Sunday, December 15, 2013

A TALE OF 23 YEARS



Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here again, to share with you another inspiring story of Brenda's life. It has now been almost 23 years, since Brenda was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, at the age of 31.

It was a very dark Wednesday in May when she was in the rheumatologist's office, when he said, "I am afraid that this is going to take longer than we thought." He didn't even really come right out and say she had RA. Her nurse handed her a bunch of pamphlets, which were to explain, how she was supposed to live with this disease. She was supposed to go back to work after hearing or not really hearing this news. She was in shock and she thought her life was really over, as she knew it.

She had been having some problems for quite some time. In fact she had had an RA factor test done along with an ANA, because they were suspicious of Lupus, but that came back negative. The RA factor test however, was extremely high. She had had a bad bout with bursitis in her left shoulder, so they decided to do some tests. Her primary care physician was gone, so they sent her home to try and get that shoulder feeling better.

At this time, she was still not officially diagnosed and she went back to work, but over the next few months, she continued to get worse. Her hands, ankles, and feet were the worst at this time. In fact her left pinky turned into a trigger finger. She would have to literally pull it back with her other fingers.

She was walking to work, which I have no idea how she managed this. After she was diagnosed, she started using a cane. She was getting worse really fast. Her doctor and rheumatologist decided that they had to get her on something quick. They had discussed Plaquenil, but they both felt, that would take too long to start working, as she needed something right away. They thought Methotrexate would be the best option.

She started it, but it made her sick, so they had to lessen her dosage. She still would get so sick and fatigued from it. All kinds of things were happening. Her thick hair was now much more thin and she developed sores on her scalp, along with chronic sinus problems, which she still deals with to this day.

They tried everything, injecting it, but they soon ran out of places, because she developed scar tissue. So they would put the injection in yogurt or juice, but nothing really helped, she still got so sick. She finally just decided she had had enough. After 4 and a half years, she started weaning herself off of it and 3 months later told her doctor. She wouldn't recommend that you do this.

It was at this time, that she was able to start exercising again. She was doing her range of motion exercises, twice a day, which she still does. She wanted to start working out and it really seemed to help. Her fatigue lessened.

There really wasn't anything out there that she could really tolerate. Biologics were not even out yet. It was finally in 2001, that she decided she should start doing some research on Enbrel. She researches everything. They give her such a bad time at work about this. If there is something new they are talking about, they will say "Brenda, you should research this and she usually does."

Anyway, she approached her doctor one day and said, "I am finally ready to consider Enbrel." So they made all the necessary calls and she received a card and was put on a list. Yes, at that time being it was so popular, it was hard to get.

She went to her rheumatologist and he thought it could be quite some time before, she would get on Enbrel, so he wrote her a prescription for Arava. She never filled it. She felt the Enbrel would become available. She just wasn't comfortable with the fact of more hair loss or even worse problems which could occur because of this drug.

This was about a month before. On Friday, April 13, 2001 notice the date? It was also Good Friday, she received a call at work that Enbrel was now available and would she like to start it?

The next Friday, April 20th, she had her first injection of Enbrel. They had her stay a while after, because they wanted to make sure there would be no bad reaction.

The first couple of times, she had a headache or would feel nauseous, but that went away within a month. So every Thursday for almost 13 years now, she has been on what she calls her miracle drug. There are times when she cannot do the injections, like when she has any type of infection. She also keeps a diary, because it's hard to remember where you injected last, because you can't always tell. She now uses the auto injector, which is so quick and easy to use.

Living with RA while it can really be a challenge, can really turn out to be a blessing as well. You ask how can this possibly be so?

Someone once told Brenda that she was stronger than this disease and you know she is. Her strength was really tested when she went through her brain tumor surgery for her non-malignant meningioma on September 8, 2008. It was again tested, when she lost her primary care giver, which was her Mom, who passed away on May 31, 2011, from congestive heart failure.

While she was dying, Brenda was dealing with having to wear an air cast on her right foot, because an MRI confirmed that she had some torn tendons. They healed, but somewhere down the road, she may possibly be facing some surgery.

Her Mom told her 2 things. Live your life and grab something if you want it. She has been truly doing both. She spreads awareness and hope with my help on both fronts, living with RA and being a brain tumor survivor. She now has issues with constant nausea and motion issues because of the brain surgery, but she just keeps plugging along. She has managed to hold down a full time job throughout her diagnosis with RA.

I am going to close with one of my quotes. Life is what you make it, you can either choose to be a victim or a victor. Which have you chosen? I know which one Brenda has. She is doing some fantastic work with advocating and bringing awareness. She really wants to inspire and help people. It helps you as well, and really makes you feel better for doing something for others.

She has recently had some great opportunities coming down the pike. It has taken years, but she is beginning to realize, that you just have to take your blessings where you can get them.

This is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, until next time, wishing you peace and love.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Tale of Traditions

Well, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here to bring you, some of Brenda's past holiday traditions.

Brenda used to really enjoy these and now things are much different, with no family close by, but
that is just the way it is.  We thought we would share some of what she remembers from when, she
was a little girl.

Brenda always enjoyed with helping decorate the tree.  The trimmings consisted of rings made
of different colored construction paper, that were put together with glue and made into strings,
that were put around the tree.  She always had a real tree, except for one year, when she was
told that they couldn't afford a tree.  There was a drawing at the school after the Christmas
program, and guess who won the free tree?  I guess that was what you could call a Christmas
miracle.  They had no choice but to decorate one after all. 

Some of the other traditions were of course the many goodies that her Mom would make.
Sparrows were only had at Christmas and a favorite of everyone.  There were deep fried
donuts with raisins in them and were usually eaten with butter.  Germans after all,
really know how to keep the calorie count down.  BOL

Another tradition was, that her Dad had to have St. Johns Bread or Johnny Bread, which was not
actually bread at all.  It was carob with seeds inside.  You would warm them up in the oven or
now, the microwave works also.  Personally, Brenda could not stand the smell of it.  Her
Dad and one of her sisters were crazy about it.  Not as easy to get, as you would think.  It
is found in the produce, but you would be surprised, how many people would try to take Brenda
to the bread section.

Another thing was buying Chocolate Covered Cherries for Dad, because he loved them.  Truth,
he didn't like them at all.  It was just an excuse for my sister who liked them, to get them for
herself along with dried apricots, if we could find those. 

Things like the Johnny Bread, Sparrows, dried apricots, were actually shipped, when we could
not all be together for Christmas.

Brenda always also enjoyed the various Christmas programs she was involved in, when she didn't
end up getting sick.  Looking back now, her immune system pretty much was bad even then.

Brenda favorites of her Mom's goodies were, her caramels, hopscotch, peppermint almond bark
rounds and of course her peanut brittle.

We hoped you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with holiday traditions.  We
wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Tale of Introspection

Hello there, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here, to share another story of Brenda's
life.  This time, we are going to go a little deeper into what she actually experienced,
prior to her brain tumor diagnosis of August 26, 2008. 

Looking back and having had a chance to re-evaluate situations and things that happened,
Brenda now realizes, there were actually reasons, for why things were so out of control.

Her personality was a big issue one year prior, along with many nosebleeds, which
she would wake up to and many were hard to stop.  She thought it was just her
sinuses, which continue to give her grief, but this was different.  It was only after
she had her craniotomy and this was brought up in one of her brain tumor support
groups on Facebook, that the light bulb truly went on. 

It was actually brought out that having many nosebleeds, could actually be a sign of
having a brain tumor.  We say could, as it was in Brenda's case.  We are just stating
facts that have happened to Brenda here.  We are not giving out any medical advice,
so feel free to check this out for yourself. 

Brenda knows that her brain tumor peeps, as she refers to them, will understand what
we are sharing.

On to the personality change.  Another thing that Brenda didn't even realize was
going on.  She would get angry quickly.  One time was over the phone with a
nurse helping her with Enbrel, as she had had a problem with one of the injections,
and was supposed to get another replacement.  It all turned out to be a big
misunderstanding and Brenda should not have had to make the call in the first
place.  She was not receiving the replacement and got on the phone one evening,
and just let that nurse have it.  This was not typical for Brenda, and she was in
tears by the end of the phone call.  It finally got straightened out and if that was
to ever happen again, it was handled differently.  It has never happened since.

Another thing was that her blood pressure was sky high prior to her brain tumor
diagnosis.  Her GYN doctor was very concerned about this.  Brenda at the time
was facing more migraines and a job change, because of her Rheumatoid Arthritis
(RA) advancing.  She had also lost her sister one year prior to this, so a lot of
stress going on.  This was actually years, before her brain tumor would be
discovered.  It had been a long journey with the RA and now this.

She was getting her blood pressure checked and this was now about a year before
her brain tumor diagnosis, and it was again very high.  She burst into tears and
went on to say that anything could set her off.  She was prescribed something
to help balance this all.  Her PCP was not happy about this and it really turned
out to be a horrible experience and within 6 months, had to stop taking them
all together.  She was also experiencing another life changing event, as her
Dad's Alzheimer's was getting worse and he did pass away that year.  She had
also gained lots of weight and that was not good for her RA, but she kept on
exercising, as much as she could. 

Her head pain was also starting to come back, from her prior head injury, of
bumping her head in the fridge.  We have touched on this before and it is
actually part of her BT journey that was recently shared on Catch The Brain Wave,
which when the link is up for you to listen, we will share.  Rick Franzo, who is
the host and her fellow BT warrior and friend, read her compelling story over the
airwaves. 

Anyway, we got a little sidetracked there.  To go on, Brenda did go to the neurologist
and he also told her to stay on those pills or things would get worse.  They got worse
while being on them.  She was also told that they could do a CT, but they would
probably find nothing.  Well, we all know how that turned out now, don't we?

Another thing that happened and this was also several years before, only really not
sure if it was before or after the head injury, as it was another thing, that Brenda
had not really thought a lot about.  She had got up one night and when she was
headed back to bed, and this she remembers so clearly, she must have bumped
into something and started to fall down.  It was in slow motion and she remembers
being flat on the floor, by her bed.  She has no idea how long she was there, if she
had passed out or what?  It scared her and nothing like this has ever happened since.

It just makes you wonder, was this another sign?  As you know by the Spring of
2008, she was really having a hard time dealing with all of the head pain and yet,
she was going to work every day and dealing with RA as well. 

When Brenda finally got her diagnosis and at the time, did not even realize it
was a brain tumor, as it was only referred to as a lesion.  When she got the
word, you have a meningioma, she still didn't realize it.  Even for months after.
I really think, she was in shock.  Her boss thought so, as she went into his office
and told him, she was going to have surgery the following Monday, which was
on a Thursday.  He said, she sounded just like she was going to the dentist.  She
was that calm.

Well, we know that Brenda has learned much from this journey.  She does also
know that she had the most primary of brain tumors, called a meningioma.  She
has learned much since, as there are over 120 different kinds of brain tumors
out there. 

Some things also changed after her brain tumor diagnosis.  A big one, is this
blog right here.  I probably would not be telling this tale, if it wouldn't be for the
fact, that she had this brain tumor.  She became creative.  She counts that as
one of her greatest gifts, that this experience has given her. 

She is much more emotional at times, but this time around she knows that is
okay, and that she also is much more aware of others, and what they are going
through too.  She is more sensitive to what is happening and sometimes, it
is hard to deal with.  Others that don't face this have told her, she has a ugly
personality or nothing is good enough for her.  She also has been told by
those who used to cry on her shoulder, that she is a braggart and if people
don't live like she does, then everyone else is wrong.  These statements are
really hurtful.  We are just going to tell you right here, that they came from
people that are obviously unhappy with themselves. 

Brenda has struggled with the fact of self promoting.  She is always helping others,
as that has been a trait of hers lifelong.  She is finding that in advocacy, you have
to fight for what is right and part of that is promoting your cause. 

We have a great example to share with you here.  I am pretty sure the coach of
a winning team is going to boast about how well his team did.  He is not just
going to leave that field and say nothing.  He will talk to the reporters and also
tell his players how well they did.  He is obviously proud of them, and he would
also be a big part of that, now wouldn't he?  He should also have a chance to be
proud of himself, right?  You're doggone right he should. 

We hope this has helped you understand a little bit more, of what it is like to be a
BT survivor.  This is a badge of honor, that Brenda takes seriously.  Her other
badge of honor is having lived with RA for over twenty-two years.

It was my pleasure to bring this tale to you.  Brenda has gone through much,
but it does not define who she is.  Remember, your trial can either destroy you, or
make you stronger.  You have that choice to decide which. 

This is Trevor, signing off.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Tale of Liberation

Hey, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here again, to bring you another story of
Brenda's life.  We are going to be doing something different, in that this will
be a blog post of getting things off of our chests. 

Before we go any further, Brenda has distanced or been staying away from
negative people as much as possible.  Sometimes, that is not always possible,
as you have to engage with some, so what we are about to share is not about
our readers.  This is about people, that she has just had to cut out of her life.

This is just something that she once and for all, needs to get off of her chest.
Brenda has dealt with some pretty heavy life experiences, dating back to when
she was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) over twenty-two years
ago now.  We are not going to go all the way back there, but just so you know,
she has been fighting every day since. 

Imagine, something as easy as opening a door, becomes a source of agony, because
just turning the handle or door knob, causes your hand to ache.  Another one is
what might be a simple task to you, but those of you who live with RA or other
chronic illnesses, may be able to relate, flushing a toilet.  These are things we
don't really talk about much, because it is embarrassing to have to admit, that
something that should be so simple to do, becomes pure agony.  She did however,
share this with her GF a couple of weeks ago and she responded just like she
always has, with kindness and empathy. 

Brenda has experienced the other side of the coin as well, the people out there that
are just so self-centered.  Brenda has always tried to be there for her friends.  She
received a phone call once at 4:00 a.m. from a friend who was so upset about how
one of her male friends was treating her.  All Brenda could do was listen and try
to provide comfort.  You would think that when the tables were turned, she would
receive the same response.  Not on your life folks.

Here is the scene, Brenda's Mom is in a nursing home, where she just found out a
few weeks before, that she was dying.  She also was sporting an air cast because
she had a torn tendon in her right foot.  She was kind enough to ask this friend to go
on an all expense paid trip, to a brain tumor meet and greet.  Here is where it gets
ugly folks.  Brenda had a terrible time flying and was not doing very well, by the
time they got to one destination.  They were even thinking of having Brenda go
to the hospital, but she fought hard for this trip and refused.  Just by Brenda
expressing that she did not want to go, she was told the next day in front of a
room full of brain tumor survivors, that she had an ugly personality.  Now Brenda,
just wanted to get up and leave and go back to her room.  Those of you that
know Brenda, know that she is a fighter, and she realized that some would
understand that after having had a brain surgery, that there would be some
personality changes.  She did however, get up and go to another table to
mingle. 

She tried to explain this in a letter to her friend, along with a gift, but it would
never be the same again.  Brenda did continue to hang out with her, but it was
becoming increasingly difficult, because of that comment about her having
an ugly personality.  Brenda has yet to have received a thank you for that
trip.  She recently received yet another invitation to one of her jewelry parties
and Brenda just decided that it was at this time, that she would break all ties
with this person.  She did not RSVP, oh the shame.  She just didn't want to
engage in a conversation with her, because no matter what you say, or how
you say it, would be wrong in her eyes.

We are not asking for pity here.  Brenda does not want it.  She is just wanting to
get this all out. 

She has also been told that nothing is good enough for her, and that she is a negative
person.  Have you ever heard such nonsense in your life?  Brenda tries so hard to
be positive and to build others up.  She does this, without even thinking about it.

She was told by one of her former classmates, that while they were in grade school,
Brenda stood up for this person.  She really does not remember doing it.  The person
was shy and maybe Brenda felt they were being teased, etc. 

She has lost friends since being diagnosed with RA.  A lot of it is really misunderstood,
and you really just get tired of explaining it.  If you cannot keep an engagement, some
see it as an attack on them.  If Brenda does keep the engagement, and not feeling up
to par, she is the one that ends up paying the price. 

This is very hard to write about and as she is telling me this, she has been very tearful.

She has also been told that she is demanding, all because she has made a suggestion.
Since when did a suggestion, become a demand?  This person also cried on Brenda's
shoulder the week she was to have surgery.  She was so afraid that it was going to
do horrible things to her body.  This was so unbelievable, because this same person
told Brenda, how positive a person she was.  She was fretting the whole week, all
the while Brenda was recovering from her 3rd attack with shingles. 

Finally Brenda had just had enough.  She finally told her that she was worrying
herself into a tizzy and that she would be praying for her.  She did end up doing
just fine with her surgery and all that worrying for nothing. 

Brenda didn't even get that bent out of shape before her craniotomy. 

She has just found that it has been better not to have these people in her life.  They
just became what she calls emotional vampires. 

She has moved forward and has made some wonderful friends.  She has also been
told recently, that she does not need friends in her life, only God.  What a horrible
thing to say.  We all need people. 

This was very difficult for Brenda to get out, but I think it was overdue.  She continues
to fight every day, but she will be there for you, cheering you on with all of your
accomplishments.  All she asks is for a little understanding.  Not every day is easy,
but she tries to remain positive and to be that shining light for those, who may need
it.

Until next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, reminding you that every one
has their own special battle that they are fighting, so be kind whenever possible. 
   

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Brave New Tale

Hello, my fellow readers, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, bringing you our latest
tale.  This one is going to be about Brenda's experience with having had the
wonderful opportunity, of taking an online writing memoir course.  It was offered by
Creakyjoints.  Here is the link to that wonderful website.  http://www.creakyjoints.org/

It is full of wonderful information, for anyone dealing with arthritis or any chronic
condition.  Check it out and see for yourself.  Seth Ginsberg, co-founder and president
of this wonderful organization, has even quoted me in the past, so a plug or in my
own language, a bone for him. 

Getting back to Brenda's experience here.  There was a 10 week online writing
memoir course called, "Writing Your Life: Writing to Heal" which was taught
and lectured by author, Lynn Lauber, who according to Brenda, did a fantastic job with
this.  She was so encouraging to every one there, offering great suggestions. 

I was told by Brenda, that as a result of this, my tales have to start being more
detailed, (detailed) that is funny and more deep.  I am a dog and I dig bones,
how deep are we talking here?  Okay, anything for Brenda.  She told me that
this truly changed her life and was a source of therapy for her. 

Basically each week, there were given a lecture to read and then an assignment,
where they usually had a couple of options that they could choose to write about.

One type, was automatic writing, where you just get your paper and pen, set a timer,
for 20 minutes and start writing.  You are not concerned at this point about editing,
as that would come later in the course.  Brenda was very surprised, that at the end
of 20 minutes, she was still writing. 

Another thing that was so amazing, was after years of thinking that she had forgotten
about experiences in her life, that some just came back so vivid and alive, which
was really eye opening to Brenda. 

Another neat thing about this course, was that they were able to read and comment
on the other participant's work.  It was only to be positive.  Brenda said, there were
some great writers out there.  She made some good friends as a result of this
experience.

When she would hear things like, "This made me cry, I could see everything, you
were writing about,"  she knew she was getting the hang of this.  She was a little
nervous about this in the beginning.  In fact, she was the first one to turn in her
assignment for the first week.  It was a good icebreaker. 

She shed many tears along the way, as she is sure many of the others did as well.
They were really writing about some deep and personal aspects of their lives.  That
was all part of the healing process about writing about your life. 

She also discovered something truly amazing about herself during this time.  Brenda
has always wanted to help people, but she realized that even before she was born,
she in a little way did that as well.  You are thinking to yourself, what do you mean?
Brenda was in the breech position, as her Mom was carrying her.  They did an X-ray
to find out exactly what they were dealing with.  She wonders if being exposed to
radiation, however small, could have been the reason for some of her health problems.
She will never know, but it has to make you wonder anyway, doesn't it?

She ended up being 3 weeks overdue, but before she was born, she miraculously ended
up turning and was born naturally, just like all of her 4 sisters had been.  She was told
by her Mom, that she had cramps down to her knees, so maybe this wasn't really a
miracle, but a light went on in Brenda's head, that in some small way, she was at
least trying to help her Mom.  She was almost 37 years-old at the time, so this couldn't
have been easy. 

This is just one of many things, that she discovered along this 10 week journey. 
Brenda tells me, that the time went so fast.  Her greatest challenge was her final
assignment, where that was the only time their work got edited.  Brenda loves
a challenge and she tackled this one with everything she had. 

When you hear, "What a great job!" you just know it was all worth it.  She would
recommend anyone taking this course, if you get the chance.  It is being offered
4 times a year.  Just watch the CreakyJoints newsletter for details. 

Brenda is a big fan of music and a song became very special to her, during this
course.  It is "Brave" by Sara Bareilles.  Here are the words that jumped out at
her.  "Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out, honestly, I wanna see
you be brave."  WOW! 

There were certainly some brave souls out there, writing their lives, to heal.  I am
so glad she got to take this wonderful course and all of the things she learned from
it. 

This is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, until next time, telling you to be brave, by
writing your life, to heal. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Tale of Discovery

Hi, Trevor here again, to share with you discoveries that Brenda has made along the
way on her journey of living with RA and also being a meningioma brain tumor
survivor, for almost five years. 

This has been quite a year for Brenda.  She became an editor at the beginning of the
year, for CreakyJoints, Poet's Corner (& Artists Too).  She had no idea what this all
entailed when she signed on, but she has given it everything she's got, and has really
enjoyed how it has all come together.  She has had some wonderful entries share
their various talents and it has just been wonderful.  I am going to share the email
address if this is something you would be interested in becoming a part of.  It is
for anyone living with a chronic illness.  She accepts, poetry, short stories, photography,
drawings, paintings, you get the idea.  Here it is.  cjpoetscorner@gmail.com

Another thing is that yours truly, got a job as well.  I became a mascot for "Christine's
Kid's, who are children and teens who live with arthritis, (JA & JRA) being the focus.
I offer barks of wisdom, by sharing special messages for these special kids. 

Brenda has made some wonderful friends with being involved with these great projects.
We all have one purpose in mind, and that is to spread awareness and hope.

Along this journey she has also discovered that there are some people out there, that
are not happy with their lives and have actually written to Brenda, telling her she is
bragging.  So what if she is?  At least she is doing something with her life.  Believe
me, she could sit at home and cry all day long about the terrible pain she is in.  Yes,
she lives with chronic pain 24/7 folks.  What good would that do her?  I am so proud
of how she handles everything that life has thrown at her.

The past five years alone, she has had so much happen.  She had a craniotomy.  For
those of you who do not know what that is, it is when they drill your head open and
remove whatever should not be there.  In her case, it was a meningioma, her type of
brain tumor, which ended up being the size of a golf ball.  It was removed on
September 8, 2008 and that is when a new chapter in her life began. 

Three years later, another challenge she faced, the illness and passing of her Mom. She
made a promise to her Mom while she was dying, to live her life.  Boy, has she been
doing this.  I have been a big part of that. 

Her first published blog post in CreakyJoints was written by me.  BOL.  "A Tale of
21 Years," is her personal story of living with RA up until that point.  She also changed
how she was going to continue to live with this disease, due in a large part to a special
friend and fellow RA comrade, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy. 

She discovered by accident that he was wanting people to send in picture of their hands
for a collage, "Show Us Your Hands!"  She just happened to have hers on hand.  BOL
I am just so funny sometimes.  Anyway, so she submitted her picture and this was the
beginning of another wonderful journey of being involved with several great projects,
that we have shared with you in various blog posts. 

She also discovered that on the CreakyJoints Facebook page, that they were interested
in having people contact them, that deal with RA in the workplace.  She thought about
that one for a few days, as she was not quite sure she would do that.  Just imagine, if
she hadn't made that phone call 2 days later? 

One thing Brenda has discovered on these journeys, is that she is stronger or even more
capable than she ever thought possible.  There would not be this blog, if it hadn't been
for the fact that she had a brain tumor removed.  That is when she became creative.

I couldn't image life without Brenda and her fighting spirit and tenacity, that she
exhibits on a daily basis. 

Two weeks from today, she will be celebrating her 5th craniversary.  She has come
a long way on this journey and has discovered some great friends and also that when
times get tough or jealously sets in, some will scatter.  Your true friends will stick
by you, no matter what. 

I would not want Brenda to live her life, any other way.  Her Mom would be so
proud of her.  Here are just some highlights of the past 5 years. 

1)   Starting a blog and becoming a writer.

2)   Being featured in a book, by sharing her hands story in "Our Hands Can!"

3)   Working with the Global Healthy Living Foundation (aka) Creaky Joints with a
       special work advocacy day, commemorating her 11th anniversary of being on
       Enbrel, by doing a TV interview, newspaper interview and also being featured
       in a YouTube video highlighting that special event. 

4)   Becoming an editor.

5)   Working again with CreakyJoints and testifying for a bill at the ND State Capitol
       and end up with having it pass.

So you see, Brenda sure has had some great things happen in her life.  Make no mistake,
she goes through her rough patches as well. 

Another thing she has been doing this summer is participating in an online writing
memoir course, which she has enjoyed so much.  "Writing Your Life. Writing to
Heal."  She has made some wonderful connections through this experience and it
has been real therapy for her. 

This is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, until next time, wishing you hope and love. 


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tale of a Head Banging...Part II

Well, it's Trevor here, to share a recent tale of Brenda's life.  In fact, it was just
a week ago Sunday, that Brenda once again banged her head.  The first incident
was several years before her brain surgery, when she bumped it inside the fridge,
as she was looking for something.  This was long before I came along and you
can read all about that, in her previous blog post, "How It All Began."

This time she treated the situation much differently, as she ended up going to the
ER this time and not waiting. 

Again she was looking for something, but this time it was her cubic freezer.  She
didn't realize that the lid was not pushed all the way back and when she put her
head in, it whacked her pretty good right down the middle of her head, below where
the scars for her craniotomy are. 

It hurt quite a bit and she just thought, she would ice it and take Tylenol and see how
things were in the morning.  The next morning she went to work, but it really started
hurting, so she contacted her nurse, got a recording and left a message.

After lunch she had a message stating, that her doctor was out of the office and that she
should contact another doctor on call and make an appointment.  She decided to tough
it out for the remainder of the day.

She got home and did a few things and it was really getting bad now.  She decided to
maybe think about going to the ER and perhaps they would at least do a CT scan, to
make sure there was no brain bleed or something else going on.

She called her friend Nyla, and explained what had happened and she said she could
take her in.  This was around 5:30 p.m. on a Monday evening, so they both figured it
would be a long night, but more on that later.

She got to the ER filled out a paper and Nyla sat with her until she was called back,
which turned out to be a little after 6:00 p.m. 

She was taken to the nurses station where they asked her questions, etc.  One being
all of her surgeries.  She knows she forgot some, but she was there for a head injury,
so that is life.

She was taken back to a room, where she had to put on a gown.  At least she was told
how to wear it, so no guessing.

She was there for maybe less than an hour before the ER doctor came in.  She was
really nice and extended her hand towards Brenda and that impressed her right off.
She asked her questions about if she had blurred vision, was dizzy, did her neck hurt, did
she pass out, etc.  Everything was negative except, that she was starting to feel nauseous
and her head really hurt.  She rated it a 7 when she came in.

The doctor was pretty sure it was probably a mild concussion, but to be on the safe side
and knew Brenda probably wanted this too, a CT scan was ordered. 

So she waited not too long before a technician came in and took her to the imaging room.
She doesn't mind having these, because they are open and no feeling of being trapped in
a cone, etc. 

She got her results back in about 10 minutes, when the doctor came back again to report
all was well.  It was most likely a mild concussion with bruising, which would not show
up on a CT scan.

She was told to go home and rest probably, not to go to work the next day.  She ended up
taking the next 2 days off, as she was actually feeling worse on Wednesday and just
slept a lot.

She is doing much better and I know she did the right thing this time.  The first time as
you know, she did not go to the ER.  It was much later that her pain returned and a
brain tumor was found.  It was not related, but it was a wake up call and so was this
time also, to be more proactive.

She is really going to be much more careful when it comes to having to bend her head
and making sure, nothing will be banging it in the future.

Being a hard rock fan, songs were coming into Brenda's head all week. "Bang Your Head"
being at the top of the list. 

She also said at the ER, that her brain tumor friends would have her head, if she wouldn't
have had this checked out. 

The funny thing about this recovery time, was that her RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) was
fairly quiet.  I guess the body really does know what the weakest point is at any given
time.  Maybe, that is why Brenda was able to get more sleep. 

So here we are one week later and Brenda is doing much better head wise, but the RA
has once again kicked into full force. 

I saw how Brenda handled all of this like a trouper.  She came home Friday night from
work and just sobbed.  It had been quite the week. 

She also was dealing with her fridge not working and she was nervous about her Enbrel
being in there.  So her cousin was kind enough to store it for her, until she got that problem
solved.  She ended up getting a new fridge.  It is working out beautifully.

Her friend Nyla, really helped out a lot, by taking her to the ER and they kept in touch
several times while she was there, as she had to leave.

Brenda's whole experience at the ER was less than 3 hours.  That was pretty amazing,
considering the fact that they had car accidents come in and she was told when she
was taken to her room, that they would get to her as soon as possible. 

Nobody likes these things to happen.  They are called accidents and there were some
people that were really concerned and Brenda really appreciated that.

Until next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, wishing you all great JOY! 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Tale of Focusing

Hey folks, it's Trevor here once again, to share another inspiring tale of Brenda's
life. 

Before we go on I would like to congratulate her on 25 years of full time work, at
the clinic she is employed with.  This is truly inspiring, because Brenda has lived
with RA for 22 years and has managed to keep working full time, despite living
with this inflammatory disease. 

She even is treating herself to a beautiful piece of jewelry for the occasion.  I
can't wait to see it on her.  It is going to be quite flashy according to her report
to me. 

Now on to our tale.  These stories are always from true life experiences.  Last
Saturday afternoon she spent some time with her friend, Nyla and they had a
great time as always.  She enjoys being with her because not only is she a great
friend, but they always manage to have a laugh or two.  Just as a point of reference,
Nyla was also the one, in our tale about the lamp.  She said it would be alright to
mention her name, so we are.  I have met her and she is one cool lady.

So they went out to lunch and Nyla mentioned to Brenda that she had just purchased
some binoculars and needed help with adjusting them.  She was just sure that Brenda
would be able to help with this.  Well folks, this story really entails more than meets
the eye.  I crack myself up. 

Truth be told, Brenda really didn't know all that much about binoculars, but she was
willing to try to help her at least adjust them. 

So they got to her place and she showed them to Brenda.  They really were quite
a nice pair.  She basically got them, so she could watch the birds out in her back yard.
Kind of reminded me of Miss Jane Hathaway from that show The Beverly Hillbillies,
that I watch on MeTV.  She always liked to watch the birds and remember that outfit
she would wear? 

Anyway, so Brenda managed to get them adjusted somewhat.  Here is the funny part.
On with our tale.  They decided they should probably go back to the store where
she purchased them and get step by step instructions on how to use them.  So they
went and found a nice man who was kind enough to help them out.  She really
thought she had made a mistake by getting these as she just couldn't see anything
out of them.  The reason being, they were being held the wrong way.  The only
way you can properly focus on something is doing it the right way, same with
binoculars.  They all had a big laugh about it all. 

Now she was excited to use them and see some birds.  So they headed to the park,
after they first stopped to get a Starbucks.  What is it with you and your coffee?
Anyway, off to the park.  They didn't actually see any birds, but it was definitely
a lot more fun using the binoculars now.

It's a lot like that in life.  If we are not completely focused on what we are doing, things
will remain fuzzy and just not be that much fun.  It's only when we are willing to make
things better, which really begins with our attitude and our willingness to move forward,
than that is when things will change and become clearer.

Adjusting to changes in life can be hard.  Trust me folks, it only gets easier to focus,
if we are willing to fight and remain vigilant. 

We recently got another addition to our Golden family, which now makes 5.  His
name is Riley which means "Courageous"...look at this little guy and you will see
what I mean. 
                                                                               Riley

Brenda wrote a wonderful poem about courage.  Here is it and we will leave you with
it.  Until next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, asking you to focus on your
dreams and never give up! 

The Grey Badge of Courage
 
2 burr holes remain
as a constant reminder...
of the day
I became a brain tumor survivor.
 
My skull was drilled open
it’s been almost 5 years now...
with everything that’s happened,
all I can say is WOW!
 
My Grey Badge of Courage
has brought me some tears...
not really knowing it had been lurking
for all of those years.
 
20 years they said at least
that “Mini” was living...
rent free as a beast!
 
She may be gone, but
her memory remains...
my Grey Badge of Courage,
hurts when it rains...
 
06/08/2013
 
Brenda Kleinsasser
 

 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tale Of A Braggart

Hello, it's Trevor once again to share another tale, which I feel will be of
extreme interest.

As you know, this blog is based on situations or happenings in Brenda's life.
It is called Brenda's Brainstorm after all.  I was added later, to do my part with
telling her stories.

She recently was called a "Braggart." Webster's Dictionary defines braggart, "as
an offensively boastful person."  Brenda is anything but offensive.  She was also
told that if others don't think like she does, then everyone else is wrong.  Are you
kidding me?  She has never ever told one person how to live their life.  All she
wants you to do, is to try and make the best of what you have.  Is that so wrong?

She was also told that EVERYONE was sick and tired of her bragging, blogging,
and her fake stupid dogs.  Well the last comment really was an attack on her
personally.  I am a big part of her spreading awareness and hope.  I after all
have a job, being a Mascot for Christine's Kids.  A job I take very seriously. 

She was really blindsided by these comments, which she realizes came out of
anger and also jealousy.  She really started to doubt herself and so she asked
if these things were true?  She got so much support back from people, that it
was amazing.  I am thinking to myself, OMD, how can people be so cruel?

So we decided we would just run with this and turn it into a positive.  Apparently
being positive is also a bad thing in some people's eyes.

Brenda's life has really turned around in the past year in a really big way.  She is
what is known as a super advocate, along with all the others that recently joined
Seth's 50 State Network.  So we are going to be doing some bragging of our own
right in this blog post.  Check out this link, and if this is something you think you
could find yourself doing, by all means sign up.

http://www.ghlf.org/seths-50-state-network.php

She had her first conference call the other evening.  She told me it was inspiring to
hear so many people out there, that truly want to make a difference.  The call was
almost an hour.  She even got to speak briefly with one the ladies that was featured
with her in the book, "Our Hands Can!"  If you haven't already purchased one, this
is a great month to do it, with it being Arthritis Awareness Month.  Here is the link,
and you can actually preview before buying.  Brenda's story is on page 28.

http://www.showusyourhands.org/our-hands-can-photo-book/

So we thought, we would go one step further and explain why this blog post is so
important.  As advocates, we should be proud of what we are trying to convey and
let it spread like wildfire.  Excitement and positivity are 2 great things to see, when
you are working with someone.  She has experienced both on 2 very great occasions.

We have covered both in detail in previous blog posts, with her special advocacy
work day and also with her testifying at the ND State Capitol. 

So she wants to encourage you to find what it is you are passionate about
and go out there with everything you've got.  I even suggested we get buttons
made up for our campaign.  BB, no not Bugs Bunny!  "Braggart Brigade!"

After all, if we are not being bold and boastful about what we do, how can we
expect anyone else, to see that excitement or even want to jump on that train?

So when you really think about it, being a "Braggart" really isn't a bad thing
after all, now is it? 

This is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, until next time, encouraging you all to find
what you are passionate about and shout it out loud! 


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Tale Of Emotions

Hi, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here to share another inspiring tale of Brenda's
life. 

Today, makes 22 years since she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis or
RA, which we will refer to in this blog post.  It has been a long road, make that
a roller coaster, with ups and downs, as this disease pretty much has changed
her life significantly.  One thing she wants to tell you, is that living with RA
is a part of her life and not her entire life.

She is much more.  She likes to write, sing, do her computer projects at home
and even at work.  She enjoys a challenge and being able to figure something
out is huge, since she is also a brain tumor survivor.  We mention both of these
aspects, because it just happens to be Arthritis and Brain Tumor Awareness Month.

She considers this to be a double blessing.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  Brenda
has certainly turned her lemons into lemonade and has shared her profits with
others. 

This blog post is about emotions, something Brenda is keenly aware of having
lived with a chronic disease and also being a brain tumor survivor.  The emotions
of living with RA, when the pain gets so bad at times, that all you want to do is
curl up in a ball and cry your eyes out.  She also deals with emotions being a brain
tumor survivor, because of the location that her BT was, the right frontal lobe,
or has been referred to as the White House of the brain.  The high functioning
part where emotions can run wild at times and believe me, they do.

One of the ways she copes and deals with her emotions, is by writing.  She keeps
a journal, which has helped to be able to express how she feels and it is completely
private.  She also writes for pleasure and to spread inspiration and hope. 

Living with these 2 significant challenges, you certainly go back and forth with
emotions.  You can be laughing one minute and then see something so touching,
that it just causes you to burst into tears.  She experienced this once when she
was shopping.  A little girl got lost in the store and was crying for her mom.  She
started to cry too, because she felt empathy for the little girl.  It turned out well,
as they did end up locating her mom. 

Brenda has a passion and that is to help others.  She takes this very seriously and
when that is discounted, that really hurts.  How many times are you going to offer
your services, if they are not wanted or needed?  She has found where she fits in
and that truly seems to be in the arthritis community. 

CreakyJoints has really been a nice fit for her.  She started by writing blogs posts
and working with some great people.  She has enjoyed working with every single
person from there.  She is really happy to be part of a team.  She has been working
as an Editor for their Poet's Corner (and Artists Too), since the beginning of the
year.  She has really enjoyed this and has been told she is doing a great job.  There
is nothing more gratifying than to hear that. 

When she was diagnosed, she really thought her life was over as she knew it.  She
fought hard and continues to fight every day.  She found something almost 10 years
into living with RA, that truly changed her life.  Enbrel a biologic, has allowed her
to continue working full time.  Here is the link that describes what taking a biologic
has meant to her. 

   http://healthybiologics.org/stories/

She was thrilled that her story was featured.  She has had quite a year with sharing
her testimony, as that has been covered in recent blog posts. 

Another thing she loves to do is write poetry.  A gift she really believes was passed
down from her Mom.  Here is her most recent poem, along with a word cloud, she
also created on a sleepless night. 



                         Emotions Unplugged
 

                       Living with chronic pain,

                       What have I to gain?

 

                       Those feelings of fear,

                       knowing RA is always near.

                

                       Crying in the night,

                       well, that just isn’t right!

 

                       Anger takes over,

                       Where is my four-leaf clover?

 

                       Joy and laughter for the day,

                       helps to keep my pain at bay.

 

                       Empathy, true understanding from friends,

                       gives me hope, till this pain finally ends!

 

                       04/28/2013

                       Brenda Kleinsasser
 
We hope you have enjoyed this blog post.  Until next time, this is Trevor,
The Tell Tale Dog, wishing you all peace and understanding. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tale Of Breaking News

Hey it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here with a breaking news story.  Brenda
received some wonderful news today from Allen, the guy she testified with
at the ND State Capitol on March 11th. 

Senate Measure 2190 passed this week.  It was a team effort and they both
helped to get the job done. 

I am so proud of both of you for standing up and being bold on behalf of
others who take biologics.  This was all explained in our last tale. 

I am also proud of the state in which I live in for doing the right thing by this.

I am going to close by sharing Brenda's compelling testimony.  Now, she wants
you to do the same, if this legislation hits your state. 

                                                       This is Trevor signing off. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Legislative Tale

Hello, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here once again, to share a very exciting
story that recently took place.

I am very honored to share this because I actually got to meet the person she was
working with on this wonderful project.  Allen Todd, who is the Director of Patient
Education and Advocacy with the Global Healthy Living Foundation flew into Bismarck
last Sunday evening.  Now anyone who comes all this way and wants to meet me, well
that just makes me so doggone happy.  So I spent a few minutes with this fella who
really seemed quite okay in my book.  He at least said "Hello Trevor" like I was going to
say anything back....hahaha!

So backing up a bit here first. Seth Ginsberg who is the co-founder and President of
the Global Healthy Living Foundation aka CreakyJoints, contacted Brenda in January
to see if she would be interested in working with Allen on a project regarding her
taking a biologic? 

You see there is a Senate Bill 2190 where if you are taking a biololgic and if you
were somehow switched to a biosimilar, btw they are not out on the market yet, but
you and your doctor would need to be notified by the pharmacy.  This is just being
all put into place, so when the biosimilar is introduced, the patients safety will be at
the forefront.  It seems like common sense to me and I am a dog.

Brenda is very proud that her state of North Dakota wants to do the right thing with
this and thus, that is why she was asked if she would be willing to testify when this
bill hits the House.  Are you kidding?  You should have seen her excitement.  She
started to work on what she would be sharing with her testimony almost immediately. 

Well, she received word from Allen on Tuesday March 5th, that the hearing for the
Bill would be on March 11th, the following Monday and asked if she would be
available to testify?  Now, what do you think?  She asked for the day off and started
the ball rolling.

She really started working on her testimony now.  She sent in the first draft to Allen,
who said it was great.  He helped her put it all together and allowed her to share what
it was like before being put on a biologic and after. 

The one thing he suggested to her was that she practice reading this while looking into
a mirror.  Brenda understood how this would be beneficial, as she would do this while
she was practicing her solos.  The nice thing about this time though was, if she forgot
her words they were right in front of her.  Kind of a humorous story to share along
with that, but we will get to that a bit later.

So on Monday, March 11, 2013, Brenda testified in front of the ND House Human
Services Committee at the State Capitol Building.  Sounds so important now, doesn't
it?  She could just see her Dad beaming with pride.  He was Chief of Police and
this would have meant a lot to him.  Also her sister Bev, who was State Registrar
with the ND State Health Department, would have been proud as well. You see,
they are both gone.  Her Mom would have been so very proud of her little girl for
standing up there and doing what she did.

So the room where she testified was called Fort Union.  It was actually a pretty
small room, which made it less intimidating for Brenda. 

Allen and her had a chance to hear a few of the other testimonies first, so she
would understand how the whole process works.  She found it fascinating! 

Allen testified first as he also takes a biologic for his Type 1 Diabetes, insulin.
This is what was so great about his whole project, working with someone who
understands the ups and downs of living with a chronic disease, but still sees how
important it is, to continue living their lives.

She also wanted to testify on behalf of all of those who are taking a biologic for
various inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

She really saw an excitement in Allen and how he tackled it head on.  It was so
obvious to Brenda, that he truly loves his job.  That is contagious and makes it
all the more enjoyable to be involved in something like that.  I really wished I
could have been there too.

When Brenda got up to testify, she was not even a bit nervous.  She approached this
like getting up and singing a solo.  Now to our funny little glitch that occurred.  She
got through the first page and when she saw the second one, her first thought was, oh
Allen just changed something again, so she started to read, but it really sounded so
familiar.  The reason it did was because it was actually Allen's page and she quickly
turned around and he had another copy ready for her.  She apologized to the committee
and went on as if nothing happened. 

Brenda remembers getting louder and louder as she was reading.  She did the same
thing at her Mom's funeral, as she read her tribute there.  I think she does this, so
she does not start to lose her voice.  They did not ask her any questions after, but
several did come up to her and told her what a great job she did.  It was from a
patient's point of view, so they would obviously be able to relate.

It turns out that the committee chairman was from her neck of the woods, as we say
in North Dakota.  Allen took a picture of Brenda and Chairman Robin Weisz.
                                                     Brenda standing behind the podium

The whole experience was great for Brenda, as she will tell you, getting up
and telling your own story can really be empowering. 

She heard from Seth that day saying that she was the star of the show.  Now wasn't
that so sweet?

She also heard from Allen as he was heading home, that it was clear that she resonated
with the legislators, as she has a powerful story to tell.  You bet she does! 

Brenda's advice to anyone.  If you have a chance to share your story, I highly
encourage you to do so, as it can be so empowering!

She wants to again thank the Global Healthy Living Foundation for contacting her
to be involved in this great project.  Here is the link, so you can check them out.

 http://www.ghlf.org/

This is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, wishing you all good health! 




Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tale Of A Mascot

Hello there, I am Crumpet, Trevor's younger brother and the newest addition of
our Golden Trio.  I came to live with Brenda last October.  I have had a chance
to really settle in nicely on my soft quilt, that Brenda's Mom made for her when
she was a little girl.

Anyway, I am here to brag a little about my big brother Trevor, who recently became
a mascot for "Christine's Kids."  He is doing a really great job with it and still manages
to remain humble, while caring for Lil Biscuit my little sister, and myself while Brenda
is at work. 

Here is a photo of Trevor, wearing his "Christine's Kids" cap, that she so kindly sent
to Brenda and also he is wearing his awareness cape for RA, which Brenda has been
living with now for almost 22 years. I think he looks so dashing in this.  I am so
proud of my big brother.  He is really doing a lot of good for so many people.
He also continues to write his weekly inspirational messages on Facebook and
has added Messages Of Hope for "Christine's Kids" when they need them.

I have been keeping a close eye on Brenda, as she has been having some real
struggles lately.  The one thing I appreciate the most about Brenda, is that she
is not afraid to admit this.  She fights hard every day, as she also is a four-year
meningioma brain tumor survivor. 


  This is a photo of me that Brenda took with her new digital camera.  She is getting
  really good with using it.  Isn't that quilt just adorable? 

 Here is a picture of my little sister Lil Biscuit, who is content to sleep by me and
 really is a comfort.

  So as you can see, we are quite the family.  Three Goldens & a lovely lady named
  Brenda. 

  Brenda has been doing some great work herself.  She has been working as editor for the
  CreakyJoints Poet's Corner (and Artists Too).  She is really enjoying this and getting
  really organized and has great ideas, of how she wants this to be presented.  She has
  a real passion to help others and she is also working again with President and co-founder
  Seth Ginsberg and a new fella named Allen Todd from The Global Healthy Living
  Foundation.  Brenda worked with Seth last year and it was a day, she will never
  forget.  She was thrilled that they contacted her and wanted to work with her once
  again.  So you see, even though Brenda continues to live with RA, she sure doesn't
  let it stop her.

  I am so proud of both my big brother Trevor and Brenda, as they are both making a
  big impact in the arthritis world. 

  I hope you have enjoyed this tale and I want to thank Trevor, for allowing me to
  share.

  This is Crumpet signing off. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tale Of A Lamp

Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here with the first blog post of 2013.  It has already
started out quite great!  I was recently named the official Mascot for "Christine's
Kids."  These are children and teens who live with arthritis.  I will be there sharing
hope and encouraging these "Mighty Little Heroes" all of the way!  I was so
doggone proud to be asked and to help Brenda, continue her mission of spreading
awareness and hope.

Brenda has written some wonderful poetry.  One was for her special awareness
project for her birthday.  Her project was called, "Bones For My Birthday."  A
bone is a blessing and I helped with that by way of my weekly messages.  She
also wrote a beautiful poem for arthritis awareness, entitled 100 Shades Of Blue!
She also has a beautiful necklace that she took a picture of to share along with
the poem. 

It is still making the rounds and this is really gratifying for Brenda. 

Another poem she was asked to write for "Christine's Kids" was Mighty Little
Heroes and that is making the rounds as well.  There is an adorable picture of
me and all my friends along with the poem. 

Brenda bought herself a digital camera and has been using it for adding pictures
to her poetry.  I really think, it adds a lot and really tells a story.

Now for the purpose of this tale.  I got a little sidetracked, but just wanted to share
a bit of how our year has been so far and it is only January.

Last Sunday after her friend took her out to lunch for her birthday, they decided to
go shopping for a lamp. 

They got to the store looked at several.  Brenda had in mind that she wanted a tree
lamp, with at least 3 bulbs, so she could adjust them and use less or more, depending
on the situation.  Anyway, they got it home put it together got ready to plug it in and
one switch would not work.  So they took it apart, went back to the store and got a
new one.  Good thing, there was another one in stock. 

They were actually laughing about this the whole way back and home, thinking up
song titles about lamps and lights.  Some were "Give Me Oil In My Lamp" and of
course, "You Light Up My Life."  I missed all of this, as I was home taking care
of Lil Biscuit and Crumpet. 

The point is though, if one switch does not work on a lamp, it is incomplete, to do
its job of illuminating.  That is very true in our lives as well.  It is very hard to
experience joy and laughter, when there are those dark moments in our lives.

We need to keep striving to keep our lamps in good working order, so that we
can continue to shine our lights and be that beacon for someone else, who may
be struggling on their journey. 

Brenda already had an idea for this blog piece, when they decided to return the
lamp that was not working properly.

At the end of this post, we will be sharing a poem.  We hope you enjoy and until
next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, wishing you all the best! 


Mighty Little Heroes

There’s a great group of kids,
who battle every day,
while continuing to live,
with JA or RA!

I’m talking about “Christine’s Kids,”
who fight each day to cope.
Continue to inspire,
and offer so much hope!

Kids who live with dreams,
who will never give in.
Mighty Little Heroes,
who are all, in this to win!

12/25/2012

Brenda Kleinsasser