Our Bundle Of Joy Arrived!

Marcus and I were no strangers to the process of a c-section. Again he watched the doctor cut me open and reach in, pull out little baby boy out, them pump my uterus again, then he got to cut the umbilical cord of our son. Again, the cries were heard and my eyes filled up with tears. What a beautiful sound! He was premature so they took him right away to begin working on him. They places him into an incubator and we were unable to touch him. I was so sad that I could not hold him, kiss him. He was so tiny weighing in at six and a half pounds. He had so much hair and his head looked so much bigger than his body. After they brought me back to my room, I was still not able to see him. Marcus was able to go where they kept him and see him. The following day I was able to get up from the bed and carefully walk with a walker over to see him. I glanced down at this little precious baby and saw all this hair and round things stuck to his forhead. They had to shave a little of his hair off to stick those things. They were stuck all over his body. They told us his lungs were a little weak but had high hopes he would be just fine. Again, I was to spend a week in the hospital. I was finally able to have him in my room in the incubator, then a few days later, I finally got to hold him. He was so small! So fragile. I loved him so much. I couldn’t stop kissing him. I couldn’t wait to take him home and be out of the hospital. When the doctor was delivering our son they asked me if I wanted my tubes tied since they were right there. Both Marcus and I agreed. This was it. Our son would be the last child we would have. We had a girl and a boy. The perfect family. 

We finally arrived home. A baby and flowers including a huge beautiful bouquet of blue roses sent from Marcus’s boss. After a few days, Marcus was suppose to go back to work. I really didn’t want him to leave but we needed the money and couldn’t afford for him not to work. I would eventually follow a week later, back to Lloyd, was the plan. Almost a week after Marcus left, we were all sitting watching television when I noticed our son had a fever. He was fidgety and not breastfeeding properly. It was hard to get him to eat at all. He was filling out just fine and was the most precious baby with huge eyes and a beautiful head if hair. He was now no longer so frail and fragile. Worried again, I contacted Marcus to tell him our boy was sick. The following day he was back. If anything was ever wrong with our kids, he dropped everything and was there as fast as he could be. We couldn’t get his fever down. We immediately decided to take him to the children’s hospital and have the doctors have a look as to why his fever was creeping up. He wasn’t sick, stuffy with a cold or anything so we were both puzzled as to what was wrong. As we started to get ready to head to the hospital, my father stood up from the couch and literally peed all over the floor. When he finished he said he had to do to the washroom. He wasn’t making any sense and began talking about his homeland. The family knew something was wrong so we called 911. The ambulance came and immediately assessed him. They told us they needed to take him to the hospital right away. As the ambulance left, Marcus and I followed shortly after to take our son to the children’s hospital. What was going on? So fast, everything had shifted and now everyone was in a panic. It amazing how fast life can change. Almost in an instant. We got to the children’s hospital and because sour son was still a newborn, they tended to him right away. They began drawing blood and doing tests to find out what was wrong. After a few hours, the doctor came to us and told us our son was having problems with his bladder and kidney. His bladder had some sort of a reflux that was shooting his per back into his kidneys instead of coming out. With antibiotics, they closely monitored him and ended up booking him in to stay. Marcus did not leave his side the whole time our son was in the hospital. I was back and forth tending to our daughter and trying to find out what was going on with my father. Thank God for having so many sisters. They were always so helpful and amazing. They were always there for us. In the blink of an eye, no hesitation. Whenever needed, they would literally drop everything and help in any way they could. I never went to the hospital to see my father. I didn’t really care to. My son was more important anyways. My would I have the slightest care how he was doing? He had hurt me for 20 years of my life. I was now suppose to care? Everything us sister’s did for my father after that was always a put on or a show. Just to keep the secret hidden. He was a diabetic as well so when he would ask us to get him a slurpee, we would gladly go running to the store for him. We would get to the store, grab a slurpee cup, go to the coffee dispensing machines, find the sugar, fill the cup half way with sugar then fill the rest with slurpee.  He loved it. He always told us slurpees were too sweet but he loved them anyways. We would giggle when he drank them. He would always have to take more diabetic medications to counteract the sugar rushes.

Our son was finally getting better. His smiles melted my heart. He was always such a good baby. Slept and are well. Not fussy at all. We would know whenever anything was wrong because he would never be fussy. Even if his diaper was full, he patiently waited for us to figure it out with his ear to ear smiles. We knew the face.  It was like he was grinning and star gazed looking at us like ” mommy and daddyyyyy..i have a surprise in my diaper”! We just knew. Thankfully the doctors told us he would not need surgery and the problem had fixed itself! It was like a miracle. His little body was still adjusting from its premature state and working itself out. Our little boy was going to be fine. We were so relieved that we were going to get to go home. We couldn’t bare to see them pull blood from his little heals anymore and we wanted that intravenous out! It had caused so many problems while he was there like loosening from his vein and his little hand puffing up like a marshmellow. He had also wet himself so bad when I arrived one morning while Marcus was still asleep by his bed. I walked over to his bedside and he was laying there smiling at me and started flaring his arms and legs so excited to see me as if to say good morning! I went to pick him up and squeeze him. He was soaked with pee. Right up to his neck and down to his toes. I quickly ripped his clothing off as his bottom lip began to quiver. Washed him with the bath in a bag sponge and dressed him with warm clothes. As I breast fed him, he looked up at me and wouldn’t eat from smiling. This boy had the means of continuously melting my heart. I would hold him up to my face, kiss him and giggle with him then try to feed him again. He would do the same thing over and over like it was a game. He was my little angel. Our children were our little gift from God worth more than anything else in this world. 

The Cancer Came Back…Be Careful What You Wish For!

I received a phone call from the triple screen test I had a few months earlier. I was so scared and nervous. They had me convinced that my baby was going to have down syndrome. It shocked me at first and I was so upset. Everyone dreams of having a perfect child. I began to research and study all the possibilities of classes or groups I could join to help me understand it. I learned that down syndrome was not a disability. It would just make our baby unique as we all were. Whatever baby I was blessed with, I was grateful and excited to bring into this world. I would love this baby no matter what. Even if it came out with two heads or no limbs. It was our baby.

It was time to move to Lloydminster. It was exciting but leaving my mother and sister’s behind was hard. They would be coming when the house sold but in the meantime, my eldest sister had already landed there with her family and of course we would now be much closer to my brother. It was a small oil city but big enough to have everything we needed. Our little town home was old but it was somewhere to live for now. Marcus was not around hardly at all. He worked in the oil patch for weeks at a time then he would come home for his week off. Luckily my eldest sister was around to help me when I needed it. Our daughter was two and my pregnancy was again rough. This baby I was carrying was sitting so low, my belly stretched so badly it always hurt to walk too much. I was always so happy when Marcus came home. His presence always made me feel better. I was seven months pregnant. The phone rang a few days before Marcus was due home and it was the medical team from the triple screen test. I remember feeling so anxious with what they were about to tell me. They told me my baby was going to be fine. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. Then they asked me if I would want to know the sex of the baby. Yes!! Of course! “It’s a boy”!! My heart fluttered. We were having a boy! A baby boy! We had the perfect family. A little girl and a now a boy. I hung up with them and called Marcus right away! He was ecstatic! I could hear that excitment in his voice. We started bouncing off names to one another. I told Marcus this boy would take his name as his middle name for sure! A few days later, Marcus arrived home and I was so happy to see his face! Our little girl was having issues with her eyes from birth. She was born with two lazy eyes. When she had to focus on something, they would cross. The eye doctor put glasses on her that were so thick, she looked so cute. I always thought if she stared into the sun, she may start a fire! I woke up to use the restroom one night. As a pregnant woman, that was pretty frequent all night and day. I glanced over into her play pen that she slept in beside me. I saw a mass of darkness near her face. I looked closer and then flicked the light on to get a better look. There was a pool of blood next to her face. I yelled and probably scared a few years out of Marcus’s life. We woke her up to see where the blood was coming from. It was a nose bleed. We woke her up and tended to her bedding and her face trying to understand what was happening. First thing in the morning, we had her at the doctors office. Our doctor was also my brothers best friend. He was such a great doctor and a nice heart. He told us not to worry. That it was just a nose bleed but he would further do some testing to make sure that’s all it was.

My father came into visit and do some work on my sister’s home. Building a deck and such. The family noticed he was acting really weird. Not remembering things and staring out into space quite a bit. The deck took so long to complete but when it was done, my brother sent him home right away to see a doctor. We received a call a week later with his results and his cancer had come back. He began chemotherapy again and had been doing ok. We were all happy to hear this great news. God works in mysterious ways. It seemed like God was torturing him for all the torture he put us through for half our lives.

I went home for week shortly after to see my mom and sister’s. I was now eight months pregnant. I couldn’t seem to keep my blood pressure down. It was always to high. This baby boy sure was kicking and moving around a lot. I loved the feeling of being pregnant and feeling our little baby swimming and blowing bubbles. Again, as with our daughter, whenever our baby heard daddy’s voice, they would instantly start moving around as though they too were as excited to hear his voice as I was. I went to see a doctor in Calgary that was a specialist for high risk pregnancies. He sure was a great doctor. He was also a comedian. I remember always getting some great laughs from him in the way he joked around. It was calming to whole heartedly laugh. One night, I began feeling some sharp pains. I woke up to throwing up and a turning stomach. The pain was sharp in my abdomen. I called Marcus in the middle of the night worried about what to do. Right away, he told me to go to the hospital and that he would leave the camp in the patch and come straight to Calgary. I was nervous without him near me. I needed him to get here as fast as he could safely. My sister’s drove me to the hospital. In the middle of the night, I didn’t have to worry about how busy the ER was. When your pregnant you go to a special floor and they tend to you right away. They took me in right away. In no time, I had the heart monitor on the baby and they began testing. I couldn’t think of anything but Marcus. I just wanted him with me is all I knew. It seemed like days passed waiting and I fell asleep. No pain finally. I fell asleep thinking of this baby. This boy we were having soon was so exciting. I woke up a few hours later to Marcus’s face looking at me. “What”????? How did he get here so fast! I remember crying when he kissed me. I was so happy to see him my heart hurt. I cried worse than a baby. Marcus wiped my tears away and told me that his work let him go right away. Then my brother in Lloyd had him flown to Calgary on a little comuter plane. Marcus’s favorite. Apparently he had only enough time to take a quick shower and grab a bag before his flight left to Calgary. I held onto his hand so tightly and never wanted to let go. It was morning and the doctor came in to see us. He checked my blood pressure regularly all night and didn’t like the fact that it was getting worse as the time went by. He immediately told us that he wanted to do an emergency c-section and take our son out. I was 3 weeks early. I was scared because the lungs were the last thing a baby develops in the final trimester. Our baby also hadn’t had a chance to gain some weight but we were assures that the doctor would do everything he could to make sure the baby was safe and he would survive. We put all our faith in him. He gave us 1 hour for Marcus to go home and come back to bring me my overnight bag. I didn’t think that when I first went to the hospital that I was actually going to deliver a baby! Marcus left right away. I prayed he would drive carefully as I know wit him panicked, I wouldn’t want him speeding or getting into an accident. Oh great, another thing to worry about! As they came to take me to the surgical room, Marcus was still not there! I remember yelling “Wait! Please! Everyone please wait! I can’t go through this without Marcus! He has to be here”! I remember no one really paying attention to me as they were all busily preparing for the baby’s birth. My heart hurt, I needed Marcus to be here for the birth of his son! I remember them preparing me with the curtain they put up in front of you and one of the nurses bent over toward me and said “he’s here, yoir husband made it and now he’s just suiting up”! I could feel the relief running through my body. I could finally not worry anymore and have this beautiful baby I was so excited to meet.

The Renewal Of Our Vows..July 9, 2000…

The day was approaching when Marcus and I could have the wedding we always wanted surrounded by our entire family. I had my long eight foot train on my studded wedding gown. Marcus as sexy as ever in his black tuxedo. Our wedding party consisted of eight bridesmaids and eight groomsman. We had a feast the night before and we were nervous. Not sure why as we were already married. Marcus had family drive all the way from Tuscaloosa Alabama. His parents and his sister with her husband and their son. My sister joined us from Houston with her family. We were to have 200 guests attending our special day. We had a third wedding band made for me. The engagement ring, the actual wedding ring from our vows to each other last October and now the renewal of our vows on July 9th, 2000. I was now three months pregnant as well! I was unable to wear those undergarments that suck a woman in from all our bulging parts. So important for a woman especially on her wedding day! I was also not able to toast with any wine or champagne. I wasn’t much of a drinker so that was ok. I was having morning sickness and my breasts were extremely tender. I was also starving all the time. I could only concentrate on food! 

The day was finally here and our house was a zoo. People running around getting ready and looking for this and that. Thankfully we had three hairdressers in our family and they sure were busy! Shoes, dresses, makeup and hairspray everywhere. Table filled with food like usual. Thats where i hung out of course. The limousines had arrived and we were ready to go to the church. The ceremony went off without a hitch. No one fainted or threw up especially me! A friend and owner of a very large restaurant closed its doors for our reception. A little squishy but we all fit. Everyone ate and drank and danced the night away. Every time I looked over at Marcus, my heart melted. I was falling more in love with him every minute. Was that even possible? How can you love someone to the moon and back yet still fall in love with them more every day? I guess it was possible. It was happening to me. Marcus and I began a ritual that day. He would say “I love you”, I would reply with “I love you more” and vice versa. I knew in my heart that when I said it, I truly did love him more. He saved me. He was the man who changed my life forever and took all the fear from my heart and soul. He was also the man to give me this baby I had always dreamed of. 

When all was finally over and our family had gone back to their hometowns, Marcus and I could start to piece our lives together with what we wanted and needed. We were now ready to officially begin our lives together.

So, My Married Life Began

I could not wait to start my life with him and live normally. Have a home, have a mortgage, pay bills and have a family. I vowed and dedicated my life to Marcus. I also vowed to take care of the family I would one day have. I would never let harm or betrayal come into our lives especially with the kids we would one day have. I was ready to protect my family from any harm and suffering as I had endured my whole life. I wanted to take with me lessons that I hard learned along the way. I loved our family life and routines growing up. The closeness and love we felt as family members in my own family, would be instilled in my new one. Family vacations, eating together, having family time and date nights alone with Marcus to build our relationship together. There had to be a time for everything made no matter what to accomplish success. Hard work and dedication would be the key.

Marcus was unable to work. He was still on a visitors visa in Canada. The application for permanent residency would have to be completed in order for him to work and our lives to truly start. We had found an immigration consultant to help us with the then, confusing application package. In time, in small increments, we had paid over $15,000 to the consultant. Paperwork and documents galore. Then came the red tape. Naturally, Canada had to assure Marcus was not using or abusing the system to get into Canada. In Canada, the land of the free and diversity with an unbelievable medical system, it was a prime living opportunity to those on not so fortunate countries. In Canada, especially Alberta, we do not pay a penny for medical treatment. Mostly everything is covered by Alberta health care. A card given to you at birth at no cost. Any medical treatment was usually covered. In our neighboring country, the United States, treatment had to be paid for and paperwork had to be filled out before a doctor would look at you. They even turned people away that had no money or insurance. That would never happen in Canada. Even foreign workers received cards for free health care while in Canada for work. A visitor, as Marcus was, would have to pay for medical but still then, it would be so inexpensive. Forty dollars for a doctor visit. He would also never be turned away if he needed any medical surgeries or more intense treatment. They would perform regardless of money or payment but give a bill in the afterwards. Luckily, he was a healthy man and didn’t need anything during his waiting visitor year other than a doctor visit for a cough or cold. Marcus was also a very high candidate for migraines. They would hit him hard. He suffered from nasal infections constantly making him gag from draining. The altitude change would set his migraines screaming. They would hit more often than usual. He would have to succumb to a quiet dark room, lay down holding his head with tears in his eyes and rock back and forth. I felt helpless. Most of the time, all I could do, was tie a belt around his head and help him pull on it as tightly as I could. This would offer him some temporary relief. I had never had one headache in my entire life. I had no idea what a headache or a migraine would feel like. Watching him suffer always broke my heart. I felt helpless. We spoke to mama in Alabama on several occasions because she suffered from migraines as well. Mama would help by sending is some medications that worked for her. Over the counter vitamins and such to help prevent the migraine from getting worse. It helped somewhat, but his body was also adjusting to the new climate and altitude. Canada was known for getting amazing amounts of snow in certain parts and not so much in others. In Calgary, some years, the snow would be over three feet high, other years almost one foot. It would also get downright freezing with temperatures dropping below -20°c/-4°f. To Canadians, that is normal weather. We are so use to it. To visitors, that is down right freezing cold. Snow was now upon us. Marcus was going to discover Canada’s winter months. The first snowfall would fascinate him! He loved watching it. Marcus told me in Alabama, they would get snow rarely too but it was heavy and wet. They would not get very much of it and it would melt right away. If more came, it would shut down the entire city, county. In Canada, even in years of sometimes having an upward of 5+ feet of snow, it would never shut the city down. We would still have to drive or walk on those slippery roads to get to get to our destinations. Planes would still fly. Busses and trains would still function no matter what flurries or deep freeze we were undergoing. It would now be cold but not what was usual. We were having an ok winter season. To too cold at all but cold enough to freeze the hair on your head or in your nostrils. Marcus went out to brush the snow off our vehicles one morning.  Two hours later, we still saw no sign of him. I had ended up getting busy and then falling back asleep for a nap. After a few hours, upon waking up i noticed Marcus was no where in the house! I asked my family where he was and they said he was still outside clearing snow off the cars! They were giggling a little. I was so confused! I was more concerned than giggling or laughing like the rest of them until I went and looked from the window. In an instant, I started giggling like the rest of them. He had the snow brush in his right hand and slowly waving the snow off the cars in segments within a pattern design. He looked hilarious. It was like he was waving a magic wand over the snow and delicately, with long strokes, fluttering the snow off the car. From far it looked like a magical dance he was performing. I knocked on the glass window and asked him to come in for a sec. He walked into the house, his nose red like rudolph, his hair frosted over including the hairs in his nose. The first words out of his mouth was ” I can’t believe how fluffy the snow is here! I love brushing it off and watching it fall. I Alabama the snow is so heavy, wet, not fluffy like this but there is so much of it”! He was ecstatic! It made me laugh harder. I was worried about him driving on the slippery roads when he wasn’t use to it but he assured me he was a professional driver and had a class one truckers driving license. I always trusted and had faith in everything he told me but no matter what, deep down, I would always worry. I loved him so much I would worry about everything. I needed to protect him from everything. He was so precious to me. He saved me. I always felt like I had to return the favor. It wasn’t even like that….I wanted to. Government paperwork was all completed and sent in. It was now the waiting game. It would take one year for the paperwork to go through. Marcus would go stir crazy not being able to work or do anything for that long. We also had to pay is American bills in Canadian funds plus the bills I already had. That, in time would prove to be so difficult. I was now just teaching piano privately. I was not working full-time. My studio set up was not ideal for more students. There was no door to close for privacy. We stayed downstairs and the entrance was just the stairway. The time would soon come that we would have to declare bankruptcy in both Canada and The United States.  It was hard to do but it sure relieved us of financial stress. 

First Place…YES!

Just before it was my turn to go up, Bruce, our coach, came around the corner aiming right for me looking so angry! Bruce, so tall and huge and intimidating with red eyes, bent forward to me and put his face right into my face. He said, “They are red flagging all the Canadian lifters, they told me we are not going down far enough when we squat”! When you squat properly, as the weight is on your back and you begin the squat, you must bend down bending your knees, your buttocks must go lower than your knees. That is considered a proper squat. Apparently, we were told none of the Canadian lifters were doing that which means they were all being disqualified. One by one. Yelling in my face he continued to say,” I will go the bottom of the stage in front of you. Look for me. When you squat, I want you to focus on ME! Do not stand or push the weight up until you hear me yell PUSH IT UP! I will make sure you go low enough so your not red flagged. Our hope is in you. Watch for me. Look at me. Listen to me”! He sat me down right away and undid the wraps on my wrists and knees. He began to re wrap my knees so tight that it was cutting off my circulation! He then began wrapping my wrists just as tight. My hands went numb. My heart was beating so fast. Some lifters, right before going on stage, had a quick sniff of pneumonia and walked out. I had tried it once months ago before a lift and it messed my head up. No way was I able to do that! I didn’t need it anyways. I had so much anger always built up inside me naturally, I didn’t need to sniff anything. 

Now was the time. My name was called. I could hear the cheering and yelling and I was ready! Bruce helped me up out of the chair and towards the stage. I walked like I was robotic. Wrapped so tightly and a very tight squat suit, it was a huge effort to even make it TO the stage. Oh dear Lord, let me just do this for me, my coach, my team! As we turned the corner onto the stage, Bruce naturally, grabbed the pneumonia and shoved it under my nose. Startled, I breathed in! It took him a split second to realize that I don’t sniff that stuff but it was too late. I already took a deep breath in and my head was spinning. He walked me up to the squat rack and then left me to the spotters. Bruce made his way down to the front of the stage and my eyes followed him. I needed to see and listen to his screaming at me when it was time to push it up! I had four spotters with me, two on each side. I was ready. I waited anxiously waited for the judges cue to do my squat. The crowd went silent. Everyone waiting for the hand gesture from the main judge. I was so numb! No blood flow. “Hurry up please”! I thought. Finally, the cue. I got the weight on my back. Held it tight, stepped backwards a few feet and waited for the judges cue to now squat. The judge lowered his hand, the moment was here. I began squatting the weight. Lower, lower, down slowly. It was so heavy! I still had two more heavier lifts to do and wow this one was heavy! I needed to qualify unlike my fellow lifters. When I thought I could go no lower, Bruce wasn’t saying push it up yet! I thought that’s low enough!! I listened for his voice, inching my way down as far as I could go. The pain was unbearable but I kept going lower. Finally, I heard his voice yell “PUSH IT UP NOW, NOW, NOW”! I was so relieved. Along with his yelling, the crowd began yelling as well! Everyone wanted to see a Canadian qualify! I pushed it up so fast. All the tightness with the wraps sure helped me spring back up. Now I know why he wrapped me up so tight! I sprung back up like a breeze! Everyone was yelling and cheering. It was so loud! Then complete silence. Everyone’s face was turned towards the flags. I needed two or more green flags to pass. Everyone’s eyes glued and waiting. First green flag! Everyone screamed. Second green flag, everyone screamed and continued to scream. I already passes with the two. Three green flags!! My coach ran up onto the stage and hugged me. He was so happy.  I could hear the roars from my family and team members. I did it! Now I could legally continue on with the competition.

I had finish my squats and was on to bench press. I opened at 200 lbs. My chest forced itself to pop out further than usual from my tight squat suit. When I layed down on the bench to press the weight, my chest stuck out so far that as long as the bar touched it, it was a good press. With bench press, you just had to take the bar off the rack, touch your chest and rack it back up to pass. Well, with my chest out so far, I only had a short way to go other than the rest! So funny. The guys were all mad at me because of that. I passed. 

Onto the deadlift. I was getting so tired. Being high on adrenalin for the day was super tiring. My turn for deadlift. You have to bend down, pick up the bar, and stand up straight locking your knees and pulling your shoulders back in a locked position. Wait in that locked position until the judges cue you to put the weight down. I passed all my weight predictions. Three green flags! I was done. An American girl was my only competition. She was super strong and in my weight class. I knew deep down that I had far surpassed her in my weight lifted when they tallied the total weights for each lifter, to determine the winners. Sweating, exhausted, mind blown and excited…all the lifters waited anxiously for the awards and placements. We were able to go into the audience and wait with our friends and family. 

The time was here. Weights cleared and the judges along with the medals and trophies, were ready to announce the winners. The cameras were all rolling. Media everywhere. All the lifters sweaty, covered with chalk, habing to make television appearances if they won. Starting with the women, going through the pound classes. I would be last in the super heavy weights. It was time. A lady from Germany taking third place. The ladt from the U.S. taking second which could only mean one thing….first place from Calgary Canada, ME! Ah! I did it! Everyone was cheering and clapping and high fiving me all the way up to the stage. They put the medal around my neck and handed me the beautiful first place trophy. I had lifted 1430 lbs making me the strongest woman in the world. The U.S. came in at 1050. It was so great. My coach came up on stage as well and personally shook my hand and bear hugged me.

It was over..the interviews, the excitement. It was time to go to our hotel rooms. I was so hungry! I just have ordered at least 8 or 10 dishes off the inroom dining menu. I ate it all. I fell asleep right after the last bite. The following morning, I was so sore I couldn’t move. My body screamed from pain not to move. After a few days of scorching heat and trying to tour Vegas in pain, it was time to go home. Home sweet home. What an experience. 

The Strongest Woman In The World!….no really!

In the days I had my business, one of my bodyguards introduced me to a gym he went to. It was about 20 minutes from home and he told me lifting weights would help take out my frustrations.  I was not gym material but I loved the atmosphere.  I was close my my bodyguard Wade. He stood about 6 foot 3. Built like a machine with a goatee and a half head. He was covered in tattoos making him look very mean and intimidating and he was but not to me. He was a teddy bear to me. He introduced me to all his friends and the owners of the gym. It definitely was an ironaddicts gym. I didn’t know what I was doing and tried to make like I did. He would take me there three days a week to work out and train me best he could. One training session, the owner Bruce, came up to me and told me he saw a lot of strength in me. He asked me to do a few squats. I had never done them before. I did what he said. A half hour later, following all he was telling me, he said “wow you have so much inner strength, would you mind if I trained you? Would you be willing to get powerlifting? I head up the Western Conference and I can take you so far! Your strength is blowing my mind”! I was so flattered at his comment. I decided to give it a try. It wa 1996 and I had to juggle so many things but getting fit was important too. I began going into the gym mire and more, every chance I got. The tension that was always built up inside of me would soon go away. Bruce was my trainer. He was s pro hockey player when he was younger. Believe me, this man stood 6 foot 5, 350 pounds of lean muscle. He was huge! He would tower behind me when we trained. The weight he lifted and pushed was unimaginable. He explained the powerlifting world to me. The do’s and don’ts.  He was so supportive and encouraging. When he yelled at you in the middle of a lift, it was so loud and scary! When I told him the weight was too heavy he would tell louder saying “Let’s go! No excuses! I wouldn’t make you do it if I didn’t think you could”! Sure enough, I did it. Getting into the heavier weights, he introduced me to wraps and belts. Squat suits that literally look like they would perfectly fit a 2 year old and I would have to get into it! “Yeah HA, in your wildest dreams”! I laughed. Whatever!! I was pretty top heavy. I tried getting into it but it was impossible. I came up with a great idea the next day. I arrived at the gym with a small bottle of olive oil. Rubbed it all over me and Bruce with 3 other bodybuilders each took one end of the 2 straps and literally shook me into it and it worked! Wow! Women should design those babies for our figures!! Holy did it suck everything in quite well! Only problem is it made my chest stick out a few feet. My buddies at the gym decided to nick name me “slick”. Everyone had a nickname but me but now they found one! I kinda liked it. From that moment on, I would be slick for everything. The suit sure helped when you had so much weight on your back. It would help you bounce back up. That’s when the heavy weights began. I could feel the power within me. I started to warm up with 400 and 500lbs on the squat. I got stronger. My coach decided to sign me up to the powerlifting confederation and have me compete. He told me I would be the worlds strongest woman and to let him get me there. I did! I began training heavily 4 days a week. His motivation would get into my head and I would get stronger everyday. Only problem was, I was a smoker and it showed when I had to lift. I met a lot of friends being on the Canadian team. A big group of us and we were like out own family. Everyone helped and stuck up for each other. We would all be together so much all week. The training was fun. It didn’t feel like work. I became close friends with a girl named Jacquie. She was in the same super heavy weight class as me, 199+. The first competition was drawing near. Everyone gearing up for what was to be an exciting event! The stage full of weights and the stands full of spectators. All the lifters laughing at me trying to get into my squat suit with oil and assistance! Why didn’t they have problems? Some much bigger than me. Three judges watching your every move when it was your turn. Three white flags and three red flags. Each judge could grade the lift red for failure or green for pass. As long as you had at least 2 out of 3 green flags, you passed. You get three attemptes to pass and make your highest weight lift. The lifts consisted of the squat first. If you fail all attempts, you cannot move on to the others. You would become disqualified. Secondly was the chest press then lastly the deadlift.  The total weight of the three combined produces the winners of first, second and third place in the various weight classes. In my three lifts, received green flags all the way. My first competition, first place! The adrenaline was there and I loved it! I was hooked. Bruce promised to make me stronger everyday  and he did. Jacquie and I would start to come and go to okotoks tofether. We had a lot of fun together. Hanging out, out side of the gym. She had no siblings. We were like sister’s. Dealing with work and gym was hard and sometimes I would be so exhausted, when it was time to compete I would not be able to do my best. I’d fall to second place. Jacquie would take first. We were such good friends it didn’t bother me. Just before meeting Marcus in 1999, the CAN/AM World Cup was being held in Las Vegas. Bruce encouraged all of us to register. He wanted the Canadian Team to go and kick butt! All of us powerhouses were booked to go! I had never been to Vegas before. My whole family decided to come and cheer me and my team on. I was so nervous! I worked so hard to make sure I was at my best. The strongest I could ever be. I had won many first place trophies and medals in previous competitions so mentally, I knew I could do it. We landed in Vegas the night before. Nerves set in but I was at my prime. The crowd as far as the eye could see. It began with the squats. All the lifters from various countries. Turn by turn. For some reason, the judges were red flagging all the Canadian lifters. Not one of us was making it through! As they went up in weights it was getting closer to my turn. I had to life with the men lifters because what I lifted was very heavy. Higher than some of the men competing! I was to open with a 450 lbs squat. My first lift. I waited to be called onto the stage. I was use to crowds, that’s for sure. I was ready.

The Best In Music!

I had always cherished the KORG line of keyboards. The sounds that came out of them were so original and so unique. I could play all types of instruments and no one could possibly guess if the sound they heard was coming from the original instrument or my keyboards. The sounds were dead on. In my home studio, I began creating some of the most beautiful music I had ever done. I was proud of myself. Anyone that heard the tunes would compliment me always. When I would begin to play, my family or guests visiting at the time would come down and listen. I always attracted a crowd. I was getting closer to my family now that I was home more. Outings here and there but it didn’t take long for the drama to start. One thing for sure, my father was leaving me alone. He went from a sexual predator to an extreme pervert.  His eyes, always staring at our female parts. Whenever he walked by he had to rub against us. I was older now. I would roll my eyes in disgust. We kept quite for our mothers sake. She was getting old and we didn’t think she could take the news if we did tell her. We also didn’t want to be embarrassed around family and friends who would know of our dark past. They could possibly blame us and we were not prepared for it. We had a whole new fear. Not from him anymore but from everyone else around us. All that would keep us sane was the fact that he wouldn’t go to heaven. He would have to explain to God one day, why he did the things he did to us for all those years. We wanted God to take care of him and we knew he would. 

My second older sister whom at one point years ago, burned her skin with cigarette burns, came to me one night after a family function. She told me he was still attacking her and had now given her the excuse that if she didn’t give in, he would die. The story was that the doctor had apparently given him pills to keep him alive and only the pills along with sex would help. How F*÷;ed up was that? Did it ever dong on you ahole that we want you to die? We had all been anxiously awaiting the time for it to be over? Excitedly dreaming of how sweet our life will be when your gone? So we could actually enjoy life and enjoy our mother without having to look at your face? I guess not. My sister had worked for the bank and was a very important employee. With all the stress at work and with our father, she ended up having a nervous break down. It happened at work. It was so severe that she would need therapists and psychiatrists to help save her life. She would go on to be on disability for the rest of her life.  

She told me that hideous story one night that our father told her and she made me so proud! She told him that if he ever touched her or anyone else again, she would tell and he would spend the rest of his sorry life in prison. What a brave sister!! She stood up for herself and all of us. I couldn’t believe my ears.

I don’t think he would from that point ever touch anyone again. 

The next day was busy with students. The more busy I made myself, the more the time would fly and Marcus would arrive! I just wanted him near me, with me. I felt so safe!

I managed to create some of the most beautiful classical pieces. People would tell me, “Andrew Lloyd Webber, eat your heart out “. I felt so proud. A few days to my angels arrival. I was super excited. I would get to show him everything about me this time. Everything that I grew up with and around. The days took forever to go by. It was like time literally stood still.  I just needed to feel his arms. His lips. I could not sleep or sit still until the day would finally come.