Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cancer is Crazy Expensive!

When most people think of cancer, rarely do they think of the cost. Unless you've been there. Trust me! Years ago, when someone would say, they had cancer...or a family member did, I'd feel bad. Like why did it have to happen to them? I'd pray for them. To have strength, to help them through their treatments, and for their health. But I NEVER thought about the money side of it.

Until my Goddaughter was diagnosed. I know what it cost my friends. They picked up, and moved across the country. Initially, they rented a hotel by the week. When it got too expensive, my dear friends spent day and night in the hospital. When Mr. C would have to go work, he'd come home. For a few weeks. Mrs. C slept on a hospital chair.

And as friends, we tried to help. We played extra gigs. Had fundraisers. Sold items. Held raffles. Pitched in, our own money. We did everything we could, for almost 5 years. It was crazy, at times. We knew that my Little Cinderella's healthcare, was covered. For the most part. Because of a senior doctor I was working with. He made that possible. And when things wouldn't work out, he and his wife would take care of the bills.

But as far as our friends, it was tough. I think they spent nearly 2 in a hospital. Coming home, when all of us could send money. Getting hotel rooms, when there was some extra cash. Or we'd gift them a hotel room for a couple of weeks. But it was tough.

Not to forget, they really couldn't work. They had a small child, fighting for her life. She spent so much time, in the hospital! And they were so far away. As her health improved, and Mr. C could leave for work more often...they rented a small apartment. Down the road from the hospital. But it still made things tough. Money was so tight. And the only thing that was on their radar, was their sweet baby girl.

Like I said, we did everything to send extra money. I mean, they still had needs. Food, basic hygiene, basic needs. Yes there was the RMH from time to time. But when you are looking at the length of time they were, it starts to not be an option...

With my Dad, we were lucky. In some ways. He was older. We were able to get him better insurance. My Mom could work. I could care for him. At night, when she was home, I could work. Yes, there was good insurance. Yes, we lived 5 minutes from the hospital. Yes, we could work.

But it was still expensive. I was so glad, I was working. Insurance covered a HUGE portion, of the medical bills. But not everything. And being that he spent a third of a year, in the hospital...those bills rack up fast!

Looking back, even in a good week...when he was relatively healthy, it was expensive. We'd have 2-3 appointments a week. If it was a specialist, a treatment, or a surgeon...we paid between $35-100 an appointment. If it was a regular checkup with his primary doctor, it was $5. Just on doctors' visits, we could spend $200 a week! When you think about having to see the oncologist, going to radiation, having chemo, testing, and was tough.

I never let my parents know. I covered two thirds of the cost. And then there was the medication. I look back now, and it floors me! It shouldn't. Because I was at Walgreen's at least once a week. My Dad had other health issues, as well as the cancer. But it was between $1500-2000 a month...for medication and supplies. I know! My paychecks, never seemed like enough.

Did we have good insurance? Heck yeah! I think about it now, and I know we would have never made it, without insurance. I think in total, my Dad paid $200 a month. Plus whatever Medicare charges. But it covered a lot. I knew the Ambulance cost. I knew co-pays. We had free OT, PT, and Home Healthcare. Which included visits from the nurse 3-4 times a week. A doctor, whenever we needed it. Social workers, nurse coordinators, etc.

But now that I look back, I can see how people choose to not have treatments. It's not always that a person doesn't want the treatments. You just can't afford them. Especially if you have a ton of doctors, medication, do multiple treatments a week.

When I knew  my Mom was sick, I panicked. For a ton of reasons. Financially, I was not sure we could do it. Like I said before, she's not eligible for that same insurance, until early next year. When you think about going to an's easily $200 out of pocket. To start with. Each time!

Forget about trying to get a doctor, when you are uninsured. Or trying to have testing done. Thousands of dollars! Tons of headaches. Countless phone calls! I can't even begin to think, what treatments would be like. It's crazy! I think about the pain meds, chemo meds, anti-nausea meds...I get nauseous!

Then I think about the basic stuff. Like I can't work. I have to take care of her. She can't work. There is no one else, to lean on. Or so it feels. Because you still have utility bills, to pay for food, and gas. Do you know, that 98% of our appointments with my Dad, where across town. You need to have a good working vehicle.

Oh, and that food thing. Most things don't taste right. And if I think about all the supplements my Dad scares me. Ensure is expensive. Insurance doesn't cover it. He used brown rice protein a lot. That stuff is expensive. Regular food doesn't taste right. Things just aren't right. With my Dad, there was a lot of McDonald's. It's what tasted right...for him. With my Mom, it's hit and miss. Whatever she asks for, I try and get it.

Then there are things like equipment. We gave some away, after my Dad's passing. We lent some out...and now it's missing. So I have to run around, looking for those things, my Mom is needing. Or will soon need. And there are clothes. My Dad had clothes, ranging in size from small to extra large. When they lose weight, you have to buy more. Clothes are not cheap. My Dad's weight could fluctuate 20 pounds in just a few weeks. With my Mom, she's dropped quite a few sizes. Quickly. And she hasn't yet started treatment.

When you think about all those things, it's overwhelming. It's the stuff I don't talk to people about. Like when I take her to the ER, and while she's having a test...they're asking for a payment. Or when the bills start coming in. I just grin and bare it. I don't want her to worry about those things. She needs to worry about fighting cancer.

It was tough, the last go around. With my Dad. I'm pulling up my boot straps already. I know it's going to be tough. I know we have a long road ahead of us. I'm thankful for our family and friends. Who are rallying behind us. But I know, they can't pay our bills, fill our fridge, or take care of the medical costs.

So I have faith, that we'll make it. I'll continue to sell on Etsy. And hopefully, at Craft Fairs. I pray, that some insurance miracle happens. And well, I hope that she's not as sick, as I think she is. It's a long road. Sometimes scary. Other times, familiar. Mostly, unknown. 🐦

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Few Links For You

Quite a few people, are looking to donate some money to my Momma. So I setup a few ways, to make that possible. Of course, you are welcome to send her money. Friends and family, let me know if you need her address. If you are looking for something online, I set up a Go Fund Me page. And you can also send her money through PayPal.

Also, I'll have my Square available. Anytime I see you in person. You can make a donation using your credit card or debit card. I'll also have this available, at the dinner. If you want to buy tickets, crafts, baked goods, etc. 🐦

Monday, November 28, 2016


My Mom and I feel so blessed. The last few days, have been full. Of lots of love. Family time. And a little holiday cheer. It's also been a long while, since we last made it to church. But on Thanksgiving morning, we made it. And it felt so good!


It's been that one piece, that has been missing for a while. My Mom happened to be feeling better. So we decided to make the trip. And even though, she was in a bit of physical pain. I could see how beneficial it was to her. We also made it today. Lord knows, he has blessed us so much!

We also found out today, that there are other people in our community, needing prayers. And love. And support. A friend of ours, has breast cancer. She had surgery recently. And will soon, start her treatments. One of the Fathers at our church, also has cancer. And they had a fundraiser for him, at church today. We went. Enjoyed a nice breakfast. That was HUGE! And it felt good, to lend a "Hand Up."

But when I say that we are blessed, I mean it. We have family that is rallying behind us. Friends who are lifting us up. And faith, that is helping us, to carry our troubles. When I think about the last few days, all of these things, were in action.

On Wednesday, a friend who is more like family, came to visit us. It had been a LONG while, since we last saw her. And it was so nice to catch up. To see pictures of her family. To hear that things are going relatively well for her. Honestly, just to talk to Rose, felt good!

My Mom and I, spent Thanksgiving with a small group of our family. But it was nice to see my cousins, my aunt, and uncle. We were so blessed, to spend the day, with my Nanie. Who isn't doing well. And for me, that was the biggest blessing. Making memories, with my Nanie.

When I think about loved ones, that have passed on...holidays ALWAYS come to mind! I think about those people, who spent the day with us. I'm not sure what the next year will bring. Or how many of our loved ones, will join the Lord. But I am thankful, to have spent the day, with our family.

It just got me thinking. Will my Nanie be here next year? My Mom? Who will the Lord call home? What will our family look like? Will I be working next year? That's quite possible. Will there be more people in the family? Will I begin a family? Maybe add a fur baby...

Lots of unknowns. We also spent Friday evening with my aunt, uncle, and a bunch of my cousins. Mostly from out of town. And that is ALWAYS a blessing. Just seeing family, that you don't see often. Having time to laugh and smile. To forget about your problems. To share good food. And make a ton, of new memories. The pizza was so good, I didn't even get a picture!

Today, we finished our weekend...with a visit with our good friends. Who we were supposed to join them for Thanksgiving. But they understood, our need to be with my Nanie. Such amazing people! I know the Lord blessed us, when he sent them to us. Leonor and Albert, have been that constant, that we've needed.

They are much more than friends. Family really. For a long time, Mrs. H wanted me to be part of the family. And I joked, if they had had one more son, I'd have been all in! I mean, all their sons are married. What's a gal to do? I still dream about marriage, and lots of babies!

No lie, Leonor and Albert are our family. And it's just nice, to get to reconnect with them. Sometimes, we let lots of time pass. Without seeing or talking to each other. But whenever we do see each other, it feels like no time has passed. And we pick up, right where we left off.

Are we going through a difficult chapter? YES! Are we blessed? Most certainly! With so much love, support, and prayers. Funny how on Thanksgiving weekend, so many more blessings happen. Many more, than you'd think. And all I can say is, Thank You Lord! For all that you've blessed us with. You are my strength. 🐦


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Update on Tickets

Wow! I never realized, how many tickets we'd go through. It's a good thing. A very good thing! Even if, I spend an entire night...making books. Cut, count, number, staple, count again...

We haven't been selling tickets, for a long time. But I'm shocked at how quickly everything is moving. I didn't anticipate this. And when I put in the initial order, I didn't order nearly enough. So some of you, have been waiting for your tickets. Wednesday I picked up a second order. And spent a couple days, putting books together. And handing out tickets.

Right now, we have 500 raffle tickets...out. Almost 200 adult dinner tickets. And 50 children tickets. I'm still in SHOCK! Pick me up, off the floor. If you need tickets, let me know. And I'll get them to you. Ticket prices are $2 for raffle tickets. Or $20 for a book of 12. $10 for adults. And $5 for kids.

We also have a HUGE announcement, later this week. It has to do with, some BIG ticket items. And another raffle. These tickets will cost more. But will definitely be well worth it! So come back. You don't want to miss our announcement. 🐦

Friday, November 25, 2016

T-Shirt Sale

I got an e-mail this morning. Our first order of T-Shirts has shipped! They should be here, in a couple of days. This makes me so excited! Except, I didn't get my order in, on time. So I'll have to wait, until the next campaign.

During our last T-Shirt fundraiser, I got a ton of requests. For some new colors. So I set up a second fundraiser. And I hope I'm able to reach everyone, that wants a shirt. This will probably be the last campaign, with this design. I hope to come up, with something different...after the holidays.

Again, all the shirts are $20. From kid sizes and up. There are six colors to choose from. Orange...for leukemia. I'm hoping this is our biggest seller. I also have pink, green, and blue again. And new to this campaign, I added black and purple.

If you would like to order a T-shirt, just click here. I will leave this campaign open until after our Fundraiser Dinner. So if people at the dinner are interested, they can also buy a shirt. Which means, they won't be delivered until sometime around Christmas.

For all of you, who are supporting my Momma...Thank You! Every single bit helps. Cancer is expensive! And I don't want her to worry about these costs. All of you, are making that possible. It means the world to me! 🐦

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish everyone, a very Happy Thanksgiving! I'm super excited about today. It's one of my favorite holidays. We're invited to so many places today. And I'm really happy to get to see so many friends and family.

I'm also very excited to eat lots of yummy food. Without having to do all the cooking. I know, that must sound horrible. But it's been a tough year. And having a fun day, like today to celebrate, without all those other things to worry definitely an answered prayer!

Wishing you and your families a happy, safe, and fun holiday. Filled with lots of memories. It's not always easy, to enjoy holidays. But look for the positive. The laughter. The memories. Food, football, family, friends, and fat pants. Yes, I said fat pants! I know we're all dragging them out, on this great food holiday! Happy Turkey Day! 🐦

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Years ago, my dear Goddaughter was diagnosed with leukemia. She battled it, for nearly 5 years. I'm so happy and proud to say, she kicked cancer's butt!

Along the way, there was much distance between my little Cinderella...and the rest of us. My friends picked up and moved, across the country. To fight for her life. And would only come home, once...maybe twice a year.

All of us, felt helpless. Like we couldn't support them enough. We weren't nearby. Yes, we were only a short phone call away. But I couldn't physically be there. I made a few trips, over the years. But it just wasn't the same. Yes, there were many late night calls, with my Cinderella's mom. A very good friend of mine. But it was tough. On all of us.

My group of friends, we rallied together. Did what we could. In a perfect world, we would have delivered 3 hot meals a day. Been there, when they needed a break. Had little parties, to make that sweet girl smile. But we weren't there.

Instead of all the things we couldn't do, we thought about all the things we could do. We could get together, and make cards. Send packages. Help raise money. Pay a few bills for them. Pitch in, for plane tickets home. We did it all!

Each family, in our group of friends, got a week. We'd send a care package, when it was our week. When it was our month, we'd help with one of their bills. In that perfect world, we would be delivering food. Instead, we were sending books, games, snacks, gift cards, anything we thought they'd need or want.

When our friends would make it home, we'd always celebrate with an Orange Party for our little Cinderella. We embraced orange. The color for leukemia. And as a group, we picked Wednesdays. Every single Wednesday, since her diagnosis, we have worn orange.

As she got older, it has become more meaningful. She understands what it means. And understands this beast, that she beat. The kids at her school, also sport orange on Wednesdays. It still brings tears to my eyes, to see all the pictures. Because it's a reminder, that she beat leukemia. She is a survivor. She reached 11 years.

Now, I not only wear orange for my precious Goddaughter...I wear it for my Momma. Back when my Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, we embraced blue. Wore it proudly on Fridays. And when he went for chemo and radiation. It was a sign...we were fighting colon cancer. Now I will do the same for my Momma.

And I want to ask you, to join me. Sport that orange for my Momma. Every single Wednesday. And when she begins her treatments, I'll let you know. So we can proudly support her. And her battle with leukemia.

It's a small gesture. That doesn't take much. An orange shirt, or bow, or scarf, or hat, or pin. And I ask that you share on your social media. With these tags #OrangeForIrene, #PrayForIrene, #LeukemiaAwareness. Let's show my Momma, that shes' not in this battle alone! 🐦

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The List

So you know when you're putting together something...something need some help? That's where we are. I need your help!

Thus far, we've been blessed. My cousin got us the hall. We've had quite a few donations. And lots of volunteers. So much support! But I thought, we needed to get some things, down on paper. I'm going to put a list here. Of things we need. Let me know, if you can help with any of them!

Tickets-Judy and Auntie Dora
Plates- Ernest
Cups- Ernest
Bowls- Ernest
Silverware- Ernest
Napkins- Ernest
Dessert Plates-G and Cari

Drinks- 4 Bottles of Punch have been donated by the Turners. But we probably need more.
Water- 4 Cases Jonathan and Jennifer
Spaghetti Noodles-
Sauce Ingredients- Auntie Dora and Auntie Bug (Each are donating a rooster.)
French Bread-
Alfredo Sauce-
(Leonor will be donating 2 pans of prepared spaghetti and meatballs.)

Raffle donations- Desiree, Sue, Rose, J, Auntie Lorraine, Landis and Lorraine, Herrera Family
Baked Goods- Desiree, Becky
Decorations-I have some
Tablecloths- Little M and S

Cooks- Auntie Dora, Auntie Bug, Cindy, Judy, and Becky
Ticket Collector-
Person to help with that Sweet Table-
Person to help with the Craft Table-
Person to help sell tickets at the door-
People to help with setup-
People to help with the cleanup-

Also, we want to go out as a group and sell tickets. So if you are available, let me know. Here are the dates:

November 23rd:
November 25th:
December 2nd:
December 3rd:
December 4th:
December 9th:
December 10th:

I'll also have the tickets tomorrow. So if you want to help sell some on your own, let me know. I can get you a book. Meal tickets, or Raffle tickets. Thanks for your help! 🐦

Friday, November 18, 2016

Some Fun Stuff!

While my family seems to have all the "necessaries" of our fundraiser covered...I know we need something else. You know, a little fun. After all, we want to celebrate my Mom. You know, during our fundraising effort.
Not going to lie. I thought I had the color scheme stuck in my head. Pretty obvious to me, that we need to have orange present. We're fighting leukemia together. I remember the early days, of my Goddaughter's diagnosis. We were all "oranged out!" Every single time my friends came home from Tennessee, we'd have an orange party.
And my Mom likes bright colors. Green being her favorite. I looked at few online stores. And was convinced, that bright was best. I found lots of owl themed party goods, in these bright colors. Orange tablecloths. Green accents. Lots of color. Similar to the picture below. Oh, and that dark really a bright purple.

But I kept looking on Pinterest. And fell in love with a more elegant color scheme. And thought, I can do this. With a lot of stuff, we already have. Just don't forget those orange tablecloths. We have to remember our new color. We'll love it, and sport it. Just like I do, for my sweet Goddaughter.

So I'm thinking, more of a coral orange. With mint green, and a little pink. I'm sure, we can find some of Nanie's old doilies. I have a ton of glass jars. That I'm thinking I want to fill with baby's breathe. Maybe tie with some thin gold ribbon, or lace. Just a hint of gold accents. Maybe I can find some of those wood slices. You get the idea?

I'm thinking of sewing some strings of cutout circles. To hang up. I'm also looking for some plastic owls. I've spent days looking. I wanted to paint them gold. And add them to the tables. With some tea light candles. If I don't find any, I found a nice tutorial on Pinterest. For pinecone owls. Because my Momma loves owls!

I've talked to a few people about a "Bake Sale" table. And I'm thinking I might do a little "Candy Bar." Keeping these colors in mind. I already have the serving dishes. Just need to track down some sweets. Do I have any volunteers for Cake Pops, Cupcakes, and the such?

Along with these details, I've been crafting. We're going to have a table, with our crafts. And I'm adding lots of orange items. All shades bright, peach, coral. And tons of owls! My Mom is so into owls, it's not even funny!

But that's been life lately. Oh, I'm also waiting on the tickets. Which are being printed up. I've talked to a few more people about donations. And I'm getting so excited! It's time to celebrate my Momma. And show her, she's not alone in this battle! 🐦

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's True

70 days. It's been 70 days of me knowing. 70 days of holding back. Of only letting a few people in. 70 days ago, our lives changed. Forever.

I can tell you everything about that day. Helping my Mom at work. Her hurting. Coming home. Her sleeping. Trying hard to deal with the pain. Struggling to watch her favorite shows. Helping her to bed.

I was quietly watching a movie. One I have tried many times before to watch, and something has always happened. But I thought, I have 3 hours to watch this. I poured me some water, curled up on the couch, and was working on some crochet orders.

Then I heard the dogs going crazy. My Mom was crying uncontrollably. And I know, that the feeling I'd had for had been right. Something major was wrong. We struggled to get my Mom to sit in a chair. Which helped ease the pain. Her face was red. Tears streaming down. Shaking in pain.

In a blur, I got the dogs outside. Unloaded our car, from the Growers' Market that day. Made sure the dogs had their blankets, toys, food, water, and a shirt of each of ours. Got them in the house. Locked the gates. And somehow, got my Mom in the car.

I can tell you about the 3 songs, it took us to get to the ER. About how cautiously I had to drive. Her sounds of pain. I can tell you what time I got her to the ER. What it looked like. How instantly, they took her to the back. I knew, we were in trouble.

Once her vitals were taken, and they had her a little more stable. I went back outside. Our car still parked in front of the ER doors. I waited while they held the traffic for an incoming Medevac. How by some miracle of God, I found a close parking. And ran the entire way, down that hill. I was taken to a back room. Where I'd learn my Mom had been undergoing testing. Still in tears. Still in pain. But she was getting help.

I can tell you what time it was. What the room smelled like. How many nurses there were. And what their names are. I can tell you how many times we saw doctors. How many times they took my Mom, for another test.

There was an endless flow of patients. I could see them. Hear their stories. See how they were being treated. Vitals taken. Then sent back to the Waiting Room. But here we sat. I knew we were in trouble.

After 11PM, I asked for prayers on Facebook. And at 11:44PM, I text some family. I knew there was something wrong. Really wrong. But I had to keep my head straight. And my Mom calm. There were countless MRIs, X-rays, and scans. And every single time, my Mom came back in more pain. Crying uncontrollably. Shaking. So red.

At 11:54PM the doctor came in. Looked at both of us. And followed, as they wheeled us into an ER room. Right before midnight, the words came out. Just as they made my Mom comfortable. The doctor told us, he was 98% sure my Mom had leukemia.

It was a punch in the gut! I knew she'd been sick. For months. And in pain. I suspected that it was cancer. But this, felt like it was out of left field. My Mom was stoic. In those moments, she was so calm. I thought she was in shock.

The doctor explained, we could go home. Or we could stay. They could see what was the cause of the secondary issue they found. Fractures in her vertebrae. And they could ease her pain. It was up to us. He left. And ordered some pain meds.

My Mom, only seemed concerned about going to work. In a few short hours. She felt like, she had to at least finish out the week. I'm thinking, she's going to be lucky, to finish the school year. Life is about to get real tough.

We talked. She realized it was important to stay. See what was causing all these issues with her vertebrae. I'd call her work, in a few hours. There were discussions of procedures. Billing. Insurance. Other doctors. Specialists. The lists went on and on. My Mom drifted in and out of a restless sleep. I think the ONLY reason she was resting, was from the medication.

We had seen a friend of ours. There in the ER. With her Mom. I'd steal a few moments. To go talk to her. Let her know about the back issues. And I wouldn't realize it until now, that's when we started keeping this secret.

Hours later, as night turned into aunties would come. To see my Momma. And I'd steal away some time. To go home. Check on our dogs. Grab a quick shower. Throw a few things in a bag. And head back.

There was an unexplainable bond between my Mom and I. We both knew, what was at our hands. We both knew, what we were up against. And what our future was going to look like. And somewhere in that mess of things, I knew she wasn't ready to tell people.

We'd keep this secret. Family and friends would come to visit. Then the paperwork started coming. Wills, Living Wills, Power of Attorney. There were doctor visits planned. And more people, to talk about the tough stuff. The stuff, that my Dad had pushed...until the very end.

Unlike my Mom, when we learned of my Dad's was late in the game. We found out in April 2014, that he had Stage 4 Colon Cancer. There was not going to be a cure. Or remission. We could only pray for time. My Dad, my Mom, and I would have a pact. No matter what, we'd fight for time with him. My Dad would insist on chemo and radiation. Anything, to give him time with us. We'd agree to anything, and everything he wanted. The last 11 months of his life, were incredibly tough. Tiring. Lonely.

But we were fighting for him. With every 12 hour day, at chemo. With weeks in the hospital. With every fall. Every seizure. With operations. Radiation. And countless doctors' visits. We were fighting for time. And it was his choice, to have treatment. We would support every decision he made. And cherished every precious moment, God gave us together. Christmas in the hospital. Ringing in 2015. He's 83rd Birthday. It was all a gift from God. Even if, it happened in the hospital.

With my Mom, it is different. She is nearly 20 years younger, than my Dad. Her health is better, than my Dad's. The cancer, is not as bad. Her pain is through the roof. And I see her have a tougher time with certain things. But she is in better health.

And like I did with my Dad, I'm standing behind every one of her decisions. To keep her secret...until she was ready to tell. To sign certain papers. To get her estate in order. To seek treatments. To fight to live. Find her doctors. Be her voice. Be her strength. Be her protector. I will be her biggest cheerleader. Like I was for my Daddy.

I love my Momma, more than words can even begin to say. I was 31 years old, when I lost my Daddy. And I was 3,3 when my Momma got her diagnosis. There was nearly 18 months between my Dad's passing, and my Mom's cancer diagnosis. And all I could do, was sit and pray. Every once in a while, I allow myself to cry. To be a little angry. To be upset. To be sad. But more importantly, to be real.

It's in his hands now. Our dear Lord, knows what our paths are. Before we are ever born. He made me, to be a strong woman. To bare this cross. I know, I'm never alone. I have my Lord, to turn to. It is, what gets me through my days.

But I also know, this time around...we have family and friends. On October 4th, we were given the leukemia confirmation. We told our "Market Family." And they embraced us. Carried us along our way. It was this group of people, that allowed us to talk. To get it out. To be OK. On November 1st, my Mom finally told my aunties. It was a HUGE relief to her. And a shock to them. A handful of people have known. Not for long. But they've known.

There were a few people, that I told there was a possibility. There were a few friends, that knew without a doubt. And now, with our Fundraising Effort in full swing, a few more people know. But we wanted to be respectful, of my Mom's wishes. She was ready today. For 71 days, we've held this secret. For 71 days, I've prayed for a miracle. And for 71 days, I've wanted others to they could also pray.

I don't know what the future has in store for us. Or what to really expect. I know there will be chemo, radiation, and a possible bone marrow transplant. I walked a similar road, with my Goddaughter, years ago. I know what is coming. I know there will be tough days. Bad days. And a handful, of good days. But through it all, I will be here. Loving my Momma, through the cancer. Because the cancer doesn't define who she is. Or the love I have for her. It only makes our bond, stronger. #PrayForIrene 🐦

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

She Knows...And So Should You!

So a few days ago, we started working on our #PrayForIrene Fundraiser. In just a few days, so many details came together. I never realized how fast, it would happen. But I'm over the moon about it!

My Mom had no clue. Actually, I was kind of sweating it. We went to funeral yesterday. And I was sure, my cousin had let the cat out of the bag. But no, my Mom didn't put it together. And today, my auntie and I, told her.

There were a ton of tears! My Mom is still in shock. She had no clue what we were doing. Or that this many people cared. It's been tough, shouldering this health issue. And it's nice to know, that people love us, care about us, and pray for us.

This is my Mom, and our pups. Just minutes ago. I know she's still in shock. That this many people care. I hope she knows, just how loved she is. And we'll do whatever we can, to make this path...a little easier on her.

So here are the specifics:

We're doing a #PrayForIrene Fundraising Dinner
American Legion Post 72
December 11, 2016
$10 for adults
$5 for kids
The meal will include spaghetti and meatballs or Alfredo chicken pasta, salad, bread, punch, and a piece of cake.
We will also be having a raffle. $2 a ticket, or $10 for a book of 12. So far we have a crochet blanket, jewelry, a crochet baby set, many gift baskets, a household toolbox, lots of giftcards, and a little something special...that I'm going to save for later.

I'm also running another T-shirt fundraiser. Please pass along the information. And if you need to reach me, feel free to send me an email at prayforirene (at) gmail (dot) com. 🐦

Monday, November 14, 2016


So I had this idea. To have a fundraiser. I was thinking maybe a bake sale or craft sale. Maybe a dinner. You see, we have another foundation. That my Dad started before his death, in 2015. And we were planning a dinner for that. So that we could provide larger scholarships this year. And grow the foundation. Give back, more to the Cancer Community...that embraced us during his battle.

But with my Mom's current illness, we postponed that. We all know, her health is more important. There will be plenty of time, to grow our foundation. As much as I enjoy working on it, I need to start moving my focus. To my Mom.

So a few weeks ago, I sent out an text. To family and friends. Many of which, where out of town. So I decided to run that, one more time. This past weekend. In the matter of hours, we had a ton of family on board, a location secured, and the plans where in full motion!

I think I'm still in shock! But it's a good shock. Other than my Mom needing some help, it's nice to see the support of our loved ones. To feel their love, prayers, and generosity. It's something that was greatly missed, during my Dad's cancer journey.

With my Mom's health issues, it's just different. I know, we need support. Lots of it! We've been through a major illness with my Dad. It's tough on a good day. Sometimes, you just need to know people care. Did people care with my Dad? Yes. And no. Maybe it was his personality, our situation, or some people...that made it feel so lonely. Like you couldn't reach out, and ask for help.

Maybe it's also that, we've grown. That my Mom and I, both know what's in front of us. Maybe we just haven't fully recovered, from the last time around. Either way, it's nice to know, our family is rallying behind us! It's going to be a long and tough journey. We need this love, support, and prayers. We need people to care. To come around. To make us smile.

So here are some of the details so far:

We are having a Spaghetti Dinner. On December 11, 2016. From 2-5PM. At the American Legion Post 72. We need help. Cooking, setting up, tearing down, planning, decorating, serving, and selling tickets. Actually, anything you can think of, we probably need help with.

Let me know, if you want to help. Or if you can help. Seriously, we need it all! Thus far, my cousin paid for the Hall. My aunts are cooking. We've got help. But I know, to make this a success, we need lots of help!

And I just want to say Thank You! To everyone that rallied together. To see, in less than 24 hours, how much was put together...still floors me. To know, my Mom is up against a major illness...scares me. For more than one reason. But to see the love for just makes my heart swell with love, tears come to my eyes, and a loss of breathe. Because who does this?

We are also keeping this a secret from my Mom. To surprise her. When more details come together, we'll let her know. Because I feel like, she doesn't need to worry about this either. And if we tell her now, she might not accept our help. My Mom doesn't like to ask for help. So we'll wait a few days, to tell her...what we've all been up to.

My little plans, grew much larger. And I hope, this is one less thing, that my Momma has to worry about. She has enough on her plate. It's also nice to know, that we have other people in our lives, who are more than willing to lend a hand. Means the world! Thank You! 🐦

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ugh! Insurance...

So there are a lot of things that weigh on my shoulders. A lot of the day. Every single day. It's the thing that happens, when you become the one responsible for everything. Being a caregiver, is much more than taking physical care of a person. It's more than making sure the person you are caring for is fed, bathed, and safe.

There are all the other things. When my Mom was hospitalized in September, there was a ton of paperwork to be done. Her medical background. Getting all her care and treatments organized. You start on things like medical paperwork. Which usually means Living Wills, a regular Will, course of treatment, insurance, Power of Attorney, Estate Planning, DNR...

You are all of a sudden, having those tough talks. My Dad didn't want to deal with any of this stuff, when he got sick. He signed some papers, when the nurses and social workers talked to him. Just them and my Dad. And that was that. My Mom and I know, how important it is, to get this crap in order. So important!

In fact, I think I'm way ahead of my parents. When I was 20, I did all this stuff. Sure, I was working in a hospital. And it was required of me. But I still got it in order. I have a signed DNR. My will is in order. Every I is dotted, every T is crossed. And I update my paperwork, every single year!

But now, it was time for my Mom. And time to get insurance. The thing she had been looking into for a while. Trying to find something that worked. Something that didn't break the bank. And something that she could easily roll, into the insurance that she really wants. The same one, my Dad had. She's not eligible until early next year. Ugh!

During the last two months, we've hit many roadblocks. It's frustrating as crap. How in the world, do you set up legal documents with no problems...but have all these issues with insurance. It's beyond frustrating. She's not old enough for this. Too sick for that. Needs A 100% diagnosis for this one. Can't afford $2000 a month. Makes $50 too much for that. Needs to be working for this one. Oh, yeah there is a waiting period of 6 months for that one too.

Call after call, I get more frustrated. I want to hit a wall. Scream! Whatever. We've been to so many offices. Talked to more people, than I can remember. In fact, I was pretty frustrated last Friday. Watching all these families qualify for assistance. Because they are illegally here. And have children. By no means, am I putting them down. But it's frustrating to see someone like my Mom, who has worked her entire life...not get help. But these people with 5 and 6 kids, not working, getting everything under the sun.

Then I thought, I can go back to work full time. I was on a part time schedule for years. While I cared for my Dad. After his passing, I wasn't ready to jump head first into it again. 120 hours, in that tough. But in the Summer, I started to get my toes wet again. Would go in for a shift or two. Working 48 hours a week. Whatever they needed.

So maybe I could go back. Then I could add my Mom, to my insurance. I can't, while I'm part-time. But that wouldn't work. She can't be left alone. Can't do much by herself. And if I did go back to work, we'd need to hire a full time nurse. Which after looking into it, with a few friends from work...didn't make any sense at all. Not financially. Not with her care. Not for my career.

Back to square one, I went. There are a few more options left. Not many. But my fingers and toes are crossed. We can pay a HUGE fee, until February or March. Maybe even get insurance. We can continue to pay out of pocket. Or we can just wait. To me, that last one, is not an option.

But that's kind of the way, things are going. Right at this minute. Obama Care, is for the birds! Because maybe legally, insurance companies can't deny you insurance. But in real life situations, it's still happening. Some say, it's because of reasons A, B, or C. Maybe all three. And other companies are so high, that you could NEVER afford to have insurance. Having a major health issue, is just not working out...

I know how expensive my Mom's care is looking. Just from this side. Even if she had my Dad's insurance. If you add to that, and insurance bill of even $1000 a month...we're in deep trouble! So I'll keep making calls. Digging around. Hoping, against all odds...that I find something. Sometimes I wonder, if being an American America, doesn't work against you. I'm not lying. It's the truth. I'm so proud to be a citizen. Natural born. Hard working. Positive member of society. But really, what does a lifetime of hard work get you? 🐦

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Family That Plays Together

It as been some week! One week ago, my Mom was sitting in an ER. In so much pain! Our family was quickly cancelling our Dia de los Muertos Parade entry. And life was just crazy.

5 days later, we'd be in that parade. We'd decided it was important to follow through. So many people had worked hard, on our float. My Mom would have been devastated, if we hadn't been in the parade. She knows how much work was done. And how excited everyone was. So she sat in the truck, and our family, did our thing!

My Mom and my Uncle Andy. All comfy in the truck. We were waiting in line, to start the parade. And they were busy eating candy. Picking out the best, out of all the bags! And watching the crazy people in front of us!

My Auntie Dora and Auntie Bug. You rarely get a picture of them, with their eyes open. Notice my Auntie Bug...

And isn't our skull cool? This side is an hombre. The other side is a mujer. Such a fun project! Theresa is such a good artist! My uncle Guillermo built it. And Theresa painted it.

Cousins having fun! We were all hanging out, around the float. Looking for candy. Taking pictures. Catching up. Because my cousin Cindy and her daughter Aurora, came in from Colorado. Just for this event! And some of us, were still putting makeup on! We stopped, for a quick Cousin Picture!

Another cool project on our float. The sheep! They all had so much personality. When my Mom saw them, she wanted to take them home. Immediately! She LOVES sheep! If they go missing, check my Mom's bag!

That's our float. And everyone still trying to get ready. Our family, likes to push deadlines...right to the last second. I'm not lying about that. But look at all that work, that everyone did!

These are my cousins, Paul and Ken. They took care of our Craft Booth for us. While I was racing down the road to the parade. And while the parade was on. Their makeup is incredible!

Some of our crafts. We did a lot better last year. I think the weather played a HUGE part of that! It poured rained the night before. Everything was wet. The grass was so muddy. And it was a lot cooler this year. But we still made good money, for our Foundation.

The alter I put together for my Dad. We had HUGE plans for it. But with everything that went on, over the last few weeks...well, I'm happy with how it turned out. It was a ton of work! Lots of parts, to get together.

Gosh, I miss my Daddy so much! This was one of his favorite events to attend! I'm glad, that he is still a big part of this event. And that we get to honor him, with an alter.

And one last picture. Of the night. My Mom and my aunties. Can you tell it had been a long day? Makeup was missing. Eyes are partly open. Jackets are on. This was not long after 5PM. We had packed up our booth and alter. It was freezing! And we were ready to head home!

Yesterday and today, have been real slow, around these parts. Barely moving. The car is still packed. I'm just plain exhausted. But I was super happy, that we got to be a part of the family's float! My cousins were also selling food. So it was a busy day. All the way around!

I want to thank the people who set up Dia de los Muertos. They are amazing! Every single person, that I had to contact, saw on Sunday, and had a part of the event...was so sweet. And extra helpful! They are an amazing bunch of people! Not to mention, the vendors on either side of us, were so sweet!

And my cousins, that helped us out. Taking care of our booth. My uncle, who tracked me down, to get me to the parade on time! Last year, I ran down the road. And I barely made it. This year, I got a ride, right to all the floats. My cousin who helped me set up. And my cousin who fed us all. Everyone that came out to see us. And our family...who continues to stand behind us! Love you guys! 🐦

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Normal Day

Our new "normal," is quite different from what it used to be. My Mom was an early riser. Every single day! For my entire life, my Mom got up early. Usually she was up by 4:30-5:00AM. These days, it's more like 10:30-11:00AM. And it's more than OK.

When she does get up, it's usually a couple of hours...before she'll eat. And it's not the normal stuff either. I noticed this, even back in the Spring. When she was still getting up early. I can make eggs, potatoes, pancakes, French toast, cinnamon rolls...and she'll just pick at the food. The once HUGE fan of cereal, hasn't eaten it in weeks. So we go more for a "grazing type of meal." Maybe it's a small muffin. And a glass of juice. Nothing too big. Or heavy. Or anything like that. Definitely not coffee. Or even water. It all makes her sick.

In the mornings, while she sleeps...I have my "quiet time." I pray, read the bible, organize my day. There is usually some watching of Home and Family. Plenty of crocheting. Checking on patients. Getting plans in order. Calling doctors. And insurance companies. Anything that seems quiet. Even our pups know, that the quiet is necessary.

Once my Mom, is up and stays pretty slow. There is usually the noontime news to watch. Maybe some Chew. Definitely some General Hospital. And then the marathon of Hallmark Movies begin. It's the beginning of November. And I'm pretty sure, we've already seen some of these movies 2 or 3 times. Maybe I'm the one that has seen them multiple times. Because I'll watch them, in the middle of the night too. Great way to get distracted, while folding laundry.

During these movies, my Mom usually naps. She was NEVER a nap taker. These days, it's required. There is also plenty of crocheting going on. Because what else, do you do with your day? She makes projects. I make projects. There are orders to be filled. And Craft Fairs to prepare for. There is ALWAYS something to be made!

As afternoon, is slowly fading into the early evening...there is also Ellen. She's been a staple in our lives, since my Dad was sick. It's the one hour a day, that my Mom can laugh. I see the smile on her face. And in her eyes. It's the one hour, when she can forget about her troubles. I'm so thankful for Ellen!

Evenings are usually pretty quiet too. I make something to eat. It's hit and miss, whether my Mom wants to eat. There's usually news to be watched. And an evening of some sort of TV, waiting on us. Dancing with the Stars, Tiny House Nation, Counting On, Grey's Anatomy, The Goldbergs. More crocheting. Our pups usually get active around this time. Running and playing. Wanting to be active. And fun! More crocheting for my Mom and I. And she's usually in bed by 8PM.

Our schedule rarely differs from this. The dogs and I, will stay up. Usually past midnight. When I get to work on some other things. Like blogging. Paying bills. Getting things in order. Doing laundry. Cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, or whatever else I can find...on that side of the house.

This is far, from what our schedule once looked like. My Mom was an active person. Liked to work, to be busy. She enjoyed her kiddos. Liked getting out and about. Loved being active. We'd cook meals together, clean the yard, garden, take the pups on walks, go to various community events, etc. My Mom just LOVED being busy.

These days, it's about survival. Wake up. Be in pain. Eat. Get nauseous. Watch a little TV. Take a nap. Crochet. Have a little more pain. Head to bed. Crazy how fast life changes. But it's just what happens. And you have to roll with the punches. I learned that. 🐦

Sunday, November 6, 2016

#PrayForIrene T-Shirts

A few days ago, I started a Booster for my Mom. The T-shirts are $20 each. From kid sizes, up to XXXL. You can choose from 5 colors. Orange for leukemia. Green is my Mom's favorite color. And I added blue, yellow, and pink. I know those are pretty popular colors.

A little bit about the design. The "Be Strong and Courageous" comes from the bible. Our faith is so important to us. It's what gets us, through these difficult times. And when my Mom first started feeling sick, I was reading the bible. And I came across this verse:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~Joshua 1:9

During our journey, I'm going to use the hashtag #PrayForIrene. And that little because she LOVES hummingbirds. I was looking for an owl. And couldn't find anything I really liked.

So spread the news. We are selling T-shirts. I won't have any physically on hand. You MUST order them online! But you can save money, and have them delivered to us. Then I will deliver them to you. So please share our Booster. And don't forget, it ends November 14, 2016. 🐦

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Parade is On

So, when my family found out about my Mom Tuesday...they cancelled our family float. In the local Dia de los Muertos parade. But my Mom was so upset. And so many people, have done so much work. That we all decided to move forward with it.

I'm not 100% sure, if my Mom and I will be in it. We're going to try. Really hard. But ultimately, her health dictates much of what we do. There will be no sewing. So if we are in it, who knows what we'll wear. We're just going to wing it.

No matter what, I'll have an alter for my Daddy. And I'll be selling our crafts. With a little help, from family. My cousin will also be selling food. So come out and join us on Sunday. Watch the parade, look around, eat some good food. And all the money we make Sunday, will be split between helping my Mom, and my Dad's foundation. 🐦

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Humble and Kind

I blogged about this before. The very first time I heard this song, I sat and cried. It made me think of my Dad. The words, were everything he shared with me. His came back to me, in a song.

Then, two days ago, it hit me again! Like a ton of bricks. On the way to the ER, I just kept thinking about my Mom. She LOVES this song! It reminds her, of my Dad too. It's her message too. The words, hold so much meaning.

In the dark, driving, the tears just came. I know, years from now, when both of my parents are in Heaven...this song will ALWAYS remind me of them. Their message to me. How to live. The kind of person, they want me to be. The values they held tight to. Those words..."Humble and Kind."

I can't tell you, how many times growing up, my parents told me that. Stay "Humble and Kind." To lend a "Hand Up." To not forget where I came from. All important messages.

Music for us, is just part of life. It helps us celebrate. To remember. To reflect. Bring us comfort. Hold tight, to those memories. To pass on, those things that are important in our life. 🐦

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

And Here We Go...

So we ended up, in the ER. For the second time. In less than 2 months. I know what's wrong with my Mom. But not many else know. And she's not ready to tell.

The difference today, is she finally told her sisters. Prior to this, my Mom had only told a few friends, at the Growers' Market. I sent a text to my sister. And I talked with my uncle. He knew the truth. And Thank God, he's kept my secret. Oh, my aunt and uncle also pretty much know.

But it's what we're doing. Right now. My aunts are clearly in shock. And I'm pretty sure, so are my Mom and I. Given any day, we wake up...and don't immediately realize it. Then it slams into you, like a ton of bricks.

Until my Mom is ready, the only thing I can tell you, is that she has fractured vertebrae. Is in so much pain, it makes me sick to my stomach. And on any given day, I think it just hurts her to be awake. Oh, and she sleeps much of the day away. Her body is just going through so much right now.

I know my Mom is sick. She's in pain. And there are serious things wrong. More than she wants me to know. Probably more than she wants to admit. But that's life. And I think for her, it's what helps her get through her day. Because it is a tough thing to swallow.

But here we are. And I think I need to start being real with our family. More present. And I need an outlet. So this, is where I'll keep everyone updated. As things move forward, you can read them here. A similar outlet, to what I had for my Dad. But this time, it's probably going to be a little more real.

Oh, and in case you're wondering. We're in the ER. Probably will head home in the next few hours. My Mom is feeling significantly better. But nowhere near, where she should be feeling. So prayers are always welcome! 🐦