Friday, December 5, 2014

Full of Gratitude

Last year, I was on top of life and kept a list of things I was grateful for, throughout the whole month of November. This year, I did not such things. I hadn't focused much on gratitude to be perfectly honest. In fact, I wasn't sure I was going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year because going home wasn't seeming like an option. With my job, we had Thanksgiving off, but that's it. Up until a week or a week and a half before, I still didn't know if I was going to have the day after Thanksgiving off. Ironically, it didn't bother me too much except I wouldn't see my family. I brushed that one to the side saying that there was always Christmas.

I did end up getting the day off, which ended up kick starting me into the gratitude frame of mind. This was the best thing for me at that time. Here is a small and incomplete list of the things that I am so incredibly thankful for this year.

~ Coworkers who were willing to work so I didn't have to.
~ My dad, for being a support, an amazing listener, a worthy priesthood holder, and an incredible example to me.
~ My mom, for her love, dedication and example of charity to everyone she meets.
~ My sister, for always being willing to be there and love us all, irregardless of the circumstances.
~ My brother for helping me to have fun with life and seeing that life is what we make of it.
~ My nephews and niece, for their magical hugs, fun energy, their child-like enthusiasm and so much more.
~ My other relatives who make being a part of a family so much fun and give an added measure of joy.
~ Knowing that I will be put in the best situations for me, when hard times come.
~ Doctors. I've seen a lot of them this year and even though much pain was endured, I am so much healthier now, than I was at the beginning of the year. Still have a bit to go.
~ Amazing friends, (Yes, I use the word amazing a lot), for being there, being supportive, helping me in innumerable ways, and the joy and laughter they've brought.
~ The gospel and knowing that the answers I need will come in the right time, which is not always my timing.
~ That families are forever and I can forever be with mine
~ The feeling and spirit of the Holidays. This year they seem to mean more to me than before.
~ Progress. Last year I was unable to even produce a note of singing during Christmas songs and such. This year, I can get a word or two out, I'm not there yet, but am getting better.
~ My patriarchal blessing. I'd lost it in my numerous moves this year, and when I finally read it again, the guidance I needed was right there.

There are so many other things that I could add, but that would take forever. This is just a glimpse of what makes me full of gratitude.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Discovery and Change

It's hard to believe that I started my job three months ago and have been living in this area for that long, almost. It feels like I've been here a while, but 3 months really is not that long in retrospect. It seems like yesterday, I was living in and completely enjoying all my time in Logan. A lot has happened in three months. Most importantly, I am learning more and more about myself, who I am, what I want, and how I cope. I have discovered new comfort foods and activities. This has truly been a time of self-discovery.

Who Am I?

I can give the basic answers here. I know who I am as far as being divine and a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc. That still does not answer who I am in a sense. There's a song that has expressed my feelings lately:"I'm just a girl, trying to find my place in this world.".  I'm learning that many people feel this way. They desire to find their niche. They want to have a purpose. In reality, most of our life is spent discovering who we are, because we are constantly changing.

What Do I Want?

Before moving down here, I was convinced that all I wanted was to be healthy, have a stable financial situation and have my steady support system of my family and friends. Ironically, I moved father away from family, and most friends. I had to re-evaluate what I wanted. Here is what I found. I want stability, in many senses. I want to be a part of something. I want to fit in. I want to feel wanted and needed. I want to make a difference.

How I Cope?

The short answer to this question is, I don't. However, I am working on that. I have found when I have a "bad stomach day" or a rough day, I want to sit in my room and do be alone, in hopes of avoiding or discussing what is up. This is NOT good. These feelings need to come out. This past week, I had an extremely difficult day and did not want to talk to anyone. However, I knew that if I kept it in, I would lose sleep and that I would let the issues eat me alive. Talking it out with a roommate was one of the best things I did that day.

Part of my coping has shown me my go to comfort foods and activities that make life all the better. My comfort foods consist of Crazy Bread, Italian Cheese Bread, Toast, Macaroni and Cheese, and Cuatro Leches Ice Cream (vanilla ice cream, with tres leches cake bits and a dulce de leche swirl). The ice cream is amazing. You can see the stress drain away as you eat it, or so my roommate told me as I ate it. I believe it too, because I felt so much better after eating it. Ha Ha.

I have also discovered activities that help me. Being outside is a huge thing for me. On my lunch break, some days I will go out to my car, roll down the windows, let the hair flow through and read a book. So nice! I have recently become addicted to nature photography and love the beauty of the earth. Along with that, I have re-discovered that being active is a big deal. Running. Dancing (where no one can see). Walking. Whatever. These all help me to feel better and are needed after looking at my list of comfort foods. Ha Ha.

To assure that this post is taken in the right spirit. I am changing and becoming a better person everyday. As much as I loved where I was, I am grateful for the change. It is allowing me to examine myself and be stronger and more assured of who I am and what I want. I was comfortable with where I was at and who I was becoming, but that is not who I needed to be. We are all bound for greatness and in order to achieve that greatness, trials, changes, and moments of not being sure have to come. They will truly mold us into who we need to be and prepare us for what is next in life.

I Have Changed!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Crazy September

Once upon a time there was a girl named Whitney (Hey, that's me!) who had a bit of a crazy month. Here is what her month consisted of, in no particular order.

Long walks
Lots of work
Logan Temple visit
Crazy traffic
Stake Conference
Eagle Mountain trip
Time with an amazing young woman
Trip to Logan
Mission Farewell
Visiting lots of GREAT people
Temple Re-dedication
Nature Photography session
Two weeks of voicelessness
Paying off all medical bills and surgery bills
Yard Work
General Women's Broadcast

That may not seem like a lot, but believe me, It Was!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Hello again! I know it's been a while. Almost a month. It's been a crazy month at that. Let's just say it has been a month of adapting, changes, growth, discovery, adventure, and learning.


Living in a new place is hard, but I am adapting to the place, the new house, the new job and new lifestyle. It still seems strange to me not to have mutual on Tuesday night or the temple on Saturday mornings. It has been interesting to adjust to being gone over 10 hours on weekdays. It's still going to take some getting used to.


Over the past month, I have changed a few things. The most important is my attitude. Instead of not wanting to be where I am, I decided that I am going to be happy with it. I have seen changes within myself in a month, which is crazy. I am also still making some changes to make life a little better everyday. Fingers are crossed.


I have grown in ways that seem strange to me. I have grown to enjoy yard work. There is something relaxing about pulling weeds. I have seen growth in friendships and in my relationship with my self. One of the biggest growths that I have seen is in trusting the feelings that come and doing what they say. There have been so many experiences I have had because of this growth.


Living in a new place allows me to discover my surroundings. I have become pretty good at finding my way around and following directions (such as street directions and such). I have discovered that once I have been somewhere once, I can usually get there on my own the next time. Usually. There are exceptions. I have also discovered new places and am excited to keep discovering new things!


There have been some fun adventures and some not as fun ones since moving here. Truth be told, right now I feel like each new day is a new adventure to live out. I am so grateful for the people who have been a part of these adventures with me. I don't want to share them all (it would bore you), but they range from fairs, to bad traffic, to splash pads, and more. I like to look for the adventure wherever I am.


I have learned so much, especially about myself and who I am. This also relates to some of the changes I want to make. I have learned to pay attention to how I am feeling and make sure I take care of myself. This is huge because I try to act all strong and warrior like when I may not be feeling the greatest. The other day, I had battled an awful headache and low energy all day. I came home and instead of doing what I had said I would, I rested and took time for myself. By the time I went to bed that night, the headache was gone. It was amazing! I have learned new things through work, my lovely roommates, and personal studies. 

The month of September will be crazy. No doubt about that. However, I am excited to see what all happens. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

So Long to Logan

As I was getting ready to leave town on Sunday evening, I crossed paths with an old neighbor. She and I began to talk and she asked how living in the new place was. I could not think of an answer right away. She shared her own experience about moving and not knowing why, and how she did find out why until later. She shared the saying, "When one door closes, another door opens". While I believe that is true, what she said next made so much more sense. She said that after the door, sometimes there is a hall before you get to the next door. I definitely feel like I'm in a hall and am really looking forward to finding the next door.

However, I want to use this post to focus on the memories, times, and people that have been so important these past five years. I cannot even begin to explain my feelings. There have been exciting moments. There were definitely hard times. I can honestly say the hardest times I have ever been through in my life took place there. However, many amazing and rewarding experiences happened there as well. I learned more about myself and who I truly am and want to become. I  discovered new passion, hobbies and skills. This was definitely a time for molding. I am happy with who I have become.

It is strange how a place where I lived for five years, truly became my home. Going to Poky was home too, but when I was there and headed back, saying I was heading home, truly felt right. Many people wondered how it was home, without my family. It was because the people there became my family. I was blessed with so many different families and amazing friends too. My ward family, my temple family, my work family, and more. I would love to start listing names, but cannot. It would take too much space and I would leave someone out who meant so much to me. Plus, I really do not want to bore you. Just know, if you lived there, you most likely made a huge impact on me,

I have so many fond memories. Here are some of the fun ones (there have been so many). I enjoyed many hikes on may trails, Girls Camp (3 years!!!), movie nights in the park, fireworks, country dancing, mutual activities, exploring adventures, boating, Oompa Loompa dancing, random, crazy moments with roommates, volleyball games. acting out songs, singing and dancing to Spice Girls (who doesn't love them), potlucks, find raisers, Girl's Nights, working at the temple, amazing walks with great people, great runs, cave exploring, gelato, meeting and playing with kids, babysitting, my young women, the amazing leaders I've served with, the beautiful sunsets, and so much more.

I remember when I was moving into my first place, I had parked my car, unloaded it and attempted to organize it. I was in the house for 40 minutes, at the most. When I came out, there was a boot on my car. It wasn't the best start to this new experience. Thankfully, things got better, though parking was an interesting issue. In the past five years, I have had 7 roommates and lived in 4 different places. Crazy, right? I have been in three different wards, held 6 or 7 callings, I was associated with a non-profit organization for three years.

Life was not perfect, but I always had a support system there for me as I went through more health challenges than I care to remember. I've been told a couple of times that I should be done until I am at least 60 or maybe even 80. I could not have done this alone.

When I decided to attend a family ward, in stead of a YSA ward, I was worried that I was setting my self up to be friendless. However, my friends were still by my side, I made more friends, and, after my call into young womens, the girls became my friends. In all my callings, the people have served with have become some of my dearest friends.

I remember driving into the valley, from all directions and always looking for the temple first (It's beautiful and definitely my favorite, by far) and then Old Main to see if the A was blue. I remember looking out windows and off hills and mountains, thinking how beautiful the valley and all of the creations really are.

As I drove out of the valley, after two days of tears, my mind was flooded with memories and pictures of so many people, places, events and more. Certain places remind me of certain people or experiences. My heart was filled with gratitude for each. I offered a prayer of gratitude for the many wonderful things and that I will never forget these times. My eyes filled with tears.

Whether it be with a smile, or a kind word, or a fun night, or a serious and meaning conversation, those meant the world to me. Every act of service offered, was a blessing. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done. I will miss you all so much and I will miss living in Logan.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Crazy Life of Me!

Life has been so insanely crazy lately and with reason. It's been an adventure. Since I finally have a minute, and finally have internet, here are some of the details.

I'm healthy, FINALLY!!! I had my post-op appointment and was told that everything looked good. It was recommended to make a few changes in my diet. All in all, I am so grateful that the craziness of surgeries is over. My stomach still is my stomach, but that has become a norm.

I am employed! I started a new job on July 15th. It is definitely a new experience. Through my therapy and job hunting, I have learned the importance of making sure it is the right job and not overdoing things. I know my boundaries and have to be honest with myself and my employer and co-workers.

On top of that, I moved. This isn't one of the small moves from one apartment to another. It was from one city to another. The interesting part is that I did not have a place to live when the job started. At the end of my first week, I had a place, but couldn't move in until the first weekend of August. I am so grateful for the people who have helped me move things, or let me stay with them and helped keep me calm.

I have also been commuting on the weekends and have one more weekend left, so that I can finish up things at the temple, with moving, with my calling and see everyone I want before I am not there as frequently.

During all this, my brother graduated from college. We were able to all be together as a family and go up to Rexburg. I am so proud of him and this accomplishment. After he was finished, we were talking with one of his professors and he said that we would be seeing big things from Brady in the future. I couldn't agree more.

On top of all of this I have had reunions with different friends who are amazing. I attended a concert, drove a Uhaul, and made friends with 3 little boys by speaking Spanish to them. I also traveled to my sister's house, with my parents, for Independence Day. I'm sure there is more that I have done, but these are the main things. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

My Dear Grandpa

My warrior of a grandpa passed away on June 5, 2014. He lived a long and fulfilling life. He was very fun-spirited and loved to tease. He would serve anyone who needed help and had so much love for his family. His eyes were so full of love when they were around. Here is his obituary. 

June 26, 1929 - June 5, 2014
Robert (Bob) Hugh Ivey, Sr., after enduring many medical conditions over the years, finally succumbed to the toll on his body passing away peacefully June 5, 2014, surrounded by his family.
Bob was born June 26, 1929 in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents were Hugh and Ellen Ivey. The family resided in Pocatello, Idaho, where Bob went to St. Joseph's Catholic School and Pocatello High School where he participated in football, track and boxing. He was an Eagle Scout. He was also a member of the Idaho National Guard for nine years. 
Bob married Lonetta Larsen on February 2, 1954 in Pocatello, Idaho, and had four children; Rob Ivey (Deanna), Kim Ivey Madsen (Rock), Jacqueline Anne Parkin (Blair), and Kirk Ivey (Miriam).
Bob was an avid outdoorsman who loved to fish. He enjoyed bowling and was the president of the Pocatello Bowling Association for two years. He was also the park president of Irving Little League. His hobbies were wide and varied including golfing and carpentry. He loved to play competitive pool and even attempted a game a week before his death. He was a permanent fixture at the Senior Center and helped and participated in the Senior Games. He also loved to play cards with his family, especially Hearts, and was wickedly good at it.
Bob was a very service-oriented man. He often did house repairs for the widows in the neighborhood and has continuously performed acts of service for others throughout his life. He was smart, kind, funny and onery. 
Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Lonetta Larsen Ivey, his parents, Hugh and Ellen Ivey, his siblings: James Ivey, Roberta Jean Ivey and Julia Mauk. He is survived by his four children and their spouses, his grandchildren: Brant Ivey, Christopher Ivey, Todd Ivey, Natalie Hardy (Brant), Troy Tanner (Stephanie), Jessica Albanese (Renato), Jordan Tanner, Heather Sayer (Jeremy), Whitney Parkin and Brady Parkin. He is also survived by 16 great-grandchildren. Thank you to his wonderful home helpers, Rita Elliott and Jolene Nelson, and caring staff at PMC.
Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 11:00 am in the Cornelison Funeral Chapel, 431 North 15th Ave., where the family will receive friends from 10 am until service time. Interment will follow services in the Mountain View Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Cornelison Funeral Home, 431 N. 15th Ave., Pocatello, 232-0542. Condolences may be sent to the family online at - See more at:

We would always joke around during our Sunday card game about people being "Bob" when they took too long to play. Meanwhile, he was counting cards and figuring out how to win.

This poem is something that helped me through the hard times.

His death shook me harder than I expected, as we had surgery on the same day and the surgery he had was one I had survived earlier in the year. It took me time to get over his passing, which is why this post has taken so long. I still miss him. I still wish he were here. I still wish things could be different. However, I know, without a doubt, that he is happy and with his family now. He is not suffering physically. His reunion was sweet in Heaven and I look forward to the day when I can see him again, hug him and let him know how much I love him and how much he's warrior-like strength has helped me.

Love you Grandpa. Until We Meet Again.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Do you ever feel alone? Does discouragement ever weigh you down. Do your trials seem impossible? Have you felt the pain of disappointment? Have you made mistakes and felt incapable of making things better? Have you been stretched beyond what you can handle and wondered how you can do it alone? For most of us, the answer is a resounding "Yes" to at least one of these questions. There is help. There is relief. There is hope. There is comfort. It all comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

First, what is the Atonement? This was when Jesus Christ took upon him the sins, pains and sufferings of the world, during his time in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Atonement allows us to reconcile our lives and restore harmony and peace therein.

The budding of my testimony of the Atonement happened while I was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Since that moment, I have had many, many more experiences that have strengthened me. Some pushed me to limits I felt like were impossible to come out of. However, in those moments, I would put the Atonement into play and the help I needed would come at a very critical moment. I know that the Atonement is real.

Sister Linda S. Reeves said "Our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, know us and love us. They know when we are in pain or suffering in any way. They do not say, "It's OK that you're in pain right now because soon everything is going to be alright. You will be healed, or your husband will find a job, or your wandering child will come back." They feel the depth of our suffering, and we can feel Their love and compassion in our suffering."

I have had the opportunity to use the Atonement quite frequently over the past 13 months, as I have struggled through many physical trials, which brought many other trials to the plate. It would have been impossible to get through all of this alone. They did not choose to heal me soon or answer the prayers of many, including mine, to restore my health at those moments. Instead, they felt my suffering and knew my pain. They sent me love and strength to get through what I needed to. They sent others to help me. They were there for me.

This had been re-confirmed in my heart and mind over the past couple weeks, as I have faced a trial that I have had no clue how to overcome and am still not sure how exactly to completely overcome. I received a blessing, which gave me assurance that our Heavenly Father is so mindful of us and our situations. It assured me that there is always help available when we need it. How can our Savior, Jesus Christ, not know how we feel, when he personally took upon him all of our pains, sufferings, afflictions, and sins? He truly knows. He did it not just for me, or for you, but for everyone!

Sister Reeves also said, "I testify that he has not forgotten you! Whatever sin or weakness or pain or struggle or trial you are going through, He know and understands those very moments. He loves you! And He will carry you through those moments, just as He did Mary and Martha. He has paid the price that He might know how to succor you. Cast your burdens upon Him. Tell your Heavenly Father how you feel. Tell him about your pain and afflictions and then give them to Him."

We do not have to go through anything alone. Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will be there and want to help us with whatever trials we are going through. We are loved. We do not have to do any of this alone. We have the best support system available. It may not be easy. It may not be resolved in the way we hope or pray. However, help, strength and resolution will come.

I know that this is true. Though I do not completely understand the Atonement, I do know that we are not expected to make it through our sufferings and trials alone. I know that there is always one person who understand exactly what we are going through because our Savior experienced it all for us. We need to lean on Him and use Him, so that He may succor, lift, help and carry us through life. We do not have to be perfect to use the Atonement or get help. Using the Atonement daily in our lives will help us to become better. There is always help available to get us where we need to be. We need to ask for that help. We need to do our part. Through the Atonement, the rest of what we cannot handle will be made up for. I am so grateful for the Atonement and for my Savior, my Friend, and my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. This is my testimony.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

One Year

A lot can happen in a year's time. I remember when 2012 ended, I had basically decided it wasn't the greatest year, but it had some huge positive points. I quickly decided that 2013 would be better. I didn't realize what was ahead. At this point, I should point out that this post is a little bit of a vent and is most likely filled with frustration. It is going to be very true and is difficult for me to write without adding some sort of "life is good" comment. However, I feel like the rawness of what has happened needs to be felt. Final warning: It's a long post!!!

On May 28th, 2013, a year ago today, I lost my voice. As most of you know, my voice never came back. For the past year, I have had weeks or months where talking was not really allowed or where whispering was difficult. It affected every single aspect of my life, and mostly in difficult ways. Working was difficult. Having a social life was really hard. Going and doing anything was embarrassing. I felt like I had to be strong and happy through it all. I soon grew tired of being strong for everyone. I couldn't do it anymore, but still kept going.

I remember the day so clearly. The night before I had told someone I thought I had allergies. When I woke up, I quickly figured out I was wrong and it was a cold. I felt like I could still do things. I had home teachers coming that day and a graduation party to go to for a youth in my ward. I went to a full day of work. By the time my home teachers came, I couldn't talk and was exhausted. I didn't make it to the party.

After two weeks, a co-worker called an ENT and set an appointment for me. At that appointment, I was told the my vocal cords had thinned and were not connecting. It was recommended that I have a stroboscopy. The diagnosis came after the strobe (which was not fun), near the end of July. Between July and September, I had been instructed not to talk at all. Easier said than done.

Therapy started in September. I was traveling a lot at that time because the specialist I needed was not located where I live. It started out at 3 times a week. I would work a part day, go down to therapy, stay with friend or family member down there (usually a different one each night), spend the next day checking in with work, practicing my vocal exercises, going to therapy and waiting for the next person to get off work, spend the night there, go to therapy early the next morning, drive right back, go to work and work long hours the rest of the week to get caught up on everything.

This took a toll on me. I wasn't keeping my self healthy, stress levels were high and I had no time or energy to do much of anything. I wasn't able to attend mutual and missed working with the girls on their Personal Progress. I had to take a new position at the temple, where my voice would not be used at all. I carried dry erase boards and little notebooks with me almost everywhere I went because it was the only way to assure I'd be heard.

My independence levels suffered. I was no longer self-sufficient in some situations. Friends would have to go with me to stores or other places to help me ask questions and make sure I could get what was needed.

Therapy was difficult. I had to relearn to breathe properly. I had to use more of my diaphragm, which was hard on my stomach. On bad stomach days, I couldn't do the exercises as well. My body placed huge stones in the path. We had to relieve tension that had been built up for a while in my neck through massage and electronic stimulation. I remember a few days of tears in therapy, which I later learned was normal.

I struggled going out in public for fear that people would try to talk to me or that I would have to try to explain this to them. I refused to be social in group settings because it would be to difficult to communicate. I felt that no one really wanted to meet someone who didn't have a voice. I didn't want to appear to be a snob and ignore people. It was embarrassing to attend church and other meetings, just to sit there and say nothing, not be able to sing, and more. I would get jokes that a spouse or children would love it if they got what I had. These were some definite low points.

There were so many annoyances and so many frustrations. Many nights, I would be in bed crying because there was no end in sight, I felt helpless, and everything else in my life seemed to be falling apart.

By October, other difficulties occurred that made the situation so much worse and made me hit more lows. Those low times were hard. However, during those hard times, there were little positives that would pop up (I stress the word little in this sentence). For example, I remember driving to therapy one day and being scared of having a rough session, like the one the day before. A song came on the radio and the words that hit me were: "Say what you want to say. Let the words fall out. Honestly, I want to see you be brave." I was intrigued so I listened to words, more carefully. Though I knew it meant something different, it became my theme song to be brave, let the words come and not hold my tongue.

One day, I had a major breakdown in therapy. That session was hard on me. It was one of the "tears" days. I began to realize more and more about myself at that time. Here is what I learned from that. I keep my feelings inside. I am not good at expressing them out loud or showing my true emotions (seems ironic reading this post). I feel like I have to be strong for everyone else and don't let or like people to see my weaknesses. I am overly independent. I have a low self-image and self-esteem. This session was pretty rough. I was told to go home and write about the issues. I got home, wrote a few notes, and went off to work. By the time I got off that night, I was a mess. A dear friend came over, and we went through everything on the list. We talked for a good couple hours. She helped me more than she even realizes. (I wish she could read this but I am pretty sure she won't see it because she is an amazing missionary right now).

Things started coming more but it was still pretty slow. Slower than it normally takes. I tried to stay positive, especially in public. I began to make light of my situation. I even dressed up as a mime for Halloween. My therapy was no longer three times a week. We went down from three times a week to two times a week, to once a week, to twice a month, with one of those appointments being up where I live, and finally once a month. Progress was being made and people could tell. There were still moments of embarrassment, like when I couldn't sing Christmas carols, or when I called my Mom on her birthday and couldn't really communicate still. There are so many more.

At my appointment in December, so much progress had been made that we were going to start focusing on strengthening the voice and adding inflections in. Up to this time, I sounded pretty robotic when I talked. I was given a CD and was told to do the exercises twice a day. I did really well with those, even over Christmas break, though I didn't record my time. After I got back from Christmas, I recorded my time and it was improving. Success!!! I was optimistic for my appointment in January. However, I got sick the first weekend of January and ended up having to cancel my appointment. I was still sick in February and emailed my therapist to let her know. When March came, I was recovering from surgery and we decided to wait a bit longer. Life got away from me, and we did not start therapy back up until May.

During the May session, they were noticeable differences. I had good technique, was not really having to focus on my breathing and was smoother and stronger with the noise. I was also able to hold tones longer, which is good considering everything that I had been through in the months previous. I am not done yet though. I am doing more exercises to strengthen and work on my upper register.  I am not in the clear and this will always be considered a disability in ways.

I have started Vocational Rehabilitation to find a career that will be good with my vocal issues, so they don't come back once I am back to a normal speaking voice. I have learned that not only are job interviews for the employer but the employee. I have to find the right fit. My voice is strong enough to do some things at the temple but not all. I am able to communicate better now. I have learned SO much through this experience that it is hard to put into words. It has made me a better person. It has taught me about myself and how important it is to be true to who I am and stand up for what I believe in and what is right. If I need to let me feelings out, I can write them, or exercise, or throw rocks into water, or talk them through with someone who understands. If I let them fester inside, it will do no one any good. Even though I have learned all of this, I still struggle with actually remembering and doing it.

There are still times when I struggle being around large groups of people. There are certain memories that come up when I see certain people, am in specific places and/or experience certain events. The rawness of the beginning and all the others emotions come into play. However, I never did blame this on anyone. I want to make sure this is clear. It was my fault in all areas. I am not perfect yet. There has been improvements but I still have things I need to work on.

I want to send out a HUGE thank you to everyone who has helped me through all of this. There were days I wanted to quit. There were times when I rebelled and talked when I shouldn't have. Thank you to those who let me stay with them while I was doing therapy. Thanks to the kids I babysit (and their parents) for letting me practice and for practicing with me. Sorry parents. Some of the exercises the kids couldn't get and they ended up spitting. Oops! Thank you for being understanding of why I had to text, email and message, rather than call. Thank you for making accommodations which helped me to not feel like an inconvenience and like I still had a role and purpose. Thanks for your patience, love and prayers. Thank you for accepting me with the condition. Thank you for sharing my emotions, my laughter when joking around (Whitney's whispers, The Little Mermaid, Squeakers, etc.), my tears, my frustrations, and my joys. I could not have made it through this year without all of you and am so blessed to know and have such wonderful people in my life. :)

Monday, May 26, 2014


What? You want to get to know me a little better. Oh, okay! One of the ways that I cope with nerves or fears or anxiety is through humor. This entry is an example.

I have an announcement!

I am having a ......... stone! (I have heard the pain is similar to childbirth)

It's a girl! Her name is Crystal. (Because that is the main build up of kidney stones. Ha Ha. Get it! So punny)

What? You want to see a picture of her? I'm happy to oblige.

Isn't she cute. :) They are estimating about 6 mm in size. 

As you can see, she is expected to arrive between Thursday (the day they will start me) and Saturday (hopefully not longer than that), and will be coming in multiple pieces.

There was enough time to plan a shower to welcome her to the world or to register. Hee Hee. Who knows. Maybe after she comes, I will have a party celebrating her arrival. 

(Can you tell I'm pretty nervous about the procedure. I'm excited for it to be over too.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Surprise for My Mom

This year has been a difficult one and I could not think of a gift for my mom for Mother's Day that adequately expressed my gratitude for all her help. Let me just say a few words about that.

My mom is one of the most giving and charitable people I know. She came down a few times during this ordeal. Each time, she would spend time cleaning my house, cooking for me, buying me groceries and more. She even helped me pack up things before and after surgery so it was easier when it came time to move. I cannot express how much that helped and how much it meant to me. She would check in with my daily to see how I was doing and what she could do to help. She is so kind. How do you repay someone who has done so much for you? An idea began to blossom.

The Idea:

A few weeks ago, during a phone conversation, she said something about me not making it home. I haven't been home all year because of finances and sickness. I knew that I had traveled. However, I figured if finances worked out, with the new job that I have been working and babysitting, I would surprise her and show up at home. I also wanted to bring her something that she would like. I thought on that and decided a plant may work.

Prep Work:

I started making phone calls to make sure that she would be in town. I told my dad my plan and he worked with me to make sure it could happen. I also let my brother and sister know it was a surprise, though my sister forgot. My mom and dad were going to be out of town when I arrived and so I planned carefully where I was going to park (not my normal spot) and arranged a time frame for arrival.

The Surprise:

I packed my bag, loaded up, filled the car with gas, and headed out. I made a stop at a greenhouse on the way out of town and potted a plant for her. Then, I took off. I arrived and took my stuff into the basement bedroom, including the plant. I spent the time waiting for them to come home on the floor. When they arrived, I realized I didn't know what I was going to say or how I was going to surprise her so I just sat there. My dad unlocked the door and walked in. My mom walked in and jumped. She was startled to see someone in her house. When she realized it was me, I said "Happy Mother's Day". It worked out so well. She had no clue.

The next morning, when I woke up, I went upstairs with the plant in my hand. When she saw that, she was pretty shocked too. She had said that my coming was gift enough. Hopefully, the plant was just an added bonus.

The Ending:

I spent the rest of the day going to church, having dinner with my Grandpa Ivey, doing dishes for her, and visiting my Grandma Parkin. It really was a wonderful day. We ended the day trying to figure out how to use her tablet to take a selfie and post it onto Facebook. I have to say, the picture that we attempted still makes me laugh out loud. Let's just say it got deleted pretty quickly after. We ended up with a pretty decent one.

I love my mom and am so glad that I could spend Mother's Day with her.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lessons Learned Again!

These posts are always fun because they allow me to share my crazy life in a different way. To preface this post, the past week did not disappoint as far as craziness goes. It was definitely not an ordinary week. I will now present my Lessons Learned from April 19-26th. Drum roll please! ......................................

~ Miracles Happen
~ The temple really is one of the greatest places on earth.
~ Rebellious moments can be entertaining. Nothing to rebellious though. This lesson is following a temple one.
~ When it's necessary, I can sleep on the floor, if I put a body pillow beneath me. It became my bed for two nights in a row.
~ On Easter, you crave Easter candy, which is hard when you can't eat it.
~ An Easter dinner of Powerade and Sprite makes you long for cheesy potatoes.
~ Even without going to church, you can still keep the Sabbath Day holy in thoughts and actions.
~ I'm grateful to have my own  bathroom so I don't feel guilty monopolizing it.
~ Suprep is nasty. It tastes like drinking a bottle of cough syrup. Blech!
~ Drinking 48 oz. of liquids in one hour is really difficult to do.
~ When doing the two above, it is helpful to have a good movie playing.
~ Along with the above, reading is not the easiest, because you have no desire to focus on words.
~ Waking up at 7 in the morning for more Suprep = No Fun!
~ There is no way to make the Post-Easter candy sales when you can't even leave the house.
~ My brain doesn't like to work before a procedure.
~ The prep for a Colonoscopy is worse than the procedure.
~ Me on sedation and pain meds entertains kids.
~ I like to repeat myself and flop down on my pillow.
~ I shouldn't try to make phone calls until at least five hours after the procedure or I'll end up making another one to clarify.
~ My friends are the best to help me get to and from the doctor's office, and to watch me for the time after. The GREATEST!!!! Thanks guys!
~ I have weird dreams with the meds mentioned above.
~ For some reason, it takes me a bit to shake of the meds and such. I felt like a walking zombie.
~ Being manipulated is No Fun!
~ Getting news that could be devastating, could be bad, unless you have already come to terms with it and would have not accepted it anyway.
~ 13 hour work days are craziness!!!
~ Apparently I can handle watching 7 kids at a time.
~ Being a mom of 4 and taking all four kids to Pack Meeting is an accomplishment I didn't think would happen this soon. We made it there, participated and got home alive.
~ Getting 4 kids to agree on dinner, going to get it, and having family dinner. New experience. Isn't bad at all.
~ A day like that is exciting, exhausting and adrenaline filled.
~ Thinking you are going to be the last person to show up to a meeting, and then showing up and being the first, is a Win!!!
~ Playing with kids outside is relaxing.
~ It's okay to rest after a crazy week. You don't have to feel social everyday.
~ I can do hard things.
~ To this day, I still love speaking in Spanish.
~ Humor helps ease stress.
~ Puddles on the kitchen floor make me miss warm spring and summer rains when you can splash in puddles. (I am still a kid at heart)!
~ My home teachers are amazing!
~ Setting up for a Girls Camp fundraiser is easier when decorations from an event earlier that day are left up.
~ There are some amazing Chili makers and Pie Bakers out there. Congrats to the winners!
~ People who eat chili and pie, drink lots of water.
~ I really don't miss talking in the microphone too much.
~ A church gym + lots of kids = Lots of running and screaming. There could even be a game of Zombie Turtles being played.
~ Seeing people you don't get to see as much, is so fun!
~ Seeing the smiles on so many peoples' faces makes all of this worth it.
~ After a long week, sitting down with a bag of M&Ms (pick your flavor) and a movie, is so extremely relaxing.
~ I can have two different (inanimate object) best friends in one week. I'm glad it changed from the beginning to the end. My bed is my best inanimate object friend right now.

Wow!!! That's a long list. This is what happens when so much happens. There is probably more too. However, I will spare you though. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Different Easter

Growing up, Easter meant egg hunts, yummy candy, going to church and then Easter dinner. We would sometimes get new Easter dresses. The was always a plethora of plastic eggs and fun. Because of my love of junk food, I honestly really enjoyed this holiday. Always, in the back of my mind, whether I showed it or not, was thoughts of Christ.

As I got older, I still loved my candy so Easter remained fun, even though the novelty of the Easter Bunny and egg hunts started to fade. Then, one year, we had money inside our eggs. Yup! That was a good year and I got excited for the hunt. At this point, the more religious aspect was more important to me too. It was more about that, though amazing candy was a huge plus!

Over the past 8 years, I have done everything I can to make Easter more about Christ and his sacrifice. I have taken time to read his story, study the atonement, watch movies about it and more. Especially living away from home, I was still able to make Easter a very special day.

This year is definitely different than any other Easter that I have experienced. Today is absolutely not about the candy, because I cannot eat it and have to avoid it. I am not able to attend church today, but have been remembering Him all day through the music I listen to and the movies I watch. It has been peaceful.

I have a procedure at the hospital tomorrow and my preparation for that started last night. I woke up around 4:30 in the morning and in the hours after have decided that leaving my apartment is not a good idea. I am officially on a clear liquid diet which means no Easter candy and none of the normal celebratory foods. I won't be able to eat normal food until post procedure tomorrow. However, as I have thought about this, it has helped me to focus even more on the reason we celebrate Easter.

My Savior, Jesus Christ.

He knows what I have been through and what I am going through now. He fasted for 40 days and was tempted. His task was more difficult than mine but yet He did it.

He is the perfect example.

He provided a way to overcome the hardships that we have. He gives us the strength we need or are lacking.

He submitted His will to the father's though he knew the path would be hard.

At times, he stood alone and yet, He will never leave us alone. He will be with us as our constant companion, friend, helper and brother.

His sacrifice was pure and perfect. He has given us the ability to be clean and pure, to become like him, to be submissive, and to overcome.

I am overcome with gratitude for my Savior, Redeemer, Friend and Brother. I know that what He did was for each one of us. It is real. It is true. It is beautiful. It is humbling. It is perfect.

We always hear people say they want to keep the spirit of Christmas with them throughout the year. I believe something similar can be said about Easter. May we ever keep the meaning of Easter and the gratitude we have for our Savior first and foremost in our lives. It will help each day be better and helps us more fully appreciate and understand our struggles and how truly our Savior understands.

*Pictures are from the LDS Media Library*

Sunday, April 13, 2014


In my family, all of the kids have birthdays within a month. This year, something amazing happened. My sister and I both got to see each other on our birthdays. This hasn't happened in a long time. Here's the story.

Spring break for my sister and her family happened to fall on the week of her birthday. For their spring break, they traveled to visit family. They ended up coming to my place on her birthday. We had a great day! When they first got here, we chatted for a bit. Then her husband and the kiddos went and got pizza and crazy bread. We had a picnic on my apartment floor. After lunch, we had brownies. I had made some with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and peanut butter chips (because she loves peanut butter and chocolate) and a pan of plain brownies. 

After brownies, we went bowling. It was a lot of fun. My brother-in-law dominated, but we really weren't competing. We were just having fun. My niece didn't want to play but could be found dancing around or playing with the hand dryer. After bowling, we went to park to play for a little bit before they had to head back to nana and grandpa's house. It was a great day!

Fast forward a few weeks. I was dreading my birthday, like nothing. The previous year had been one of the hardest years of my life. The week leading up, I had the strongest desire to run away over the weekend or on my birthday, which was on a Monday. The Friday before was a rough day, when I was invited to my sister's place for the weekend. After some texting back and forth, she finally convinced me to come. I headed up early Saturday morning and left on Monday morning. 

We celebrated my birthday both Saturday and Sunday, with yummy donuts. I have been craving those a lot lately. It was so nice to be able to spend the weekend with them, playing and relaxing and catching up. My sister and I were able to talk about life and so many things. It reminded me how nice it is to have someone to really talk to.My new nephew and I had some good conversations. My niece and one nephew requested I bring the bear and jaguar with me. Those are stuffed animals they love. They were so cute playing with them. I'm incredibly impressed with my oldest nephew and his amazing mind. I even beat my brother-in-law in a game of Twister.

When I woke up Monday, I went to change clothes and get ready. The two older boys were getting ready for school and I knew I had to leave that morning to get back for babysitting. As I came out, they all started singing Happy Birthday to me! It was so cute! I loved it and loved them for making this birthday special.

My day wasn't over after that. I made it back and opened gifts. I was so incredibly blessed. After I babysat, my parents came down and took me to dinner. We went to El Sol. My mom got fajitas, I got cheese enchiladas, and my dad got quesadillas. Then we went to the store and got cake. I chose a Cookies and Cream one. It was pretty much amazing!

I was also able to get together with a friend, watch a movie and work on a project, which made both of us happy. The days after, I continued celebrating with a job interview, dinner at El Torro Viejo, dinner at Firehouse, and a free F'zookie!!! It really was a great birthday, especially once I changed my attitude and realized I could celebrate surviving one crazy-difficult year and hope for a better one.

If only I could find a way to be with my brother on his birthday, then it would be the most amazing birthday season ever! Wish I could Bud! My siblings are really some of my best friends and I am so blessed to be related to them and learn from them. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Each Life That Touches Ours for Good

Ever since high school, this hymn from the LDS hymn book has been one that expresses my sentiments for the amazing people in this world. Especially over the past year, as I have battled the many interesting challenges that have come, many of these people have continued to impact my life. Below are the lyrics to the hymns.

  1. 1. Each life that touches ours for good
    Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
    Thou sendest blessings from above
    Thru words and deeds of those who love.
  2. 2. What greater gift dost thou bestow,
    What greater goodness can we know
    Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
    Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
  3. 3. When such a friend from us departs,
    We hold forever in our hearts
    A sweet and hallowed memory,
    Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
  4. 4. For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
    Devotion to the Savior's name,
    Who bless our days with peace and love,
    We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.
I have come to really see and appreciate these important people in my life and have realized that we cannot get through hard times in life without these amazing friends. The past two months have been difficult for me, but also, it's been a difficult year, as I have dealt with my vocal disorder as well. I cannot name all the people who have touched my life but I would like to share a few examples.

This morning I got a phone call from one of my favorite people ever. She has been the one who has helped me to remain positive as these trials have come. I had the privilege of working with her every Saturday at the temple. Her love of life and sense of humor cannot be matched. When I had a rough day, she would listen and within 30 minutes, we would be laughing and enjoying ourselves. There are not many people like Sister Jensen. I found out on Saturday that our time working together at the temple will be ending. It was a hard moment. When she called me this morning, we talked about how one life truly can help and touch another. She is how I want to be when I grow up.

I've been no stranger to service these past two months. This has not been easy, but I am convinced that one of the reasons that I have had to go through this, is to learn to ask for help. I am grateful for my dear friend, who while going through her own difficulties that I cannot even imagine, In the midst of all of these trials with her, she would text me daily and come and visit me quite often. Even when things may not have been going the greatest, she was there for me, constantly, though she had every reason not to be. She and I were able to make each other smile. I can always count on her to send a joke, or a cute story, or the perfect text at the right time. Even when her son was going through surgery, she was still checking in on me. She is a completely selfless and incredible friend.

One of the greatest blessings in my life, is the opportunity to serve the young women in my ward, through my calling as the Personal Progress leader. The girls have touched my life is so many ways. Also, I am convinced that I serve with some of the most amazing women ever. These women have been there for me through whatever has taken place, through prayers, new opportunities when old ones ended, sticking with me when I couldn't be there during therapy and sickness. These women are such examples to me, in so many ways, and are the type of role models I would want my girls to have, if I had girls. The lessons they teach, touch me and change me weekly.

My family, of course, make this list. I was blessed with parents who came down and helped me out before, during and after surgery, as well as called to check in with me. I cannot express my gratitude for the many, many things that they have done for me. It's indescribable. My sister, aka Nurse Heather, texted me multiple times a day to make sure I was well. She has always been there through the storms and seems to be someone who will text me on rough days and always knows the right things to say and the right times to say it. My brother brings rays of sunshine. Even though he is younger, it is nice to have someone who is in a similar walk of life and is experiencing similar situations. I could say so much more about each of them, but I'll sum it up by saying, My family is amazing!!!

Then there is someone I've loved since early elementary school days. She is one of my biggest heroes. What is even more amazing is how she and I ended up in the same place after college I have attempted to be there for her, with everything that she has gone through, and she has been there and more for me. She is so full of love for everyone. You ask her for one little thing, and she goes above and beyond. I have talked to so many people who have been touched by her charity. She is a strong and courageous person who shows genuine compassion and inspires everyone around her to give that tenfold.

One last one. My home teachers are the best. I never understood what true home teachers were until recently. I am blessed with a husband/wife companionship. Not only did they make their monthly visit, but they checked in with me consistently, helped when I needed it, brought me food, texted me when they went to the store, brought me the sacrament and let me know that they were ready and willing to help, if it were needed. I knew that they were genuinely concerned for me and it would not inconvenience them if I asked. They were more than just a monthly visit. They became true friends. That showed me how I want to be with those I visit and serve.

There are so many more people that I could add to this list. Just know that I am completely grateful for each of you. I am still trying to find the best way to express my gratitude to everyone who has helped me and touched my life. One thing is certain, the many amazing people who have been placed in my life have for sure touched me for the better. In closing, I want to re-share a few of the lyrics."Thou sendest blessings from above, through words and deeds of those who love. What greater gift dost thou bestow, what greater goodness can we know, than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways, strengthen our faith, enrich our days."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

When I Grow Up

On May 28, 2013, I lost my voice and it has yet to completely return, though it is getting closer every day. However, because of the voice, I have started a program called Vocational Rehabilitation. This means that through the services provided, they will help me figure out a career path and find a job. This process has been quite interesting. At the beginning of February, I participated in multiple assessments to help me to learn more about my self, my interests, and what fields would be the most successful for me or where I would be happiest.

I got the report back today on the results of those assessments. I was given homework to figure out which field or what career I would like to focus on. I am my harshest critic, and because of that, choosing a new career path is daunting. I looked at some of the recommendations and am starting to consider which field. It is hard to see myself doing these things, in ways. Yet, in other ways, many of these intrigue me. Because of this, I'd like to ask for your help. Below are some of the options that I am considering.

~ Dietician
~ Pharmacist
~ Physical Therapist
~ Radiologic Tech
~ Athletic Trainer
~ Counselor - Chem. Dep.
~ Guidance Counselor
~ Nurse Aide
~ Occupational Therapist
~ Private Investigator  (Hee Hee Hee)
~ Travel Agent
~ Court Reporter
~ Data Input Operator
~ Medical Assistant
~ Pharmacy Tech
~ Writer

Here's where you come in. I'd like to make this a requirement for anyone who reads this, but I don't want to force you. I really am not that way. However, your input would be appreciated and much needed. Please comment below, send me an email, a message or comment on the facebook post to let me know what you think. I know that the ultimate decision is mine but I feel like others see what I would be good at, more than I do. I have cut out some of the jobs that were listed because they are ones that I feel would not be a good fit for me or I just would not enjoy.

Thanks everyone!

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Whirlwind Week

Last weekend, I was getting pretty frustrated and discouraged. I had set a goal to make it outside at least once a day. Saturday, I did a lot more than usual and completely paid the price. It was a bit discouraging. Enough so that I began to think about and attempt to explore other options or look for ways to get answers before my appointment on the 18th.

On Sunday, I talked through these options with a few people and even asked one for contact information to set an appointment. By that evening, I was feeling pretty good about everything and was just waiting for everything I needed to get an new appointment set.

Monday, I was going to take it easy because I was determined to make a bigger outing on Tuesday. As I sat relaxing, I got a phone call from the GI telling me they had a cancellation and they had an appointment that day in 45 minutes that I could have. To say I was excited, was an understatement. I got to the appointment and ended up waiting for the doctor for a while. He came in a reviewed everything with me, clear back to procedures done in 2007. After talking and looking at all my results, he sent me down for blood tests and three different ultrasound tests. The ultrasound tech was the same guy who had done my ultrasound a few weeks earlier and he remembered me. When he finished the ultrasounds it was about 4:55 pm. I told him the doctor had me going right back up to him and was wanting to review everything. I went back up to his office and they put me in a room while they waited and reviewed all the tests. He came in gave me a phone number and told me he wanted me to call and see this surgeon first thing the next morning and told me he thought I needed my gall bladder and appendix out. The ultrasound report showed that they could not find my appendix at all.

First thing Tuesday morning, I called the surgeon's office and set an appointment. I went in for that appointment and talked with the surgeon. After a discussion and examination, he told me he 90-95% sure that it was my gall bladder and that he wanted to take it out. After working out a few things and making a few phone calls, the surgery was set of the next day. That meant I needed to head over to the hospital and do my pre-registration and pre-op work. When I got home, I started contacting people and making arrangements for the next day. As my pre-op rebellion, I went to New Beginnings that night because my young women mean the world to me and I wanted to be there to support them.

On Wednesday, my parents showed up and we got things in order for the surgery. It was originally scheduled for 11 am, but it got moved back to 1:45. Before going, my dad gave me a priesthood blessing to help me during the surgery. We arrived early, which was fine, they put me back in my room and we were able to get situated and relaxed in the room. As they time drew nearer, I had moments of anxiousness. I had no clue what to expect. The hooked me up to IVs and asked me questions. The surgeon had a surgery at another hospital right before mine, so was running late. Once he got there, things went full speed. He talked to us for a few minutes, then I was off. I was really nervous, but was out before I knew it. After the operation, I really don't remember a ton. I wasn't funny, which was kind of disappointing. I was more passive saying "I don't know" to basically everything. I was released later that day and sent home to recover.

My parents were so great and they spent that night and the next day with me. They pushed me to drink, attempt to eat a few things, and walk or be upright more than I would have on my own. They were great in helping me with cooking and cleaning. I am so grateful that they were here for me, I could not have done it without them. By the time they left, I was able to walk by myself for a short distance and was a little less out of it. I had made arrangements for a friend to stay the night with me because the middle of the night bathroom runs worried me and it would help to have someone there. It was more a comfort blanket than anything but it really did help.

Each day I am seeing improvements, which is exciting. I was surprised and grateful for the visits on Valentine's Day. I was expecting to spend most all of that day by myself. However, good people showed up and brought me cheer and helped to lift my spirits. It was really a nice day. I had a few visitors on Saturday and was able to be more independent than the other days. This seems to be the pattern right now and I can't help but be extremely grateful for all the support and help I have received. I am very hopeful that this truly was the answer and that my life will be back to "normal" soon, whatever normal means. :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

What's Going On

It's time to come clean. I have been dropping hints and being vague about what is going on, but I think that it is time to let it out and share with you all what exactly is going on with me and my wonderful body. I've had some people asking or people who are kind of surprised when I tell them I'm sick so I am making an announcement. Please note that I do not write this for sympathy or attention, but more to inform and let you know where things are at and where I am at with the whole situation.

On January 4th, I woke up and was in pain. I thought it was the normal pain that comes with gastroparesis. That commonly happens and so I decided to take it easy that day and I'd be better by the next day. Sunday came, and a friend dropped by to pick up a few things and drop some things off. The pain was still pretty intense. While she was here, I got sick and knew that I was definitely not getting better, but getting worse. I decided to stay home that day, which was one of the hardest decisions for me. Later on, I noticed that the pain seemed to be centralizing in the right flank of my body. I called my parents to ask for advice and was told to go to Instacare immediately. The only problem was I couldn't get there before it closed. I promised to go first thing the next morning.

At Instacare, after checking the basics and all, I went in the room to wait for the doctor. When she came in, she mentioned my heart rate was at 140, I was dehydrated and that the pain was most likely a kidney infection, so she wanted to put me on IVs to help with all of that. I was there for 2 hours as they pumped liquids through. I was hopeful that with the diagnosis I would be feeling better soon. I was diligent about taking the medicine (even though it didn't seem to be working).

On Thursday, they changed my medicine, when they heard that it didn't seem to be working. Once again, I was hopeful. However, Friday night found me in the worst pain I had experienced. It was difficult to move. I couldn't even make it to the bathroom. I waited it out, because I'm stubborn and refused to go to the ER. The pain finally decreased and I slept well. However, I still hurt pretty bad pain the next day. After numerous people trying, one friend finally convinced me it was time to go to the ER.

In the ER, I had a catheter of my bladder, got put on some crazy medicines, had a CT Scan and spent some more time on IVs. It was a whirlwind. It didn't feel like I was there that long, but I really was. After the CT Scan, they came in with the results. They told me that on top of my diagnosis of infection they found a kidney stone in the left kidney which was passable (my pain is on the right side) and a small ovarian cyst on the right. They requested that I follow up with my primary care doctor or a Urologist.

I went to the Urologist on Wednesday. It was a breath of fresh air. I felt like he really wanted to find answers and took the time to explain things, explore options, and listen. It was nice. He also showed me the CT Scan, which mean I got to see the stone. It is 6 mm and is not passable. He also said none of the test results he had seen showed any sign of a kidney infection. He sent me to have a ultrasound, which came back normal and then did a stomach x-ray. Since then, a few other things have happen that have become a little concerning.

A week after that, on a Thursday, I had a HIDA Scan. This was to test the functions of the liver, gallbladder, and such in that area. It sounded simple and not very intimidating. I was to fast for 4 hours, go in and sit under a scan camera for almost two hours, while they injected a tracer, waited, and then a flush. I wasn't very comfortable to begin with, but as soon as the flush entered my system, the pain was intense. There was a point I was in tears because of pain. However, it was comforting because I could feel they strength of the prayers that were being offered on my account. However, today I got a phone call from the Urology department saying that the test came back normal. They said the next step is to wait for the Gastro doctor, which isn't until mid-February, unless there is a cancellation.

What happens next is not in my hands. I am trusting that there is a reason I am going through this pain and I know that whatever happens next is the Lord's will. Do I get discouraged? You bet. This pain is not normal for me. and not getting answers is hard. However, I am okay with whatever that may be. If this is a something that I need to struggle with for a while, then so be it. I know that I am in good hands and that whatever happens, is for a reason. I will take whatever it is and run with it as much as I can. They key is to make the best out of every situation.

I want to thank you all for the outpouring of help that I have received. There have been so many people (I won't name them all because I am sure that I'd forget someone) who have been supports. There have been visits, food, blankets, meds, prayers, flowers, books, movies, CDs, cards, candles, candies, texts, and so much more. Each and every single one of these things has made this a little easier to go through. As an independent, stubborn person, it has been so humbling to ask for help, receive help, and admit that I can't do this alone. Each of you have been helpful, whether you have known it or not. Just knowing there are good people in the world makes life so much better. Your good thoughts and prayers help. Please keep sending them.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What I've Learned About Myself

The past week has been pretty difficult for me. (What a positive way to start a post, I know). It is said that hard times challenge us, change us and teach us things we've never known. Well, I have learned a lot. Some of these things I already knew, but we re-taught this week.

  • I'm stubborn
  • Not feeling well gives me crazy dreams
  • I have such amazing family and friends
  • Movies and books get old after a while
  • Seeing little kids makes me smile, even when I'm in pain
  • I don't drink enough liquids
  • I try to put on a face that I'm ok, even when I'm not
  • Asking for help is hard for me to do
  • There are so many people out there who care and want to help
  • I'm spoiled
  • Prescriptions make me feel blah sometimes
  • Other times, they actually help
  • Heavenly Father is so mindful of me and my situation
  • I'm pretty loopy and entertaining on pain meds
  • I'm falling apart
  • The pictures on the CT machine, kind of make me laugh.
  • Heated blankets at the hospital are  new favorite
  • My "Peanut Gallery" make waiting for help/diagnosis/whatever so much more entertaining
  • Me + Texting in the ER = Not Good = I don't like doing it
  • Some meds make me tired
There has been more I've learned, but these are the ones I am processing right now. After reading this, you may need a bit of an explanation. Without to much information or too many specifics, I have been in pain for over a week. In the previous post I mentioned being on IVs and all. Well, we ended up changing the prescription, but the pain didn't stop. Friday night, I had the worst pain of my life. However, due to my stubbornness, I didn't go to the ER. Yesterday the pain was not the worst ever status, but still awful. My friend took me to the ER, where they did blood work, catheters, CT scans and gave me some crazy pain meds. Needless to say, we don't have all the answers yet, just a few of them. I'm grateful to know what I do and look forward to finding out more on Wednesday.

This has taught me a lot and showed me ways I need to be better. Still climbing in this battle, so I'm sure there is more to learn, but am grateful for what I have learned and for ALL the help I have received. I couldn't do anything with all of you, and your good thoughts and prayers.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

I have high hopes for this year. I'm seriously excited for 2014. So much happened in 2013 that made it a tough year. It was also a year of great growth. I learned a lot about myself and learned so many ways that I could be better and do better in all areas. It is quite exciting to learn these things.

With that, setting goals (which is something I've struggled with in the past) was easy. I have a few things that I want to change and things I want to be better. They are personal and so I won't share them, but I am focusing on the things that I can control.

After the first few days, I had high hopes. Things were going well. I was feeling good. Progress was being made. I was truly happy. I got back in to the swing of babysitting. It was so fun. With one family, we even had a pajama party and the kids were so well behaved. We built with legos, had a dance party, decorated paper pillow cases, had a great lunch and more. Yes, if this was any sign, 2014 is going to be great.

The past few days have been a bit more challenging.I was excited because every year I get the first two Saturdays off at the temple, due to cleaning schedules, so I get to sleep in. Little did I realize what was about to hit. I was in pain all day and didn't really leave the couch. The other things I wanted to do, did not get done. When I woke up Sunday, the pain was still there and added nausea. Needless to say, it was an awful day and I began to recognize some of the symptoms. They were similar to something I had a lot growing up, but the pain made me think it had progressed more.

I went to to doctor this morning. My heart rate was really high, I was dehydrated, and the I was correct on the other part of the diagnosis. I was doing so fantastic that the doctor put me on IVs to add hydration, get me some medication and hopefully bring the heart rate down. Two hours later and two bags of fluids later, I was  re-evaluated and they said I was fine to go home with instructions to take meds, drink lots of liquids, not to do much of anything except walk around a bit, and rest. We are still awaiting results on two tests, which may cause medications to be change or more tests, but it is a step in the right direction. :)

Yep, that's right. I'm not too discouraged about this. Things like this happen and it is not going to stop me from making 2014 better than 2013. In fact, maybe this will get the blahness out early. I have realized how much optimism can help in these situations. I found it coming out naturally as a nurse came in to check on my fluids, she and I started joking around a bit. It made sitting in a dark room in a doctor's office so much more bearable.

I have not given up on 2014. It is still going to be a great year and can't wait to see what new adventures come up this year. Happy New Year! May it be so full of happiness and joy and love and peace and adventures!