An Expression of Gratitude

Posted under: philosophy, psychology.

Most of you who are reading this post probably know that I have had a difficult past several months due to serious health problems. Since July I have been diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, type 1 diabetes, cushings syndrome, severe osteoporosis, and neuroendocrine cancer (with known tumors on my liver, in my iliac bone, and in lymph nodes in my neck). Much of this is a result of excessive ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) production and consequently excess cortisol (stress hormone) levels. I went to the emergency room due to extreme confusion and disorientation from my high cortisol levels. During my hospital stay I had a bilateral adrenalectomy to stop the cortisol production. While I was there as a patient I fell and fractured my neck, so I also had neck surgery. It has been a long, eventful, and stressful seven months.

One of Conor's beautiful sand dollars

One of Conor’s beautiful sand dollars

I am overwhelmed with gratitude to all our friends and family who have shown their love, concern, support, encouragement, help, and generosity throughout all this. I greatly appreciate the many visits and hugs from friends, meals prepared, monetary donations, gifts, words of support and encouragement, and offers to help, especially with the girls.

One of our favorite places to hang out here in Saco is the local Starbucks. We have gotten to know most of the baristas there and made some good friends. I have recently become friends with Conor, one of the baristas. She collects sand dollars on various beaches, cleans them up, and creatively decorates them to sell. A couple months ago she gave me a sack full of them–all beautifully designed–that the girls and I could use to decorate or give to friends as gifts over the holidays. It was incredibly sweet. She texted me a few days ago to ask if I could meet her at Starbucks that afternoon.

When I walked in she treated me to my favorite drink (green tea latte). She then sat down with Brent and me to have our drinks and handed me an envelope. Inside was a card and some cash. Conor had collected, decorated, and sold as many sand dollars as she could with the help of her colleagues in order to raise money for us. Conor said that she had approached our friend Jill one day, and learned that she was distraught about my condition after visiting me in the hospital, and concerned for Brent and the immense burdens that he is carrying. When Jill expressed her desire to do something for us, Conor came up with her sand dollar idea.

The timing was opportune, as I have just lost my medical insurance after transitioning from short-term disability to long-term disability. The medical bills are continuing to pile up, and I am still not working. I was so incredibly touched by their thoughtfulness and generosity. Brent and I each gave Conor a big hug and thanks, but it seemed impossible to adequately express our feelings in words.

I appreciate the company and the hugs from the many concerned and well-meaning people who have visited me, and the many well wishes and encouraging words I’ve received through social media and phone calls. I am glad for the opportunities I’ve had to get out and meet with people, especially after feeling so isolated from the world. It it wonderful to have friends and family who reach out not only to see how I’m doing or if I need anything, but who have demonstrated their concern and support for Brent and the girls who I believe need it more than I do. Thank you, my amazing friends. :-)

Comments (0) Feb 08 2013

Linguistic Taboos

Posted under: education, philosophy, school.
Tags: , , ,

Wicked Pissah ShirtSkye came home on Friday very upset about reactions she received from some of the staff members at her middle school regarding a t-shirt she’d been wearing which simply said “Wicked Pissah,” a common phrase in New England, which means really awesome or really crappy. Her teacher thought the word “pissah” might not be considered appropriate for school and sent her to the office. The lady in the office reprimanded Skye for wearing a shirt with this phrase, considering “piss” to be a “bad” word. She said it would be a distraction, as well as offensive to others. She ordered Skye to either turn her shirt inside-out, zip up her sweatshirt, or change to a shirt provided by the school. Skye was unable to work the zipper on her sweatshirt, so she turned her shirt inside out. The office administrator told Skye to come back afterward to make sure that she’d fixed it.

Skye later told me that Harry Styles, member of the English-Irish pop boy band One Direction, turned 19 that same day, February 1. Teenage fans at her school celebrated by drawing whiskers and black noses on their faces to represent Harry and his fondness for cats. I found it interesting that none of these kids were reprimanded or asked to remove their face paint, even though Skye mentioned how much of a distraction it was in her classes and that several of the teachers seemed annoyed by it. However, not one classmate complained about or was distracted by Skye’s shirt, nor did any teacher (except the one who sent her to the office) comment negatively about her shirt. One, in fact, thought it was quite humorous. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (6) Feb 03 2013

Sound of Music Sing-Along

Posted under: entertainment, family.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Brent learned that the Merrill Auditorium in Portland was hosting a “Sound of Music” sing-along on Friday night, February 1. He asked me if I would like to take the girls and surprised me with tickets to the event. It was so sweet and thoughtful of him. I love the opportunities I have to spend quality time with the girls, especially now as my health and length of life are deteriorating.

Jenna seemed to be the most excited, especially when she learned that the audience was encouraged to participate and dress up in costumes. She immediately performed a “Google Search” to look at pictures of the characters from the musical and put together an outfit that looked similar to that of the Von Trapp girls. She decided she would be Brigitta. She loves the story and knows many of the songs by heart. She listened to the soundtrack in preparation, knowing she would get to sing along to the songs during the movie. Hayley was excited as well and enthusiastically searched for an appropriate costume to wear to the event, also one of the Von Trapp children. Skye didn’t seem thrilled about it, partly because she knew she’d have to wake early the next morning for a ski trip with her class from school. However, she liked the idea of going out and spending time together. She had no desire to wear a costume, but she did change her clothes to look like a teenager going out for a night on the town. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2) Feb 03 2013