Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Robert Spencer King, Jr.

For as long as I can remember, writing has been an outlet for me. Starting when I used to write love letters and songs to Jason Robbins in the third grade, to writing letters to Larry that I never gave to him while we were dating and now with this blog. So although it feels extremely weird and just plain wrong to be writing this, I feel like I should.

A week ago today we lost our little brother. It is, unfortunately, a day I will never forget. How I wish that I could just wash that day out of my memory, but there are many scenes that are forever embeded into my mind. I'm not sure what is worse: being in pain yourself or watching someone you love more than anything be in pain. I know the combination of the two is almost unbearable.

I met Robert 12 years ago when Larry and I started dating. It didn't take me long to fall in love with this cute little boy! As a matter of fact, when Larry and I broke up after 6 months of dating, his mother and I swore we would stay in contact. I think we already realized then what a true bond we all had.

All that being said, the news of Robert's passing has been devastating for us. Although we know in our hearts where Robert is, and it is comforting, it doesn't take the pain away.

Larry, under a great amount of stress, wrote and gave the eulogy for his beloved brother this past Saturday. I am so proud of my husband for his strength and determination to honor his brother.

As long as I can remember I had always wanted a little brother. On June 26, 1989 my prayers were answered when Robert Spencer King, Jr. was born. From the moment he entered our lives, Robert’s personality permeated our hearts with a zest for living that never wavered. The twelve year difference in our ages spawned the existence of a paternal aspect to our relationship, however it is the years spent as brothers and best friends that I cherish most.

Robert’s childhood circumstances contained more pain and adversity than most, but rather than allow this to compromise his ambition, he forged within himself the spirit of a conqueror, devoted to overcoming his fears and obstacles at any cost. At the tender age of 12, Robert’s father passed away and his early teenage years were shrouded in a veil of grief and inner turmoil, so he poured himself into his many passions.

My brother became part of the rich tradition that is Katy Football and was fortunate enough to play for the State Championship with the Tigers in 2006. Robert devoted himself to the physical preparation and the cerebral aspect of football as he did any other pursuit he enjoyed such as R/C cars, airplanes, and any technological advancement or gadget he came upon or acquired.

Robert refused to conform to the patterns and accepted thought processes of this world, and instead blazed a trail of independent ideas and behavior that will forever set his days on earth apart from the norm. His incessant belief that the manufacturer never truly understood the true complexities of a device drove him to the pursuit of constant modification and destined him to be an engineer.

While studying engineering at Texas A&M, he had found his true calling as well as a large group of genuinely loving friends who appreciated Robert for all of his mischievous curiosity. Last Friday, I visited Robert at his home in College Station and we watched movies and spoke until about 5 am. The next morning I left for work and I began to think to myself that finally something good, clean, and destined for success had emerged from our family, and that if I could have a son as good as Robert I would be a lucky father indeed.

On more than one occasion, Robert and I spoke about the concept of love. To him most people simply couldn’t comprehend the depth and meaning of true love and the voluntary responsibilities that it entailed. Robert, my brother, and my best friend loved just as he lived. Deeper, stronger and more passionately than most people will ever experience.

I am eternally grateful for the blessing of love I have received from my brother and after spending some time with Roberts friends, I now realize that his spirit continues to thrive in the hearts of those he touched.

After Robert left for heaven on September 8, 2009, I found his Bible in the stand next to his bed, the marker was in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another." In the past few years, Robert had traveled from troubled adolexcent to trusted friend and confidant. I shared life issues, deep discussions regarding our faith, and received sage marital advice from a boy who had become a man wise beyond his years. Robert sharpened me, he sharpened me as a man, a Christian and a husband, and I believe he has done this with others as well.

I have been reading Ecclesiastes in my Bible lately, and at times the words of King Solomon seem quite cynical. Ecclesiastes 1:14 says “I have seen all the things done under the sun, all of them are meaningless a chasing after the wind.” I am glad today to say I disagree with the wise King. My brother’s life was not meaningless.

The things he did, the love he shared, the time he spent with people mattered then, and it matters now as his impact lives on through those that love him. Robert is survived by too many people to list, because he is represented here today by all the friends and family who will continue to carry a candle in their hearts for him as long as they walk this earth.

The truth of life is that our existence is all about making memories with our friends and family. At some point in life, those memories either become about somebody you miss or about somebody missing you when you are gone. Today is about us appreciating and cherishing to a deeper extent the day to day life that makes these memories. May we NEVER take them for granted.

We love and miss Robert tremendously. We know it will be a bumpy road ahead, and it won't be easy, but together we will make it. Although it seems almost impossible now, we will lean on eachother and on God and will somehow make it through. Our lives will never be the same without him in them, and we wouldn't want them to be. Robert left his "stamp" on our lives as he did many, I'm sure.

While many things remain unknown, a few things are for certain - we will never stop loving him, stop missing him, or forget him - EVER, and we WILL see him again.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dear John Patrick

Dear John Patrick,

It is so hard to believe that you are seven months old already! It seems like only a short time ago your mommy and I were playing with each other in our clubhouse as kids, and now, my little sister is a mommy! Although it is hard for me to believe that she has a baby sometimes, I just want to let you know that you have a great mommy! She loves you so much! I probably shouldn't tell you this, but you've got her wrapped around your finger. But, I think you've pretty much figured that out by now.

I want you to know that I'm on to you! You give me one flash of that smile and my heart melts. When I haven't seen you in a few days, my heart literally aches for you. When you see me you just give me that big smile or sweet laugh and I make sure you have everything you need or want. I'm going to have to start putting my foot down before you get to be a big boy!

The two of us have a very special bond, and it started when you were just a few hours old. The night you were born, your mommy was very tired from all the hard work she did to have you and you woke up in the middle of the night and I picked you up and you slept on my chest until the nurses came to get you.

You were in the hospital for a week after you were born and I was there every single day. Mommy and I knew you would be okay, but we hated seeing you in the PICU. You know, I saw you every day for the entire first month of your life! I was so happy that mommy lives so close to my work and I was able to go and see you every day on my lunch break and after work. I wanted to help your mommy any way I could, and it was just a special bonus that I got to spend time with you!

I have been around lots of babies, and you are one of, if not the most, happy baby I have ever seen! From the time you wake up you are in a good mood. When you sleep over with Tio Larry and I, you always wake me up by laughing and talking to me. I never mind waking up early when you're here. Too bad you're not here everyday!

God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave you to us, and I thank Him every day for you!

I love you so!

Tia Tina

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Finally, after many, many, many months (about 18 to be exact) I have an answer to my unexplainable pain! A gigantic 6 mm kidney stone. Now, if you've never had a kidney stone, you're probably thinking "6 mm doesn't sound very big", well, in the world of kidney stones one the size of a grain of sand can bring you to your knees. And I can tell you from experience that I thought I might die with this one!

If you read my previous post, you know that I had my nephew for a week while my sister went to Hawaii. As if to test my "parenting abilities", I started having pretty severe, constant pain the first night he came to stay with us. I did what I've been doing and just started downing some pills in hopes that the pain would go away. My only saving grace was that the baby was a perfect angel the whole week because I was in excrutiating pain EVERY day I had him. Unfortunately, Larry has been working a lot, and that week was getting home about the time I was putting the baby to bed, so he wasn't even there for me to ask for help.

One night I thought I was feeling better and decided to take John Patrick for a walk around the block, well thank God my neighbor, Hope, came with me because about half way around the block I thought I might pass out and I had to stop and sit on the curb until I could regain enough strength to get back home.

My week with the baby and the pain went on and I started becoming more than frustrated. I had developed what we believe to be an ulcer from taking too many Aleve and I hadn't been able to eat anything without causing stomach pain on top of all the other pain I was having.

Larry's cousin, Jesica, had planned to come for a visit the week after I had the baby and I was so excited! The day she came, July 21st, we went to eat at Los Cucos and I had to leave early because the baby was getting fussy as it was past his bed time. On the way home, the pain started coming...quickly. By the time I got him in the bathtub, I was finding it difficult to talk. I somehow managed to get him dressed, sang songs, said prayers and laid him down. By the time Larry and his mom got home, it was unbearable. I was on the floor writhing in pain even though I had already taken three of my "1 every 4-6 hours" pain pills within 45 minutes.

I really thought I might die. Or maybe I just wanted to. The pain pills seemed to do absolutely nothing. Its amazing what your mind does in instances like that, but I somehow remembered when our vet told me that if I choked Toby (our chihuaha) that the worst that would happen would be that he would pass out. Don't ask what context that was said in, because I don't remember. I was crying because I just wanted to go to sleep. I thought if I could just sleep I could wake up when the pain was gone, but I couldn't sleep because the pain was too intense. So, I asked Larry to choke me. Seriously. I just wanted to pass out, to not feel the pain anymore. He, of course (and thank God), said that he couldn't do that even after I offered to sign something saying I had asked him to do it and had his mom there as a witness. I'm pretty sure it was a that point that he and I decided that enough was enough and we went to the emergency room.

After about 30 minutes in the ER, I was finally given some morphine and taken back to do a CT Scan (the same test I had done just 8 days prior) and they found it. I was immediately admitted so that I could continue on the IV pain meds and anti-nausea medicine.

The stone ended up blocking my urine from coming out and caused my kidney to inflame which in turn caused even more pain and nausea, so my overnight stay turned into a few days and Larry and I had to debate whether or not I would have surgery to put a stint in. We decided against it because the stint would not help pass the stone, it would only help the urine flow, and after almost 24 hours of not being able to go, I was finally able to, thank God!

Let me just say that I was in the hospital from Tuesday night through Friday afternoon, and not very many people knew I was there. Larry neglected to tell even my closest friends and if it weren't for his mom and my mom knowing, I'm sure even my sister would never have found out. BUT - he was the best! He took care of me like I never expected or imagined. He was constantly on the nurses to do things for me or give me my pain meds and I have never seen someone fly across the room so quickly just to hold a bucket in front of my face and hold my hair back! He literally only went home to shower and feed the dogs. He was amazing.

We went back to the doctor Monday after I was let out and I had an x-ray done to see how far the stone had moved. Well, it hadn't budged and the doctor said if left alone, it could take months or longer to come out, so he wanted to do a lithotripsy (a procedure that uses ultrasound to break the stone into a powder) to take care of it.

I went in for the surgery that Wednesday, and after a couple of days of not feeling well due to the procedure, I have felt great ever since! I have had 25 pain free days in a row! I had just about forgotten how it felt to not be in pain!

So, at this point we're pretty sure it was the kidney stone all this time causing me the pain. I haven't gone this many days without taking pain pills in a LONG time.

I just want to say:

Jesica, I am SO sorry I was in the hospital your entire visit, thank you to everyone who visited me in the hospital and/or called to ask about me, for those of you who didn't even know I was in the hospital, I'm sorry, and to my husband - thank you so much for taking care of my every need, you never cease to amaze me and I love you more each and every day!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Week As A Mommy!

On Tuesday, July 14th, our nephew, John Patrick came to stay with us for a week while his mommy went to Hawaii. We had such a great time together! I must say that his mommy (my sister, Erika) has done a great job with him because he is a wonderful baby! I couldn't believe how easy he was!

I didn't take time off from work, so every morning I got up early so that I could take him to daycare and still make it to work on time. I was sure that he would wake me up every morning by the crack of dawn, so I wouldn't have any excuses for being late, but I was wrong! He went to sleep every night by 8:30pm and then woke up between 4 or 5 am, but if I just laid him right beside me, he would go right back to sleep until I woke him up to get him dressed. So, I was able to get up take a shower and get ready all before he woke up, and then I would just get him dressed, put him in the carseat and we were off. He doesn't even eat until he gets to the sitters!

He is such a happy baby! We really enjoyed eachother. We went for a walk around the neighborhood, we went to the mall just to walk around, we went out for lunch and dinner, we went to visit friends and family - and all the while I couldn't stop taking pictures and videos of him on my phone and uploading them to Facebook and sending them to his mommy. It was so much fun that I've told my sister that she can go out of town WHENEVER she wants!

I just love him so much and can't get enough of him. I'm sure you'll agree how cute he is!

My sweet, precious little nephew!

Friday, July 17, 2009

So Are the Days of Our Lives

“The human body is a mystery”. I’ve always heard that. Just thought it was metaphorical at best, but whoever first said that is absolutely right! I have been going through two years of off and on pain that is somewhat of a mystery to every single doctor I have been to.

It didn’t start off so horribly, but as time has passed, the pain seems to get progressively worse with each episode.

I was convinced something was wrong with my left ovary. After having taken many Aleve for several days in a row, and on the last day 9 Aleve in one day I decided to go to my OBGYN and demand she do a laparoscopy. There was something wrong and I wanted it to be fixed. She agreed there was definitely something amiss and scheduled the procedure for a week later. I was so looking forward to the procedure. Not so much a fan of surgeries, but I was really relishing in the idea of not having any more pain after she found the endometriosis, or cyst, or tumor, or whatever it was and took it OUT. When I woke up from the anesthesia, I looked over at my loving husband and eagerly asked, “So, how’d it go?” and he, much to my disappointment told me everything was great and that they did not find anything. GREAT? How was that good news, I wondered. I told him they needed to go back in and find something because they obviously missed it! The nurse thought that was funny, but I was not seeing the humor in it! Obviously I was happy that nothing was wrong and that I was “healthy”, but I did not get the explanation that I was eagerly awaiting.

My next step was going to see a Gastroenterologist. This was it, I just knew it. I had something wrong with my intestinal tract, or something that I was eating was causing my insides to cringe in pain. He listened to all my symptoms, rattled off a few things it could possibly be (Chron’s Disease, Diverticulitis, Cancer, etc) and I was again hopeful that we would get to the bottom of it. Again, the procedure was scheduled pretty quickly and a week later I was drinking some HORRIBLE, make you want to slap your momma, liquid and having a colonoscopy done. Not something you think you’ll have done at 28, but I was again excited about finally getting some answers. The crazy thing about this procedure is that evidently they do not put you all the way under, like when you have surgery. They just put you under enough so that you’ll fall asleep and won’t feel any discomfort. Apparently that did not work as expected and I woke up in the middle of the procedure yelling “Ow, that hurts! Ow, you’re hurting me!” All that and they say I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). That did not come as a shock to me, as I have thought I had this for many years now, but I was hoping for something more. The pain I have been experiencing is not the typical severe stomach ache that I get with eating a Bloomin’ Onion at Outback Steakhouse, this is a wakes you up in the middle of the night and you’re on the floor crying type of pain. Still, I thought, okay, at least I got some kind of answer.

Not long after the colonoscopy I was again plagued by several days of unbearable pain. This time I made an appointment with my family doctor and she sat with Larry and me for about 45 minutes discussing all my symptoms and our possibilities. She, too, thought it was not the IBS that was causing the debilitating pain. When Larry asked what she thought it might be, she offered ovarian cancer, endometriosis and ovarian cysts as possible causes and scheduled two CT scans four days later. I was eager to get the scans done and again, hopeful that this would FINALLY show everything and that we would finally understand why I hurt so much, so frequently. I was also eager to rule out ovarian cancer as my grandmother had this and was taken from us at the young age of 67 because of it. To my surprise, the doctor called with the results that very afternoon and told me that the scans showed “multiple cysts on my right ovary”. But my pain is on the LEFT side!!! This cannot be right! And now all of the sudden she too thinks it must be the IBS.

We, and I say “we” because my poor husband is up with me rubbing my back each time I wake up in the middle of the night, are about at our wits-end with this. We desperately want an answer and in the mean time, all I can do is continue to carry around my bottle of 100-count Aleve and hope that a major diet change helps (no coke or caffeine, no fried foods, no fat, and no dairy).

We continue to be thankful for all of our blessings, friends and family and take each day one at a time knowing that one day we will get to the bottom of it all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Everybody Else Is Doing It

Right when I turn on, or go to my computer first thing in the morning, there are 3 things I do. I first check my email, I next check facebook and then I check to see if any of the blogs I stalk have been updated. And when they have been, I get so excited!

I love blogs! So while out to dinner last Friday with my friend, KK, and her husband, she and Larry said I should start a blog of my own. The first road block was coming up with the perfect title/URL for the blog. I wanted something catchy. The second thing, was that I don't really have anything interesting to write about. Everyone I know who writes a blog, blogs about their kids, their pregnancy, a specific journey they are going through in life - interesting/cute/fun stuff that I care to read about. But who wants to read about us? We don't have any cute kids who do really funny stuff, I have 2 dogs, who we love, but definitely aren't as cute as kids. So, to be honest, I don't really know what I'll blog about.

I do have a gorgeous 4-month old nephew, who I absolutely adore, 2 beautiful little cousins, a 5-year old niece and 2-year old nephew (not blood related, but I do have a formal certificate that officially declares Larry and I as "Uncle Larry and Aunt Tina") who just moved to New Orleans, a bunch of amazing friends and a great family.

I also have a super amazing husband that has been by my side for 12 years. Larry and I have been together since my junior year in High School. He has the crazy ability to make me laugh at ANY given moment - even in the middle of a heated argument and he loves me despite the fact that I am not a very good house-keeper, I rarely cook and I "snore like a lumberjack"(yes, those are his exact words). God brought us together as kids and has made our bond stronger with every life experience I have the pleasure of going through with him. I can't imagine crawling through this journey of life with anyone but him. Thank you, babe, for being my everything.

So, today I came up with the perfect name/URL (read my profile if you don't understand it) and basically, I hope I find stuff to blog about that is interesting enough to get a few stalkers of my own. :-)