Welcome to your home by the sea……those are the words I heard two years ago when I packed up my bags, abandoning everyone and everything I knew and moved to San Francisco. Since then, every morning that I wake up I have thought to myself “help me someone! Let me out of here!”
One week ago yesterday I had my sixth and hopefully final chemo treatment. This past week has been the week from hell! I can’t begin to tell you how sick I’ve been. I won’t go in to detail by boring you with all the details, I’ll just say that recovery has been a challenge. I’ve prayed a lot, I’ve cried out loud a lot, I’ve felt sorry for myself a lot and I’ve reflected and wished my life was different a lot. Yesterday I managed to walk to my monthly Professional Women’s group luncheon. I was having a conversation with one of the ladies and I shared how I had prayed for so long for the doors to finally open so I could finally go home and be reunited with my children. Her reply struck a cord with me. She said “maybe your prayer hasn’t been answered because it’s God’s will that you are here to receive the medical treatment you need to get healthy. You’re not any good to your children or family if you’re not well”. As soon as she said that it reminded me of my dear friend and attorney, Garth Dano. I will never forget the day we were standing at the courthouse. I had just been released from Sundown for alcohol abuse and I had lost custody of my kids. Those of you who know my story know that my last drunk was three fifths, a bottle of wine and a half gallon of whiskey. I had burned my eyelashes off and I had cut my arms, legs & face with a knife. I looked at Garth that day with tears in my eyes and asked “Garth, what am I going to do now?” His response was “honey you’re rock bottom. There’s no where to go from here but up. You’re no good to those kids until you’re good to yourself.” I’ve never forgotten those words. I picked myself up out of the gutter and a year later after a lot of hard work, determination and sobriety, I got my kids back. As I walked home I kept thinking about that day along with Garth’s words. I reflected how I had beat my alcoholism and went on to get my kids back. I couldn’t help but wish I was reliving that same experience only I had beat cancer and I was finally in my car on my way home. When I got home I went to the mailbox to get my mail. I had a letter from the Columbia Basin Herald. I opened it up and found a letter Garth had written me and was accidentally mailed to the Herald. When I read it, I began to cry. It was ironic I had been thinking about Garth and to receive such a moving letter from my my dearest and most loyal friend only gave me hope to believe I can get through yet another challenge again. And soon I’ll be with my kids again.
I chose to share this song today because I can relate to the lyrics. Like the song for the past couple of years I’ve prayed those same words “help me someone! Let me out of here!” I also have spent the past couple of years “dreaming of the time I was free. So many years ago before I heard the words welcome to your home by the sea!” My life has always been an open book. I’ve never shied away from sharing the intimate details of the ups and downs of my personal life. I’ve shared my struggles in my relationships. I’ve shared my struggles overcoming alcohol/Ritalin addiction, anorexia/bulemia, divorce, custody battles and these past two years I’ve shared my very intimate struggles and downfalls since I arrived in San Francisco on social media. Whether it was on Facebook and now on my latest venture blogging. Like the song “I’ve relived my life in what I tell you”. Not long ago a very dear friend of mine offered some advice. She said that while my stories were entertaining, maybe sharing such intimate details wasn’t in my best interest. I have to agree. I don’t share my story as a way to entertain people. Rather I share because my hope is those who hear or read my story will learn from my experiences and not make the same mistakes themselves.
Life is hard. I haven’t been a saint. I’ve taken the wrong path many times in my life. I’ve made some really bad choices and the consequences have been overwhelming at times. Believe me when I say, I have many regrets. If I had a do over, I certainly wouldn’t have done many of the things I’ve done. Today I’m fighting cancer. I can’t change that. I’m trapped here in my “home by the sea” and everyday I’m praying to get out of here and go home and be reunited with my children. However going home is not the case today but like Garth said so many years ago “I’m no good to my kids until I’m good to myself”. With that said I have to get healthy and hopefully history will repeat itself and like many years ago I will be with my kids again. Soon!!!
If you’re reading this today and you find yourself struggling or you’re thinking the grass is greener on the other side, take a lesson from me. It’s not. Be thankful for what you have. Don’t make the mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes the easy way out only complicates things and makes everything worse. Like I said, I’m not writing to entertain you, I’m writing and sharing to encourage you to take a good look at my story and learn from it because if my story helps anyone then all this crap I’ve been through and wrote about was worth it.
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!
I woke up this morning to the sound of lawn mowers, hedge trimmers and happy voices from the lawn care people happily working here at Maui Hills. The sun was shining, the view of the ocean from my lanai was simply beautiful. Any one would feel happy, peaceful but yet facing my reality made it difficult to feel anything but sadness. I felt sad about my kids. They haven’t spoken to me since I left Washington. It hurts so much. The sadness of my disease, my appearance, no job, the guilt of being in paradise without my kids and family was just overwhelming. Like every morning I read my daily affirmations in the hopes of reading something that might lift my spirits and make me happy again. I prayed. I asked God to please save me. I also asked him to send people my way today that would offer me encouragement and hope. I got up to get changed so I could go on my morning walk. As I looked at myself in the mirror I noticed some of my hair was growing back. One would think I’d be elated but as I looked closer the hair growing back was grey!!! Well friends, that was fuel to the fire. I had been told that after chemo you may find some changes when your hair starts growing back. Some experience curly hair, darker hair, straight hair and/or grey hair. Grey hair?! Can things get any worse? I actually found myself looking forward to my next four chemo treatments in the hopes those pesky grey hairs would fall out and God would realize I look better as a brunette!! I started out on my walk. It was a beautiful, hot morning. I decided to listen to Rick Warren’s message on Daily Hope. Rick Warren is so inspirational and uplifting. I would recommend listening to him when you’re feeling down. Today’s message was. “keeping the crazy makers from making you crazy”. Great message considering I’m not only surrounded by crazy maker’s I’m guilty of being a crazy maker myself!!! Ouch!!! As I listened to Rick, confusion set in. Is he talking about me or all the nuts surrounding me?! If you’ve ever been to Kehei, Maui you know that there’s only one strip. I walk the only strip every morning. I’m like clock work. I walk the same time every morning and I walk to Foodland and turn around. Yesterday I walked an extra block. That was a surprise!!! On the way back there were two men walking in front of me crowding the sidewalk. I decided to walk around them. I’m not sure who engaged first, but we began walking side by side and having a friendly conversation. These men were named Kevin and Russell. They were airline pilots for American Airlines. Kevin was from Dallas and Russell was from Nashville. We talked as if we were long lost friends. At some point I shared a little bit of my story. Kevin was the first one to say “I’m going to be praying for you”. I was taken by surprise. Kevin began to tell me that god had a plan for all of us. He said we all are ” living the Dream….God’s dream”. Not always is God’s dream what we had in mind but we have to remember God’s dream is bigger than we could ever imagine. As Kevin spoke to me I remembered the prayer I had prayed earlier. I asked God to send people my way to offer me encouragement. I don’t know about you but I’d say my prayer was answered. I felt so comfortable talking to Russell and Kevin I shared my hopes, my dreams and I even shared some of the challenges I’ve faced in my life time. I told them my dream was to make a difference. I told them how I had a dream of writing a book one day and sharing my story in the hopes of making a difference in someone’s life. I told them how I wanted to be standing on a podium, sharing my story and giving others hope one day. Russell said “you’ve already made a difference by sharing your story with us. If you can make a difference in one persons life, then you’ve done your job. You’re already living God’s dream”. Kevin reminded me that all we have to do is get through today. God didn’t bring me this far to not make it. He told me to keep fighting and just get through today every day. We exchanged business cards and hugged each other. Kevin has a website. If you’re interested look it up. http://www.Livehisdream.com. Kevin and Russell made a difference in my life today, I hope that not only will I make a difference in those reading my blog, but I hope going to Kevin’s website will make a difference in your life too. God speaks to us through people. Today he spoke to me through Kevin and Russell. Who knows maybe he’s speaking to you through me today. I sure hope so. Stay strong. Keep fighting. Never give up. If I can do it…..so can you. Cancer sucks! But guess what?! I’m still here and so are you. Just for today keep living the dream…..God’s dream that is!!