Susan WonderStone's Blog


Wonder Woman at Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival

 

Once again…Wonder Woman showed up for the Mukilteo Lighthouse festival. For those of you I met for the first time and a recap for the rest of y’all who follow my adventures…

For those of you who took pictures of me, please send them to me here, susanwonderstone@yahoo.com or on my Facebook page https://Facebook.com/susan.story.71

My son Cameron and I have been participating in the parade since he was in 2nd grade. He turns 20 this week.  Since the festival is always near his birthday, we invited his friends to celebrate with us. Sometimes we had a party after the parade,  complete with singing and birthday cake. At some point along the way, he decided to make a “FREE HUGS” sign. He would run from side to side along the parade route, with his arms out offering hugs to anyone who wanted one.

In the beginning, when I first made my outfit, I realized that when people saw me they often smiled, laughed  and asked to take pictures with me. We all tend to smile when someone smiles at us. It’s just as contagious as a yawn! People who were together, but not saying anything, would smile and communicate with each other. Regardless of whether they are having problems with relationships or work, recently lost a fur kid or other family member, have health challenges, are “drugged” from the crap food they just ate…or, whatever other things are going on in their heads, comnecting and communicating with another human always makes life easier to deal with. I’ve continued doing it, not to make it easier to deal with my own stuff, but to bless others with my will, in hopes that they’ll find their own.

Friday at my retail job, I dealt with the biggest jerk I’ve ever dealt with in the store. It spun me for a bit, because I really thought I could change the constipated look on his face into a smile before he left. I wondered what could be so bad in his life to make him nasty to not only me, but several of my coworkers he also interacted with. After about 30 minutes of wanting to chase him down in the parking lot, and tell him that I’d pray for him because his terminal cancer and putting his dog down this week must be challenging to his entire existence, I realized that jerks only show up in my life to check my own attitude. I really paid attention to myself for the rest of the day, still having the goal to make everyone I came in contact with, a little better than before they talked to me. I try to always make it a goal for me, even when I’m in so much pain I should be at home in bed. Like after the parade, when I slowly wandered around the Festival.  I did my best to smile. I talked to everyone who made eye contact with me. I met a beautiful woman named Demetria, who after a health challenge of her own, started a business providing  shoes to low income and foster children.

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People are amazing when you give them a chance to tell you who they are!

What’s my story?

As many of you know, my first melanoma diagnosis was in March 2000. I had two more surgeries in 2002.  In 2004, aside from skin lesions on my face and just about every body part, I had an open 2inch hole on my right butt cheek and the cancer was in my liver and lymphatic system. In August that year,  my doctor told me I probably wouldn’t make it through the summer. I knew, based on the conversation I had with my dermatologist in 2002, that there were no treatments that would give me hope. I cried  daily for months, wondering what I could do to save my life.  I researched and implemented everything that made sense. Over the years, I’ve stopped things that no longer seem to be helping and added things newly discovered.  A few days ago, my friend Armi, who I met in Tijuana, suggested I put raw honey in the hole in my leg. Why had I forgotten how many times raw honey had helped the skin lesions?   I filled the hole with raw honey, aside from the other things I’m still doing, and after two days it looks so much better!

In 2007,  I broke my back in a skydiving accident. It was my third jump. I had an L1 burst fracture. The staff in the emergency room told me I would probably never walk again. I must have said 100 times “Thank you God, I can move my toes!”  I believed that if I could move my toes I would walk again!  I kept telling them that they did not have my permission to touch any cancer they found in my body. I believed  what I was doing was working, and didn’t want biopsies or other medical treatments to interfere with my healing. My neurosurgeon  asked where the cancer was. Even though I still had lumps in areas of lymph nodes, he showed me the CT scan if my liver. There were no spots on my liver. I KNEW  if I could eliminate melanoma from my liver, I could recover from a broken back. He put me back together with screws in L2 and T12, with flexible plastic rods in between to give me full range of motion. They made me walk soon after I came out of anesthesia, three days after the accident.  I have walked every day since! It took me awhile to get my courage (or stupidity- however you look at it) to skydive again. I have 40 jumps now. Someday I’ll travel and jump in every city, state and country I can!

I’m not going to list all of the challenges I’ve faced, because it seems when I signed up for this life, that I agreed to face most obstacles others do, so I could empathize with the masses.

After I made my rounds at the festival, I went home to do the cancer treatments I didn’t have time for in the morning. I was so tired, but didn’t have time for a nap before I was supposed to be back for dinner with my Northwest Photo family.

I love my spray tan, sponsored by Oasis Airbrush Tanning!

 

The evening was just as amazing as the day!

While looking for the kids, I spun a wheel and won a month of free karate classes. I later found them giving hugs to the people who were within ear shot of the dude yelling at everyone, telling them they’re going to burn in hell for eternity. I’ve never understood how anyone thinks anger, hatred and fear will help convert another to their ways. Meanwhile, the Sikh group was dancing, hugging and appeared happy. But…that’s another story.

Dinner was great! Sunset was great! Connecting was great! Fireworks were great! I fell asleep with my feet soaking in Epsom salt, apple cider vinegar and frankincense.

 

Life is good!

Love, gratitude and blessings

~Susan

 



When life•••••• It’s time for a new perspective
September 8, 2016, 2:20 am
Filed under: coaching, Inspiration, Skydiving

•••••• insert negative adjective here.

When life sucks, it’s time for a new perspective. Okay, to be clear, when some parts  of life suck. Saturday will be 12 weeks the tumor on my leg has been open. I’m still believing  it’s a drain for all the bad stuff to flow out. Buddy dog. Jake, Anna and Jordan. And a few other things, but I don’t want to share too much negativity.

I’m currently not qualified to jump at my home drop zone. Going there, is tough because there’s nothing I want or need more than to jump. Okay, there’s something. Oh, there’s someone too, but jumping is high on my list. Since I can’t jump, when the  opportunity to fly came up, I jumped on it!

We’re  familiar with the area, and know better than to fly thru some of the clouds. Sometimes, mountains look like clouds. After accidentally flying thru clouds on a birthday skydive, I know they’re soft and fluffy. Mountains, not so soft and fluffy.

Up, up, up. Decrease power. Roller Coaster! He called them maneuvers, I called it Roller Coaster.

I didn’t have to ask,  but we did not do maneuvers over the poop pond. Hat island looks so little out there in the water.

 

 

imageimageimageAgain, without prompting, we flew right over my house. It’s just south west of the wheel.

I’ve always said I’d rather get out of the plane high than at lower altitudes.  This is especially true, around 3000 feet, where I can see and count cows, cars and people.

We had a conversation about perspectives. Right now, I’m sitting on a couch in my living room. I’m feeling the heat From the TDP lamp, hearing the ozone generator and the time clicking away on the clock. I’m aware of the room I am in. It’s not the same for me in a commercial aircraft, but in a little plane, everything changes.  Not only am I aware of my surroundings inside the plane, but the vastness of everything outside of the plane. The water, the mountains, all the homes  and cars, the  largest volume building in the world, right next-door at the Everett Boeing plant.

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That corn maze seems to take forever when you’re in it, but so small from  2000 feet. 50 years!

What’s big? Small? What’s important? It’s all a matter of perspective.

I had so much fun!

Love, gratitude and blessings

~Susan



Buddy
September 7, 2016, 12:16 am
Filed under: Death, Gratitude, Hope, Love | Tags: , , , , , ,

Last night when I got home, my son Cameron and his girlfriend Rayla, were about to leave to take Buddy into the woods for his last hike.

I still remember Buddy’s picture on the PAWS website, six years ago.  Immediately when I saw him, I said “That’s my dog!” Cameron and I went to see him that day when I got off work. It was just before closing, so they told us to come back the next day. Buddy was scared. He cowered in the back of the kennel. His neuter surgery had gone bad and they had to open things back up to clean out the infection. The staff made it seem like that’s why he was scared. I was concerned he could be a fear biter, until we got our Rottweiler Keta, out of the car to meet him. He followed her around the play area and seemed so excited! He was leery of us, but loved Keta. We went back the next day and brought him home. We only had Keta for 6 more weeks until her kidneys shut down from bone cancer. She had broken Buddy in. He was afraid inside the house, but excited and loved going for walks in the woods. Over the years, Buddy continued to be afraid of certain people, mostly men wearing baseball caps, but always men who were smoking. We could rough-house with him outside, but if anyone touched him inside the house without warning, he’d pee. It took several years for that to stop.

I’ve always wondered what happened to him before we met. I had a goal to prove to him that some people are good.

Five years ago, Buddy appeared to catch a squirrel. I thought he broke its back. Buddy was gentle, but dropped it when I screamed. It crawled away, dragging its back end. It died as it reached the other side of the driveway.  Buddy cried. He seemed disappointed it didn’t play with him. When we saw the third squirrel dragging its back end, my partner took it to PAWS. They have a wildlife center. They told him that local squirrels had been getting a raccoon parasite that attacks their spinal cord, paralyzingly their back ends.

About 2 years ago, Buddy’s back legs started getting weak. His right leg was worse than the left, but both atrophied. We were told he had degenerative myelopathy. It’s like ms in people. Recently, I researched ms and parasites and found several articles stating that the ms patients they tested had an unusual amoeba in their blood. I’m pretty sure we aren’t supposed to have amoebas.

They say there’s no way to cure degenerative myelopathy,  but regular exercise can slow the progression. I wondered how long I could help Buddy and keep him alive. We continued our daily walks in the woods. As time went on, Buddy’s legs shrunk more and his walking was increasingly worse. It was so bad in March when I had my surgery, I thought he might die during the time I wasn’t able to drive. He looked happy though. He ate every day. He drank water. He pee’d and pooped, although it didn’t appear he had any control over when he went. Most days, he’d drag himself out the back door and down the two steps to go potty in the back yard.

Aside from my doctors in Mexico and my neurosurgeon who put me back together after I broke my back, I believe all the medical doctors I’ve seen over the last twelve years, wrote me off shortly after meeting me. Last year, a doctor at a walk-in clinic, knowingly prescribed a narcotic I was allergic to. The pharmacist told me he didn’t want me to take it, but the doctor did. He said that if I took it, to sit in a chair with my phone and if I had breathing difficulty, to call 911 immediately. Seeing the open tumors on my neck and bottom of my left foot, was he trying to help me with pain or help me die from an allergic reaction? Even though I wasn’t ready to die, I felt like he could come in handy when the time comes that I am. I was angry that if I didn’t know what I do, that doctor could’ve been my end. Why should anyone have the right to decide when someone else will die?

Why should I be the one to decide when Buddy would die?  I know it’s considered humane to put a dog to “sleep” when they’re in pain. How do you know of a dog is in pain?

About a month and a half ago, Buddy started drooling a lot. I asked my neighbor, who is a vet. She said if we had put Buddy down a year ago, it wouldn’t have been too soon. The drooling in a non drooling dog is a sign of pain. Someone else told me that in the wild, an animal wouldn’t let the others know it was in pain, because they’d leave it behind. How could I know if Buddy was too miserable to keep going? I’ve been so sick at times over the years that the people around me gave up on me. I guess I just wanted Buddy to make the decision and die on his own. Cameron wasn’t ready. When his friends were killed on July 30th, I really didn’t want to make that decision.

Last week, we had a family meeting and decided it was time. The first available appointment at our vet, was this morning at 10. Back to my first paragraph…

I asked the kids if I could go with them. Our plan was to get Buddy in Rayla’s car, drive to the woods and then, I don’t know what. Cameron enticed Buddy to drag himself to the front porch. He picked him up to take him down the steps and driveway to the car. Buddy started peeing as soon as Cameron picked him up. He held him still until he stopped peeing. I went back inside to get towels to dry Buddy off. Before I got back, Buddy ran down the driveway, dragging his back legs behind him. I washed the porch and sidewalk off with the hose, while the kids dried the pee off of Buddy. We all cried on the way to the woods. It’s only 3 blocks. Buddy wanted to walk, but Cameron picked him up. We barely got past the trailhead when he put Buddy down by a favorite peepee tree. Pretty sure most dogs pee there. Buddy dragged himself around it, sniffing what his friends had left.

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Cameron wanted Buddy to have one last walk in his favorite places. We’ve walked in Japanese Gulch several times a week and often daily, since we moved here 17 years ago. Cameron taught me to hike in the dark without headlamps, being careful to feel what’s under my feet. It has helped greatly with my other hikes. In the gulch, I could also see the dogs, which helped as long as they stayed on the trail. In the dark, we mainly took the same trail. There’s a spot we call “the lookout”. On full moon nights, we’d go to the lookout and howl at the moon. Buddy would howl with us, while Lucy the bulmastiff,  just looked at us like we were crazy.

Last night, we walked as far as Cameron could go, then stopped to rest, lay on the ground with Buddy and talk. We heard our friends Debra and Cooper. Buddy sat up and started whining, wanting to see his friends. Cooper is a rambunctious puppy and Debra always has treats. I yelled “Cooper” once, but with all of us crying, didn’t yell out again.

It was getting dark by the time we got to the lookout. Buddy wasn’t interested in howling. We really weren’t either. We decided to take a shortcut because the chance of falling is higher in the dark and even higher while carrying a large dog. I cried nearly the whole way, watching the love Cameron and Buddy shared.  It was only a mile. It was a mile I’ll always remember!

We all got up this morning, knowing what the day would bring. We all tried to hold back the tears, but didn’t. Rayla drove. The vet and staff were great! I wouldn’t want their jobs. I won’t go into the details, but Buddy died with all of us holding him. We showed him that regardless of what happened before we met, some people are good. He knew we loved him.

It’s only been 13 hours. Every time I’ve walked thru the kitchen, I expect to have to step over him, but he’s not there. I’m tired and crying again. It seems this year’s theme has been loss. I hope this is the last one for awhile!

We LOVE you, Buddy! Thank you for teaching us so much and loving us back.

Love, gratitude and blessings

~Susan