Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Joy, I Don't Think So...

 A post today on Facebook really upset me. It was a prayer list from a church and the pastor said “so and so” is battling cancer with joy and trust in God. He went on to list three more that were battling cancer with joy and trust in God. While I totally agree that there is faith in God with cancer, I honestly cannot say there is joy.  I don’t believe there is joy in cancer period.

I immediately sent Jenn and Paz my outrage in a text message and they agreed. Then we began getting silly things with our messages but one that they each sent me stuck out and I want to share that with you:

JENN: It’s a misuse of the concept of joy. Joy is supposed to be unaffected by circumstances, yes, but you don’t see in in the Bible say “Mary and Martha were mourning the loss of Lazarus with joy.”

PAZ, then replied: “Upon finding Lazarus in his tomb, Jesus told the people
around him that they all needed to “let it go and let God.” Because Lazarus couldn't 
have more than he could handle.” So everyone have joy.

I really appreciated their viewpoint and how many times pastors abuse the word either by total stupidity of the use of the word joy or their lack of empathy to the real side of cancer and major illnesses. There is NOTHING nice about cancer, period!! Being the mom of a child with cancer I took great offence at this.

JOY, REJOICE or REJOICING:
1. a deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment
2. something causing such a feeling; a source of happiness
3. an outward show of pleasure or delight; rejoicing

When I was in high school we had a class that was a senior requirement called “Early Adulthood.” It was a hands-on class to teach you how to date, get married, get a job, live on a budget, etc. All the book knowledge and fake play acting one needed to be prepared for adult life and all the events that happened. Somehow I now think that class was lacking a few key points. Some topics I think need to be added:
1. My 20-year-old daughter has stage 4-blood cancer and how to survive
   6 month of chemo, while the world moves on…
2. How to live 33 days while your daughter is in ICU…
3. How to survive day to day after your daughter dies and the world doesn’t
    understand you now…
4. My husband had a heart attack and died and now I am left alone with my
    teenage son and how to survive
5. My husband has cancer now what do I do?...
6. My married daughter with 3 children has ovarian cancer and so many
   complications and how to survive over a year of surgeries and treatments…
7. I woke up to find our infant son dead in his crib, now what do I do?...
8. I had two children but my son-committed suicide and my daughter was
   killed in a car accident, am I still a mother?...
9. My son-in-law murdered my daughter and my 2 grandchildren and then
    blew up their house…


Each one of these things is true and happened in real life, the life that no one prepares you for, and there is no joy in any of them. The life that is fun and happy one minute and then can be crashing down around you the next. When I got married and had my babies I never dreamed somewhere down the road I would have a child with cancer and then have that child be in remission and still die from complications. I didn’t ask for any of this but yet I got a life makeover without my consent. No woman ever says, “I hope I get to be a grieving mother someday.” When you are planning your future and babies you never thing about what could happen 10, 20 even 50 years down the road to your babies. Regardless of age they are always your babies and there is no joy with them having cancer nor in their death.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I Am...

Lineage-(noun) lineage descent from an ancestor;
            2. The line of descendants if a particular ancestor; family
Descent-properties attributable to your ancestry; extraction, origin
            2. Ancestry, lineage-inherited properties shared with others of your
               bloodline

So my  “lineage relatives” feel that I had no right to know that my mother died. I had no right to be included in her obituary and basically that I don’t exist. I have news for them, all of them, I DO EXIST! To their shame, horror or whatever I am the secret they want swept under the rug and never mentioned again. If I am not mentioned then I don’t exist; the whole “out of sight, out of mind” sort of thinking.

Regardless of how they feel or what they think, I DO EXIST and I AM THE DAUGHTER OF JANE! I cannot change the fact that I am her daughter and she is my mother. It isn’t just my 5 half siblings that deny the fact I am Jane’s daughter but so do all the rest of my relatives on Jane’s side. So I thought I would share with you just how many people ignore or look the other way or deny that Jane ever had a baby before she was married.

I am the granddaughter of George Edward Betsinger and Fern Weisbard Betsinger Wood.

I am the niece of George Betsinger, who died in 1985, Nancy his wife.
I am the niece of Bonnie Betsinger Cleveland and her husband Bill (deceased)
I am the niece of Clinton (Butch) Betsinger and his wife Pricilla
I am the niece of Judy Betsinger Mahnke Rumsey and her current husband Glen
I am the niece of James, (Jim) Betsinger and his wife Julie

I am the cousin of Christine Betsinger, her brother Jay Betsinger (1969-1970),  and her sisters Shawna, Melanie and Janel.
I am the cousin of William (Bill) Cleveland
I am the cousin of Michelle Betsinger and her siblings Douglas and Randy
I am the cousin of Charles (Charlie) Mahnke (1972-2017) and his brothers Jason and Brian
I am the cousin of Jill Betsinger and her brother Joel.

I am the sister of Lonnie Becker
I am the sister of LuAnn Becker
I am the sister of Linell Becker
I am the sister of LeEllen Becker
I am the sister of Karla Becker
I am an aunt to my siblings’ children

This is a list of the people who seem to forget the simple process of DNA and genetics. Regardless of how they feel about me I AM THEIR RELATIVE and I will be till my dying day. I cannot change this fact. They can deny me in my mother’s obituary and refuse to accept me as a relative but the simple fact that my mother gave me life ends the argument.

Jane stayed in Iowa till August, then she was sent to live with an Aunt and Uncle in Colorado for the remainder of her pregnancy.  Dr. Waldon Kurtz first saw Jane on August 20th. My mother went into labor at 38 weeks gestation and I was born at 10:39pm on September 1st. The cord was wrapped around my neck once; I weighted 7lbs and 2 ½ oz. and was 20 ½ inches long. There were no other children and no other pregnancies, I was the first one.
A portion of my birth certificate-Baby Girl Betsinger!!!
I am the ghost that my siblings, especially my sisters have lived with all their lives. They told me when we were speaking, that they always wondered why when they watched a show where a birth mother was reunited with her baby, Jane would tell them that if they got pregnant they would never be giving away a baby. They wondered why she would get emotional and say that every time…simple, she had done it. I have been a part of their family from before they were born and they never knew what it was; well it was me. It was me that was always in the back of her mind and it was me she talked about last year when she nearly died. Despite what my lineage relatives think I have always been a part of my mother’s life from the moment I was conceived. Because if I was not in her heart, mind and thoughts then that makes her an evil, heartless woman and according to her children and her obituary that isn’t who Jane was…

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Death of My Mother...

BIOLOGICAL MOTHER: Biological mother for humans, as in other mammals, occurs when a pregnant female gestates a fertilized ovum, or egg. Gestation occurs in the woman’s uterus until the baby is sufficiently developed enough to be born and then the woman experiences labor and gives birth.

Mother noun
1.   A female parent
  Verb
1.   To care for; to protect
Motherhood noun
1.   The state of being a mother
Motherless adjective
1.   Having no mother
Motherly adjective
1.   Like a mother; or suitable to be a mother

Mothers are supposed to be faithful companions and confidants in the most difficult of circumstances that their children find themselves in. All their children not just some of their children. Most mothers dedicate their lives to caring and providing for their children both physically and emotionally. During the hardest trials and times of a child’s life they always look to return to the loving caring arms of a mother.

“A mother’s arms are more comforting that anyone else’s.”
~Princess Diana

My mother, Jane, and I had a very distant and non-existent relationship. During the most difficult time of my life, when my daughter, my child, my flesh and blood had cancer I turned to my mother for love and support. What I wanted was for her to fly out here and hug me, to support me and tell me everything would be okay. But that didn’t happen. NO, I never asked, but I should not have had to ask. My sisters emailed me and asked me not to leave mom out that she didn’t know what to do. So, that is understandable since we had a strained relationship. How could I expect her to fly to see a daughter she had never visited before and a sick granddaughter she didn’t know?

When Heather threw a blood clot to her brain, I thought that was the worst and most scary day of my life. When things calmed down I called my mother looking for comfort, love and encouragement. She was not home and I left my number; as of today nearly 3,214 days later I am still waiting for that call from my mother. Of course we became estranged again during my daughter, her granddaughter’s cancer treatments. However, when Heather was in ICU everything that happened in the past didn’t matter anymore. Heather, my mother’s granddaughter, was dying and still nothing. Jane, my mother, had a granddaughter die and she never called or attempted to come to her funeral. There is a statement that says you can miss a birthday or even a wedding, but no one misses a funeral. It is seen as socially unacceptable. To me, this was unacceptable on any and all levels of basic human nature and caring.

So why then when I learned on Wednesday, 15th that my mother died on Sunday, 12th was I shocked and brought to tears. No, no sibling called me, as I am sure they felt I had no right to know. Well, regardless of anything that happened Jane is, was and always will be my mother. Period, end of story. I was her first baby, the first one to grow inside her body. It is a proven fact that the baby’s DNA or genetic material remains with the mother inside her body for the rest of her life. I know that during my mother’s illness last year that she did talk about me. I know this may be a very hard fact for my siblings, especially my sisters, to understand but I was probably never, ever out of my mother’s thoughts.

With the death of my mother, my dreams of a foolish child of ever having a loving mother came to an end. For 51 years I have kept the na├»ve thought that maybe one day my mother and I could have a relationship. Well, one day is gone forever. My mother’s obituary did not mention me, her 3 additional granddaughters or 3 additional great granddaughters. It did not mention the fact that Heather, her granddaughter, preceded her in death. It was a list of all her good works and deeds in a boastful bragging manner and sang her praises as the most loving and caring mother and grandmother the world had even known. “She loved spending as much time as she could with her family, in particular, her grandchildren. Jane never missed an activity that her children and grandchildren were involved in.”

Except for fighting cancer and dying for her granddaughter, Heather, when she was nowhere to be found. Except for the endless hours of doctors appointments, hospitals, shots and chemo that I, her daughter, dealt with for 6 months and then the final 33 days in ICU, when she was nowhere to be found. My sisters think that I am far away from their thoughts as well, but I promise every time they see a bruise or a swollen lymph node they think of me and they think it could happen to them too.


During the last almost 8 years since my beautiful Heather died I have had no mother to comfort me, to hug me or allow me to cry with her. While I have had other people fill this role, it doesn’t excuse the longing for the woman who gave birth to me to hold me and shed tears that her granddaughter died. I am saddened by the death of my mother. For 51 years I have lived without a loving mother and now my sisters can share and live the rest of their lives without a loving mother as well.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Racing Towards the 10th Year...

April 10, 2008 my world changed forever. I heard the words " your daughter has stage 4 very aggressive cancer." It was roughly 4ish in the afternoon. This is the day cancer entered my world officially. While "I" was not the one with cancer, it could have been me since it was my child and my heart. I claim this day as the day cancer entered my world and changed me forever. No, chemo did not go thru my body and i did not get sick and lose my hair, but Heather did and I was there every single moment of this ordeal.

If you have been a peep for any amount of time you know that when a milestone anniversary comes along I have to "mark" it with something extraordinary. This upcoming 2018 10th anniversary of cancer is no different to me. (Again I did not have cancer but I will mark these dates)

In May, 2015, I ran a 10K at Disneyland and then went into the park for about 30,000 steps that day. Huge mistake and it sent me into a huge Fibromyalgia flare but it finally led to a diagnosis and medical help. This has taken me nearly 2 years to finally get back to "feeling" like me and have some energy. Stress is a huge flare inducer but I was predestined to have this and I blame my birth mother, cancer and Heather for dying.
Meeting up with Scott after 30 years...
I am making new lifestyle changes this year to get my cholesterol back in control and this includes diet and exercise. I have about 12 pounds I need to lose. For me I can workout and be effective but if I have something to work towards I do better. 
Starting corral very early in the morning

Stopping to take a photo in front of the castle
Until today I have been toying with the idea of running 2 half marathons in 2018 to mark the 10th anniversary of cancer. I wanted to do this to be able to get the "coast to coast" medal from Disney. This means I need to run a half marathon in Florida at WDW and one in California at Disneyland and of course there are lots of races to pick from, but I have chosen my two that I want to run for this milestone year.
Minnie's house and her cute mailbox
Heading into California Adventure Boardwalk
I chose the Princess Half Marathon at WDW for February 2018 because this is sponsored by the Children's Miracle Network and they support kids with cancer. I thought this was perfect on the Princess end and also the cancer end. Today, I got my final confirmation that this is meant to be for me to do. Next year, 2018, is the 10th anniversary of this race. So the 10th race year and 10th cancer year...it is perfect.
The medals to prove we DID IT!!!
The miles and stats
The Route
The next race will be the Disneyland Half in September. I am very pumped for this challenge and hope that everyone will support me and all my ups and down as I begin this next "crazy" idea. I am open for anyone who would like to join Bill and me as we run, walk and crawl to the finish line. It would be a great way to get in shape and have some Disney fun. Registration for the Princess half Marathon is May 2, 2017 for the race February 22-25, 2018. 
"If you dream a thing  more than once, it's sure to come true..."
~Aurora, Sleeping Beauty~