Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 in review

MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year!!

We can hardly believe it is that time of the year already! Where on earth did the time go? I remember many many years ago when I was still living at home I overheard my mom talking with some of my aunts who were over visiting, how fast time was going. All I could think of was how SLOW time was moving and how I couldn’t wait till I was done school so that I could get out in the real world to LIVE. Now I would like to be back there where our biggest problems were passing our math test and if someone was going to ask us to the school dance 

It has been a roller coaster of a year with many ups and downs through it all. But if we did not have these challenges we would never know if we were growing or not. Although I have to admit some days I would just like to pull up the blankets over my head and stay there!

Our extended family has had many blows this year. Between the two of us we have had 6 deaths due to cancer and still we have 3 more members struggling valiantly to hang on through their battle. Although we know death is a part of life in our heads our hearts aren’t always on the same page and we struggle with our grief. To top that we have had our parents being hospitalized twice each and living this far away from them has really made us feel at times we live on the other end of the planet. We ended up making 3 trips back to Sask this year which was a struggle for us both financially and physically but you do what you have to.

March saw my 3rd year of being cancer free and we celebrated once again by getting together with our children and grandchildren for a pink party! We had all these pink balloons where everyone wrote a message on it and at the right time (the time that I had the surgery) we released them in the air. Many of our family members and friends across Canada and USA did the same release where they lived at the same time frame in their zone and that meant so much to me. Then we had this big food spread that was all pink or variations of pink 

In May I did have to go back for surgery once again which was not expected. But I continue to do what I need to so I can survive. It was supposed to be a simple in and out the same day but I started hemorrhaging in the recovery room a couple of hours after the surgery and the surgeon had to be called back in to find out what was going on so had to go back into the OR. The simple became a 3 day stay.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation contacted me at the beginning of the year asking me if I would be willing to host the first Western Canada community size fund raiser Yard Sale for the Cure for them in May. I jumped at the chance to do work for them. Of course that was before I knew the extent of the work and how time consuming it was. But it was for an amazing cause and worth every second. The news stations ended up covering the event and we were very successful. We had live entertainment, live auction as well as silent auction, celebrities and of course the yard sale. It definitely was worth every sleepless night leading up to that moment!From January to October I worked hard at their events, raising money, raising awareness, standing on corners at events distributing fliers, being in the July 1st Canada Day parade, volunteer at CBCF booths throughout the year at different socials and events. It was so worthwhile and I loved every second and every pain.

In May we also had our 16th grandchild born to our family. Jazmynn Aimee Kamille. She is such a cutie! We thought for sure that would be the last baby in our family for awhile but a couple of months ago we found out our son Kim and daughter in law Mary will be expecting their next baby in the spring! We are ecstatic to say the least! We sure love being grandparents!

In August we went for our family camping trip for 10 days. It was nice to get away and just relax. We had gotten rid of our trailer last year and were back to tenting so that took getting used to. The bending to zip and unzip was getting to my lower back until Keith figured out how to do it. He is such a McGiver when it comes to inventing things. Thank goodness!

In October I did my 4th 5K Run for the Cure to raise money for the CBCF again. Keith was unable to race with me this year as he still has casts on his feet but I pushed him in a wheelchair and he was still able to complete the race with me. Did wonders for my biceps let me tell you lol.Together we did the run along with 2 very special friends Leo and Maria. I was emotionally, mentally and physically drained when we got home that day. With every step I take I see all the pink tshirts (the survivors)but I also see all the signs and people there running for those that did not survive. It always reminds me of how fragile my life is of how short it is. But through it all it reminds me of how much more I can do.

But a few days later I get an email from someone who tells me that my "exuberance" in what I had accomplished was a slap in the face in their family because a female member of their family had not survived her cancer. Talk about being brought back into reality! It tore right through me that people would think that because I was happy I was still alive and able to do the work I do I was putting others down that had not survived. Keith tried telling me to ignore it that it was their problem and what exactly had that family done in honour of that family member? I knew he was right but it was still enough for me to cancel the rest of my commitments for the rest of the year.

That month was also our 16th Annual Finding Your Roots Genealogical Seminar at our Family History Centre which I am the Director of. We had over 350 in attendance that day and workshops ranging from Beginners to Advanced Research and how to search countries from all over the world. Family history is my passion (next to my grandkids) and I thoroughly enjoy helping other people find their ancestors. I am still the Director of the Family History Centre and have been here for 5 years now.
I will be glad when this year ends though.

We went to Alberta to our son Kim’s for Christmas this year as we have not been there for 4 years. They came down 2 years ago so our turn to return the favour. We really miss being with them and their children and so we try our best to get together a couple of times a year.It was a wonderful time and it put me back on track emotionally.

Our Christmas at home the week before had had some off moments. Some family members did not attend for their reasons, others were cranky and ended up having to take a time out in their car. It put a damper on the celebrations to be sure. Keith and I had a long talk on the drive to AB. deciding if we want to continue having big family dinners and celebrations. we thought of letting our children have family dinners at THEIR house, we can show up in time to eat, visit for a short time and as soon as it is time to clean up we can leave to go home. Either that or have one family at a time. Or we can just go away by ourselves but that idea did not go over well. I am just too family oriented to be away. But there certainly has to be some changes. Sometimes a mom just likes to hear thank you, and appreciate all the hard work that goes into a family celebration.

We got back on the 27th just in time for me to go for my next surgery on the 28th. A nodule was found in my right thyroid gland. They did a biopsy a few months back and the pathology came back showing abnormal cells. They could not say for certain that the cancer has come back but because they are abnormal we are not willing to take the chance. They removed the right thyroid as well as the nodule as it was quite meshed in with the gland and they could not take the chance of accidentally nicking the nodule and letting the cells get into the blood stream if it is cancerous. This was my 10th surgery in 4 years and I tire of it. But when I think of what my alternative is I guess it is the lesser of the 2 evils.

Keith is still fighting with WCB for his work injury! It now has been 18 months since the original injury at work and a year since his knee surgery. He had another scan on the opposite knee a couple of months ago and it is showing tears in the ligaments as well. He now only has a cast on one foot but walking with one cast and one shoe puts him at a bad angle and his hip and knee on that leg really aches by end of the day. Middle age really sucks! He has filed an appeal with the court and they called a couple of days ago stating it can take up to 6 months before they decide whether or not to accept the 2nd leg injury (broken bones in foot and tears in the knee ligaments) as part of the original claim. In the meantime we have had to pay for the 2nd cast and costs etc out of our pockets. They will reimburse if they accept the claim but it does not help for now.

Our children are all well and doing pretty good. Doug is busy opening up new branches with his company which pays well but makes it hard to be home to spend time with Dallas. Eugene has just started working at one of the branches. Kim has gone back to University to get his Masters which is not always easy when you have a family. Lareta is busy being a full time mom. Jody has switched roles with his wife and is now a stay at home daddy.

All in all we are blessed in our lives. There are hiccups at times but we just see those as opportunities to grow. Keith and I are both ordinance workers at our new temple and that reminds us constantly that Christ is in charge and that it isn’t enough to have faith in Him but we need to have faith in His timing as well.

Last year I chose the song "Today I'm Going to Try and Change the World" as my "theme" for the year. The words represented how I tried to live each and every day. Treat my neighbour as I would want to be treated, tell my children I love them, live each day to the fullest. I think I did pretty good. The virtue I worked on was patience. That tested my patience no pun intended but even if I was not completely successful with it 24/7 I am better then I was the year before and will continue to use it to work through this year.

This year the song I am going to use for my theme is "Where Your Road Leads" Here are the lyrics:

I believe in miracles
I believe in signs
And I believe that mountains move
One prayer at a time

If I could be an angel
I'd make your every wish come true
But I am only human
Just a woman loving you

Where your road leads
I will follow
When your heart bleeds
I'll be there for you
When your night grows dark
And you can't find your tomorrow
Then you can follow me

Someday we'll look back and see
Our footprints in the sand
Sometimes you would carry me
And sometimes you'd be in my hands

If we can love forever
That won't be long enough for me
I want to hold you tender
Be your shelter all you need

Oh, we can be each other's guiding light
Through this long and winding life

Where your road leads
I will follow
When your heart bleeds
I'll be there for you
When your night grows dark
And you can't find your tomorrow
When you've lost sight of your dreams
Then you can follow me"

The virtue I am going to take as mine this year although it really is not a virtue at all is HOPE. I will hope that we will not lose any more family members this year; I will hope that my family dynamics can mend; I will hope that I will not need any more surgeries; I will hope that my children will set an example to their children; I will hope my grandchildren will remain strong in their faith and beliefs; I will hope that I will be a good friend to many, hope I will always be there in their time of need; I will continue to hope to be a daughter of God who is always proud of my choices.

That is my plan for 2012.