Friday, December 31, 2021

Holiday Grief - The first year. Forever Changed

According to an article from Dec. 14, 2021. from the attached link  about the psychological effects of losing a parent as a grown child can change you forever.  Grief and the effect

I  am perfectly aware of the circle of life.  I know that we all will one day go on to be with the Lord.  And there will be no more sorrow or pain.  And I know that one day we will see our loved ones again.  But does knowing this really make it easier?

Since I got a lung cancer diagnosis 9 years ago, I've had two people that have been my rocks.  My parents have been with me through everything.  This is because my life is divided into two parts.  Before cancer and after cancer.  

Time after time, month after month, for 9 years I've been losing friends to this disease.  At this point, I don't think I can mentally handle involvement with more lung cancer patient relationships.  Yet, they are the people that understand so I need them.

As to my question about knowing the circle of life and having the faith that I have, does it make the death easer?  I really thought it would  I've lost loved ones throughout these 9 years.  And each one has taken a little bit of my heart.

This year I'm dealing with the unexpected loss of my father.  My hero, protector, comforter, and my person.  I'm not taking anything away from my mom.  She first and foremost has been by my side every single step of the way.  Everything I've been through, she has been there.

In the beginning, my father was too.  I remember how painful gamma knife radiation was after they removed the screws from my head without pain relief.  I've never screamed in pain.  I did that day and I thought my dad was going to jump over the nurses desk and attack them.  So I sent my mom, she can be a little more tactful.

But, my mom and sister both know that I inherited my father's bluntness, quick to anger, but also quick to help anyone in need to the point it puts my own health at risk.

So, after making plans for his birthday (May 15) on March 27th at around 8:04 p.m., I had no inkling that would be the last time I would speak to him.  He sounded so happy and healthy even though I knew he was getting weaker and during covid we had him stop going to my appointments.  


Every year I've been at my mom's on Christmas and then driven the 5 minutes to my dads to see him.  There was no question, it was like clockwork.  I would be in Atlanta.  But my mom got very ill.  She's still battling a bit so prayers for her would be much appreciated.

Instead, I've been home by myself since Christmas.  I hung my dads old stocking under his urn and sat it in view of the Christmas tree.  I think Christmas was always our favorite time of year.  He would continuously watch "A Christmas Story".  I don't know how he didn't have it memorized.  He would drive my mom crazy with, "she still loves me, my betroved".  

I believe they came back in each others lives because of my diagnosis.  And they never stopped truly loving each other. And finally, my first bit of good news about my tumors shrinking came in December 2014 over the holidays.  My dad never took his tree down after that news.  He said it would stay up until I beat this.

The most recent scan I got showed no tumors or bright lights, and my SUV level was at 1.8.   Above 2.0 is indicative of cancer.  He was supposed to be here for that news.  He would've been elated, yet he passed away worrying about me like always.  I finally took down his tree and donated it to a 2nd grade class.  He would've wanted to still bring love to all of those children.  It was ironic that Karley was in that grade when I was diagnosed.


Psychologists have nailed it when it comes to grief and the stages.  It's only as if the stages never end.  They make you feel crazy.  Every case is different.  In my case I've just wanted support.  Friends to acknowledge my loss and check on me.  But I know it's the holidays and everyone is busy, but a few people I consider dear friends don't understand my need to be surrounded by love right now.  

I know I have the support from my mom who is sick 5 hours away and my sister in San Diego, but they aren't processing it the same way.  My mom has been so sick and my sister has two little ones.  I remember it being all about Karley in that way too.  It would have been a great distraction.

But shes on vacation with her boyfriend now and next Christmas she will be a senior.]

So for the first time in my entire life, I am alone for Christmas and New Years.  I felt like I had friends that would be supportive.  I'm not talk about Amanda and the ones that have always been there.  I needed a distraction from today.  But I'm not getting one so am about to go back to sleep.

I  suffer already suffer from PTSD which makes the loss harder, and the fact I talked to him the night he died.

When a parent dies unexpectedly , you tend remain in anger and denial longer, often leading to major depressive disorder or PTSD.  And having those already is like a walking bombshell.  It increase them.

And then some of your "friends" make you feel crazy.  They haven't suffered this loss yet though so how can they judge the way I'm my processing.  In reality, they cant understand and call me petty and dramatic and other many other things.  

But this isn't true, losing a parent so close can make you feel crazy  One minute you're happy and the next sad and the next angry.  And you can only pray to have the support you need.  Especially over the holidays.  I did so good until now.  Because tomorrow, my dad will have not existed in that year.  I feel like I'm leaving him behind.  It's an awful feeling.  Though a part of me will always be with him and him with me, I can't help but feeling this way.  

So, I'm not celebrating.  I'm sleeping.  And maybe I'll see him again one last time this year.  There are no rules on how to grieve.  But having support is so important.   When you don't, you feel like things are spiraling out of control and you are helpless.

Friday, July 2, 2021

My Dad - The Man I Loved the Most

The Day My World Changed Forever

Everyone I know on facebook saw that we lost our dad the night of March 27, 2021.  Although the official record declared his date and time of death to be March 28, 2021 at 7 a.m. when the medical examiner called it, I know he left us before midnight.  No one can change my mind.

On the evening of March 27, 2021 at 8:04 pm I spoke with him and texted him at 7:54 pm for the last time.  Earlier that week I called Piedmont to schedule my PetScan and blood draw.  It was then I realized my father's birthday was on a Thursday.  So we were considering later in the month until I saw that.  It was perfect.  I could go to my scan and then out to dinner with my parents to celebrate my fathers birthday.  My parents may have divorced but the grandkids and my illness always brought them together and they truly had a deep unbreakable love and bond for one another.

I called my dad the evening of the 27th.  When he answered, I shouted, "Guess who has a doctors appt on your birthday?" to which he replied, "me!"  Both of us could be overly silly.  I asked again and he finally got it right with "you!".  I told him it was perfect.  I could drive up to Atlanta Wednesday and we could go out to eat after my scans.  I'll never forget how excited he was.  We talked about some miscellaneous things, our conversations could be a bit morbid.  I would tell him what I wanted when I died and he would do the same.  That night he mentioned to me some things he wanted his granddaughters to have.  I just took it as a regular conversation.  He was very adamant about it, which was strange.  It stuck in my head. I texted him a few hours after we talked, I needed his advice, I needed him, and he didn't reply.  I called a few times because I knew he would answer or reply to my text.  He always did.  He's always worried about me, as has my mom, since I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer November 27, 2012.  He would've answered or replied had he still been with us.  But, I thought he would call me in the morning, he's been in a lot of pain.

So, at 5:04 a.m. the next morning my phone rang and it was my mom.  Immediately, a wave of dread came over me.  My mom would never call so early unless something was wrong.  Through her sobs, she said, "Baby, you need to come home.  It's your dad".  I asked her if he was gone, and she said yes.  She was sitting next to him and did so until they came to retrieve his body.  He was still in the living room.  His girlfriend had called my mom in a panic.  My mom said it just looked like he went to sleep and she kept waiting on him to snore.  She sat next to him and talked to him the whole time, about how she tried so hard to stop loving him but never could.  She stayed until they carried him away.  He never stopped loving her either, but he did that day.  Which is why I'm going to add this ominous song which is the one that was playing when I cranked his car for the first time.  It was the last song he listened to.

I grabbed clothes and threw them in a bag.  It took my maybe 15 minutes to pack, funeral dress included, and I was on the road.  My thoughts were everywhere.  How could he die?  We just made birthday plans and he was so excited.  He wasn't in pain, he hadn't taken any pain pills.  He was happy.

I made it to Atlanta in record timing and immediately went to my moms.  My sister was driving down with my nieces from Quantico, VA where her husband, Patrick, a marine was going to join us the next day.

A lot of what happened after was a blur.  My mom, sister, and I each had our own ways of handling this.  I became numb to a point of sporadic crying when alone, whereas my sister was so emotional and my mom somewhere in-between.  I think she was in shock.  My sister and I had never experienced such a loss and before long were at each others throats.  I look back now and regret that happened, but all of this brought us closer together than we have ever been.  She did the planning, I had a fractured fibula.  

My mom wanted to make sure he had a military funeral and between my sister and brother in law and his local American Legions, they made it happen  She did an amazing job.  I wrote the obituary and sifted through pictures for a slideshow.  It took me 10 times the amount it should've in order to do anything.

My cousin, John Allen Mixon, came down and began helping my sister and me.  I still can't find my favorite picture, I was about 10 and dancing on his toes at my aunt and uncles wedding.  I can still see it in my head so maybe I'll sketch it before time erases it.

Who was John Falton Mixon?

My dad was the most interesting person I've ever known. Sometimes I would listen to his stories and think, "no way", but he never wavered when he told them.  Always the same way.  He wasn't lying.  The stories he would tell and the sayings he would use, he seemed larger than life.  All of my friends knew and loved him.  After being honorably discharged from the Navy, he went on to be a red coat at Delta Airlines for 28 years.  My mother worked for Eastern Airlines.  The people that would request him to escort them out of the terminals were amazing.  One example was John Gotti.  Gotti only wanted my dad and they became acquaintances throughout the years. 

He loved Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, George Jones and Elvis so much.  We shared the love of Elvis's Blue Christmas when I was little.  He told my mother at the age of 26 and me at the age of 74, "when I die, I want the song 'My Way' played.  That was his song and that is the way he lived and died.  His way.  

I bought him a vinyl record player for his birthday.  It now sits in my house as I listen to the old vinyl's of his favorites.  One of my favorite Elvis is "Suspicious Minds".  My father didn't trust many people.  If he trusted you, you were good.  He could tell in 5 minutes if someone was a "snake in the grass" or a good person.

A few of his sayings, "my my how the worm has turned" when something changed in his favor.  When asking how he was feeling, his responses were, "hanging in there like a loose tooth", "if I felt any better I would have to be twins", "with my hands".  Regardless of how much pain he was in, the man would always make you laugh.  The life of the party.  I can't even think of all the sayings right now.  Always a smile on his face.

The first song I played on the record player was, "you'll never walk alone", which I didn't notice, just put on some Elvis, but found a video of us dancing at my wedding on his phone.  That was our dance.  It was perfect for me to hear at that point.

Younger Years

He shot a man in Florida trying to steal his car.  He fought it and got off.  His life wasn’t in danger   He just didn’t want his car stolen 🤷‍♀️.  He always carried "roscoe", his side piece.  He carried it everywhere, almost going into the airport with it when I dropped him off.  Roscoe belongs to Roy the Boy now if we can get our hands on it.  That gun never left my dad and was always on the coffee table.  We've been unable to find it.

He fought a midget intoxicated and was arrested for fighting a minor, although the midget got the better of him.  A funny story I will share one day.  He was in the Navy at the time and had a little too much to drink.  He was recognized by another Delta employee 20 years later who had been in the same courtroom on the same day.

He had a temper (sometimes) and some people were frightened of him. My mom tells me I got his temper.... But the things he did were always to protect his family, friends, neighbors and country.  There wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for us.  He always wore a sportscoat and an American Flag pin.  He always  proudly flew his American Flag.  If there ever was a patriot, it was him.  

It was funny the things he kept from his younger years.  There was one man that lived at the end of our cul-de-sac, my father despised him.  I honestly think he ran background checks on everyone.  Anyway, I loved basketball when I was younger.  He put up a basketball hoop at the end of the road.  I would love to go down there and play.  My dad soon put a stop to that and had him take it down.  For some reason this prompted a visit from the FBI (not the first).  My dad apparently threatened him, my sister and I know why now.  He was fired from teaching because he was in love with a 16 year old student and even told her parents he was! We read the transcripts my dad kept, not knowing how he got them.  Apparently the guy was also in witness protection so had to be relocated because of my father's threats.  

My sister and I are both sleuths like my father, just warning you this man is now the dean of a local Georgia University, I'll refrain from telling which one.  I guess his past got buried.

He was also considered the protector, not only of his family, but of the neighborhood.  Not many men would sit on their roofs for hours at a time dressed in disguise to watch out for the neighborhood hoodlums that destroyed our carved pumpkins.  But when he caught them, he chased them into their house.  He made these kids carve new pumpkins for the entire street. Those kids father even gave my dad their blessing.

And Now the Time Has Come

He outlived all of his siblings and most of his friends.  He was down because he began feeling alone but always lived for his children and grandchildren.  We were his life and there is nothing he wouldn't do for us.  I was afraid I would pass before him and my mother.  This weighed on me, it wasn't the natural order of things. We had a long talk several months before.  I asked why he kept carrying on in so much pain and didn't just go be with the Lord.  He responded, "because I have to watch out for you".  I told him it was okay and that I would be okay.   Some think that's selfish, but I could no longer see him in so much pain all of the time.

Now, I worry about my mom.  They had each other when Brook and I moved away.  And they took care of each other.  She's alone up there now.  Had I had the money, I would've bought my sister out of my dad's house and lived there.  But Karley still has 2 years of school.

We just had another celebration of life for him at his favorite bar on his birthday.  Although he didn’t drink, he loved the employees and locals and its a major hangout for delta employees.  He also loved his American Legion and would always proudly drag my sister and I around introducing us to everyone.

It's taken me a long time to write this, and I still don't feel as I've done him justice.  He's the man I loved most in my life and we had such a bond.  My house is slowly becoming a shrine to him, lol.  I even bought him a father's day gift I keep next to his urn.  It's a 1929 World War 1 Navy hat.  I hang out at the antique store way too much.  

There was so much more to my father.  Please feel free to share any stories on this post on fb, twitter, wherever.  He would've loved the attention.  

So, it's taken me a long time for acceptance to set in, I'm still sad but I'm not angry or in denial or anything like that anymore.  I feel his presence with me.  

My life has been a blur since March 28th.  I couldn't even tell you what happened yesterday.  I thought my experience with my friends who died of lung cancer over the past eight years could somehow prepare me, but nothing can prepare you for the loss of a genuine caring parent.  I think God my mom is still here.  And for all the parents out there who have loss children, I pray for the pain.  I don't know how you do it, but GOD BLESS YOU.  Anyway, I'll leave you with a bunch of photos and now will start blogging again.  I was in too much pain to do so until now.  Sorry for the novel.

But rest assured, he did it his way.  He passed peacefully on his couch with his dog by his side.  He went to sleep.  His heart gave out.  He always predicted he would do it his way....he did.  Frank Sinatra nailed it.

Click links below to watch a tribute and musical video - His forever song and last song in his car.

The last song he played in his car.  I like the Alan Jackson version sung at George Jones Funeral (so I added that one)  He sung it with such conviction.  Love it.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Catch up - And Scan results

I have seriously been neglecting my poor blog.  Between learning to walk again and the holidays, it's been non stop.  So....this is going to be a quick catch up.

I learned to walk again and by my birthday (Halloween), I was dressed in costume and house decorated so I could hand out to trick or treaters.  I never do this because I've always worked or had Karley.  But after my stroke, I felt like I had a new lease on life.  (Pic overload below)

I met someone I've been seeing since October.  He's pretty awesome and helped me out tremendously along with my mom in my stroke recovery.  I'm happy to say that I've regained all of walking skills and have totally recovered.  It didn't come without falls.  But it's going to take more to take out this cockroach DNA. (recovering pic below)

On 11/27/20 I celebrated my 8 year Cancerversary by eating pudding for breakfast and laying around all day.  2020 was a dumpster fire.  But my cockroach DNA is still thriving.  There are few reasons why and I'll mention them throughout.  

First, as soon as Halloween was over I put up Christmas decorations.  That's right.  November 1st.  My daughter just looked at me like I was crazy, as did her father.  It always drove him nuts when I decorated early.  Even Paul, the new guy I'm dating, probably thought I was a little crazy.  But at least my crazy didn't scare him off.  My only thought process was "I'll decorate for Christmas, that'll make everything better".  Yeah....it didn't.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the lights at Jekyll and our cozy little home all decorated, and always love celebrating Christ, but things were still bad.

So, I began selling all of my furniture and replacing it.  I've gotten so good at thrift shopping I actually made a profit!  If you saw my house before Thanksgiving of last year, it has TOTALLY changed.  I started with the couch.  I found a great one that didn't smell like cat urine at a thrift store.  The owner was amazing and walked around to show me all of the couches on facetime since I didn't want to risk it.  So, shout out to "Junk for your Trunk" thrift store in Brunswick!  And this is how my transformation began.

I love the Holderness family.  So when I watched the video of the things she's done, I felt like we were related.  My daughter has a new "vintage" bedroom suite with a queen bed now.  Our spare room is no longer an art room but an actual spare room with a full bed.  Any of my friends wanting to visit this summer, lets get vaccinated and covid tested and come stay with me for free!  The beach is a whole 4 miles from my house.  After redoing every room besides the kitchen of my house, I decided to declutter.  I sold so much furniture and so many electronics.  I currently have 5 full bags of clothes for a yard sale.  And the longer I stay home..the more decluttering will come.  It's like a want a new home and can't have one so decided to redo mine.  And I bought an old wii with some "Just Dance" games.  Great exercise after a stroke.  I'm back at 100% physically.  Mentally...it's never been 100%.  I've included the video from the holderness family below.  It's the one where Kim is my spirit animal.  I never realized until I saw it that I wasn't the only one going absolutely crazy.  And NYE didn't put that dumpster fire out.  It just kept burning.

I tried to stay away from the news.  I have enough on my plate.  And they say "ignorance is bliss".  There have been no truer words ever spoken.

Tuesday, my daughter took her driving test.  She is now a legal driver, with her own car.  My extended family helped me tremendously.  I'll have two small car payments for a while and quite a few medical bills.  But, I can only pay what I can pay.  I would've much rather been on a vacation for the price I'm paying back to the hospital for the stroke.  Could've toured Europe!

I feel so blessed that not only did I get to see my daughter pass her driving test, but I got to see her get in her car and smile excitedly and wave goodbye to me.  Of course I cried.  But they were tears of joy.  I never thought I would see this day much less ride with her during it.  I am just praising God tremendously.  My life isn't perfect.  It's a disaster.  But I know what's important and material possessions are not.  The love for my daughter cannot be described. It's everlasting, as is my love for Christ.

Lung cancer is severely underfunded.  So, a few members of our Lung Cancer Community are working on "The White Ribbon Project".  Its up to us to get the funding and make others aware.  I've attached a few of the pics we did.  Heidi and Pierre made this ribbon and so many more to send across the country.  Mine now resides in the cancer institute at Piedmont Hospital.

And finally, I'll wrap this up and promise to get back to posting more.  My scans yesterday showed no evidence of active cancer.  Just the same two dormant tumors.  We still have to find out why I'm having strokes, but the news to my family, friends, and myself couldn't have come at a better time.  It's like we are beginning to slowly awake from this crazy year.  Baby steps of course.

Thank you all for your continuous prayers.  Please pray for my dad, his friends, and so many of my friends.  Survivors guilt has really done a number on me mentally this year.  But, I know I need to keep going.  Showing my daughter to always pray and don't give up, even if you're told no the first time.  Keep trying.  Sometimes it pays off and God answers those prayers.

Thank you all for following my journey through this crazy thing called life.  You've all seen my family change and get older and that sweet 7 year old when I was diagnosed is driving now.  It's incredible.  God has a plan for us all.  Don't doubt that, it could lead you down a very dark path.  I'm prepared to handle what comes my way.  I have faith that He sees the big picture and everything happens for a reason.

God bless you all and I'll write more in a couple of weeks.   Mucho shorter next time!

Halloween - Up and walking (mostly) and decorations out

I fell quite a few times learning to walk again

of course this is where they would send me for a new neurologist

We miss you Kelly Kayuk

Christmas 2020

Lights at Jekyll

Yep, I rode in a Cinderella carriage 

Picture Day - White Ribbon

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has" - Margaret Mead

Scans Yesterday

My favorite Oncologist/Doctor ever!  Dr. William Jonas - He's been with me since Day 1

Karley turned 16 and is driving!

I love these girls all grew up together and are still so close.  Mine is the second tallest in the back.

Click above for the video I was referring too.  The Holderness Family on YouTube.  I love this family.

Monday, October 5, 2020

2020, perfect timing for a stroke

 Well, I haven't had the energy to talk very much so I'm going to write this about my stroke and how I felt leading up to it.  Maybe it can help someone in the future that may have one.  

There are different types of strokes.  I had an acute stroke, which means blood flow temporarily stopped in part of my brain, the front right part.

I had been having headaches for days and was overall fatigued.  I couldn't stand the light and kept forgetting things.  I would get Karley up and go back to bed.  I had so much to do, but I didn't want to even paint for fun.  I felt lightheaded and nothing was helping the headaches.

My mother used to get migraines beginning at my age, so I assumed it was something like that.  On Thursday Sept. 24th I woke up feeling amazing.  My headaches and symptoms were gone.  I decided to put some furniture together to organize my office.  

Super bad idea.  I kept getting confused.  It's like I could not comprehend  the directions.  I kept putting pieces in the wrong spot and logically could not think.  It was a simple 12 unit cubicle organizer.  I've always put furniture like that together, even when I was dating someone.  My entire life, since I could talk, I've always said, "Ill do it myself".  I was a so little and talking and my mom would try to help me and I wouldn't let her, saying "I'll do it myself.  I've felt like I could do things anyone could do.  And I probably could have had the blood flow just not stopped in part of my brain.

It's an odd sensation.  I was sitting down (thank God).  I was suddenly dizzy and flopped down on my back.  I was still sitting with my legs tucked in but very soon realized that I couldn't move my left side and was having trouble with my right.

I knew I was having a stroke.  I had siri to the rescue again.  She called Karley's dad who immediately dropped everything he was doing to come get me.  Why didn't I call 911? I didn't want to go to our local hospital.  This one was serious and many have died from strokes there.

When John arrived, I was still on the ground.   He grabbed my pill bag and I immediately took 4 low dose aspirin and a blood thinner.  I did get in trouble for taking that, had I been having a hemorrhagic stroke, it could have killed me.  Considering it was going to take us almost 2 hours to get to Jacksonville and help, I was willing to take those odds.

Because I couldn't walk or feel the left side of my body, John had to carry me to his truck.  He was panicking like I was in labor again.  I felt so bad.  Once we were on our way to Baptist Memorial in Jacksonville, I kept crying telling him I was sorry about fighting over Karley and he was a great dad and could do it on his own.   I really thought I wasn't going to make it.  I told him to tell Karley how much I love her.  He kept saying, "hang on, you're not going anywhere".  He drove like a nascar driver to get me there.

Upon arrival he opened my door and was carrying me in yelling to anyone that would listen that I was having a stroke.  I was immediately whisked away from his arms and on to a stretcher.  I told him not to stay and go home to Karley.  

They do not play when they think you're having a stroke.  I can't begin to remember all of the tests I went through but they were non stop.  This all happened at 4:50 pm and by 9 p.m. they were sure I wasn't still having the stroke and I was in a room.  Starving because I hadn't eaten all day.

Let me tell you, they do a full drug test on you too.  I had my adderall and xanax in my system.  So don't do drugs if you are prone to having a stroke!  How about not doing drugs period...

I tried to tell them they would find all the cocaine in my system and they laughed and said they already looked and it was clean.  Ruined it for me.

Let me tell you, I cannot use a bed pan or a diaper.  My lady parts refuse.  I had to urinate so bad that when I got in the room, they had to do a forced catherization.  I had a liter of urine in there.  Yes, a liter.  the nurses were amazed.  My body refuses anything but the toilet or a catheter.  

I continued to have tests for about 5 days.  They were able to tell where the stroke occurred but are not ruling out brain mets.  So I have a repeat MRI 6 weeks after the original and they should be able to tell then.

As most of you know, I had several mini strokes last October.  So we are going to UNF Shands neurology to see if they can find out why this is happening.

I've slowly but surly regained feeling on the left side.  My balance is off but I can walk without a walker now slowly.  PT is amazing an taught me so much.  Basically how to get my brain to recognize signals again.  

I go for another assessment today to see where I stand.  And I am standing and slowly walking.  It's amazing how our bodies can fix themselves if you work at it.  

I'm home now doing outpatient rehab.  Let me know if you have any questions I can answer.  I'm so sorry I left everyone hanging.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  My prognosis is good. Just building up my strength an balance.  I praise God for this.  And I'm really beginning to think He gave me part cockroach DNA.

Anyway, life is short.  Just another reminder.  Hold your loved ones close and don't go to bed mad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Our Nation

This is my blog, so I'm going to write how I feel.  If you want to argue or anything, I'll just delete the comment.  I'm too tired and too stressed to debate.

I've been on twitter today.  I admitted that I have always voted Republican but don't know anymore.  Although, I look back and disagree with really some things on both sides.  A lot of things actually.  So, I've decided to call myself a humanitarian instead of affiliate with any parties.  I will vote for who makes the most sense.  There is something I want to point out.

I am a white woman.  White privileged and all except I have Stage 4 Lung Cancer that I can barely keep up with, much less some of the BLM movements going on.  I want to help.  What was done to George Floyd was awful, as so many others have been treated.  I cried.  I wanted to help.  

I live in the same county Ahmaud Arbery was chased down and shot in broad daylight, yet the DA refused to press charges.  I cried then too and am mad as hell still.  

But, racism is a two way street.  I was on twitter asking how to help, what I could do, and generally trying to let people understand that just because I've voted Republican in no way means I am for the cop in Minnesota or the guys in Brunswick.  It was all due to a meme that was posted that showed that cop as the republican and the cop watching a democrat.  

So, I gave up and called myself a humanitarian.  This was after I was asked if I even went to school (they called me "bruh").  I was told "every person saying 'fuck color and gender' is just trying to convince US their political party is the one for the people".  I don't like the words "they" and "us".  We need words like we.  I guess I'm just naive.

I was told "don't be a sheep" after asking for suggested websites.  When I said I empathize I get a response, "empathize like your president who mocks the handicapped and puts babies behind bars".  I was told "good luck white girl trying to help out black folks".  And then a whole twitter war started about whether Lincoln was a Republican or democrat.  There was a lot more and personnel attacks. 

I mean wow.  I'm just trying to help people understand it is a two way street.  I was kind to every person no matter how much I was insulted.  Which for me is very hard.  I know not all people like the ones on social medial, but how would any of that make me want to help?  I even said, "I am a white woman so do not fully understand but empathize".  

So, now I need a nap and blocked a couple of people.   There were some very helpful people in there, like sunny.  But it takes conversation and dialogue, not personnel attacks, to overcome these things.  Don't try and educate with "you're stupid".  What good does that do?  Nothing.  

I'm raising my child that everyone is created equal.  Maybe if everyone did that, our next generation may look a whole lot different.  Right now we should be fighting the coronavirus.  Not spreading it.  And riots and looting are only ruining the communities from which protesters came.  

I saw some great suggestions on there too.  Anyway, I stepped away.  I just want us all to be one nation, under God.  Not a nation at the edge of collapse because of the economics and damages.  

Anyway, I'll get back to blogging more.  I've been in a funk since this quarantine.  J/K   I've been painting way too much.  

Just know that we are with everyone, from George Floyd to the Police officer shot in the head for no reason.  Everyone should be treated equal.  That was God's intent.  Love thy neighbor.  And please pray for Debbie Pouncey McGettigan and her family for comfort.

God bless!

Friday, May 8, 2020

"United we stand, divided we fall' - Aesop

For 6 years now, Team Draft has been giving us ( the Lung Cancer Community) an outlet to share our research concerns to the world. Anyone who has looked at the lung cancer research funding KNOWS how underfunded we are. So, how do we fix this? How do we get the research we need?

I know you may be thinking, "I'm just one person, does it really matter if I advocate?" Well, the answer is absolutely it matters. Let me give you an example.

My daughter, Karley, is very passionate and loves volleyball. But, if she's the only one to show up to the game (against the opposing team) full of other students, will she win? No. If the other players show up and don't try, will the(y) win? No. How do they get funding for athletic gear, uniforms, etc? They fund-raise, ask for big sponsorships, and challenge different companies to (support) put the most in their team. They don't do it alone. My family and friends help her raise that much needed funding. (If they want to win, they have to be a committed Team on the court and off the court.)

So, in order to be part of (a successful) the team, you have to want it. Do you want to live, and make a difference for future generations?

Chris Draft, former NFL player and co-founder of Team Draft, began November 27, 2011 when he and his wife, Keasha Rutledge Draft, were married in Atlanta, GA Keasha was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in December 2010.

Team Draft was founded by former NFL linebacker and internationally-recognized health advocate, Chris Draft, and his late wife, Keasha, on November 27, 2011—their wedding day. At the time, Keasha, a never-smoker, was battling Stage IV Lung Cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in December 2010. Despite the diagnosis and knowing the long odds they faced, Chris and Keasha decided to fight back, and standing side-by-side, they launched Team Draft at their wedding. Unfortunately, Keasha died one month later.

With an introduction from the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Chris visited American Cancer Society in April 2011)went across the street to the American Cancer Society and asked if there was something they could do to help with funding lung cancer. They asked what the American Cancer Society does for lung cancer awareness month in November. The ACS replied that she could be part of the great american smokeout but that's all they did for lung cancer awareness month. They kindly declined and Keasha passed away about a month after their wedding, leaving Chris to carry on his advocacy.

Had the ACS taken Keasha seriously and really advocated and spoken up, that lung cancer matters, imagine what it would look like today? But they didn't. So it's up to US to keep going, fighting, raising awareness and letting others know that our lives matter!


The outlet Team Draft has given each year to really make an impression on someone is the (Lung Cancer Survivors) Super Bowl Challenge. But that may not happen this year due to the NFL and pandemic, but also, we don't have the Team. I have so many people ask how they can advocate. Raise awareness. Read about the superbowl challenge on Team Draft's website. I went the first year and the NFL and their wives totally embraced me. I sat with Andy Dalton as I told him my story. He put his phone down and listened. Then he retweeted Lung Cancer Matters. Tim Tebow, who always does so much for childhood cancer, he stopped signing autographs to listen to my story.

My point is, we have this opportunity through Team Draft to make a difference in Lung Cancer research and awareness. Unless we have at least 32 people participating, we won't be doing it this year. (That and COV-ID19 maybe). We need this to be a tradition. We need your family and friends talking about the Team and what they can do to help us LIVE!

Being cooped up in the house, I started painting. I want to do a silent auction and dedicate the funds raised to lung cancer research (less overhead). And all the research centers can say Lung Cancer Matters, but they need to show it. It's up to US to challenge them. To inspire them. Take a look at the past winners. They've gone on to be huge advocates in the Lung Cancer Community. But we need more. We all know the underfunding and lack of awareness. It's OUR time to stand up and make these cancer research centers see US. To recognize US. You can fund raise (which is vert fun-unlimited possibilities), blog, write and call your senators. But most importantly, you can join our Team. We can all be on the same page on how we are going to win the game! If we don't, we will be on the same path of under funding and poor survival. We are finally living longer. Let's use that to our advantage! To learn more, go to Team Draft's website or message me and I can get you to the right place.

We all want to Live, for our families and friends. It's time to take a stand. Are you going to be part of the Team or just a spectator?


Since its founding, Team Draft has been dedicated to using its unique platform to raise lung cancer awareness and research funding through its Campaign To Change The Face Of Lung Cancer. And the centerpiece of that Campaign is Team Draft’s annual Lung Cancer Survivors’ Super Bowl Challenge. As Draft explains, “the Super Bowl Challenge gives us a unique opportunity to use the overwhelming media coverage surrounding the Super Bowl to raise lung cancer awareness on an international level.”

“With the game as a backdrop,” says Draft, “we give our survivor-advocates a world-wide platform to share their stories, which we can then use to weave a broader narrative about the state of lung cancer and the hope that now exists for those battling the disease.” And Team Draft’s efforts are paying off. “The Challenge achieves some amazing things in terms of public awareness and changing perceptions about lung cancer,” says Dr. Ross Camidge, Director of Thoracic Oncology at Colorado University Cancer Center.

In addition to raising critical public awareness, the Super Bowl Challenge also raises funds for lung cancer organizations and treatment centers across North America. And because Team Draft’s National Campaign has always been about “we” and not “me,” just as Keasha intended, participating survivor-advocates who raise more than $5,000 during the Super Bowl Challenge may commit 90% of the funds they raise to a lung cancer organization or cancer center of their choice with the remaining 10% going to support Team Draft and its mission. Of this aspect of the Super Bowl Challenge, Dr. Camidge says, “you need somebody working on the national level. You need somebody working on the local level. Everybody wins.”

As Draft points out, “anybody can get lung cancer.” “The disease doesn’t care where you live, but your zip code often determines the quality of care you receive,” he explains. “In football, we understand the importance of the home field advantage. By allowing survivors to direct where funds go, we’re giving people the opportunity to fight for better cancer treatment in their communities—to give themselves and their neighbors the home field advantage,” he says.

“It takes a team to tackle cancer, and thanks to committed survivor-advocates like Angie, Lisa, Christie, Kathy, Sandy, and all those who are participating in the Super Bowl Challenge, we are building a championship team,” Draft says. “Keasha’s legacy of hope lives on through that team and we are grateful to all those who have contributed and continue to contribute to lung cancer awareness, research, treatment and patient advocacy efforts.”

Team Draft hopes to have survivor-advocates from all 32 NFL cities participate in the Super Bowl Challenge, the ultimate goal is for all NCI designated cancer centers and lung cancer organizations—regardless of location—to identify and support a survivor-advocate in the Challenge every year. Team Draft is challenging lung cancer survivors and their supporters to help meet that goal by choosing to fight for their communities by joining the Super Bowl Challenge.

“We know the key to winning this fight is for everybody in the lung cancer community to support one another,” says Draft, adding that “the only way a community or an organization loses is if nobody stands up.”

About Team Draft

Team Draft, an initiative of the Chris Draft Family Foundation, is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and increasing badly needed research funding by shattering the misconception that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.” The fact is, anybody can get lung cancer. Yet, despite the fact that between 20,000 and 30,000 people who have never smoked—including Keasha—are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States each year, the smoking stigma negatively impacts lung cancer research funding, which pales in comparison to funding for other major cancers and diseases. Team Draft is out to change all that. “If we can take away the stigma that says you have to be a smoker to get lung cancer, we have a real chance to educate people about the true nature of the disease,” explains Draft.

To learn more about Team Draft, share your story, or make a donation, please visit www.teamdraft.org.

Chris Draft

Founder, President, and CEO 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Comical Pandemic

Ok people, I am already running low on xanax due to some of the  inconsiderate and disrespectful people living and vacationing here.  Don't get me wrong.  A lot more people are taking it seriously, but a lot just don't care.  There is nothing COMICAL about this pandemic.  Pick up a history book comedians.

When I lived in Atlanta and 9/11 happened, I literally cried at the kindness this nation showed each other.  But today, there is no crying except for the fact I'm not sure when my daughter is coming home because some people just don't give a damn about the sick or elderly.

Well, guess what.  This virus is starting to hit people 20 and up.  So those of you not caring about the rest of us....we will be inside when you get sick.   In 6 hours the number of cases in the US rose by 2,000.  And that's just for the ones tested.  I can't imagine what it will be like a week or two from now.  Are we in competition with Italy and China?

From the things I've seen, we sure are.  Because the tourist arriving do not care if they spread it.  As long as THEY are not sick or inconvenienced.

Where is the leadership in this county and state?   I know the County cancelled.  TOO RISKY.   But I did inquire about the beaches and all the people really not caring what the cdc recommendations are.  I will insert the response from the district 2 commissioner.  All the commissioners need to do is ask the governor for help.  But, it looks like we are on our own from what I've been told.

Those who think this is a joke or overrated, wait until you have a loved one die.  It will happen.  We haven't even begun to see the full impact of this virus.  But, it's a free country so live it up!  I have no right to tell you what to do.  You can't fix stupid.

Meanwhile, I'll be home surviving for my child.  Because we don't know if this disease will mutate or what.  It's very uncertain at this time.  It saddens me to see a new generation that does not know what real devastation can be.  Mock me if you want.  I won't respond.  My blog, my opinion (and the cdc).

Their are a variety of ways to pay for things to those who have lost jobs.  If you catch your local nightly news or just google, you can find out how.  I'm tired of arguing with some of you, just gonna sit back and let it play out.

Good for you Miami-Dade for doing the right thing!  And Lord, I pray for all of our friends, family and neighbors.  Please keep them safe.   All we can do right now is turn our worries over to God.  God bless you all and please stay safe.

Samantha Mixon

 Over night