Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Last great night before breast cancer

I was trying to remember the year as I was posting my profile and cover photos of Chris and I last night.  My cousin commented it was 2009.  It had never hit before, till that moment that.....

I had breast cancer. Just hadn't been diagnosed. This was one of absolutely, if not the, greatest, most fun, joyful nights I'd ever had-celebrating the wedding of a dear friend. That night I even tried to dance and learn faces with Peanut!  What fun she is!! (Not singing tho.  No singing.  Peanut wouldn't even be able to MAKE me.)

This month was my sixth year out.  Yay me!!!  Looking at these photos-this was truly all I said, a great, fun, joyful night and....the last of such......  Chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries have since wrecked havoc on my body, face, mine....on who Marnie or Marna or Marna Beth or Marn was before.

It saddens me.  But I believe part of healing is facing that, no, things are forever changed. They are.  But great, different moments, new types of moments, can take place.  Do. And will.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

One a my favorite Bible verses

"For I know of the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11.  One of my favorite verses.

It's helpful during times such as these. Through all matter what is or may to come.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Holiday can delay receiving diagnosis

"Easter could delay women receiving
Breast Cancer results."

Bless em in the below article.  My biopsy was a Wednesday.. I was told by doctors it would probably be Monday before I received results because of holiday and testing takes several days for results.  However there was a chance the results would be ready on Good Friday because biopsy was rushed so my "call" was in fact Good Friday.  No waiting for Monday. I well remember the stomach knot of thoughts of the possibilty of having to wait until Monday. News on Good Friday eliminated the fear and nervousness of the wait.

The article below speaks of ways to distract yourself over Easter weekend  with family, friends and chocolate.  Only Chris had I did not disclosed the seriousness of my biopsy. So I occupied myself with barn chores and playing with 7 ridiculously cute American Bulldog puppies.

I'll never forget the phone call from the social worker on that Good Friday, (which, bless her, I found a bit funny a few days later), delivering the positive results of breath cancer.

Neither will I forget the phone call I made from the barn to the arena asking Chris to come down to barn,  I had news to share.

Chris's customers and also students ride every Friday.  One of my closest, I feel, of these is  Cindy Backus.

Cindy was the only person riding that day. I've still no idea if Chris told Cindy.  Seems their lesson was shorter than normal. I don't know. Chris was teary eyed and quiet most of the afternoon.

I said, "Chris, go back to work. Cindy needs attention and it will take your mind off what horrible news I'd just given.  That was Good Friday 2010.  Praise be, although after effects from chemo and radiation will always plague me, God worked a mighty work through my doctors and treatment they designed.

Link to research article:Easter and holidays can delay results to patients

Friday, March 25, 2016

Six yrs ago

Its been 6 years.  Good Friday.  Six years ago today came the "call".....eek.  I had breast cancer......  it was surreal....

That evening and night were strange.  I don't remember Chris nor I really crying.  The only thing I remember?  After 20 years together we'd never colored Easter eggs.

We went out to eat with some family.  I think.  Or maybe I cooked?  Around 10 pm Chris said "I've got to run to Walmart.  Be back soon".

He came home around 11:30 with tons of egg coloring kits.  And eggs of course.

Now, neither he or I had really boiled eggs before.  He called and woke his precious momma who gave him instructions on boiling eggs.  She asked if we had vinegar.  No, lol, he didn't know we'd need that and I'd forgotten because coloring eggs during childhood was forever away in memories.

We made due with water and the eggs had a lil color to them.  The one's in plastic sleeves looked ok.  But just ok.

I don't remember sadness that night.  There was some sort of feeling I had with Chris which was far beyond anything I'd ever felt, even during dating when all feelings of young love are fresh and vivid and new.

I can't pull that feeling up.  But my mind recalls a whiff of something I wish could have been bottled.  A whiff of something pure and special which always fades with time.

Photos are a year and half after that Good Friday phone call---last of 12 rounds of Herceptin treatment.  The 6 rounds of chemo and the radiation had ended 6 months before so my hair was growing in!  Horrible chemo curls.  But thank you Lord, treatments over and journey back to health beginning!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Squeeze Bottle Taco Sauce

Funny to me....several, several years ago as Chris readied his taco I'd cooked he said after making a mess, "Ortega should make squeeze bottle taco sauce".

He then proceeded to read the back of the bottle for a suggestion/comment 1-800#.  He looked at it for a moment and said, "I'm going to call and tell them my idea".

After 30 minutes on the phone Chris felt very satisfied with himself. (Hmmm.....there's still no squeeze bottle.)

I was telling this at the office today, the I think it's a cute story, to Maggie as we ate buffalo chicken dip.

Maggie replied, "just think, when Aria is in her 20s and there's still NO squeeze taco sauce bottles she call tell her friends,  'my uncle called in the 90s and suggested to Ortega they needed squeeze bottle taco sauce'".

Friday, March 11, 2016


One thing that makes you smile about Chris's mom?  Her mailbox sums up her sweetness. Cuteness. Personality.

Zip ties to hold the mailbox to an old, rusty metal post with an H for "Hull".  Easter Lillies blooming beside.

The flag to let the mailman know there's mail to be picked up?  Broken.  In its place is an American flag which resides inside the mailbox until there's mail to be taken.  When there's mail the American flag is put in place of the mailbox "flag" telling the mailman "look inside. There's something for you in here".

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Life is paused -and going on at the same time.

RIP Nancy Reagan

Wow. What an amazing love they shared...

Best statement about one's love for another.

Friday, March 4, 2016

She bought me braces.....

*She bought me braces".

Probably the absolute,  sweetest thing I've ever heard.

As you know Chris has spent almost every night with his mom since last spring when she received her terminal cancer diagnosis.  About three weeks ago while Emma Lee was still walking well on her own she had a bout with her bowels.

When their parents grow old and adult children must clean them it's said "well, they changed my diapers, it's up to me to return the love."   Or something to that effect.

When Chris told of having to help his mom in the bathroom he didn't say that.  Chris said, "well she bought me braces".

Now some may only laugh at that, and so did I.  However there is something deeper to that expression.  To me it says my husband just isn't returning an obligation of appreciation for her care of him as a baby, but an appreciation of all his precious mother sacrificed over many years.

"She bought me braces....."

(Photo is from last June.  Chris drove to his mom's in the middle of a horse show to visit.  Then all the way back for rest of the work weekend.)