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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I'm not him

By now you have probably noticed a slowing in the prolific pace that was once Tracy's blog.
I had fully intended to continue posting helpful, useful, passionate, information in a brutally honest fashion to honor Tracy and help the world in a mirroring of Tracy's outrageous fashion.

Several obstacles have precluded me from accomplishing that task.

1).  I'm not Tracy.
2).  I am not generally BRUTALLY honest (I hope).  Honest yes.
3).  What I have to say at this point feels more like whining than being helpful to humanity.

Clearly there ain't much I am gonna be able to do about #1.

On to #2-
There are times that I am highly motivated to share an idea or thought about this point in my journey in the same bold soul streaking fashion Tracy did.  Letting it all hang out so to speak.  
But unlike Tracy I do care and consider how what I say will effect others because for me that is the POINT of writing to the public as opposed to a private diary or journal. 

This has been a constant source of struggle for me as I experienced how healing his words were for so many, no matter how naked, negative or biting his comments seemed to me.  He was "him" without reservation or consideration.  I am NOT him.  
And yet I do long for the courage to be completely honest with the world but quite honestly- Privacy is one of the things I miss the most from my previous life.

The reason I am interested in documenting or recording any of this or sharing it is to help those who were diagnosed like we were.  If sharing anything we learned could help Anyone in ANY way it's worth it to me to share. 
Tracy's goal was just being able to communicate.  The more limited his physical abilities the more important sharing his opinions and ideas became for him.  This is why you all were literally his life line.
Every response to him showed he stilled mattered.

It's coming up on the year anniversary of Tracy's Death and no matter how hard I try to ignore it- that act in and of itself FOCUSES on the very thing I would prefer not to.  
I couldn't understand why people put such importance on the worst date in our entire lives.  
Now I understand. 
It's not a celebration of that date.
It's a point of survival.
Every FIRST without our Loved One is an emotional beating.  
Each smile they miss, holiday, event, birth, breath, sale, secret, TV show, joke, meal....
all Firsts-
are a reminder of what we don't have.
It's been interesting talking to the half dozen friends who have lost their spouses recently.
ALL say the same thing.  
It's all Bitter or Bitter/Sweet.
The anticipation of whether our experiences are going to be horrifically difficult or surprisingly smooth adds tension to the anticipation of each and every FIRST.
We are all hoping that year 2 is not a repeat of the first.

Deciding what or if I will continue to write has yet to be determined.
I haven't even written in my private journals lately that I kept since our diagnosis.
I have no interest in hearing myself whine either I guess.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Home sick

 I leave tomorrow to go back to Texas.

It's strange to be home but still feel home sick.
It's been so wonderful being home with family and friends and so there is an expected yearning to come back home to stay.
And then there is the home sick feeling for my 
Texas Family.
My kids and grands, my work friends.
I wonder what they are doing every day and what I am missing there.

Then there is the feeling of leaving Tracy behind physically and emotionally.

All this makes me realize even more clearly that it's not where you are-
 it really is where your heart is.
I am homesick for the life I loved before ALS 
but I have no time machine.

So I do my best to look forward not back.
To create instead of recreate.
To be inspired but not live in memories.

Here is to the next adventure
which has been renamed an
"Add Boettcher".

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Going Home

In about a week I am going back home to Peoria to celebrate with family and friends.
I wish I was celebrating coming back home or winning the lottery or finding junk furniture.
But we are celebrating Tracy's life.
Doesn't that sound awful that I would rather be celebrating anything but  Tracy's life?
It feels really selfish, but it's the truth.
Because the REASON we are celebrating
 is because he's no longer here.
Staring at a table of that reminder is good and very uncomfortable.
I think about him many times a day and insert something about him in conversations when I can and adore it when the grand boys are the ones to bring his name up even when it's a comment like-
you haven't watered grandpa and it looks like he is gonna die AGAIN,
referring to the plant we put some of his ashes under in the spring.  
Tracy would laugh his fool head off and be so proud
that his grands could find humor in that.

But that isn't the same as the ritual of the LAST goodbye.
(and no I don't for a second believe that it will be the last goodbye in point- leaving the next day to go to Indiana to say goodbye again, then there is the memorial bricks that have never been placed or even made and his equipment and and and)

I wish I had his blog printed off in book form for this event.  
He was so proud of how many people cared about what he wrote and how he wrote it.  
I am a bit disappointed in myself that I haven't kept up his wit and wisdom but really- 
who could compete with that?  
He did have a style all his own:)

I  love going through the photos and stories.
I am reminded of all the love 
that was bestowed on us through our journey.
I appreciate so much, every single day, all the kindness and generosity friends and strangers have given us.
While the rest of the world gets sucked into the ridiculousness of world politics or cyber gaming or fashion and fame, none of that means a thing to me.  
But you all do.

The horrors around the world DO matter to me and the answer to changing that always come back to the same thing. 
So simple- but not always easy.
If these unfortunate people causing so much pain had been show the love and devotion Tracy and I were gloriously gifted then maybe they wouldn't feel the need to TAKE and FORCE and FEAR.

So getting together to show each other how much we LOVE/LOVED Tracy and show you all who and what HE really loved is more than just for us.  
It's an example of Tracy continuing to make the entire world a better place.

I'm sure he will be glad to finally be going Home.  
Home is where his heart is- with all of you.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Birthday and Anniversary

Thank you to all who realized that this birthday was gonna be a tough one for me and poured their love and well wishes my way.  It really did help.  Really.

Our 39th Wedding Anniversary is tomorrow.
Family is making sure I am celebrating.

God Bless you all.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day

I tried and tried to get the internet to work yesterday to put up a Father's Day Post saying how great Tracy is/was. 
I think Tracy didn't want me to bum people out whining so he put everything on the fritz- so like him.

 I can't say Happy Father's Day 'cause it was surprisingly hard to get thru.  People are always surprised when I am surprised.  But I truly am. 
These couple weeks leading up to it sent me back to the first weeks Tracy left the planet.  Kind of Sucko, even tho our kids did everything they could to make sure I was ok and had a happy day.  
It was hard on all of them as well - which selfishly made me feel a bit better cause it's not just me refusing to move on, I say to myself as I lecture me about pulling myself together for goodness sakes.  
I never used to be such a whiner!!!  Ugh.
Where the hell is PollyAmy??

Luckily 2 of the 3 grand boys had birthdays this weekend and then Tim, my son in law got a blip of recognition for his contribution in the fathering field.  These were great distractions but everything is bittersweet.  
Hard to NOT go shopping in the men's departments anymore. Hard to not look over to see him laughing at the  grand kids antics.

I took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese- NOT a Tracy place, but he loved to see the kids have fun and HE loved video games so I am sure I saved about $100 not having him there.  Not nearly enough danger for him and the kids in his mind I'm sure. He would have wanted me to take them dirt bike racing or bungee jumping.

 We went to Finding Dory- which he would have liked (because between watching Kungfu movies and watching people's heads explode he loved the kids movies and Planet Earth documentaries)  but he would have LOVED taking the kids to the movies and having Isaac sit up in our laps during the scary parts. 
 Tracy loved, LOVED, LOVED going to the movies.  
If it was a rainy day -his best buddy and co-He-Man at the job site, Jim, got rained out and they went to the movies.  If it was too nice of a day- They got "NICED OUT" and went to the movies.  If he was the only one at the job and couldn't get stuff done....If they got a job done early- They celebrated and went to the movies.
  Now I thought he was out busting his buns so I could eat and buy paint supplies to find out during casual conversations weeks later, usually with other friends, he knew ALL about some movie. 
 I'd say- HEY!  I thought you were going to take ME to that and he'd give me "that look" and make up some ridiculous story knowing I wasn't gonna fall for it.  Or he'd say-I took YOU.  Don't you remember? (knowing I never seem to remember the first 2/3 of most movies I see anyway).  Then he'd offer to take me so he could see it AGAIN if it was good (and even when they weren't).

Then we went to a Chinese Buffet here in Dallas (cause I conned Isaac into conning Asa into saying it to his parents as his Go To Birthday Dinner wish- yep, I'm a bad Granny B).  Tracy loved what we referred to as Cat Head Buffet in Peoria (that is now closed due to Health Code violations (we probably weren't kidding with that name)  and he would eat enough bad sushi with buckets o' Wasabi for at least 10 -300 lb men .  I opted to just enjoy the other men's plates mounded to the point of spilling over with creepy creatures of the deep and got deep fried everything and sticky rice.

I thought having Halloween 3 days after he died was hard, then Thanksgiving, one of his favorite holidays because it's not religious and it was about bringing fun and family and food together (sooo Tracy) then Christmas, with all the presents and the grand kids (he LOVED to buy presents for people) then New Years- reflection of the past year....Then his birthday Jan. 30th.  
All this in just a few weeks from his passing.  

I thought- Man, I can do anything now that I have THAT over.  
But no.
It's a FULL year of firsts.  First Father's Day without him.  First kids birthdays without him.  First...ugh.

The other hiccup in posting is that I don't have any pictures of the ACTUAL Tracy.  I only have computer pictures of the ALS Tracy.   
That was so NOT him- except in the way he handled it all.
He was so embarrassed to have pictures that showed his hands.  He was not especially vain.  He had such pride in his strength and was so competitive. He could drive a 16d nail in 3 hits consistently.  A tap, a hit and a finish without waffling the wood.  Always amazed me.
But he was a pretty good sport about me clicking away.
 I hope to find a way to get pictures on here of Tracy from our youth.  
Another miracle to create.

Father's Day was especially challenging because there is/was no man on this Earth that was prouder of his kids or grand kids as Tracy.  He would do ANYTHING for them- even when I was bitching in the background that he was spoiling them rotten and it wasn't a good thing and....Didn't make him no never mind.  The kids always thought we exaggerated to people to make them feel good.  Nope.  Tracy was excruciatingly exuberant about sharing every single little burp and giggle to EVERYONE about EVERYTHING our kids did, thought about doing, Could do but didn't.....Tracy was an ALL IN kind of guy.  No limits on his passions. He truly believed his kids were better- (yep, I'm playing Tracy and telling the absolute truth here no matter who UN PC it is) in every single way than anyone else on Earth and no matter how many times I tried to say- every parent feels that way- he'd say- yes, but I'm right:)

So every time I look at our kids and grands I can't help but think how proud Tracy would be and how much he would have loved to see this and that and what he'd want to do to help them reach their dreams.  He still is.  Just from the other side.

Miss ya big man.
Happy Father's Day

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I guess it's NOT ALL his fault

Those of you who have followed our story for a while know I love to blame everything on Tracy. 
Even tho he's not here now that doesn't stop me.  Some things never change.

I used to nag Tracy for spending so much on tools.
Yes.  He was a fabulous builder but Tracy LOVED NEW tools. 
He loved the BEST tools. 
He only wanted ME to have the BEST tools.
I would Never spend the money on top quality and had the make due mentality. 
Made Tracy crazy!!!

Every time I hear a slap stapler or electric saw I have to look.  The smell of warm sawdust will be like perfume to me forever.  Our love of wood was one of our common passions.

Tracy would see all the craft creations I cut out and laugh that he could build a million dollar mansion with all that wood.  I often would dive into the flames at the job site burn piles rescuing future imagined treasures as Tracy called to Jim -
 QUICK!!!  Here she comes!
Throw the rest on before she gets here!!!

I was at Home Depot today to get things for work and was drawn like a magnet to the tool section (via the ooopppsss sale paint shelf).  I pretended to look at sand paper for upcoming classes for Studio Bella and even a drill bit or two but really...
it was the power tools I was interested in.

As usual, I just HAD to check out the drill press and the band saw, both tools I miss so very much as they "didn't make the cut" (yes, that was a tool pun) when we moved from Peoria.  
Do you know Ryobi makes a 9" table top model for just $129?  It's not the grand JET mega model Tracy gave me as a gift that was adopted out before we left but what a deal right?
I bought a used Demel scroll saw here for $40 at a garage sale in the neighborhood a few years ago as a birthday present to myself that I have used and abused as a replacement for my Frankensaw from back home.  I wish I would have taken a picture of that monster band saw that was an old cast iron Craftsman. It was missing parts including the rubber on one of the wheels and had a wall switch box for the on/off switch.  I am pretty sure I got it as a hand me down from my sister Suza when she upgraded about a billion years back. 

Then I saw the portable table saw which I most likely would cut my fingers off with ( I know I know- the preposition at the end- I hear ya Tracy) but I lust after anyway.  Tracy would tell me that it's CRAP and to do a good job you have to have a GOOD TOOL.  He could justify ANY tool like I do a book or can of paint.  I would huff at the expense then secretly hope he would buy it, leave it out, think it got stolen or forget he had it when he got a new one and I would acquire it.

As I looked to upgrade what I did bring sadness set in.
I couldn't even find batteries for my 2 old Ryobi drills that I love because they have the magnet for extra bits when you change back and forth from drill to screwdriver tips.  Tracy was smart enough to get me 2 drills so I didn't have to stop and change bits.  I didn't even SEE Makita batteries for anything much less my other drill.

The Hitachi Reciprocating Saw Tracy got me before he left has the Lithium Ion battery so that should be good for a while.  People thought, what a dumb gift to give me when I needed clothes or could have gone to dinner but I assure you I have enjoyed it more than make up and a bucket of popcorn.

 I can't replace the battery in my old Black and Decker electric screw driver which I'm bummed about.  I still have it plugged in even tho it doesn't hold a charge any more. I keep hoping it will come back from the dead.  
(Reoccurring theme in my life at this time).  

The DeWalt construction radio uses the same battery as the small circular saw Tracy gave me but doesn't hold a charge well enough to cut and the blade is the same one I had 5 years ago.

I sure wish I could find someone to work on the Porter Cable Jigsaw that was Tracy's.  I have a junker jigsaw but man the Porter cuts like butter when it works.  I think it's just a faulty cord but Tracy thought it was more than that.  I couldn't justify the expense (cause I'm a cheapskate) of finding out but I keep hoping I find someone in the neighborhood who likes to tinker.  

I think of all the silly things we brought with us from Peoria like they were so important and how we sold off all the tools we both loved because I thought we would never have time or reason to use them again and I could just kick myself.

Now that I am working with Studio Bella and sending projects to DecoArt and working on my ETSY shop my old addictions are kicking back in.
I always thought it was MOSTLY Tracy who had the thing for tools but I can see now....
I might have misjudged that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Minding my own business

 I keep trying my best to not get OVERLY involved in this healing stuff.
I resist the best I can to stay off my tufted, striped, tasseled, glittered soap box about our journey through the ALS nightmare.
But then just when I think I have a chance of making it back to some sort of a balanced normal life something like THIS shows up and I am thrown back into the whirlwind of memories and emotions.

I hope you watch this video.

This is video is Good news.  
GREAT news actually.

Dr. Bedlack is a doctor who has been researching outside the box to find ways to heal ALS.
He is a well respected doctor inside and outside the standard medical community.

He speaks of new developments in gene recognition associated to ALS.
He mentions being aware of at least 24 documented cases of ALS reversals,
at least several of which are people I have become acquainted with and who helped us heal many problems in many ways.

He mentions Lunasin by Reliv which we have in our home at this very moment that Tracy did take.

He talks about the fact that those with ALS don't really die of ALS. 
They die of complications due to immobility.  
He talks about being on a vent as an option that most ALSers don't take because of their perception of lack of quality of life but they COULD increase their life expectancy if they chose that path.

He gives credit to the Ice Bucket Challenge for providing financial resources that have allowed some ground breaking new discoveries that may allow a CURE for ALS.

Here is a REAL medical doctor validating all the things that I discovered on my own so why am I upset?

I am upset because we lost our battle with ALS.  
But did we have to?
We lost it because doctors told Tracy and I repeatedly from the moment of diagnosis- 
Do NOT TRY to heal. 
They shamed me through our whole journey and told me "I was cruel to for dragging him thru this".  
They told me that I  was "in Denial" and "Obsessing" more than a few times when I tried to ask questions about health and negative side effects of drugs they forced on him.
The flatly refused to even discuss the health ideas those who HAVE reversed their ALS symptoms used.

When we DID heal symptoms they told us were impossible to heal, they completely ignored our success.

They refused to "do anything extreme" to relieve Tracy's congestion due to pneumonia because they told us "there was no hope of him having any quality of life and he wasn't going to get any better".
And again- I was being cruel to continue to ignore the truth of the situation.

The truth is - Tracy had no interest in living as a quadriplegic.  He was done fighting every single minute of every day believing he had NO chance at a real life.

Would it have been a different story had they, at diagnosis, kept their lecturing and close minded opinions to themselves?
What would have happened if they had acted surprised and pleased when we stopped spasms,  returned his blood pressure and heart rate to normal, returned to Pre Diabetic health by diet change and stopping meds?
What would have happened if they had actually looked up any of the people I told them I was talking to that had healed their ALS?
And on and on and on.....

But Tracy is gone so what difference does it make now.

It matters because I wasn't wrong. 
I wasn't crazy.
I wasn't just ignoring the hard reality of the diagnosis.
I am not just an overwrought, emotional widow, bitter because I didn't get the fairy tale ending I wanted.

We were lied to and mislead over and over again.
Tracy suffered absolutely unnecessarily on many occasions.
He was given meds that were harmful after we repeatedly told them they were causing problems.
We were given very harmful medical advice that was just ridiculously wrong.
Over and over again we had to take our health out of the hands of the doctors due to the harm they caused and covertly use natural methods to heal the damage they caused.

But...he is gone so what is the point?

The point is every single day new families are devastated by the diagnosis of ALS.
They are told in horrific torturous ways a doctor's reality of the situation that is created by their choices on many levels.  They are asked repeatedly to sign a DNR from the minute they are diagnosed.
They are told "there is NO evidence" that anything can help.
They ARE NOT told that the drugs that are shoveled at them CAUSE many many problems that we are all told are symptoms of ALS.  

How do I ignore these facts when we experienced them ourselves?
Knowing how much it helped us to have the people CARE about our struggles allowed us to LIVE each day instead of DYING each day as we were instructed to do.

Why can a doctor say- here is a group of people who have REVERSED their symptoms by means that have NOTHING TO DO with the money from the Ice Bucket Challenge and NO ONE will donate a nickle to the people WHO HAVE ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED HEALING ALS?

Was I cruel to drag out Tracy's life so he could know his grand children and for them to know him? 
Was I selfish for wanting him with me even if he was in a rolling chair?
But what if..... What if we had known at diagnosis all I know now?
How can I NOT want to share that with those entering this nightmare?
I might need to get a bigger soap box.