was crying once and I wasn’t home, but on the phone with her. She stopped and said, “Mom, I have to hang up. I need to go and get a hug from my dad.” I am grateful for their closeness during this journey back to health. It’s a true blessing.

More tomorrow.

Rosa