Tag Archive | Family

Who’s Your Daddy?

As I look back on the last 18 months of my life, there is so much to review. I’ve survived not one, but two, life threatening events that have shown me how much I have to be grateful for in this life. Of those things, I’ve come to realize that most people today do not have the privilege of being in constant contact, yet alone are able to know, their biological fathers. To me this is a disheartening situation that I cannot either fathom nor comprehend. In my life, I have not only been blessed with having a biological father that has been there for me no matter the circumstances, but also “Bonus Dads” that too have nurtured and guided me through many the difficult and blessed times in my life.

There are those that would look down on my upbringing in that it was too conservative, unstable, and demanding. To this I say, in some degrees I tend to agree with you. I was raised in a Nazarene parsonage where the rules were more strict than those of the others in my circle of friends. I was not allowed to attend dances, I didn’t see my first movie until after I left home, on my first visit home after attending college I got my ears pierced for the first time after my Mom signed the waiver only to have her exit the Claire’s store to cry while I got them done, I had a strict curfew, and dating was definitely something that could only be done upon reaching the age of 16. I’ve often been questioned about the instability of my childhood in that it involved frequent moves due to my Dad’s profession as a minister. Though they were difficult to not only accept, but to also become accustomed to, they were also a common part of my life that I learned (though not always happily) to accept. As for demanding?? Yes, It was VERY demanding. We were what others looked up too, used as examples, and would criticize to no end. That was the most difficult of all to follow. In seeing what the ‘other’ parishioners’ children could do beyond what we could and constantly question “Why can they…?” when I couldn’t. We were to represent the standards that our denomination had set into place no matter what others may do even though their guidelines were the same.

What I would not change are the blessings I’ve been given with each and every opportunity each new location brought. The experiences that I gained in learning about the diversities that exist in the many regions of our great country and the people that taught them to me. Of these people, I have come to know several as ‘Dad’  throughout my lifetime. Each has been there for me at different times of my life, each giving me the guidance and  direction needed at those particular times. There was Gary Williams, from my time spent in Iowa, who, with his wife, Carolyn, kept us under his wing and his roof on more occasions than I can count. Memories flood my mind of four kids, who became as close as any brothers or sisters could, spending countless evenings doing what kids do while expertly distracting me from the issues of home with my Mom’s numerous hospital stays. Which brings me to Mark Fletcher and his wife Carolyn. Though Mark is now gone, his legacy continues in that he too helped raise someone else’s daughter during a time that stability was key. Mark and my Dad were partners both in church and in work, but their biggest partnership was in jointly raising their children. During a time of complete confusion over my Mom’s health and continued frequent hospitalizations, their home was one where I was always welcomed as treated as one of the family. Last, but not least, I mention the Rev. Jerrold Lake. A man that has seen me at my worst, most disparaging moments, yet showed me through counseling, guidance, and love that this too was just a moment in time that I could overcome. Eventually, I did just that, but I don’t believe it would have been possible without his patience and unconditional love. To my great joy, two of my ‘Dads’ are now family in their own right as a son and daughter were united in marriage recently. Be still my heart as my family has come full circle!

Yet, through all the changes and opportunities that my life has brought me, there has been one person who has been by my side throughout them all. He was there to give me my name, to hold me when I was hurt, to punish and guide me in the wrong and right way, to uplift me when I could not do so myself, to comfort me during the loss of a parent, to cry with me when bringing a new life into this world, and to be my first date as a shy 13 year-old who was just beginning to learn about life . It’s been his encouragement, praise, and pride that I have strove for. It’s his name that I proudly carry and hope to have brought and continue to bring honor too. It is in his shadow that I confidently walk knowing I never have to fear the unknown as long as he is there beside me.

It has been the most difficult time of my life to date these past few months to say the least. Yet, during each and every one of these times, I have awoken to the strongest, most caring, faithful, generous, and loving man I’ll ever know standing next to my hospital bed. It’s been during those drug induced hazes, that on opening my eyes and seeing him there, that my heart has leapt like a child’s running to jump into her Daddy’s arms. It is then that I once again know without any shadow of a doubt, I am…and will always be…my Daddy’s daughter.


Daughters and Dads     wpid-paperartist_2013-08-17_06-34-10.jpeg

Kindness Or Disservice: Maybe It’s Both


Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’ve come to know that I’m not the only one who does this. It’s a common thread that links the majority of us that were fortunate to survive our embolism experiences. It’s what we believe as being a kindness to those that surround us as a way of keeping their minds at more at ease knowing that they are already overwhelmed, confused, and concerned for our well being. Only to then have major melt downs that can range from anger to sadness and loss, and may even go as far as self loathing/pity due to no longer being what we were before and trying to process, comprehend, and embrace the concept that we will never be again.

This brings up the question of, that, in reality, are we really being kind and considerate, or are we doing them a disservice by not sharing what’s going on both mentally and physically after such life changing events?

What do you think? Kindness or disservice maybe both?

Please share your thoughts and/or experiences regarding this subject.

Remembering Me: Update ~ Part III

Later on I learned what had happened by piecing together what I was told by family after once again waking up in a hospital ICU.


Sick Selfie ~ BJC St. Louis, MO ~ Sept 2013

I’d been airlifted from the accident to the closest trauma unit approximately 90 miles away. My family got there soon after I arrived. On arrival tests were ran per protocol, then triaged which included unsuccessful attempts at getting my hip back into place. I’m unclear as to what happened or exactly what the specific medical necessity was, but from there, I was airlifted for the second time to Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis. I have no memory of this, except for waking up briefly at the end of the second flight panicked at not being able to move, unaware of where I was, and being highly claustrophobic did nothing to help the situation. Luckily, we landed before I had a full blown panic attack only to have them accidentally hit my hip on the helicopter frame when unloading me and passed out once again because of the pain.

I woke up only three times in the trauma unit that I remember. Each was after unsuccessful attempts at putting my hip into place.  My bed was surrounded by the several medical personnel needed for this procedure. The medication used to put me under during these attempts caused me to have terrifying nightmares as I’ve never had before. So much so, before putting me under for the third time, I asked the nurse to stay with me. I  remember exactly what I said to him. This would be the last attempt. That was final. I needed and begged him to stay with me, and not leave until I was completely under. I told him I wasn’t sure I’d come out of where I was being sent back too. I was scared, I was tired, I thought I was going to die…. alone.

I’d not only suffered a dislocated/broken hip which ended up having to be repaired surgically with a bracket and pins, but also several broken ribs, a third degree liver laceration, and a broken tibial plateau (knee) which wasn’t found until five weeks later during my routine post hospitalization follow up appointment with my orthopedist.


Hip Repair


Tibial Plateau Fracture

I was hospitalized for a week. On leaving, I was able to come directly home instead of going to a rehabilitation facility. My mobility was very limited and required the use of either a wheelchair for any extended periods of time or a walker for short distances. I needed assistance with almost everything from using the restroom to getting dressed to showering.


My Assisted Living 'Nest'


Working It Out, Still ~ Physical Therapy ~ March 28, 2014

It’s been six months since the accident and I have yet to get back to where I was physically before everything happened. Then to be told at my last appointment that I never will due to residual damage and deterioration caused by the wreck, my life has once again taken an unforseen, twisted, and wicked turn. Once again, as I’m having to cope, adjust and learn a modified way of daily living, I remind myself . ..

Breathe in,
Breathe out,



And that it’s all about isn’t it?? Living ~Not Just Surviving….


Remembering Me ~ Part II

In June of 2012 I’d achieved the first of my set goals for that year, but still had two more very big ones to meet.

That July we took our then 8 year old granddaughter to see the Atlantic Ocean from the historic Cocoa Beach (where we DID NOT find Jeannie) and then to Disney World where we went to all four parks in just as many days from open to close.

Disney ~ 2012


Disney ~ 2012


On returning home, I continued my journey to a healthier me. When Andrew decided on The Color Run scheduled for April 2013 as our celebratory survivor 5k run in September,  I kicked my Couch to 5k training into full gear. When I had to slow down and the stop training due to not being able to catch my breath when running as I thought I was having my annual bout of bronchitis, I was up to 2.5-3 miles 2-3 times a week.

Christmas day, three weeks later, I was being rushed by ambulance to the nearest CCU with a life threatening saddle clot.

Although I did register for the run that January thinking I’d be fully recovered by April based on previous recovery times, I was sadly mistaken. Andrew ran his celebratory race with my sister looking on and cheering from the sidelines. I cheered and supported him virtually as I couldn’t even make the trip. What followed was another holiday hospitalization on July 4 with bilateral lower extremity DVTs resulting in three months of work medical leave and a further delay in my recovery.

September 10, I went to what was to be my medical release appointment with my physician. Ready and able I was looking forward to returning to work, being productive, and getting back to what had been my daily routine. Everything checked out well. With a written and signed Return to Work form in hand, I returned home mentally and physically ready to  jump back into life. That was not to be the case after all….



On a spur of the moment, late night ice cream run, returning to the house, I passed* out behind the wheel. What resulted was my hitting an 18 wheeler whose driver did his best to avoid my oncoming vehicle leaving him no choice but to jack knife the trailer. I vaguely remember a panicked voice asking if I was okay followed by a bone chilling screamed response of no. Then my husband was there. My repeated apologies for wrecking the car while adamantly stating I’d fix it, but we had to get it home first.

We live a block from where this happened. He’d literally heard the impact in the house. When he couldn’t reach me on my phone is when he looked out the windows, walked over to the scene, and that’s when he saw me. The Rescue team had just finished cutting me out of the car and was placing me on the stretcher. Later on discussing what I remembered, I thought I was still in the car when I saw him not even realizing that I’d been assessed, cut out, back/neck braced, placed on a stretcher and was being put into the ambulance to be taken to the helio pad. Time had no reference or relevance.


*Later on, after medical review, I was told that the cause for my passing out was due to a complete blockage of the IVC filter that had been placed during my PE hospitalization. I’d been resistant to having one placed for years due to the multiple issues/side effects that had been reported post placement by both medical and patient resources. With the occurrence of not only the size but also the rarity of my pulmonary embolism, medical necessity, and family concern I finally gave in and consented to the procedure.

Remembering Me: Update ~ Part III

Remembering Me


Team Andy ~ Coworkers ~ 2012


Team Andy ~ June 2012

Yesterday I was reminded of a time when one of my goals to achieve during a year was to get healthier and physically fit so that I could walk the entire length of a charity walk. This was the year I participated on both Team Andy for Cystic Fibrosis and also a Relay For Life team within 24 hours one weekend. Afterwards, I began training for next year’s first goal which was The Color Run 5k I would run with my son, Andrew.


Relay For Life ~ Survivor Signatures ~ June 2012


The Color Run ~ April 2013 ~ Springfield, MO

What I didn’t know then was that by taking on this initial goal for Miller Time and Charrae Potter and following thru resulting in a then 50 lb weight loss and becoming a runner, is that it would save my life that Christmas. Because of that year’s life changes, what I was told would have killed me previously, a 1″ clot travelled through my heart instead of stopping it permanently. What was done as a heart felt gestures in supporting friends and their families, literally made my heart stronger which in turn saved me too. 💟💖👟💟💖👟



Remembering Me ~ Part II

To read Royal’s (my son) story of stroke survival and recovery from a Mother’s perspective, follow this link:

Reflections ~ A Mother’s POV: A Royal Recovery Story

To learn more about my story, follow this link:

I’m A Survivor!!!

Sister Strong Survivors

Celebrating Blood Clot Awareness Month by celebrating those who have been with me from the beginning of THIS recovery. Who have been your touch stones through thick and thin, dark and light, tears and laughs, anger and joy. Although just some of my “Sister Strong Survivors” and my son (of course), I celebrate ALL my fellow survivors… For you are strong, able, and loved. Remember… Life is for Living ~ Not Just Surviving…


Sister Strong Survivors (and The Kid)

Live every moment – love every day
‘cus before you know it your precious time slips away.
Live every moment – love every day
’cause if you don’t you might just throw your love away.

I walked for seven miles this mornin’. footprints in the #sand.
#Washed away without a warning when the water hit the land.
But I will #walk on ’til I can no longer stand.
I’ll take you by the #hand and we’ll…

Live every moment – love every day
‘cus before you know it your precious time slips away.

There’s #water in the #wind tonight.
There’s a #chill in the air.
It’s coolin’ down my #skin tonight
Soakin’ through your #hair.
There’s #warmth enough within’ tonight
For both of us to share.
We can take it anywhere. and we’ll…

Live every moment – love every day
‘cus before you know it your precious #time slips away.

Sometimes I wish we could take a #trip far away.
Leave all this #trouble and #heartache and pain for another day.
I will #search for that place but ’til I find it all I can say is…

#Live every moment – and #love every day


Shop The Clot – J Wells Brewery Event



Wishing I was in Colorado at my friend Lisa ‘s and her husband’s brewery tonight to help celebrate and pay forward everything she’s overcome and then the amazing achievements she’s accomplished this past year. I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that she is one of my Sister Strong Survivors who, without having met, my current recovery would not have been the same. Instead of letting me be ‘me’, she looked past that and was determined I was to be her friend and she didn’t let me stop her even though I did my best to. Despite my many warnings, massive moodiness, lengthy self imposed alone times, social ‘everything is fine’ mask wearing routine desperate attempts at not allowing anyone into the inner circle to see or know the ‘real’ me, she didn’t give up. For that, I’ll always be indebted and grateful. Congratulations!!! You deserve every moment tonight and remember… Take a moment… Breathe in…. Breathe out… REPEAT…

P.S. For all those who were concerned regarding how I would cope with recovery after my PE both mentally and physically having known how difficult it had been previously, this is one of the Sisters you should thank for the complete 180 this time. — feeling hopeful with Lisa Cowan Wells at J Wells Brewery.

Now for the shameless plug…. J. Wells Brewery didn’t end their fundraising efforts when the party did. They will continue to raise charitable funds for the National Blood Clot Alliance with a portion of their proceeds from the sales of Lisa Red Beer and T-Shirts. T-shirts can be purchased online at


and information on how to purchase Lisa Red check out

J Wells Brewery – Boulder, CO


Lisa Red Beer T-Shirt

Also, whether you are a Survivor, family member, caregiver, or just want more information given by survivors themselves, be sure to check out the Facebook survivor group that was founded, continues to be operated, and lead by Lisa at Surviving The Silent Killer or follow the link on my Facebook page at Living~Not Just Surviving.

Surviving A Silent Killer – The Whole Story

By Lisa Cowan Wells in Surviving A Silent Killer (DVT and PE’s)

What a DAY! Something thought improbable became attainable and accomplished!! As survivors of DVT/PEs its not the physical issues that reek havotic, it’s the mental frustrations, doubts, fears, and inabilities that are the hardest to overcome. This can be as “small” as breathing regularly or as “big” as a 5k, trail hiking, or even bigger. Each one conquered is physically challenging, but in being able to break through our own mental garbage bringing back another piece of “you’ That’s AMAZING! POWERFUL! EMOTIONAL! BEAUTIFUL! and EMPOWERING!!!



I always thought of myself as a Mom, Wife, Friend who wore many capes…I was always on the go, shuffling oldest to highschool and job.  Then taking both kids everywhere with me while doing errands for myself, house, school, our brewery and night school for me at the end of the day.  I always lived in fast mode…you would think under those circumstances I could be at least a spokesperson for being able to take on anything! At the end of last year, 2012, I noticed I started having more health issues than my usual, occasional bronchitis, sinusitus, asthma episodes.  These continued into this New Year, 2013.  I went to the ER countless times so sick and all they did was say its your asthma…here is some prednisone, Z-Pak and pain pills for chest pain.  D-dimer was always coming up negative, so they never pushed furtherto check for clots since my leg was not giving any signs or signals for a DVT and chest just seem to be asthma related issues.  I noticed that everytime they were giving me those meds, the usual ones that always worked when it was bronchitis, asthma related issues weren’t working anymore and the pain in my chest, dizziness,

Continue reading

Survivor Power – Unlimited Possibilities


Pround Momma, The Graduate (NYC Bound), Beaming Dad

He DID it!!! I was there to SEE it!! Talk about survivor power!!! For those of you who don’t know, my son is a stroke survivor now two years out. This happened while he was a college student. He is now fully recovered, and after only taking one semester off due to physical/occupational therapy and the necessary healing time his body/mind required, he returned to school full-time, worked a full-time job, worked on a Christian based movie production for one internship, finished that and started another internship with a media/internet based company, resumed his self started photography/media business (which included but was not limited to commercial and personal photography sessions) and continued to be the typical young adult in search of himself. On Friday, he received his degree only 18 months after resuming classes!!!
After suffering a death defying “saddle” clot accompanied by numerous PEs and bilateral DVTs I was back on the mend, or so I thought. In July, I once again suffered numerous bilateral DVTs requiring a week hospitalization. I was crushed! I took every precaution and with keeping my health my priority and the help of family (transportation to wheelchair navigation), I was able not only to attend, but spend four days with him.
This is only the beginning of a much bigger story as in 15 days, my son is moving to NYC for at least seven months where he will be completing his last required internship and taking one HUGE bite out of that ‘Big Apple’!!!
Miracles happen every day in every way…we just have to be able to see and acknowledge them. He is mine….

The Color Run That Wasn’t…

tHe cOLoR rUN 2013
tHe cOLoR  rUN 2013 

The Color Run ~ Springfield, MO April 06, 2013

Well……at least I have proof that I was actually going to participate….It arrived this week from my sister….
AND I get to wear this really cool bracelet that reminds me WHY I didn’t get to run in the first place….as you ALWAYS have to learn to walk before you can run…..

Love in italian