Friday, August 21, 2009

Incredible Woman #2 - Kristin Johnson. Friday's questions

Kara: "I recently read this quote: “The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.” (Felix Adler) Do you have a hero? What about that person inspires you?"

Kris: "My hero is my sister. We talk almost every day and yet as I read her blogs I still get insight into her feelings- I think she is an amazing person and love her so much! When we were young I never thought we would be close- she is 3 years older, and I was just the pest little sister. Then she was gone and I went through the tough teen stuff alone. Then she was REALLY gone when they moved to the other side of the country for 12 years! We got to see each other about once a year, and I went to see her wherever she was when I had a new baby to show off! I admired her from afar for a long time, I longed to be like her, from the time I was little. She is an exceptional pianist, (I never could do it!), she is beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside, she is compassionate, loving, a wonderful mom, a hard worker and the best friend. When her husband landed a job in Salt Lake I was so excited- it was hard to believe she was finally coming home! I couldn't wait to begin a new adventure with her! She is the voice of reason when I need someone to figure things out for me, the first I called when my son was diagnosed with diabetes, the first person I told about my pending divorce, the first one I told about this great guy I was friends with, who is now my wonderful husband, the first person I call when my life is crazy, my mind can't wrap itself around why we are struggling, the first one I told about our adoption plans, the first one I talk to when my kids break my heart and I don't really think being a mom was a good idea to begin with! She is the first to come to my defense and set me straight when I am wrong- though always in a loving way! She is my sister, but she is also my best friend. This last year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt like my insides were torn out. WHY HER? I had lost my sweet sister-in-law after watching her fight it for almost 10 years just a year before. This is NOT happening I thought. NOT POSSIBLE. NOT HER. The pain I felt was so intense I could hardly stand it. I cried for days, but on the outside I tried to be strong for her. I held her when she cried and told her everything would be fine. I tried to tell myself the same thing too. When she went in for her bi-lateral mastectomy, I sat at home waiting for a call to tell me she was out of surgery. I cried for hours. When my mom called, I was relieved, yet so heartbroken. It was all I could do to get in the car and drive to the hospital to see her. Her husband, Rick, was in the hall and I asked how she was - as the nurse was checking her, we waited. A man of few words- I could see the worry in his eyes, could tell his heart was breaking and he was in so much pain- he said "She's doing OK", and thanked me for coming. He treated her with such tenderness and love, I knew how much he truly loves her. I don't know if she even remembers me being there when she woke up a little- I tried to help him make her comfortable, adjust the ice on her chest, pull up her blanket, hold her hand, all things that seemed so useless to me. I cried all the way home. The next few months I watched this amazing person go through so much it was hard to bear. One of the hardest things I have ever done is cut off her beautiful hair and shave her head when the chemo started to make her hair fall out. I stood there, as her husband and boys watched and felt so humbled. Afterward I hugged her and told her she was beautiful. Again my heart was breaking. Again I asked God WHY?!!! Then the appointments to the plastic surgeon started. I tried to go to every one with her. I missed a couple and that was hard. Her Dr. was so nice and as we sat in these visits I tried to make her laugh - though she was the one making me laugh most of the time! Her Dr. really believes we are crazy, I think! So every appointment I would stand by the side of the bed and hold her hand while he stuck this HUGE needle into both sides of her chest and filled the expanders to stretch the muscles for her reconstructive surgery. I know how much she HATES any needles, and she was so brave, she just held on and got through it every time. The pain was so intense, especially toward the end she could hardly put her arms down at her sides. I ached for her so much, I wished it was me and not her, I wished I could take it away from her. The last couple of months I have seen her go through her reconstructive surgeries. The disappointment in her eyes and her voice at the results, the knowing she will never feel "normal" again, it all puts everything into perspective. As her hair grows back in, and she has a smile on her face more often, she is becoming her "old" self again. Her laugh is contagious and I love being around her. We had a blast driving to Arizona to see our grandma together- as usual we got lost- several times- because we talk so much, we miss exits and take wrong roads! But the memories are awesome. I wish we could do it more often. I know that like many of our lives, hers is changing every day. It is hard to see her struggle, her body has changed, she looks a little tired, she moves a bit slower sometimes, but this will all get better with time. She is still the same vibrant, beautiful, funny, intelligent, sister I know! I just want her to know how proud I am of her, she is my inspiration, she is my hero, if she can get through all of this, I can face anything that is thrown at me. And I thank God everyday that she is still here with me to help me do that."

: "What is your greatest goal in this life? How will you accomplish that goal?"

: "Gosh I have so many it is hard to choose! I am starting back to school this month and will have my degree in Ultrasound/Radiology by the time Ellie starts first grade, I plan to go on to get my bachelors in mammography. It will be alot of hard work, and I stress that I won’t be able to handle it, but I am going to do my best and see what happens! I think it is important to set goals and strive to reach them every day, even if they are small daily, weekly, monthly goals. I am trying to teach my children to set goals and work hard to accomplish them, to be a good example, and make it happen! I guess THAT is my greatest goal in this life, to teach my children, to be a good example to them, to help them through their life struggles because I have learned so much from mine. I want to be strong for them through hardships, and share the tears of sadness and joy though out their lives. I want to see each of them marry their best friend, I hope they all have learned that from me. I want each of them to know they are special, they are important and they are loved! I want to watch them all become parents and listen to them cry on my shoulder about their struggles and pray I know the right thing to say. I want to leave a legacy of compassion, fun, laughter, caring and most of all love. I want them to all remember me for the good things, and to know without a shadow of a doubt how much I love them and Dave! That is my greatest goal for this lifetime, to be happy and for my children to be happy and I will spend the rest of this life trying to make sure when I leave here it has been accomplished!"


nima said...

wishing her all the good luck to achieve her goals...
It was nice to read about this incredible woman.

Jan said...

Wishing Kris, her Dear Sis and their respective families an abundance of good health and happiness ... today and for many years to come!

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