Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nifty Fifty - One Amazing Woman!

(Grandpa & Grandma with Donna, Denise, Ray, Sharon, Reed, David & Joanne sitting)

(Ray, Donna, Sharon, Denise, Joanne grinning, Reed & David)

I was waiting and waiting to write this post. I wanted to have some amazing pictures to go along with it - but alas, I still have not seen them, so you don't get to either.

Last month, a few days before Elaine's birthday, my mom turned 50. I cannot tell you what an amazing milestone this is for her. Joanne was born in Idaho on April 17th,1959. She now resides in California. She was diagnosed at the age of 5 with an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). She grew up with this ASD unrepaired. She suffered fainting spells and other problems due to her Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). She married and gave birth to her first child before it was repaired in July of 1981. Her open heart surgery repair (which can now be done through a cath procedure) was performed by Dr. Russell M. Nelson now of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They found that her ASD was the size of a Silver dollar. She had been living with a three chambered heart. In 1982 she was given her 1st pacemaker, at the age of 23. She has now had a total of 5 pacemakers. Her first pacemaker is in a museum.
(David, Donna, Ray, Reed, Denise, Sharon, Sandra & Joanne)

Along with her battle with CHD, she has also encountered numerous other health issues including amalgam poisoning, Thyroid Hormone Resistance Disease, and Suspected Mitochondrial Myopathy. My mother has always been such an example of strength and perseverance to me. She was so good at hiding her illness, my brother still thinks she was "never really that sick". I can attest that she was, she just never let on.

(Joanne & Elaine)

I've been so blessed to have her for a mother. I love my mom. Elaine was able to have her grandmother with her for all three of her open heart surgeries, and was with her until the end. She could always count on grandma to know exactly what she was feeling and going through. They were such kindred spirits. Their birthdays are a mere 3 days apart. Both in April. My mom would unselfishly be with us at the hospital for numerous of her own birthdays while we tended to Elaine. She was always so thrilled when I was little, at the silliest little gift I would get her.
(Grandma & Ashton)

This year, since she turned 50, my dad took her on a hot air balloon ride. In the house I grew up in, we were continuously having the balloons float over our home. She would always watch them and dream about going. Well, she got her chance, and I can't wait to see the pictures. Those are the one's I wanted to share. I think that she was surprised and so excited at the trip. I'm glad she got to enjoy herself and have this experience.

Mom, I love you and hope to enjoy many more experiences with you. Thank you for always coming out and helping when I have a new baby (I mean, sheesh, that's 4 times already!). It is always too short of a visit. I'm glad that Violet & Myra take after you, and that you had such a bond with Elaine. Thank you for raising me to have faith, to not judge my fellow man and to serve. Your service through the church and the many hours as Disaster Services Coordinator with the American Red Cross are commendable. You have so many amazing talents - you are a great cook, inventing recipes all the time, a seamstress who can make anything from wedding gowns to shorts, and artist in many, many ways a composer, singer and now a business woman. I continue to learn from all you have to teach me. Are you finished with your book yet? You are simply, my favorite! Thank you for being my friend. I love you!

(Paul, Joshua, Melissa & Joanne on my wedding day)


Jenny said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Aunt Joanne!

Thanks for posting those old pictures--I've never seen those before. I hadn't realized how much I look like my mom. In that top picture, she looks a lot like I did at about age 6 or so.

Michele said...

What a touching tribute to your mom! Her life thus far has been amazing and I hope it continues to be. One of my friends is the youngest daughter of Russle M. Nelson. I'll have to share this post with her, she would be touched by it. (Hope that's OK.) Happy Belated Birthday Joanne!

Paul and Joanne said...

Thanks Melissa,
You made me cry. I appreciate you being my daughter. And by the way my book was just delivered today!
Love Mom

Christina said...

What a sweet tribute. I did not know your mom had a chd too. Happy Birthday to your Mom!

Janice said...

Melissa, What a lovely tribute to your mother. She looks far too young to be 50. Happy "late" b-day Joanne.