Roller Derby My New Life

The Year of Firsts Part One

The clock started on May 17th, 2022. It will be the year of all the firsts without my beloved Bobby. The first month is a blur of arrangements, tasks, dealing with money, meetings with strangers. It went by so very fast and so very slow. Ended up in the Hospital for 4 days with COPD flare, probably triggered by stress and grief. The second month was getting back to work, back to a routine that was completely foreign to me. All my time was spent working around Bobby’s dialysis and transplant schedule. I had very little time to think about anything else. I was consumed with just getting through each day, each week, each appointment, what to about food, how to keep up with Theo. I had time for little else. I spent evenings just reading some books to relax before bed. Taking Theo for walks and trying to make him comfortable with us.

What do I do with all the time? I have Theo but I don’t have appointments and driving back and forth to dialysis 3 times a week. I only have to feed myself. This is an ongoing adjustment. Sometimes I just sit and do nothing as I can’t figure out what I want to do. I couldn’t read, or watch tv really, I just left it on reruns of shows I watched the past few years working from with COVID going on. I did start cooking, eating out was old and expensive and suddenly I have extra bills and not the income that was paying for them. I was not prepared for this. How do you even prepare for something like this. You don’t. It is not possible, you cannot even fathom what it is like until you live through it.

I have slowly begun to get into a new routine, it is much harder than you realize. Work helps but still so much more time to do something with. Thankfully my kids all pitched in and helped me clean out my house. Still some things to do but it is so much better and has brought me much peace. It has been a summer of project after project with the help of friends, neighbors and family. Being busy is best, it helps.

And then you discover Netflix, oh my goodness. I have joined the millions of people binge watching shows. Yikes, then I find out one series is going off of Netflix and here I am double binge watching! At least it has pulled me out of the sitting and staring at reruns.

September is around the corner and it will bring with it the trading in of my cars to get just one that works for me, the first Texans games that I will attend without him. Parting with his Expedition Max is hard, way harder than I thought it would be. But that is because it was his, we may have shared it but it was his ride. The last couple of years I was the one that drove it with him in it but I still considered it his. The dealer I go to is working up a deal to help me get this part of the things out of the way and clear up some debt that I hope will bring up my credit score.

Memorial
Family, Roller Derby My New Life

Transplant Journey that wasn’t

At the Rodeo, Happiest Day of the year 2022

Oh what a journey this is turning out to be. We had the first set of tests done on December 10th 2021. The next appointment was February 10th 2022. Now we have two days in April and two consults in May. I have still not been able to test as a Donor. The process is tedious and long and so very frustrating. I have never been through something that takes so long. We just want to get it done so Bobby can live a fuller, healthier and more normal life.

I understand some of this but it seems that it could be streamlined a bit. Having to bug them to get appointments is not a good way to handle the business. But we are in it for the long haul. We will get to the end goal!

If you know anyone that is on Dialysis you know what a toll it takes on the body and mind. Yes it is life sustaining but as time goes on the quality of that life goes down. Many of these people have multiple health issues and their best option is to get a transplant. But not everyone can qualify to receive a transplant for a multitude of reasons. I was not aware that if you cannot show financial ability to pay for the life long anti rejection drugs then you could be turned down. This was not going to be a problem for us.

However, on May 17th 2022, Bobby passed away. He did not make it to the last 2 appointments. I am heartbroken and relieved that he is no longer suffering. I just wish we could have made it through the process. I know that this is God’s plan and I am ok with it. He was my love and life for so many years and we did so much together. I will miss him but I will not miss watching him be miserable and in pain. I start on a new journey and I will be here for my kids, grandkids and all my family and friends. I will be fine, I know how to take care of myself. I have the support that I need at anytime.

This is not what I would have chosen for the remaining years of my life. I wanted to retire, to travel with my love and to grow old and cranky together. Not everyone is blessed to live long but we were blessed to live so fully and to do so many things. We lived well and I would not trade it for anything. Bobby touched many people and he was blessed to be loved by everyone who knew him. I am grateful for the 27+ we had together. I will miss him for the rest of my life.

It did bring our son back home for which I am eternally grateful. He has been a blessing to have with us and we can finally give him the support he has needed all these years. I thank the Lord everyday for the family and friends that support me through all the things still to come as I move through this year of firsts without my husband.

May you rest in peace until we meet again my love. See that we are all doing ok and we loved you more than you could ever know.

Roller Derby My New Life

Reflections

In a few short hours I will turn 60 years young. It is a milestone birthday that has brought so many memories flooding back to me over the past month. I don’t feel 60. I don’t know how that should even feel. This has been one of the hardest past years that I remember. I have been trying to declutter my house and a while back I found a birthday card from my mom. She wished I could spend my birthday with her so she could bake me the heart shaped strawberry cake she would do for me every year. I cried so hard. I wish I had gone home on my birthday a few times but I never did, plus it was always during work closings and it was hard for me to take off work, a word of advice, never ever put work over family. All those years, 32 to be exact got me no where but laid off.

I am taking vacation for the second time ever on my birthday tomorrow. The first was when I turned 40. It will be a day of quiet reflection, doing some things for myself and getting a few things done I have been working on for almost 2 years now.

I miss my mom and dad. I miss getting together with my family here and back home. I wish I could go and meet my new found sisters. I wish I could give my kidney to my husband now. I wish COVID had never happened. But wishes are not reality and I know that I can only do what I can do.

The thing is, I have had this awesome life that I had no idea would come to me. I have gotten to do things that not everyone has been lucky enough to do. I can say I would not change a thing about the life I have had, it has been such a blessing with so much goodness and mercy and I would not trade it for anything. Oh make no mistake, I have been through the fire and struggled and didn’t know how I was going to feed my children at times but God watched over us and always provided. I spent about a year having popcorn and a Coke for lunch at work to have money for dinner that night. We had a lot of frozen pizza and kids meals but we survived. If not for the trials, I would not have the empathy I possess today.

I was blessed to have the absolute best family that chose me. And now I have even more extended family that I have been blessed with and cherish more than anything in this world. I choose not to regret the mistakes I have made as they are forever a part of me. They are what has helped me to grow. I still have a lot more growing to do as we never are complete until God takes us Home.

I have always been driven to try to do as much as I can to move through my career and be able to get what we want as much as what we need and I have been blessed to be able to do this. We focused on the children first, then ourselves and now it is all about the grand kids! They are the most awesome thing to experience! Funny thing was I planned to be a career woman and not necessarily a mom. God had other plans and I am so glad that he did.

I have lived to see a black man become US President and a woman of color become Vice President. I hope that this will bring the real changes needed for our country. I cannot wait to see what other history will be made in my time!

Thanks for reading this and following me as blog my life.

Kool!!

AKA Gina

Roller Derby My New Life

Good bye 2020

To God be the glory for me and my family and getting through this year without catching the COVID-19 so far. I am so blessed to have my family and friends this season. I miss my mom and dad so much, especially this year. I can’t go and visit their graves and it has been a very hard holiday season. It isn’t over, since Christmas will be different than all other years. I plan to take a whole lot of pictures so my husband can see them when he is ready. I need for him to get the vaccine and be able to visit his grand kids and kids and any other family he wants to see. He has been locked away since March. I have gone to some gatherings being very careful and working hard to stay well for him. It devastates me to see him so isolated and sad. I hate what this year has brought to all of us. We are determined to survive this and turn the next years into the best ever! I will do everything in my power to get him well and a new kidney. God has a plan for him and he will be able to fulfill it!

This has been a season of self evaluation, self reflection, and self improvement. I have found many things that I need to work on and am actively seeking to improve who I am. Many things have put me on a downward spiral that I have been struggling to overcome. It is Christmas time and I miss having a tree and all the people in my house. Now we go to my daughters for Christmas morning. I love doing that for the grand children but I miss our times here in my house. Today I have 2 poinsettia’s for my decorations. They are beautiful, and I love plants. One of my presents from my awesome husband is a baby bonsai tree. I am so excited to spend time with it and learn about it. I have always loved doing gardening as therapy and I am going to start back up. I need to be a part of nature again. I need to renew my spirit. Life has driven me to the edge of grumpy isolation. It is time to take back and move forward again. But I miss all the decorating I used to do. I miss going out and looking at all the lights with the children and the oooing and awwwing. I want to play again, be young happy and full of energy.

Some of this I can get back but some pretty significant events need to happen in 2021 to get back where I want to be. But mostly I need to work on me! Starting with getting my treadmill up and running and doing some workouts again! I will feel and function better once I start working out again. I hope I will be able to skate soon too, even if it isn’t right away!

Be sure to take care of yourselves and each other! Until next time, have a blessed holiday season!

Lots of love,

Kool aka Gina

Roller Derby My New Life

Living in a Pandemic

I remember in January starting off a new year with new hope and new ambitions and a change in my life due to retiring from competition roller derby. I was going to still help out with the games as an NSO and still on the BOD for one more year and I planned to skate mostly recreational with my league. I just love skating!

Fast forward to March, suddenly there is this virus that we have been hearing about in China. Then it quickly started spreading to other countries. Totally getting a little worried about this as a virus can be really bad for me and my husband. He is more vulnerable than I am. Now fast forward to September. I have been working from home except for 4 days in June, since March 22.

Everything has been cancelled, and I have not skated since maybe February. I am trying to start skating outdoors but man it is too hot right now. Hoping it cools off a little after this holiday weekend so I can virtually skate to the capital! Wish me luck as I am a lazy butt these days.

The good news is I started a new lash business and have connected with some of the most awesome people ever! Who knew lashes would become my thing!! But it got me out of the funk and back to actually getting dressed and putting on makeup which makes me feel so good about myself. Now I just want to share this with everyone I can. Life is so different right now and I don’t see it getting much better very soon.

Lashes and makeup! Rocking it again!

I pray daily for all the people suffering from COVID-19 and their family and friends because so many are not making it through this. I pray for my family and friends and for all those that are not my friends to be blessed and to do the right thing no matter what anyone else does. I pray for the end to all the violence from every issue. I am doing what I can to support the marginalized people.

Roller Derby My New Life

QUARANTINE – COVD-19

This was my 6th day to work from home due to the pandemic that is going on right now. It is March 22, 2020 and things are so different than the any of my 59 years on this planet. First off, I am in the high risk group with COPD and my husband is even higher risk with multiple health issues. I still go get food from drive thru and the pharmacy and grocery store when necessary but I am wary of people, all people.

I don’t get to go see my grand kids (to high risk of them carrying something) and our roller derby season may be over before it ever really got started. The family reunion has been cancelled, my granddaughters gymnastics meets have been cancelled. Professional sports have been cancelled or put on hold. I like being home but I also need some interaction and over the phone and DM is just not the same. However, I have to make due with phone calls and video calls because I cannot afford to get sick or bring something home to my husband.

Yesterday I went to HEB for weekly groceries. I have a N95 rated mask I got a few years ago when I was first diagnosed with COPD. I ride a bus full of people to work normally, so I need to protect myself. HEB was doing everything they could to help protect people by wiping down carts before going into the store, separate entrance and exits and some limits on products. What I did see that concerns me most was entire families shopping together. This will be what causes this to continue to infect more and more people. So many people still don’t understand or care about protecting themselves or the high risk group. Since I am 59 I am not able to shop at the senior time.

One of my masks to protect myself

I wish more people would understand that the more we comply the faster we will be able to go back to work and play. So many people at the store didn’t pay attention to the footprints on the floor to stand at a safe distance. I will never understand this from grown people. I don’t like this anymore than anyone else but please, do your part.

Love,

Kool

Roller Derby My New Life

Roller Derby Retirement

August 10 2013 Yellow Rose Derby Girls played their very first game against Spindletop in Beaumont. I was on the All Stars and I was one of the Original Members. On August 10 2019 I officially retired from competitive roller derby. I started my derby journey with Houston Roller Derby in late 2010. I was part of the recreational league until Texas Thai Foon aka Kari Malone decided to start the Yellow Rose Derby Girls which was going to be right around the corner from me. I was so excited that I joined up the night I went to the meet and greet. I also volunteered to be the Treasurer. I have doing roller derby for 8 wonderful, awesome years and would not trade this experience for anything.

When I broke my ankle in November 2018, I worked hard to return to derby, but as the time passed and my priorities started changing, I found that the same passion I had was no longer there. I still love the sport, watching it, doing NSO things, would be up for coaching as well, but I no longer had that pull to get back out there, so I finally decided it was time to retire from competition derby.

Kool’s Retirement

It was amazing, I laughed and I cried, and I hugged everyone! My Yellow Rose Derby Girls league is the best thing to happen to me! I love every single one of them and those that left before me.

Now it is time for me to do recreational skating so I can get back into shape and still be among these awesome women. I have to start back slow but I am excited for new adventures.

All the love

This night went on to my Crushers winning the home team Championship once again and I am so proud of each one of them and their accomplishments this year! It was a hard fought battle and they played an awesome Ruckus team. I was so honored to be a part of them this night. I will miss this dearly but I have the greatest memories to hold on to forever! Thank you Yellow Rose for everything I was able to accomplish on and off the track with you!

Crushers Champs!

Roller Derby My New Life

It Happened

Well, I have skated for 8 years and it finally happened, I got a roller derby injury.  Thursday night November 15th, I broke my ankle jamming in a scrimmage for All Star tryouts.  It was bad, scary and oh so painful.

Thursday night after emergency room

The league mates at Yellow Rose Derby Girls were so awesome.  They made all the calls to family and got the ambulance there for me and waited at the hospital with my husband and daughter when they couldn’t see me right away.

I saw the surgeon, and I had a dislocated ankle with a trimallolar break (3) places, so I had to have surgery to put in a plate and screws. Surgery was November 26 and I was out of commission until December 11th. At that appointment I got a boot and was told to start weight bearing on it immediately. That was scary. It was a month since I last walked on it and it was numb all across the top of my foot, big toe and the incision places. I started PT the next week.

My next visit to the surgeon was January 8th and off with the boot and into regular shoes. I had already been walking without the boot in shoes and PT was teaching me how to walk again. It was still unnerving since my boot was my protection. But I did it and I have awesome physical therapists.

I am serving my league as the Head NSO and we had our first home games February 23rd. It was really different knowing that I would not be skating again anytime soon. But I was ok with it for now. It was fun to watch and arrange all the NSOs jobs and I like doing the paperwork for the stats. I may start learning to ref but that is a big job too.

This Thursday is my hopefully last appointment with the surgeon. I expect to be released without restrictions but you never know until it happens. Probably means the end to PT as well and back to training on my own. I have learned a lot about getting my muscles back and that I need to ramp up the endurance. But I have learned to use the elliptical so that will be a thing now. There will be lots more weight training also. I plan to roll but I won’t be doing too many skills. I have also been so busy with work and family that a step back from derby has been a good thing.

After Surgery and stitches out
Roller Derby My New Life

Training and Goals

This was written the first year of our home teams and never published. I’m publishing it now as this was before I found out about my COPD.

A new season begins for my roller derby league and we are experincing a lot of growth and I am excited to be a part of this. I started training with a personal trainer that I love working with and I have seen progress in my personal fitness. I will get play for a home team the Clutch City Crushers this year but I won’t be playing on the All Stars. I am obviously disappointed in my performance not being up to that challenge but happy that I will at least get to play. This will be a new experience for our league but I love my new team mates and think we can do well. I will be ramping up the training and working this recovery.

I got to go to our hosted bootcamp with Coach Spanx and it was an awesome training session. I have lots of personal goals and actual things to work on to improve my agility. This has been something I have not been good at but have not had a good regimine to work on for this. I got that this weekend and I am so going to work on it like crazy.

Being an athelete and a part of team was something that I never thought I would do. When I was 5 I lost hearing in my left ear from inner ear bone damage. That means that hearing aids are useless and it is considered a handicap. I got help with college tuition because of this but other than that is has always been a hinderance to me and part of my insecurity growing up. I can compensate pretty well most of the time. I tried playing difference sports for fun such as softball, basket ball and tennis and raquet ball. I had bad experinces with the team sports because of my inablility to hear well especially when there is a lot of background noise. After being introduced to roller derby, it took me 4 months to work up the courage to actual go and give it a try. I fell in love with it because I had always loved to skate. I am also very competitive. I was terrified of not being able to hear and how that would hinder me from being a part of this sport.

All of this made me hesitant to even tell people that I had this handicap. Why? Because some people do not want someone with a handicap playing on their team and they do not know how to adjust to interact with them during games because the hearing world is so dependant on hearing. I learn more and better by watching than by hearing and I discovered that other people learned this way and more people than I ever knew had the handicap I did.

Today, I tell people and remind people constantly. I wear a sticker on the left side of my helmet that is the universal sign for hearing impaired. It is a part of me in all things and I have learned to own it and embrace it. So I started my roller derby journey at 49 in September of 2010 and here I am still working to stay a part of it!

Roller Derby My New Life

November 3rd

23316805_10213651896387198_4324624497580321386_nToday mom passed peacefully into the next realm. It was expected, but never ready for it to actually happen. I have been visiting her at my brother’s houseĀ as often as possible. We were there last weekend. She was a 2 time breast cancer survivor, but lymphoma in her lungs was too much for her to fight. She chose not to have treatment as it would be worse on her than the disease she would be fighting. She was also 84 and Dr.’s did not recommend treating her.

I am sad for me and my family as we will miss her so very much. I know that she is at peace and with her mom and my dad. I am at work this day, and will be on my way to be with my family real soon. I have a giant swing in emotions because I am so grateful that she is not suffering anymore and it makes me feel somewhat guilty. I just hated watching her suffer and not be able to do anything. She is off to join my dad and all the others that have moved on and I know she is happy.

She was an angel, caring for my dad after his stroke for so many years. It was a tough time but it never occurred to her to leave. She was strong in her faith and made sure my brother and I knew God.

As I continue to work through the loss and all of the other changes in my life at this time, I am reminded that life here is short and to do everything I possible can to live life it to its fullest. The worst and some of the coolest things have happened this year. I am ready for a fresh start to a new year and tackle all the challenges that come along. I will remember the good times and connect with my brother and his family more. I want to visit my cousins and reconnect with my dad’s side of the family too. So much to do, so little time.

Holiday’s are hard when a loved one is lost and you never know what someone is going through unless they choose to share. Be kind, have empathy, stop hating, and love others as you are loved by your God. My heart is so sad and I am so blessed to have my family and friends to lean on and help me cope with the grieving process.

I wish everyone Joy and Peace in this season.

Until I see you again, Mom!

Gina