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I’m Seeing RED!

 

White Trash in a Mink Coat/Blog       By: Patty Collins-King

I’m Seeing RED!                                       February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Today I’m seeing red—and pink and hearts and cherubs and chocolate and flowers and… I could go on and on and on. It’s pretty and sweet, but it’s also Ash Wednesday, so that got me to thinking. Oh dear. 🙂

When I was young—oh so young, I always felt like Valentine’s Day was just for couples. I believe that was all about advertising and merchandising but it absolutely drove me nuts! I don’t think there should be a Holiday that leaves anyone out, so I’m glad that now it seems like this day is just all about love! For everybody!

I have however seen RED through a lens of hurt, anger, sorrow, disappointment—you name it—and I just bet at some point you possibly have seen it too. 🙁

8th Wing~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back when I was going through breast can-sur, I was blessed to have so many people ask about me and my family, and if or what they could do for us, so I created a Big C email list so that we could tell everyone who wanted to be on the list what was happening all at the same time.

Back in February of 2011, right around Valentine’s Day, this was the update I sent out. Some of you may remember these.

Note: I really wish I could add all the emoticons. It would make it that much more colorful, so if anyone knows how to do that with wordpress please-give me a Holler!

Hey Everyone,

Ugh…….unfortunately I’m still kicking. 🙁  Just kidding. Chemo…3 down, 3 to go. (On a side note—I only did 4—my choice). April will not come soon enough for the King family. Still wearing heels to chemo in defiance, still practicing hanging myself with my scarves, and p.s. God gave us eyelashes for a reason…I feel like I live at the beach but without the perks. 🙁

Most of you know Daddy has been really sick and is still in UVA, but he is on the upswing from some major infection that they couldn’t find. I wish they could roll me up beside him in a bed and wave a magic wand, but we know that’s not how it works! As always, we are so grateful for the prayers for our family! We do appreciate them so much!

Much love and prayers back to your families! Patty 🙂

When I was diagnosed, I had a neighbor and friend who gave me a huge box of positive and inspirational thoughts and Bible verses. A few days after I sent the Big C update I pulled out this quote.

“Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” Ruth Ann Schabacker.

Daddy moved to rehab shortly after I pulled out that quote one morning, and as some of you know, I don’t believe in coincidence! I am however—sooo much older now—and I do believe that when I use to let myself get so mad sometimes that I truly felt like I was seeing RED, well, it was just a waste of time and very ‘unproductive’ as my momma used to say.

I don’t know if I’ll give up anything for Lent or if I’ll add something, but I do know that I’m gonna try real hard NOT to get so angry anymore that I’m seeing RED—except—in hearts, and candy and flowers and balloons. Oh, and in cherubs. I love those little things don’t you? And I just bet that if I concentrate, I can visualize their little arrows shooting straight thru the heart with love—just pure love! 😀

Dream Big, Smile Often,

Love, Patty 🙂

Dancing Backwards In High Heels

White Trash in a Mink Coat/Blog       By: Patty Collins-King

Dancing Backwards In High Heels           January 19, 2018

                   FullDance

 

Happy New Year!!!

2017 ended with a beautiful wedding and we gained a beautiful daughter-in-law!!! FullDance is a video of me and my son dancing at his wedding. I have been organizing and purging like a crazy women and I ran across a page of positive thoughts that I wrote down. I really tried to read them each day after chemo to feel better and stay positive. It usually didn’t work in making me feel better physically, but hopefully my mind soaked up some positivity. Here is just one of them.

“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.” Emory Austin

In my mind I keep changing the word song to dance. Especially since I’m still on a high from not One but Two weddings!

7th Wing~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We had two weddings back then too! The first wedding I went to, my hair was about 2 inches long and my dress was a little baggy, but I had just purchased some major kick ass heels because I was going to dance! And I did! And as I danced I think I felt my soul crack just a little, and heal just a little, and I thanked God that I was there, and I prayed right then and there that it was true. That the can-sur would not come back. After all, I had my husband in front of me, and my son and daughter beside me laughing at their dad, while I was yelling ‘sweetie, don’t touch the band instruments!’—I like to follow the rules sometimes. Our kids and their young friends, who we love dearly, were dancing all around us and it was pure joy!

The second wedding my hair was still about 2 inches long—sigh—but my dress was a little tighter and I had another kick ass pair of heels. (DSW can be a girl’s best friend). We spoke about can-sur with two other couples who had family members fighting it. We said we would pray and pray hard—and we would—but the band started playing so it was time to dance! We exited the reception with the two other couples and we were still just happily dancing to our vehicles and we were all laughing, and we surely must have all been thinking that right now life is good, and we will try and remember it forever, because right this moment, we can laugh and we can dance! We can sing too, and I think maybe that can sometimes be our prayer! 😀

 

Dream Big, Smile Often,

Love, Patty 🙂

Birthday Smirthday

White Trash in a Mink Coat/Blog     By: Patty Collins-King

Birthday Smirthday                                          November 13, 2017

Of course I love my birthday–NOW—mainly because I’m upright. But I did go through a time when I dreaded my birthday but not because of my age. I dreaded my birthday because that is the day that I missed momma the most. She was the first to call. She was excited. She was glad that I was born! Daddy was too, even though he always called me the day before. That’s when he took momma to the hospital and as soon as I would say hello, he’d say, “I just thought about it and I’m a day early! 🙂 I didn’t really care. I was just excited that I got the call!

6th Wing~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have had a few birthdays come without the delight of cake and ice cream. Like when 52 rolled around I was diagnosed. When 53 rolled around I was communicating with an oncologist at UNC, asking if she would take my triple negative breast can-sur case. She was reportedly making big news in the field of TNBC. 54—I don’t remember. Chemo does that, however I did know that I was alive—so there’s that! 🙁 And of course momma never saw past 50—and there’s that too!

The other years tumbled on and in between those, I did get to relish in planning a 50th birthday party for my husband. I was a woman on a mission! Especially since he is two and a half years younger than me, and isn’t that the best time to tell him he is old too? Seriously! 🙂

There has been a constant, usually during my birthday week, and even when life was bringing me down, it was always like a gift. A huge gift! The Country Music Awards! I love country music—you’ll hear me say that a million times—but every year the ceremony continued for MY BIRTHDAY! Yes. MY BIRTHDAY! The fire was always laid. The wine was always open—well, that didn’t happen on some of those years— But, the candles were always burning and the volume was always on 50!

I feel grateful, joy and you-go-girl this month and I don’t feel old. I feel blessed that if nothing happens I will hit 7 years can-sur free on Thanksgiving Day. Woot-Woot! This November I also hit 59 and as my sister so eloquently put it, “…to the last of the roaring 50’s!” So I think I’ll go out like a lion. Age is hard. Life is hard. But year after year we somehow manage to find the good, the strength we need, the blessings! I think this year I’m gonna glance in the mirror—Smile—And enjoy the patterns of life on my face before I put on my favorite camo pajamas. And then I’m going to light that candle, pour that glass of wine, sit in front of that TV and feel my age. Young! Oh so very Young and Upright!!!

I hope you country music fans joined me in watching the awards, and I also hope our voices were heard singing all around the world!!! If you’re not a country music fan, pick another song and sing! Just sing until all is right in your world! 🙂

Dream Big, Smile Often,

Love, Patty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night Keepers

White Trash in a Mink Coat/Blog     By: Patty Collins-King

The Night Keepers                                            October 13, 2017

It is so good to be alive in the fall and the once dreaded month of October is once again appreciated! I see colors now instead of death. I smell a fire instead of thinking I might be going towards that big one called hell. 🙁  And the coffee smells a little stronger when the air is a little crisper, don’t you think?

I used to be afraid of the dark. After momma was killed, I think a more accurate word would be petrified! I’ve gotten better about it and I can attribute some of that to a book my counselor told me to read by Barbara Brown Taylor called, Learning to Walk in the Dark. It’s a good read even if you aren’t afraid of the dark. I really wish I’d have known about that book when dealing with my crazy imagination and what-ifs with momma and can-sur! However, you can still walk through our house at night and you’d probably think it was daytime, but I just say hey, at this age, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious and take extra measures not to fall! 🙂

5th Wing~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Exhaustion made me sleep fitfully when dealing with the trauma of momma’s rape and murder and dream the most dreadful things that I never thought could possibly go through my mind consciously or unconsciously but, I have never—until can-sur—lay awake so alert! Nights are sooooo long when they give you an infusion and at the same time jack you up on steroids. That’s what I think but other survivors have said that they came home and slept like the dead. I however, am a medical mystery. If the doc says you’ll be sleepy, I get all jacked up. If the doc says you might be on edge, I doze.

Our animals, who I sometimes refer to as the helpless spirits that hold us together, know something is terribly wrong with that outline of a human that gives us treats! We rescued Izzy—aka—Sweet Kitty, which is/was a huge joke because she is/was not very nice, except to me. She’s gone now but my husband would run the other way when I trimmed her nails and she would growl! I kid you not. She would growl like a dog! I thought she came close to biting me or taking a whack at my face with her claws a few times but she didn’t dare. Sweet Kitty loved me and I learned this even more when I lay awake at nights after my surgery and treatments. I swear that cat had a calendar! Izzy was not allowed on the furniture so when we left the house we would put her in her boudoir—aka—the mud room. She would retreat to her boudoir even on her own; like when the dogs got rowdy. She had absolutely no tolerance for rough housing and nonsense!

When my family brought me home from the hospital, it was like we could sense Izzy creeping into the room before we could see her. She hopped up onto the nightstand and hunkered down on all fours to watch me. I knew she was there, and I also knew that Sweet Kitty gave everyone in the room the evil eye so that they wouldn’t make her move. However, they would not have been inclined to do so, because I think they were secretly afraid of what her next move might be. And so as I went in-an-out, I caught glimpses of Izzy. She would purr, lean over and smell my hair and place her paw very lightly on my forehead like she was checking for a fever. We were never quite sure of Sweet Kitty’s age when we rescued her, and we thought many times that ‘this is it’ for Izzy but, low and behold she would bounce back and claim one of her seven lives. I vaguely remember looking at her and wondering if I will be able to bounce back and get to at least reclaim part of mine. She looks at my husband and meow’s and it sounds like mawwwma. He scratches her head and leaves her alone and I think we both find peace in knowing that she will be one of our overnight watch guards.

While Izzy seems calm on her perch looking down, the dogs seem fretful. Grayce, the Old English sheepdog, whines and prances around the bedroom, and then gets in her bed and lies very still with her eyes open until they become too heavy. She is confused but most people know that Old English Sheepdogs are not the brightest breed, just the sweetest! Kallie, our rescue from the pound—she’s gone now too—sits in her bed staring at me and then carefully gets out and comes over to sniff and nudge my hand. She returns to her bed for a while but eventually gets up and repeats this ritual at least ten times throughout the night. As my family dozes off and on from exhaustion, Izzy is my steadfast keeper and she is by far the most calm and patient one. I feel her presence and I am not afraid of the dark! Of course I was heavily drugged—and that may have helped a little—but I think our three furry friends give my family a respite from them taking their eyes off of me and being afraid to leave me alone.

I want my life to be like Sweet Kitty. I want to sit quietly and be patient. I want to put my claws out only in self-defense. I want to know my friends and know my enemies and treat each, accordingly. I want to be the night keeper when I am needed.

Yes! I want my life to be like Sweet Kitty—rescue me and I will help save you!

And of course…I want to break the Rules!!! 🙂

Dream Big, Smile Often,

Love, Patty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Jessica Comes to the Rescue

White Trash in a Mink Coat/Blog     By: Patty Collins-King

Baby Jessica Comes to the Rescue                  September 13, 2017

I use to love this time of year, and then I use to hate this time of year, and now I am starting to love this time of year again! I know it’s only September, but right after momma was killed in October, September seemed like a month that would whisper ‘It’s Coming!’ The dreaded anniversary of October 18th. Then later, ‘It’s Coming!’ the dreaded anniversary of your can-sur diagnosis. It took years until I could find all of the beauty in the fall again after momma, but I’m happy to say that I bounced back easier after my October news, refusing to let the bad in life take so much of the good. Yes! I did that—BUT it has not been easy!

4th Wing~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Before momma was killed on Sunday the 18, 1987, there was a tragedy happening in Texas that our family followed closely on the news and I remember praying very hard every time there was an update. (I should have been praying more but with a 5 month and 22 month old I didn’t know if I was coming or going half of the time.) I do however distinctly remember fretting something awful over Baby Jessica! She had fallen down the well on Wednesday the 14th, and even though she was rescued on Friday the 16th,   with everyone being extremely excited by this news, the ‘could haves’ about her rescue really got to me. And then… Sunday morning would unfortunately come with our dreaded family news!

The following Wednesday a black limo comes to retrieve us to take the drive to Churchville. We are going to lay momma to rest before the church service in Harrisonburg. To my knowledge, and according to my grandmothers’ comments, we are the only ones in our generation since the 1900’s that have had NO open casket and had the burial before the funeral. Tongues were waggin’ you can be sure of that, but we only heard bits and pieces since we got it second hand, so we let it go. The National Guard are lining our driveway because the murderer is still at large and I am amazed that they would take on this responsibility. I am also afraid for them but secretly wish that some of them were going to follow us on the 40 minute drive to the country that will take longer because of our slow speed. And I know that speed is somehow linked to disrespect, but I long for the ride to be over, and I press hard on the floorboard of the limo with my high heel to try and make some headway. I did NOT however, need to worry about the National Guard following us because the FBI peeps were at the cemetery undercover. Gulp!

Walking down the isle at the church service while hanging onto my husbands’ arm a quick thought flashes thru my mind of me walking down the same isle hanging onto daddy’s arm three years prior on our wedding day. It’s hard for me to get my breath and the preacher’s voice seems as though he is miles away. I am hearing him tell us that today the devil is winning but, that God has the last say, and I know that it is true but I cannot form the timeline in my head. I stare at the red carpet and the gold organ pipes and I contrast that the bright and shiny objects on a happy wedding day take on the feel of a gigantic tomb on the day of a funeral.

Everyone is invited back to our home after the funeral for food. People trickle out and once the house is emptied, except for us—our broken family—the news comes on and low and behold there is a timeline and an in-depth story on Baby Jessica! It was not only a good news-prayers answered story; it was a glimmer of hope even though bad things and good things were all swirling around at the same time. We stared at the TV. And I think we probably had more questions than answers but it didn’t matter…we were mesmerized by Baby Jessica and her will to survive! This was written on   Baby Jessica Biography.com

In the meantime, rescue workers pumped oxygen into the well and attempted to maintain constant communication with Baby Jessica, who moaned, wailed and for a while even sang nursery rhymes to pass the time. “After listening to her for so long, I could tell her moods,” a detective on the scene recalled. “At one point she was singing. At another point, when a jackhammer started up, she didn’t say any words but used kind of a huffy little voice. You could tell it was an angry voice. I would say 80 percent of the time she was either crying or making some kind of noise we could hear. When we weren’t calling words of encouragement, we’d tell her to sing for us. I’ll never forget her singing ‘Winnie the Pooh.'”

So I say thank you and SING on Baby Jessica!!! You were a glimmer of hope when so many of us felt that we had none.

Dream Big, Smile Often,

Love, Patty