Thursday, February 27, 2014

Two Words

I saw this on another blog a little while ago, and it got me thinking.

Some of the answers people gave were:

don't settle - love yourself - leave sooner - save money - be present - don't stress
walk away - you're worthy - quit smoking - you CAN - be confidant - use sunscreen
stop worrying - keep singing - choose wisely - stay pure - enjoy NOW - accept help
trust God - pay attention - just relax - you matter - buy Apple - family first
fear not - stop eating - just breathe - have faith - finish college - it ends 

I thought about it and mine would be -

~ Let Go ~

What would yours be?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

You Take the Good.

The Big C

Aviana had been gone for just over two full weeks. One day, as I was sitting on the patio, my eyes grew wide with a sudden realization. Had it really been just over two weeks? After all this time, and all these years....could it be? 

Not once had I thought about, typed, or searched for anything to do with cancer. I sat and contemplated. It was just as I thought. I couldn't battle one more thing, and most importantly, be there to care for Aviana too. I both smiled and cried because it was as though all of that died with her. I was released. I was finally free - free of the Big C.

That other person felt unfamiliar to me, almost unrecognizable, like someone from my past. It was a very strange feeling. It was as though I had to remind myself of those days, those manic nights. It's nice to go to bed and be at ease.

You're Not 64

Some of the most peaceful days were right after Aviana died.

There was sadness, but there was an overwhelming sense of calm because Dave and I knew we gave our girl what she wanted. 

My entire body felt relaxed. But just like the cancer search, it took me a little while to realize my aches and pains had disappeared. The pain in my shoulder, back, hips and right leg disappeared. They all vanished into thin air. To me, it was bizarre. After all the questioning, I finally had my answer - stress and grief.
In retrospect, it made perfect sense. Against my will, my friend Jen thankfully got me into yoga. It's become my saving grace. I had hip and leg problems for over a year. During my first class the instructor put us into a pose in order to stretch our hips. She explained how we hold most all of our stress in our hips! After numerous doctor and chiropractic appointments - that moment, those uttered words - wow! It was as though a wall of wonder came tumbling down around me. 

Right after Aviana died, Dave and I were going to yoga three days a week. Although Aviana was gone physically - in yoga - I could feel her spirit right there with me. So intensely, I sometimes had to almost get up and leave. I honestly can't understand why I fought going for so long, as it's right in line with all of the various things I read and believe in. I am eternally grateful to my friend for keeping at me!

Every time I slip and skip out for a week of weight and step type classes, I find myself falling away from Aviana and everything, which feels good and right in my life. I finally realize something is off. Yoga keeps me completely centered, and in tune with what's important.  

Hair, Skin & Nails

My hair is growing back! Two thumbs up and a z snap for that! It's still pretty dry, but it's coming along. Baby steps. First you have hair, then you work on the hair ; ) I usually put coconut oil in it every so many weeks, but honestly...who wants to sit with that in your hair for hours on end? Not me! But I really need to keep up on it!

My doctor honestly thought my face would get better three months after Aviana. I had serious doubts based on all I've been through with my face. It's been close to four months and while it's a little better, it's still bad. I believe she is going to check my hormones. She thought my cortisol would be high at the time due to everything. We'll see. I'm at a loss. I know I've asked you all before...but again, if you have any new tips, tricks, help...please! Dave found me a new place to go, but I've already been to I'm kind of leery : /

I worked hard and got all the way down to almost half my dose of headache medication. On the day of Aviana's service, I thought it a great idea to cut another 25 mg making it a full half! I was slammed by daily headaches for over a month. Finally after about 6 weeks, I made the difficult decision to go back up the 25mg again. I've been good since! I suppose that was my tipping point. My nails stayed the same. Not as strong, but not half as weak as before!

I can't take Biotin. I tried and it gave me headaches...

Stuff & Nonsense

Above I said some of the most peaceful days were right after Aviana died, and they were. As more time has passed, coupled with some other family drama, and those bereavement classes...I've noticed some of my same symptoms have returned in recent weeks - back, leg, hips, shoulder. It's strange to sit in class and see the outline of a body and read, "How do these feelings show up in your body? Headaches, stomach aches, back and neck pain, chest pain?"

I know it's the right thing to do - to walk through all of this, but it all makes me miss Aviana that much more. It makes me feel her void and realize even more just how much she was the focus of my life for the past 6 years. I come home from the bereavement class and really feel...flat. And then, after three weeks of bereavement, now I feel I need an appointment with someone familiar, someone who has known us from the very beginning - my counselor Maggy.

There are some differences though. I now know exactly what the cause it's a matter of controlling the mind and not letting it spin off. So far, so good. Once again, I got caught in the trap of letting yoga go for other workouts. Why do I do that when I know what works? I haven't a clue, but I'll straighten that out too : )


I am committing more. Slowly, but surely.

I did make one giant leap, one that shocked me. I signed up for a writer's workshop in Washington : ) I planned to go by myself, which wasn't a surprise because I like to do things by myself, go to the movies, and other things.

But then, a while later it dawned on me - one of my closest friends would absolutely love this workshop! She loves to write. My gosh...she's been writing all her life!! I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of her, actually I could. My mind can sadly be quite linear at times. I called her and she signed up the next day. So we are now going together! It's in October. My very favorite month : ) I always find it interesting that I lost my two best girls in October - my favorite month, which holds my very favorite holiday. There are no coincidences!


I am making lists of things to do everyday and actually marking things off. Against my urge to throw my hands up and smother Rainey in kisses, I force myself to stay focused! All in the name of an increased attention span! Look at me, it's like I'm learning to be an adult all over again.


Dave helps me greatly with my worst-case scenario stuff. Much of this has subsided since Aviana died though, which I am grateful for. I feel my former self returning, and with time, only hope to continue in that direction. I also look to friends and mentally take notice - they have things go wrong and usually don't get sick, injured, or die. Check! I am going to talk to my counselor further about this. I need a pep talk.


All of the bad doesn't hold a candle to the good! The bad will resolve itself and become a learning experience as with everything else.

For all Aviana has given, all of this really is nothing...

There were times when I thought, "I wonder how many years this experience has taken off my life?" But then my very next thought was, "If my years are fewer - at least they will be more meaningful than they previously ever would have been! Or better yet, I wonder how many were added because of the ways in which Aviana changed me!"

Friday, February 7, 2014

You Take the Good...You Take the Bad

Part Two

Time Keeps on Ticking

The cuffs were clinked. As time went on, Aviana and I continued to respectively and progressively decline. She, in her eating. Me, in other ways. I couldn't tell what was from what.

I should preface the rest by saying, yes! I'm well aware of the Where the Sidewalk Ends, 'Sick' correlation. I was reverted back to my childhood with every cycle of the mind. My headache medication had side effects. I had lost about a third of my hair, and it was dry as a bone. Tink (that's my hair breaking off). My previously super strong nails - were paper-thin. My back was all kinds of bad. My entire right leg had been hurting for over a year. Both my hips were causing me problems, especially my right. Was it from carrying and transferring Aviana all the time, or was it from the medication? I wasn't sure.

My face was breaking out at an alarming rate. I tried what seemed like everything. Was it from my medication? Stress and grief? Both? I finally decided to start cutting my medication, but very slowly so as not to cause problems with my head. My face wasn't getting any better. Dave kept telling me, "you know what works, just do it…it will clear up instantly!" He was telling me to go back on the birth control pill. I didn't want to take another pill as I was already bummed about having to take the headache medication. My face got to an all time bad, so I finally bee lined to the computer and called it in. It was 4 months before Aviana died. I took them for 3 months. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. A big, fat goose egg. I stopped and guess what? A ton of my hair fell out in the front, on the sides and on top of my hair. Small patches…gone! Awesome. Sometimes, I would attempt to fix one thing, and mess up another. In some ways, I felt like I was falling to pieces. 

This scar runs deep.

If it had to do with Aviana, I was pretty much spot on. It's as though I saved all my brainpower for her, and all her various entities. With everything else, there were numerous slips and slides. That being said, I accidentally let one side of our life insurance lapse so I needed to do all the blood work again. It all came back perfect. Even though it was on paper and in black and white, I didn't believe it. Deep down, and at a level I wasn't even aware of, I learned I'm kind of scarred from this whole experience. In passing, it was brought to my attention that I may have trust issues because of the way some things have gone down with a few of Aviana's doctors over the years. I know I need to get over it. I'm trying, but I think I need more help. A bad cycle of events, wouldn't you say?

Anyway, as the rest of the story goes, I contacted my doctor and ordered more blood work, all the ones I thought were missing from the life insurance paperwork. They all came out perfect. I still wasn't settled. I still thought something severe was wrong with me. I made appointments for my leg, hips, etc. He checked for various things, talked about Aviana and then suggested an anti-anxiety medication. I don't think so. I mean, I know I had some anxiety issues, but the last thing I wanted was another pill. I was okay for about a week or so after that appointment, but then, I tell you...old habits die hard.

When the lights went down...I still thought it had to be cancer. That common right leg kind. I was a Googling maniac, checking every symptom possible. Right leg pain. Right hip pain. Kidney cancer, you name it…I was searching. I would spin off into oblivion some nights. My thought process was always the same - 'if I could catch it early enough, Stage 1, I would be back to caring for Aviana in no time.' But honestly, I couldn't tell what was from what. Are you screaming at the screen right now? "Someone should have shoved the pill down your throat! Sheesh!"

My last thought as my exhausted digits would release the stupid phone for the night was usually, 'crap, you're screwed! Worrying about cancer causes cancer. Congratulations dumba**!' By day I was usually okay. By out! Anxiety city!

Other fun and games.

I have commitment issues, which I'm trying to work through. I believe tomorrow is not promised and we may all be dead, so why plan for it! It's both a good and bad thing. 

I have a short attention span and can't seem to concentrate on what I'm doing for long (e.g., I have about 7 blog posts started, but never finished).

While Aviana was here, and something did go wrong, my mind immediately went to the worst-case scenario. The worst happened. The worst outcome, and the worst ending. My mind is conditioned and needs to be broken. I need a reset button back to how my mind worked before. Dave isn't like that though, he still thinks rationally. He helps me.

While at the same time as feeling completely alive, I feel emotionally and physically drained from all we've been through in the past 4.5 years. This past year especially took everything I had, and in every way possible. There were many times I wondered how I was going to make it through. The love and pain were at their absolute strongest, but the duality of our decision in letting her go and then actually carrying it out was unbelievable. I knew something had to give though. Aviana and I had an unreal, non-verbal connection. We spoke each other's language all day long. She was an extension of me, as I was of her. For better or worse, round and round we went. We are still an extension of each other, but for better only. I feel pain, but finally it's in a healthy, resolved way, which makes all the difference. We traveled our intended path, but now, both our souls are finally at rest.

A new day...a new way!

There has been way more good that's come of our experience than bad! If you're still reading this book, the next post is about what's come of all of this. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

You Take the Good...You Take the Bad

Part One

A battle for both of us.

While Aviana was here, Google became my best and worst friend. We developed a relationship, which as time went on, progressively turned toxic. Many times, I tried to shake him, but his pull was strong - especially in the wee hours of morning. The breeding ground was best when the house was quiet, and the mind was in rapid fire.

After the accident it was all about the brain, therapy, and recovery. That was all fine and healthy. The tides began to turn when we were progressing the best we could, but Aviana was not. 

Never before had I any sort of medical worries. Things had gone wrong in the past, but never did I give them too much thought. I took things for what they were, and moved forward. Never once did I worry excessively. Moreover, never once did I worry about something which had yet to happen. I've talked on here about an acquired fear I noticed early on - the fear of cancer. In it crept. "Welcome to the land of borrowed trepidation. We're glad you could join our 1-4am session. Please, enjoy your stay." It started off slow, in the corners of my mind. 

My counselor asked, "why cancer of all things?" My answer was simple - I can't fight one more thing. Right now, I'm in the battle of my life. I have to be here for her! There's not enough of me to be in two places at once. I can't possibly fight for Aviana and battle something of my own! 

Beginning of the end.

We eventually stopped Aviana's program. We were at one of our lowest points. We knew if we ever reached this point, we were going to let Aviana go should something come along and take her. That was a hard realization; to know something so deep and true within our hearts, but to then find a way to live every day.

We realized how important it was to appreciate every moment, as our time could be short? We learned to accept and love Aviana for exactly who she was, until. The pain in between though - in knowing, and waiting - it was like slowly spinning that metal arm of a Jack in the Box, you never quite knew which crank would make him pop out at you. It was downright difficult, because sometimes, you wanted to wind that arm around like crazy, and didn't want to touch it.

Everyone saw it, but especially those who knew Aviana before. And the truth was, once you knew, there was no eraser big enough to wipe away the writing on the wall. Because our hands were tied (or so we thought) we all coped and made the best for a few reasons: Aviana deserved our best, and what else could we do? We all felt pain in seeing her, but we knew it had the power to devour and destroy, so we tried to kept it at bay. Everyday was it's own kind of beautiful struggle. 

The conflict could be mind bending. I've had migraines since the age of 18, and at this time, they were more frequent. For over 7 years my doctors had been suggesting daily medication, I didn't want any part. I'd finally had it and began ramping up to find the right dose. I was to use the medication in conjunction with my onset injections. 

Aviana was getting worse, and in some respects - so was I. On the outside I seemed okay, but as I sat home with her all day, things started to escalate a little. I loved her so much, but it was definitely not healthy to watch her continue on in this life. It's one thing if you know this is the life for your child, but it's a whole other when you know deep in your momma heart that it's just not right.

To be continued...

Monday, February 3, 2014


Rest in peace.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Smile - Honor - Live

We used to take longer vacations but then realize partway through - we would rather be home. I know...strange. We then started booking shorter vacations. 

After all we'd been through - but most importantly - after all Aviana had opened our eyes to, we felt we might be able to handle a seven day vacation. 

Over the course of my time with Aviana, so much about me has changed. Sometimes I'd venture to say I'm hardly the person I was before the accident. Before, I might prefer going to the same places time and again. Now, my thoughts on travel are different. I don't just want, but crave variety. To me, there are just too many places in this world to go back to the same.

By the very beginning stages of Aviana's decline...I felt like I had been through the wringer. Like a sugarplum at Christmas - there was only one place dancing around my head. Its holistic, peaceful properties were calling. Starting off as a whisper, but gaining momentum with each passing day. 

By the time all was said and done, we knew our minds - although resolved - would need replenishing. Our spirits - although at peace - would need to be reset in order to rebuild once again. The familiar calm and tranquility of this place was definitely what we needed.

Our trip ended up being pushed farther off in the distance. By the time we were ready to book, we found ourselves in a different place. We were out of the exact space we had previously been. Reevaluation was needed. Were we still in need of this sort of trip? We spun, swirled and topped to bottom - bottomed to top list after list of places to go. In the end, and in our hearts, we decided this was still the place for us. 

It turned out to be 7 of the best days of our lives.

We came full circle once again. We took our first trip to this place while in full swing of our adoption for Aviana. It was to be our last trip as just the two of us. We took our second trip there in the midst of the chaos of our intense program with her, which we were soon to taper. And finally, we just took our most recent third trip soon after Aviana died. 

I feel this place was put in our path long ago and holds all of the elements, which we had not a clue we'd so desperately need in our future. The very things I could not embrace all those years ago. I could appreciate them from afar. I could look on at their beauty, but could never delve into them. I wasn't ready - in mind, body, or spirit. I did not have the patience. I did not know how to relax, to fully enjoy. I had not a clue how to be still, in thought or anything. I did not understand. I was on my way at the time, on my journey, but I had so far to go. 

The funny thing is - I had forgotten why we had taken our first trip there. Dave reminded me on the way to the hotel from the airport. The realization shook me. The pieces kept falling into place with every step. As if we were part of a grander plan and I was merely a pawn - playing the part. 

The place. Aviana. Our journeys, merging together in perfect harmony. We could not have chosen better. 

Every day, and in every way we were fulfilled. There were certain things we wanted to do in honor of Aviana, there were moments I wasn't expecting - both of which I will write about in another post. For the first time in what seems forever...we felt free - in every way possible. This is the very same feeling we must share with Aviana, albeit separately. And yes, there were many tears left in downtown Cabo for the reality of our division.

Because of Aviana we are acutely aware that every moment is to be lived, appreciated, and for God's sake - not taken for granted. 

Because of Aviana I can relax into my surroundings and myself. Like never before, I can truly take in everything around me. To really absorb the sights, sounds, smells and the pure beauty of our earth.

Because of Aviana I am open to go, do, see. I'm flexible and let the wind carry me wherever it might.

Because of Aviana we weren't ready to come home, and have decided to become permanent travelers ; ) That is - if we can take a certain Rainey girl! 

I could go on forever, but I'll stop here as these most pertain to our trip!

I used to say this all the time to my friend after the accident, "it took Aviana's accident to make me the mom I always wanted to be." I know it served zero purpose, but through tears, I was merely stating a fact. 

I know it serves no purpose, but again, it's just the single thought that sometimes crosses my mind in all of my endless gratitude to our girl. I always feel her life was sacrificed to help me see, to help me come to, to help me appreciate. I suppose this was part of her purpose. In her short 7 years on earth...her life was traded for what I learned, for what I sometimes makes me cry.

On our first visit, we had their dinner on the beach. It was so nice.

So we did it again!

We swam with the dolphins this day and then went shopping. 

Jello shot at Squid Roe!

 Next up, dancing at Mandala. I can't remember the last time we went's been way too long. 

This was our last morning.

Until next time...