My Story--Part 1-- Background  

Juliet610 52F
802 posts
4/11/2006 9:00 pm

Last Read:
6/2/2006 11:43 pm

My Story--Part 1-- Background

Recently there have been several posts on very difficult topics. Understandably, the authors of these posts are having trouble coping with the circumstances, and we as the Blog community wonder how they will fare. This is a pretty long Blog--even by my standards--so I have slpit it into two parts.

In an effort to offer hope that tragedies are survivable, I share my story. I am NOT looking for sympathy. I am simply trying to offer a ray of hope that as awful as these situations are, given sufficient support and enough time, we can survive, grow, and maybe triumph.

With that as background, travel back in time with me, please.

It’s the spring of 1983, and I’m a senior in high school. I’ve been dating the same guy for nearly three years, and we have plans to marry after we finish college. He has an academic scholarship to USC, and I’m planning to go to Cal State, Northridge. My plans changed over spring break when I realized I was pregnant and due in late November.

Ryan and I discussed our options, and decided the best thing was for us to get married as soon as I turned 18. Ryan would go to school as planned, and I would delay going to college by a year. So a week after my birthday in June, we eloped. Our families were less than thrilled, but reluctantly supported us eventually. We got settled in on campus and Ryan started classes in mid-August. I got a job waiting tables at a local restaurant.

Labor Day Weekend we planned to take mini-honeymoon, since we didn’t really have one before, but those plans changed when McKenna Breanne decided to make her debut three months early. She was 3 pounds, 2 ounces and 13 inches long. Fortunately she didn’t have any of the typical problems associated with pre-maturity. I thanked God everyday for that. Here I was, barely 18, trying to adjust to married life, college life, and motherhood. I don’t now how I would have dealt with special needs!

So now fast forward a few years and it is painfully obvious that Ryan and I were simply too young to marry when we did and face the challenges we faced. His life was heading up, mine was still on hold. We decided to do the practical thing and stay together until he finished school because he qualified for more financial aid as married with a child than he would have singly. Meanwhile, I started looking at what my options were because I needed to be able to support myself and my daughter.

I have an aunt in Illinois who offered to let me stay with her. Since I would be a single parent, and I’d qualify for financial aid to cover the tuition, I took her up on the offer. The fact that the school didn’t have an SLP (BTW, that stands for Speech and Language Pathology, not Stupid Lazy Person!) major should have been my first clue that this wasn’t going to be the best fit, but I wasn’t thinking real rationally at the time. All I knew was I needed a change. And I knew that I had to have my master’s to do what I wanted to do, so the undergrad degree didn’t really matter.

So Mackie and I moved half way across the country, and I began life as a student. Surprisingly, I did quite well, and Mackie adjusted to her school as well. Fast forward five years and it’s time to apply to grad schools. I had taken the minimum number of credits to be considered full time, so it took an extra year to finish, but with a young child to care for, it was worth it. Again I looked at all my options, and the resources available in the various cities, and decided on UW in Seattle, since much of my family was there.

My plan was to move back to Washington as soon as I graduated so I began gathering boxes for the move, packing the things I didn’t use much, and storing them under the stairs of my aunt’s house. Unfortunately, there was a fire Mother’s day weekend, and while no one was injured, the house was a total loss. The hardest loss for me were the baby pictures of McKenna, and the little preemie clothes and diaper I had saved for her to see when she was old enough to appreciate them.

Well, the fire made the move home easier—I just drove my car! My family was great and had pulled together just about everything we needed to start over, which we did in September of 93. Grad school was tough, but again, my family was terrific and helped me as much as they could. I graduated suma cum laude in 95 and was hired by a local school district as a Speech Therapist. I loved working with kids and being on the same schedule as McKenna.

She loved Washington and being near so many cousins and other relatives. She got involved in soccer and proved to be quite good at it. She played on two or three teams each year, as was almost always voted MVP. Soon she was invited to play on an elite team that traveled to tournaments at least one weekend a month, and up to three weekends.

Two years later, I started having some health issues. After seeing a plethora of doctors in a two week span, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The treatment most often recommend is a total hysterectomy. I wasn’t quite 32 years old yet, and despite the fact that McKenna was 13, I had always assumed that I would have another child. I had worked so hard to get to where my life was stable, and could afford to support the two of us, and maybe one more. All I had to do now was find Mr. Right. But it wasn’t to be. I had the surgery over the summer, and closed that chapter of my life.

About the same time I was diagnosed, my ex-husband Ryan had the opportunity for to relocate to the greater Seattle area. He jumped at the chance to be closer to both of us, especially now, and to be more directly involved in Mackie’s life. He became her number one fan.

Continued in Part 2

reverend21 50M
1913 posts
4/11/2006 9:44 pm

My admiration for you contiues to grow.

angelofmercy5 60F
17881 posts
4/12/2006 7:31 am

You are an inspiration to what hard work and perserverence can do.

phx22004 56M

4/13/2006 1:07 am

I am so impressed with you and your life. What an inspiration. I thought I had it bad in Iraq but you are a true survivor. Sometimes its takes the strong and the brave to face the most common and ordinary of days. Best Wishes. Bill

imLadyBambi 59M/51F

4/14/2006 3:14 pm

Just so you know, we read ever word of Part 1 and Part 2. Thanks for the inspiration.

Lady Bambi


4/14/2006 6:33 pm

Woman Extraordinaire! {=}

just a squirrel trying to get a nut


4/15/2006 5:52 pm

Wonderful.. going to part 2 now

under the stars
We choose to write
you choose what you comprehend.
read twice and be nice
every key stroke... has a heart beat

want2play926 46F

4/17/2006 9:40 pm

A woman to admire...

Become a member to create a blog