I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and have lived here most of my life. I attended Brigham Young University in the early 60's initially studying Foreign Languages, with a major in French & Spanish and a minor in German. Somewhere along the way I decided to switch majors, and graduated in Nursing, a decision which I have never regretted.
I worked for a number of years in Internal Medicine, with a focus in Oncology and Infectious Disease before contracting viral meningitis from a leukemia patient I was caring for. Within several weeks of recovery from the initial meningitis, I began exibiting signs of neurological dysfunction.
Eventually the diagnosis of MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS was made. (Now ask me if I think there was a connection! And, no, I still don't regret working as a nurse).
For current information on the treatment and diagnostics available, as well as profiles of MS patients, visit:THE WORLD OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.
Two years ago (2011) I was diagnosed with another Auto-Immune disease called
Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid. It is very rare, with only 1 in 1,000,000 people acquiring this horrible disease. It causes the hyper-active immune system to go after any part of the body which has a mucous membrane, the most common being the mouth, throat and eyes. I had began to exhibit symptoms in my mouth several years prior to developing eye involvement. Unfortunately, the reddish-purple inflammation with blister was misdiagnosed by several dentists I went to for help. It wasn't until September of 2011 that I went to a dentist who had previously retired, but was forced to return to practice, that I was finally sent in the right direction. He was in his 70's and said, "What you have is not a dental condition, but a systemic problem which I have never seen before." Within 3 days I was at the Oregon Health Science University where a biopsy of an oral lesion showed the presence of an immune response. The returning diagnosis from the lab confirmed the suspected diagnosis of MMP. The past two years have be difficult with daily chemotherapy in an attempt to curtail the response of my hyper-immune systems mis-reading of my mucous membranes as foreign, and it's subsequent attempts to destroy them. This had been a truly horrific disease, but I know there are positive things I may learn from this trial...
With every trial we are called to face comes opportunities. A forced early retirement after my diagnosis of MS freed up my time so I was able to focus my energies on my family and Family History, obligations which I do not take lightly.
Other opportunities which I found upon retirement were those related to service. I have found that as we reach out to those around us, focusing less on ourselves, our own problems diminish...and solutions have a way of miraculously appearing. I have worked with youth for many years now, and one of the goals we try to impart is performing Random Acts of Kindness for others. It is wonderful to see young girls blossom as they reach out to those in need, in spite of the difficulties and adjustments that accompany the teenage years.
I lost my father when he was killed in Germany during the final days of WWII. Throughout my childhood I always felt an emptyness and loss which I never understood, because I was raised in a close family with a loving mother and a wonderful step-father. It wasn't until recently, after connecting up with AMERICAN WAR ORPHAN'S NETWORK and reading of other War Orphan's experiences that I realized that this was a common thread among us. In 1996 I went to the Netherlands to Margraten, Holland to the AMERICAN CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL to visit my father's gravesite. It was overwhelming to see the vast sea of white crosses that seemed to extend beyond the horizon...so many lives lost...and entwined within each of those lives is the far-reaching effects upon their families.
A noble heritage is one of our greatest treasures; and if we truly cherish that heritage, we must maintain those same virtues exemplified by our ancestors lives. Without a knowledge of those lives we lose forever that noble heritage. So, the work of gathering and sharing Family History becomes a personal responsibility.
Thoughts on Looking For the Good
The simple truth is that we find what we look for. Another truth is that you can find good in everyone if you will look for it.
By some distortion in human reasoning, many think that we can minimize our own shortcomings simply by magnifying the weaknesses of others. Far too often, we place a magnifying glass over the faults of others and close our eyes to their virtues. If we did the opposite...magnify virtues and diminish faults...we might discover greater joy and friendship. What we look for in others determines what we see.
Looking for the good is not enough. We need to refrain from speaking ill of others. Gossip consists in talebearing, in spreading scandal...in dealing personally with other people's affairs. Gossip is most often exaggerated and twisted as to give an unfair perspective; and in nearly every case the result is to discredit those under consideration. Gossip reveals what is in the heart of the person repeating it. A wise man once told me, "whether it is truth or not, if it is not uplifting it should not be repeated."
Thoughts on Honesty and Integrity
The other day I was reading the October 11, 2000 issue of the Wall Street Journal, p. 1, and it said:
"A little embroidery is par for the course in Presidential Politics. The fib, as history shows, is something politicians can't resist..."
"For years Presidents and presidential candidates have been telling big and little lies, misrepresenting their positions and putting together images of themselves bearing little relationship to reality."
To accept "fibbing" by our nation's top leaders is a frightening commentation on the changing fabric of our society. I recently saw a show on television about dishonesty and cheating among school-age children and young adults. They saw nothing wrong with cheating on tests, or lying. One young girl summed it up by saying: "Why not? There's nothing wrong with cheating or lying. Our leaders do it!"
A thought to ponder prior to the exercizing our voting privileges: "Unless a man is honest we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity"
Gifts From My My Secret Garden
Time seems not to move at all.
In truth, it is beckoning us on, bidding us hurry.
The years fly by.
What a collection of memories we are planting
In the Secret Gardens of our mind...
That magical place, untouched by the world
Where we can prune the damaged stalks
And pluck the thistles
which threaten to crowd the more tender shoots.
A place where we can fashion at our leisure
A wondrous bouquet of sweet memories.
This is my bouquet, which I give to you...
The best of my garden
Fashioned after a lifetime of careful tending.
Plant them among your own,
And, when your garden is full, pass them on to another
That it may become a perpetual Eden,
Bringing joy, laughter, respite from the world
And a hope for the future to all who enter...
(Dianne Elizabeth, 1999)
Graphics for this Web Site were obtained from: Fantasyland Graphics