Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Heather Von St. James shared a guest post a little while ago.  She has a new video about her journey through Mesothelioma and about her recovery.  Take a look:

Her positive attitude helped her through a difficult time.  Sometimes it's tough to keep that positiveness going, but inspiring women help us along.
You can read more about Heather on her site http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/

Thursday, May 16, 2013


The night spent in the hospital after my hysterectomy was the worst night of sleep I've ever had.  I had to pee SO BADLY and couldn't even come close!  I was so out of it and it was so difficult to even get to the restroom.  After several attempts of using the restroom to no avail, my bladder was so full that I felt like I was in labor.  For weeks to months after the procedure each time I used the restroom, it felt so painful.  Then after a month or so, it seemed easier and less painful.

Jump forward four or five months and then I started feeling that pain again!  I went to a urologist and he explained that it could be an infection, or it could be that my bladder is sagging due to an indirect effect of the hysterectomy.  After getting back to normal for a while, just last week...again, the same pain so I went to see the urologist again for a cycstoscopy to make sure that my bladder is structurally sound.

It was quite the experience.  It was amazing to watch the screen to be able to see inside of my own body!  The provider said that everything looked really good and that my bladder was in perfect condiion, except for visible infection.  I am so relieved that my bladder is not physically altered or effected by my prior hysterectomy.

So, I was given an antibiotic (feel much better, than you!) and an estrogen cream in hopes that consistent use of the cream will prevent future infection.  I was hessitant to use the estrogen cream, but the provider assured me that this is even more low dose than the low dose estrogen prescribed to me by Dr. Soisson, my onc gyn who performed my hysterectomy.  Dr. Soisson said that a low dose estrogen would be good for my heart health as well as help regulate my hormones.  I still haven't filled that script...worried that the estrogen can "feed" future cancers.  Just don't know what to do about that.

It's funny, every time I write about my health "issues", I feel like a little old lady.  In the Czech Republic when we would visit with people, it was the older people who were always talking about their health...their rheumatoid arthritis acting up when it was about to rain, or the other health problems they were having.  I don't really enjoy "complaining" about things, but I do want to document everything in case my girls go through any of these experiences in the future.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


This afternoon my darling little 3 year old woke up from her nap with tears full of such sadness and fear.  "My dream was so scary!  Me and James were there and you were there.  And you were on a bus and you went away and you left us!  I didn't want you to go, but you just left us alone..."  I kissed her sweet, wet little eyes and held her close.  I told her, "I love you Forever!  I will never leave you!"
Even as I spoke those words, fear tightened around my heart and doubt seeped into the back of my mind..."Can you really say those words to her?  Does she understand that you might not be able to take care of her Forever "here" while she's still a little girl?"  I spoke those words to her over and over through her sobs anyway...creating a tangible resolve that I could hope for.
Even though I am grown with my own family, and can "take care of myself", I miss her so much!
We held the funeral services for my mother this month.  For weeks, I knew I was to speak, but I couldn't bring myself to be so "final" and write down the words...hanging on to time.  I was so worried and hopeful that the services would honor her and reflect all that she meant to us.  Really, everything was so lovely and turned out so well.  Down to the yellow plumeria lei that my Dad had brought in from Hawaii and laid over her casket.  Her favorite scent when they visited where Dad is from.
Thanks to my mother's insistance on going ahead with my mastectomy despite her circumstances, I am now in the 3 month waiting period from the time of my last "fill" to when I can have the surgery to replace my expanders with implants.  Even at the end of her life, she encouraged me and gave me courage. 

These expanders are really so rigid, it makes me laugh more than anything, just how they do NOT move.  I don't really mind them, though.  I am nervous and hopeful that my breasts will look great with the implants.  I worry sometimes about how it's just a thin layer of skin over the implant and amazed that my nipples and skin can have enough blood flow to be healthy.  I am grateful for expert surgeons, who are not only proficient and skilled, but have shown kindness, understanding and compassion.  They are helping me fight for my life...To be able to keep that promise to my little girl.
Linda Ann (Wargel) Keliipaakaua
Linda Ann (Wargel) Keliipaakaua, our dearest wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend passed away at age 61 on March 27th after her fourth battle with cancer.
Linda was born in Evansville, Indiana as the third of seven children to Harold and Ermalinda Wargel.  She attended Mater De High School where she graduated in 1969.  From a young age, Linda loved to go on long walks and desired to travel and see the world.  She enlisted in the United States Air Force and played on the Women’s March Air Force Base and Strategic Air Command (SAC) Volleyball teams, where she met and married her coach and sweetheart, William Keliipaakaua.  After attending Brigham Young University together, they traveled the world with their family in conjunction with military assignments.  Linda devoted herself to raising their four children.  She worked endlessly to ensure that her family was cared for and that her children had opportunities to succeed at their goals.  She continued walking throughout her life as daily exercise and a meaningful way to share time with family.  Eventually, the family made southern Virginia their home.  Linda completed nursing school and worked at Eastern State Hospital, Mary Immaculate Hospital and then as an Operating Room (OR) nurse at Riverside Regional Medical Center.  Recently, Linda and Bill moved to Stansbury Park, Utah to be closer to their children and grandchildren.  Linda worked as an OR nurse at Mountain West Medical Center in Tooele, Utah.  She was truly a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and faithful daughter of Heavenly Father. Aloha oe, our beloved angel.
We are grateful for the professional and personal care provided by the physicians, nurses and staff in Virginia and Utah; most recently at the Intermountain Medical Center, Huntsman Cancer Institute and Harmony Home Health and Hospice.  We are so grateful to our loving and caring medical and Human Resources personnel and friends at Mountain West Medical Center; as well as to our neighbors and friends.
Linda is survived by her loving husband, Bill; her four children Lisa (Dan), Lorie (Jason), Leslie (Preston) and Adam; six grandchildren; mother, Ermalinda; siblings, Mary (Gordon), Donna (Barry), David (Carol), Ronnie, and Jim (Lisa).  She is preceded in death by her father, Harold; sister, Theresa; nephew, Craig; and infant granddaughter, Kayla.
A viewing will be held on ...Interment with military honors will be provided by the Hill Air Force Base and Tooele Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guards.  Linda (Veteran – U.S. Air Force) has always been grateful and proud of the service and sacrifices that our military personnel and their families render. 
In lieu of flowers, gifts and monetary donations, please share a walk with and express your love to your loved ones.  “To you, sweetheart,  Aloha until we meet again.  Aloha ‘oe, my kuuipo (sweetheart).”