Archive for July, 2013

Gratitude …

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Loving the flowers in bloom, Spring 2013

Many of you may or may not know that on 10 May 2011, I woke up in the middle of the night with what I thought was a horrible migraine.  Looking back, that is such a HUGE  understatement of what I have endured the past 26 months.  Without going into what all has happened in that amount of time, I simply want to give you an update and share my enormous gratitude for each person who has encouraged, supported, and helped me; emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually along the way.

When I went out on disability from work and was not able to stay by myself, I had amazing people bring me into their homes to help take care of me.  As I look back on those times; I get teary eyed remembering how scared I was from not knowing what was causing the tremendous pain that made me think my brain was literally going to explode inside my skull.   The weight of an elephant on my head (came to be known as “Throb”) consumed me.

Spring Tulips in the beautiful Pacific Northwest ...

Spring Tulips in the beautiful Pacific Northwest …

If you know anything about me, you know that I will not ask for help unless I absolutely need it.  When I did, many of you sent money to help me move from Kentucky to Washington, so I could be closer to my family and amazing friends in the Pacific Northwest.  You have also randomly sent me money or gift certificates to help pay for expenses that I couldn’t afford.  Thank you so very, very much.  The meals that people have paid for, the dinners in your homes, all of it just means the world to me.  Upon returning to the area where I grew up, I was immediately surrounded by the love of my family and friends.  Finding a church that I love, provided me access to a free counselor who has guided and directed me to finding who I am in Gods eyes.  She also encouraged me to do volunteer work, because I needed a sense of purpose; feeling so very lost and being extremely upset from not being able to do my job as a flight attendant.  Along the path of trying to find answers and delving into the root cause, I pushed hard to find medical professionals who shared the same confidence I did that I would some day be well; and were willing to work with me to find answers.  Having those doctors, my counselor, family, and friends who believe in me has made a tremendous impact in helping me learn the lessons Throb was meant to teach me.

My doctors put me on an “elimination diet” (only eating fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, quinoa, and eggs) a year ago, to try to see if anything I was consuming was exacerbating the migraines.  In the beginning, I saw no change from eating differently.  After a few months, I started noticing that I was losing weight (such a bonus, since I had gained weight from some of the medications other doctors had me on at times).  Now, I can say (40 lbs lighter) that I fully buy into the concept “we are what we eat”, and it makes a difference in my mental well being as well as the way I feel about myself. (and yes, I have found that I have food intolerances that do make my pain worse … who knew eggs and wheat could cause such huge issues??)  I have worked extremely hard at doing everything any physician asked me to do; but learned very quickly to have my Primary Care Physician be the one overseeing my healthcare.  She is nothing short of amazing; as she continually told me to hold on to my faith and belief that I would one day find answers and be well.


Now that I have almost been out of work 2 1/2 years and living off of Social Security Disability (half of what I used to make); I have nothing but extreme gratitude in my heart.  The light at the end of the tunnel may have been dim at times, but it is getting brighter every single day.  In March, I started doing a treatment called GunnIMS ( and in April I literally felt as though someone had flipped a switch and I slowly began to have more range of motion and was spending less days in bed, because of the debilitating pain.  It is rather ironic to me that I once used to have a fear of needles, and the sight of them would nearly make me pass out ~ and now I look forward to my next “needle treatment” with tremendous excitement.

Volunteering at the Bread of Life Mission since November 2011 has kept me humble and talking with men in the program has reminded me daily how thankful I am to have a roof over my head and the many blessings God bestows on me every single day.  There literally are times when I have no idea where I will get money for food or gas; let alone my out of pocket medical expenses.  (GunnIMS is $69.18 each visit and that fee cannot be waived.)  But having blind faith means that I know in my heart that God will ALWAYS provide.  Being around homeless people, can really give one a serious dose of perspective!  And I love being a part of the Bread of Life volunteer family and I am grateful they welcome me with open arms.

All smiles at the USO SeaTac!

All smiles at the USO SeaTac!

In February of this year, I started also volunteering at the USO here locally and it has been a tremendous blessing for me.  As you all know, I have been supporting our troops through sending care packages and writing letters for over a decade now.  Having visited our Wounded Warriors over the years at Bethesda, Walter Reed Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Landstuhl (in Germany) left me with images and memories of conversations of tenacity, strength, and courage that have helped me to get through every difficult test or treatment.  Tigger often accompanies with me on these appointments, as a reminder of our troops who have suffered tremendously; but been able to overcome all odds.  Being at the USO, is second nature to me.  I call it “my home away from home”.  Serving our troops and their families shows me what my limitations are, but also brings out my strengths.  It gives me the sense of purpose that I am making a difference ~ and that really is what motivates me as a person.  Always has, and always will.  I am eternally God chose me to be a voice for our Military, and I know that is just one of the many ways HE uses my body to share His Light and Love.

With tremendous gratitude for all Throb has taught me in being humble, ridding my body (and mind) of toxic behaviors and people, taking time for myself, finding balance, learning to say “no” or “that is not healthy for me”; I am thankful to tell you that he has lost weight too!  lol     Yesterday during my GunnIMS treatment, my doctor said “did you hear what you just said?” And I replied “what did I say?”  haha  … She responded “you said you feel like your head is too heavy for your neck and shoulders, rather than the elephant is sitting on the top of your head”.  We made an agreement that when he is finally gone, we will be dancing in the hallway together.

"Throb" is losing weight ... :)

“Throb” is losing weight … 🙂

Gratitude comes from knowing the deepest depths of pain; not knowing if one is going to live or die; or what is wrong.  I was officially FINALLY diagnosed with having a traumatic brain injury from falling and hitting the back of my head in the spring of 2010.  Who knew that the symptoms of a concussion or traumatic brain injury could not begin to occur for 4 months to 5 years afterward? If anyone would have told me that a migraine could last longer than three days (before Throb came along), I probably would not have believed them.  But it has been a journey of self discovery, lessons learned, and faith that supersedes all understanding that has given me the endurance to keep fighting.

Now I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am on the right path.  That I am working towards my goal to get back in the skies (sooner rather than later) and make them a bit more friendly, and I could not be more grateful to each and every person who has helped me in this journey.  One day I could probably write a book about being out on disability, having pain hidden wounds, or what it takes to overcome all odds.  Then again, some of you probably already feel in reading this, you have just read one of the chapters.  🙂

Before I close, I do want to take time to sincerely thank each of you who have also donated towards my care packages to the troops over the years.  Years ago I used to make hats and scarves and sell them, so I would have the funds to fill care packages and pay for postage.  Pretty much I sold anything I could of value, to make a difference for our valiant warriors.  But when I was incapable of doing anything else, I learned to ask for help in this area of my life.  And many of you have given in ways that have helped me to touch thousands of lives.  For this, I am eternally grateful.  Because with each card, letter, or care package sent ~ it is a message of hope, and means the world to the recipients.  It has shown me the importance of allowing others to help in a great cause, and I am so thankful to have learned that lesson.  Additionally, because of my financial status; I simply cannot send anything without donations.  That being said, feel free to make a donation any time via PayPal to: or send a check or money order to me:  PO Box 449, Mercer Island, WA 98040.  Not only is this something I appreciate, but I know the smiles it puts on the faces of those in war zones or Wounded Warrior hospitals ~ and for this, I truly am grateful.  You can also check out my website anytime: to look at photos, blog posts (I know, I need to be better at writing more often and uploading pictures … but now you know the reasons why there have been long spurts between posts) …


This photo says it all …

Thank you for standing by me, cheering me along, and for believing in all that I can do, through God who strengthens me.  With Him, all things are possible … and with Him; I will continue to change the world, one person at a time.  And my closing comment is to ask you to please pray that all my needs be met, and that I never lose sight of what is most important to me.



“The Sky Angel”