Dancing In The Purple Rain

I am so very sad the last couple of days.  I think back to 2016, and wish that I really could rewind and start all over again.  Actually, I wish I could go back to the middle of 2015, and just undo all of it– every waking moment.  Starting with the day my dad died, and ending with the day royalty died.  The reason for my sadness is the loss of Prince.  I am not much of celebrity watcher, I don’t care about the reality stars, I am not a member of the Bey Hive, and I have varied tastes in movies and music.  The one thing I am very proud of is being from the state of Minnesota.

The military has taken me all over the world, but my heart is in Minnesota, and a big part of my heart died this last week.  I was a huge fan of Prince since I was 8.  You see being from Minneapolis, loving music, and appreciating the color purple is a birthright.  Prince was everything that was great about Minnesota.  A part of a bohemian musical and artistic scene.  He had made it big musically and artistically, he didn’t move to LA, NYC, or anywhere else.  He built a recording studio in Chanhassen, a suburb of Minneapolis. He stayed where his heart was.

There was no paparazzi in Minnesota.  When I was in High School, it was well known that you could go to Downtown MN, go into in First Avenue, and maybe see him (if you were lucky you would see a show!).  He would be outside of his compound handing out invitations to block parties, and some of his neighbors even said he would stop by for a chat.  He didn’t drink, he didn’t do drugs, and he was a religious man.  The biggest thing about Prince, though, he was one of US.  He was someone we were proud of.  He not only defined where I am from, but he defined people of my generation.  He was our Elvis, he was our neighbor, and he will be missed.

So when it rains, I will be dancing in the Purple Rain…

Cyber Bullied For Having Cancer

I was officially diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer on February 3rd, 2016.  As scary as the diagnosis sounds, and I am truly terrified, I am going to write about this as a warning to other social media users.  Please note, I do not think negatively about this, it is bothersome to me, but I am not dwelling on what happened, and I am a strong, healthy person, and I am going to beat this despite the “haters.”  I just namely want to save people from experiencing a similar thing.

A few months ago, I was invited to a running social media site.  I will not name the site, as it will give credence to the members, that did the bullying.  It was a site that encouraged its members to be sarcastic and irreverent.  I enjoyed it.  It was a closed group, so I felt free to post about things going on in my life that I could not post on regular social media sites.  At the time, I was dealing with the recent death of my dad; my daughter was being diagnosed with ADD (and had some serious mental health issues going on); and of course my son had autism.  I was struggling mentally and physically from all these things going on (or so I thought).

On February 1st, I had an appointment with my doctor.  This was my initial appointment, and because I was in a chemical accident in 2002, she ordered an X-ray of my chest and upper respiratory system. I ended up having fluid on my lungs.  My heart rate was irregular and my blood pressure was high.  The doctor told me that it probably was pneumonia, and my heart was enlarged because I have a condition that’s common in marathoners called athlete’s heart, OR I could have congestive heart failure and I could have had a silent heart attack.  I rushed to social media, and asked questions from the runners on the site.  Most of the runners answered honestly, but two women started to question everything.  I tried to answer the questions and calm myself down, but no avail.  My day was about to get much worse.

I was sent to the ER at the local hospital to have the fluid drained.  They did a CT scan to see the extent of the fluid in the lungs, and the radiologist saw something on the scan.  Three scans later, he spotted a mass in my gynecological region, and they ambulated me to Sacred Heart in Pensacola.  Of course, being the person I was, I updated those praying for me in the running group, because I had friends there.  The two women who had questioned me got even more aggressive, and started to really question the situation.

The next three days while I was hospitalized, it was a roller coaster.  I was told that I did not have cancer, that I did have cancer, that it could be this, or it could be that.  Finally, on February 3rd, I had a bladder stent put in, and was thoroughly examined by the gynecological oncologist on staff at the hospital.  He identified the cancer immediately.  I was scheduled on February 5th for a full hysterectomy.  I didn’t check social media account for a few days after that, and when I did check it, I found a post making fun of me.

It had gone beyond the two women who initially questioned my diagnosis, multiple people posted things stating that I was faking, that I was an attention whore, and they questioned whether, or not I was making up other things I had shared with them.  I was told by my family to leave the site, and I did.  A few of my Facebook friends that were on the site that I had left, and why.  Some of them went on the site (who knew me personally and online), assured the other admins that I was not lying, and that I was diagnosed with cancer and facing months of treatment.  The site exploded, and several people left the site, and started their own site.

I am not really too angry, or hold too many negative feelings towards the people who did this.  Online is a mob mentality sometimes– just look at some of the other irreverent sites that have hurt people in the past.  The commonality is they are irreverent.  If you can’t handle the heat, you are the one with the problem.  It is easy to be mean when you are hidden behind a computer.  In all honesty, their negativity, ribbing, or cruelty does not bother me.  I actually feel sorry for them, because there is something seriously lacking in their life that they feel they can pick on someone diagnosed with cancer.

I also hold myself somewhat accountable for what happened.  I should not have shared with strangers what was going on.  I should have just kept it to myself until I knew for sure what was happening.  I should not have kept feeding them with information to use against me.  The situation has changed the way I interact online.  If I have medical questions about my condition, I have found a support group locally, and I call people who have been there.  I also contact my doctor, I keep a negativity/symptom journal, and I have a cancer survivor social worker, who is working with my family.

Though this incredibly negative thing has happened, there has also been some good that has come out of this.  I am not a religious person, and I have a renewed faith.  I have personally witnessed miracles.  It has brought me closer to my family and friends, and made me realize how truly precious our time on Earth is.  I made up with a friend that I thought I had lost years ago, people I went to high school with have rallied around me, and I have become a better person.

I never really thought that online bullying could occur to me.  I am not a typical victim.  I have a pretty thick skin.  It can happen to anyone, for any reason.

The Curious Case Of Jodi Vetter


I am writing this blog on an iPhone. I have been experiencing a surprising health crisis. I thought that I was doing everything right. I am nearing 40, I watch my diet, and I am active– I lift, I run, I bike, and swim. I didn’t think I needed to go to the doctor, because a. I was in tuned to my body, b. I enjoyed being blissfully unaware of my own mortality, and c. I would KNOW if I was sick. Turns out me being active was nearly my undoing. It could still be my undoing (please pray).

My story started about a year ago, I was experiencing some discomfort in my back. I had gone into the doctor, and was told it was a back injury. I went through the  physical therapy program, was declared not injured and went about my life.

A few months later, I experienced some dull aching pain in my back. I mentioned it a few times that I needed to do something about my back. I would do sit-ups, squats, and lunges. I mentioned the back ache a few times to my husband, but he shrugged it off.

I went on with my life.  The pain ebbed and flowed with my cycle.  Since it was regular monthly visitor, I assumed it was cramps, or ovulation.  This month, I decided that I needed to go in, and get some piece of mind regarding my body.  I am nearing 40, youth is fleeting.  I thought running made me immune.

I was wrong.  In 2002, I was in a train accident which affected my upper respiratory system.  I had switched insurances, and made my first appointment in almost six years.  The doctor being diligent ordered a chest x-Ray.  They found something.

I had a pleural effusion, or liquid on the lungs.  I was sent to the ER.  Three CT scans later, I was transported to the region medical center.  My kidney is being cut off by a large mass in my pelvis. Near my cervix.

The first thought, cervical cancer– with fluid on the lungs– I was probably stage 3 or 4.  This plunged me into the cardiac ward where I rode a roller coaster.

First, my lungs were drained and then the fluid was sent off to be tested. Then a revolving door of doctors and specialists came to see me: I had cancer, I didn’t have cancer, there is a mass, there is no mass, I need a stent, I don’t need a stent.

I am now day five into this whole thing, and this is the best guess: my kidney was blocked by something in my pelvis. The something is either a cancerous ovarian tumor, fibroid tumor, or endometriosis. My guess- endometriosis (my history points towards it).  I had a stent installed and biopsy on the mass.  I am waiting on the final word.  Then I face chemo, radiation, and/or hysterectomy.  I am facing this with humor and positivity- I am young, healthy, and have a great support.

The biggest thing that I came away with is a few life lessons:

  1. Make peace with those you wronged. Don’t go out with regrets.
  2. Be an advocate for yourself.
  3. Don’t think that you are doing everything “right” that you are immune.
  4. Don’t put off, or skip annual exams.
  5. Be thankful for what you have.
  6. Don’t share medical diagnosis until you have the final word.
  7. Stay or get healthy– my activity and diet probably saved my life.
  8. If you do end up in my situation up your data plan.




Wow, It’s Been A Month!


My dog is ready to run again, and I’m ready to write again.

I haven’t been writing much, I haven’t been doing much.  It’s been a rough summer, a rough fall, and now we are approaching a rough winter.  To recap, in June my father passed away.  Following his death, my son’s beloved teacher was murdered.  The killers are still at large.  I came down with bronchitis and ended up bed ridden for a week. Then a few weeks later, a police officer was gunned down, and the suspect was also killed.  Our city was on lock down for a few days.

I took some much needed personal time to get things in my personal life figured out.  It is hard to write, be positive, and even think when there is so much negative going on.  I did nothing to do with writing (except submitting the minimal number of articles for Many Kind Regards), instead I spent my days and nights playing Fantasy Football, running, and spending time with my kids.  You don’t realize how children are affected by tragedy and loss, until they are. I needed this time to think, to re-evaluate, and to figure things out.

I still don’t have everything figured out, but we are doing better.  I restarted writing the second novel.  I have yet to post another day in my writing challenge– just not ready for that yet.  And now I’m re-attacking the blog.  I have also lost 15 pounds (I have 10 more pounds to lose in preparation for my kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon).  I started a training plan in preparation for the kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon.  Last night I signed up for the kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon.  I find out next month if we are leaving our beloved home for five years for a new base, and since the leaves are falling, it’s time to turn a new leaf.

Expect to hear more from me shortly…

Three Reasons I Had A Kid-Free Wedding


There is an on-going debate going online regarding inviting children to weddings.  I got married 18 years ago, and this debate was fore front during our wedding.  My husband and I have differing philosophies about children and weddings.  I don’t think kids should be at weddings, particularly evening weddings.  My husband disagrees.  Being the bride, I won (kind of) that argument.  There were children who attended the wedding, who were not invited, but they were not turned away either.  Here were my reasons for wanting a child-free wedding.

First of all, I am not a kid person.  I have children now, but back in the 1990s when I got married I did not care for children.  I didn’t want to be around kids.  My mom owned a daycare growing up, and I avoided children unless I absolutely had to be around them.  I had attended my friends’ and family’s weddings in the past, and had seen children running around, unsupervised.  The most poignant thing I remember is going to my cousin’s wedding months before my own wedding, and watching a child licking the frosting off of her cake.  I was in the midst of planning my wedding and I knew how much cakes cost.  I was horrified!  My cake was around $300, I would have been heartbroken if a child did that to my cake.

Secondly, Shane is a classically trained violinist.  He handpicked all the music that was played during our wedding.  We spent a lot of money on a string quartet.  I didn’t want the music we handpicked to be punctuated by crying children.  I didn’t want to watch the tape of my wedding and hear someone else’s kid crying.  I have a child with autism and Tourette’s, and I would not want him to do the same thing at someone else’s wedding.

Finally, my mom did daycare, she retired this year.  I have seen her at various events throughout my life where she has gone and the first thing that happens is someone plops a child on her lap, and walks away.  I am my mom’s only daughter.  I didn’t want her to come to her only daughter’s wedding, and end up taking care of someone else’s child.  It’s funny how many people assumes, because someone does daycare that they enjoy children every waking moment of their lives.  I didn’t want my mom, who worked hard to help me plan the wedding, to be someone’s childcare.  I wanted her to enjoy the wedding, and bask at how beautiful it was.

The reception hall and caterer did have a children’s meal, and I had no qualms about ordering a kids’ meal for the children in attendance.  Paying for a meal that would not be eaten was not the reason I didn’t want kids in attendance.  I wanted my wedding to be an adult affair.  Before calling someone out for being selfish, I think parents of children need to remember that not everyone wants our children around.

Five Real Reasons Military Spouses Struggle With Friendships


I read an article recently on Military Spouse Magazine regarding women’s friendships, it stated that there were five reasons military spouses often struggle with friendship.  Most of the reasons stated fell back to shortcomings that the person, who struggles with friendship may have: 1. Self-Centeredness, or being close minded; 2. High Expectations of People; 3. Holding Grudges and Inability To Forgive; 4.  Control Freak; or 5. Inability to communicate.  I have struggled for YEARS with making and keeping female friends, and I have self-awareness enough to know that I have some of these attributes, but these attributes don’t explain why people may, or may not have friends.  Honestly, most people hold these attributes.  After reading the article and digesting it a little bit, I have come up with “Five Real Reasons Military Spouses Struggle With Friendship”:

  1. It can be lonely at the top, or at the bottom. The military discourages relationships between personnel of different ranks.  Whether we want to admit it, or not, this can be a definite barrier in developing close personal friendships.  Besides the disparity in rank and pay, there’s also a large age gap between people who have been in the military for a long time, and those newly enlisted or commissioned.  Personally, I find it every hard to relate to a young woman, who is in her twenties, and does not bear the same responsibilities I bear.  It’s not that I am purposefully unfriendly, or snobbish towards them, rather I am old enough to be their mother, and I don’t know that I would have much in common with them.
  1. Military families move too often. For the first several years in the military we had over 10 separate addresses.  Living in a home even two to three years makes lasting friendships difficult.  Living somewhere less than that makes friendships impossible.  You cannot get to know someone in such little time.  I have close friends that I knew when I was active duty some 15 years ago, I haven’t seen since.  I have other active duty friends, that I have seen sparingly.  And there have been a few of my dearest friends, who have died from cancer, or war.
  1. Some families are too busy. I am a stay at home mom to a child with autism. The therapy schedule alone is brutal, add in school, another child, extra-curricular activities, hobbies, trying to start a business, and writing—I just do not have time to dedicate to finding close personal friends.  It’s hard to develop close, deep, and personal friendships with my schedule.  Additionally, many of my hobbies and interests are not really something you do with other people.  Sure, I could go running, but most people are afraid to run with me, because of my speed or distances I run.
  1. Some people don’t want friends, and prefer to be alone. I happen to enjoy being alone.  I don’t need a large group of people, and some days I don’t even want to be around my husband and kids.  I have a few friends that I spend time with, but I rarely spend more than a few hours a week with those friends.  I don’t feel unfulfilled not having a best female friend, and I’m not comfortable in a large group of women.  There is actually nothing wrong with wanting to be alone.  I have Aspergers, and many times large social gatherings leave me with a social hangover– often I find myself exhausted, depressed, and needing time away from human contact to recharge.
  1. Some people are shy, anxious, or socially awkward. Children with certain social dysfunctions and issues, grow up to be adults with those same issues. Some people are just painfully shy, and have difficulty talking to people.  Other people have communication disorders, ADD, ADHD, or Aspergers.  Still others are just socially awkward, and feel they don’t fit in with other people.  This can be particularly hard for women, because often these conditions are attributed to men, and there are a lot of women, who go through life with undiagnosed issues.

I understand the intent of the original article, the author probably really wants to help female military spouses in making friends, and surely there are some people, who are overly self-centered, stubborn, hold people to impossible standards, hold grudges, are control freaks, or any number of other personalities that may make friendships difficult, but I counter that just about every single person has moments where they are all those things, and it does not mean that they are unworthy of friendship, or that they should completely change, who they are in order to make friends.  It’s presumptuous to write an article under the guise of advice, when the author is passively-aggressively demeaning the reader.  Military spouses are in sensitive circumstances.  The primary problem I have with the original article is the implication that there is something “wrong” with spouses, who for whatever variety of reasons elect not to build friendships, or prefer to be alone.  And what’s more, not only is there something “wrong” inherently with keeping an arm’s length, that it is the person is somehow to blame for being miserable, when no one is really complaining of misery.  Blaming people for not wanting to be best-good friends is not an appropriate tone for an article about friendship…