Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hiding with Neurofibromatosis



So, I've been working at the movie theater for 3 months now.  I've made my presence known as someone who is hardworking and reliable.  My favorite job there, is working in the cafe' as a barista...I get to make cool drinks and desserts...And I take a lot of pride in the products I send out to people.

I've become known as the best barista at the theater...And even have guests order something, just because...I AM the one working.  Even having one guest tell me that his Iced Coffee with Caramel...was like having an "orgasm in his mouth"...

-Jaw Dropped-

I am having a lot of fun, but I still struggle with being 'out there' - in front of people.

It's a constant struggle.

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite - Claiming to THRIVE with NF...While inside, I am still trying to figure out how to deal with the constant battles I have in regards to WHAT I THINK is happening when someone sees me.

I'm under these bright lights, so I know that I can't hide my bumps.  I KNOW they can be seen...So, then I have to find ways to make up, for how I come across.

Being EXTRA nice....Helps.  The fast-paced flow of people makes it so people don't really have much time to stare and ask questions...I literally can help 400-600 people a night...

But I am realizing that I am one VERY insecure person.


It doesn't matter to me when someone says "who cares what people think."

I always have cared.  And I always will.  And I guess what REALLY matters, when it comes down to it...Is if I CHOOSE to allow what people THINK of me, affect how I feel/think of myself....And if I let those people stop me from going out into the world and THRIVING.

I know that even 'perfect' people deal with how they feel about themselves...Look at all the people who get cosmetic surgery...Even tho, they REALLY don't need it...

Losing 120 pounds has surprisingly done little to help me feel better - emotionally.  I thought I would be magically transformed...Shedding the old me...But that's not what has happened.

My bumps are here.  I am who I am.  I have to learn how to embrace this....Even when it seems impossible.

I am always working on myself.  Always STRIVING to THRIVE!

THRIVE ON!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Off to Camp!



The kids have been gone for over 24 hours now...The house is empty....And I am feeling like I want to accomplish ALL these things....But...I am having a rough time getting my mind (and I guess my body) motivated.

All I want to do is - NOTHING.  I want to soak up the quietness and rest.

Our home has never once been this quiet, so taking advantage of this time is important...So- why can't I push through and actually GET SOMETHING DONE?

Like my books....?

Summer will be in full swing, when the kids come back from camp...And in a little less than 2 wks ....I fly off to Utah, to see my dad.

It's always hurry hurry in the Hopkins house...So maybe there is nothing wrong with me taking this time to unwind and chill.

I still want to write my books...and I still need to re-write my keynote speech for my speaking gig in Canada....

Can someone just freeze time...?

Thursday, May 28, 2015


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I don't even know what to think....Or how to process this.  So I am going to try and write this out.  Maybe ...JUST MAYBE it will help sort out how I am feeling.  Probably not tho. Sometimes...REALLY CRAPPY things happen....And there is no way to make sense out of them.

The picture above is of a house.  A house that belonged to a very good friend of ours.  A home that this friend opened up to my family....When my family had no where else to go.

Terry Canfield was Rich's friend -- I think they met through Toastmasters.

In 2008....Terry invited our ENTIRE family to come stay with him.  In HIS house....While he moved into his trailer.  No strings.   

Just a selfless act, to help us get back onto out feet.

We lived with Terry for about 20 months...And during that time got to know just how genuine our friendship was.

Terry never once asked for anything in return.

Yesterday morning, Rich called me downstairs to tell me that the house we lived in was destroyed by fire...And that it was very likely that Terry, his wife and her son, all died.



Just like that.


I never experienced tragedy like this...So all of these feelings I am feeling are new. I can't begin to express the emotions that are racing through me.

Terry was a firefighter....HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?

An investigation is ongoing....And this case has turned into a homicide....Which just makes all of these feelings even more confusing!

WHY?  

I have asked God this question more times than I care to admit.  But honestly....WHY?

The lives we touch while we are alive -- You truly never know the impact....Sometimes, until after death....

Terry....I wish I could have shown you more appreciation, for the sacrifice you made for our family. You were a true friend.  And I will miss you.

Pay attention to how you live your life.  Take it slow.  Soak it all up.  Cherish your loved ones.  Pay it forward.  LOVE Deeply.  Give generously.

And THRIVE.

RIP Terry, Lisa and John

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Neurofibromatosis Clinic




These yearly appointments always overwhelm me.  They make for a long day...And the information we get is quick and concentrated.

Here is some advise on how to make the most of your NF Clinic Appointment.  I hope it helps!


  • Plan for a LONG appointment! These appointments can take a while....Mostly because you are seen by a number of different doctors.  This is GREAT...But can also make for a lot of waiting around.  Bring a book and activities for your child.  (and Food.  Bring Food!)
  • BE ON TIME!  Typically WE schedule our NF appointment a YEAR in advance....So be respectful - and know that there are other families that will be affected if you are late.
  • Write your questions down (and remember to bring them with you. *lol*)  Note ANY concerns that you may have...NO-MATTER-HOW-SMALL-THEY-ARE!  
    -You will see many doctors during this visit...So make sure you are covering any issues you would like to discuss.
    Take the time to write the answers you get down....I know for me...I am great at asking the questions....But LOUSY at remembering what the doctor actually said to me.

  • GET REFERRALS!  This is a GREAT time to let-it-all-out and get answers and referrals for your child!  At our appointment...We got referrals for: MRI, Sleep study, Medication changes, dietitian, pain management clinic, behavior clinic and psychiatry appnt....Don't be afraid to ask....and be open to suggestions!

    Our appointment was a little different than yours will be....After all, I had THREE kids being seen...But the general idea, is to be ready....And try not to get overwhelmed.  These appointments are to HELP guide you through this diagnosis.

    If you have any specific questions about your NF appointment...Please comment below and I will respond.
THRIVE ON!!



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's A Small World




I know that I have been MIA lately.  I'm sorry for that.  It's amazing how fast life can sweep by.  The "business" and distractions have left me feeling very run down....And when it comes time to thinking about what I could do for NF Awareness month...I just feel like....I have nothing left to give.

But - I know this isn't true.

I spread NF Awareness EVERYDAY!

There are times where I am shouting from the mountaintops....And other times, where my awareness is simply connecting with a quiet smile.

Last week, a man came to the theater where I work...Who was affected by NF in a more severe way than me....He was wearing a hoodie and didn't make eye contact with me.  But when I gave him his change...My hands touched his hands, that were covered in tumors.  


I felt him recoil.  I told him that I had some of the same tumors that he had...And at that moment....everything slowed down.  He asked if I had NF....And I told him Yes.  He smiled ....I smiled.

He said he had never met ANYONE with NF before.

That felt good.  

He went on his way....Off to watch the Avengers....Now knowing that HIS world became a little bit smaller.  He wasn't alone anymore.

I like MAY.  A special month to do everything we can to spread awareness.

BUT...Awareness happens everyday for those living with this disorder.  It happens on-the-spot and out-of-the-blue.  It happens when people stare too long at you...wondering - what's wrong with her? 

Teaching and talking about NF happens on days where you just want to be left alone....

And in reality....The awareness that happens on ALL THOSE OTHER MONTHS...Is what REALLY matters. 

THRIVE ON!