Ford……Built Tough 9-4-14 (reposted 9-4-16)

I’m reposting this blog today because Mrs. Ford was one strong lady and deserves to be recognized every now and then. She was the epitome of strength and determination. 
I’ve had a lot of role models in my life. Princess Diana was one of them. I always admired her beauty and her kindness towards others. She faced so many challenges in life but yet faced them with class and dignity. I cried for a week, heck maybe even a month after she passed away. Angelina Jolie. What can I say. A beautiful woman with a philanthropic heart. I have always found myself looking up to women who are strong, determined, independent fighters who at the same time exhibit a desire to help others. Despite all of their beauty on the outside, these women were/have never been afraid to get dirty, fight hard and help others. Both awesome mothers.

I’m a strong woman. At times, I’m probably stronger than I know. I’m a fighter and my goal in life is to help others. I’m certainly not mother of the year but I love my kids more than anything. Despite these qualities, I hate to admit it, at times I’m a spoiled rotten little diva. The past few days have been a challenge. I have been in so much pain, not to mention, out to lunch. My mind has been so dazed and confused. Yesterday I could barely walk. In fact I found myself crying in the bathroom at home. Heaven forbid I’d let Ron or anyone for that matter, see me cry. I tried everything. Walking (too hard), meditating to ocean sounds, eating bananas, vitamins, Gatorade, Claritin (the nurse advised me to take it), water….the list goes on. Nothing worked. I found myself feeling sorry for myself. I was going through my emails when I opened one from The Serenity Med Spa. They had emailed me because they didn’t want me to miss out on their end of summer sale for Botox injections. I thought to myself “are you kidding me?! Botox is the last thing on my mind right now!” Although 2 years ago I would have been the first one in line waiting to take advantage of this very exclusive offer. In fact, 2 years ago, I was more concerned with what was on the outside then all the qualities I had on the inside. Cancer has humbled me in so many ways. Since 2010, I’ve written a letter to Santa every year asking for a breast augmentation. That won’t happen again. I’m guilty of many injections including Botox and Juverderm. I’ve been called a diva once or twice in my life and I’ve been called spoiled. Yesterday I was so frustrated I posted a comment on Facebook regarding my pain and my email. I felt like giving up. My girlfriend, Denise Ford, posted the following comment about her mother. I’m sharing it because after reading the courage and strength of Mrs. Ford and the admiration she earned from her daughter, I found myself ashamed to even complain. This woman was the epitome of strength, Courage and determination. A woman to not only admire but a woman to strive to be like. Next time I’m feeling sorry for myself I know I’m going to read this again as a reminder to never give up. I can only hope that one day my own children will be inclined to write a tribute about me with the same admiration as Denise did yesterday. Like I said, I’ve had a few role models in my life but Mrs. Ford not only earned my respect, she earned my admiration also. She is a true role model!!!! The real deal!!!
If I were to describe myself as a car I’d have to choose a FIAT. FIAT stands for Fix It Again Tony. I have a lot of fixing to do. My goal is to one day call myself a Ford. Mrs. Ford!!! She was Built Tough and she never gave up regardless how many miles she travelled. My advice to anyone reading my blog today is to print the comment below and keep it in your wallet. Next time you find yourself feeling sorry for yourself or wanting to give up, refer to this as a reminder to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. I know I will be doing the same.
Denise’s comment:
Sorry you are so sore: I want to share a story with you, it might be a long comment sorry. ( I grew up with a mom who didn’t have a vain bone in her body. I do remember her working out and taking care of herself, but no makeup and always cowboy boots! She was a fighter like you Velma. When I was six we found out she had cervical cancer. She had 4 daughters and we found out because my mother who came from a family where she had 21 bothers and sisters, she was number 11. My mom had a 2nd grade education and began working in the fields and the orchards in the Yakima Valley, she was tough to say the least. We came home from school one day and she was on the floor in pain and agony, My sister called the ambulance and they told us that our mom would not live through the night because she had not gone to the doctor before that night to find out what the pain was from and the cancer had spread from her cervix through her female organs, kidney, stomach and had attached to her rib. The told her and us they were sorry and had the pastor coming to give last right. My mom looked at the doctor and said “bullshit if I am going to die, I have four daughters and no other woman is going to raise them but me! She battled hard that night and went through two years of Cobalt Radiation hell, but she lived 21 years! Raised her daughters. A true walking miracle of God as her doctor put it:) The toughness of my mom showed on her face and hands, she had skin tough as leather, but blue eyes soft and full of love and the most beautiful hands hard from working but so soft when she patted her grand kids backs, rocking them to sleep. I wish I had close up pictures besides just in my mind of those eyes and hands that told a story. That is what I saw in my mom Velma, the love she had, the life she lead, and the pure beauty of her and her soul. That is what I see when I look at your picture, the love you have for life, family and the beauty in you and your soul. That is a gift to give the world. Wear it proudly, you earned it!


The Cost Of Cancer 10-6-16 (reblogged from 10-6-14)

I happened to watch a segment on the escalating cost of cancer last night on 60 minutes. According to the doctor who was being interviewed the average person fighting cancer can not afford to fight to stay alive. Why? Because the drug companies charge an unprecedented amount of money for the drugs needed to fight cancer. In addition, some health care providers receive a commission for prescribing the medications. The doctor shared one of the number one causes for filing bankruptcy is health care debt that stem from co-pays and out of pocket expense. The segment talked about how many families have lost their homes and lively hood from trying to fight cancer.
In July when I was home in Washington visiting my family, I met with the patient coordinator in Wenatchee. I had hoped I could transfer my care so I could be closer to my family. The patient coordinator shared the cost of my treatment would more than likely leave me bankrupt. She went on to explain how she had seen so many families lose their homes and lively hood after fighting cancer. She encouraged me to continue my treatment in California. She said I was so lucky unlike so many others. She explained the coverage I’m receiving in California would never be a luxury I would receive at home. The cost of the drugs is so phenomenal and unaffordable. I have been fortunate to be living in the state of California. I have insurance through Covered California (Obama care) and through the grace of god, I qualified for a program through the state that is covering my expenses after insurance. The program did not become effective until June. I was diagnosed in April and already have expenses that have left my finances in disarray, but I have to thank god for the program. Especially since my treatment includes chemo, radiation and infusions for a year.

A few days ago, I happened to see my explanation of benefits. My chemo treatments have been billed out at over $11,000 each, however my last treatment was billed at over $14,000. I still have 2 chemo treatments left. The 10th day after each chemo treatment, I am required to go in and have my finger poked to check my blood counts. Those visits are billed out at $4,500. It’s my understanding that radiation and the Herceptin drug I will have to receive every 3 weeks for the next year are more expensive than the chemo drugs. Why? Because they are a “newer” drug. I have been told my radiation treatment will cost well over $35,000. I don’t even want to know the cost of Herceptin or the cost of surgery to have my port removed when I’ve completed treatment. To date, the cost of fighting cancer has cost over $165,000 and I’m not even close to being done. Fighting cancer comes with many other side effects and additional expenses not included in the cost of treatment that can be very costly. Prescriptions, acupuncture and massage to help with the body aches, wigs, lotions to help with the dry skin, counseling….the list goes on. It infuriates me that we live in a health care system that is more concerned with money than saving a persons life. As a country we send billions of dollars to help other countries. If our country could reserve some of those dollars to help our own, especially those fighting cancer, maybe more patients could afford to fight to live. If you think about it, as patients fight cancer to live, they end up destitute and sometimes worse, homeless. Where is the benefit in that?!!! Our health care system sucks sometimes!!!!

I’m lucky and I know it but my heart goes out to the families who are fighting cancer and do not have the help that I have been so fortunate to be blessed with. I can’t work. I’m financially strapped and I’m struggling to pay the medical expenses Ive incurred but I’m not homeless. Thank god. I have food to eat and I’m receiving the treatment I so desperately need to fight this disease. After watching last nights segment, I can only hope that when I beat this cancer, I’m able to help others in need. Cancer sucks but not as much as the greedy drug companies do. I complain a lot. I feel sorry for myself a lot and I miss my family a lot. I’d love nothing’s more than to go home but after seeing the cost of my treatment and watching last nights 60 Minutes, I have to tell myself it would take a miracle, either that or a Publishers Clearing House check made out to “Fighting Cancer”.

Next time you’re at Safeway and they ask if you’d like to donate to MS, Cancer or anything medically related say yes if the money is going to a program that will assist families in covering the cost of health care. A dollar goes a long way to helping others. I’m not sure that I would like to donate to these drug companies anymore. They are greedy and more concerned with money opposed to other peoples life!!!! But that’s only my opinion. I’m free to think what I want to think and so are you.

Intuition 9-7-14

I looked up the word intuition today. The meaning is as follows:

the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
“we shall allow our intuition to guide us”
synonyms: instinct, intuitiveness; More
a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.
plural noun: intuitions
“your insights and intuitions as a native speaker are positively sought”
synonyms: hunch, feeling (in one’s bones), inkling, (sneaking) suspicion, idea, sense, notion;

I chose this topic because many times as women we find ourselves in situations where we have this gut feeling something is amiss. Quite often it occurs in our relationships with others. Maybe a husband or a partner. We get this hunch or gut feeling that’s so strong it begins to drive us insane. It makes us crazy. The signs are all there but the proof isn’t. What happens next is nothing short of a nightmare. I’ve always heard that women have been blessed with an intuitive spirit. We all have it. For instance, as mothers we can sense when our kids are in trouble even though they’re miles away. We know when they’re happy and we know when they’re sad. We can feel it deep down in our gut. As women and or mothers we have the ability to read between the lines. However, at times as wives or girlfriends, despite having that strong intuitive hunch about something, occasionally we disregard it as “craziness” or after listening to the excuses or justifications of the other party we begin to believe we really are nuts. Even then, that feeling is there, it doesn’t go away and eventually it grows until finally we find that we have lost our identity by becoming consumed with that “hunch” that deep down we already knew was the truth. It isn’t until later when the proof is in the pudding that the flood gates open and looking back we can honestly feel that we knew it all along, we just chose to not see it. The signs were there. They were like billboards at every stop, but yet we closed our eyes to the hunch. It’s at that time everything makes sense and we realize we weren’t crazy after all. It’s also at that time that we wish we could go back to the beginning and address that hunch with the same tenacity we would’ve, had it involved one of our kids. However, the truth is the proof was always there. It was provided to us time and time again. The floodgates finally opened when we reached a point that we were strong enough to finally handle the truth.

I’ve heard many stories of women who have experienced this one or more times in their life. I’m no exception. The past two years I myself have experienced an intuitive feeling about a particular situation. It has consumed me and has turned my life upside down. Once upon a time, I was a strong, confident and an extremely funny and outgoing woman. Today I feel beaten down and now I’m fighting cancer. A wise woman once told me “Velma, everything always comes out in the wash”. She was right.

My life has always been an open book. I have always shared the ups and the downs of my life. Today is no different. I share the trials of my life not because I am looking for sympathy or attention, rather because if I can help others to avoid making the same mistakes, then to me it’s all worth it. As the weeks go by I will undoubtedly be sharing my latest setback. Heck I have 2 years of journals to refer to, but I have no intentions of beginning the saga today. I will only encourage each and every woman to act on any hunch. If it stinks, there’s a reason for it. Don’t back down and never allow someone to make you feel like you’re crazy. More often than not, your hunch hit the tail on the donkey. Remember as woman we are always smarter and more intuitive than we know. Don’t give up!