Dear Blog – It’s been far too long, but now my writers block is gone and I look forward to seeing you again often….
The thing about getting older is this:
You realise that life doesn’t happen as you may have planned, yet you learn to cherish each and every unplanned moment – LIVE
You may be have been hurt or still be hurting yet someone out there has probably been hurt by you – FORGIVE
That in the blink of an eye everything around you can break and shatter with the death of a loved one – APPRECIATE
You look back and see that a person you didn’t acknowledge may just have been your soulmate? You don’t get that time back – LOVE FREELY
You can’t get caught up in society’s way of saying thank goodness my life is better than that person, without stepping in to assist ‘that person’ in anyway you can – ALWAYS HELP
You learn that you may not be perfect but you can be the most perfect version of the you that was created – ASPIRE
That even though we aren’t promised tomorrow you can’t lose the child within that still believes that fairytales come true– DREAM FOREVER
You and only you know your deepest fears and mistakes, it’s normal we are none blameless but because of this we shouldn’t believe or repeat the mistakes of others from hearsay – NEVER JUDGE
You realise that there are those family and friends that just get you and love you for you – APPRECIATE
That life is not a popularity contest but rather a short time in a place to do as much as we can with the talents and treasures we possess – GIVE
I guess looking at my blog these past few days I have been all about fashion and the external appearance – don’t get me wrong I am a definite slight princess who likes to look her best most of the time, and puts the effort in to do so. (ummm well not all true as like most single girls, I get home wash my face, maybe add a facemask which makes me look like I could star in the new “IT” movie, put that hair in a top bun -MESSY – and grab my comfiest outfit which is most often the most hideous of all my clothing .)
Anyway, I guess I felt I needed to blog about something heartfelt as I never want this blog to be all about the superficial – it’s a blog from the heart of the girl next door.
As I dive headfirst into the deep end of the last part of my 35th year I have had the most amazing realisation, slightly late and not “on trend” as I have begun to appreciate and accept my external looks for what they are – a blessing from God. Nope I don’t think I am a supermodel, nor do I think I am beautiful and I certainly wake up looking like a troll from the 1980’s. However I was blessed with a pretty face, a good body and most importantly a gentle heart, and these are things one should never take for granted. Don’t get me wrong I will still be posting about and testing all those things I love but not to be happy, I am happy …. as me… I just have a bit of a love for fashion and beauty – but it no longer defines me.
This epiphany as I mentioned, comes not “on trend” as more and more “solutions | surgeries | products and cosmetic surgery” have been introduced to the market in order to …. perfect oneself. I notice this just from the fact that people used to ask me all the time who ‘had done’ my lips as they are full, my retort “God” and now they are the norm if not thinner than others, they go unnoticed as lip fillers are top of the charts on every aesthetic booking list and then we go from hand fillers (yip hand fillers) to fish hook facials, to injections everywhere; ones that fill this hole and others that empty that sag bag, to facial therapies which leave you with skin like a baby and nose jobs and lip jobs and boob jobs and calf implants and and and well you can have every hair on your body removed permanently whilst having permanent make-up applied so you look like you have just stepped out of a MAC store when you open your eyes, a body is not good enough being just muscular and fit as well… in this society one can have a PERFECT body not just a great body …. let’s be honest; not only do you need to be Rockefeller or married to his offspring but you have to spend your life at a beauty salon or surgeon as most of these “treatments” do not last longer than a few months so it’s an endless cycle of looking perfect, whilst maintaining this perfectionism only to have to reperfect yourself – vicious circle? Just the thought exhausts me. Don’t get me wrong if I had nothing else to do and an endless trust fund I guess I could get used to that type of life BUT then maybe not…
Not only are the thoughts of what all these procedures may look like in twenty years, as we have yet to see the long term side effects … think cat woman xxxx 10000 or a collapsed face, but how happy can you be if you are always striving for a perfect which can always be more perfect? Why not accept your perfect … each and every person is beautiful and enough and perfect as they are and yes a few little odd jobs done here and there for major complexes are completely understandable but stop there and accept that YOU, that beautiful perfect YOU.
If experts spent as much time researching, developing and testing treatments to enhance and improve inner personality traits and qualities – gratitude, love, patience, kindness, joy, faithfulness a giving heart – and people spent as much time and money acquiring these traits and working on them as hard as they do on being that external perfect, how much more beautiful would this world be?
Would a young chubby, shy girl still be sitting at home crying right now, as she gets no “likes” on her IG page but rather horrible comments? And then would she sob a little more as she knows that the girls at school will still make fun of her as she has not enough money for spray tans and the latest adidas sneakers, when they do not know it is because her father walked out on the family and her mom can barely pay her school fees even though she works two jobs? That can’t exactly be your IG bio right? Unfollow, Block? Who is a fan of a person with no external value??? NOT US BAE we are all about G.O.A.T.S and the “Glam Squad you can’t sit with us crowd”
See my epiphany comes because I witness this to often, and even as a semi fashionable, popular and pretty girl I have nearly fallen victim to this way of thinking to the point that going out without looking perfect would mean I would rather stay at home.
Waking up to smell the roses (well I prefer peonies) I have realised how sadly, in my thirties this need for perfection and to be perfect at all times has filtered into my love life, right down into the depths of it.
I so often get asked why I am stilllllllllllllll single and what on earth is wrong with me that I am not married (before YOU ASK yip I’m still that little girl who wants to walk down the aisle and hold my newborn in my arms.), and whilst that is for another post where I delve into my love of narcissists and men who need a mother not a soulmate and lover – this constant craving and striving for a love that is a love of my perfection externally and not internally is what I miss out on in all relationships… not all – to you guys I have dated who are reading this and loved me for me you were awesome! I just didn’t chose you as I hadn’t chosen me.
It boils down to hearing these words daily, and I am a person who needs word of affirmation so I believed hearing;
I love you in that dress
I love that colour on you
I love that everyone thinks you are pretty, it makes me sooo proud
I love the smell of your perfume
I love your body
Yip they loved LOADS of things about me, but they just didn’t love ME. Don’t get me wrong , we all love a compliment and sometimes from the right person when they go starry eyed I get “weakly” kneed, but my words of choice of affirmation would sound more like;
I love they way your heart aches when you see a sad person, child or animal
I love that you want to rescue the world
I love that you care so little what others think of you
I love that you are clumsy and ditzy but can laugh at yourself
I love your smile as you being happy makes me happy
I love the way you try and make my house a home so I feel less like a visitor in it
I love your passion for your family
I love how little kids are drawn to you
The simple things but the things that would make my heart so very happy and perhaps have me in a veil in no time.
I am ending this rambling off with saying I am a music person, I simply adore music, it invokes memories both happy and sad, it creates a happy atmosphere, it can make a sad moment that much more poignant and a happy moment a euphoric one.
I found this song (well I think the whole world has found it as Ed, yip that Ed… Ed Sheeran sings it) and the lyrics make me smile and cry and laugh, feel and think… an excerpt before I post the whole thing;
Baby, I’m dancing in the dark with you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song
When you said you looked a mess, I whispered underneath my breath
But you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight
The girl I was my whole life, would have defined this as the ultimate romantic moment, the girl I could have become who I think shares the same fears as so many other girls of all ages these days, would be thinking ” Oh no what about my favourite sandals being ruined by the wet ground? My dress is so long are the muddy stains going to come off? I do look such a mess? Does he really think so.. my hair is curly from the rain, my mascara is smudged, when can I get away to ‘fix’ myself so I look like the girl he deserves | wants?…
I mean WHAT???? This would be the ultimate moment. Dancing with the love of my life, barefoot in the dark, just us two. Laughing, loving and believe me as I have realized looking more perfect and beautiful than ever because I would be happy, my eyes would shine, my smile would be huge and no flaw would go noticed because this man would see those two things and think …. SHE IS PERFECT…
Here is the full song and lyrics below:
I found a love for me
Darling, just dive right in and follow my lead
Well, I found a girl, beautiful and sweet
Oh, I never knew you were the someone waiting for me’Cause we were just kids when we fell in love
Not knowing what it was
I will not give you up this time
But darling, just kiss me slow
Your heart is all I own
And in your eyes you’re holding mine
Baby, I’m dancing in the dark
With you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass
Listening to our favourite song
When you said you looked a mess
I whispered underneath my breath
But you heard it,
Darling, you look perfect tonight
Well, I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know
She shares my dreams, I hope that someday I’ll share her home
I found a love to carry more than just my secrets
To carry love, to carry children of our own
We are still kids but we’re so in love
Fighting against all odds
I know we’ll be alright this time
Darling, just hold my hand
Be my girl, I’ll be your man
I see my future in your eyes
Baby, I’m dancing in the dark
With you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass
Listening to our favourite song
When I saw you in that dress
Looking so beautiful
I don’t deserve this
Darling, you look perfect tonight
Baby, I’m dancing in the dark
With you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass
Listening to our favourite song
I have faith in what I see
Now I know I have met an angel in person
And she looks perfect
I don’t deserve this
You look perfect tonight
Having been a little betrayed and hurt – I seem to jump onboard the wrong ships (most of which could give the Titanic sinking, a run for its money 🙂 ) and for some reason I let the right ships those who would sail me to the most beautiful sunsets and provide me my own safehaven loosen their anchor and sail away as they lose patience with waiting for this girl who just simply chooses the wrong ships…. and yet in my heart I am not bitter and remain a true romantic and believer in fairytales as I have seen and experienced love, real love, in all its beauty, even for a short amount of time. I know that my ship is somewhere in the harbour. A little hidden until I perhaps make the right choice and remain onboard or perhaps my ship has sailed and not found that beautiful sunset and until then, I will wait on its return….
So as a believer in this beauty of love I wanted to share a few of my favourite ( a few as I have more than 1000) but some that resonate and remind me not to drown but to breathe, wait and know I will not stay in this harbour forever…
“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
— James Baldwin
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
— Lucille Ball
“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
— Morrie Schwartz
“If I know what love is, it is because of you.”
— Herman Hesse
“I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.”
— Roy Croft
“Love is a friendship set to music.”
— Joseph Campbell
“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“When we are in love we seem to ourselves quite different from what we were before.”
— Blaise Pascal
“The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”
— Gilbert K. Chesterton
“It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
“Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
— Leo Buscaglia
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.”
— Lao Tzu
“You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness.”
— Julia Roberts
“At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.”
“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.”
— Alfred Tennyson
“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.”
— Helen Keller
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.”
— Oscar Wilde
“The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.”
— Henry Miller
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
— Oprah Winfrey
“You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
— Dr. Seuss
“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”
— Khalil Gibran
“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
— Alfred Lord Tennyson
“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.”
— Vincent Van Gogh
“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”
— Albert Ellis
“If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.”
— Benjamin Franklin
“Love does not dominate; it cultivates.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We are most alive when we’re in love.”
— John Updike
“The love we give away is the only love we keep.”
— Elbert Hubbard
“The giving of love is an education in itself.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
“The more one judges, the less one loves.”
— Honore de Balzac
“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”
— Ingrid Bergman
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
— Lao Tzu
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
— Kahlil Gibran
“Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.”
— Andre Breton
“Love is a better teacher than duty.”
— Albert Einstein
“True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.”
— Erich Segal
“Every person has to love at least one bad partner in their lives to be truly thankful for the right one.”
“Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.”
— James Thurber
“The best proof of love is trust.”
— Joyce Brothers
“A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.”
— Honore de Balzac
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
— Carl Sagan
“Fortune and love favor the brave.”
“Love is not only something you feel, it is something you do.”
— David Wilkerson
“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
— Wayne Dyer
“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”
— Anaïs Nin
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
— A. A. Milne
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
— Charles Schulz
As you approach your 39th birthday my darling Debs, I would never have thought that writing this a year later we would all STILL be struggling a little with one of over 100 battles you my darling angel sis, has endured over the past 30 years in your journey of victory over the dreaded ‘C’. BUT my little one you are ALIVE and can you believe you weren’t meant to live beyond 11! God kept His promise.
Debs I share your story again on my blog as I have yet to write your book, my anxiety is little bit of bad (I am under construction) and the book is a long work in progress (why you had do have so many operations and so much treatement I don’t know :p ) but whilst we wait on that, let’s hope these snippets will inspire other family members of and individuals who, are fighting any disease. AGAIN CANCER CAN BE BEATEN… no terminal prognosis is a death sentence with Hope, Faith & loads of Love.
PS my sis…
How wonderful my little one that everyday is a new, exciting and beautiful opportunity to heal and bask in the victory and a subtle peace that only our Heavenly Father can provide.
You beat the disease after a torturous 11/12 year battle and you were clear for eighteen years and after a little ‘mishap’ last year, now again we start the journey and you are a year in remission again… that was the last chapter of your book and now you live your life so that I can write a most poignant, deserved and beautiful epilogue to your book “Against All Odds.”
BTW … being the one chosen to do so is so humbling.
For last years story I have done a copy and paste below…
This blog entry has been one I have been meaning to write for a little while now. It is an update on our Debs and is but an nth of her lifes’ tale.
I guess it has taken this long as the pain, heart ache and trauma have yet to wear off, and even though we have another happy ending… it’s still something our family; and especially my darling, beautiful sister Debs, never thought we would have to endure again. This was by far the worst experience we have had in your journey, even though you were ‘supposed’ to die at 11 and are now 38.
My heart aches and tears flow freely as these words are typed. But I will write it my angel, for those fighting the battle against Cancer who need to know what the power of Faith in our Heavenly Daddy and strength of mind against any dire and terminal medical diagnosis can achieve. Again and again as you have proved for 28 years, CANCER can be BEATEN.
Most of all my angel sister I write this for you and for God…For another miracle He performed for your life saved again for having our daughter and sister still with us…
My sister, my legend, my muse, my hero, my stability and the ying to my yang, my better half. I honestly thought that the book I was to write about your amazing, miracle filled life story “Against All Odds”, had its final chapter completed 17 years ago even though you have had many major and minor complications which followed your 11 year battle. What we didn’t know and perhaps even why, was that God had another plan and I was not meant to finish this book until the epilogue was finally ready to be written and my love, knowing how much He adores you and just how much you deserve, it is going to be a more beautiful ending then what any of us can anticipate. What we do know is that the final chapter has been penned in His book if Life.
My little one, here we go again another story from the life of a girl who amazes me each and every single day.
What an exciting start to our 2016, which quickly turned into something out of a Stephen King novel ( big eyes and a shake of the head with a grin). Sitting chatting in our favourite place with our Momsy and Pops – Madikwe, surrounded by the tranquil and magnificent African bushveld in an oasis our Dad has so graciously blessed us with being able to go to – being the closest of close families we are, we decided on a wim that we would all move to Cape Town. We wanted to be closer to our other part and older sis Bronni, brother-in-law Bruce, our adorable nephew Cole and soon to be but now 4 month old other little poppet of a nephew Cade. Dad had just retired, we work for ourselves and Johannesburg was no longer safe, we wanted out of the concrete jungle. We booked our flights, rented our house, sent our furniture and cars and on April the 1st we would be living our new lives in the beautiful Mother City.
Ha! April Fools it was. But sadly the joke never ended that day…
What started off with Debs feeling ill and having what we all thought was a bleeding ulcer turned into a tumultuous two month nightmare. If I get dates wrong, it is because the days seemed to all blend into one another during this time… but I will try.
Due to go in for a Gastroscope on Friday the 26th of Feb, we decided that instead of waiting we would rush our little Debs, who was pale and incredibly weak to Sunnighill Hospital on the Wednesday evening. I don’t think that anyone will understand how I can say this when Debs has been through what we will believe is ENOUGH, but God was opening a door that night to ensure that this precious girl would be kept safe and left in the best surgeons hands. Mom, dad and I waited in casualty, whilst the man and surgeon, who would become the one we knew we could trust with Debs’ life and a source of side splitting laughter on the darkest of days, examined our angel. Dr Leslie Fingleson – head of trauma at Sunninghill and a BRILLIANT surgeon – or ‘Uncle Les’ as he quickly became known due to each of us calling him some absurd version of his surname far too many times ( I even had to google his ‘real’ name now), booked Debs in and decided to do a Gastroscope the following day. Her hemoglobin levels were low and something was not right.
We call it a miracle and are again amazed at how our God works, as when Uncle Les did the scope, both ends, he discovered no source for the bleed. He did however find a hernia and decided that where Debs had had her hemi-pelvictomy ( one of the many body parts Debs has had removed), he would operate and remove the hernia and place pigs skin as a graft, around the area where Debs bowels were not covered by bone and caused her discomfort. Ahh Uncle Les .. Orthodox and using pigs skin, we even had a giggle at that
Still in hospital, brightening up the days of everyone around her, smiling, laughing, praying and being her incredible brave self, Debs went in for her 59th major operation.Two hours later Les came to find my Mom, Dad, Aunty Carol and myself in the canteen. First Debs our shining star had made it through the operation but had had a bad reaction to the anesthetic and her systolic blood pressure level had nearly dropped to the point of having to be put on a respirator. And then with just a few words uttered; words we thought we would never hear again… our worlds were about to be shaken up and our hearts broken again… tumour, strange looking cells, thickened colon…Cancer. 17 years free of that dreaded noose, and it was back strung tighter then ever.
Never one to not give us a sign that he loves Debs so very much and that his eye is always on this tiny sparrow, we did have a miracle during this operation. Les was going to in from the front to perform the procedure and at the last minute flipped Debs onto her back and went in through an old scar… if he hadn’t have done this, the tumour would have not have been found until it was perhaps to late.
But again the journey we have all endured, most especially Debs, had started again and the road ahead was filled with more bumps, cures and potholes than we could have thought possible.
Bronni our precious older sis and the one that makes up the third part of our whole, who was very pregnant, Bruce our incredibly caring and kind brother-in-law and Cole our nephew, flew straight to Johannesburg. One thing I can say is that as a family, we are not perfect and we fight and argue as any other family does, however our lives experiences have brought us so close together and it is something to be cherished and something so beautiful, that we can pull together and love each other so very much in times of tragedy and triumph. Misfortunes so often bring hidden blessings, that we just need to open our eyes and hearts, to find.
Tests were done on the area Uncle Les had removed and it was determined that it was an Adenocarcinoma – a malignant tumour formed from glandular structures in epithelial tissue. another grotesque invasion of Debs tiny body. This time totally unrelated to ‘Her’ Cancer which was Ewings Sarcoma, it is thought that this Adenocarcinoma may have been caused by all the radiation on Debs pelvis, treatment that kills a disease and does not stop working in your body for up to twenty years, which means it can eventually cause the same disease it sets out to destroy. The irony is not lost on any of us and let it be known it is not lost on the Doctors either.
It was then decided that after undergoing further tests to ensure this malignancy had not spread, Uncle Les would need to do another operation to remove my angel sisters right colon, her appendix and the pigs skin. Despite other surgeons insisting my folks and Debs go see an oncologist for a second opinion and perhaps chemotherapy and radiation, Debs’ wanted her days of thunderstorms over, as one cancer cell left in a body can travel as fast as lightening and strike wherever it pleases. So we prepared for another major operation. At this time my poor older sis, Bronni had to fly back to Cape Town due to the stage in her pregnancy and my heart aches for her as I cant even understand how much she struggled being apart from us during this time. She is a loving nurturer by nature and even took on the role as my second mom growing up when my amazing momma would sleep on a chair for weeks on end next to Debs hospital bed.
Mom, dad, myself and Aunty Carol – moms older sister, and the ying to her yang who was never apart from us – became our Debs face to face support system, well us, and the one we cannot possibly compete with, our Daddy up above. And of course support came in with face time calls everyday from our Bronni and nephew and moms third part and other sis Sandi and our Uncle Steve Amoils ( both Doctors in America ). So many other amazing people visited I cannot even name them all … clients of mine, Aunty Dee, our dearly departed Fergie. Whatspp chat groups and prayer chains were started and updated daily and even when we didn’t respond to people, as you just sometimes cannot do when your mind is in that state of chaos, the love and prayers kept on coming…. Our Debs is well and truly adored and living with her I know why.
And so before this next surgery, to make sure that this dreaded disease had not crept in to her lymph nodes and liver we first had to go for CT scans and before this they have to inject a fluid to make the ‘resolution higher’ in simple terms . My beautiful Debs has very few surface veins left after having so much chemotherapy in her lifetime, and this day remains so poignantly etched in my mind, as I yet again watched nurses and doctors prod my sisters tiny body in search of a simple vein to inject fluid. I glanced down at my hands wishing I could give her just one of mine.. and yet she remained brave and strong and kind to these people. My Debs you astound me. As she was wheeled into that room and placed under a cold, metal machine which would tell the tale of her fate, my mom said to me and my aunt ” They will Look and they will not See”.. not from her mouth but a quiet whisper in her soul from God. Yet again we had peace that belies all earthly understanding and they did look and did not see anything! We were going ahead with the operation and nothing more had to be removed.
With one car left in Johannesburg, no Winter clothing (I think we now have shares in the Pink n Pay clothing department) and living 45 minutes from the hospital in no traffic, dad and I began what would eventually make up approximately 160 trips to the hospital as there was not one moment of the day we did not want to be there during visiting hours and when we left all we wanted to do was go home and not see anyone, even if we had to drive into the garage, reverse and leave again. My beautiful selfless mom slept on a chair next to her child’s’ bed as often as she could when Debs was not in ICU.
On the 9th of March, a very scared and incredibly emotionally and physically exhausted family sat in a hospital room with a girl going in for her 60th major operation after she nearly didn’t make it through the previous one.Our daughter, sister, friend and angel on this earth was smiling but also a little nervous. Would this be the last time we saw her? Would this be a final goodbye to my best friend in the world? I don’t even know how to put into words how we all felt and I simply cannot even fathom how Debs felt… tears stream again and these memories return…
And yet God placed His hand on all of us again, we were all somehow distracted, Debs was rushed into theater and Uncle Les, who by now had become emotionally attached to this little fighter, came to find us again in the canteen, before she was even in recovery – we love this man – and told us she was FINE! The operation was successful and the Cancer was gone. Tears of relief flowed especially from my fathers eyes… I will not forget that sight. Again this man who has protected us and saved us girls from everything even our own mistakes, had felt so helpless in not having anything within his reach to help his baby girl , his daughter and she was okay…. well for three days anyway.
Off the topic a little but importantly and a little reason I am updating people, is that even with modern technology and cellphones and social media updates we still have broken telephone syndrome and many people think Debs still has Cancer, she doesn’t, YET AGAIN SHE BEAT IT… Debs you legend! And Father God thank you for saving my sister again.
We took our Debs home on that Friday and on Saturday, her and I spent a lovely day together, with our precious pooches , watching our favourite TV shows, with her lugging around a vacuum pump to close the wound on her tummy – another long scar, an open wound, a small infection; in this heroes life these are the tiny things, the things that in our lives would be major. But by Sunday morning our frail and beautiful Debs was in agony. Debs has the highest pain threshold of anyone I know, she has had bone removed without anesthetic and on this day she was screaming and shouting in agony. I cannot imagine the pain she was in, as a sore throat for me is enough to keep me in bed for a week. We prayed, we gave Debs painkillers, we tried to get her to sleep, but by that evening she was still in sheer agony and near collapsing and we again rushed her to Sunninghill Clinic. The next five weeks would be the worst of our lives.
Debs was booked in and my mom again stayed with her, dad and I drove home both silently lost in despair.By that Wednesday after three days of pure agony with no respite or sleep, our little treasure was booked into ICU. Debs is more OCD then any of us with cleanliness, and we can all be pretty bad, and that morning when dad and I arrived she did not even want to brush her teeth. My heart broke, as this to me who knows my sister so well, was a sign that she had had enough and that the end was near. Debs is my life, my heart and losing her would be like losing half of my physical body and my soulmate.We were all shattered and at to this day I do not know how Debs had made it through those last four days in so much pain – you will understand her sheer determination and strength a little further on, when we discovered what was wrong.
The reason for being taken into ICU was to have her fed TPN through a central line, be looked after 24 hours a day and be given morphine to take away the pain. Uncle Les also thought Debs may have had a blockage – this would be where the colon was joined back to the small intestine and would mean no food or water could pass through and is pretty common with bowel operations. Nothing common for our Debs though. X-Rays showed no blockage and so we had to wait five weeks for the inflammation in the bowels to ‘go down’ to make sure this operation had worked. I think at this stage Uncle Les was flummoxed as he could not even give us a reason as to why Debs was in pain, or if she would be okay and quite honestly what the problem was.
Three times a day we would visit my sister, awake and conscious surrounded by people in coma’s and terrible states. Three people passed away whilst Debs was there and watching their family’s grieve or seeing people after accidents, paralyzed and broken; how grateful we were that Debs was alive and if a few pieces less… still wholly with us.
And yet, its okay to also say I cannot understand how desperate and sad Debs felt, this fighter, this angel, lying in a bed in agony surrounded by death and disease and not knowing if she was going to make it…. I don’t think we will ever understand what she felt.
For those five weeks, there were many nights and often times during the day, when we were not with her, when we thought we would get a call from ICU… telling us that Debs was gone and in Heaven. Yet, she survived five weeks of pure pain, sheer gut wrenching pain and we know that she did this with her fighting heart and strong mind. But more than that she did this with the comfort and strength of Jesus. I do not judge people on race or religion and believe one must just be happy in their own walk. I will not however ever deny my Faith and neither will my family because of the miracles we have seen in our sister and daughters life, and not only that… the peace and comfort you get from having someone to lean on, an ever omni-present Father who gives you peace when you are terrified and hope when you are hopeless. This love and peace and Faith got us all, especially Debs, though this time. So before we go onto op number 61…..
I remember praying that night until the morning and opening my Bible on Psalm 91 and amazing and unbelievable as this sounds, my Debs opened her Bible on that scripture to …. these things make me gaze upwards and smile. As imperfect a person as I am my Redeemer still gives me Hope and Love and Peace. 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
After these five weeks, Uncle Les eventually said that after Debs had had no bowel movement he had to ‘go in’ and investigate. This was on a Tuesday – again a shattered and broken family sat in a hospital canteen not knowing if we would see our angel again and yet again Uncle Les came to find us… and with teary eyes himself he said ” someone is looking after that child”, Debs small intestines were stuck to the pigs skin ( I may not have the full medical jargon correct here) however the agony that she was in, we all now realised was beyond what the Doctors or anyone can comprehend. Les bypassed this area and rejoined the small intestine to the bowel.
On that Wednesday whilst Debs and I were praying in ICU, we said with our God we were going to get her out of ICU by the Friday and home by the Sunday. This was a crazy dream as bowel ops take up to a year to heal! Guess what though… on Friday Debs was in a ward and after our girls night sleepover on Saturday, where I slept on a chair next to her bed and as this clumsy little sister would do, took her bed off of its brakes by mistake and in my non princess-like way I sleep, kicked the bed and nearly sent Debs out the window off the 3rd floor of the hospital and straight back into ICU! Uncle Les walked in on Sunday morning and said ” Would you like to go home Debs?”. It might have been seeing me their and worrying that I would send more patients to his trauma unit, but a bigger part of me knows it was again an answered prayer and a miracle.
Just a week later Debs was up and walking and eating basically what she wanted and we made our move, 7 dogs and all, to Cape Town reunited with our other sis, Bruce, little Cole and my adorable new nephew and Godson Cade, who just had to come into this world a little early to make us all smile and me a little broody…
No it has not been plain sailing. Debs wounds are still not fully healed and her lymph is not draining in her leg. Countless visits to amazing nurses in Cape Town have happened and our family is struggling a little with this trauma.
I look at my amazing folks and cannot understand what they have felt like dealing with a ‘sick’ child for most of 28 years. It must be so hard and heart breaking and at times they must just feel so helpless … they are beautiful and handsome and so very special but I can see how this has aged and affected their souls and hearts. They have given us the most amazing lives in-spite of the fact that I am sure it has not always been easy for them to do. They love us equally and they devote their lives to us. They are role models as husband and wife and as mother and father…. giving their all and taking so little back in return. Thank you Bronni for giving them such precious and adorable grand-kids who they adore and who adore them back. It is a gift you have managed to give back to them for all they have done for us.I hope to one day pay them back in some way too.
I have grown up and changed a lot – my anxiety and panic attacks are at an all time high and I spend many nights awake and in tears and days where I freeze I terror at the thought of doing simple things or that something will happen to one of the people I love. I know I still make mistakes and will never be perfect but my heart is back to the place where God wants it, in a place where I yearn to help those in need. I am back to the person I was as a young girl, filled with love and a gentleness of nature which is a gift I was born with to give back to others. Where I want to fall in love and give all of me and my heart to my own family – preferably whilst my pops can still walk me down the aisle.
And our Debs even as you battle with physical attributes that you think no one could ever love you with – YOU ARE AMAZING AND WORTHY OF MORE LOVE THAN ANYONE. My beautiful, yet again you have shown yourself to be a hero, a legend, a Warrior Princess; Beautiful beyond words on the inside and the outside. You are the epitome of what each and every person should aspire to be.Fearless and Brave – Loving and Sensitive.
As we collect your medical records now from 28 years , from hospitals all over this country and even America. I am excited to write this book, a story of hope, courage, Faith, bravery and my sis I am so proud that the person, the muse for this book is my very own sister and best friend. “Against All Odds” my darling sister, you have done it again and through this you have again proved that your past, your upbringing, what happened before and the pain endured does not need to determine your future or leave you an old and bitter person. You have shown that you become what you want to become and that you can be a better person not because of, but in-spite what you have been through. Your story has meant we have a family so close and loving that we are never alone. It has meant that we are all blessed with a Faith in God and the gift of eternal life, as we have seen miracles in your life which cannot be explained through rational thought, science or just plain mind power.
And to our Heavenly Daddy, you said “Be Still and Know” and as I end this entry, as tears pour down my cheeks I know that I can still smile and be bubbly and courageous tomorrow and always, as you have shown us that you are more than a conqueror. You are our everything and we adore you. Thank you for letting us keep our Heavenly angel on earth so we can share her story and your glory ….
Falling in love is divine. It’s boundless, bewildering, irrational, transcendent and impassioned. It awakens the soul to the best parts of our existence. Falling in love is not a restricted extravagance either. We can fall in love repeatedly, and in such a plethora of ways. We can wake up every day and decide to fall in love with each other, and with the life we have been given.
What if we took the time to fall in love with strangers? What if we made efforts to fall back in love with the people in our lives every chance we were given? What if we fell in love with places, smells, sites, sounds, faces, tastes, memories, experiences and everyday engagements of our emotions? There are so many hands you have never shaken, and names you’ve never learned. There are so many voices your ears wouldn’t recognize, and eyes you’ve never really looked into.
There are so many stories that go unheard. There are so many tears that go unseen, and healing embraces that never get the chance to perform their magic. We are faced with opportunities each day to open our hearts to every aspect of life worth falling madly in love with.
I try to fall in love every day. I pick the middle seat on the plane, to get blessed with two new friends and twice as many stories. I shake hands. I ask questions. I befriend everyone from the lady at the supermarket, to the couple laughing at my typically frantic sprint onto the train. I want to reach out every chance I can, regardless of the chances I take of being rejected or mocked. I find my soul warmed by the special ways that people laugh, or the unique pigment in their eyes when they really look into mine. People captivate me. Places, foods, art, music and stories can sweep me off my feet, and into a state of romanticism I cannot explain. I find that through all of the articles I write, the most critical piece of advice that I can give to any person is to embrace all love. We feel alone in a world filled with so many people and experiences just waiting to steal our hearts.
Disappointment and fear only gain the upper-hand when we start losing the ability to readily involve ourselves in love. That would be my most essential piece of advice, to go, my friend, and fall in love with this life.
1. Ask people the real questions. Ask about their passions, fears, hopes and dreams.
2. Introduce yourself. Be brave and vulnerable.
3. Listen to people. I mean really listen to them.
4. Help anyone you can, from strangers to your closest friends. Don’t turn away.
5. Get excited. Get excited about everything from your favorite TV show coming on to Lucky Charms being on sale at the grocery store. Rejoice in all of life’s little wins, and appreciate them for the ways they make life sweeter.
6. Visit old friends. Don’t let your friendships fade. Remember the reasons you are so thankful to have them in your life, and fight for them, like a lover would.
7. Travel to new places. Indulge yourself in the cultures. Experience everything the world has to offer, and don’t be fearful or close-minded to the opportunities set before you.
8. Put away your screens when you’re with people. If you want to spend time with someone, you should actually be there, physically and mentally.
9. Plan personal time with your friends and family.
10. Hug. Reach out your arms and wrap the people you love in them. Feel them. Embrace the connection that you have, and express that you’ll always be there to remind them of it.
11. Indulge your emotions in what you enjoy most. Scream like a crazy person at the basketball game, dance freely at the concert, and run like you never have to stop. Let go. Let yourself be charmed and delighted by your hobbies.
12. Show people your true colors.
13. Don’t try to hide who you are from anyone, and let others love you for the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, and the weak and the strong parts of who you are.
14. Express your opinions.
15. Involve your emotions in the priorities and matters of this world. You can’t fall in love with this life if you don’t care about the people in it.
16. Accept the opinions of others. Ask to hear about those opinions. Respect them. Learn from each other.
17. Wear your heart on your sleeve regardless of how terrifying it can feel to open up.
18. Appreciate the innocence of the world. Play with children and animals as readily as you can.
19. Learn from the beautiful display they have of unprecedented happiness. Fall in love with that, because it’s incredible.
20. Look into the eyes of the people you see and speak with. Show them that you are really there.
21. Take chances. Be spontaneous. Embrace the unexpected nature of love.
22. Smile. Even if some don’t smile back, others will, and you may find that the smiles shooting back at you steal your heart away.
23. Love your body. Treat it kindly and take care of it. Appreciate it for the unique vessel it is for your soul. Part of continually falling in love is being able to love yourself in your own skin.
24. Sit next to someone instead of alone. Try not to isolate yourself.
25. Be respectful, and expect it from others. Respect is a building block of mutual love.
26. Say “I love you.” Say “Thank you.” Say “I’m proud of you.”
27. Never trade opportunities for real conversation with the people who you love.
28. Exercise integrity with others. The truth is always worth falling for.
29. Say yes.
30. Give people the benefit of the doubt, even if others have let you down. Too often we avoid love because of wrongs committed by people in our pasts. Don’t let heartbreak control your ability to see the best in human beings.
31. Play games. Play outside. Have fun and let it consume you.
32. Share meals with friends and family, and also with people capable of becoming your friends and family.
33. Laugh uncontrollably whenever you want to. Laugh as much as possible. It heals the soul and unites you with others in remarkable ways.
34. Sing like a rock star. Let music move you.
35. Surround yourself with people who encourage you and bring out the best in you. The light you will inspire in each other is irreplaceable.
36. Try new foods. Try new wines. Try new flavors of ice cream. Food is a great lover.
37. Go on adventures. Anything from hiking a mountain to raiding the thrift store in the next town over can create the most amazing of discoveries.
38. Feel for others. Emphasize and have compassion. Let yourself be moved by them.
39. Dance uncontrollably. Whether you look like a superstar, or a flailing idiot like myself, let music take control of your body.
40. While you’re at it, grab a partner. We should all dance together.
41. Learn everything you can. Absorb information like a sponge. Fall in love with knowledge. Fall in love with stories. Fall in love with history. Fall in love with everything your brain is just waiting to know.
42. Follow your dreams. Go for the job you know will awaken the best parts of who you are.
43. Your passion is a lifelong romance you will always need to strive for. It can be the kind of lover that brings you joy and fulfillment with every passing day.
44. Accept yourself. Be proud. Be confident. Be strong.
45. You can fall in love with yourself every day too. You can look in the mirror and know that in your heart you are radiating love onto this world. You can carry with you the ability to achieve extraordinary greatness. You just have to be open to it, because the choice is yours.
So go, my friend, and fall in love with this life.
For more, check out my blog at SerendipityandCreativity.com