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Monday, January 23, 2012

Dr. Appt Update, Wisdom, Sweet Prayer Time, and more

     Okay, I feel like this HUGE load has been lifted off of my chest and I can relax a little. I went in for my appt this past Thursday to get the results of my latest CT Scan. My cousin Karen went with me bc I was extremely nervous about this appt. My coordinator had sent me a really, really, I mean really brief explanation of my scan, but at the end of the email, she stated,"the surgeons would like for your case to be resubmitted for review." HUH??? What does that mean? Are you telling me they might remove me from the list? I received the following email- "If you have any further questions about your results, you need to make and appt for this upcoming Thursday."  So, I made an appt and I was on edge, scared to death for the next week. I hate that I immediately thought about the worst case scenario right off the bat. So, this past Thursday, I went to see my doctor and before he came in, I had a good interaction with my coordinator. She told me more about my scan and explained what she meant about the review. I am up for review because my score will go up by 3 points in February ( all that worry for nothing). Then, she said that the last time they received a B liver, my name was right up there at the top.  HALLELUJAH!! I instantly smiled and told her how this is exactly what I had been needing to hear. I thanked her and tried to contain my excitement. Next, Dr. Ankoma-Sey entered and gave me a big hug along with his smile. He explained that I now only had 2, that is right only 2 masses and they were shrinking, so the chemo is working. He explained that the other mass is a hemangioma on my liver. He hugged me a second time and I thought about how hard his job is. He probably loves it when he gets to be the bearer of good news, unlike the times where he has to tell someone there is no more hope. He also said he might have to come and visit my church because two different people from church had seen him Thursday morning and they both mentioned me!  For the first time since my diagnosis, even 7 and 1/2 years ago, I started believing that my GOD could actually do a complete healing in my body with or without a new liver, my God is that powerful. They approved me to have oral surgery tomorrow:( and we talked about a cardiologist appt I needed to make, and then I didn't even talk to him about my one negative item on my list of questions. I am starting to lose really large clumps of hair, I guess because they used a larger dose of medication, I am not sure. I still have plenty of hair right now, but I can't explain why this made me sad, but it did. I guess because I know I have a really round face and funny shaped skull, so I don't want anyone to have to see it! If it takes me losing my hair to beat this, then bring on the wigs. Seriously, I don't think I will lose all of my hair, but I wanted to share with you that I never realized how important hair is to me. If only the hair on my legs would fall out and stop growing. I have decided that Karen is my lucky charm and she is going to have to go to all my appts with me from now on.

     In the midst of all of this, my wisdom teeth decided to pop out and make an appearance. They are a high risk for infection, so I am having them removed tomorrow morning at 10:00 if you want to say a little prayer. I plan on going back to work on Thursday, so my mouth better cooperate with my plans. I wonder if I will not be as smart once my wisdom teeth are gone? ( Okay, that last sentence was a joke that my dad would tell, so I just wanted to give him a little shout out)

     I don't know if I have ever talked about my cousin Deborah (Karen's little sister) and her husband Henry, but I must tell you about the sweetest thing they did for me. Henry is an unashamed, on-fire for God, can't stop talking about Jesus kind of Christian. He and I have had a connection since the first time I met him. I knew he was meant for something great and I was so glad that my baby cousin picked someone like him to love and share the rest of her life with. Henry called and asked if I could come over to their house one day for prayer and fasting. He asked me what day would work for me and then he invited friends and family over. So, this past Saturday, Deborah cooked a fantastic meal and we all met at 3:00 for food, fellowship, and prayer. I literally sat there in awe of my God and the fact that He has placed me in such an amazing, God-loving family. To share such an intimate moment with my aunt, uncle, cousins, Neill (who should be my cousin by now), my parents, sister, my niece, my son, and my husband. Henry shared scripture from his heart and I simply sobbed through the whole little service. Neill said this wall-shaking prayer that touched my heart. I see why my cousin Karen loves him so much. Praying together, especially out loud, is bonding, it brings your hearts together and solidifies a common goal. All of the people that attended blessed my soul. Daily, I am humbled by all the goodness around me. The blessings in my life heavily outweigh any burdens in my life. I want to sing praise songs all day long.

     I have to run, but I want to tell you about my wonderful friend that came in town this past weekend to visit me, Tricia Green, from Monroe, La. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Volleyball Tournament Update and a Little More

     So, the volleyball tournament was a great success. My hunny bunny worked so hard and I am so proud of him. I saw a ton of people I haven't seen in forever and I got to see Paul's Nana, which is always a pure delight. She is a wonderful, godly woman and she calls me almost daily to read scripture to me, pray with me, check on me, or update me. I sure look forward to her calls. I am simply amazed at how many people come out to volunteer at the different fundraisers, it makes my heart happy inside. I can't explain how many broken relationships my illness has healed and that is due to God and His Grace in all of our lives. If there is one thing I have gained from this whole deal, it would have to be perspective. I mean, facing your mortality makes priorities and perspective a whole lot easier. I have had to put my big girl panties on and get over a few petty things I was letting the devil have a hold on in my life. I am still working on that, but I know God is not finished with me yet. I was blessed to see a bunch of friends from junior high and high school days, which I consider some the absolute best days of my life. The teams surprised me by being really competitive and everyone was a good sport. The total amount raised was $10,900!!! I can't believe it still as I type it. Thank you to everyone who played, volunteered, donated items, came out and bid on items, came to referree, tournament sponsors, and simply everyone involved. Paul had Pastor Dale Smith from First Baptist Deer Park come out and say the opening prayer. He is a gifted pastor, with a special gift in funerals. It is weird to say this, but I have enjoyed every funeral I have ever gone to that Pastor Dale performed. I want him to do my funeral when I die, he has a way of bringing people to Christ after a death, and that is what I want, I want all those I love to spend eternity with me in heaven.
      I do have to give an extra shout-out to my cousin Bubba. Yes, people I really do have a cousin named Bubba. When I was growing-up, I thought my cousin Bubba was so cool, I always wanted to be around him because wherever Bubba is, fun is there. He is a crazy, accident-prone, kind, responsible, fun, and loving man. I have to say that while my cousin was already a great guy, he became even a better man when he married his wife Jennifer. The thing I love most about her is that Bubba has a son that he raises named Tre and then, he and Jennifer had a son together named Koltyn. When you are around Jennifer, you cannot tell which one is her son by the way she treats them. She loves them both unconditionally and you can see that they are a very happy family. Both Bubba and Jennifer have been at all the financial meetings and fundraisers, not to mention that they both work full-time, are leaders of a boy scout club, go on lots of camping trips, Bubba is a volunteer fireman, and the list continues, but they still make time for me and that makes me feel so special. Bubba helped out a lot with the tournament and I can't describe it, but when Bubba is around, I always feel a little safer, he brings security to any event. Bubba, thank you for loving me, thank you for going to school banquets with me when I had no date, thank you for choosing such a wonderful wife that is now part of my life.  Oh, and I have to add one more thing, Bubba used to be a male cheerleader, and he is an awesome gymnast. He has never fit the typical male cheerleader mold, so this little tidbit always makes me laugh a little when I look at him:)
     I wanted to share a little story with you guys that came about because my story was put on the front of the Pasadena Citizen (our city newspaper).  This past summer, shortly after finding out I had cancer, I went shopping at HEB with my sister, mother, and Thomas. Thomas and I were having a blast and I was talking/singing/acting silly with him while we shopped and he threw things in the basket. A lady approached me and told me how nice it was to see a mother enjoying her baby and that usually moms are yelling at their kids or seem frustrated. I don't always feel called to share my story of my babies dying with total strangers, but I told her. I explained that I longed for Thomas so much that I did enjoy every little thing with him. I can remember going shopping and seeing mom's being so mean to their children, which broke my heart. You see, having lost a baby or being infertile makes you notice all the things you would never do if you were ever blessed enough to be a mother. This is hard to explain, because before I lost the boys, I never noticed people treating their children good or bad, but once I experienced the loss of them, it was amplified.  The one thought that always occurs to me is this,"If a parent is the person that loves this child the most and they are cursing at them or calling them names, then how is the rest of the world going to treat this child?" I don't ever want Thomas to feel like a bother, or that he is on my nerves, I want him to feel loved, all the time, just loved.  Anyways, the woman's name was Brenda, and she sent me the nicest letter this week that made me cry, not from sadness, but from having my heart touched. I found out later, my sister had gone and told her about my situation and asked her to pray for me while we were at HEB. The following is her precious letter:

Dear Katrinia,

     I met you, your precious baby, and your sister one day last summer in  HEB and I had often wondered if you ever got your transplant. Then, this past wekk, I saw the article in the Pasadena Citizen about the Volleyball Tournament. Although we cannot go (we're both sick) we would like to give a small gift. My husband and I wish we could do much much more, because I felt you were such a beautiful person with a beautiful soul and you deserve every chance to live a long, rich and rewarding life, God-willing. We are elderly and have to watch pennies, but we can pray for you and wish you God's blessings, so we are.

                                                                                                  Brenda and Bob

     To say that this letter didn't touch my heart would be a lie, a complete stranger I met for only a few moments is so kind. She sent a check in for $25 and can I just say that the story in the Bible about the woman who gave pennies, but it was all she had came to my mind. I know now how God felt, He knew what a sacrifice she was making, as I know that this money was a sacrifice for Brenda and Bob. I tear-up every single time I think about this letter. What have I done to deserve this kind of love? God, thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me to experience this kind of feeling. I know I have a great responsibility to honor You, and I wake-up every day hoping to honor You in all that I do. I am so sorry when I was angry at You.

     I had opened up my blog for questions and a few people emailed me, Kim left a question on the comments, and few people asked me questions in person, but the funny thing is, they all asked the same general question. They basically asked how I do it, how I function everyday and keep my head up? Well, the answer, which I recently shared with a few people at work is this, FAITH. I have hope and faith in my Saviour Jesus Christ. I lean on Him, I talk to Him all the time, I beg Him some days for help, but I keep in mind that I want to leave a legacy. I love that song my Nicole Nordeman. I want Thomas to know that I kept living, smiling, singing, playing, loving, and I never gave up. I don't want to "live like I am dying." I am going to live in heaven for eternity people, what a gift, I have so much to look forward to. I do have bad days, just ask my husband, mom, sister, my family, they know. I used to think that God was doing this to me, but after a study of the book of Job, I realize that He is allowing Satan to try and tear me down, but Satan doesn't know who he is messing with. I have often been told by people that I am a hard one to break, and that is true. If you want to beat me down, you will probably quit before I fall because you will get so tired of fighting. Losing my babies nearly beat me, but God blessed me abundantly with Thomas and tons of new friends in my life that I never would have met if it were not for my boys. I can't imagine my life now without Dr. Rowe in it, our new Sunday School class and friends, my MEND friends, even the people I met at the funeral home. If I didn't live my life to the fullest, I would be letting all of my babies down, I want to be a mother that they are proud of and one that sets a good example for them to follow, but mostly, I pray my son will come to know the Lord someday.
     I recently had a conversation with a coworker and she said that she can't figure out why I am tested so much. I thought about her comment and something hit me like a ton of rocks. A few years ago, I made a careless comment, and now I think I should be careful of things I say. I said, "my testamony is so boring," well, not anymore. I have tons of things to share now and I hope to share my testamony with as many people as I can.  I would even love to start speaking at different events, if God calls me to do so.
     While I shared with you how I get through each day, I want to share a fear I have and am currently trying to work through. I am afraid to be at home alone with Thomas. I am so afraid I will die and then something tragic will happen to him because I am not watching him. Is that weird?  I often will call my mom or sister to come over for some silly reason, and the reason in my head is, please don't let me die alone or die with only Thomas here. How terrible would that be, then I think, why am I thinking like this at 33 years old. I feel good, I don't feel like I am about to die, but I keep letting this fear creep into my head.
     I have tons more to say, but I will try to blog tomorrow about my doctor's appt update and my upcoming oral surgery to have my wisdom teeth removed:(

Friday, January 13, 2012

Volleyball Tomorrow

     I am extremely excited about the volleyball fundraiser tournament tomorrow. This fundraiser has allowed me to see my husband in a new light. You might not know this, but I expect a lot out of my spouse on  a daily basis, but I expect more out of myself. Being too tired to get things done has been absolutely awful for me. I want to be Superwoman. There are times when I just have to rest and that is when I start letting Satan get the best of me and I let his thoughts creep in and try to steal my joy, my joy that Jesus gives me. I want to do so much before I die and I feel like I am trying to squeeze it all in, but I know I will never accomplish everything I want to finish, even if I live to be 100.  Anyways, Paul has done A LOT of work for this tournament and it makes my heart skip a beat when I see how enthusiastic he is about the tournament, he is relentless. I actually think he might have missed his calling in life. He could do this as a permanent job! This past Tuesday, I felt awful and I had to leave work early. I hate when people see me sick. I don't like to appear weak or in pain, I don't want people to ever feel sorry for me. I want them to treat me like the Katrinia I was before my babies died, before cancer, before life seemed to overwhelm me. But, I feel like God has been teaching me to reveal myself more, I don't need to hide my hurt. I can't find it anywhere in the Bible where it says to keep things secret. In fact it says the opposite. I am to call upon Him in my time of need and ask other believers to lift me up in prayer. Prayer is still hard for me, is it weird that I feel selfish asking for God to heal me? Why should He heal me and not the next person? Well, I called Paul to tell him that I had to leave work early because this means my paycheck will be a little short, and he emails my aunt to send out an email asking for prayer. I was embarrassed and mad at him because I don't want anyone to worry about me. Then, I felt God's conviction, He said "STOP IT", let people in again." God knew that we as humans need other people, we need family, we need friends, we need to feel a part of something. I am blessed in all of these areas of my life. On our deLIVER t-shirts there is a verse Psalms 50:15, which I cling to. It says, "and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." I want to scream from the top of my lungs, "Hear my cry God, deliver me please, and I promise, I will HONOR You all the days of my life." But, I will do my best to honor God all the days of my life no matter what. When I think about God sacrificing His only son on the cross, I get extremely emotional, I simply am unable to fathom it. I would throw myself in front of any bullet, bomb, speeding car, you name it to protect Thomas. I am so thankful for Jesus and the peace of knowing where I spend eternity. It makes death much more bearable.
    I want to open my blog up for questions. Feel free to ask me any question you would like and I would love to answer it. I don't know what you might be wondering about me because some readers have known me my whole life and some just met me. And, if you are out and about in Pasadena tomorrow, stop by Memorial High School on Crenshaw to buy some raffle tickets, watch some volleyball, and eat some good food, and I would love to see you. Have a wonderful night and thank you again for all the love and support.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lots of Stuff

     So, I will pick-up on Saturday morning December 31st. I woke-up vomiting and feeling like a big bag of poo. We HAD to go pick-up our minivan or we would lose our deposit, so we got dressed and I slept in the truck on our way to the dealership. I signed all those papers and was handed the keys to our new used 2008 Chrysler Town and Country Touring van. It is red, has lots of gadgets, and is way better on gas than my FJ. I, never in a million years, thought I would want a minivan, but life has changed me and sliding doors have changed my life. Thomas seems to love it, but Paul loves it more. I think he would like to switch vehicles with me. Paul gets extremely excited any time something has lots of electrical "extras." If you ask him about our minivan, be ready to hear an earful about all it has to offer.

    We drove straight home and I went back to sleep, Thomas took a nap with me. Paul was busy working on lots of volleyball tournament stuff, so my sister and Karina came over to help with me and Thomas. I simply needed rest and I once again had a horrendous headache. I had several rags on my head and I also was running a temperature all day. Due to my liver issues, I can't really take any medication for pain. The average person honestly has no idea how bad Tylenol is for your liver. I have learned in the last seven and a half years to "suck it up," when it comes to pain. The funny thing is, the  number one concern or fear relating directly to the actual transplantation of a liver is the pain, not only from the incision, but also from having to stay on a ventilator for more than 24 hours. I never wanted to be on a vent, I want to breathe for myself. I plan on begging before they put me under to please ween me off the vent right after surgery. I also want my surgeon to have someone take a picture of my old liver and my new liver. Pictures are extremely important to me and I want to see this most precious gift with my own eyes. All of Saturday was pretty much a blur of sleeping, trying to drink some fluids, and a throbbing headache.

     Sunday, Paul and Thomas went to church, but I still had fever and headache. I was told by a few people when I received my treatment that "the worse you feel, the better the medicine is working." I kept reminding myself of this the whole time. My work called to cancel me for Monday because we were going to be slow due to the holiday of New Year's, I welcomed this cancellation and it gave me an extra day to recoup.  Sunday evening, I went over to my sister's house to take a bath. It was a glorious bath. It is amazing how a nice, hot bath can make you feel so much better. My sister washed my back and my mom came over and played with my hair. Having someone play with my hair is the absolute best feeling. It relaxes me completely. By Monday morning, I felt much better and I was able to go out to lunch with Paul. We had a really good day together.

     Tuesday, I went to work and I worked downstairs in the clinic. Several of the clinic nurses got together and bought me a card and a gift card to Target to wish me a happy new year and brighten my day. It touched my heart, I feel so undeserving. I love all the different departments I get to work with at by job. I know I am extremely lucky to work at a place like Shriners, where we deliver top-notch care for children all for free. People are always so grateful for the care and they almost can't believe they will never receive a bill. It is so cool to get to see someone take their first step after surgery, or see a parent's face after their child has had their cleft lip/palate repaired. Words will never do it justice, and you don't need to speak the same language to understand it either. In these moments, I feel so close to God, I realize He is so powerful, so good, so underrated. My God is so huge and sometimes I forget that or take it for granted. He can do ANYTHING.

     Lately, the number one question people keep asking me is, "How do you feel?"  As far as health, I would say I am just a lot more fatigued than my usual self, but I know my energy will return to me after transplant. What I really want to say, but I usually keep to myself is, "I feel scared, I feel like I am running out of time, I feel like I am circling a drain some days, I feel like I need some answers, I feel blessed, I feel stressed, I feel lucky in some ways, I feel like I need to do more for God, I feel empty sometimes, I feel a lot of things, I just don't know how to answer someone. I wonder, do people really want to hear how I feel or are they hoping since I am out and about that I feel good? I honestly feel older than 33. I feel like my life has aged me and I say things sometimes and I quickly realize that my Pawpaw

     I go for a CT scan tomorrow and should have those results by Thursday. I can't wait for the day when I can go years without all these tests. I will try to update you guys and I can't say enough how thankful I am that you read this blog, pray for me, send me encouragement, text me, or help me. Daily, I am humbled by all the goodness around me and all the wonderful people in this world. If the earth has this much love and kindness, I can't imagine how amazing heaven will be someday, someday hopefully far, far away.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

TACE numero dos

      How do you like my TexMex Heading? On Thursday morning, I woke-up bright and early to get myself and Thomas ready for the day. I have and will always be an early riser. I packed an overnight bag and got everything in the car, except for this ginormous notebook that my cousin Karen gave me. It literally has my entire medical history inside. I take it everywhere, I get a copy of ALL of my medical records (as everyone should). I am an active participator in my care. These people caring for me just met me, they don't know me and I want to make sure everything is being done right. With that said, my coordinator had emailed me on Wednesday night at 5:33 (after business hours) to tell me that the radiology team for transplant services was going to review my scans and they may decide to cancel my TACE. I emailed back a strong (Paul would say rude) response. I had questions: if my tumors are growing and increasing in number, why wouldn't we do an intervention?, why had she waited so late to give me this information ( I felt a phone call would have been better, so I could have my questions answered, and I told her not to bother calling me if they cancelled the TACE, a doctor would need to call me so all my medical questions could be answered at that time because I had to wait SIX weeks last time to get my results and I would not stand for that again. You might be reading this thinking, she is rude, but I am not. This is a fight for my life, I am not dealing with a plastic surgeon's office because I am electing to have surgery. I don't want to be on this list, I don't want to have cancer, I don't want to have to make a coordinator work, but enough is enough. I have to advocate like this for my patients at work, so this is familiar territory for me. This is stressful and I want to feel like I am doing something to treat my tumors, I feel like they think it is a game, but if this is a game, they just met their most competitive player. My coordinator called a little after 7:00 Thursday morning and said that the radiology team agreed with my doctor's plan for a TACE. Thank you Jesus! That was an answered prayer, I had been a nervous wreck all night.
     Paul, Thomas, and I all rode in the truck, and my parents followed us. I can't explain it, but this illness has brought my family extremely close to Paul. It was nice watching them joke and talk so effortlessly and everyone gets a long well. I love my family. I was checked in and a nurse took me to a room where I had to change into a gown, have a pregnancy test done, labs drawn, IV placed, antibiotic given, and a long medical history obtained. After all of this was completed, Paul, Thomas, and my parents were called down to my room and we waited until they were ready for me in radiology. A little before noon, I was transported down and put into a slot to wait to sign consents and give another medical history to a new nurse in this dept. I was not assigned the nurse called Joy, but she made sure to take care of me. They had decided to use a larger dose of medicine on me this time, so the actual chemo was not ready. I heard Joy on the phone saying, "You said it would be ready in 30 minutes, it has been 30 minutes, I am coming to get it." She did go up and get it, which I already realize is her going above and beyond for me, she could have made me wait longer until the pharmacy brought the medicine down, but she was too caring for that. I signed consents, a different radiologist was going to do this procedure than last time, so we all asked our questions, I gave everyone a kiss, and then they wheeled me into the procedure room. With about 3 women in the room and 1 man in the room, the only man had to shave my private area. Are you kidding me? Could a woman do this? He was very nice and professional and it was over in a few seconds, but still really awkward. Next, they cleaned both sides where my femoral arteries are then draped me. Then, they numbed the area where the needle would be inserted. That hurt, but the weirdest thing is feeling the guide wire being pushed through my body, I can actually feel it, especially when they remove the wires. It seemed to take longer this time, I needed oxygen again, and I was really tense. That is, until Joy, my hero returned to the room to check on me and she asked the nurse in the room if she had "given" me anything because I looked really stressed. My nurse said no, and then Joy asked the doctor if she could give me some relaxing medication. She gave me some Versed in my IV and I actually felt my shoulders relax and lay on the table, my fists unclenched and my fingers were resting on the table, and my feet were no longer flexed in fear. I could have kissed Joy at that moment, but instead, I started crying. WHY you may wonder? I get extremely emotional when someone shows me genuine compassion and care. I have always been able to sense when someone is doing something out of the kindness of their heart, or for different reasons. Joy was just sharing her light. I couldn't wipe my tears because my arms were in these little restraint-like things, and now my vision was blurry, so I couldn't see my vital signs anymore, so I had to just relax and think of something happy. I thought of my son out in the waiting room making all those around him smile. He loves "old" people like his Daddy, and my mom said he put on a great show. Every time Thomas saw me on the stretcher moving around, he would belly laugh, he thought it was hilarious that I was on this bed. I love my little booger! After the procedure was over, I was wheeled back into a new slot to have this clamp placed on my hip area and then my family could come see me. Joy walked up to me and asked me about my other children because she had seen on my chart that I had had two c-sections! So, I told her about Benjamin and Jacob, I didn't cry, I held it in, but then she did something that made me sob like I haven't sobbed in a long time. Joy is a very petite Filipino woman and she crawled up to where her face was right next to mine and she hugged me and she cried. She cried people. She told me I had had to deal with enough, no more after this. She talked to me about Jesus and was so happy that I knew Him as my personal Saviour. I felt so blessed to have met her and I never would have met her if I did not have this diagnosis. I like having a silver lining. The absolute worst part of this procedure is that I have to lay flat for 6 to 8 hours after the procedure. So, I had to use a bed pan, which is the ultimate last resort for me. I asked Joy if my mom could do it for me and Joy let her. I was so happy and I talked my mom through it because I did not want any "spills" to occur. About 20 minutes later, they found I had a hematoma and they had to message it out and put manual pressure on it. After a few more minutes, I was ready to go to my room. My whole family escorted me and Thomas laughed the whole time again as I was wheeled on the stretcher.
     Paul stayed the night with me on a very uncomfortable chair and he got a lot of work done for the upcoming volleyball tournament. He even washed my hair, rubbed my feet, and snuggled with me. It was nice having him all to myself. He didn't even try to watch any football! I had a wonderful nursing assistant that came in my room with a smile and did not mind getting me anything I needed. I was so hungry and those were the best crackers I had ever eaten. We slept pretty good throughout the night, and I only threw-up once in the morning. I told my nurse to please call my doctor because I needed to be discharged home because today was my sister's 40th Birthday.  I didn't care how bad I felt, I was going to suck it up for my big sis, she is worth it. My doc came in a little after 9:00 and put in the discharge orders and by 10:00 I was on my way home. I went home to kiss and love all over Thomas, I will never opt to spend a night away from him, the two I have had to stay away from him have already been too hard. I cannot imagine leaving him for any other reason. I love him so much.

Next, I went to my sister's job and kidnapped her. I had already cleared this with her boss. We went to lunch at Jason's Deli, went to have pedicures done, and then I took her to get a real haircut at It's About Hair. We had a lovely time and my sister looked beautiful. I love spending time with her. She is such an amazing and strong woman with a heart truly bigger than Texas. She has helped too many people to count in her 40 years. She thought that was the only surprise for the day, but my Aunt Tricia, my cousin Karen, my mom, and I had planned a surprise dinner for her at Casa Ole that night and she was totally shocked. We had all pitched-in to buy her a laptop, printer, flash drive, and converter box. Her job ordered her four new handles for her car (great gift idea Evelyn), and many other gifts were brought. My sister was overwhelmed with joy and happiness. She was crying tears of joy and she was so grateful. I am so elated that we were able to surprise her and shower her with love. She is a rock and she has always been my real sister (not my half sister). I love her so much!

Okay, my fingers hurt and I need to get to bed soon, more to come later. Thanks for taking this journey with me and thank you for all of your support. You will never know how much your texts, comments, emails, facebook posts, phone calls, etc mean to me. Let's pray for a liver soon!