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He Left For College On A High Note

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

He Left For College On A High Note               March 13, 2018

Today is a VERY exciting day! I have my first guest Blogger Anne Hill, and I am so excited for you all to read a piece of her story! If you would like to be a guest blogger, I would LOVE to have you, so please reach out to me! 😉

Heeeere’s Anne!

9th Wing~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Patty graciously asked me to be a guest on her blog, I sat down and immediately wrote a piece about people I admire (Patty being one of them) who choose to be kind, positive and giving despite having survived great loss, personal health challenges or the like. But then I found some Post-it notes behind the door of my youngest son’s room. He is a freshman in college, thousands of miles away, but at that moment he was in that room with me, smack dab in the middle of my heart.

Life hasn’t been easy for him. He has Albinism so he looks different. He’s been pointed at, stared at, laughed at, whispered at, and bullied. Worst of all, he was pushed into a urinal at school by five kids who claimed to be his friends. Those are just the ones I know about. When he was a baby I made a choice that I would smile at every single person who pointed at, stared at, laughed at or whispered at my boy. I’ll admit, sometimes it was a fake smile, but a smile nonetheless. Sometimes it gave people silent permission to ask questions, which gave me an opportunity to inform otherwise uninformed folks. Sometimes I would see the whispers stop and I’d get a smile back. Sometimes it was just me smiling and squeezing his little hand in mine a little bit harder — a love squeeze.

I’d like to share, in his words, what choosing positivity and kindness looks like. He wrote this a year ago and I couldn’t be more proud. “My name is Nick and I’m seventeen. I’m passionate about rock climbing, running, hiking and camping. I’m thiiiiis close to being an Eagle Scout. I also love working with kids! My part time job coaching the junior rock climbing team and working at a climbing gym gives me plenty of opportunities to do just that. In the summer I am a trail running counselor at a day camp which I love. I was diagnosed with Oculotaneous albinism when I was two months old. Affected individuals tend to have very fair skin and white hair. Oculotaneous albinism also reduces pigmentation of the iris and the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. For me this causes low vision, nystagmus (rapid, involuntary eye movements), and sensitivity to light. Since I spend as much time as possible outside, I wear 20 SPF sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and I’m good to go. One thing I’d like folks to know is that some people make the innocent mistake by calling me “albino.” I’m Nick, but I have albinism. Having albinism hasn’t defined me. Have I experienced stares, whispers and teasing because I look different? Totally. Has it hurt? For sure. I tried to be defensive, but that didn’t make me happy. I made the decision that I would always choose kindness, especially toward those people. I go out of my way to talk to them to show them I’m just as much as a human as they are. I’d smile and ask how they were – everyone loves to hear that. If it was met with rudeness, that’s fine. At least I tried. I’d like to think they went home that night and thought, “Man, why was I so rude to Nick? He’s such a nice dude.” I like to think because I have low vision, I see people with less judgment. I’d like to think I’d be that way anyway, but it’s definitely made it easier. It feels terrible to be judged, and I want to do my part in taking that part out of life. Showing people you care despite their inability to do the same is a learning experience for them. You can always be teaching someone something.”

The notes on the back of his door were a gift. As his mom, knowing that he has tools he uses to be kind, positive and giving despite having a difficult road at times, made me exhale a breath I didn’t know I was holding. I miss having his energy in this house every day. When we dropped him off this fall, he asked for some Post-it notes. I knew he used them to remind himself of important dates, tests or appointments. I hope he is using them like he did on the back of his door. Thinking about that makes my heart melt and tears run down my face — love tears.

Anne Hill



How beautiful was this? And are you crying happy tears? Thank you, thank you, thank you Anne! And readers, please let me know what you think!

Dream Big, Smile Often,

Love, Patty 🙂




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



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