The People I Find: Child Abuse

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I met this young woman during my first year at college. We had so many opportunities to interact with one another. She has changed me for the better. She has the ability to change a crappy situation into a good one, and the ability to persevere. Her story is sad and inspiring. It is devastating that there are children out there being abused, but what is inspiring is there are those who are overcoming it. I have always admired this person and her ability to deal with adversity. I worked with her in many different settings, and was able to see her interact with kids. Her challenges have allowed her to be beacon of light to kids who are facing the same things. If you are experiencing abuse, I urge you to seek help!

Here is her Unknown Story:

I stared up into his face wondering if it would ever end. His hate filled eyes stared at me as I cowered on the floor. He yelled at me, calling me names. Over and over I felt the word bitch slap me across the face. I listened to his words pierce my soul as he told me how selfish I was. I cringed as he stated my husband would leave me because he would get sick of my selfishness. That he would come to him for safety. The tears started to flow as he accused me of never loving him. I could feel my eyes glaze over as I tried to pull myself away.

child abuse  My mind started to shut off piece by piece, and I felt the sweet relief of being numb. My thoughts became nothing as I waited for it to end. However, I felt something in me pull me off the ground. I heard my voice yell stop it. I felt my feet run down the flight of stairs to the basement. I heard him tearing after me. I felt my baby stroller hit me in the head, and I collapsed. Again I felt my feet stand, and my heart fill with hate as I stared at him. I yelled at him to stop, and that he didn’t want to do this. I watched the fire in his eyes extinguish, and the regret fill them. He stood up and walked away. I quietly hid in my room, finally feeling.

This was the first time I stood up to my father. I was twelve. I was the oldest of three kids, and I was abused by my father from a time that I can’t even place till I was eighteen years old.

I remember living in fear constantly. I can’t even remember how often the incidents occurred because I have blocked it out. After I stood up to my dad, I quit being numb. Instead I was constantly filled with hate. I watched him beat my sister as she remained helpless in a trapped seat belt on our way home from Disneyland. I heard my baby brother thrown into the bed at four months old because he was crying too much. All this time, my mom sat and watched on the sidelines. I wished and waited for my escape every day.

When I escaped to college, it was invigorating. I was able to make mistakes without feeling regret right after. However, this new sense of freedom led me to find acceptance. I looked for a man who would love me, and in turn was treated exactly the same as I had been treated at home. I wasn’t physically abused, but the manipulation and emotional abuse were very real during this relationship.

It took me a long time to find something that would make me feel whole. I grew up as a Latter Day Saint, but had a period of time during this toxic relationship where I became inactive. I decided to fix myself on my own. It took two years for me to be humbled to a point where I was willing to listen. The second I decided to listen, my life completely changed.

I was able to fill my life with service, and made healthy relationships with friends. I felt burden after burden be lifted as I turned to my Savior. I became a good person filled with hope. However, I never really addressed my problem. I had been brainwashed all my life that I was being a drama queen. That I didn’t understand what was really going on in my house. That we were never to tell anyone because then where would we be. I buried my issues deep in my heart. I let them rot in a place that nobody would ever find, and I unconsciously decided that I was okay with that. I considered myself healed because I never thought about it. It was forgotten.

When I met my husband, I realized how wrong I had been. I didn’t want to tell him what happened, but I realized that he would need to know. I don’t know how he knew, but he pulled it out of me. He asked me just the right questions to open up long locked doors. He released the pus as we like to say in our house. Clare also helped me substantially. She doesn’t realize or know, but I signed up for therapy because of her. She told me how great it was, and how much it helped her.

With the encouragement of my fiancé, I decided to go through with my decision for therapy. As we released the pus, there were many anxieties, habits, and worries that surfaced and clouded my mind that hadn’t done so for many years. I felt broken, and aware of how much I had let my hate rot. Going to therapy was the best decision I ever made. I was able to tell someone what had happened, and feel validated in my feelings. I also learned how to deal with my anxiety in a healthy way. Usually I shut down emotionally just like I did with my abuse, but these practices helped me to self-soothe.

Throughout all of this heartache remained my husband and God. My husband asked me to tell him everything that happened in therapy. He learned how to use each of my practices I was taught, and he used them on me constantly. He always led me in the right direction, and I can’t even count how many priesthood blessings he gave me. He latched onto the idea my therapist gave me of being honest with my family about my anxiety. He helped me in so many ways.

I also had God. I could feel Him supporting me every step of the way. Because of my abuse I have this unexplainable fear of pain. I even had a panic attack on my wedding night. Sex was very hard for me to get used too, and it really surprised me that my abuse was able to attack one of the most special and intimate things you can ever share with your spouse. Even when I had these panic attacks, I still felt God. I felt him lift my heart and soul. I knew He stood by me and sent angels to watch over me when I couldn’t handle the anxiety anymore.

I recommend therapy to anyone dealing with anxiety, abuse, or any other mental related issues. It helps you deal with your pain head on, and teaches you how to continue through your pain. My therapy gave me hope. It also gave me peace.

However, I know that my issues aren’t fully erased just because I have acknowledged them. I still deal with anxiety constantly, and it constantly worries me that my anxiety will be too much for my husband. However, he has never wavered. He still holds me when I’m hyperventilating, and he also helps me to turn to my Savior in my darkest moments. I can’t say that the hate is completely erased from my heart yet. I’m still healing, but as I said I have hope and believe that the hate will be replaced. This hope comes from God and His Son, it also comes from the most understanding partner a woman can have. With these three men on my side, I know I will make it.

 

(C)LVB-2014

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Invisalign brings results in time for wedding day

This is me and my story!!!

Lake Harbor Dental - Boise, Idaho

Every now and then, we have one of our patients share a great story with us. This is from Clare Vaterlaus Bird, who has been going to Lake Harbor for about eight years. We have done Invisalign for her brother and other work on family members. Thanks to Clare for sharing her story!

“A couple of years ago my top permanent retainer broke in half. After having braces for so long I decided I should get another one. I found a random orthodontist in Utah and he fixed me up to finish out my college years… Or so I thought… Months later my front tooth started to pop out. The retainer had pushed it out! I waited until I got back to Boise and asked Eric Ballou what I should do… We decided that Invisalign was the way to go. Just a few weeks later I got engaged and decided…

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Succor for Camping

wifelife greenWhen you get married you promise to love someone and support them. When I married Mr. Bird I promised him I would try out things he liked to do, and in return he would try out things I like to do. Well a few weeks ago, I fulfilled my promise.  As many of you know, I retired from hiking after my 50 mile hike through the White Cloud Mountains. It was a traumatic experience that left me rolling down a the mountain side, stuck and couldn’t get up because my pack was so heavy, and I was covered in scrapes and scratches from head to toe. In my mind, I fell gracefully… Everyone else, especially my brother who was filming it, suggested I was flailing helplessly like a turtle stuck on it’s back. After those “glory days” my fascination with the outdoors began to diminish. I pictured my future taking weekend vacations at spa’s, cabins, or even a full on hotel. There have been very few times I have pictured myself camping… However, when I said yes to Mr. Bird on our wedding day, I said yes to camping. It was about three weeks ago, when he approached me about camping. He said it would be fun, and he said there would be a bathroom. Only one of those things were true… As we drove to the Succor Creek camping ground in Oregon, it rained. It wasn’t the kind of rain that reassured you it will be gone in just a few minutes, but the kind that is obnoxiously obedient in following Mother Natures directions to “pour.” I was determined though to come out on top of camping just like Phyllis did, a housewife gone troop leader in Troop Beverly Hills (great film).  When we got to the campground we were stunned, it was full! It was like some R.V family reunion or redneck convention,  I am sure. I don’t know why so many people decided “Hey let’s go camping, it will be fun in the rain!” So we decided to continue searching for a place… We found one about 2 miles down the road. It was pretty, and green! I would say almost as green as Ireland, but I’ve never been. We pulled over and started to set up camp. One of the two promises Mr. Bird gave me was that there would be a bathroom. Well, that promise was broken… I became a wilderness survivor doing my “business” in the woods. It wasn’t the end of the world though. We set up my tent that I had received as a gift about 4 years ago and had never used. BUCKET LIST! Mr. Bird was a wonderful husband and began to dig a small trench around the tent so that water wouldn’t seep under the tent. The rain cleared up for a while and so we played some Spikeball, roasted smore’s, and then hit up our friends wifelife mountaincar tent and played phase ten with dice. It turned out to be a pleasant night! Mr. Bird and I retired to our tent, and that is when things took a turn for the worse (total Oregon Trail reference). It was freezing, I was in my down sleeping bag with a quilt and a husband and I was still cold. It was a long night on the cold hard ground, but it made me grateful for the bed I do have! The next morning we made breakfast burritos and then decided it was time to explore. Even though it included some mild hiking, it was fun. We were in such a beautiful place that it would have been a sin to not explore. We climbed to the top of the mountain side next to camp (okay, most people would say hill, but it’s my story). The view was breathtaking, and worth the little energy I exerted that reminded me how out of shape I am. After messing around for a while, we made it back to camp and headed back into civilization. I was exhausted, but I had fun. It was fun to see my husband in his element, to know with a surety we would survive the zombie apocalypse with his mad skills. Would I go camping again? Yes I would, I only had a few demands after that trip and they were a better sleeping pad and good weather. The sleeping pad has been purchased and we are planning to go next when it isn’t raining 🙂 Marriage has taught me to try new things and to step out of my comfort zone. It is important to share interests and with a positive attitude, I may have used some sarcasm in this post, but I did enjoy camping…and will enjoy it more when it’s warm.

 

(C)LVB-2014

The People I Find: Confidence

This week’s The People I Find is about one of my favorite people. Her name is Mekenzi and she is the life of the party. I had the opportunity to work with this girl last summer, and my life has not been the same since. Little did I know that she felt like this, because I looked up to her for her confidence. Kenzi is so caring, loving, and outgoing. There was never a dull moment with this woman and that one short summer we became great friends. Her story is one of inspiration and I LOVE it. I am so sick of seeing “It works” wraps, and diet pills… They may work, but they will never make you truly happy. Thank you Kenzi for taking the time to write this!

Mekenzi and Her Unknown Story

kenzi headshotSomeone once said “what feels like the end is often the beginning” this is my story of when I hit what felt like the end of my road but I later realized was the beginning of a life-changing experience that taught me how truly strong we are.

Diets, weight-loss pills, surgery, exercise, wraps, detoxes, these are a few of the many common things we seem to hear about in the health world these days in order to shed a few extra pounds and to look our best. The media is constantly spitting at us like leader-of-the-pack llamas who are trying to show others who is in charge or how things are or should be ran. However, from my observation it’s become an obsession and many people have been doing it in such a degrading way that it has often made me question if “I’m enough” or the right fit in this chaotic world we live in.

 

I cannot pinpoint a specific time in my life when or why it happened but all I know is I went from being extremely confident in who I was to internally forgetting who I was, and externally focusing on becoming some stereotypical girl the media told me that I needed to be. And you’d think that it would have caused me to turn to diet pills, wraps, etc. But it did the opposite. I hit a wall. It was a wall that I felt completely splattered on. With my feelings and emotions spread everywhere across the brick as if someone hit with me with a fly swatter. I stopped caring about my body. I would wear baggy clothes to hide my weight the best I could. And as much as I denied it, I began to eat my feelings. I stopped exercising and started moping about things that weren’t going my way in life. I lost sight of what mattered most and slipped into a mini-depression. I hated going out with friends and loathed dating. I felt as if I would get an automatic friend zone because I wasn’t the happy Kenzi that everyone knew. And I definitely wasn’t taking care of the happy Kenzi that everyone knew either.

The Realization
One day I woke up and it was as if I had been shocked by an electric fence with the strength to knock me to the ground. It hit me that things weren’t going to change unless I changed. I could no longer sit there and expect for all these things to happen for me in my life. Rather, I needed to use my resources and make things happen. And that’s where I started. I began in my kitchen and tossed out all of the “junk” food that made me feel awful inside and out. Then I brushed off my dusty tennis shoes and literally jogged around the block and came back and fell onto the grass thinking one of my lungs could be coughed up at any given moment. I walked up the stairs to my apartment (still out of breath) and drank a huge glass of water. Maybe even two. I ate a banana that night and felt so liberated. I wrote in my journal that night about how I executed the day with finesse, even though it was so small and slightly ridiculous. But it sparked something. It sparked the concept of small and simple things. And then great things began to happen for me.

I didn’t follow any diet or certain exercise routine. I didn’t exercise religiously every day or go off of carbs and sugar. But I did increase my water intake, eliminate some junk food, reduced my portion sizes, and was active every other day. Sometimes it would be the elliptical, walking on an incline on the treadmill, doing my own yoga, walking outside on our property, running 1.5+ miles, doing strength training, using my resistance bands, honestly I did what I want when I felt like it but I made sure I gave my body the time it needed to stress manage and to be active. And by choosing what I wanted to do, and the healthy things I wanted to eat, I found simple joy in the small changes. And before I knew it, after about a month, I saw my body transform.

I never was obsessive about the scale because I think it’s more important how you look and feel rather the number you read, but I began to see pounds shed. And between the time of November and January I lost 20+ pounds. When I stepped on the scale in January, I cried. I couldn’t believe that all those small changes that didn’t seem to be producing huge results truly did bring forth big results. It just took a lot of persistence and patience. And it was so worth it. I dropped two pant sizes and couldn’t believe how different I looked. And I learned to love myself again, regardless of my size. Because for me, it’s not about that. It’s about loving yourself for who you are and what you can become. And especially loving and taking pride in yourself for those small changes you make. It is such an important step in the process of having a happier and healthier life.

kenzi

Take pride in the small accomplishments each day, because those small things are going to end up producing big results. It is difficult to completely change your daily routine. Between eating, sleeping, and exercising, it isn’t easy to adopt a whole new lifestyle. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be an overnight change. I’ve always said “Rome wasn’t built in one day” I can guarantee that they built that empire then fell, and they probably had to reroute and try again. But eventually, Rome became history. And is now one of the most visited sites in the world. And it’s beautiful, even with some of it still being in ruins. Isn’t that an awesome concept though?! After so many years of hard work, sweat, tears, and I’m sure bloodshed, this immaculate place was built and it was because of people who stuck with it and didn’t quit or throw in the towel when the going got tough.

That is exactly how it is with exercise… If you are not congratulating yourself for your little accomplishments (Yes, even if it’s not eating an extra scoop of ice cream or drinking an extra 4 oz. of water) then you are going to find yourself very unhappy and not seeing any results. So start small. Even if you just start by eating an extra serving of fruit each day, or choose to walk to the grocery store rather than drive. And be patient with yourself and at the end of each day write down something you did well at that day in taking better care of your body. And if you incorporate exercise and healthy eating, along with a bounty of water, within 4 weeks you’ll begin to see your body transform. It may be subtle but it will be there. You will feel more confident and happy and you will begin to see your amazing potential. By 8 weeks friends and family will begin to notice your changes. And at about 12 weeks others will see the changes you’ve made and could be inspired to do the same thing!

Quit focusing on the “should be” and start taking control of the “could be”
What I mean by this is that we often get so sidetracked by who or what the world tells us to be that it consumes our time, our energy, our money, and all of our efforts. We can become easily frustrated because we haven’t yet reached the point of where we “should be” in our lives. And can I just add this isn’t just in regards to weight loss?! For me this includes dating, school, a mission, careers, the list goes on and on. I recently turned 23 and so many people keep telling me where or what I “should be” doing and how I “should be” married. For a long time I believed them and became so discouraged because I wasn’t at those phases yet (hence the weight gain) I was so hard on myself that I convinced myself that there was seriously wrong with me. One day it took my sweet mother consistently reminding me that I needed to quit worrying about the “should be’s” and take control of the “could be’s” it changed my mind and it changed my world.

kenzi bdayNow I am 23, wild and free (in a classy way of course!) living the way I want and feel the Lord wants me to live. I am figuring out what I love in life and pursuing that as a career path. I am taking control of what my body wants and needs and understanding that good things take time and that there is a time and season for everything. I recently underwent major surgery six weeks ago which has meant extremely strange eating patterns and little to no exercise. It has been tough, and I probably have gained a few extra pounds. But do you want to know a secret?! I’m not one bit worried about it. Because again, I am giving my body accurate time to heal. And when it’s ready, you better believe that Errtime by Nelly is going to be cued on my iPhone and I am going to do work till I’m a hot sweaty mess. And I’m fine with being patient. Because I have learned that it is the key to weight loss and health. Don’t forget to keep being patient with yourself, whether it’s health, school, dating, work, self-improvement, etc. This isn’t a competition to see who the world’s hottest bachelor/bachelorette is. That is so ABC TV. This is a time to become our best selves. And that doesn’t include fitting a specific mold that the media tells you to be. That includes the mold that God created you to be and it is far more powerful and beautiful than any plastic surgeon, diet pill, or wrap could turn you into. You have a divine potential and purpose but only YOU can fulfill it. Take control of what you can, live life to the fullest and enjoy the ride. Learn from the bad and the tough and use your recovery to drive you through when it hits again.

I have conquered my own-worst enemy, the toughest critic, and the me-monster and have re-discovered the beautiful and driven woman that I am who is endowed with power, light, and love and is capable of doing anything that I set my mind to. I love the woman I have become because I have fought so hard to become her. The journey is not over, for it has just begun but I am loving the ride even with the detours, pit-stops, and unexpected challenges. Because that is how life goes, and if we don’t choose to enjoy it now-in the moment, we will be waiting till we’ve reached our destination to realize how beautiful it truly is. And trust me, you don’t want to miss out on all that good stuff. Believe in yourself and believe that you can always change for the better. The power lies within you. What are you going to do today to be a better you?!

(C)LV-B2014

The Truffle Shuffle

Okay for Mother’s Day this year I thought I would try out my domesticity and make truffles for those who have had motherly influence over me. I haven’t ever made truffles, and the recipe I picked had ingredients that would potentially make me super ill. So I didn’t taste any, that makes me either super brave or dumb… I will go with both. While I was working away like a woman in the 50’s my husband went fishing. So I was left alone, and thank heavens. When I cook I stress my husband out. The reason? My kitchen turns into a hot mess. I have not made a meal or treat without spilling, dropping, or spraying something everywhere. So I turned my hip hop up high, and I did the truffle shuffle. Here is the simple recipe… Okay it’s not even a recipe, it’s like an infograph that I somewhat followed. truffles

Once I finished the truffles I left them in the freezer for a while and would assemble into boxes as I went. I rolled my truffles in coconut, cocoa, and sea salt. NOTE TO SELF, by big rock sea salt not the little stuff… It’s to deceiving for those who might eat. I handed them out, and people were astounded as to how good they were. I don’t know if they were more shocked that I had baked or that they were good. Overall a successful Mother’s Day gift! Don’t worry I made a video while cooking this time to give you a feel on what it’s likes to be in Clare’s Kitchen.

 


 

#ItWasMom

it was momMother’s Day is right around the corner. Mr. Bird and I were asked to give talks in church on this upcoming day and we both thought, well that’s easy, we will just talk about our mothers… Trying to sum up what a mother does would take more than the allotted 15 minutes. Mr. Bird and I invited our parents to come listen to us talk. My mother’s response was, “I will come if it’s not sappy.” If you know the Kri, that fits her personality perfect. So this is this year’s tribute to my mom. I am not going to make it sappy, I will just provide the cold hard facts. As a recent bride, some of my past times include looking through wedding photos (I know shallow). I came upon this one and thought, this is all because of one person, my mom.

Facts:

She found a worthy man, and she married him… in the Logan Temple

She supports her husband through thick and thin

She has given birth to 6 children without any epidurals all by the age of 30 ( I will most definitely be drugging up and spraying some Pam down there)

She drove each child back and forth to piano lessons weekly from the time we started kindergarten until we could drive in high school. Unless you decided to bite the piano teacher, then you didn’t have to go…

I can’t remember a day during my childhood when my mother didn’t stop what she was doing and read to me and my siblings. We still gather around and beg her to read to us during Christmas time.

Five of her Six kids served  LDS missions

4 1/2 have been married (Max is engaged)

She has 4 1/2 grand kids who are loved endlessly and spoiled

She taught us to get an education:

LauriAnn has her Bachelors and Masters in History

Mitch has a Bachelors, Masters, and his PHD in Family Studies

Emily has her Bachelors, Masters (RD) , and is working on her PHD in Dietetics

Alex has his Bachelors, and graduated with his Masters of accounting today

Me, well I have my Bachelors in Communication, with a Certificate in WGS

Max is working on his Bachelors in Economics

Since I can remember, she has always gotten up around 545am to go running

She ran the Boston Marathon

Sometimes she gets into a laughing fit and can’t stop…These are some of my favorite memories

She poured us orange juice every morning before school

She came and silently cheered me on through “boring” golf tournaments

She never has to call her kids, we always call her to catch up (some daily)… I think she ends up spending at least 3 hours a day on the phone with her kids.

She can make popcorn with her eyes closed

We did family scriptures and prayers every day

She has mastered the art of distraction and can still use it on her kids and we are all in our 20’s and up.

She is humble, doesn’t like fluff and to the point.

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in all the lands!

That’s a fact Jack…

The missing grand kids and my sister is having another girl in June 🙂

evers mad hayes

No One is a Failed Experiment

meanHow are children and teens supposed to stay away from Cyber-Bullying when there are so many adults doing it. Today I ran across a link from KTVB about a woman who had been arrested. I don’t care what she was arrested for, she did something wrong and the Boise Police Department are taking care of it. What drove me nuts were the responses on the post. I have never had a mug shot, but I am guessing it wouldn’t be the most flattering picture. I mean it’s not like they give you time to touch up your make up or comb your hair. In most cases you are probably not even sober (in this case) and usually being drunk is super attractive…not… Just because she doesn’t look like your normal housewife that surrounds us does not mean she is ugly. How do you decide what is pretty and what is ugly, or as someone said a “failed experiment.”  I can tell you none of us were an experiment and no one deserves to be called a failed experiment. No matter the mistakes we make in life, we are still human. We never know the behind the scenes of someone’s life. I don’t know if she has seen any of these comments or if she ever will, but I hope she doesn’t. The internet is not a place to share the thoughts that would be considered rude in person. Your words are hurtful. Maybe when her ordeal is over she will realize that she needs to fix some things in her life, let us lend her encouragement mean 2instead of hate. I ask you which one is more motivating? The next time you come to a post on the internet, whether it be a mug shot, the “ugliest” person in the world, or the high school skank, leave them a nice comment or no comment. A click can take a life, and the correlation of cyber-bullying and suicide is growing. Think before you click!

The Giver

The_Giver_CoverI have been on a book kick lately and there is no hiding it. After finishing Insurgent, I decided to hurry and read The Giver by Lois Lowry. It is a short and fast read that you won’t want to put down. I remember reading it once while I was in high school or junior high. All I could remember was that I LOVED it. My feelings were similar as I read through it this time, but I was much more enlightened. The first time I read The Giver, I was naive to the world. I had suffered very little pain, had few true friendships, and hadn’t experienced anything too hard. At that point it was just a dystopian book that kept me entertained. After reading it a second time 10 years later after graduating from college, serving a mission in New York, being married, having constant medical problems, and seeing loss it meant something different to me. As I read through it this time my mind considered the possibility of a world of consistency and complete similarity. It seems so perfect. A citizen knows for the most part what is going to happen at each age during their life, no surprises unless you’re the receiver. There is no war, no turmoil, no hate. It sounds like a dream world. As you delve deeper into the book though you realize what a “release” means. To the characters it means nothing but that the person was old or exhibited bad behavior and they received their punishment.  Unlike those people we know release means death, ceasing to exist. Death is not something humans tend to celebrate often. It is usually a sad event that changes our daily lives. Unlike those in The Giver, we can feel pain and remorse. This book made me think about life. Which would I choose? Would I rather live in a life that was controlled by others (they do cook all of the meals, that is nice) or would I want to feel things, the good and the bad. After suffering from an excruciating migraine this week, I pick the latter. It caused me pain to the point where everything was blurry, I had a fever, I was shaking, and throwing up. It reminded me how lucky I was to choose my husband who took such good care of me. Once the migraine began to subside, I remembered how good it feels when my head isn’t about to explode with a migraine. I wouldn’t know the difference if I lived in The Giver’s world, I wouldn’t be able to feel the relief take over my body and the normalcy of vision come back. I just can’t imagine a world in which I wouldn’t be unique, and wouldn’t be able to do what I want. I loved this book because it made me think. It’s reading level is low, but its meaning is not. I am excited for this movie to come out in August! What are your thoughts after reading this book?

 

(C)LV-B2014

The People I Find: Trevor

This week’s People I Find focuses on someone who has been a longtime friend of mine. I can distinctly remember the day I met him. We were at Riverglen Junior High and I saw him walking in the hall. When I saw him, I realized something very different about him. As others noticed the limp, or the hair, I noticed the survivor in him. Shortly after, we became friends. We both enjoyed golfing and so we would occasionally golf together, and he would always kick my butt. I soon learned that Trevor was a cancer survivor. We lost touch after graduation but I have been following him on Facebook, I know totally creepy. I was pleased to see that he taken something hard in his past and is using it for good. Trevor wrote a book and is helping to implement better laws for children’s health. I am so amazed at what he has accomplished and the good he is doing int he world.

trevorHere is Trevor’s Unknown Story:
Cancer, the word brings fear, panic and chaos to the majority of individuals who are unfortunate enough to cross paths with it.

My name is Trevor Schaefer. In November of 2002 at the age of 13 I heard three words no child ever wants to hear; “you have cancer”. My body went numb; like a news real, memories of my 13 years of existence began flashing before my eyes for what I was certain would be one of my last reflections. The only time I had ever heard the word cancer was when a well-known public figure was diagnosed with it. In most of those cases the patient died, so I automatically associated cancer with death. In fact, when the doctor told me the horrifying news the first words out of my mouth were; “Am I going to die?” The doctor didn’t really know how to respond; but would you if a frightened, innocent 13-year-old looked you in the eyes begging for reassurance that you could not honestly give?

The road to recovery was long and arduous. Following my eight-hour surgery to remove a golf ball sized tumor from the base of my brain I spent eight days recovering in the hospital. The first couple of days I spent in the intensive care unit. I could barely open my eyes. I had tubes running down my throat which made talking impossible. I was released from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving. For most kids the end of Thanksgiving marks the return to school. But for me, it marked the return to the hospital for the start of my cancer treatment. Radiation therapy left me bald, weak and pale. I felt like a mama bird feeding her young; every meal came right back up. Every day after treatment I hovered over the toilet, vomiting while my mom rubbed my back telling me everything was going to be okay.

During my visits to the hospital for chemotherapy treatment I saw many other children battling this bully we call cancer. Most of them were younger than me and had a more severe diagnosis and treatment regimen. I began to think if pediatric cancer the epidemic of the 21st century? In my research I found that 46 children a day are diagnosed with cancer in the United States, brain cancer being the second most common cancer in children. This alarming statistic made me question; “Why are so many children getting cancer?” This question bolstered my desire to want to help others and inspired the introduction of Senate Bill 50 (formerly S.76), the Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities from Disease Clusters Act, also known as Trevor’s Law. This bi-partisan bill was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID). Hopefully we can stop playing politics with children’s lives and bill S.50 will be enacted.

It has been over 10 years since my brain cancer diagnosis and I am proud to say I am a survivor. But winning this battle does not come without its consequences. I found that contrary to popular belief; once a cancer victim, always a cancer victim. There are late and long-term side effects from both the initial disease and from the cumulative aspects of curative treatment. The quality of life issues that young cancer patients will forever have to cope with range from interruption of school, low self-esteem, uncertainty about their future and some young patients struggle with concerns about dating and relationships with friends. I can relate to the aftermath of cancer; each morning I wake up with a distinct ringing in my ears which never fades, I have problems with my vision, my memory and I may never be able to have children of my own. How ironic that I fought so hard for my own life, yet now I may never be able to give life. Mental and emotional problems arise from cancer and treatment with symptoms similar to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through my cancer experience I have come to realize that children who have had cancer are brave warriors too. Although they have never set foot on a battlefield they are still casualties of war; their enemy, cancer.

My story of growth, battle with cancer and journey to the introduction of Trevor’s Law have been written about in a recently published book entitled “The Boy on the Lake” with the goal of sharing my experiences to provide inspiration, encouragement and motivation to others who face life-altering challenges.Rosser-BoyonLake CVR p7

 

 

 

 

 

Trevor Schaefer
Founder
Trevor’s Trek Foundation
trevor@trevorstrek.org

(C)LV-B2014

Insurgent

Insurgent_(book)Do you all remember in the Twilight series in book two (New Moon) when Bella goes all “emo” on us? How could you forget? Literally every other page was like “I hate life without Edward.” The entire time I read it, I wanted to say, grow up Bella, life goes on without boys even if he glitters in the sun. I felt similar feelings as I read Insurgent, the second of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, a young and talented author. Every other line was “I am fighting back tears,” or “I don’t want to live.” I totally understand that she was going through some hard things, I mean she did kill someone, she lost both of her parents, and her life was basically a hot mess. I don’t blame her for bringing on the water works, but I don’t want to read it every other sentence. I mean I probably would cry the whole time, but I don’t Instagram it because I know no one wants to know about it…Now that that rant is over, I thought this book was mediocre. I really enjoyed the first one (review here) and was so excited to read Insurgent. It had some good parts, don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed some of the plot twists. I would say read it to read it, but be prepared for a dramatic Tris. The only thing I can think to compare it to is one of those freeway car wrecks. When you can’t see why you are stuck in traffic you become very agitated. As your car slowly creeps up on the accident, prior to seeing the accident you are occupied with thoughts about the radio, the event you are late for, or how cute the boy in the next car is. When you finally see the wreck you can’t stop looking, almost to the point of rear ending the person in front of you. Once you have passed the wreck and continued on the way your mind begins to be filled with other things and you forget that you just sat in traffic for ever. I was agitated reading the book but I knew I needed to get through it to see what happened, but once I got through it I didn’t remember much. I say read it, but don’t expect too much! Let me know what you think.

You can buy it here