I didn’t expect to cry at work today!

I didn’t expect to cry at work today!

So yeah, that happened… If you know me even a little, you know I keep everything in. My kids don’t even see me cry… I think it’s because as a single mom, you feel you have to always be strong; hold everything together, everyone is depending on you! I was caught off gaurd today. I attended a case manager retreat for work. It started off with a motivational speaker! She was peppy, zinging but what I never saw coming as she talked; was my long overdue meltdown that was about to literally smack me in the face!
She started telling a story of her own, sons experience with a medical trauma. I had never hear those words put together like that before. We. Talk about life trauma, childhood trauma, sexual trauma….. but…. *medical trauma*… Those words just sorta stung each time she said them.

She went on to share about her son’s experience as an infant and how he got sick with the H1N1 Flu and was taken to the hospital. How he almost died, how she stood by him and stayed with him. How the doctor came back to check on him the next day, thinking he would not make it through the night.

As she told this story, I had to dig my nails into my knee to keep my composure during her lecture. I silently wiped away the tears from my eye that kept trying to sneak away.

I felt stuck, trapped… In the middle of my co-workers; paralyzed unable to escape…. I was fortunate enough to be sitting beside one co-worker that actually knew me & Summer and what we had been through. She knew the moment the lady started talking about her infant son, this wasn’t going to be easy for me to hear. She turned to me a few times, checking in on me… even asking if I was ok.

Several times, I scanned the room trying to plot my escape. How could I leave without being noticed? Because I knew as soon as someone made eye contact with me, I was going to lose it.

Finally, she ended her lecture! My co-worker asked me if I was going to be ok? I said, “No, I need to leave”. She shook her head in understanding and said “which way are you going to go?” I was literally sitting in the middle of a row. I pointed to the path of least resistance, grabbing my things and headed directly to the bathroom.

I hurried grabbing some tissues as I walked into the room. Tears had started to flow freely by this time. I hurried into a stall, so noone could see me, and just stood there. I tried to compose myself, the harder I tried, the more I broke down. Other women now started coming into the bathroom, as I stood silently holding back my sobs.

The tissues I grabbed on the way in, had been used, now having to reach for toilet tissue to wipe up tears. Biting my lip, to keep from crying out loud, trying to deep breathe… Again the more I tried to suppress my emotions, the more emotional I became!

I just kept grabbing more toliet tissue, and yet more! These tears… just will not stop! I felt myself becoming angry. Angry at myself for showing emotions! And why now?! I mean, Summer is 17! We have overcome all of this; haven’t we? I take a few deep breaths, one last time wipe my tears, blow my nose. Walk out and splash water on my face and try to dig in my purse to see what makeup I have to fix the problem I have created!

I am after all at a work event, with my colleagues and it isn’t even noon yet! I gotta pull it together.

I walk out and down the hall, people are lined up for lunch. I try to avoid eye contact, feeling they can see through me. When I look up once or twice, I can tell no makeup can hide the pain and hurt in your eyes.

I walk to the front to a quiet area away from everyone, thinking I just need to pull it together. All I can hear is the speaker saying *medical trauma*… It’s like a movie reel starts going off inside your head that you can’t stop! Not the beautiful best motion picture kind, but the twisted twilight zone version. Flashes of all your most terrifying memories and moments being relived in what seems like such a vivid nanosecond.

I feel the tears start welling back up, a tightness over my chest. Its hard to breathe now. I pray noone comes around the corner. I felt frozen. I try to relax, start rubbing my neck as a co-worker walks in through the door. She notices, something is wrong, or thinking I have a headache she graciously offers me some ibuprofen. I smile and politely decline with as little verbal communication as possible because one utterance of a syllable and the flood gates are going to explode!

I breathe some more, try to clear my head. I am supposed to be helping with acudetox groups this afternoon…. seriously! I have no time for this! All I can think of is the woman from this morning saying how her son had experienced a *medical trauma* he was a 7 week old infant. All I think was all the time I had to hold Summer down on a MRI table or OR table because the surgeon’s called me back to do so; so they could get an IV in her or gas mask on her for a procedure.

As she talked about the nurse that helped her son that had just recently been trained in how to work with infants of trauma. She talked of holding him, and soothing him. I just lost it. As I felt my. Chest tightening, my breathing deepened, as another
colleague walked through the door her eyes caught mine, the look on her face went from happy to see me; quickly to concern. I just smiled nodding her on her way.

Funny thing about the human body, we never know how it will react to things. I kept thinking, how could that speaker get up there and tell that story today and not be emtional?! I almost got mad about it. Before I could really finish that thought, my colleague that was running the acudetox group that I was supposed to be helping later walked back by and stopped to check on me. She sensed I wasn’t ok earlier as she walked in and I tried to briefly explain that the speaker, (when I went to try to find my words, once again: they left me) had hit a nerve with her presentation. My colleague graciously offered me a hug, and to come back to the acudetox room for privacy if needed. I thanked her but graciously declined. Unable to be touched out of fear I would completely break down.

I knew at this point, whatever happened this morning. Whatever that speaker said that triggered this emotional chain reaction within the deepest parts of my soul. The parts I have been pushing down and pushing down for so long. Trying to just pretend they don’t exist. Well, guess what!? That lady stuck oil today! There’s an oil spill with my name all over it; it’s about to get messy today.

There’s just no coming back from that. I finally managed to reach down find my phone, text my boss.
[Hey…. I cant stay… that was too much .. her story little too close to home hit a nerve and I am a emotional mess … ]

I managed to compose myself once again. I walked down the hall seeking out my colleague and the acudetox room. I walk in she was in mid conversation, I smiled trying to hold it together. I politely wait for the conversation to end. I try searching for my words. It’s funny how something as basic as simple speech leaves you when your emotions override your brain!
I feel my eyes well up as I try to push out the words. I….. (shake my head)
I….. can’t…. (shaking my head)….. she comes over concerned. She has such a healing nature about her, offers a hug , i accept this time. I manage to blurt out the words, ‘her story was too close, Summer had a lot of medical problems”; was as far as I got before the tears poured into my eyes. It’s like I was willing them into place, forbidding them to flow freely. She offered me a acudetox treatment, thinking it would help, I declined, the idea of being touched, of being hugged, of being vulnerable around people at that moment was more than I could handle. I told her I just needed to leave . She asked if I was ok to drive. I told her, under my breath holding back tears; “I really just need to go break down in my car, then go home”. I handed her a bracelet that i had remembered to return for another colleague and left as quickly and discreetly as possible.
I smiled when I encountered coworkers, trying to avoid eye contact when possible. I focused on my breathing, trying to hold back the tears.

That lasted till I reached the, corner curb of the street. My eyes could hold back the watery fluid no more. I felt a steady flow down my cheeks, as I hurried to the car. By the time I reached the door of my car, I heard a sobbing sound; it startled me when I realized it was coming from myself.
I quickly opened the door and got into the car and just sat there.

I sat there, in my car, in the parking lot for an hour crying, sobbing, uncontrollably just feeling this sense of weeping, sense of grief, sense of flooding of emotions. I sat in my car, cut on the air conditioning, literally paralyzed… unable to move. Unable to text, drive, speak. Just stuck. There in that car with all those emotions, all those years of suppressed tears flowing like a oil well that has been struck for the very first time, stuck there in the car.

All I could do was see glimpses of moments from different events, first time I heard the words *Ms. Phelps I am sorry, your daughter has pineal cytoma, there’s nothing we can do, we made her an appointment at UVA; but with this, these cases we see , I am so sorry usually 3 to 6 months to live*

Flash forward

Ms Phelps, it’s not actually pineal cytoma, we aren’t really sure, but we think she has two separate things going on, AVM at the vein of Galen and an arachnoid cyst of the pineal gland.

Flash Forward

Ms Phelps there are just so many things about th brain we just don’t know. We need to wait for science to catch up. We will just monitor her for now and hopefully in a few years, we will have better knowledge and tools to operate.


Ms Phelps 90% of brain tumors are frontal lobe tumors. Your daughter’s is in the middle of the brain on top of the brain stem. That makes things much more difficult to operate.


Mrs Phelps we need you to come back to the OR with us please, she’s fighting us, we need you to hold her down so we can put the gas mask on her.


Ms Phelps I am sorry, the surgery didn’t go as well as I had hoped, I wasn’t able to get all the mass. It’s a sticky membrane so we couldn’t just remove it, it would pull other vital brain tissue. I was able to make a small hole in the membrane for the fluid to leak out.


Ms Phelps I don’t know why she is continuing to have headaches and seizure episodes there is so much about the brain we just don’t know

Ms Phelps there is a new procedure we can go in through the femoral artery up to the brain and inject this glue like substance to close off her AVM.


Ms Phelps there is a chance she won’t make it through the surgery. Have you considered this?


*I remember having a conversation with my mother, she asked me if I had thought about what I would do if I God forbid, I have to bury Summer. I had recently moved my church membership from my home church to Timberlake UMC where Summer was christened. It never once crossed my mind of course, I said well, My Comfort the family cemetery of course, she reminded me that I had moved my membership. What a morbid thing to have to even contemplate. The very last thing anyone should or wants to think of before having a surgery to preserve life! Is planning for death… I remember being angry with her for making me think of this!
Then I remembered…. my mother lost a child, she knew what it was to bury an infant. She was trying to prepare me. I quickly requested to have my membership changed back to Mt Comfort before the surgery. That has stuck with me to this day!

So as I sat sobbing and crying for an hour in my car. Slowly I started to feel some relief. I guess truth be told; for over 17 years I have just held it all in. Trying to pretend I was OK, strong,

I purposely threw myself into my job, focusing on clients with high needs, at risk population. I would tell myself see, yeah I know I am dealing with a lot… but see, it’s not that. OR I often felt God was testing me, and if I help others, just do his work, see the good in others. He would heal Summer.

I always prayed…. that if things had turned out differently…. I prayed that I hoped I would be grateful for the time given! Never bitter or angry.

That has stayed with me. Time is such a valuable gift! Most people value money, but time is the true gift of value. How you spend that time with the ones you love….. that is what matters in the world!

Everything else….. is just…. well less…

So today… at work, I cried! But, maybe….. I also healed a little too.

I should add that my story ends with a happy ending for those that don’t know it. My daughter has overcome every obstacle thrown in her path. She is 17 and beautiful and has some on going medical problems we manage however she is the definition of RESILIENCE!

She is my miracle! Our true gift from God Summer Grace… *Grace + love & mercy Gift from God*

This is her back to school selfie 1st day of 11th grade! We are very blessed.

#overcoming #emotions #tears #pain #love #hope #faith #lovehurtssometimes #phototherapy #jenzphelps #jenz #feedmysoul #emptyyourmind #findingmyjoy #selfcare #mindfulness #healthycopingskills #healing #mentalhealthawarenes ##mentalhealth #sfami #horizonbh #momentsintime #momentslikethese #lettinggo #yeahsothishappened #medicaltrauma #ptsd #childhoodtrauma

Codependency…. No More? In theory?…

I like that they are addressing the changes in treatment. I think this could be misleading for some readers that don’t understand the newest concepts in treatment for Substance use disorders. Changes in language, focus on changing clients motivation, assessing their motivation and readiness for change. Meeting them where they are at, teaching family members healthy boundaries, harm reduction…..


But… funny this article post come up, as I do still think the Codependency No More books are valid and have good content in them.

Funny I actually just recommended them to a client yesterday! And actually….. more ironic… a former boss gave them to me years ago… when I was dealing with a roommate situation.

Life has a way of bringing us… Full.Circle!


#addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawarenes #mindfulness #addictionawareness #addiction #treatment #substanceusedisorder #codependency #copendencynomore #thestruggleisreal #embraceyourself #feedmysoul #healthycopingskills #selfcare #emptyyourmind #healing #sfami #jenz #jenzphelps

What are you waiting for?

Aren’t you tired?

Haven’t you had enough?

Haven’t you wasted enough time and lost enough life moments to this drug?

To this addiction? To this disease?!

Hasn’t your past… haunted you enough…?

When… will you finally allow yourself to sleep?

When will you realize…

This isn’t for you?

That there is a better way,

To deal with the hurt, pain, stress and trauma from your past?

Haven’t you suffered enough?

I see you hurting….

I see you in pain…

I see you trying to numb yourself from feeling anything!

What will it take?

A cold steel cell?

To be locked away?

To have all freedom removed?

Will it be simply by your own hands?

One quick pull of that trigger?

Or will you finally take one last hit…. that finally does you in?…

Tell me…..

When does this madness stop?!!!

I need you to wake up!!!

Before it’s too late…..

Tic, Toc….

Tic, Toc….

Your time, is running out!

You don’t have all these hours and minutes your percieve yourself to own!

Time…. is a true thief!

He slips in & out… without being noticed…

Before you realize it… those precious moments, years, days, hours, minutes, seconds…. they’ll are gone!

How many more of these will you just throw away?

How many more people do you think you can push out of your life?

Look around you….

Who do you see?…

Who is knocking on your door?!

Who is reaching out to you?

Who is worried if you’re ok?….

I see you shaking…. tired…. weary…

I see you…. drained….



I see you…. torn…

Your brain so clouded you don’t know which way to think!

You don’t even know who to trust anymore!

So twisted in your own drug induced reality….

You can’t see what’s truly…

Right here in front of you!

Your new Mistress…

She’s Deadly!

Ice runs through her veins……

Soon…. she will consume you!

And I….

Will no longer recognize…. you!

Aren’t you tired?!

Haven’t you had enough?!

#truth #truthbetold💯 #addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawarenes #addictionisadisease #mentalhealthrecovery #fightstigma #addictionawareness #communitycollaboration #vacpn #CVARR #aart #awareness #talkaboutit #mentalhealth #addiction #sfami #horizonbh #bedford #appomattox #amherst #ourlynchburg #jenzphelps #jenz #feedmysoul #emptyyourmind #thestruggleisreal #love #hope #faith #alanon #narcnon #phototherapy #stopthestigma #treatmentworks

*It Takes A Village*

Funny…. How we change with time! How we evolve, our interests, wants, life goals, dreams, styles: the things we value most; start to fall into their proper place in life!
*Faith, *Family, *Community how we care for ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors all start to tie in together. How you start to see the vital importance of building each other up! How you start to realize the duty of community. How you feel the weight of burden or guilt or obligation at times calling to you when you see or feel a loved one, or friend, or community member falling….
*It Takes A Village* …. We do not grow or evolve or succeed or love in life ALONE!
As humans…. we innately, must have help! We were created & designed for partnerships and sense of community social structure to exist together.
Ego, Pride, Stubborn Will….. they can at times be fuel to propel us forward when kept in prospective!
But they are also the same tools that WILL destroy us, when we fail to humble ourselves to ask for HELP!
So ask yourself…..
What are your Life goals?
Are you meeting them?
Do you need to swallow your Ego, Pride, Stubborn Will?…. to help you meet those goals?
You just needed to step back…
To see that the road block to your success:
Was the very WALL… YOU built!
The help you been wanting, the goals you been trying to reach, have been waiting for you on the other said of that WALL you built…
All along!
Funny thing about *It Takes A Village*
The Village….. also: needs YOU!

A Village is only as strong and good and thriving as it’s weakest or most hurting members…. ! That the funny thing about humans, family, community….! We NEED each other!

#lifegoals #emptyyourmind #embraceyourself #feedmysoul #truth #faith #love #hope #nami #sfami #alanon #addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawarenes #addictionisadisease #mentalhealth #recovery #supportgroups #ourlynchburg #horizonbh #bedford #appomattox #aart #CVARR #amherst #jenz #jenzphelps #findingmybliss #ittakesavillage #stopthestigma #vacpn

War of Emotions

I feel I am at war…

At War with myself….

My Emotions…

My feelings… over, you! Your addiction, your circumstances…… your behaviours….. how I respond to you!…US!


I am just mixed with emotions….

I go from trying to be patient and understanding….

To simply, mad & angry with you!

So pissed at you!

For this disease!

For how you are allowing it to take over your life!

How you deny help offered!

How you push away the people trying to help you!

How you seek shelter and hide behind people that enable you and employ your behavior!

I am so mad! Pissed! Angry! At you….

At those around you!!!

That keep you stuck in this prison you are building for yourself!

I could scream!!!@#!

I keep trying to break through to you!

I keep trying to reach inside…

To the man I know!

The man I love & adore!


You… drift …

Further, & further away….

You keep letting drugs, & toxic people poison your brain!

I fear….

Before long….

The boy i once knew….

The man…. i love & adore….

Will no longer be there….

He will cease to exist!

Become a ghost of himself….

I fear….

It has already,


That turns my anger into sorrow & sadness!

Because I know what life you could have!

I know what you are capable of…

I know the man inside the ghostly shell!

You see…

He has the heart & soul of the boy….

I first loved!

I know…

The good that lines his heart….

I know his true character…

I know him…

As sure as I breathe!

I keep praying…..

He finds his way back to himself…

That he breaks free…

From the bonds of his addiction…

From the chains holding him down surrounded by toxic people!

And finds his way back to me!

#truth #faith #love #hope #nami http://www.sfami.net #sfami #alanon #feedmysoul #truthbetold💯 #addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawarenes #mindfulness #healthycopingskills #selfcare #emptyyourmind #findingmyjoy #thestruggleisreal #sfami #stopthestigma #addictionawareness #mentalillness #addiction #phototherapy #jenzphelps #jenz

Courage To Change!

I have been to meetings over the years in various forms for school; for work; I have ran groups; held family support groups…. But. Recently these have been to help me!
Tonight, I swallowed my pride… and took my first step in overcoming my need to fix everything in everyone’s life I love! … It isn’t easy… especially being a nurse! It’s in your nature to heal! To help! It seems unnatural… to do anything less!
To love someone and not be able to let go of the constant worry. Is also something to do with my need to control things, wanting to be the nurturer, caregiver… when maybe… I should just be a friend…. I don’t have all the answers…. but… I am seeking help! & trying to learn how to cope!!!
That has to be a start!

Love doesn’t fade… pain & hurt do…. wounds, heal… when we allow them to!

#lifegoals #dowork #gettingitdone #milestones #healthycopingskills #selfcare #emptyyourmind #findingmyjoy #thestruggleisreal #embraceyourself #findingmybliss #livingmybestlife #overlookingmyflaws #lettinggoofthepast #followingmymoralcompass #recovery #addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawarenes #mindfulness #sfami #alanon #feedmysoul #truth #faith #love #hope #nami #jenz #jenzphelps

Under a blanket of star filled sky….

Under the blanket of the star filled sky…. i can empty my mind. It’s truly, food for my soul! Spring awaits!
I miss seeing the stars, probably the one thing I miss most about Gladstone…. I swear growing up… I spent endless night lying under the sky… you could almost just reach up & touch the stars… they just seemed to be soo Close!

Can you bring him back to me?

I don’t like it when we fight….

I hate it in fact!

I hate every minute we do not speak…

I hate how you hold your tongue….

I hate the silence!!!

You are far too good at this game!

I hate you for that!

I wear my heart out in the open…

I have been through way too much in life you see…

Far more serious matters,

To dig in over this….

The trivial things….

I will always be blunt!

I am always going to be honest….

I call it how I see it….

I am not so arrogant….

To think, I cannot be corrected!

I am waiting for you!

Waiting for you to speak!

To use your voice…..

When did it fade?

You always were so quick to chime in…

Banter back…. debate….

When did you stop?!

Where is the man,

That was ever soo persistent?

The charmer?

The insatiable flirt?

The light hearted joker?

The boy next door?

The man that pursued me…?

My confident….

The keeper of all my secrets….

The soul; I seek to warm myself by?

Oh yeah…. &

My Best Friend?!

Where? Did he go?

I miss him soo….

Soo, much my heart aches….

Can we find him?

He is my love, you see….

My one, true love!

God…. sent him to me!

Can you please…..

Bring him back to me…….?

#silence #photography #phototherapy #jenzphelps #jenz #thinkingoutloud #feedmysoul #faith #love #emptyyourmind #thestruggleisreal #findingmybliss #livingmybestlife #overlookingmyflaws #lettinggo #couragetochange #sfami #alanon #loveunconditionally