Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Very Personal Story about tragedy and triumphant in 2010

Today is the last day of the worst year of my life. I am sharing this story with the hopes of bringing inspiration, not despair.  This year I almost took my last breath on several occasions. July 2009, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.  It is a cancer normally affecting men in their 70s. I was 41. Essentially, your blood cells do not regenerate, and their growth decreases your ability to produce blood, which takes away your oxygen and your ability to breath. The only symptom I had was extreme fatigue for 1 week in June 2009. I thought it was diabetes, so I decided to go get a checkup. Voila, cancer!  It was pretty surreal, but I have never been afraid of death, so I think I took it fairly well. According to the oncologist, there wasn't a cure. I could get treatment, but it would just ease my pain. Life expectancy 3-5 years. He suggested chemo, but said that it wouldn't do much, but it might ease my pain. I declined. Why would I allow them to further poison my body, if it wasn't going to help me get better?  I wasn't particularly pleased with the negativity of my oncologist, so I did request a new one the next time I went to my primary doctor.
July 27, 2009  Getting my bone marrow biopsy to confirm the Multiple Myeloma. Don't I look happy?
I turned to an alternative doctor, who was great. His treatments worked well for a while.  He was able to help with my breathing issues.  But sometime in late April 2010 I took a turn for the worst. I had a leg pain that just wouldn't go away. It got so bad, I couldn't walk without excruciating pain. I had always taken walking for granted, but I was slowly losing my ability to do so. And breathing was becoming a challenge. I would wake in the middle of the night and have to go outside just to get some air. I eventually started sleeping in my car, parked in the driveway, because there was something about being outside that made breathing easier. This was the scariest time of all.  Like I said, I am not afraid of dying, but I discovered that I am afraid of not being able to breathe. Those are two totally different things. Trust me!

When I went back to my primary doctor, he discovered that my blood count had dropped to 5.9.  Normal is 12 for women and I think 13 for men. He couldn't believe that I was still able to walk around. He suggested I move forward with a blood transfusion with the new oncologist he was sending me to.  He sent me to a new oncologist, who I discovered was in the same office as the last jerk.  Not good.  Turns out he was more negative than the first oncologist and very condescending.  He was practically calling me stupid for not taking their wonderful chemo injections.  I started believing that they were going to be making some big money if I chose to get chemo. There was no compassion to be had anywhere.  I asked about the blood transfusion. He refused to sign off on it and suggested I get my primary doc to do it.  He and I both determined that he and I were not a good fit. I haven't seen him since. 

My primary doctor was dumbfounded that the oncologist wouldn't send me to have a blood transfusion. He gave me the necessary information to set up an appointment to have a blood transfusion.  I went to Eastside Medical Center, on my appointed day and time.  They checked me in and then asked for $2400, before they would proceed.  Turns out they were a private facility.  To this day, I still think the check in lady  read my insurance incorrectly.  Needless to say, I left there without blood.  I didn't have $2400 just sitting around, and at this point, it was about principal.  I immediately went to my doctor's office to get him to send me to Gwinnett Medical because they would at least bill me.  Well he couldn't do that. His only affiliation was with Eastside Medical Center. He wouldn't even come out to talk to me to offer any alternatives and I saw him just sitting in the back. The oncologists were the ones associated with Gwinnett Medical.

A couple weeks later, I was talking to a friend of mine who happened to be a family doctor in Gainesville, GA (an hour away from me).  He told me to come there and he would take care of me and introduce me to an oncologist.  I took him up on the offer even though I wasn't thrilled about driving an hour every time I needed to go to the doctor or hospital.  When he checked me out, my blood count had dropped to 2.6.  I was literally dying.  He immediately admitted me to the hospital for a blood transfusion.  Something my other primary doctor had not chosen to do.  While in the hospital the oncologist, came to see me.  He knew that I was not willing to accept chemo injections because my primary doctor had put it in my file. Since I was told by the other two idiots that there wasn't really anything that could help, I was extremely surprised when he talked about a pill called Revlimid, where there was a 70% chance of remission.  REMISSION!!! No one had ever mentioned that I could go into remission!  I was thrilled. Apparently this drug just kills off the bad cells without touching the good cells.  That meant that I wouldn't lose my hair or experience any of those other bad side effects that you have with chemo injections.  I left the hospital after 3 days (that is all I can handle) with a blood count of 7 after 4 pints of blood.  Keep in mind that 12 is normal.  But they really couldn't take me up much more.  I was thrilled with my two new doctors. They both seemed to really care.  I knew my friend had my best interest at heart.  He cared whether I lived or died.

A couple weeks later my friend, now my new Primary Doc, called to say one of my tests indicated that I might have water around my heart.  If so my heart was in jeopardy of stopping.  Uh oh.  Back I went to get an Echo gram. Turns out my heart was only functioning at 30% and I was diagnosed with Chronic Heart Failure.  I was admitted back into the hospital July 1st, 2010. My heart failure was a direct result of how hard my heart was working to pump the little bit of blood that I had in my system.  I told them they had 3 days to fix the problem because that is the longest I can stay in the hospital.  Day 3 they had me fixed enough to go home.  I left with more meds.  I had yet to start the Revlimid, but the wheels were in motion to get it approved by my insurance company.  At $10,000 a month for 21 pills, I wasn't at all sure that they would say yes.  But my oncologist assured me that if they didn't approve it, he would find someone to pay for it.

The heart meds kept me groggy.  On July 7th, the day before my 42nd birthday, I got up in the middle of the night to go get water. I felt a little strange but decided to proceed.  At the top of the stairs I went to take a step and fainted.  Luckily there were only about 8 steps, but the concrete tile at the bottom did not cushion my fall. I quickly awoke, but I had knocked out my front tooth crown and seriously damaged my other front tooth and the one next to it.  Facial trauma, that's what they called it.  I remembered smiling on the inside, because all of this was getting to be pretty comical to me.  What's next, I remember thinking.  Turns out I needed major dental work to the tune of about $2000. Apparently my dental insurance wasn't all I expected it to be. One of my front teeth needed to be pulled out and I would need to get bridge work. Once again, I didn't have the money.  And in the dental world, there is no such thing as "bill me".  They were able to put my crown back on temporarily, but they wanted me to get the infected tooth pulled immediately. The thought of walking around without a front tooth while I tried to raise $2000, was not appealing to me at all.  It could take me months or even a year to come up with that amount of extra money. I decided to keep my tooth in for the time being.  It was so loose, I felt like I could literally push it out with my tongue.  It was practically hanging out of my mouth. An amazing thing did happen though.  Over the next few months the tooth sort of went back into place and tightened up.

Back to the cancer and the heart failure.  The heart meds took away my appetite. I lost 35 lbs in about 6 weeks.  My new problem, keeping on weight. I had always longed for 0 body fat, and I had just that.  This would have been fine if I had needed to lose weight, but prior to getting sick, I had worked hard to get to my ideal weight, which was what I had put on my driver's license 10 years ago. And we all know that when I put it on my driver's license I wasn't there yet. So now to me I was 35 lbs underweight.  I dropped to a size 2 from a size 8.  So as you can imagine I was looking pretty hideous with my tooth hanging out my mouth and my new skeletal frame.

I have been through a lot.  I haven't even scratched the surface. There were nightsweats; nose bleeds; itching so bad I couldn't put water on my skin; headsores, eyebrow sores, panic attacks, etc. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention two months after my diagnosis, I was carjacked at gunpoint. Through it all, I kept smiling. People around me couldn't believe how happy I seemed to be. There were days when my smile and positive attitude pulled me through.

One day in mid August, I got enough energy to turn on the computer. I hadn't posted to my blog since 2/22/10. I hadn't made any new furniture. My etsy site was in limbo. I went to check to see how my 3 little videos were doing.  When I looked at my "Barbie and Baby" video, I was pleasantly surprised.  Last I remembered it had about 334 views after about 7 months of being posted.  Well it was now at 10,000!!! Yippee.  Well this inspired me to get out the bed and back into my studio and I haven't looked back since!  So for all of you who watched that video or any of my other videos, THANK YOU!

Update: I have not had to go back to the hospital. I was able to come off of most of my heart meds.  I've been on Revlimid for the past 5 months, with little to no side effects, and great results. My blood count did drop back down to 4.5 two months after my blood transfusion, but I was functioning at such a high level, the oncologist didn't admit me. Apparently my body had adjusted to my low blood count.  I am happy to say that my current blood count is 9.2, thanks to the Revlimid killing off all those bad cells. I am not in remission, but I am hopeful that I will be one of the 70%ers soon.  I can now walk and run, and my goal is to be back on the racquetball court within a couple of weeks. I've gained 16 of the 35lbs I lost and holding steady.

Guess what I got for Christmas? My two front teeth.  A miracle showed up three weeks ago.  It was a settlement check from a class action suit with Eastman Kodak, my former employer for 12 years.  My dental work ended up costing more because I had to get two teeth taken out and a larger bridge, but my settlement check was just enough to cover all the work.

The day I got diagnosed was the day I really started living. There was almost a sense of relief. I didn't have to focus on having enough money to retire at 65 or 67. I no longer had to worry about having good credit.  I could actually live each day to the fullest.  I was a work-a-holic before I was diagnosed.  I am still a work-a-holic, but I'm more focused on the things that matter to me. 

When I started putting my Living Trust/Will together, I realized something else.  I have a lot of stuff.  None of which I have any great attachment to except my dolls.  Who would I leave my doll collection to?  I have yet to come up with an answer to that question.  I have spent over 20 years collecting dolls and doll stuff that I like. A good deal of which is still in boxes. I now had to question this tactic. I realized 10 years ago that I would never sell my dolls.  So the thought of someone, or the state getting my dolls was kind of depressing.  So needless to say I have deboxed a few more dolls over the past couple of months.  I imagine more will be deboxed and enjoyed in 2011.  It no longer makes sense to me to spend  money on things I love and not really enjoy them.  It might still make sense if I had 20 more years, but I can't count on that.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how criminal our Health Insurance system is. Those people are high class criminals and belong in jail.  After being diagnosed, my insurance company dropped me, stating that I must have known something about this cancer and that I must have lied on my application.  Well they had to keep me because the doctors told them there was no way I would have known.  They are on another campaign to get rid of me as a client.  They have literally changed the terms of my insurance mid stream.  It is very scary that my life is in the hands of the insurance company.  This country is not designed to help the really sick.  You are almost left to your own devices.

In conclusion, as unrealistic as the above events may seem, they happened just as described.  I couldn't make that up if I tried.  I had no intention on making it such a long story, but each piece seemed important. From day 1, I followed my instincts at every turn. Declining chemo injections may have saved my life. Firing those first two oncologists and my primary doctor, may have saved my life.  All doctors are not created equal. If you don't have a good feeling about someone, get rid of them. I also took control of my treatment.  I was willing to ask questions.  If I didn't like the answer, I asked more questions.  Most important of all, I remained positive throughout.  I share my story with the hope of helping others.  Thanks.


  1. Wow Vanessa, all I have to say is praise God you're doing better. The other thing I wanted to say is, how wonderful it is to hear that you're doing well on Revlimid. Until September , 2007 I worked for Celgene in San Diego (where I still reside) for about 2 yrs until they laid us off. I worked in the customer service/risk management department. There wasn't a day that went by that I wasn't moved by someone's life story when they called in to take the patient survey. I'm glad that Revlimid is on the market and all in all Celgene is a really good company. I don't know if they still offer "free goods" I can't imagine they would do away with that program but it helps for those who's insurance doesn't cover the costs of the capsules. I pray that your insurance will continue to cover the costs but if you ever run into any problems, it's just an FYI that you may qualify for free goods.

    Thank you for sharing your story, you are a remarkable woman.

    God bless you and your family and Happy New Year.

  2. @ Afroindia619 It is such a small world! I can't believe you worked for Celgene. That's amazing. Thank God for Revlimid and Celgene. It is good to know about the potential "free goods". My oncologist is wonderful. He said that he could get it paid for if necessary. Thanks for you comment. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  3. Thanks for sharing your very personal journey. I too decided that I would never sell my dolls so I have always deboxed and played with them. I have a chronic debilitating disease and my dolls have been the best therapy. Happy New Year

  4. Happy New Year , Vanessa ! You look marvelous despite your illness.Your inspiring story give me hope for my DH who was diagnosed with several different cancers.
    I've told my DH about you and the Revlimid. We will be asking about that drug when we go back to the Oncology Center next week.
    We are so happy that you are doing so well. Thank for your sharing your story. It gives us hope too.

  5. Happy New Year 2011!
    May all your wishes come true!!
    Best wishes from Poland Gabi

  6. Dear Vanessa,

    May 2011 take you to peaks high above the valleys you had to crawl through in the past year! You have already gotten my year off to a phenomenal start because your videos, Etsy site, and blog posts inspired me to enjoy my own dolls more. I have six 2" X 3" shelving units with four shelves each so I have space for 24 different doll scenes, but in the past year I had only set up four. After seeing the wonderful things you were doing with your dolls, I spent the last week setting up scenes on the other 20 shelves. One of my New Year's resolutions is to start a doll blog so thanks to your example you will be seeing pictures and videos from me in the next year.

    Very Best Wishes!

  7. Oh Vanessa, I am so happy that you're okay and I pray that your health continues to get better. There are so many life lessons in your story, I wish the world could hear your story. We definitely need better health care in this country, in the world, we all need to fight for that whether we are sick or not because it only takes a second. Insurance companies only care about the money and once you need some of that money back they want to drop you. Keep fighting and stay strong and positive.

    I love your stories, I am glad they inspired you. Well you have inspired me Vanessa, thank you for sharing your story.

  8. Happy 2011! you are such an inspiration! keep smiling!!!
    God bless you

  9. Thank you for this story, it was not only inspiration but show that you have a fighting spirit, and not everyone has that. God bless!

  10. Vanessa, what a harrowing year you had. yet you kept smiling and didn't give up. I'm in awe of you. Too many people blindly follow what a doctor tells them, and you had the instincts, wisdom and courage to listen to your inner voice and say "That's not right, I'll find someone else".

    Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you good health, good doctors and a wonderful 2011, which you so richly deserve.


  11. Vanessa, you ROCK! no Seriously, you ROCK! When people ask the big questions "Why am I here", "What is my life for" they're usually rhetorical and they never bother answering them... they get distracted by the TV or the popcorn in the microwave. You've discovered what's important in life... that's more than most will ever accomplish. Stay positive girl and you look AMAZING! go on with your bad self!
    Huge hug going out to you from me,

    Johanna of Stinker's Stuff

  12. Vanessa, you are amazing! Seriously, there are no words to tell you how in awe I am of your strength and courage and just general kick-ass-ness! I'm so happy that things have worked out in such an awesome way and that you are feeling so much healthier now. And you are so, sooo right-- following your instincts is the only way to be. Not everyone "in charge" is nice, or smart, or worth listening to. Taking charge of your own life can be scary, but WOW! You are such an inspiration. Gotta second Johanna here, You totally rock!

    Hope 2011 is your best year yet! :)


  13. thankyou for sharing your story. it has help me too. may god keep you in his care. by doing this you are helping people. i belive in by helping one person that person all so help others and it become a change of people helping people. thankyou

  14. May God bless you and You are such an inspiration I cannot tell you how fabulous you are....I am going to keep you in my prayers each and every day....I am so happy to see you happy! I feel as if I have been touched by an Angel!
    Wishing you every happiness you so rightly deserve...Lisa Johnson

  15. Thank you for sharing your story! I pray that you continue to improve, and that you're one of the 70% very soon. Happy New Year to you!

  16. Thank you for sharing your story. I will pray that you recover...somehow I think you will! I used to have your positive outlook and perhaps after reading will help me get it back!

  17. Thanks for sharing your story. What a time you've had. And you have continued to produce your doll videos and inspiring posts AND shared them. Thanks for those, too.

    I hope and pray that your health improves.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story. It was definitely awe-inspiring! I wish you all the best in 2011 and the many more years to come, especially good health and happiness.

  19. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments and well wishes! Just know that every day I seem to be improving on one level or another. I have incredible joy in my life, especially as I continue working and playing with my dolls.

  20. Vanessa,
    It's 6:30 am and I'm sitting here in my bathrobe with a cup of tea, looking out my window at five or six feet of snow. A friend who's into miniatures sent me a link to your story. I just want to take a minute or two to tell you that you are an awesome, awesome woman. You have a great sense of humour and a native intelligence that enables you to see what's going on very accurately.

    You are one of life's little jewels.

  21. @ Sherry Thank you so much! A lot of people will hide their illness from others. I think we go through trials in order to enlighten and help others. I am glad that my humor hasn't left me. I really think it will help me beat the odds. Thanks again for reading my story.

  22. I don't know why I was looking around at your old posts but, I am so glad to find this! First off, God has truly had his hands in all of this; I think we just have to give credit to him first and foremost! Second, I a lot of people don’t speak up and the doctors do not like when you start talking back! When they are going back and forth with you, that’s means they are up to something!

    I will like to recommendation a pastor by the name Raul Ries who is just an excellent Bible teacher!

    This is true testimony and always give God thanks!

  23. EbonyNicole Thanks for reading my story. I truly believe that everything happens exactly the way it is supposed to. I think that is why I am able to smile even through the bad times. I know that God is right there with me, saying "Vanessa, trust me. This is all part of the plan." We are here to learn lessons and bless others. Experiencing a near death experience is one of the greatest blessings I think a person can have. I see the world in a different light. I am no longer afraid to take those risks to get to the next level. I no longer stress over the little things, or the big things for that matter. I never feared death before, but NOW I really don't fear it. There have been many blessings from my experience. All of which I am grateful to the Lord for. For the time that I have left here on earth, I will continue to bless others every way that I can, and to live every day to the fullest. God Bless!

  24. Your line about weights listed on the Driver's license was hilarious - they ought to just relabel it "Goal Weight".

    On a serious note, this is an amazing story and you are an amazing woman. I have been reading your blog for a few months and love your work and never had any idea anything was going on with you health-wise.

    You are truly an inspiration. Would you mind if I posted a link to this entry on Facebook?

  25. Kristl - I agree, it should say goal weight. LOL! My near death experience is what propelled me to do what I love, which is dolls. I have to live every day as though it is my last, so I make sure that I have fun every day. Please feel free to post a link. If my story can help someone to live a better life, then all that I went through is worth it.

  26. My mother has a doll collection and when she passes into God's hand I have already decided what to do with them. I believe love should be shared, so instead of selling them i am giving them to the women's shelter near my home. I will ask them to be given out one by one to women, boys, and girls who look like they need something to love.
    Your story is inspiring but to common with health care in America. I'm sorry as a citizen we choose not to solve this problem but instead choose to keep making money the primary objective.

  27. Anonymous - That is an awesome thing to do with your mom's collection. I'm sure that I will know what to do with my collection soon. For the time being, I am just enjoying it to the fullest. Yes, it's hard to believe that we live in this country and getting sick could mean death if you don't have good health insurance. And if you don't die, it could still mean bankruptcy, losing your home, etc. It's amazing to me that people fight so hard for the unborn, but could care less about the people that are here and need help.

  28. Vanessa your story helped me a lot---I have a chronic disabling disease and have also found great comfort in playing with my dolls.Like Robert Tonner I "believe in the power of play"

    Regarding Health Care----I hope everyone who reads this writes their Congresspeople,Senate and House to protest the gutting of Medicare and Medicaid currently in the Republican budget. The President's attempt at National Health Care has been turned into a profit bonanza for private Insurance companies also by this budget. Write,Write Write----and next election VOTE those big business lackeys out of office. Of course, they get Their healthcare free at the best hospitals in the country. The only weapon we normal people have is that there are more of us. So lets use that weapon and VOTE for people who support the things we need, like healthcare, maintenance of safe highways (I live in Minnesota) and used to drive to work on the part of 35 W that collapsed, and believe that the rich should pay their FAIR share and the Stock Market needs to be regulated. Big Government is not always a bad thing, what else can balance the power of Big Business.

  29. Lizabeth - Well said. I am glad that your dolls are bringing you some joy. My illness has kicked me into high gear in the play department. I am trying to fit it all. All the things I said I would get to one day, I am trying to get to them now. All the fabric I have, waiting to be sewn; all the patterns so neatly packed away; all the boxed dolls sitting on the shelf; I am on a mission to enjoy all the stuff that I have accumulated over the years. It can be tough living with a disease that normally ends in death and realizing with each new year, you wonder, how many are left. Could be daunting, but I am having soooo much fun now! If I had not been diagnosed with cancer, I am sure that I would still be living a life of "do what I have to do, just to pay the bills." Never mind if I was miserable doing it.

    As for the health care, it is a really scary thing. People don't understand what it feels like to need medicine to stay alive that costs $10,000 per month. To have your life completely in the hands of an insurance company that really doesn't want to pay, is frightening. I never knew medicine could cost so much. It is too easy for people, especially some of those in government, to stay in their little box and not care about others. And if I hear one more congress person say "The American people don't want a new health care plan", I think I will scream!

    I wish you all the best! And we'll keep fighting to those to do the right thing.

  30. Vanessa,

    For the past two days I have been feeling pretty down. Just feeling sorry for myself because I am severely obese, diabetic (and I have a score of some of the other middle-aged, "fat people" problems that grab hold of you), in debt up through the ends of my hair and I am barely 32 years old. Reading your story makes me feel ashamed. You've been through too much and you still have a million reasons to smile everyday. I am so glad I stopped by to read. There is so much I want to say but I don't have the space. God bless you and keep you. You are truly an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think I might pass this along to a co-worker who just found out this past Friday that she has breast cancer. I am sure that she can and will appreciate such an inspiration. Take care and I will be back soon. Lisa Jordan

  31. Lisa - I am so glad you stopped by. Trust me, it is easy to get depressed when things seem so bleak. There is nothing to be ashamed of. The beauty is, tomorrow is a new day, and you have the power to change whatever you think needs to be changed. All it takes is taking that first step in the direction you want to go. It is hard for me to believe that today I am so happy considering how close I was to dying last year. I know that my attitude has a lot to do with my current happy and healthier state. I found this great site,, that I would encourage you to visit. It is a great site for getting a handle on food, and health. As for the debt, don't let it steal your joy. Get a plan in place and work your plan. Stress is one of the number 1 causes of health related diseases. It's not worth it! You are in the prime of your life and the most important thing is figuring out what your purpose is, and what makes you ecstatically happy. That's not to say that you will be happy all the time, but you should wake up with joy in your heart on a regular basis. Otherwise, there's no reason to be here.

    Feel free to pass this on to your friend. Getting that diagnosis can be daunting because of the unknown. I wish both of you the absolute best. You can email me anytime at if you want to talk more.

  32. I read your story & God Bless you for standing your ground and taking control of your own life. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for sharing your wonderful doll stories. I LOVE THEM! You are very talented with these doll dioramas, photostories and videos. Thank you and may God continue to bless you. By Luvmydollz

  33. Luvmydollz - Thanks so much for your kind words. I am glad that you are enjoying my doll families. They bring me so much joy and keep me busy. I truly feel blessed to be here today and I am trying to take advantage of each and every moment. Please continue enjoying my stories. I have lots more in store. God Bless.

  34. Hi Vanessa,

    Believe it or not, this is the first time I read your story beyond the first paragraph. I saw the headlines of this blog the day or the day after it was originally posted but didn't have the courage to read it all.

    After reading today's second blog about the Barbie Can Be dolls, or whatever they are called, this blog was featured as a "You Might Also Like" blog, so I built up the courage to read it.

    I knew you were my hero for more than your creative passion for dolls and I've told you at least once (via the written word) that I admire you. Faced with your situation, many people would have given up, but you're a fighter, which is why I know you will overcome this. You will be one of the 70%ers. That is my prayer for you. I am glad that you took matters into your own hands and did not allow the original two Dr. Jerks, who are obviously not in the business to heal their patients, to convince you to take chemotherapy. Thank God for Dr. Friend.

    Keep fighting the battle and keep smiling in the process. Enjoy life as you are doing and take it one day at a time. Most of all, listen to your inner spirit and continue to take matters into your own hands because you love yourself and know what's best for you more than anyone else does.


  35. DBG - See it wasn't so bad. I'm glad you got up the courage to read it. My main purpose for sharing it is to inspire hope and also get more people to enjoy life, not just live it. Luckily I have always believed in the divine plan, and after the really difficult part was under control, I analyzed the whole chain of events. Once again I was in awe at how the person who saved my life, Dr. Friend, was put in place 4 years ago through an incredible chain of events. Over the years, I have always wondered why we met and why he was put in my life. It just wasn't normal that 2 single AA people would establish such an incredibly close friendship from the very start and maintain it for 4 years, without there EVER being anything romantic between us. I had also prayed for a way to do my dolls again full-time. My prayers were answered. I can't be upset at the way they were answered. I guess I should have been more specific. LOL! My life has been changed forever, but in a good way. Everyday that I wake up, I am excited to create, play, and live. There is no more pettiness in my life and when I hear people complaining or worrying about the insignificant things, I find myself thinking, "if you only knew who much this doesn't matter." I almost saw the end, and in the end none of that stuff matters.

    Thanks so much for your words of encouragement and your faith in me. I am doing my part to be amongst the living for as long as possible!

  36. wow...
    I am very humbled after reading your story. I think that your attitude and faith (if you answer to a higher Power) has also had a lot to do with your testimony.

    I just happened upon your story by chance, but I don't think that it was chance more than I think that it was a part of my destiny. I love inspiring stories of hope and faith through suffering. It has a profound affect on how I view my short time on this planet.

    I also believe that our health system is extremely corrupt. Anytime an agency can charge a person, to live, $$,$$$$ when that type of money is clearly next to impossible to raise if you are a middle class citizen, our health system and the governing bodies/officials are running a circus at the expense of those who need it most.

    So to you I say, Keep fighting and remain encouraged because you never know who you will inspire to make it through a difficult situation. Your heart is golden because your attitude is sublime.

    J. Rene

  37. J. Rene - Thanks for your encouraging words! I am doing very well these days. I am being very productive, finally doing the things that I had always put on the back burner. We always think we have more time than we really do. It has been a blessing for me to get focused on the important things in life. We really spend a lot of time on nonsense. When you have seen the end, it is a real wake up call. People who saw me at my lowest, a year ago, can't believe that I have recovered to the point I am at today. I just tell them, I've always believed in miracles. Now I just have to keep moving forward and making each day count. I try to encourage others to do the same. Thanks again for reading my story.

  38. Vanessa,

    I'm not sure how I ended up in here, but I'm sure there was a plan to it. I was Googling "Barbie baby" and your site came up. - I love your work by the way. - And somehow I ended up reading your story.

    Wow. Thank you. I love how you've delt with everything. I love your positivity.

    Wishing you all the best for the future.

    Yours sincerely,

    Charlotte from Denmark

  39. Charlotte - Thanks so much for your wonderful comments. I have to believe that God has a plan. He blessed me with so many talents that I can't start questioning him now. Sometimes I wish that everyone could experience a near-death experience. It is only then that most of us would really start living the lives we are supposed to. Thanks again for reading my story and commenting.

  40. Vanessa, je viens de lire cette tragédie d'histoir(si je peux le dire ainsi) C'est vraiment touchant.
    Et hélas de constater que les assurances pensent d'abord à leur argent et non à la vie humaine.

  41. Shasarigins - Grâce à la lecture de mon histoire. Je suis d'accord que la vie humaine prend une banquette arrière à faire de l'argent. ..

  42. you look pretty ad thats my old email

  43. You are an amazing person Vanessa. Bless you!

    1. Amy - Thank you! I appreciate you reading my story. That seems like a lifetime ago. At the moment, I am doing so well, I am on a break from all treatment. I'm trying to do all that I can to keep that going as long as possible.


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