Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Sister, My Friend

Tuesday, May 25, 2010, I was on Facebook (imagine that!  ha.) and one of my college roommates/sorority sisters, April, posted on one of my sorority sister's, Dena's, page that she was praying for her and her family.
   My first thought......oh, no, what happened now?   
Dena and I are the same age.  We joined Delta Zeta the same year.  In college, I remember her having to mature pretty quickly.  Her dad was very sick.  She was very responsible!  I remember thinking many times how I could never handle what she was handling, and she handled it with so much grace.  
 Dena is very outgoing.  Very social.  Very FUN!  We always had a great time together!!
Dena is the type of friend that even if you don't talk to her often or see her for months, when you do see her it is like you never missed a beat.  Last year Joe and I were at the ENT in Searcy and I ran into her and her daughter.  She was trying to juggle holding Grace and finding all important insurance cards, and she says "Here Rae, can you hold her for a sec?  Grace, I promise you will be fine.  Rae loves kids!"  Grace looked at me like who in the world are you.  Dena and I just talked and talked.  I'm sure the other people in the waiting room thought we were crazy!
I quickly messaged April to see if everything was okay.  April quickly (Thanks, April!) wrote me back and told me that Dena had a brain tumor, was in the hospital in Little Rock, and would have surgery as soon as Thursday.  
Definitely not what I expected.
Dena has a 3 year-old daughter and a 4 month-old son.

She just had the chance to become a stay-at-home-mom.

What?  There must be some mistake.
I remembered her posting a few weeks ago that her husband had taken her to the hospital because she was having severe head and neck pain.  Then she posted that she was home and doing better.  
I never thought anything else about it.
On Tuesday, she posted on her Facebook:

I am doing good. Please continue all thoughts and prayers. I have a tumor on the right side of my brain. Hopefully they can shrink it and remove it by Thursday. Please just pray, pray, pray! Thank u for all of ur well wishes. Will post when I can. Christ is King and I believe in the power of prayer!

 On Wednesday, the day before her brain surgery, she posted:

Thanks so much for the thoughts and prayers! Surgery is after lunch this Thursday. All prayers are needed! Thanks so much! God is Good! All the time!

Go away brain tumor!

Wow!  What an awesome outlook!  She is so strong!

I am not a very patient person.....okay, so I admitted it.  It is hard for me to wait.  So I decided to do this post while I wait for an update.  Dena is still in surgery.  (She was when I started this post.  Now she is AWAKE!!)  I am refreshing my Facebook often waiting for updates.  It brings tears to my eyes how all of my DZ sisters are coming together praying for Dena.  Everyone asking for everyone else for prayers for Dena.  I've been out of college for 8 years.  We don't get to see each other often.  Some I haven't seen since college, but there is just something about that bond.  

I pray everything turns out the best it possibly can.  Please pray with me!

**UPDATE:  She is out of surgery.  Dena is awake! Dr. said it was a Medulloblastoma. Not the ideal tumor to have but Dena said "we'll deal with it." She may have to have radiation.

(I stole all of these pictures from her Facebook.)



Monday, May 24, 2010

Cruise 2010 Day 7

Our last sad!
It was another relaxing day at sea.
Joe at breakfast.
Me at breakfast.  I wasn't ready...
Okay, so of course this being the most eventful vacation........the last day couldn't not go without event.  At 11:00 a.m. there was a debarkation talk by Lenny, the Cruise Director, to let us know what was going to happen the next morning.  We were getting ready to go, and Joe noticed the crew running around like crazy on the top deck at the back of the boat.  They were stacking up all the deck chairs and moving them.  We heard people talking and found out their was a medical emergency and Coast Guard was coming by helicopter.  Joe loves that kind of stuff, so he stayed to watch while I went to the talk so we would know what to do to get off the ship.  We agreed to meet at the room when everything was over.  I left the camera with him.  During the talk, Lenny let everyone know that their was a medical emergency, so the Captain was not going to be able to come because we were picking up speed so we could meet the Coast Guard.  He said they were not sure yet if the Coast Guard was going to send a boat or helicopter.
As you can see, they sent the helicopter.  I went up to the 9th deck to look for Joe and saw a million people and said never mind.  I decided to go back to the room and pack and get stuff ready for the next morning.  I was in the room and heard the helicopter coming.  Then I almost fell over because the boat turned very sharp.  They made an announcement that they made that turn so that the wind was the right direction for the Coast Guard. 
They dropped a guy from the Coast Guard down.....
Then they dropped down a basket, loaded the lady in it, and took it back up.  Then they took the Coast Guard guy back up and took off quickly.  We were not too far from Louisiana, so I am sure that is where they took her.  Joe said a cruise staff member told him she had a massive heart attack and they could not handle her needs on the ship.  So scary!  Her family had to stay on the ship.  They did not get to go with her.  I can't imagine.
All of the people watching.

I got all of the clothes packed and everything organized during all of the excitement.
We were trying to take a picture, and it was so windy!  Attempt 1.
Attempt 2.
Attempt 3.
Attempt 4.  We gave up!  ha.
 Our view.
After everything calmed down I went swimming and laid out by the pool.
Joe took a nap.
Then we got ready for our last dinner.  This 2 person table is where we sat all week.
Here we are entering the Mississippi.
Joe at dinner.
Me at dinner.
Us at our last dinner.
These are the nice group of people that sat next to us.
While we were at dinner, we entered into the Mississippi.  Right before we entered the river, we saw dolphins playing in the wake of the ship.  There were probably 10 or 15 of them.
Entering into the river.
Joe's apple pie.
 This is Ilona and Miladen.  Miladen was our head waiter all week, and Ilona was our assistant waitress all week.  They were great!
The view from our balcony.  I saw cows.  They are hard to see in the picture, but I promise they are there.
The yucky water.
When we came back to our room, we found a sting ray.
Us in the wind.
We decided to go walking around, and found the miniature golf course.
We had a GREAT last day on the cruise.
The next morning we got up at 6.  We decided to take our own luggage off the get off hours earlier if you do this.  We were in our car in the parking garage at 7:15 and on our way home.  We got to Beebe at 3:30 p.m.  Not a bad drive.
It was an awesome trip.  A wonderful cruise.  I can't wait to go again!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cruise 2010 Day 6

Joe and I were pretty tired from all of our adventures, so we decided we would not set the alarm and just wake up on our own.  We woke up about 10, got ready, and went to breakfast.
Our view.
We had big plans for laying out on the deck all day!
The water slide.
 The view from our chairs.
The band.
Joe relaxing.
My sunburn was finally better, so I decided I could lay out without a shirt.
The hamburger bar where I got french fries every day.
Beautiful water.
I just couldn't stop taking pictures.
From our balcony.
The people sitting next to us at lunch saw dolphins!
Then we went to the marriage show.  It was so funny.  These 3 couples answered questions kind of like the newly wed show.  The couple on the left had been married for 5 days.  The couple in the middle had been married for 56 years.  The couple on the right were on their anniversary trip, and they had been married for 4 years.  They actually won the game.
This was the bar in the lobby.  He was Joe's favorite bar tender........he was good at opening those cans of diet coke and diet sprite and pouring them in his glass.  ha.  But really he was very efficient and didn't forget about Joe when he ordered his all important diet drinks.
 The lobby.
Joe took a nap, and I read my book.  I know..........if you know me pretty well that is kind of shocking.  I don't read much.  I read "I Will Carry You" by Angie Smith.  It is the story of her infant daughter, Audrey Caroline, who had conditions "incompatible with life".  I have read Angie's blog since before Audrey was born and before Angie was an author, and I really enjoy it. I actually finished the book.  It was awesome!  I highly recommend it!
Joe at our elegant night dinner.
Me and my fruit.
Joe's dinner.

Joe and his dessert-sugar free cheese cake.
Us at dinner.
Every night at dinner we had "show time" where the waiters and waitresses sing and dance.  It was pretty entertaining!
The stage before the show.  This one was my favorite.  It was called the Big Easy and it was a New Orleans based show preformed by the Carnival singers and dancers.
This is the pretty chandelier in the Rome Lounge.
When we got back to our room we found a pig!  And we found that our air conditioning wasn't working.....again!  We went to the late night comedy show in Club Rio and soon found out that it wasn't just our room this was the whole boat.  Of course the engineers were working on the problem.  When we got back to our room after the very HOT comedy show that we actually got seats for this time (only because Preston and Farren were leaving to go the the later Big Easy Show and gave us their seats.  Thanks guys!), we heard the announcement that the air was working but it would take 30 to 45 minutes for it to get the whole ship cooled off.  Just in time for bed.  I was a happy girl.  I was afraid it was going to take 24 hours like it did the last time.

It was a great, very relaxing day at sea!