Friday, August 31, 2012


Aleq is playing a soccer game right now and I am not there.  I love his games and have been known to show a bit too much emotion. Thank goodness my voice is so weak that the refs can't hear me.
But today it is raining. I am not able to run or even walk fast so I would be drenched by the time I made it to my seat. And Robert has to carry 2 chairs and an umbrella while holding my arm and by the time we got to the field we would both be a soggy mess. And the wet grass is nearly impossible for me to not slip on.
So I have to sit at home and fret the whole time. Stupid stroke!
This is one of the many times I hate the damage done to my body. I feel like there is not one aspect of my life that has not been effected. Times like today are really hard and I have to fight, fight, fight not to let the self pity take over.
But Robert is at the game with him. Aleq has a good daddy. Jain is in her playroom singing her heart out and Tommy is sitting right next to me, playing a game. Seriously, I should be smacked for wanting something different right now. My life is great.
And I just got a call that Aleq's team won and he played well. I'm a happy mom.
On another note, last night I had a dream that I went to visit someone in the hospital and the staff took one look at me and, despite my protests, put me in a wheelchair and headed for the ICU. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't be visiting there in the near future.:)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dr. Swift

I went to see my OB/GYN yesterday and sure enough, hysterectomy.  My mom and sister had one so I was wondering when I would be sooo lucky. (sarcasm doesn't translate well in writing) So on September 13, I get to have #18 surgery. I actually feel good about this decision and feel like ITS ABOUT TIME!! I have had problems since I was 15 years old. Speaking of 15, I've had the same doctor that whole time, Dr. Swift.
My cousin, Amy, also saw Dr. Swift yesterday, but for a much better reason. She is very pregnant with her 3rd baby, Nixon, and we can't wait for him to get here. Not too much longer until he is done baking!!
I saw Dr. Swift first and told him to say hello to Amy when she came and that if we had planned better, we could have shared a room. Both he and his nurse laughed at this but I don't think that idea will be taking off any time soon.
Amy texted me when she was done and said that she and Dr. Swift had talked about me (nothing medical! He has been a family friend for longer than he has been my doctor) and he said that I should have a free pass into Heaven because I have already earned it. I know that's not true and I still have a lot of work to do, but that just made me feel so good! Here is a man who has seen great tragedy and suffering in his own life and he says that about me? It made me feel a little bit better about letting him yank out my innards.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


As I have said before, this blog is 1. for my kids, 2. a way to keep in touch with my mom, 3. a journal of sorts.
My visiting teacher and I were discussing my being sexually abused when I was younger, and it occurred to me that I have never written down anything related to that. I speak often to all sorts of groups of strangers, but my own children have no record of it. That seems a little odd, huh?
So, I thought I would write a little here and there. It's a very difficult subject for me so writing only a little at a time makes it seem easier.
First, here is a very small history. When I was 7 we moved in  next door to the Nielsens who had 2 sons and 6 daughters and another daughter was born shortly thereafter. My age put me right in the middle of the oldest 4. I had 4 yucky brothers (who really are wonderful, but try telling that to a 7 rear old) and one sister, 8 years my senior so the Nielsen home seemed like a dreamland of girl toys. I was constantly there.
When I was 12, their dad, skip (I know it should be capitalized but...), started sexually abusing me.It went on until by chance, it stopped over a year later.  More on that to follow. During this time, he was my parent's friend, a community leader, my friends dad, my dentist, and the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric of my ward.
I never told anyone.
When I was 19, my parents moved to San Antonio, Texas and I followed a few short months later.  I was living there when the police called to inform me that skip had been arrested for abusing others and I had been named as a victim. That was honestly the first time I had ever heard that word in reference to me.
He plead no contest to the charges and I testified at the sentencing hearing. He got 6 months in jail with work release time, and 6 months in a halfway house. After some time and intervening of the Attorney General of Utah, he did lose his license to practice dentistry. And he was immediately excommunicated from the church.
For now I have chosen to discuss two very different reactions by two men/groups.
skip had long ago been released from his calling in the Bishopric but remained good friends with the Bishop. When the abuse came to light, that Bishop called my dad and told him that I had a lot of repenting to do and he would be very happy to work with me on that. Um, repenting? For having been victimized by his friend? Seriously??
The ward in Utah that skip was still attending, was also the ward of one of his other victims. She had the very sad luck of moving into my old house so she also happened to be his next door neighbor. This poor girl had to attend church along with him and the stupid (nice word for him) Bishop. But it wasn't just the Bishop who was falling for the lies that skip was spreading. Approximately half the ward listened to his fantasies and lies and blamed that victim, and when my name got added to the list of victims, they blamed me also! Still more people chose to keep quiet and choose no side, treating skip as they always had and pretty much ignoring the girl. So without making a choice, they had one made for them and the poor girl felt betrayed by their quiet non-support. Some, though, were smart enough to see the truth and both she and I found fierce allies and protectors there.
In contrast, my experience with my ward in San Antonio could not have been more supportive. On the very day that the police called us, my parents and I met with our Bishop. He spoke of Gods love for me and his love a well. He quoted Matthew 18:6 and told me that although he would  help me spiritually, he was not trained as a therapist and needed help on this one. He referred me to a wonderful therapist who I still cherish to this day. He continued to talk to me whenever we saw each other at church and always made me feel happy and important.
Those in the ward who knew were also very supportive. There were hugs from the women, handshakes from the men, smiles, kind words, and even the occasional joking, "Has nobody killed him yet?!"
And my little group of friends, mostly my brother's friends, were my protectors, my listeners, my jokesters when I needed them, and always just there. They may have just met me in church but they quickly became my extended family.
The lesson I learned from this is that there are good and bad people everywhere, in every situation, place, or religion. I try to seek out the good. Admittedly, the bad people will chip away at you, but hang on! You will beat them in the end.
My testimony of God has grown and been shaped by countless answered prayers, spiritual confirmations, and miracles I have seen. It may be fed by but does not rely upon others. God is perfect. Men are not.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My baby girl

Some people may wonder how my relationship with Ana Jain has been.  I (most likely) had my stroke as a result of my pregnancy and she was away from me for over a year.  It would be natural to have mixed emotions.
I never once blamed her. It was my body that had the reaction and looking back, it could have happened after any one of my pregnancies. She had no control over where she was "baked" and in fact, I have some guilt that I can't be the super mom she deserves. During those first dark days, I felt wretchedly sorry for doing this to my family. We were really happy and I felt that because I selfishly wanted a girl, all of us would pay a high price.
And want her, I did! I love, love, love my boys and can't even imagine a life without them in it,  but I have wanted a daughter since I was old enough to think of such things. I always looked at baby girl clothes, thought of girl names, imagined pink blankets and car seats, and thought about how I might do her hair and decorate her. When I found out I was having a girl, I was unreal happy! I wanted nothing blue to even come near her and even yellow was questionable.
When she was born it was like playing house. I loved to dress her up in pretty things and counted the days until her hair grew. Sadly, she was bald as bald could be.
On the morning of my stroke, I was up feeding her when I first started feeling dizzy and my original thought was to put her down before I dropped her!  I was thinking of her the whole time.
After my stroke Wendy was sweet enough to take Ana Jain. I still marvel at the happiness and love that whole family showed her. My world was chaos but hers was happiness and security.
During the time when I was living with my mom, Wendy, who lives right around the corner, would bring Jain over very, very often. I didn't yet have the muscle strength to hold her but I could lie on the floor beside her and talk to her.
When she was about 14 months old, Robert felt that he had better bring her home. The longer she was gone, the less likely she would be to ever be okay with such a change. So he took off as much work as he could and on Dec. 21, 2008. She came home. Wendy's family felt it greatly, as did Jain, but we were so blessed and her transition went as well as it could, given the circumstances.
When I finally returned she was already happy at home. She liked me, much as she would a familiar neighbor. But again, we both had The Holy Ghost with us and over a long time, our bond grew. I still remember the joy I felt the first time she ran to ME after getting hurt.
Today we love each other fiercely. I am reminded often, through hugs, smiles, looks, chats, and even her anger, that she loves me and is secure in my love for her.
I now realize that it's not at all a high price my family is paying. It is a very small price to pay for getting to have us all together forever. I love that we get to be a forever family!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stay cool, have a fun summer!

The boys started school this week and although they were not quite ready for summer to end, I SURE WAS!! Aleq started 4th grade and Tommy started 1st. Aleq is a veteran at this and was chatting with friends before Robert was even out the door. Tommy was a bit different. It was a big change from Kindergarten but he was just fine and acted his usual nonchalant self until he actually sat down at his desk. I was right with him and was showing him all the fun things in his desk and he seemed fine. He even saw some friends from his Kindergarten class. So I asked him if he was okay if I left. He asked me to stay "for just a little bit." He then told me he had a secret for me and I leaned down for him to say, "I'm a little shy here." I could see he was using all his courage. I told him that it was just fine to be shy and that everybody in the whole class probably was. This actually made him feel better and he told me I could go. Robert had already dropped off Aleq and was at the door so he leaned in and signed I love you. This made Tommy one happy, if a bit apprehensive, boy.
After school they both were in great moods and talking all about new friends, the lunch menu, and recess games. And, oh yeah, class was fine.
As for us girls, we are loving our quiet time. We read, watch shows that SHE likes, she gets the Lego's all to herself, and she gets to choose what we eat for lunch.
Tonight was back to school night which is always interesting. I get lots of curious stares but word has gotten around and the teachers know me and make allowances before I can even ask. Like tonight, Tommy's teacher had all the parents fill out 2 papers about their child, but she just asked me to have my husband do it and return them tomorrow. I guess I'm famous. Or infamous. Whichever.
Here are some random pictures from our short but fun summer.

Aleq, Wendy, and Matthew at Lagoon

Look what I built, Grandma.

Cotton candy + swimming=good day.

A bit blurry because they were moving, but one happy girl!

After swimming lessons

Strange dive, Aleq.

Jake is so sweet to Jain.

24th of July fireworks.

Motley Crew

Got a visit from a real princess! She thought it looked a bit like my visiting teacher, Laura.

Did she get any in her mouth?

My beautifuls


Monday, August 13, 2012


Yesterday we asked the kids what they liked most about Christmas.  Here are the answers.

Aleq: Presents! Well, Jesus. Well we have to be like Jesus to get presents.

Tommy:  (He uses question and answer interchangeably) Presents. I mean the birth of Christ. I was afraid I wouldn't say the right question.

Ana Jain:  Grandma comes home from her mission right before!!

Also yesterday, Aleq told the other 2 that they were going adventuring. So after changing into their Sunday afternoon uniforms (P.J.'s and soccer clothes) they put on adventuring hats and backpacks and started digging for treasure in the yard. Then they all went on an adventure mission to take some bread to Papa and Nenni (Robert's parents) down the street.  Totally sweet.

My adventurers. Notice Tommy's arm around Aleq's shoulders.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I have been told that my face is making progress. It is hard for me to see because I see it every day and am my own worst critic. I want to mark my progress and remember the process so here goes...
In the summer of 2010my good friend,  Jodi Brown, went to California to have a spring put in her eyelid so she could blink. As I followed her progress it got me thinking, "Maybe there is a doctor who can help me." So I did what should be done with all big questions, I googled it. I did a bit of research and came across the name Michael Klebuc. I did some more research and his name kept coming up. It felt a bit like Internet dating but I read all I could about his procedures. Because he is in Texas, I called my insurance to see if they would cover ANYTHING. Surprise! He was in my network and since I had reached my out of pocket max (big shocker) it was 100% covered!!!
I had researched it, thought about it, and come to a conclusion and it was time to pray about it. I immediately got my answer that he was the right doc for me.
I sent pictures and after he saw them, he needed to see for himself, so I flew to Houston in  September. I was in awe of the place. Our cab drove for miles through the medical district and in every direction there were different types of hospitals, trains, cabs and people galore! Upon arriving at our hotel we asked about transportation to his office. Another surprise, we were right next door with walkways between the two buildings!
Upon examining me, Dr. Klebuc was confident that I was a good candidate, so after a few tests done here in Utah, I was off to Houston once again in December. We still owe my mom for the travel expenses.
The surgery took 12 hours. He harvested the nerves from the back of both legs (I'm forever numb back there) and hooked them to left side of my face, by the ear, and strung them across, under the lip, and connected them by the right ear, In theory, what the left side does, so will the right. He also took a muscle by my right jaw and turned it upside down. Then he took some muscle out of my lower left lip that was over working.  He said they pretty much had to take off my face to do it all. But you can't even see the scars.
I slept through it all but he and his team were exhausted!!
I was in ICU for all of Saturday and then was moved to intermediate care on Sunday. The big concern was pain control but in all honesty, there was very little pain. The worst thing was the "pain" in my in my legs. The nerves were gone so I couldn't feel pain but my brain didn't get the memo. It continued to think I was in pain and meds wouldn't help at all. It was more uncomfortable and annoying than anything but I could handle it and it eventually went away.
While in IMCU, I got bored and restless so Robert would put me in a wheelchair and we would explore. The nurses were a little uncomfortable with that because they were not used to patients even leaving their rooms. But Robert and I had spent too much time in hospital rooms and taking walks was totally normal to us.
I was released from the hospital on Tuesday, and flew home on Thursday. Exactly one week.
When I got home I stayed with my mom again for a few days to get some much needed rest. Then I got to go home!!
He said it would take a year for the nerves to start working and progress would take place over the next few years.
After a few months I started to get twitches and when I touched my left cheek I could feel it on my right. Weird! That eventually stopped only to be replaced with another weird effect. Whenever I hear a loud noise or someone close by me yells, my muscles spasm. This makes soccer games quite fun. My muscles have also been known to get stuck in strange positions. Think Elvis's snarl.
I have hopes that my eye muscles will kick in, and there has been huge progress. But my eye was surgically made smaller and a weight put in my eyelid. I have to be sure my eye muscles are good and ready before reversing any procedures.
I have high hopes for continued progress and I can look less and less like Harvey Two Face:)

Notice the smaller eye.

Eek! But my left side is more in control and you can actually see some teeth on my right side!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


My body rocks! Okay, I haven't been asked to model lately and I have some cellulite I don't care to discuss, but my body rocks!
I have seen the video from the few days following my stroke and it is seriously a bit frightening. I'm just staring blankly, have tubes all over, and I even have a machine breathing for me. Not to mention the sock-like contraption holding back my tangled hair. It wasn't a pretty picture.
For a long time all that would move was my left hand. I started signing with that hand only and that was the only way anyone knew I was "in there" still. My eyes were no good, either. They had what is called nystagmus, where my eyes would shake back and forth very quickly. And the whole world tipped to the left. This may have been because the hospital was on a hill but I have an assumption it was just me. For months I half expected wheelchairs to start rolling to the left.
Fast forward to now. I still have some serious disabilities but the progress I have made is truly a miracle. I walk like a one year old but at least I can walk! I am driving (with 3 kids this is veeerryyy helpful), and I'm able to do most of the things I need to be a mom. Just an hour ago, Ana Jain ran by me and I stumbled, but I was able to "grab" a wall and move my feet enough that I didn't fall.
I had my stroke on November 29 and if I had been healed completely on  the 30, I never would have appreciated my body this much. I now realize that this body has awesome power to accomplish amazing things!
God made our bodies and I doubt if we will ever realize their greatness.
That being said, our bodies are not perfect. Yet.
I was asked in Sunday School to share my thoughts on our resurrection. I long for that day. I know that at that time my body will be restored to perfection. I can run again. I will be able to kiss my husband with more than my current half pucker. And although I won't need to hold his arm anymore, I hope we will always walk arm in arm.

Friday, August 3, 2012


This post is for my children. I want them to know that mommy had these feelings and I didn't catch on fire or anything.

When I first had the stroke there was a while when I was in denial. I figured I would be in the hopital for a few days, be in therapy for a few months and then be back to my old self by the year mark.Um, yeah. As my stay in the hospital became longer and my head got clearer, it slowly dawned on me that I might never be the same. Thats when the anger hit.

During the day I was too busy to feel much emotion and when some would threaten to come through, I got really good at pushing away any negative feelings. Occasionally something would break the wall and burst through, but I really tried to only feel the positive. Negativity brought me down as well as the people around me, and it certainly didn't help in therapy. It was just easier to pretend it away.  And the people surrounding me really did make me happy!!

But at night, Robert left at 7 and  the long process of getting ready for bed didn't start until 9ish so I had some time alone. Most nights I would watch mind numbing T.V. and forget the world but a lot of nights despair and anger would find me.

I was beginning to realize how drastically my life had changed. I didn't/don't like it. I was angry at Heavenly Father. I asked a lot of questions like, "Why" and "How could You?" I would ask but I wasn't really in any shape to hear any answers. I wouldn't yell for fear the nurses would hear, but I would think very loudly. And there were many, many tears shed.

On numerous occasions, right when I was at my lowest, one of the nurses would stop by. We had become very close over the months and they were a very welcome sight. Although I couldn't speak and most could not understand Sign Language, they were inspired to know what I was feeling. They would share with me their knowledge of God and His love for my family. They would share stories of others miraculous healing or their happiness despite their obstacles. But mostly they showed how much they cared for me and not just physically.

Although I was angry and harsh, God never left me. When I wouldn't listen or feel His spirit, He would touch the heart of another to show me His love. His spirit was with me every second of every day, even when I was at my weakest.

I know God lives. I know He loves His children and will never leave us. I am not a quick learner but I have been shown this too many times now to ever deny it. I still don't have all the answers to my questions but I realize that He does and for today, that is enough.