COVID-19 and Me

Like a lot of people, this feels like a movie. It doesn’t seem real. But I must admit upon the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, I became terrified at the thought of a pandemic. If you follow my blog, you know I have had my share of medical problems. I was and I still am afraid that I’m high risk being immunosuppressed due to lung issues, having Fibromyalgia, chronic sinusitis, asthma, diabetes, and etc. But my biggest fear is not for myself, but for my mom and brother.

My mother is 75 years young. She is hypertensive, diabetic, has heart disease and other medical issues that makes her extremely high risk. Yet still she is our beaken of light. She was scheduled for knee surgery but my family discussed it and deemed it best to cancel all appointments for now until the threat passes. She is in a lot of pain but agrees that she does not want to risk going out.

My brother is 49. He has chronic hypertension, diabetes, end stage renal failure, congestive heart failure, and has had six strokes and two heart attacks within the last seven years. His job here on Earth is just not done. He is a left below the knee amputee as well, has an esophageal tear, chronic acid reflux, and a history of MRSA. A contamination of COVID-19 would prove fatal. His body is tired, he is tired, but he has a strong will to live and unbelievable faith. He goes out to dialysis three times a week for three to four hours each day. He is at risk for getting the virus himself and bringing it home. But they take precautions and God is good!

As if those issues aren’t enough to have you dizzy, my seven year old twin niece and nephew came to spend spring break with me. Zy spiked a fever and was diagnosed by phone with the flu. Her brother too. Then my other niece living with me, whose expecting, began having worse flu-like symptoms. She was diagnosed by phone with the flu but doesn’t seem to be getting better like the twins. I also have another niece whose been in the hospital for three months with a “mysterious” illness that doctors couldn’t and still can’t figure out or contain. She is in her early twenties and is in organ failure.

Some people are saying that our faith is being tested. If so, I hope the test is over soon. As a family we remain steadfast in knowing that God is real and in control. We know that the best thing we can do right now is follow doctor’s orders. We have been self quarantining since March 16th and practicing social distancing. But more than that, we remain faithful that there is a higher power at work here that will get us all through this.

Everyone around us has been so kind, encouraging, and giving. We are a family of nine right now, twelve counting the doggies. Because we were blessed during this time, I can be a blessing to someone else and pay it forward. See how God works? Why am I sharing this? Because in these scary and uncertain times, people can become crazy, selfish, and step out of character in the name of self preservation.

But there are more people who have huge hearts, lend a helping hand, pray for one another, and really look out for others. Like with any situation, we must look for the good in everything to get through this. Share the positive stories along with updates and facts. Be the light shining through the darkness.

We have to remember to pray for our first responders, doctors, nurses, phlebotomist, lab techs, surgeons, patient care assistants, our neighbors, the elderly, and pets. This is a chance to bring families back together and come together as a nation. Hopefully we all will learn to just stop for a minute and realize that with some humanity, decency, and love, together, we can get through anything.

Stay safe and healthy,


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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Aftermath of Abuse

Growing up I never heard of PTSD nor did I ever correlate your past affecting your life in the future. I was in high school before I realized something was really wrong with the family structure I grew up in. I knew my dad was strict because I had been teased by other kids about it. But I think as my fear of him grew, so did my awareness that this was not normal.

I was the youngest of six children. My mom and all of us were abused at the hands of my dad, physically and mentally. It started with whippings, to beatings, to being lectured for hours, kept hidden in the house, getting hit and beat for things we were made to say we did, but did not. It was constant turmoil riddled with fights and arguments as my mom tried to fight back or fight on our behalf. My parents would go weeks ignoring each other after a fight. They divorced, and separated twice but eventually remarried.

Aside from the sheer terror I felt every time my father entered the same room, or called my name, the worse part was his belief that all women were whores. He told us if we were let out into the world we would do nothing but sleep around. He talked against my mother so much that my other sisters began disliking her. They still struggle with a relationship today. He tried to make us four girls believe that basically we were worthless. I believe he loved us, but his upbringing made him hate women at a very early age.

I think he had PTSD over his mother dying when he was thirteen years old and felt she left him. He saw his sisters have children by different men and instead of understanding why they chose to move on he looked at them at whores. Perhaps girlfriends cheated on him. I don’t know. I just know he took it out on us girls. We cooked, cleaned, washed clothes, ironed, and did school work. After highschool there was no life but to care for the family

I graduated highschool at seventeen; a little early because I skipped the 5th grade, against my father’s advice. But he moved us from Arizona to Alabama when I was 10 1/2 so I went straight into the sixth grade. At the time of my graduation from highschool my oldest sister was 24 years old, had never gone to college or worked. Most kids I went to school with didn’t even know she and my sister under her existed. They were not allowed to leave the house.

The summer I graduated, I guess my dad knew I was gonna be trouble so he made it his mission to let me know in no uncertain terms were things going to be different for me. He made our home into a prison. We lived in a double wide trailer. He nailed shades to every window and pad locked the doors from the outside. When he had to work, we were locked in the house, literally unable to leave. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I thought if I left, things would be worse on my mom and I didn’t want that. But I sure daydreamed about it.

My father had neck surgery in November 1992. Two days post op, he suffered anoxic brain damage. He choked after being given an extra dosage of morphine that the doctor discontinued earlier that day because it caused him to hallucinate. The tired nurse on duty was asleep and he went 12-14 minutes without oxygen to his brain. She had been working over her 16th straight hour.

My father was the strong figure, the backbone, of our family. He was a brilliant man, a poet, musician, singer, and scholar. But as a nurse, I believe he had an undiagnosed underlining mental illness that caused him to behave abnormal. After he fell ill, he lived 16 1/2 years in a vegetative state unable to speak, move, or do anything. Suddenly, he was unable to evoke that trembling fear that abusers bring their victims anymore, but the damage was done. I’m not sure he even knew what he was doing was wrong until it was too late.

Through it all I learned how to be submissive to a fault, I learned durability-to stick it out. I learned how be be afraid, how to be gullible, and how to look for a leader instead of being one. None of these things were good. As a result, I stayed in a nine year abusive marriage, have had phobias that include agoraphobia where as an adult, I was afraid to leave my own home. I suffered from social phobia where a group of MY own friends would freak me out if they surrounded me. It took me years to realize I could open a blind or a window or could sit in my own home with the door unlocked. Unfortunately my children learned these behaviors and suffer from them now.

Today, I am finally coming to grips with my fears and learning how to get off from under the weight of my PTSD. I want to show my kids that if I can do it so can they. I began performing plays on stage for hundreds of people last year and have conquered social phobia. I still have a time with agoraphobia but once I force myself out at those times I overcome it one bout at a time. I took curtains completely down in my kitchen facing my back yard. It took everything in me to not cover those windows back up. There’s are deep rooted fears and anxieties I face, but am trying to conquer. I’m getting there. One day at a time, one fear at a time.

By the way, the day my father fell ill, and I saw him lying there unresponsive, I forgave him. I prayed for his recovery daily. I became a nurse to prevent what happened to him from happening to anyone else. I learned he may have been paranoid schizophrenic and/or bipolar. I hold on to the fact that I know in his own way, he loved us and for that I am grateful. I wish he had waken up from his coma to meet his grandkids and see that all women, especially my mom, my sisters, and myself, are Queens.

Correction on Failure to Launch

Recently I wrote an article entitled, “Failure to Launch” concerning my children and their ability to live lives independent of me. It’s not easy looking at life through the eyes of mortality, but we all will leave this world one day. As parents, it’s our job to assure that our children grow up to be successful, productive members of society.

Sometimes we worry about one child more for whatever reason. For me, that’s my son. But, I’m thrilled to report that things have changed for the better. He has had a job he likes for the past (almost) three months. He spends more time out with friends and he has began making grown man moves such as buying a car. I will never rush his independence because Lord knows I worry less with him here at home.

Still I was concerned that he would never come to me saying he’s ready to move out on his own. But I can see that now in his near future. And even though it scares me, I’m so proud of the progress both he and his sister have made. My daughter not only seeks to be an esthetician, but has enrolled in the Psychology program at the University of Alabama. She has become a naturalist, and is studying astrology as she begins her own business making bracelets from crystals.

So as you can see, prayer works. God is real. He is listening. Both have made me one proud mother and I couldn’t be happier for them. I only want my children to succeed in life, overcome obstacles, and most of all believe in themselves and their ability to do whatever is on their hearts to do.

What I thought were setbacks, were actually stumbling blocks that they both got through on their own. All I strive for now is to live a good life, full of life, not dwelling on the end of it but celebrating the here and now and all it has to offer. Perspective is a powerful thing. Changing the why’s and how’s of the way you think and live can give you so much clarity and freedom! Today I celebrated my adult children Brittney Danyelle (Collins) Essex and James (Trey) Collins III! Momma loves y’all so much! 😘♥️


Oh Wow! I had no idea it was going on two weeks since my last post. I have been wiped out since performing in the last play on Feb. 22nd. That’s the thing about Fibromyalgia that is the worst. Even if you get to do what you love, you end up paying for it as you witness your body betray you. I’m not complaining, but simply stating the facts. Those who thankfully don’t suffer from this, don’t understand that.

Right now, I’m exhausted. So much has been happening in my life that triggers stress, which triggers pain, which triggers fatigue. There’s no way around it. Fibromyalgia is difficult because nothing really makes it better for me. With the Opioid crisis in America, no doctors really want to hand out pain medicine for prolonged periods of time. And if you are anything like me, as a patient, you don’t want to take opioids for a long time.

With so much stress, it’s difficult to sleep. Even if I sleep, I’m not getting restorative sleep. I need to find something non-habitforming that will allow me to sleep soundly enough so my body and mind can reset themselves for the next day. I was told by one of my doctor’s that not getting restorative sleep causes you to lose memories because your brain is constantly trying to play catch-up. This is why on a Thursday evening, you may find yourself thinking it’s Tuesday. You are literally losing whole days of memory.

I take Ibuprofen 800mg for pain twice a day. I’ve weaned myself from the morphine sulfate my pain specialist had me on. I think without something to decrease inflammation, the morphine can’t possibly stop the pain. So I’ll have to wait until I can make my appointments regularly, (have transportation), before I can get back to finding something that works with him.

Sometimes I wake up from dreams in the mornings and don’t remember them until later that night when they come to me in flashes like tonight. This is from not getting enough sleep. So tonight, I’m putting down the phone, laptop, and tuning out Facebook and Instagram to get some much deserved rest. I haven’t quite figured out how to overcome insomnia, but with this rain falling right now, the cool air from my fan, and the quietness in my house, hopefully, it will evade me tonight. I know one thing, I’m tired and my tired is tired.

I have a lot to do tomorrow and many to take care of, so good night all, sleep tight, and if you believe in the power of prayer, whisper one for me.

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