Friday, January 2, 2015

It's been over a year...

June 19th, 2012 was my last blog entry.  It's been over a year from that time but I haven't felt inspired to write or say anything until today.

I knew there was something... really big that I felt like I needed to face - deal with- deep inside.  The years had marched on but the pain became bigger and more difficult to avoid.  I continued to 'do life' the best I knew how; raising kids, running a business, being a supportive wife, trying to exercise and be healthy... but it was as if my very cells weighed more and more - changing from a light watery substance to something that more resembled molasses, and then tar and then... I would get to a point where I would tell my husband and a few friends that "I feel like I am dying." The weight became so great I was no longer able to care for myself to the point that a couple of days ago I was sitting in my bed (propped up with pillows) - mouth dry from not having the strength to get myself a drink of water as I realized just how quickly my life was slipping away. I had asked for watermelon.  When it was brought to me, I tried to scoop a piece out with my spoon.  I was unable to even scoop out a piece of watermelon.  I placed my other hand over the one holding the spoon and trembled... I would later tell my husband, "we need to leave for Mexico...TODAY".

I was a dancer.  WAS a dancer.  I thought of the sculpted, strong, lean bodies of my friends from the dance company. Why was I having such a hard time losing weight?  Why was my abdomen swelling so much?  Over the past two months I had gained nearly 20 pounds and would gain an additional 8 pounds when in Mexico.

When my sister-in-law and brother came over to our house, my husband told them what I had said about going to Mexico, today.  My brother said, "If she says she needs to go today, you need to go NOW!"  My sister looked at my mirror with my dance goals on it.  She started to cry and told me that she had had a dream I was dancing at Kingsbury Hall and I was using silks and heaven-like lights, scenery etc.  She said it was hard to explain but she felt like her son (who had recently been killed) was there watching it with her.  She said it was extremely beautiful.  We both cried as I explained how I had been imagining choreographing with silks... I asked her if she thought I was dead in the dream.  She said "oh no!" shaking her head.  It just brought me tremendous peace watching you.  I felt like you were trying to comfort me due to Harley's death and I did feel peaceful watching you dance.

14 years ago, when the decision was being made as to who would dance for the Olympians at Kingsbury Hall, I knew I wouldn't be one of them.  My father had just died and I hadn't lost all the weight from my previous pregnancy. I knew I was not at the 'Olympic level of talent' but I knew the other dancers were. The months preceding and following the Olympics would become a blur. My dance friends (more like sisters) were the only friends who would know and would be there to comfort me.  Dance was and has always been my therapy. Never, ever could I have possibly imagined the horrifying things that would happen before the world would arrive in Utah for the winter olympics in February 2002.

My father died suddenly in November 2001.  My son was barely two months old.  It snowed the day my father was buried.  I was so grateful for the snow.  It was very deep snow.  I prayed the snow, and the dangerous driving conditions on the roads that day, would keep the TV reporters away. We wanted to grieve silently without onlookers.  It seemed as if the heaven's had honored our wishes and had sent beautiful new snow to coat the ground.

My sister's and I had decided to wear white dresses to the funeral instead of black.  Dad was no longer suffering in his earthly body and his mind was finally free.  We wore white to symbolize the freedom, and the peace that he would experience hopefully....eventually....once the hell of it all would pass. The thoughts of hell were too much for me to even think about.  I had to trust that God would somehow forgive and I would see my father again. It would be years later that our Grandfather (my dad's dad) would call us and tell us he finally felt peace.  The events surrounding my father's death were not his actions alone, but influenced by a mixture of mental illness and a cocktail of pharmaceutical sewage.  The effects were devastating.

Before getting up to type this blog entry, I was sleeping.  My husband and I had not quite made it back home, to where our children are.  We had left Albuquerque, NM this morning and the prior day we had left from Mexico.  Shane had accidentally driven 2.5 hours west instead of north as we left Las Cruces.  I had made a similar mistake years prior when I was on a teaching tour.  It turns the 13.5 hour trip into 15 hours and so at midnight we stopped in Fillmore.

As I was sleeping, I was awoken as if someone had entered the room. I became a little frightened and tried to shut the feelings out by trying to go back to sleep.  My mind began to play scenes as if someone else had chosen the movie and was projecting it into my mind. Dates and years seemed to rewind and suddenly I was seeing myself back at my grandmother-in-laws home screaming.  I was folded over, on my knees, my arms wrapped around my waist, wailing back and forth back and forth as I refused to be comforted by my concerned husband and grandmother.  "Oh Steffi", grandma would say as she looked helplessly at me.  My husband was crying and looked desperate to know what to do to comfort me.  I didn't care about my screams piercing the night, waking neighbors, or hurting their ears.  I screamed as loud and as long and as hard as I could until I couldn't breathe any more.  I would take in air and then scream out louder and louder and louder and louder and longer each time as if to somehow remove the pain I was feeling inside.  The pain so dark, so terrible, so painful, that I didn't know how I could live...  My father "was gone".  My step-mother "killed", and another man "killed"... I wondered if Granddad could hear my cries.  I had dropped the phone and had collapsed to my knees when he told me the news.  How could it be?  My father... my daddy... the one who never ever spanked me.  The one who never got angry at us... yes, he would swear, he would get frustrated, but it was never directed at us.  It was always directed at the "damn thing" we did that was making him mad but it never felt like he was angry at "us" (my siblings).  How could this possibly have happened?  The depression... my mind raced to words he had told me weeks... perhaps months earlier.  "It is really bad this time, Steffi." My father would say. He had put the suburban in my name... he had given things away... he had quit his job...Oh dear God... what other signs did I miss?  How could I have stopped this from happening?  What could I have done?

As my mind remembered that terrible, black, cold night when no amount of arms around me would give warmth or comfort, there were three other siblings who were also grieving.

All of the details were too much to bear... as I told the concerned Bishopric what had happened...I was numb.  Something died in me that night.  A piece of my flesh was torn out of my chest...

I stopped time for a moment, it seemed, as if to hit the pause button on the movie being replayed for me.  It was a movie of what had happened almost 14 years ago....and yet somehow it was connected to the present moment.  What was the dream trying to teach me?  Somehow the pain from screaming that night swirled around in my memory and then landed in my chest.  It was the same pain that I had gone to Mexico for.... the same pain... it caused me to cry out into the darkness.  My husband was sleeping beside me but I couldn't keep the pain in.  I cried and cried and cried.  My husband would ask what was wrong and try to comfort me.  I couldn't explain that I was reliving something painful... as I was partially awake and yet still partially dreaming. I knew he must think it is only physical pain. Eventually my husband would comment that he felt like he was on top of a bowl of jello. Immediately I was jerked from my grieving and I couldn't help but laugh.  We were in our unfinished house, lying on top of an inflated air-mattress and my cries would shake the mattress.  I sat still as I shared what I had been taught... I knew the source of the injury, the hernia, the pain.... it was from The Scream. Again, my grieving would be stopped short.

I lied back on the bed as I processed everything.  My dear friend had said "I have been so worried about you... now we understand why."  Despite everything I tried to do to cover it up, people could see there was a pain I was carrying.  It felt big.  I had a hard time separating whether the pain was something spiritual, emotional or physical.  I dreamed of going to a warm place where I could detox.  I'd lie in stillness, not talking to anyone, to process what it was that was causing the pain.  I would starve or sweat out the illness if it was physical, I would pray it out and give it to God if it was spiritual.

With that simple replay of my life and the swirling ending that seemed to take the movie, vaporize it, swirl it and then bring it to the exact spot in my chest I realized where the healing needed to happen.  I thought of my youngest sister.  We had never spoke about what had happened, or at least not that I can remember.  Perhaps we did and that is why I can imagine her being escorted by the police, looking out at the crime scene but not being able to see anything.  I picture my brother crying alone without anyone to talk to.  I picture my other sister busy with her children, her work and her school as she helps arrange the funeral with my other sister.  Where was I in all of this?  What was I doing?  I just remember the blur of canceling our trip to Hawaii (not the one we would later be gifted)... I vaguely remember getting copies of death certificates to send to collectors, oh how my head begins to swim and I feel dizzy just even trying to go back to that time.  I had told our church leaders not to tell a single person about the tragedy.  It was on the news but I wouldn't watch a single report as the inaccurate reporting greatly affected my other siblings.  We would not tell a single employee.  Our business partner would know but I would not tell anyone else.  I remember thinking and counting... "14 families".  Contractor or employed... my husband and I were responsible for making sure that there was enough work completed to make sure everyone was paid.

Back to life.  Stuff the emotions aside... I will deal with it later.

14 years later... I will receive the call today to find out if the biopsy is cancerous.  If my dream and experience I just had is true, all the screaming that night is what stretched the area between my esophagus and stomach.  The Dr. said that "you have had this over 10+ years... maybe more."  There is bleeding, scar tissue, a pint of bile flowing back into my stomach and not into the intestines...

I pictured my siblings and I sitting around to discuss everything.  If not together, I realize now the injury is from "all of the above"... spiritual, emotional and...physical.

Cancer.  I'm ready for the phone call.  I will work through this...with the Lord by my side.

I love you, Dad.  I miss you SO much... it hurts. xoxo

Note to readers:  I am publishing this as is in its very raw state.  I will most likely never hit 'publish' if I read this over too much.

Here is a copy of what I posted on Facebook when I was in Mexico...

Getting real here...

Many of you know of my health trials and triumphs that I documented on my blog/website. Many wonder why I took the blog down. To be honest, I have felt for several years that there was something big that I was dealing with that food, herbs, essential oils, enzymes, probiotics, chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, colonics and many more alternative therapies was not resolving... completely. For the last year, I have seen various specialists, doctors, ER doctors, have had scans, blood tests, ultra-sounds, etc. with no answers. My health continued to decline until honestly when I went to ISRAEL I felt it was a way to be close to the savior before I actually met him in person. ***bear with me here*** I was getting weaker and weaker and less able to care for myself without any answers as to why this was happening. 

A couple months before a friend of mine passed away, and before I knew that her cancer had returned and metastasized, I had a very vivid dream that we were in Mexico together receiving treatment. Two days after the dream she emailed me (and others) and let us all know of the cancer metastasizing and about a fund raiser to help her get to Mexico for treatment. Unfortunately she was unable to make it before she passed away quickly. I was troubled by the dream particularly because I felt like I needed to be there with her, and then she had asked for an escort, and then to have her pass away made me fear for my own life. Two other dreams have given me more insight and direction. Long story short, (ok here come the tears), my incredible family stepped in to help with child care and... I am in Mexico. The good news... we have answers now. Surgery is needed and the Dr said once we heal this 80% of the other issues should resolve quickly. The Dr said I have most likely been struggling with the hernia for over 10+ years. The inflammation (that is severe) and bleeding and infection usually leads to stomach cancer or intestinal cancers. They have taken a biopsy of the dark areas. The hernia is pushing all the bile into the stomach which explains why all I have been doing has been helping but not resolving it. I am scared but also relieved. Family wants me to go back to the USA for the operation but I trust this Dr completely. Tears. I have been searching for answers for so long and FINALLY...I feel hope. I almost gave up searching for answers, but my amazing family stepped in. Joey (not on FB), I love you so much. You and Tara, are angels. You were the one who said "Go! Now!" Thank you, Martha for being here in UT and not in MD to watch the big kids.  A big thank you to everyone who has rallied around our family and a big thanks to my husband who has taken on the role of home-maker and bread-winner as we've been searching for answers as he cared for me more and more since the last time I taught in Canada. The Dr said with this issue no amount of the right food, herbs, supplements etc. would have cured it. It may have prevented the "c" word, (all I have been doing) but the surgery has been/will be needed to correct the source of the problem. The goal was always to "get to diamond" before I received
treatment. (I have been asking to come here for over 4 years). We are almost 'there' but I couldn't wait any longer. Here's to an amazing God, amazing family, and to amazing friends. So many of you have overcome things much worse. There is a painting here of Christ's hands guiding the physician operating. I know that the best physicians and surgeons are the ones who (despite their own brilliance and education) trust and are humble enough to be guided by the Master Physician. Because of the peace I feel here, I know I am where I need to be...finally. 

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