Saturday, December 22, 2012

Great Tales Of 2012!!!

Hi, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here once again, to share many wonderful
things, that happened to Brenda this year.  We are going to be doing some
big plugs for some wonderful organizations, all for the purpose of arthritis
awareness and hope. 

Neil Sedaka is one of Brenda's favorite singers and one of his songs "Calendar
Girl" could certainly be applied here.  Almost every month this year, something
good happened to Brenda. 

We start out with January.  As some of you know, that is her birthday month. 
She had an event, for brain tumor awareness, as she is also now a four-year
meningioma brain tumor survivor. 

A page was set up on Facebook by one of her brain tumor buddies.  People were
invited to share their pictures involving their own brain tumor journeys.  Almost
100 people participated, which was just awesome.  She also received many birthday
wishes, which was just wonderful.  It was also 50 degrees that day in January in
North Dakota, which is unheard of.

Next we go on to February, where she saw on the CreakyJoints Facebook page, an
opportunity to be involved with experiencing RA In The Workplace.  Little
did she know, when she made that initial phone call, where this would all
lead.  She did have a phone interview with the project manager, who was
there at that time.  She was just very excited about that, because she was
able to share her story of living with RA,  as she had been at that time,
for almost twenty-one years. 

March, she had another telephone conversation, but this time, not only with the
project manager but also with Co-Founder and President, Seth Ginsberg, who
has since become her friend.  It was at this time that they decided that they were
coming to Bismarck, ND to work with Brenda for a work advocacy day. 

They wanted to make this special, so Brenda actually got to pick out the date,
April 20th, which was also the same date, 11 years ago that she started her
Biologic for her Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), that changed her life. 

They came all the way from New York, where the Global Healthy Living
Foundation is based out of.  I will post links at the end of this post, so
you can check out all of these wonderful places. 

Before they came, she was also asked to be a guest blogger, for the CreakyJoints
newsletter.  This was pretty awesome, because Brenda's Brainstorm is the name
of her blog, where we share tales of her being a brain tumor survivor.  There are
just some wonderful people out there, that get it, that awareness and hope for any
chronic illness is key, CreakyJoints being one of them.

She has now had 2 blog posts and a poem, which has started out her love for
writing poetry.  She just can't seem to stop. 

We are not going to go into great detail regarding her work advocacy day, as
that has been written about in previous blog posts and also links were posted
there as well. 

She had a chance to share her story with local representatives, do a local TV
interview and also a newspaper interview. 

May, National Arthritis Awareness Month, brought about 2 wonderful things. 
The 1,000 Show Us Your Hands! commemorative poster was released along
with the book, "Our Hands Can!" where Brenda's hand story is featured.  Her
guide for the book RA Guy, who had a great vision to start Show Us Your
Hands! which just celebrated their one-year anniversary recently, allowed
her to also mention, that she was a brain tumor survivor.  He gets big plugs
for this.  We will mention all of this at the end of this post.  I find it will be
easier for our readers, to have this all in one place.

June, she was asked again to be a guest blogger for CreakyJoints.

July, her first poem was published in the CreakyJoints newsletter.

August, another blog post was published in the CreakyJoints newsletter. 

September, she had another phone interview with CreakyJoints, with a nice
lady named Donna, who has since become a friend also. 

Brenda also celebrated her 4th Craniversary, that is what they refer to their
brain tumor anniversaries on September 8th. 

October, brought another golden named Crumpet to her apartment, to join
Lil Biscuit and myself, rounding out our Golden Trio.  She wrote a wonderful
poem about us, which was in the last blog post. 

November, she was asked to become CreakyJoints Poet's Corner & Artists Too,
Editor.  She was just so surprised to even be asked.  She did not hesitate, she
said yes. 

December, this past Tuesday, it was officially announced that she would be the Editor
of CJ Poet's Corner & Artists Too.  They go live next year, so this is very exciting
for Brenda. 

So you see, 2012 has been a really wonderful year for Brenda.  There were some
sad times as well, but she has endured.  

We will end this tale with the links, as promised.  I just want to wish all of our
readers a Healthy And Happy 2013!!  Thanks, for all the support this year, with
following this blog and also for your kind responses to my weekly messages on


Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Tale Of 3 Goldens And A Lady...

Hello fellow readers, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here once again, to share
another story,  This is really going to be different, because we will be reflecting,
this time around.

It has now, been almost 2 years, since I came to live with Brenda.  I was actually,
staying with her and her Mom, as Brenda, was still recovering from her first carpal
tunnel surgery. 

I moved in with Brenda, after her Mom got sick, and had to be put in a nursing home.
It was really a sad time for her and I am so glad, I was there, to keep her company.

Not long after that, I started to help out Brenda with her blog.  That is how, Trevor,
The Tell Tale Dog, was conceived.  It was first called Trevor's Tales, but it was
later changed, as I actually became a storyteller. 

Brenda's Mom, made me a wonderful dog collar, right before she became ill.  It is
purple, the awareness colors for meningiomas, along with 2 dog bone charms and
TT, representing my work.  Trevor's Tales or now Tell Tale, it works.

The ribbon is very special, as it came from Brenda's sister's sewing collection.  You
see, she passed away in 2003 from colon cancer, so I am honored to be wearing this.

Along the way, we have added Trevor's message for the week on Facebook, which
has been so well received.  I think, we have really gained more followers here,
because of that. 

Last year, we added another addition to our family, Lil Biscuit.  She is really a
sweetheart.  She sleeps most of the time and is no trouble at all.  She has a really
comfortable bed.

Lil Biscuit and I are stars in our own right, as we have been featured in the Tumors
Suck videos.  I have been featured in 3 of them, but who's counting? 

Brenda, finally got featured in one, because of the picture that was taken by the
videographer that was here, for her wonderful work advocacy day, where she
was able to share her story of living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to so many
people that day, via a local television interview and also the local newspaper.  I
am so dog gone proud of her and all that she has accomplished this year.

She takes such good care of us, making us as comfortable as possible.  I get to
stand on her rug, the last thing, that her Mom crocheted, so that is really special.

We recently added, yet another addition Crumpet, to complete Our Golden Trio.
Crumpet, is Brenda's special one, as he likes to sit on her lap.  He is so soft to
the touch, which is such a comfort, when Brenda's hands are hurting. He also
has a very special quilt, that Brenda's Mom made for her, when she was a little girl.

She wrote a wonderful poem about us and we wanted to share it with you.  I
hope you enjoy it.

                                           Three Golden Furry Friends
                                  First, there was Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog,
                                            with stories that help Brenda,
                                                   promote her blog.
                                    Next, was Lil Biscuit, sleeping in her bed,
                                                  Oh! how you love,
                                                 to pat her little head.
                                      Finally, with a bang and the sound
                                                    of a trumpet!
                                           We welcome to our home,
                                            our new Golden Crumpet!

I hope you have enjoyed, this little tale of 3 Goldens and a very special lady,
named Brenda.








Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Tale Of No Service!

Well, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here once again to share another story of
Brenda's life.  This time, we are going to be doing some venting. 

Brenda recently went through a terrible time, of being without phone service
for nearly 5 days, which is just too long in my book.

We will take you back, when she was forced to change services for her ISP,
as her local one was no longer offering DSL service, as they just couldn't keep
up with the offers of the competition with bundling, etc.  

Now, let me just share with you that bundling, is not always a good thing, at
least in this instance it hasn't been.  The first thing that happened, when she
made the switch was she couldn't send any emails, she could receive, but
that was it.  That doesn't make a lot of sense now, does it? 

She worked on this for almost a week with local ISP, who were so wonderful
in trying to get her help, even though she would no longer be their DSL customer.
That just shows the mark of a good company. 

Between the project manager she was working with on one of her projects, and
the tech guy at her local ISP, they were able to finally figure out, that Century Link,
needed to unblock a port.  Screen shots were sent to the local ISP and they together,  
truly found this to be the problem.

This came in handy for future reference, because Brenda was not their only customer,
who had to make this switch.

Finally, Brenda had just had enough and called Century Link and insisted, that they
open that port.  They told her they could only open a certain one and she said, that
she was locked into a 5- year contract with them and this was not acceptable.  Finally,
out of the blue, the customer service rep. contacted a computer tech and the problem
was suddenly solved. 

Why did it take almost a week?  Just to let you know too, the project manager she
was working with was kind enough to send out her letters for her.  He also spent
almost 3 hours one evening working with her to get her new windows email set
up, and find a solution to her problem.  She will always be grateful to him for

Well, the slinky people did it again.  She refers to Century Link as this, because
that was in their advertisement. 

She was trying one day to retrieve her messages and she was unable to.  She
thought maybe she had turned it off by mistake.  When she got home, she went
to pick up her receiver and there was no dial tone.  The phone line was dead,

She made a call with her cell phone.  Thank goodness she didn't bundle that
with them, she might have not had service with that as well.  She even told
them that.

Anyway, to make a long story short and it could be a very long story.  This
was Wednesday afternoon.  The next few days were many phones calls and
by Friday evening, she couldn't take it anymore.  She demanded, that she
was going to get some type of refund, as she was using up a lot of her cell
phone minutes. 

She was told that a repairman would be there on Monday morning, but
this time, the management for the apartment where she lives would be
contacted to let them in.  She had to make this arrangement herself and
she had the brain surgery folks. 

Anyway, on Sunday morning, she just happened to be taking her laundry
down to be done, when she saw a repairman outside her apartment door
complex.  She let him in and they got to work and she had phone service
within a half hour.  He even gave her, his phone number in case there was
an issue, which there was with the Internet, big surprise!  He walked her
through a few things and that was resolved.

She called Century Link again after and asked, how she could go about
getting a refund for her trouble?  They told her to call the next day and
she was given a direct number and an option to push, when making
that call.

Well, Monday came and she called and was told she would indeed receive
a refund.  A whole $7.50.  She got her phone bill last week and it ended up
being almost $8.00 with tax, etc.

The point is, you have to be your own advocate, when it come to situations
like this.  Fight for your rights!  You are after all the customer.

Before we go, for some of our readers, who may not be familiar with words
like ISP, that stands for Internet Service Provider and DSL, is Digital Subscriber

This is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, leaving you with some advice this time.  If
you are not happy with your service, fight for what you know is right! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Tale Of Tennis Shoes

Hello, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, to share a very inspiring and uplifting story,
that happened while shopping for a new pair of tennis shoes.

As you know, Brenda has lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over twenty-one
years now, and last year she was diagnosed with tendonitis in both of her feet.
Her podiatrist recommended that she get a good pair of tennis shoes, with good

She has been wearing the Brooks brand for over a year now and really likes
them, but along with that, she also has orthotics in each shoe, which were
made especially for her, from a mold which fits perfectly in each shoe and also
has a heel lift, in the left shoe.

That is a lot to go through just to have comfort while walking.  So yesterday,
Brenda went to Scheels, where she always gets her tennis shoes, but this
time, she wanted something a little more funky and not just the basic black
or white, that she usually gets. 

They just happened to have some really cool colors on the shoe racks and the
one that caught her eye, was the purple and grey one.  There was also an aqua
color, that she had before, that she liked also.  The person who helped her,
explained that the aqua one had a little more support, so she asked Brenda if
she wanted her to bring out both pairs and she could decide, which one she
would like better?

So she brought the shoes to Brenda and suggested that she try the one with more
support in the left foot and the other one with the right.  Brenda really liked the
purple and grey ones better, because the one with more support along with
the heel lift, was just not that comfortable.  So she took that one off and put the
purple and grey on that foot also.  She said that was a good sign, that she had the
same shoe on both feet, so she had made her decision.  She also went on to say,
that the reason the one with more support along with the heel lift was not as
comfortable, could be because of a slight heel instep difference.  She seemed
very knowledgeable and her doctor had actually told her that before, so she
decided to go with the purple and grey.

The only thing Brenda was not really crazy about were the white shoelaces, it
just was too loud!  The sales person said, they happened to have some in grey
and would Brenda be interested?  Well, this is where it gets exciting folks, Brenda
said that is really cool, because she just happened to be a four-year brain tumor
survivor.  The sales lady came back with 2 shades of grey, not 50.  I crack
myself up!  Anyway, Brenda picked out the one, that went perfectly with
the shoes.   

Brenda asked her if she would be kind enough to lace them up for her, as she
was having problems with her fingers, because of the RA, as she had explained
before, why she was getting the shoes in the first place. 

This lady was just so cool.  She told her to put her foot on her knee as she
laced them and at the same time, asked her about her brain tumor journey.
Brenda just happened to have her poem that she wrote for her 4th Craniversary
and ended up reading it to her. 

She also told her that the purple was really cool, not only did she like the color,
but that was also the awareness color for meningioma, the type of brain tumor
that she had.  She went on to say, that these shoes were made for her.  She also
told her that God had a plan for her life.  Without a doubt, she was meant, to
get those tennis shoes.

She really enjoyed the poem also and told her, she should get that published. 

While Brenda went to the store to buy a new pair of tennis shoes for her feet,
because of her RA, she had no idea, she would be walking out of the store,
spreading awareness for her life as a meningioma brain tumor survivor. 

Brenda has said this many times, her 2 life challenges do go hand in hand, and
that was just proven once again, with a purchase of purple and grey tennis shoes.

The last thing the sales lady said to her was, "It was my pleasure, to serve you
today."  Now, that is what I truly call service.  I don't even get that type of service,
when I go to get my dog bones. 

This is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, hoping you really enjoyed this inspiring
story, as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Tale Of Music And Harmony

Well, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here once again.  We think you are really
going to enjoy this installment very much. 

Brenda, has been sharing with me, about how music, has had a big impact on
her life.  She came from a musical family.  Every one of her family members,
were singers. 

Some played the organ and piano for church, while others, sang in specials. 

Brenda's Mom, played the piano all by chords.  Now, that is a great talent.

There was a lot of natural talent, because you see, Brenda does not read notes,
but she has a great ear.  She can hear something once and pretty much pick it

She did take voice lessons and her teachers helped her a lot with learning how to
breathe properly when singing and also, developing her first soprano voice. 

She was very active in music in high school, with being in the choir, several
groups, but her favorite was the swing choir.

She sang solos for their annual variety show, which she enjoyed very much.  Her
sisters always made a point of attending these, and that meant a lot to Brenda.

She also sang solos at both of her sister's weddings.  What an honor, as she was
only twenty-one years old at the first one. 

She also sang at several funerals in a group setting.

She also used to lead the singing in her church, as she had the luxury of
picking out the songs, as she knew them, and would try to pick out ones
that would go along with the theme of the day. 

There was always a radio, phonograph, (yes in that day, she had one) or a cassette tape
playing, as music was very soothing to Brenda.  She used it as an escape from reality,
if only for a little while.

We are writing this particular post, because music, can be really soothing in so many

As you know, Brenda has lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for over 21 years,
and is also now, a four-year meningioma brain tumor survivor.  She feels that music
can really bring you to a calming place or if you are in the mood for something just
for fun, that is available as well.  That is the beauty of music, there is is so much
out there to enjoy and cling to.

Brenda has kind of a unique story to share with you.  As she was being wheeled to
the OR for her brain surgery a song was running through her head.  She has no idea
why this particular one was, but it was "Somebody's Knockin" by Terri Gibbs.  Could
it have been at her head?  hahaha!  She was just joking about this recently on her
4th Craniversary, which is also referred to as her second chance anniversary.

She has managed to keep her sense of humor, throughout living with these challenges.

She recently wrote a poem about getting rid of her brain tumor.  The song by John Wait,
"Missing You"  was the inspiration, for this particular poem. 

She has several fight songs, "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty, "I'm Still Standing"
by Elton John, and her most recent one "Titanium" by David Guetta with Sia.

Music, has always been very special to Brenda.  She will sing when she is happy or
even when she is sad. 

Even though she doesn't do solos in public that much anymore, she still enjoys
singing, just for her own pleasure. 

She really enjoys Karaoke, and if she ever gets to meet some of you, that is the type
of party, she would love to have.  Her company used to have these at their Winter
Party and they were a lot of fun. 

Music can actually bring you to a place of peace and harmony.  It can be great to
focus on something, other than your pain.  It can be very healthy and actually make
you feel better. 

Brenda did get to see one of her favorite singers, that she has loved since she was
a kid, last year.  That was Elton John.  She really enjoyed that concert and she had
a great time, singing along with all of those great songs.  She told me, she actually
got chills, when he stepped out on stage. 

I really believe there is such a thing as music therapy, well Brenda does anyway.
We hope you have enjoyed this tale about the joy of music and harmony, that has
and still is a big part of Brenda's life.

Until next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, encouraging you, to let the music

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Tale Of Shingles Times Three

Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here again to share another adventure in Brenda's life.

This week again, for the third time, she experienced an outbreak of shingles.  For
those of you who have had them, you know how painful they can be.  They can
also wear on your nerves, which this time they certainly are doing that for Brenda.

The first outbreak was the worst, all because she really didn't know what she was
facing.  By the time she went to the doctor, he was suspecting shingles, but wanted
to be absolutely sure what he was dealing with.  He popped one, so he could send it
to the lab.  They were on her right upper thigh and boy did that hurt, when he did
that.  Three days later the lab test came back positive for you guessed it, Shingles!

He had put her on an antibiotic, so she would not experience infection.  Since she
was on a biologic for her RA, that meant no injection for that week or possibly the
next.  This was over the 4th of July in 2009.  Not really a way to celebrate a holiday.
She also had to take pills for 7 days, three times a day.  They are horse pills, as they
are so huge. 

The next time she got them, was less than a year after on her left ankle this time. 
She caught those early this time.  She was once again, put on those horse pills for
7 days, three times a day.  Again, not able to do her injection with her biologic for
her RA.  Being on this type of medication, can cause your immune system to become
compromised and therefore, makes it harder to fight, when you experience any type
of infection, cold or the flu.  It's just one the drawbacks of being on a biologic, that
has worked so wonderful for Brenda, for all of these years. 

The other night she pretty much knew that the third time had come, as they say,
"three's a charm" not in this case really.  This time she has them on her stomach. 
The one thing about shingles is that usually, the outbreak will only occur on one
side of the body, provided you catch them, before they have a chance to spread.

They also can attack anywhere.  If you had chickenpox as a child, as Brenda did,
the virus is already inside of you.  She had chickenpox so bad, that she had boils
and still has scars to this day.  Her Mom kept her out of school for 2 weeks, but
when she went back, she still looked like she had them.

The doctor did tell her the last time she had an outbreak, it was likely, she would
experience another one.  There is a vaccine out there, but according to the statistics,
the verdict is still out, if she should receive one, because of the fact that she is on a
biologic.   They usually recommend the vaccine at age 60.  Brenda is 52, but they
have done some on people younger than that.

She is truly frustrated and is seriously thinking of asking her rheumatologist, who
she is seeing next month for some advice on this issue. 

Not only are shingles painful and itch, they also, as I mentioned before, can wear
on your nerves.  The pain can also linger on for months afterwards.  The first time
her pain was with her for months.  She said it was like they were burning, when
they first started. 

She has been trying to rest more, during this time period.  Her sleeping has not been
great for quite sometime.  Today, she went out to do something about that.  She
purchased a new mattress, box spring, and a good frame.  She also got some really
good firm pillows, that she got to take home with her.  She had a chance to try those
out already, as she managed a nap and just loves them. 

She hopes to get the mattress sometime next week.  I am really hoping this will help
her, as she hardly ever spends a full night in bed, as she just can't sleep, between the
pain and everything else she has been going through.  I really am not surprised that
she got shingles again.  There usually are triggers.  She has experienced so much in
the past year.  GOOD AND BAD! 

We hope that this tale has helped you to understand a little bit more about shingles.
They are not pleasant, but with anything that Brenda has endured, she will fight this
like a true warrior, that she is! 

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and prayers, during this time.  Brenda really
appreciates it. 

Until next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, wishing you all good health!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Tale Of Destiny

Well, it's Trevor here again, to share another tale of Brenda's life.  This time, we are
going to do something really different from the norm.  We are going to be sharing
something that few people know about Brenda. 

You see, her career as a stunt person, pretty much ended on that fateful day, when she
decided to jump from a snowbank.  It was, when she was in the third grade.  She was
going to show some people how brave she was, but when she hit the bottom, the
excruciating pain she felt.  Her left knee was all swollen by this time.  Her Mom
and sister came with a sled to take her home. 

She went to the doctor the next day and was told that she tore some ligaments.  Was told
to ice it.  She was also told it was called a jarred knee.  Some people, thought that was
so funny to call it that.  To this day, when she moves it back and forth it will actually
move out of place.  Some people actually got their jollies watching that as well. 

She was also told, that when she got older, she would probably develop arthritis in that
knee.  Well, we all know how that turned out now don't we?  Was she destined that at
the age of 31 to be diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)? 

She's not really sure and had never really thought about that until recently, when her knee
really started giving her problems again.  She sometimes has a hard time walking and
fears it will go out. 

After she injured it, it did go out several times.  She could just be walking or turn wrong
and wham!  The last time it went out was just walking from the hospital, which is less
than 2 blocks from where she is employed.  She tripped on a rock and down she went.
That awful pain came back.  She was on the ground for several minutes.  She managed
to pick herself up and went back to work.  She didn't say anything to anybody.  She
just pushed herself through the pain.  She is a fighter and that is what has been one of
her strong points, in relationship to living with RA. 

The knee injury may not have had any connection at all with the RA, but the fact remains,
that she has pretty much lived with pain most of her life.  That is one thing, I have to
say that Brenda has adapted to pretty well. 

Almost four-years ago now, Brenda had another revelation brought to her, and that is
that she had been living with a brain tumor for at least 20 years.  Seems like something
else was destined to happen in her life, once again. 

This time though, Brenda knew something was wrong.  She had had a prior head injury,
several years before that and was experiencing really severe head pain, from what she
thought was from the head trauma.  Never in her wildest dreams, did she even ever
entertain the idea of possibly having a brain tumor.  She did tell her Mom after it had all
happened, that when she was a child and had lots of bad headaches, that she was afraid
she would end up with one. 

How uncanny is that?  It really makes you wonder about the maps of our lives and what
is really in our futures.  I am not a fortune teller and this is not at all, what this is about. 

Was Brenda also destined to have some great writing opportunities in the year 2012? 
It's hard to say, but without having had this brain tumor, the answer would have to be
no, as that is when she became creative, as a result of having had her right frontal lobe
non-cancerous meningioma removed. 

Was she also going to have some great opportunities in relationship with living with RA
in the year 2012?  Did she possibly know that a book project was in the works, a TV
and newspaper interview, a chance to really become a true patient advocate for one
day, participating in meetings and sharing her journey with RA? 

Her destiny was realized, when she decided to change her mindset about how she was
going to continue on this journey of living with RA.  I think we all in some ways,
determine our own destiny.  Brenda has chosen to let her adversities actually turn
into blessings and celebrate who she is. 

It has been said, that if we all put our own problems in a pile, that we would inevitably,
take back our own.  I think that is really true.  After all, we know how to deal with our
own for the most part, if you really think about it.

Just some things to chew on, so to speak.  Until next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale
Dog, asking you, what are you destined to accomplish in your life? 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Tale Of Two Challenges

Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here once again, to share another story of Brenda's life.  She
has been going through some real deep things as of late. 

She recently experienced a real eye opening experience, that really threw her for a loop.
You see, Brenda not only lives with Rheumatoid Arthritis, but is also a three-year
meningioma brain tumor survivor.

She has tried her hardest to bring awareness to both, as she personally feels, that they go
hand in hand with coping. 

The hardest thing that she is experiencing right now, is that some people are just not
willing to think outside the box.  They are only focused on their issues and not willing
to branch out and see the big picture.

This is particularly hurtful to Brenda, because all she has ever been is supportive in
both of these areas,  She is willing to at least, look at the other side and make her
decisions accordingly. 

She kind of feels like she has been preaching to the choir, but when she asked for a
little support from some of the singers, it just wasn't there. 

Brenda has been involved in several projects this year.  The majority of them have
been regarding her living with RA, but her life as a brain tumor survivor, has somehow
crept in there also, which she thought was pretty cool.  In fact, all of the projects that
she worked on, welcomed her mentioning this.  After all, Brenda's Brainstorm, would
not even be in existence, if it hadn't been for her brain tumor. 

All of her writing opportunities this year, have been a direct result of her living with RA.
See where I am going with this?  We have all got to start working together and have this
myopic thinking, go right out the window.

What difference does it make where the awareness is spread, as long as it happens.  In
her case, the two life challenges that Brenda is faced with just happen to overlap, and
she truly sees that as a blessing.  There is no competition as far as she is concerned.  She
will gladly support and spread awareness on both fronts, with my help of course.

What really hurt the most, was when she asked for a little support, on behalf of someone
who was willing to cross over to the other side, when it came to spreading awareness, it
was discounted.

You see in her hands story, she was actually given permission to mention that she was
a brain tumor survivor.  That could have gone a very different way, because after all,
the project was about living with inflammatory arthritis and not primarily being a brain
tumor survivor.  You see though, there was also another side to the story, and that her
hands story was about designing a necklace, all centered around, her being a brain
tumor survivor. 

I find this most fascinating, because they truly seem to keep coinciding with each other.
I think support is so important, especially, when we are facing life challenges, as Brenda
does everyday.

Just because Brenda is now on a new path of becoming a true RA patient advocate, that
does not mean that she will not continue her support for brain tumor survivors.  It just
means that she has changed her mindset and now, it won't just be meningiomas, but
all types of brain tumors and brain cancer. 

She has gotten so much support from her brain tumor buddies and in turn, her arthritis
friends have been supportive of her life as a brain tumor survivor.

That means the world to Brenda and she thanks all of you, from the bottom of her

I hope I have given you a bone to chew on, so to speak.  So until next time, this is
Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, wishing you all peace and harmony, as we all strive to
work together to spread awareness and hope.   

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Tale Of Joy And Tears

Hello, Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here, to share with you another inspiring tale of Brenda's
life.  This year has been anything but dull for her.  She has had many wonderful things
happen and I couldn't be more proud!

This has also been a tough year for her as well.  She just recently passed the one-year
anniversary of her Mom's passing.  That was very difficult.  She has shed a lot of tears
over the past couple of weeks.  She had a really nice thing happen to her though the day
of the anniversary.  She heard from both Seth and Nam, the two guys she had the pleasure
of working with, on her advocacy day.  Now, that is what I call true friends in my dogie
book.  It was really great to be thought of, especially that day. 

She has also had some friends that are going through some rough times and that prompted
her, to recently write a poem.  I would like to share it with our readers.

If I Could I Would

If I could take away your pain, I would.

If I could wipe away your tears, I would.

I may not be able to do those things, but I could,

Listen, cry with you and be your friend. 


Brenda has a big heart and also being a meningioma right frontal lobe brain tumor survivor,
her emotions sometimes get the best of her.  No apologies are made for this though.
This has really made her a person of empathy and that is why, I believe her hopes and
passions have even become stronger.  She told someone these very same words the
other day about how she wants to approach being a true RA advocate.  She said, "This
is my hope and my passion."  I thought that was wonderful. 

She was recently offered some more writing opportunites and is so thrilled, about this
because she really enjoys writing.  It really is wonderful when something you really
enjoy doing is validated!  You have no idea what that means to Brenda.  I have seen
such a change in her this year.  She has taken risks and they have really paid off.

She recently started writing poetry and that has been well received.  In fact, one of her
poems will be published next month. 

Before we go on though, Brenda is not the only famous one in our little circle.  Good
Ole' Trevor here, and Lil' Biscuit, were recently featured in the latest Tumors Suck
video.  She had taken a wonderful picture of us, wearing our stickers. 

Speaking of videos, Brenda is now featured in another one, this one is about her advocacy
work day.  They did a wonderful job.  I will post the link, so you can watch this.

If you feel like this is something that you would be interested in doing, please feel free
to contact the Global Healthy Living Foundation.  I will also post that link.

So there you have it folks, joy and tears.  Brenda is doing some amazing things, and I
know her Mom, would be proud.  She is just doing what she told her to do, living her
life and grabbing the things she wants out of life.  Now, that is not so bad, is it?

This is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, until next time, wishing you the best of everything!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Grateful Tale

Hi, Lil' Biscuit, here to introduce myself to you.  I came to live with Brenda and Trevor,
last November.  Trevor takes great care of me, while Brenda is at work.  I have a nice
cozy bed, as I am still a puppy and sleep a lot.

Trevor is helping me with this, as my paws are still too small to reach some of the keys. 
He is a great help and inspiration to Brenda. 

So with that, I will let Brenda continue to tell this wonderful tale.  Thanks Lil' Biscuit, that
was wonderful. 

It has been an amazing year to say the least.  My passion has been to help others and to
be an encouragement to them.  That dream was realized in so many ways this year.  We
have to actually back up to last December, when I got involved with a great project called,
Show Us Your Hands! poster project, along with an interactive collage.  A poster was
released with 483 pictures of beautiful hands.  Since this was such a big hit, why not try
to make this a 1,000 pictures of beautiful hands.  This goal was realized on April 7th of
this year.

For National Arthritis Awareness Month, which is in May, the 1,000 commemorative
poster was released.  You can actually download both of these posters for your relatives,
friends, or doctors offices.  I will post the link for your convenience.

Another great project that I was involved in was the Show Us Your Hands! photo book.
The book was also released this month, in honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month.
It is entitled "Our Hands Can!"  It is a wonderful book, comprised of stories of different
people living with inflammatory arthritis.  It is truly a book of inspiration and hope!

All proceeds for the posters and book go to Show Us Your Hands! for future projects, that
they will have down the pike.  I will post the link for the book as well, if you so desire to
purchase it.

I am so grateful for so many things, that have happened to me this year.  As you know, last
May, I lost my Mom to congestive heart failure.  One of the things she told me while she
was dying, was to live my life.  I had no idea, this is what she had in mind. 

I just want to put in a plug for RA Guy, as he was my guide for the book project.  One of
the things he allowed me to do with my hands story, was mention the fact that I am also a
brain tumor survivor.  With this also being National Brain Tumor Awareness month, this
was indeed an added blessing for spreading awareness and hope!

He also has a great page on Facebook, that if you happen to live with Rheumatoid Arthritis
(RA), it is a great place for inspiration, helpful tips and we even share a laugh or two. 

I want to leave you with a quote from RA Guy, that has truly turned my whole mindset
around with coping.  "I'm not a patient who suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis. I'm a
person who "LIVES" with Rheumatoid Arthritis!" 

That is the whole point, I am living.  I am so grateful to all of you, who continue to
support me on this journey of living with RA!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Hi, Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here to share another great story of Brenda's life. Before
we go on, some of our readers have been asking about Lil' Biscuit.  She is doing well, we
continue to bond quite nicely.  She really is a sweetheart and not much trouble at all.  Thanks
for asking.

Now, on to our tale.  As you know, Brenda has lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis for the past
21 years.  Yesterday, April 20th, marked the 11th anniversary of her first injection with the
Biologic drug Enbrel.  To help her commemorate this special day were 2 people from The Global Healthy Living Foundation, Seth Ginsberg, Co-Founder and President and Project Manager,
Nam Pak.  I will post a couple of links here, so you can check out these wonderful sites.  and http:/

The day after she found out Seth and Nam were coming to Bismarck, she received another
surprise. She was asked to be a guest blogger for the CreakyJoints newsletter.  She would
actually have something that she has written published, with my help of course.  The blog
post was entitled A Tale Of 21 Years and it tells of her journey of living with RA.  Just
follow the link up above and click on CJ guest bloggers and you will see her picture, click 
on that and you can read this wonderful story. 

We should really mention that Brenda's involvement with CreakyJoints actually started
about 10 years ago, when she was looking for support from other fellow Creakers.

Another thing that was really cool, was yesterday before she started her advocacy work
day, Seth presented her with a CreakyJoints pin, which she will wear with pride.

Anyway, Seth and Nam wanted to come to North Dakota to work with Brenda for 2 very
important reasons.  First, they had never been here and the second and very important one
was to bring about the various barriers to health care issues, particularly in relationship to
the switch that Brenda may be facing, when she reaches Medicare age.  The part B plan,
where Brenda would have to possibly go some where and take time out of her schedule to
be hooked up and be infused, versus being able to continue to do her own injections in the
comfort of her own home, which has been working out so beautifully for the past 11

Another great concern, although this drug would be less expensive, she is afraid that perhaps,
it wouldn't work as well, as the one that she is currently on now.  One thing that would ultimately
happen, the way the laws are now, is that her co-pay for her current drug would skyrocket.  Her
feeling on this whole thing is, if it's not broke, don't fix it.  It's a complex issue and that is
why Seth and Brenda sat down with various representatives of the Senate and also Congress,
to try and bring to light these barriers, especially in relationship to how this all works.

Another thing that was really striking, was in the first 2 meetings, where someone actually knew
of someone living with RA or had just been recently diagnosed.  Brenda took it upon herself
to offer her assistance, by allowing these individuals to contact her, if they wanted to talk or
anything else they may need. 

The whole purpose of this day, was for Brenda to become a model advocate for the state of North
Dakota and to reach out to others who are living with RA, as they found out yesterday, there
are many.  Another great concern in the state of North Dakota, is that there really are not that
many rheumatologists, as the wait to get into some is very long.  We are talking months.  When
you are suffering with that much pain, you need to be in close contact with your rheumatologist,
so a game plan can be put in motion, so you can go on and live a productive life. 

That is another thing that Brenda brought out in all her meetings with these various individuals,
is that you can live a happy and productive life. Seth and her had a conversation about how
important, it is to stay positive and to have humor.  He actually told her, that he liked her sense
of humor.

Another thing before we go on here, is we need to mention Jarrod the videographer who also
made this trip.  I got to meet him briefly yesterday, as he took pictures of Brenda and me.  It
was also great to meet Seth and Nam.  They have been so great to Brenda, working with her
and guiding her through this whole process.  Nam is really a great guy and has been so
incredibly kind to Brenda, helping her with computer issues and also with getting ready for
this important day.

Also during these important meetings, going back to how Brenda has really been active in the
arthritis community as of late.  She has been involved in several projects through RA Guy
and the Show Us Your Hands! interactive collage, the Show Us Your Hands! commemorative
poster featuring 1,000 beautiful hands and also the Show Us Your Hands! photo book, which
will be available for purchase next month, for National Arthritis Awareness Month.  I will
post the link.

RA Guy has truly been an inspiration to her and to many others, who are on this journey
living with RA. 

You can check out all the wonderful things that have been going on in the inflammatory
arthritis community.  Brenda got involved with all of this at the end of last year, when she
decided that she was going to start being active and spreading awareness for RA instead of
feeling sorry for herself, because of her incredibly tough and sad year she had experienced.

It seemed when she decided to approach this from another perspective, that is when she truly
turned a corner.  She not only got involved with the interactive collage, where she sent a
picture of her hand for the first poster, but for the 1,000 hands, she made sure she got a picture
of her other hand as well.  She wanted to be fully involved in this great project.  She also
applied for the call to submissions for the Show Us Your Hands photo book project.  She had
to explain, why her hands were so special to her.  Imagine, her surprise when she received
the news, that her story was selected to be featured in the Show Us Your Hands Photo book. 

She has been working very closely with RA Guy, as he is her guide with this wonderful project.
He really is a cool person, because he is also allowing Brenda to mention in her story about
also being a brain tumor survivor.  That just meant the world to Brenda, you just can't imagine.

Anyway what this project entails, is that she had to write a hands story between 300 and 500
words and also along with that, have someone take pictures of her hands in action, to go along
with the story. She also had to write a short Bio that will also be included in the book.  Trevor
here, couldn't be more proud!

Brenda and Seth also did an interview for the local TV station here in Bismarck.  Brenda was also
interviewed by The Bismarck Tribune, where she got a chance to again, share her story. 

She had a really great time with Seth, Nam, and Jarrod.  They brought her bagels from New York.
Now, that is just great in my book.  She also had gifts for them as well.  She did forget to
tell them that the reason their gift bags were blue, was because that is the awareness color
for arthritis.

Another reason why these guys came to North Dakota, was to do an RA in the workplace
interview, which will be on YouTube, when it is all ready.  She saw this on the CreakyJoints
Facebook page and decided this was something she would like to be involved in, not even
having the slightest notion, that they would even consider coming to Bismarck. 

This has been an experience that Brenda will not soon forget.  It was also a learning experience
in how to conduct yourself during an interview.  She found the YouTube one to be the
most challenging, but thankfully you had as many takes as were necessary and there were many.
The guys were really kind, giving her pointers on how to say things.  She had never done this
before, so it was just a matter of making it personal for her.

They also had a lot of fun too.  They also made her feel at ease.  Brenda told me she was not
nervous with doing any of this yesterday.  She really enjoyed herself, but was very tired, as it
was a long day, but a very good one. 

She wants to thank Seth, Nam and Jarrod for taking the time to make this trip to North Dakota
and hopes to be able to keep in touch. 

Well, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, until next time, wishing you only the best.   


Saturday, February 18, 2012


Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here once again, to share with you a story of inspiration and hope.

It has been a sad time in Brenda's life once again, as she lost yet, another family member.  Her brother-in-law Larry, who passed away last week.  He was married to her sister Bev, who passed away in 2003 from colon cancer.  Brenda has written a wonderful story about her.  It's called "Remembering My Big Sister" and you can find it here, as it was before I came along.

She had a chance to share this story with Larry, as she gave him a copy.  She received the nicest thank you card from him.  This is what he wrote.  "Thank you so much for that beautiful writing you wrote about Bev. I can tell when I read it, it came totally from the love of your heart."

I had the pleasure of meeting Larry myself once, and I have to say, that he seemed like a pretty neat fella.

Brenda had a few lunches with Larry a few months before he passed.  After they went through her Mom's items, she took him out for lunch, as he was such a big help to her that day.

Right before Thanksgiving, the last time she saw him, he took her out for lunch.  They had sloppy joes and as they were sitting there he said, "Well, I guess this is our Thanksgiving dinner."  Brenda thought that was really sweet.

The last time she talked to him was less than 2 weeks before his passing.  She had a tax question for him, as he did lots of taxes for people this time of year.  One of the last things he asked Brenda was, "How's Trevor?"  Now, you gotta know that was so touching and so very dog gone kind of him. 

She has many good memories of Larry.  He would ask her many times how her Rheumatoid Arthritis was?  He really cared about her.  He taught her a little about football and they would even watch some games together with Bev, when she was still with us.

She will miss him, but she was really glad, that she had him for a brother-in-law all those years.  23 years is a long time.  He encouraged her with so many things.  You see his mom had a brain tumor also, so they had some things in common.  The emotions experienced by both are really uncanny.

She may have lost a very dear person, but she gained much from him.  He was kind and considerate.  He brought a very lovely bouquet of flowers to Mom, while she was in the nursing home.  Brenda took pictures of these beautiful flowers and has that to treasure.

As some of you know, Brenda battles with 2 significant life altering situations every day of her life.  First, she has battled with Rheumatoid Arthritis for almost 21 years now.  She also is a meningioma brain tumor survivor of over 3 years.  That is not an easy load to bear sometimes.  Brenda tries to approach both with grace and dignity.

She also fights for awareness on both fronts.  She recently participated, as was mentioned in a previous blog in, " The Show Us Your Hands" project.  She is no longer ashamed to show her hands to anyone.  She works hard with them, as they help her to make a living.  She also has learned through all of this, that she really enjoys writing, as this is her way of expressing how she deals with these adversities.

She also fights hard to spread brain tumor awareness, as this ultimately changed her life forever. Some people just don't get this and she really doesn't care what some think or feel about this.  She knows that she has plenty of people in her corner, who do care and are on the same path to fight just as hard as she does. 

One of the things that Brenda experiences, courtesy of having had a brain tumor located in the right frontal lobe is...that sometimes her emotions are all over the place.  She can be laughing one minute and wham crying the next.  This does not bother her anymore.  This is one fight that she knows that she will not win.  It also gives her permission to not have to feel guilty about these feelings.  Just let those tears flow.

She also has learned something through going through grief, as her Mom has almost been gone now 9 months.  She read this in a book.  It goes something like this.  " I may feel this way now, but I won't always feel this way, but it is okay that right now, that I feel this way."  Really takes the pressure off.

Brenda is really just trying to get through all of this.  She sometimes just has to take a break and rest.  She works full time and tries to take good care of herself.  She has been battling a very bad cold for several weeks now.  She also can't do her weekly injection for her RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). when she experiences any type of infection.  Her RA has been more active than usual because of this. 

She continues to do her ROM (Range Of Motion) twice a day, because she knows how important it is to move those joints.  She misses her long walks, but with her feet being so bad, that is just no longer an option.  She was fitted with orthotics last year and also sported an air cast for 6 weeks. 

While she misses her long walks, through her brain tumor experience, she discovered that she is creative and that's how her writing began.  We may lose something we love, but if we are open to change, we may actually find that something much more gratifying can come into our lives. 

Even through her experience with RA, some wonderful things have come down the pike.  You may be thinking to yourself, how can anything beautiful or wonderful ever come of such a terrible disease?  You find your blessings come in all shapes and sizes.  Hers have been through opportunities, that have pretty much just fallen into her lap.  It has taken years of acceptance and perseverance, but it is really starting to pay off.  Her advice to you is, never ever give up on your dreams, because we all have them.

Being a brain tumor survivor has also brought it's share of blessings.  She has been in contact with many wonderful people.  She has had the opportunity to meet some of these warriors.

While both of these adversities certainly brings a lot of physical pain in her life, she also realizes that she has gained so much more than she could have ever imagined.

Yes folks, pain and gain, they really do go hand in hand with life. 

I hope you have enjoyed this tale.  It's really how each and everyone of us should approach life.      

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Well, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here again, with the first blog post of 2012.  I have been bonding quite nicely with Biscuit, as she is getting used to her surroundings.  Brenda found an old quilt that her Mom had made for her doll crib, when she was a little girl and thought that would work out perfectly for the little darling and it does. 

Brenda is doing pretty well these days.  She had another birthday recently and she was just so touched by all your birthday wishes on Facebook, cards, and phone calls.  She decided that this year for her birthday, she would do something different and that is where the event comes in. 

She thought it would be cool if she could think of a way to spread brain tumor and brain cancer awareness, but at the same time make it informative and fun. 

She wouldn't have been able to do this without the help of a special brain tumor bro, named Brian, who offered to make up an event page for her.  From that point on, they started inviting people, who they thought just might be interested in this sort of thing.  She ended up with 96 people attending this event, which she thought was pretty awesome.

It was great the way the survivors posted their pictures of their MRI's, CT's or pictures after their brain tumor surgeries.  They all went into an album after they were posted and if you happen to be on Facebook and are Brenda's friend, you can click on that album and see all the wonderful pictures of these brave warriors. 

There were also blog links included, writings, humor and of course birthday wishes for Brenda.  It turned out more wonderful, then she could have ever imagined. 

What a wonderful way to spread brain tumor and brain cancer awareness.  One of the ways that Brenda does this is, she wears a golf ball circle charmed necklace.  You see, that was the size of her brain tumor which is a called a meningioma.  She has had some great conversations because of it.  Her rheumatologist even asked her about it.  It really catches your eye, because it looks like it's 3 dimensional, when it is actually flat.  What a cool way to spread brain tumor awareness.

Brenda also recently participated in a project for Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, called, "Show Us Your Hands."  She posted her left hand and it is in a collage with many others.  She was proud to be able to do this after 20 years + of living with this terrible disease.  Just another way she is fighting, by spreading awareness and hope. 

The collage can actually be purchased and because of a very sweet lady named Jane, she is going to be owning this.  Now, Trevor here, thinks that is so dog-gone sweet of you to do this for her. 

She will have it framed and hang it with pride.  After all these years, she can honestly say, she is no longer ashamed to show her hands to anyone. 

I guess, I'm not the only famous person in our little group.  As some of you know, last year I posed for the Tumors Suck II video and made the cut.  I also have inspirational messages out on Facebook, which have now been changed to only weekly.  My paws can't seem to make it every day on there. 

Brenda had one of the nicest birthdays weather wise.  It actually reached 50 above.  That's unheard of in ND, especially in January of all things. 

Thanks for making her birthday extra special by participating in the event and for making comments on the various pictures posted. 

Brenda's been battling lately with her Rheumatoid Arthritis and head pain.  Yes, even good weather changes can cause havoc in your joints and heads, as some of you very well know.

Well, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog ending this tale with something Brenda just came up with today.  GREET THE GREY...just another way of spreading brain tumor awareness and hope, as we all need that now don't we?