Thursday, October 5

New Blog Look.. Where I've Been.. Surviving Aneurysms, Strokes and Cancer and Just How Much Prayer Works

Hello sweet friends, I'm so happy to be able to share with you again.  I hope you 
like the new look to my blog. 
I felt the need for a fresh start.

As you most likely know, I haven't really been able to write or share any original 
content with you in quite some time. There is a reason. You know 
how people always say, your life can change in a moment? 
I have, in the past two years,  found out just exactly how true that statement is.  
MY life "changed in a moment" the minute I was baptized and reborn with Jesus Christ
 and, then, again, on January 2nd, 2016.  Last January.  I received a call 
from my Sister, who insisted I sit down. (by the way, if you ever want to worry someone, 
insist that they sit down before telling them why you're calling)  After
 I convinced her that I was already sitting, she proceeded to tell me that my Mother,
 My best friend in this world, had suffered an Aneurysm and was currently
 being helicoptered from the hospital in my Sister's town of Redding,
 where they had been visiting, to UC Davis Medical Center, Neuro Intensive Care. 

If  you don't already know, I am a retired nurse, so numerous thoughts ran immediately through my mind.  First, and foremost, was was she alive?!  I had not,
at this point in my life,  ever had to ask myself or even think that question before.
  My Mum's body and attitude has always been way younger than her actual body age. 
My Dad too.  Lucky for us!  She had gone to yoga twice that week before, 
like she had been doing for years. She runs circles around me on energy and 
stamina. Of all 

Of course, though, it was my Mum. One sister driving to meet her when the helicopter landed, 
my Dad and other sister just driving to get where they were taking her.  
She wasn't stable, they stabilized her. I prayed. we prayed. a family 
group text started hashtag #prayfornanny began. we waited and prayed.
 surgery. drilling a hole in her head to drain of the "pooled blood' . we prayed. 
She came through surgery, but was in critical condition and unable to communicate. 
we prayed. they had inserted a tube down her throat to regulate her breathing. 
we prayed. they had numerous cardiologists in the room to regulate her heart function.
 we prayed more. she began a long and slow recovery and we kept praying. 
Did I mention, my mother, being a retired nurse, herself, told my brother-in-law what 
was happening to her and to call 911 and what to tell them, so she wouldn't die
 before they got there? Yes, she did that.  After holding our breath for 
the next 16-17 days praying now that she would not develop any 'vasospasms', 
a term that we all learned all too well about, she was finally stable, although
the reduction of fluid revealed that she had suffered two strokes whilest
she lay in bed healing. Her left side was functioning very little, if at all.

(this was her first solo walk, she hasn't stopped yet.) 

During this time, my Father was (understandably) exhausted. He had stayed 
by her bed the entire time she was in Critical Care, leaving only once or twice to 
go home do laundry, pay a few bills, and drive back. When she 
was transferred to acute-care rehabilitation, he came immediately following 
morning mass and stayed with her until after her lunch, to give me a bit of a break.  
Then returned again in plenty of time to have dinner with her and watch a little 
television while she fell asleep. I feel I need to mention my parents, almost 
incomprehensible, love for each other. When my mother was unable to speak, with 
tubes all around her and she woke, her blood pressure would go up immediately, 
until her eyes scanned the room and found my father's face....once she had, 
it would go back down and her face would relax.  When he came 
down the hall to her room at rehab, with my back to the door, I knew exactly
 when my Father was approaching, my Mum's eyes would begin to smile, 
quickly followed by his voice down the hall, saying, "there's my beautiful bride!"
 with excitement. They are and were unbelievably precious.  Three and a half weeks
 of rehab, here in town, to get my mother just ambulatory enough and prepared enough
 to go to a better,  more intensive rehabilitation facility,  with the goal of discharging 
her to home from there. We didn't even know if that was possible, but she was 
extremely determined, so we all became determined for her too. Fast forwarding 
a bit now through daily trials, scares and triumphs, learning to stand, sit, 
walk again...on February 26th at 10 am, my mother was discharged from her 
rehabilitation hospital to my Sister's home for a week and then to her own home, 
using (begrudgingly, I must add) only the aid of a walker. 
With physical, occupational and speech therapy all set up to go at the house,
she got better. We PRAYED. We thanked God for the miracle and Grace that 
we knew we had received. In May, without any special permission to do so, she 
and my Father accompanied my Sister and her husband on a short
flight to see her granddaughter graduate University, walker in tow to a packed 
By August of last year, she and my Father joined other family members for their 
annual trip back to their hometown in Canada, for three weeks. My Dad was tired,
 more than usual, he had lost weight, my Dad likes to eat this wasn't normal, not 
even for what they had just been through. while there, he had a small fall. 
Not terribly unusual to trip on some stairs. But he was cold all the time and his back
 hurt him and he was more tired than he should be. We got him to the doctor. More
 words came that we had never expected....Cancer.  He had Cancer. 

We were so sure that dealing with all of my Mum's health issues had just taken such a
 huge toll on him. we missed it. i missed it. it was very large now. covering his liver and all 
the portals to and from the liver. about four by six inches, to be clearer. Surgery
wasn't an option. Many specialists and a month later we found out the type of cancer
 he had. D-differential liposarcoma, to be exact. The good news, apparently
 was that this type of cancer responds extremely well to radiation.We prayed. 
#PrayforPapa group texts began and we leaned into God, our friends, our phenomenal 
family, and for me, my church family. My parents church, my sisters churches.. 
Literally, thousands of people prayed for both of my parents. 
We did facebook posts of the milestones of success. We thanked God after each
 hurdle. 6 weeks of radiation. That was what was needed now.
(My Dad, ringing the bell of successful completion!) 
My Dad exhausted, still managed to smile and say "good morning" and "thank you"
 to the radiotherapists performing his treatment, even though the result of the treatment 
was more fatigue and less appetite. Many of them asked us if he was always like this.
With a smile, I gratefully, could tell them yes. He loves people. He appreciated them.
Even then. Even when his body was betraying him. Then it came. The final day. 
His treatment was over. They gave him a diploma, of sorts, and he rang the bell, that hung 
in the hallway, the one he had been passing for the past 6 weeks.  We knew it had been successful. 
He wasn't as cold, he had no back pain. the doctor could poke his abdomen and side and it 
didn't hurt. So, again, at the end of September through the beginning of August, my parents 
boarded the plane and went back to Canada, back for their annual trip home. I wish I could 
tell you that was the end. My father returned from his vacation and had his "well" 
appointment with the oncologist.   It didn't go so well.

The good new, which really is incredibly, miraculously, great news, that we are praising
 God for, was that the cancer they treated, that great big monster of a tumor 
that was over his entire liver was completely in full remission. No doubts. 
It was nothing but scar tissue now. That was incredible! What we didn't expect, was 
that they had found a new, much smaller, tumor, same type of cancer, above his 
kidney, about the size of an egg. The plan. More radiation.  I wasn't sure
when my Dad told me this news if he was up to the battle, but truthfully, he had
no symptoms with this cancer, no pain, no fatigue, no coolness or sore areas.
We all decided he could do this! God could do this! If the great big monster didn't 
stop him this little "egg" certainly wasn't going to either! 
(My Mum, Dad and I Celebrating, everyday!) 

As I wrap up this account of my almost last two years, I can tell you with 
great joy and gratitude that my Dad has completed his radiation, he has rung his 
second bell at the end of the necessary radiation, his appetite has improved, and we are 
celebrating. We are praising God and thanking him and all our friends and church 
families that lifted, both my parents up in their prayers. One thing is for certain to 
me, nothing is impossible with God. Family and Faith are everything! 
Little things really don't matter.  God is so awesomely Great, all the time. For His
 promise was not to keep trials like this from us, but to be there, lifting us through
them. Holding onto us, even when we were unsure of our next step. 

I've shared a few images in the past month of a semi-naked cake, my parents 
wedding picture and the news of their 60th wedding Anniversary. They both 
walked into the venue we had reserved arm in arm, not for strength, but because 
they could.  Thank you for coming over and reading what I had to share. I'll be 
sharing some more of the usual type of blog things, like the recipe for 
my two-tiered, 8 layer cake that I made them,  some of the decor, and of course 
more of Fall in the next couple of weeks. I thank you and hope you'll continue
 this journey with me.
Many Blessings to you all,


  1. Theresa, what a wonderful testimony of how good God is!

    1. Thank you so much, Suzy. He is awesomely powerful and good, indeed. :)

  2. Theresa, what a remarkable journey you're family has been through. It's absolutely wonderful that both of your parents are doing well now and could happily celebrate their anniversary.

    1. Beverly, I can't adequately convey the gratitude I have to be able to have them, well, and for such a momentous occasion. Thank you for your sweet comment. :)

  3. Theresa God is great and with your love and prayers your parents have come to this stage in their lives. There is obviously a lot of love between them and the fact that they just celebrated their 60th anniversary says a lot. We should all be lucky to reach that milestone. May be continue together always healthy.

    1. Thank you so much, Mary. I'm beyond blessed to have them. I'm so grateful for each and every day I get to be their daughter. God is Great! And, we are aware we have been abundantly blessed. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave your sweet comment. <3

  4. Oh, my Theresa God is good in soo many ways! What a beautiful story of your parents love for one another too! Love that picture of your Mother walking down the street! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

    1. Sherry, I was so excited to get to share this news with you! I'm so grateful for you and your blog and faith. Thank you for coming, reading and leaving your beautiful words with me.

    2. ohmygoodness Theresa...How did I miss all that??? Surely there was something I should have noticed..I AM SO SORRY...sorry you've had to go through this, sorry I did not know but so happy you had a huge circle of PRAYER SUPPORT. I KNOW what that means...b/c there are times when you can't seem to find the words but YOU HAVE PEACE BECAUSE YOU KNOW OTHERS HAVE IT ALL COVERED WITH PRAYER..,,HUGS, HUGS AND MORE HUGS. Jonell

    3. I love you, Jonell. We were covered in prayer and it was a humongous salvation. Thank you for all your wonderful words of support. You were busy too. Life works like that. We're okay now. God bless, sweet friend. ❤️

  5. Theresa there are no words, but you managed to put them in order. I could never begin to describe the last 2 years of our lives, how hard they have been??? But you did it and described it well... Family and faith is all that matters. I always say over and over again what a wonderful family we are. I love you you did a great job on this it's so very true every last word of it... we went through this and there's so many things, other things that happened other than these,littler miracles. The hardest part for me, other than being scared for their lives, was not being able to see Mom when this happened cuz I was in the hospital for a month that was so so hard. Not knowing if she was going to live or die and I can't be there... this is our family and our family is tight, tight and Faith-filled. You did an excellent job on this, I'm going to make a copy somehow keep it... thank you and I love you

    1. Hey sweet Sissy, I love you too. I'm so glad you liked the way it came out! Thank you for reading and leaving such a beautiful comment. By the way, if you do want to save it, Shoestring Elegance is now printable! There's a green button at the bottom of the post that says "Printer Friendly" just click on that and it's yours.
      Love you! ❤️

  6. This is beautifully said, Theresa. Love you

  7. Oh, wow, Theresa! Bless you, your mum, your dad, your whole family! What a couple of years you've had. You are right: God is so very good, and I am grateful to read your testimony to his faithfulness.


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