Symptom Spotlight – “Ascites”*

Today’s Spotlight Symptom is:  “Ascites”

Many mesh-injured women and men suffer from this condition, yet it seems to be one of those symptoms that many doctors write off as “idiopathic” when seen in mesh-injured patients. Please refer to yesterday’s blog post to understand how doctors use the term “idiopathic” in a clinical setting.

Click here to learn how to Pronounce Ascites

Definition of Ascites: Ascites is the accumulation of fluid (usually serous fluid which is a pale yellow and clear fluid) that accumulates in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. The abdominal cavity is located below the chest cavity, separated from it by the diaphragm. Ascitic fluid can have many sources such as liver disease, cancers, congestive heart failure, or kidney failure. (SOURCE: http://www.medicinenet.com)

Medical-Diagnosis-2-callout-EN1

Below are actual pictures of Ascites in mesh-injured patients. These four women have shared these intimate photos in hopes that their injuries will help YOU, the reader, or another injured person you may know.

THANK YOU TO THESE MESH WARRIORS!

Ascites_Picture_Mesh_Injury

 

“While a tense abdomen filled with fluid is easy to recognize, initially, the amount of ascites fluid may be small and difficult to detect. As the amount of fluid increases, the patient may complain of a fullness or heaviness in the abdomen. It is often the signs of the underlying disease that initially brings the patient to seek medical care.” (SOURCE: emedicinehealth.com)

As I explained in yesterday’s blog, when a patient goes to the doctor with a symptom that doesn’t present in the most common medical context, many doctors do not pursue further understanding about why a common symptom is presenting in an uncommon way.

For example, the most common cause of Ascites is cirrhosis of the liver. So, say a mesh-injured woman presents to her physician with Ascites, but has no history of liver disease or alcoholism, and no cirrhosis of the liver. What happens next; or more appropriately, what should happen next?

The process of diagnosing the underlying cause of any symptom is performed by using the method of differential diagnosis. In the case of Ascites, one other possible explanation for the symptom is:

“Those who have spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (an infection of the peritoneum) develop abdominal pain and fever.” (SOURCE: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/ascites/page3_em.htm)

It is now well known that mesh can cause life-threatening and recurrent infection. So it seems to me that further investigation would be crucial to any patient with mesh who presents with Ascites.

Differential Diagnosis – the determination of which of two or more diseases with similar symptoms is the one from which the patient is suffering, by a systematic comparison and contrasting of the clinical findings.

Physicians are taught to follow these procedures to continue to rule out every cause, until a fotolia_5910589_XSshort list of possible causes remain. Ruling out underlying causes of any symptom(s) is carried out through a sequence of examinations and diagnostic testing.

With this symptom in particular, I am hearing from many women who are sent away by their doctors with some variation of an excuse, claiming ignorance, or at best, simply treating the condition with pharmaceuticals while refusing to perform simple diagnostic procedures and testing that could provide that doctor with more information and eventually to a better form of treatment, or cure ,and the underlying cause of the symptom.

So, when a mesh-injured patient presents with Ascites, and the physician has ruled out the most common cause of this symptom (cirrhosis of the liver), then his training requires that he begin to rule out additional possible causes.

In graph form, the process of ruling out causes for Ascites might look something like this:

ascites

 

Doctors are trained to use the above method with every symptom or illness. It is part of their daily scope of work, so why do I so often hear from women that they go to the ER, to their family physicians, to their OB/Gyns, and to their Urogynecologists with this disturbing symptom only to be told something like this, “I don’t know what this is,” or “I’ve never seen this before.”? The above process for differential diagnosis is relatively simple. Even the diagnostic testing is relatively simple, as noted above.

To find out more about testing used in the diagnosis of suspected Ascites, refer to the below pictures, and click on these links to learn more.

Abdominal Ultrasound

abdominal ultrasound

Diagnostic Paracentesis

drainas-300x206

Computed Tomography (CT Scan)

anatomy_of_a_CT_scan

These women describe to their physicians that this symptom is not simply uncomfortable, but it’s PAINFUL. They describe shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, naseau and vomiting, and the obvious limitations in lifestyle and decreased quality of life – not being able to fit into clothing, not being able to lie on their stomachs, pain when sitting, etc. Imagine all the uncomfortable symptoms of being nine months pregnant, except this situation doesn’t end in the birth of a beautiful new family member.

I find it maddening, sickening, detestable, and downright cruel that so many doctors refuse to treat mesh-injured men and women, especially when these patients present with odd or “out of the box” symptoms.

I encourage you to print and use the above graph if you suspect you have this symptom. Bring it to your doctor. Earlier this week, I spoke with a woman who went to her Ob/Gyn with this symptom, and he simply told her there was nothing he could do to help her. What?! She even asked for some of the testing in the above graph, but still the physician refused to help her.

The question we should be asking is “Why?” The action we should be taking is to educate ourselves about our own bodies and what our bodies are trying to communicate to us through symptoms. Our physicians must understand that we know they are refusing treatment, and we know that it’s wrong to do so.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “Spotlight Symptom.” I hope this information will help you when you visit your doctor, seeking treatment and a better quality of life.

The_Mesh_Warrio_Flower_logo_150x150_thumbnail

*I am not a doctor. This information is for educational purposes, and is based on my own experiences. Seek medical attention for this or any other symptom.

 

 

 

Dr. Raz Debates: To Mesh or Not to Mesh?

Shlomo Raz, MD

Shlomo Raz, MD

Dr. Shlomo Raz, known wide and far by our Mesh Warrior community as the preeminent surgeon for full transvaginal mesh excision, debates a fellow urogynecological surgeon at the 2015 American Urological Association Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans in May of this year.

Below is the video of the debate.

 

What do YOU think about the merits of each position?

2015 Debate: Surgery for Stress Incontinence – With vs. Without Mesh

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 11.17.50 AM

Dr. Raz Debates at the AUA’s 2015 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, taking the position that mesh SHOULD NOT be used to treat SUI.

*WARNING – There is graphic medical content including live-action film of genitalia and surgical interventions.

“A Doctor A Day” – Douglas Van Drie of Grand Rapids, MI

Dr. Douglas Van Drie of The Institute of Michigan Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogynecology is actively recruiting for the FDA 522 Study:

Restorelle® Mesh Versus Native Tissue Repair for Prolapse

Dr. Douglas Van Drie of Grand Rapids, MI is participating in the study: Restorelle® Mesh Versus Native Tissue Repair for Prolapse

Dr. Douglas Van Drie of Grand Rapids, MI

Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogynecology Institute of MI
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, 49503
Contact: Beth Rogers, RN    616-588-1800    brogers@grwh.org
Principal Investigator: Douglas Van Drie, MD

You know what to do MESH WARRIORS!

Previous “Doctor A Day” Blogs:

Dr. Arturo Menchaca/Paris Community Hospital, Illinois

Dr. Sherry Thomas/Angoura Hills, CA

Dr. Ty Erickson of Rosemark Women Care Specialists in Idaho

Dr. Babak Vakili of Delaware’s Christiana Care Health System

Dr. Oz Harmanli of Baystate Health System, Springfield, MA

The three most important ways to combat marginalization or stigmatization by others

Today, WeGoHealth has prompted us to write about our “Perfect Comeback,” a time when we felt marginalized or stigmatized by someone because of our health condition(s). What did we say or what would we have said to take back control and let them know they were out of line?

Words without love are just noise.

Words without love are just noise.

As I’ve said many times, one of the most significant challenges a writer faces is to write with honesty. To write words that will mean anything to anyone, we must be honest with ourselves, about ourselves; otherwise our words are just noise.

I have not had a “Perfect Comeback” because I don’t think such a thing exists. However, I have felt marginalized and stigmatized often, not only because of my own health conditions, but also because of my efforts to raise the sounds of the voices of those injured by polypropylene medical mesh implant.

In short, I’ve been called an idiot, crazy, a liar, a thief, stupid, irresponsible, someone who just wants attention, a predator preying on the ill. Let’s see… what else? I’ve been called a blue Smurf (that one makes me laugh because Smurf would suffice, for ALL Smurfs are blue), a fake, someone who is benefitting from my own mother’s injury or my own illness, a clown. I’ve been made fun of and marginalized for being Christian and living that part of myself out to the same fullness that I live other parts of my life. I’ve been called a liar for saying, “I’m not religious,” when that’s exactly what I mean. I’m sure there are more, but that about sums it up, I think.

The Pharisees were about religion. Jesus was about the very nature of God.

The Pharisees were about religion. Jesus was about love and the very nature of God.

These words hurt me at first because I was shocked and so baffled about why anyone would say those things when I was sacrificing a great deal of my personal life, finances, time and privacy in order to do what I thought was right – stop immediately, as soon as I became aware, and render aid to the sick and suffering. Some people said I wasn’t “doing it right,” or that I wasn’t doing enough; that I was doing too much; that they didn’t like my way of helping. Through a series of public attacks on my character, I learned that what the naysayers say does not matter one bit, and there will always be naysayers. Just because someone says something does not make that something true.

These experiences made me much stronger. To be the recipient of an ongoing character assault does nothing but help me in the the long run, because if not for going through it now, on a very small scale, how would I be able to handle it on a large scale? I am grateful to have learned how to navigate toxic people. These people have tried to marginalize me, but they’ve failed, and I really didn’t have to do much of anything but stay focused on my own mission and leave them to focus on theirs. Destruction of anything or anyone is never more powerful than truth and love. And, it never will be.let-all-you-do-be-in-love

I don’t feel the need (at least not anymore) to “tell these people they are out of line,” for I think they do a good job, themselves, of showing others that very notion, and I don’t have to waste a second of my time or breath to tell these people anything.

The three most important ways to combat marginalization or stigmatization by others are:

1) Take your mission seriously, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

2) Understand that purity of focus, love and creating good for others will always outweigh fear, destruction, hate, jealously and lies.

3) Always speak the truth with love. Truth separated from love is judgement.john 1

My goals in life DO NOT CHANGE because there are other people with other goals, even if those goals are full of hatred and destruction. Who I am DOES NOT CHANGE because there are people who lie about me. My love and sincerity in my work DOES NOT CHANGE simply because someone else believes another way to help is better. The realities of my mother’s injury and illness or my own illness DO NOT CHANGE because there are those who question.

Truth is true; therefore no amount of scrutiny can change it. My mother IS very sick, and I AM trying my best to help her and others. I AM sick, and I am trying to live my best life with that truth. It doesn’t matter if others believe it or not.

So, how do I “take back control” or “tell others they are out of line?” I don’t. I don’t need to have control of others. And to know they are out of line, all I need do is listen. WhatYouShouldFocusOn

My mother gave me a great piece of advice in high school. She said, “When other people tell you who they are, listen the first time.” Wonderful words of advice that I have taken to heart.

#HAWMC

More Media Coverage About the Dangers of Mesh Implants

I forgot to put this on my own blog! Duh!

Maybe we’ll save #justonemore with this coverage. This is my neighborhood magazine in Dallas, and it is delivered directly to the doorsteps of many thousands of homes, most with stay-at-home moms.

 

Maybe we'll get #justonemore with this coverage.  This is my neighborhood magazine in Dallas, but it is delivered to doors and goes to many thousands of homes, most with stay-at-home moms.

 

http://lakewood.advocatemag.com/2014/05/26/medical-mesh-tangled-web/

Doctor-Patient Collaboration

Hi Angels & Warriors;

I am working on a series right now that I will be publishing this month with my interviews of various doctors, specializing in pelvic pain, reconstruction, mesh removal and/or other urogynecological procedures for treatment of symptoms.  Until then, I wanted to make you all aware that I am beginning to work more closely with the International Pelvic Pain Society (pelvicpain.org).  As I get more involved with the good people of this non-profit, I will post events that I’ll be attending as well as patient events that YOU yourself can attend if you feel well enough and are close enough to the meeting.

The next such meeting is May 31 – June 1 in New York.  Find more info here: http://pelvicpain.org/meetings/details.aspx?id=32

It is a Patient “Retreat” for men and women.  If you are able to go, please contact me.  I’d like to interview you and discuss your experience so that we may share with our community this resource, if helpful.

Here is the Mission Statement of the organization, and click on the picture to access the full Patient Brochure as a downloadable PDF.

MISSION STATEMENT

The International Pelvic Pain Society was established in 1996 with two primary objectives:

  • To educate health care professionals how to diagnosis and manage chronic pelvic pain, thereby changing the lives of patients worldwide.
  • To bring hope to men and women who suffer from chronic pelvic pain by significantly raising public awareness and impacting individual lives.
Click to download the PDF in its entirety.

Click to download the PDF in its entirety.

IPPS_Patient-Education-Brochure_5-2014

 

Please let me know if you’re able to attend, and if one or more of you can, I want to make sure you are able to exchange information and meet one another.  Our online community is wonderful, but it sure doesn’t replace the comfort of a warm hug and the look of validation in the eyes of another injured person.

God bless you, and I pray today is one of the good days for each of you!

Love,

Aaron

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

BELOVED ANGELS and WARRIORS;

This Mother’s Day will be quite different for many of us, different than any other year.  I miss my mother. My day-to-day family is of a different make-up.  There are wounds that are open, deep in my core, raw and inexplicable, as many of your own physical wounds remain open and untreated.  During the past year or more, many unforeseen events have been soul-stealing attempts at beating me up, down, in every direction. As many have been unforeseen, yet JOY-FILLED events that, but for this mesh, would never have presented themselves for our taking.  My family photo album from the last year includes a variety of characters, most all new family members, family by chance- my mesh family.

I have the divine pleasure of spending an entire month with my gloriously scrumptious 11-yr-old niece.  Before we left for California, we spent just about two weeks together at my house.  That means I am the luckiest aunt on the planet.  Her time with me; her trip to California alongside me wasn’t in “the plan” originally.  So I got to thinking, “What do you do with a happy accident?”  At the very least, the colloquial phrase starts with “Happy,” so we’ve got a lot going for us already; now on to that word “Accident.”  I find the word most often has a negative connotation in our every day use of it, but in this instance, there is nothing negative, no undesirable implication whatsoever, and actually quite the opposite.

Surprisingly, I have to go three definitions deep at dictionary.com to get a definition with anything negative at all:

accident  (ˈæksɪdənt)
— n
1 . an unforeseen event or one without an apparent cause
2 anything that occurs unintentionally or by chance; chance; fortune: I met him by accident.
3 a. misfortune or mishap, esp. one causing injury or death

So, our “Happy Accident” is something that occurred unintentionally or by chance – chance or fortune – or maybe even, Divine Providence.

When I found out a week before I was leaving for California that my niece would be with me; I was elated, on Cloud 9, ecstatic, joyful, excited, and um……… SCARED!  In 39 years, my role in this realm has been as a stepmother to two boys; an earthly mother to the heart beating within me for too brief a time; and a role model and mother-figure for my niece and nephew and a few others in need of some maternal love along the way.  But I’ve never actually been a day-to-day, feed ‘em, get ‘em to school, encourage them in their little-person languages, discipline them, or read between their little lines to get to their heart of hearts REAL MOTHER.

It’s a challenge to be sure, and I’m going back to the same formula I do for any other challenge of the heart:

LOVE – first and always.

CORRECT – second and always.

Have FAITH in her – always.

Have HOPE for her future – always.

The rest will most often take care of itself, I have found.  The last month has also reminded me of a simple life truth:  The hardest things to do in life are often the simplest.

Many try to follow JUST ONE rule, THE GOLDEN RULE: 

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

Treat others as you would have them treat you.  Easy to say, but very, very hard to do- much harder some days than others.

So if that’s too difficult for many of us on many days, how about these THREE rules:

Have FAITH, HOPE & LOVE in and for others, always and forever.  Again, pretty easy to say and remember, but very, very difficult to do.  I don’t think learning how to love people is getting any easier with more rules… hmmmm.

So then what if we take a crack at keeping the tried and true rules for right behavior for many religions including Judaism and Christianity:  The TEN Commandments.  You may be thinking, “Well, it’s not like I’m gonna murder anyone.  I don’t need those.  Ya, ya- don’t steal or kill; I get it.”  But for the sake of discourse, just read through them again:

The TEN COMMANDMENTS  Scroll

And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God,for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Take a look at number five again.  How did we get SO FAR AWAY from that one?  This manmade MESH DISASTER is proof that we forgot or maybe even completely ignored that one, and we did a damn good job of it.

We can’t seem to follow TEN simple rules as a society, so why would we be able to follow more?

I don’t think we are able, but if the TEN COMMANDMENTS offend you or you do not ascribe to Biblical beliefs, try George Washington’s 110 Rules for Civility.  See if you can follow 110 rules.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1248919

George Washington wrote his "Ten Rules of Civility" when he was 8 years old.

George Washington wrote his “Ten Rules of Civility” when he was 8 years old.

After all that study, it’s seems apparent that every right action simply comes back around to just that one simple rule:  Treat others as you would have them treat you.

At least I can remember that one every morning, even if I forget it by noon and have to remember again and try still another time.  Again.  Every single day, sometimes by the hour- try to love again.

On Mother’s Day, as you consider how best to love your mother, I implore you to consider how you can put just this one rule above into action.  If you feel like you land on the mark one day, or even with a single moment, please share it with us.  Help our community to look for the moments in which we can love better still. Let your success fuel others onto good deeds and good days.

Family looks different for me today than it did a few years ago.  My mother is badly injured.  I’m closer to my mother in law than I’ve ever been.  Many days, my family consists mostly of my mesh family and not my natural family.  These “Mesh Sisters/Mothers/Grandmothers/Aunts” are at the tip of the spear of their injured families, families injured by a criminal assault on our precious matriarchs and the glue that holds our families together, and in that way, we as a Mesh Injured Community, one of whole families, are as close as any blood relation.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, and especially to the mesh-injured mothers and grandmothers.

We HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOU.  We love you, and we will do our best to honor you today and from now on.  God bless you all.

The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights

Witnessing a civil trial makes ya kinda wanna remind yourself again . . .

http://www.BillofRightsInstitute.org

The U.S. Constitution – Downloadable PDF
Bill of Rights – Downloadable PDF

Bill of Rights

The Conventions of a number of the States
having, at the time of adopting the
Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to
prevent misconstruction or abuse of its
powers, that further declaratory and
restrictive clauses should be added, and as
extending the ground of public confidence
in the Government will best insure the
beneficent ends of its institution;
Resolved, by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States of
America, in Congress assembled, two‐thirds
of both Houses concurring, that the
following articles be proposed to the
Legislatures of the several States, as
amendments to the Constitution of the
United States; all or any of which articles,
when ratified by three‐fourths of the said
Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and
purposes as part of the said Constitution,
namely:

Amendment 1
Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof; or abridging the
freedom of speech, or of the press; or the
right of the people peaceably to assemble,
and to petition the government for a redress
of grievances.

Amendment 11
A well regulated militia, being necessary to
the security of a free state, the right of the
people to keep and bear arms, shall not be
infringed.

Amendment 111
No soldier shall, in time of peace be
quartered in any house, without the consent
of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a
manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment 1V
The right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall
not be violated, and no warrants shall issue,
but upon probable cause, supported by oath
or affirmation, and particularly describing
the place to be searched, and the persons or
things to be seized.

Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a
capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless
on a presentment or indictment of a grand
jury, except in cases arising in the land or
naval forces, or in the militia, when in
actual service in time of war or public
danger; nor shall any person be subject for
the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy
of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any
criminal case to be a witness against
himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor
shall private property be taken for public
use, without just compensation.

Amendment V 1
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused
shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public
trial, by an impartial jury of the state and
district wherein the crime shall have been
committed, which district shall have been
previously ascertained by law, and to be
informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation; to be confronted with the
witnesses against him; to have compulsory
process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,
and to have the assistance of counsel for his
defense.
Amendment V 11
In suits at common law, where the value in
controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the
right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and
no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise
reexamined in any court of the United
States, than according to the rules of the
common law.

Amendment V 111
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor
excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and
unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment 1X
The enumeration in the Constitution, of
certain rights, shall not be construed to
deny or disparage others retained by the
people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United
States by the Constitution, nor prohibited
by it to the states, are reserved to the states
respectively, or to the people.

A “Pictures Page” is Worth 1,000 Words

ResizedImage274404-a-thousand-words_thumb[2]Hi Angels;

I’ve added a new page to the blog that simply includes mesh-gone-wrong pictures, with sourcing if the pictures are public or part of a medical journal/review.

If you have pictures you’d like to share, even if they are yours personally, I can post them anonymously. The reason I added this page is because this term is one of THE MOST SEARCHED FOR terms on Google, Yahoo, etc. regarding the mesh subject matter. There are new people looking for help and information, and pictures are what they want to see first. This page will give them something to show their doctors, a benefit most of us did not have.  Please send me an email or call me if you have any public or private pics you’d like me to post to the new page, here: PICTURES OF MESH (you can also reach this page from the Navigation Bar on the Home/Blog page).

Thank you, Angels!

 

All my love and then some~

Aaron

How many words is 1,000 pictures worth?

How many words is 1,000 pictures worth?

 

 

 

The Friday GIFTaway, and my date with Dotty. . .

MY DATE WITH DOTTY . . .

Our "Selfie"

Our “Selfie” — Dotty Griffith and me, your humble warrior

My friend and fellow “foodie” came out for an overnight visit early this week. We’ve known one another for 17 years now and have kept in contact through our various job changes, moves, life events and crises.  Though our age difference exists, during our chats, we’ve always felt like kindred spirits in some regard- conversations never forced; always delighted to gab about our shared interests including food and writing. We even talked about our favorite presidents, as it was President’s Day Monday, and I found out that she is kin to George Washington. I’m convinced that nothing heals me better than good conversation, and the good Lord knows, Dotty has some fun stories to tell after her many travels and life experiences.

I’ve always looked up to my friend, Dotty Griffith, for who wouldn’t?  She was a long-time writer, editor and THE Dallas Morning News food critic for the better part of 27 years. Our paths always crossed somehow. Me, representing various food and restaurant clients and calling on her as a reporter, trying to impress her with my clients’ food, chefs or unique stories. She, the accessible, down-to-earth, genuine person that you wish all people in positions of power like hers could be, always gracious, never making me to feel a bother for doing my job (which was to bother her, actually.)  🙂

Over the years, we’ve become closer as friends rather than professional colleagues, although we continue to grow in both regards. The reasons for this welcome development are in the way that everything happening in my life right now somehow is – astonishing and feels as if events are not driven by me but rather, driven through me somehow. I pray and presume it is for the benefit of my mother and all of you whom I love dearly and speak with and of often- about what the mesh has stolen from you; stolen from us.

As Dotty and I spoke about our shared dreams and how our differences add up to make for a pretty unique, special and rare kind of friendship offering years of gabbing and gorging to come, my heart was filled with joy and gratitude for my very well-known and popular friend, who reached out to me this time.  When I asked, “Why did you reach out to me; you could have called any of the bazillions of marketing experts in the Dallas area,” she simply said, “Because you know what you’re doing and you are and have always been genuine with me and true, never trying to use me for anything.” That was the highest compliment I could ever receive from her (that, and that she loves my fledgling novel! Yikes! Yay!). I want my life to be defined by that sentiment. So as I hugged her goodbye and told her how delightful our time together had been, she looked back at me with a grin and said, “I’m excited about what the future holds for you, for me, and for us, and I’m looking forward to a nice drive home, pondering all that we discussed,” and with that I felt I had given to her in the ways that she has so often given to me.

I have a deep sense of gratitude for her willingness to share her spirit and her craft with me and with our community, so without further ado…. The Friday GIFTaway is a signed copy of Dotty’s latest published cookbook, “The Texas Holiday Cookbook.” (link to Amazon where you can read more about it or buy one if you don’t win!) 

TEXAS, TEXAS - Yeehaw!

TEXAS, TEXAS – Yeehaw!

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 4.57.20 PMDotty is quite simply the Queen of Texas Cuisine, and a really fun dinner companion too!  Thank you, Dotty for graciously donating your book to one lucky winner, as we have lots of Mesh Angels and Warriors that love to cook, and would love a new challenge like TEXAS CUISINE!

The winner is selected at random and will be announced NEXT FRIDAY! 

As usual, two simple rules to enter, and the winner is selected at random:

 1)   Comment on the Friday GIFTaway Blog (this blog post)

 OR

2)   Become a follower of the blog by entering your email address at the top right-hand corner where it says:  “Follow Blog via Email. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Join 573 other followers.”

Remember, the blog will send you an email to confirm you are the one entering your email address and as a security precaution so you can verify you were the one to add your address (So don’t forget to immediately check your email so you can verify your desire to “Opt in” to receive my emails).

GOOD LUCK!!

Your friend and Warrior,

Aaron