Obituaries & Tributes
1977 - 2021
This is the life story of Lisa Penney. Make yourself a tea and have a read as this is what she wanted.
On March 16, 2021 Lisa Ann Penney passed away in her sleep due to complications from diabetes. She is survived by her husband, Dwayne Fedorak & their 13 year old son, Brayden Fedorak. She was predeceased by her Grandparents, George & Blanche Pottle from Job’s Cove (Nfld.), William & Pearl Penney from Western Bay (Nfld.), her Baba in law, Mary Kit from Vegreville (AB), her Father Chesley Penney from Western Bay (Nfld.) as well as her Father in law, Cornel Fedorak from Redwater (AB). She is also leaving to mourn her Mother, Mona Oliver (Graham), Mother in law, Phyllis Fedorak, 2 Sisters, Colleen Pottle (Son Matthew, wife Brittany and their child Destiny) and Bonnie Penney (Son Alex), Brother in law Darren Fedorak (Sabrina) and Sister in law, Dawn McWhirter (Chad and their children Elizabeth, Lucas and Hayden), her VERY special cousin, Jamie Pottle as well as a large circle of family & friends.
Obituary continues following these special messages of condelences.
In Loving Memory of Lisa
My sincere condolences on Lisa’s passing. I was glad to read that you had a loving family but sad to hear how much she suffered. May her soul rest in peace. God bless.
- Clyde Reynolds
(Lisa’s former high school principal)
I was so sorry to hear of Lisa,s passing I only saw her as a baby ,my late husband and Che’s were first cousins and grew up very close ,when we loved in Toronto Che’s spent a lot of time with us like Lisa he died too young, I'm sure they are together now. My thoughts are with you and your son god bless you both.
- Glenys Gillingham
Such a beautiful service and tribute to Lisa. You have made her proud I am sure..
- Gen Shortt
Our deepest sympathy to Dwayne and Brayden and the Fedorak and Penney families.
May your memories of happier times help you as you grieve. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Take care. From your old neighbours,
- Glenn and Sharon
Continued Obituary ...
Lisa was born in Carbonear Hospital November 6, 1977. Chesley, Mona, Bonnie & Lisa lived in Western Bay & had shortly thereafter moved to Job's Cove (pronounced Jobe's). Colleen had been living with Mona's Mom & Dad. The hopeful dream of raising a family in which one desires was unfortunately shattered. On April 15, 1978 when Lisa was 6 months old, they had a flat tire on the main highway. Chesley was changing a flat tire while Mona was holding Bonnie & Lisa off to the side. Their lives had changed in an instant as Chesley was killed by a speeding drunk driver.
Life had to continue on & Mona was determined to raise her babies. She had moved in with her Mom & Dad, George & Blanche Pottle (known as Pop & Nan to Lisa (and everyone else)). She was told by her Father that she would never go hungry & always have a roof over her head. After about 2 years, Mona had bought some land and had built a house only a 5 minute walk from Nan & Pop's. Her Sister Sharon & Husband Boyd also had a house 5 minutes away as well. Their son Jamie was the same age as Lisa & their relationship was like no other. It was the strongest bond 2 cousins could ever have as they were with each other all day, everyday.
Lisa started school at Jackson Walsh elementary. She then went to Corpus Christi from grade 7 & on. There would be about a mile walk to & from the school bus every day. As Bonnie would be prompt & trying to make the bus, Lisa would always take her time. Lisa never was much for school. She had less than 50% hearing in her left ear & it made it a bit difficult for her. She had once mentioned how she was able to read lips as it made it easier for her. As long as she achieved a 50% mark to pass, that was ok. One day Lisa was going to school & got a ways away from the house. Mona screamed out to her that she forgot her books. Lisa screamed back that she would be late for the bus. Mona screamed back to her that it will be a really long walk to school then, won't it? So Lisa ran back, got her books & ran fast enough to barely make that bus. She never forgot her books again. Lisa loved all sports and played anything as much as she could. As for the running, she was very good at it as she was on the track team & had loved to run. She was also good at running as she sometimes had to run so she wouldn't get in trouble as she would get into lots of mischief. In comes Jamie.
Lisa & Jamie were even closer than brother & sister. From the day they could walk, where one was, the other was right there following each other like 2 puppy dogs. Mona would tell them not to do something & they would always do it anyway as they had no fear. They would sneak to the ocean all the time (which could be seen from their house) as it was only a 10 minute walk away. Mona would always give them trouble about the water & how it could take them away. There was also a pond & a lake out back from Mona's house. One day Jamie & Lisa went out to the pond & grabbed a rubber dinghy that they weren't allowed to use without an adult. Without a care in the world (or life jackets for that fact), they went & had the time of their lives. When they got back there was trouble to be had. Because they wouldn't listen, the scissors came out & the rubber dinghy was cut in half. No more worries for Mona about the dinghy. Lisa & Jamie would almost always make the school bus late as well as they would always take their time. With lots of other mischief as well, Bonnie would always try to tell & they would always try to bribe her not to.
Mona was always scared to leave Lisa home, because she never knew what Lisa would be up to with Jamie or sometimes without. She would call over to Sharon's when she would be working at the cafe just to make sure nothing bad was happening or just afraid of what sort of mischief she was into before she got home from work. One day Mona came home & Lisa had spent the day painting her bedroom green. Mona's response of " What have you got done?" didn't phase Lisa as she made Mona go out & then buy her a green carpet. Lisa was prim & proper, liked doing her hair & makeup, was always clean & wanted things just so. In the last year and a half, Lisa & Mona had become closer than they ever were and their relationship was incredible. Mama Bear will more than sadly miss her Baby Bear.
Her sister Bonnie was a bookworm & always wanted to go to school. Sometimes there would be snow days where you couldn't get out of your house or even find the road for 3 or 4 days, which always made Bonnie upset & Lisa very happy. When the snow wasn't around, they would skate on Muddy Pond by the moonlight until their feet would be freezing. They would sleep together every Christmas Eve & wake Mona up at 5am before Christmas Day (which would drive her crazy). When spring came along, there was camping every May Long Weekend at Northern Bay sands. When not camping they would build many forts in the front yard. Bonnie liked how much her uncle Bruce's billy goat also loved Lisa & would chase her because of her red coat with the fuzzy grey hood. Lisa was even scared to go to the school bus as she had to pass by Uncle Bruce's billy goat everyday. And everyday it only had eyes for Lisa. The goat was eventually sold.
When Mona moved out when her house was built, Colleen stayed at Nan & Pops. Colleen remembers how when after Lisa started walking, she would always go around biting people. One Day she had bit her Uncle Bruce. He tapped her on the hand & told her no more. That was the end of Lisa's biting habit. When they were a bit older, Lisa was in her room & Colleen heard Lisa talking to someone. She went to see who & it was Lisa talking to her dolls that she had put in a circle & was teaching them school. Which was funny because Lisa didn't like school. Colleen was 5 years older than Lisa. She was always close to her as Colleen was always looking out for her & Jamie trying to make sure they weren't getting into mischief or trouble. Lisa knew that Colleen always had her back, so she would sometimes get into trouble with other people without a care in the world because she knew Colleen would beat them up or fight them to protect her sister. Colleen once had a gold chain with many pendants. Lisa always wanted to wear it, but Colleen always said no. When Colleen was 16, a boyfriend at the time had bought her a sweet 16 pendant to add to her collection. Lisa was 11. Some time later Colleen couldn't find her chain. She looked for months & months & couldn't find it. One day Lisa was crying & told Colleen that she had taken her beautiful chain with her pendants to wear for a school dance. The chain had opened up & she lost all of her pendants. While Colleen was upset, she was glad that she told her.
Lisa loved to pick blueberries & patch-a-berries in her backyard. She loved going on Jamie's Dad's bog bike (or quading as the Albertan's know it). She loved to fish for trout from the pond & the lake, but would much rather go on the boats & catch a whole bunch of cod. In the winter it was snowmobiling especially when you were barred in from the snow as Lisa would say & they couldn't drive or walk anywhere. Sometimes they would go on Pops Horse Drawn sleigh. Sometimes it would take a week for the plow to get through to them, even though it was a mile off the highway. Other times the power would also get knocked out for days as well from the snow. Apparently, lots of shed parties happened as everyone's shed had a wood stove & rations to get them through this as well as snowmobiles for travel to get from house to house. She also loved being with Nan & Pops. She loved Jigg's dinners. Instead of swearing back home there was a saying that Lisa would love to say: by the Lard, jumpin dyne today.
Julie Clark was one of Lisa's very best friends (Lisa would always call her Jan). They shared a lot of both happy & sad times together. As they got to know each other at a young age they were amazed at how much they had in common.
One special memory they always held in their hearts was the 2 of them dancing and singing to each other at the top of their lungs while holding each other tight. They loved to dance & sing, sometimes even with no music playing. The years when Lisa was living in Alberta they would both hear certain songs on the radio, turn it up & sing while wishing Lisa was back home again. One song in particular was always classified as “Their Song” was Paradise by the Dashboard Light. They would always end up with a sore throat after singing that one so loud. They always said that they loved and missed each other so much. Lisa would always tell Dwayne how much Julie & their friendship meant to her.
Lisa went to post secondary school for a year for hairdressing & dental assistant, but never felt the love for either. She left home with Bonnie & Colleen & went to St. John's where she had stayed for a few years. Colleen had since moved to Alberta. Lisa ended up leaving St. John's and went to Alberta. When she met up with Colleen in Edmonton, Colleen got Lisa her first job working at the polo field picking rocks off of the field so the horses wouldn't get hurt. That only lasted so long & they started working at a warehouse for a store called San Francisco. They were there for about 4 months when Colleen started to go to the doctor. Lisa was always by her side & soon after found out she was pregnant. She held her hand & stayed by her side when she was scared to call home to tell Nan & Mona. Lisa kept telling her it was going to be ok & it was. Colleen left Alberta to go home because she was pregnant. Lisa was in an apartment in Edmonton & had stayed.
It was around the middle of June/2003 that Lisa & Dwayne met. Both were not in relationships & couldn't seem to find anyone good enough by socializing around the bar scene. After all, Lisa was living a block North of Whyte Ave. and really was getting tired of the whole repetitive scenario that comes with the area everyday. While Dwayne was still going out to the clubs once in a while, most nights were hanging out at home with his old friends. Being with the guys every night was fun, but a girlfriend was always desired. So as both wanted to be with someone, the conventional ways just weren't working. Welcome to a website called Match.com. One night, Dwayne had been cruising around online and happened to see a picture on a profile of an incredibly hot woman that was only 6 years younger than him. She was 25. He was 31. He clicked on it and sent her a message. Lisa was online as well & replied a few minutes later. As they started having a conversation, Dwayne sent a message about how talking on the phone is better than typing & for her to call him. Next thing the phone rang. Dwayne answered & Lisa asked for Teddy as that was his profile name (it was a nickname that his friends at the time used to call him). He told her no as a joke and while it was funny for him, she was confused and there was an awkward silence. He then told her that he was just kidding & that yes, that was him. Then he said that his real name was Dwayne and that Teddy was a nickname. She then asked if his profile picture was actually him or not & was relieved that she wasn't getting the run around, but still cautious as you have to be on the internet. They had an awesome conversation for about a half hour & it was flowing so well that Dwayne asked if Lisa wanted to meet. She was hesitant, but obviously was ok with it because she gave Dwayne the address. Dwayne was surprised and said "what?" in dis-belief. He then asked her if she could see out the back of the building and when she said yes, he asked her to describe what she saw. Dwayne started laughing. Lisa was now confused again & he said "Never mind. I'll tell you when I get there. Dwayne went to her apartment just off of Whyte ave. She let him in when he buzzed. He knocked on the door. She cautiously opened it slightly & saw that it was the same guy in the profile picture. He asked "Lisa?". She answered with a "no". and after 3 seconds she started laughing and said she was kidding. Payback huh? They laughed, she opened the door and they gave each other a nice welcoming hug and said hi to each other. So Lisa was all confused and curious at what Dwayne was laughing at and concerned if she just let a psycho in. Dwayne started laughing again & said "I need to show you something out your back window". She led him to the window & he pointed to another building on Whyte Ave. that was only about a couple hundred feet to her apartment. He asked "do you see that building?". "Well duh" was her response. Dwayne said "I'm surprised we've never met before. That's where I work!". Her mouth hit the floor & was shocked & wouldn't believe him. He said "Yeah. That's Sun Toyota. I've worked there for about 5 years". As both were still shocked & in disbelief, their great conversation carried on for a couple of hours. Dwayne left and went home. He talked to her for a bit the next day and they made plans that they would chat some more when he got back from an almost 2 week camping/fishing trip. He got back & the next day they chatted all night long. On July 3/2003 They had a date to go out to a club with Lisa's friend and her husband. The time they had was incredible just like anytime they had previously talked. While slightly stumbling home from the bar, Dwayne had told Lisa "I Love You". She said "what" with her eyes wide. It obviously scared her because they had only known each other for 3 weeks & this was their first actual "date". Dwayne said "no, not like that" and then proceeded to tell her how awesome he thought she was & why in such a short time (by the way...he knew & did mean it, but had to let her realize it over a little longer period of time).
The next night was a Friday and would be their second date. Dwayne went over to Lisa's and he was dressed to impress. They stayed at her apartment for a bit and had some great conversations. Then they left to go for dinner. As they were walking by the vehicles on the street, Lisa had stopped at a vehicle in which she thought was Dwayne's. He kept walking, looked at her and said come on. She walked to the next car and realized it wasn't the chariot she was expecting to see from a guy who was dressed for success. Dwayne opened the door like a gentleman and she got in... into a little white beat up 1988 Toyota Tercel 3 door hatchback with a 4 speed manual transmission as well as a rocking 1500 watt stereo system. They had their date & left back to Lisa's. On the way back Lisa almost got sick as the jerky motion of shifting gears with a manual transmission and the combination of heavy subwoofer were not the greatest feeling after a full belly. They hung out at Lisa's for a bit more & had more great conversation. She never got sick and thought things were going well, so they had made plans for the next day. Dwayne told her to pack her bag for a day at the lake with some friends.
The next morning Dwayne picked Lisa up in his Tercel and they went back to his parents house where he was living. As Dwayne just got back from the lake a few days ago, he still had his friend's boat and his Dad's truck. On the way to Dwayne's, he had told Lisa that they were just taking a little boat on the lake to go fish and hang out, with which she was fine with. They arrived at Dwayne's & her eyes lit up as they were going water skiing for the day behind a really nice ski boat. They hopped in the truck and started driving to Jackfish Lake where they would meet with Dwayne's friends. It was one of the most joyous days she had had in an extremely long time. The boat had a stereo that was louder than Dwayne's car and it was perfect as you could be behind the boat and hear music all day long. Some friends had driven the boat while they were on the tube. Dwayne towed her as she tried to kneeboard. She also tried to wakeboard. As hard as they were to learn she was able to get up and learn how to kneeboard and wakeboard in the same day. it was awesome. When the lake was like glass near the end of the day, Dwayne tested a new competition water ski & showed her what slalom skiing was all about, spraying up 20 foot rooster tails. On the way home she sat beside him in his Dad's truck pulling his friend's boat and was giddy like the happiest kid ever. Lisa was enjoying being around the guy who had the crappy old car. Dwayne went to work that week and every time he had to walk through the alley by Lisa's, he would always call out to her "hey Lisaaa". She popped her head out the window, smiled and waved. Wednesday came along and he was getting ready for their next adventure on the weekend. Dwayne's friend told him to keep the boat at his house & use it whenever.
On Thursday morning, Dwayne drove the truck & camper out to Camrose to get a good camping spot for a 4 day outdoor concert called Stage 13. Lisa wasn't able to come out until the afternoon. Dwayne's sister Dawn was also going for the weekend. So Dwayne talked to Dawn about picking Lisa up, but Dawn wasn't sure how to get to Lisa's. So Dwayne called his Dad (Cornel) & told him the address. Dwayne called Lisa & told her that his Dad & sister whom she had never met were coming to pick her up. She had the wits scared out of her at the idea, but he finally convinced her to keep up their new adventure & that all would be ok. So Dwayne's Dad & sister took his Tercel so she would know who to watch for & Lisa had now met his Dad & sister without Dwayne. They went to drop his Dad off & Dawn & Lisa took the almost hour drive out to Camrose. When they met up with Dwayne, he looked at Lisa & said "Hi Lisa, this is my sister Dawn. How'd everything go?" He laughed & she said he was nuts. He told her that he wanted her out there so his family made it happen because they cared about each other that much. Lisa still didn't know what to think or what else to expect, because she hadn't known for anyone to do something like that especially after only knowing Dwayne for such a short time. But after Dwayne cooked them lunch and a couple of beers in, their whole incredible weekend had started to unfold. To be camping over 4 days listening to awesome music, watching great concerts, eating great food and drinking copious amounts of beer with good friends, a great sister, the one you want to be with as well as 20 or 30000 other people was an experience that Lisa never had before. While they were driving back to Dwayne's, Lisa was in disbelief of how incredible the last 2 weeks with Dwayne had been. So over the course of that summer they were on the lake, water skiing and everything else for a total of 34 days. It was the most incredible summer either had had.
Shortly into the summer Lisa needed to leave her apartment. Dwayne asked his mom (Phyllis) if a friend of his could stay for a while until she found another place. They talked it over for a little bit and she agreed. Lisa had moved in and tried earning her keep. As she always liked things just so, she made sure the new place she was staying at was just like her own. Within a very short time Phyllis had found out that they were actually already going out as a couple. Cornel was home all the time as he had lost half of his foot due to frostbite & infection and it still had an open wound. His mom was working lots as it had to be done. Dwayne had left Sun Toyota & started working at Gateway Toyota. Lisa got to know Cornel very well over the next 6 months. She absolutely loved his character and how she was being treated in their home. While Lisa didn't know what to do for work, Cornel had convinced her to get into health and safety as the money was fairly good. She looked into it and was starting to take some courses. She started her new career and ended up working as a safety officer on some out of town shut downs. Unfortunately the Fedorak's life would take a turn for the worse as well. Cornel was in the garage with their cousin Gary. Lisa was just about to come outside when Gary burst in the house & told Lisa to call 911 as Cornel just had a heart attack. Gary performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. They did get his heart going, but soon found out he was without oxygen for about 20 minutes and ended up with a brain injury. This would permanently hospitalize him. Phyllis didn't need a big house anymore so she decided to sell it and buy a condo. Dwayne did not want to rent from anyone so Lisa & Dwayne bought a house together. They took possession of their new starter home the same date that her late father Chesley had passed.
Dwayne & Lisa moved into their new home. It was surreal as it wasn't a year ago that they had just met. They purchased a home where they did for a number of reasons. It was close to the highway, which was good for Dwayne's drive to work. It was easy for people to find when they wanted to visit. It was in a cul-de-sac, so when they decided to have a family It would be better for kids to play street hockey & basketball. There's a trout pond 3 minutes away that the family could go to fish and have picnics. There's a trail system for bike riding where you could go for over a 100 kilometers. And then there was the train which was close by, which both of them actually liked the idea of. Over the course of the next 4 years there was Mexico & Hawaii travels, had many parties & poker nights, multiple other memories as well as new friendships that were built (yes, living in a crescent is better than a straight road). When they moved in, the yard was sand and dirt. The basement was also not finished. They worked hard building the front yard, backyard, the deck, the fire pit and whatever else they could get done. The basement got partially finished and Dwayne built an office for Lisa as she liked to have everything organized. She liked to paint & also LOVED scrapbooking. She had made multiple books about different subjects and had no plans of stopping. In late 2006 They found out Lisa was pregnant. Dwayne tried to get everything prepped for their new bundle of joy. On June 20th, 2007 in the early morning, Dwayne took Lisa to the hospital as it was time. At 4:45 p.m. their son, Brayden Chesley Fedorak was born. He was their pride and joy and would be more than loved forever.
Their son Brayden wouldn't get to know his Gido (Ukrainian Grandfather). On August 24th, 2007, only 2 months after Brayden was born, Cornel Steve Fedorak had passed away leaving behind Phyllis, Brayden's Baba (Ukrainian Grandmother). As life had moved on they built their little family & made the most of each & every day. Brayden had made multiple friends in the neighborhood & especially in the crescent. In July 2013, Lisa had finally acquired her certificate designated her as an NCSO (national construction safety officer). Lisa had worked multiple jobs over the course of her journey. While certain things seemed normal & the way life should be, it was not. In the first year of Brayden's life, things seemed ok, but Lisa would randomly start to feel ill. "I just don't feel right" is what she'd say. So she would lay down for sleep and then seem a bit better after that. She was seeing her doctor through all this, but he couldn't really figure anything out in the first while. She'd feel ok for a while a week, then not so well the next. This would continue for the first 5 years of Brayden's life, but they carried on as best they could.
In 2012, Lisa really started to not feel well and was drinking more water than usual. She had started getting nauseous for a day & kept getting worse. She then started throwing up profusely. She ended up in hospital with chest pains (which ended up being caused by throwing up so much & so hard) and found out that her blood sugars were extremely high. They put an IV in her arm & did what they needed to do & got her feeling well again. With testing in the hospital they found that her pancreas was no longer producing insulin & she was now a Type 1 diabetic (over the first 5 years it was working, but it was failing slowly). This would change the course of their happy little lives forever. Unlike type 2 diabetes where one can control diabetes with exercise & diet, Type 1 is a completely different disease in which you are insulin dependent. Her doctor set her up with a so called diabetes doctor to help her out. Dwayne was with Lisa for every single appointment as he needed to know what this beast was and how he could help her. They were given vague instructions of how everything everyday would affect her & told her she had to take certain insulins at certain times before eating or before bed after she figured out how to carb count & how much to give herself and to be checking her sugars to see what's what (it sounds all jumbled together as that's how it was for them). They had a few appointments & consults with certain dieticians that would get mad because Dwayne & Lisa couldn't really understand how to control it because of the way they were trying to teach. Being completely frustrated with trying to, but with little understanding of what was actually going on as well as having a quack team of doctors that didn't really seem to care, Lisa would end up in the hospital more frequently due to the same issue of high blood sugars producing the same result. After a few times of this & her complaining of what a terrible team he had set her up with, her doctor referred Lisa to another specialist at the University of Alberta Kaye clinic. They would also eventually change their family doctor.
Dwayne & Lisa went to her first appointment and had met her new care team. Dr. Rose Yeung was not just a new specialist for Lisa, but the assistant professor for Diabetes at the U of A. They met with diabetic nurse Robyn Homulous. As soon as they met both, they knew that this was a real diabetic team that actually cared. Lisa's new team had found out how horrible her previous journey was & instantly tried to help her in every way possible and with clarity. There were further appointments & courses they would take to slowly learn what this beast actually was and how to deal with it.
Lisa was always required to take insulin before eating & before bed. She was also required to check her blood sugars with a simple finger prick when she got up, 2 hours after eating and before bed. It was a very steep learning curve of how this all worked and how to figure out how much insulin for Lisa to take without killing herself, but at least some clarity & more understanding everyday (too much insulin will make your blood sugars go low & you could die). Dwayne had a better understanding of what was going on & what was required and tried to help her all day, everyday, but it was Lisa's body & the mental aspect of the whole disease & how she had to control it was extremely hard for her as she had needle phobia. Sometimes she would try to inject herself (usually in the belly) and she could get in what she needed. Other times the phobia would kick in and she would start injecting & freak out, pull the needle out & not get the full dose. Then she'd have to do it again to get the rest of the insulin. Then there became even more times when she would inject & hit scar tissue from injecting the same spots & not get insulin. Her fingers were hurting from all of the finger pricks she had to give herself and she was frustrated at this disease & now getting mad at everything for it. As she would rarely get the proper amount of insulin, her sugars would ride high. As a result, Lisa would become nauseous again, start drinking water profusely due to dehydration and then start throwing up again. It was always so violent and hard for her. Due to the high sugars, the vomiting & the dehydration, her blood gases, like magnesium & potassium would start to change. Her liver would start to break down fat too fast & cause a fuel in her blood called ketones This would then make her blood go acidic or DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) which is always life-threatening. If she ever did hit a low or came close, she would start shaking violently, couldn't concentrate & would get massive headaches. She would have to keep a couple of packs of Rockets candies with her at all times, in her purse & in the vehicles just to raise her blood sugar quickly so she wouldn't pass out or worse.
Dr. Yeung would soon find out how aggressive diabetes was for Lisa & how her needle phobia was preventing her from giving herself the personal care she required & had recommended she get a diabetic insulin pump. As Dwayne's work insurance would only cover so much, Lisa started fundraising for her new hope in life. She was finally able to get her new insulin pump. It gave her the freedom of not having to inject herself with needles everyday. Once every 3 or 4 days she would have to change the site on her body to where the pump would inject insulin. Simple. A 3 foot skinny tube would connect to it from her pump so she could wear it wherever she wanted. It was a complete sigh of relief for Lisa. She also rarely had to prick her fingers now as she had a scanner with a sensor system that she could just put the sensor into her arm (another simple process) and then just put the scanner over her arm & it would read her sugars. Wow. There were other pump & sensor products that would actually sync together & inject insulin without her having to do it manually, as the sensors would tell the pump to increase or decrease insulin,. But the sensors themselves would cost them out of pocket around $15 000 per year, so Lisa was more than happy with what she got. It did actually save her life as she was breaking down mentally & couldn't handle the needles any more.
As she was enjoying her new pump, it still took her due diligence to control her diabetes. Her pump was set up to give her continuous insulin. She would still have to scan blood sugars at certain times & depending on where they were reading or what she ate she would then have to give herself more insulin through her pump. Controlling the blood sugars for her was still very hard, as she still ate lots of carbs & it took a long time to get the grasp of how much extra insulin to take with certain foods. She was also always scared of her blood sugars going low. With her new pump & her sugars more under control than before, Lisa would still get sick at times & be throwing up. After multiple previous ambulance rides that would always take her to the Royal Alex or University hospital and always end up with the same results of "your not puking anymore & your sugars are good, so you can go home", Dwayne and Lisa decided to drive to the Grey Nuns Hospital themselves, bucket in hand. They were in emergency & the doctors couldn't control her vomiting, so they admitted her (which she was always admitted to a room previously as well because no one could control it). When the internal medicine doctor was talking to & examining Lisa, he was astonished that no other hospital had done another simple test. He had a simple stomach emptying test performed & found out that she also had gastroparesis. There is a nerve at the bottom of the stomach that squeezes 3-4 times a minute. This pushes food from the stomach into the intestine. Hers was no longer squeezing so her stomach wouldn't empty properly. Foods in turn would now build up in the stomach to the point that the only exit was the initial way in. Now she had another reason to throw up. So now she was to either sit straight up & down for 2 hours or go for a 15-20 minute walk after EVERY time she ate. With diabetes & trying to control blood sugars, the foods you eat affect how much insulin you give yourself. The less sugar & refined carbs food has as well as higher fibre, the slower it takes for your stomach to empty & your body to digest them taking longer for blood sugars to go up. Eating pasta & white rice etc. & junk food spikes the sugars. That's why eating high fibre foods & vegetables are so important. But now in Lisa's case, with her other new disease, because high fibre foods sit in the stomach longer, they build up & she would get pukey sick again. So now she was told to eat less fibrous foods (more junk) so that her stomach would empty sooner. Because of less fibre, her sugars would spike faster, requiring her to take more insulin & her sugars were always riding higher again. It was a vicious cycle that was even harder to control.
In October of 2017, Lisa's face started to hurt. Her face/eyelid had now started to puff out. It shortly became a half round size golf ball bulge & she was in pain. She was referred to the ENT (ear nose throat) clinic at the U of A hospital. They found an infection & required surgery to remove it. They did surgery & she was a bit better, but they didn't get it all. They ended up doing 2 more surgeries to fix her up. She had erosive sinusitis and as a result she lost the cheekbone under her left eye. As she was now healing from the inside out without pain, her eye started to droop & she started forming a hole on the left side of her nose. The surgeon would have to wait for her inside to heal from the surgeries first before he could fix her. It was finally healed enough to start the next process of getting her surgery done. Her eye had sunk down & into her face approximately 3/4" due to no cheekbone. The hole in her nose opened to about the same size. It was so hard for Lisa to see a foot in front of her due to mis-alignment. The surgeon set up appointments for her to get eye spacing measurements etc. He was going to shape a cadaver bone, wrap it with some tissue from her forearm, take some veins/arteries from her neck so it would have blood flow, lift her face up, make it all work & fix her to be normal again. When he told this to Dwayne & Lisa, their mouths hit the floor, as the way he was describing it in such a gentle way, it was like breathing to him. He said it would take a little bit longer time to schedule the surgery after all of her appointments, as he needed to find a spot in the O.R. for the 16 hour surgery. They were flabbergasted. But Lisa now had hope & a new reason to continue living as she was going to get fixed. She had fallen into depression because she said she looked like a monster. Brayden & Dwayne ALWAYS told her how beautiful she was, but that only goes so far. When she would go out, people would look at her, or when riding her mobility scooter her face was now at children's height & they would always stare (she also had nerve damage in her legs from diabetes & it was hard to walk (another reason she never walked after she ate)). Dwayne always told her not to feel bad because people just weren't used to seeing that happen to someone & they feel for you. She didn't like the feeling so never went out much. Shortly after, she would always wear sunglasses to cover her face, but she still now had hope. And then Covid hit. All surgeries postponed etc. & another blow to Lisa. She always tried to stay positive though as Dwayne kept telling her she was still on a list.
When Lisa was sick, she would normally get dizzy spells. Her blood pressure was sometimes just a little low, but not a real concern. In 2019 when she was in the hospital again, she complained as well that she was getting dizzy more & more and had fainted a couple of times too. Doctors did further testing & now found out that she now had adrenal insufficiency, in which the adrenal glands wouldn't produce enough cortisol. She now had to start taking cortisol acetate which caused even further insomnia for her (she would be up 3 or 4 times a night as diabetics pee so much). The cortisol made her feel much better, but now it would spike her blood sugars even more. Now it was an even bigger battle of trying to control a terrible disease that she ended up getting. Her question was always "what's next?". Well she was fed up with the cortisol too, because now she was adding on the weight & she was always a tiny girl. So that made her feel terrible as well, but she learned to deal with it as she had to. As active as Lisa was before she had diabetes, it was now hard for her to even walk the house stairs without going low.
Over the course of her journey with Dwayne & Brayden, she ended up being admitted to hospitals 69 times. Yes. 69 times. For up to 3 weeks at a time. Every time Lisa would get sick, Dwayne would be there to explain everything that was going on, as she could barely talk. It was even worse when she was DKA as her speech was slurred like a stroke victim and she'd be confused & hard for her to respond. The doctors were happy he was there as it made it easier for them to start getting her better. She would always need IV's & blood tests. Lisa was always a tiny person. Over time her veins were getting hard for anyone to find. Most had scar tissue from being poked so much. Others would run or roll. They were all small & it was hard for anyone to draw blood. There were times when doctors would use ultrasound just to find a deeper vein & lots of times that didn't even work. But when it didn't work, she still had to be poked to find another spot. She was poked well over 2500 times (the needle phobia was only for when she had to poke herself for the most part, but man it always hurt her). There were many times when you could hear her scream because of where they had to try to take blood, or where they would try to put an IV. It was different every time depending on how dehydrated she was. There were times when she had IV's in between the knuckles of her hand or in veins on her chest. Once in a while it got to the point where medical staff had given up trying to get blood or IV's started, because they never wanted to see her in pain. The next option that sometimes happened was called a picc line which was a small thin tube that would go through her upper right arm & guided into a large vein in the upper right side of her heart. Or a central line which is basically the same thing, but it goes up through a vein beside the groin. Lisa hated hospitals. It was always exhausting.
Dwayne and Lisa had learned which hospitals had worked, which ones hadn't & when to go. There were times they would be at the Alex or the U. While she was puking regularly & slowly going DKA, they would sit in the waiting room for hours before they would even get called to be assessed (some nurses that work in triage just don't understand the severity of puking to a diabetic). There were other times when she would go at night & because there were so many people it took longer to get in. When you are puking & sick, all you want to do is lie down & sleep. How many times Lisa would lay on a dirty floor or get a blanket from the hospital & lay it down. This always made it worse. One day when Lisa was sick, Dwayne took her to the Nuns in the morning. There were very few people & the wait wasn't that long to get her into a bed & have a doctor look at her. The next 20 or so times she was sick, she would never want to go until the morning as she was in her own bed or on the couch and was able to handle being sick as hard as it was. It now became routine that she wanted to go in the morning. Lisa always used a wheelchair when showing up at the E.R. as she could barely walk. The last time Dwayne took her to the E.R. at the Grey Nuns in January, we told the triage nurse that this was her 69th time in the hospital & her mouth hit the floor. After about 10 seconds, the nurse realized she had a job to do. It wasn't 10 minutes before she was being wheeled in. Lisa later called Dwayne & she was astonished at her day. As she was being wheeled in, a doctor recognized her from her being there in December. He said "Hey. I know you. Don't go anywhere!" She said that within 3 minutes he had a glass of ice water & a glass of ice chips for her (2 of the most important things to a diabetic in a hospital). He also had an ultrasound machine & told a nurse what he already wanted for IV solutions & for her to get it. He used the ultrasound machine, found a vein & inserted the IV needle in the first try. He took her blood that they needed before starting to use it for the miracle juice (that's what she called the IV solutions) because you can't pull blood from an IV after you start flowing the IV. He also had a shot of Dilaudid as he knew her face was in pain from puking so hard (Dilaudid is a painkiller about 5 times more potent than morphine (which is what she always had to deal with her face pain)). Within another 10 minutes the same internal medicine doctor that usually sees her was down to see her again. And within a couple of hours, she was in her room upstairs. She said it was such a whirlwind and so amazing as that's never happened before. She never had to explain to anyone what was going on or what she needed. Even upstairs they had everything she needed as soon as she went up. The doctor also called the surgeon & told him to hurry up as she believed that her not being able to see was also causing her to be nauseous. There was a glimmer of hope again as he said Covid obviously affected surgeries, but that hers would probably be in the summer. She was better within 2 weeks & came home.
On March 15/2021, Dwayne was at work & Brayden had called saying that mommy was sick. When Dwayne got home around suppertime, he went to the bedroom & could smell that she was going DKA as it has a distinct odour. He said hi to her, gave her a kiss and then said that she needed a hospital. She was moaning & groaning complaining she couldn't sleep & needed rest (which was always true). She was throwing up what looked like Sunday night's food. Dwayne checked her sugars & the scanner just said HI (which meant her sugars were over 33 (normal is 5)). He made her bolus some insulin & gave her water & tried to comfort her as is the usual. She refused to go to the hospital or call an ambulance. He kept checking on her & helping her every 10 or 15 minutes as she needed. She took her daily meds that she needed when her puking had stopped for a bit (it seemed to come in cycles for her). He checked her insulin again & made her bolus some more. He kept asking her to go. He even started to grab her hospital backpack that she always had ready. She flat out refused. He started getting upset as she was being so stubborn this time. He was even asking if she was trying to wait until morning to go. She wouldn't answer. Multiple times. Even Brayden was saying for her to go. Dwayne said a few times he was calling an ambulance & she said no. He still kept trying to convince her that she needed to go & she knew that. He had enough of her not wanting to go & told her sternly that he was calling an ambulance. She screamed at him as loud as she could "NO! There was an awkward silence for a second & he gave her a kiss & said "I love you". He brought up more ice water as she was dehydrated. He said for her to let him know if she wanted anything else. He came back up 15 minutes later & while she wasn't throwing up, she was starting to hyperventilate & he tried to calm her down with some breathing exercises. She took some meds that she had to control it as this has happened before as well. She said she was dying & he loudly said "then you DEFINITELY need a hospital. You can't die! I need you! Brayden needs you!" She screamed "NO" again. He stayed & stroked her hair as he so often did as well as her back & her legs. Her breathing slowed back to normal, but was still moaning & groaning some as she did when she was sick. He brought her her nighttime meds & before she took them he asked her again to please go to the hospital. She finally said "We'll go in the morning" as was the routine. He asked "for sure?" & she said "yes". He told her he'd set the alarm for 5 & they'd go then. She mumbled "K". He gave her her night time meds & rubbed her head again. She started to rest & finally seemed ok enough that she would sleep. He gave her another kiss & once again Said "I love you" & she said "I love you". She was starting to fall asleep. Dwayne went back downstairs & came up 20 minutes or so later to go to bed. It was around 12:30 am now. He checked on Lisa & found that she was now sleeping & snoring as she would when she was sick with her breathing being regular. He set the alarm for 5am, crawled into bed, kissed her on the forehead and said "I love you Lisa". 5 am came around and Dwayne woke up to a cold arm. It was excruciating to have to go through this with Brayden, CPR, 911 and all the rest.
Ones body can only take so much. Lisa was no longer suffering.
Dawn always loved having some beverages & a good time with Lisa. They always had good laughs together. For Halloween one year, Dwayne & Lisa put on a zombie party for Brayden. There were so many people that came and everyone was dressed as zombies. Lisa had set up the basement as a haunted house that was really cool & very detailed. Dawn & Chad loved how much Lisa loved birthdays. Dwayne & Lisa always had big parties for Brayden. For Dawn's 40th, Lisa made Dwayne go get a bunch of balloons (Lisa couldn't drive for about 3 years because of her face) & they all brought them out. While she was in the hospital, Lisa had Dwayne & Brayden do the same thing for Chad's 40th birthday. Lisa was so excited for both! Dawn also LOVED Lisa's Jigg's dinner. Chad loved how Lisa always had the Christmas cracklers to pop every year. Chad loved talking with Lisa.
Darren said how much he loved seeing Lisa at the hospital just after Brayden was born and how much she was glowing. Seeing her hold him was very special to him. Sabrina loved how Lisa always loved holidays and always decorated for them. Especially Christmas & how she would go all out with the decorations all over the whole house. She loved how happy Christmas made Lisa. Darren & Sabrina used to love coming down at Christmas to get together and play games.
Phyllis was happy that Lisa and Dwayne loved each other so much. She loved how she was also going to be a Baba. She loved coming over & seeing Lisa's flower beds. She loved to see how proud Lisa was when she was making her famous Jigg's dinner.
Brayden said his fondest memory of Mommy was family hugs. Daily, Someone would call out "family hug!" and it was always a special moment. He LOVED her Jigg's dinner. He LOVED how she was at Christmas & how she always made it so special for him. He loved going to Drumheller with her. He loved her tea (yes, Lisa ALWAYS had a tea). He loved how clean she kept the house. He used to love watching horror movies with her. He loved how they would ALWAYS jump scare each other. He loved how for the last 3 years she would just sit on the couch and be on her ipad. And most of all, he LOVED her. He loved his Mommy so, so much. He loved their conversations. They were the 2 tightest peas in a pod you would ever know. She WAS his best friend. Every child has a special bond with their Mommy. Theirs was to the moon and back.
As I said before, crescent living is different than on a street. Brayden was able to grow up with a road as a playground. There were times (and there still is) when there's 30 or 40 kids around. There was no shortage of hockey or basketball being played. As Lisa was always sick, this made it a bit easier when I would get home as he had something to do or someone to play with while his Mother was sick in the house. Everyone watched out for the other for the most part. Brayden had made an incredibly special friend over the course of his short life with a boy on the other side of the crescent. Freddie Kamau is a year & a half older than Brayden, but they've known each other since Brayden was born. His 2 older brothers Terrence & Nicholas were always there for Brayden as well. There were a few times that Brayden would come to the hospital. Most of the time, he would go to Robert & Sophia's house as Lisa needed to go. It was never an issue as someone was almost always home. There were times when I would get back at 1 in the morning to get Brayden and there was still room for concern & a long conversation about how Lisa was doing. We would get home & he would always tell me something cool about his stay and what he was doing with Terrence, Nicholas or Freddie. The Kamau Family always held a special place in Lisa's heart and their family, home & love will ALWAYS have a special place in Dwayne & Brayden's.
Brayden also made great friends with our previous next door neighbor's children Gurleen, Kiret and Manraj. Sometimes he would stay at their house until Dwayne would get there if he wasn't at Freddie's (that's his boy!). Lisa & Dwayne became very close to Amarjeet, Jaz and their children. You were also so special to all them (and even now that you have moved, you still are).
Brayden would also sometimes Go to Matt, Carolina & Thomas's house. So often In the morning too. Carolina would always cook bacon and eggs before school & then Brayden would catch the bus for school. Thomas and Brayden would play street hockey or basketball together as well among other things. The care that Brayden got from their home was also special to all of us.
Amanda & Mo: Jaz told us that they were moving & we were sad. She also told us that we would probably like you guys when you moved in. It didn't take long & we all became friends. Lisa and Amanda held a very special place in each other's hearts in a very short time. You became a very close friend to her & I know she's thinking of you.
Lisa loved Dwayne. She loved Brayden and watching him grow up. She loved watching him play. She loved being goofy with Brayden. She loved having conversations with both Dwayne & with Brayden. She loved being involved. She loved how Brayden's Daddy would always take him to do so many things so he would be happy. She loved her little family. She loved her house. She loved her flower beds. She loved how I always bought her flowers. She loved a place for everything and everything in its place. She loved her niece & nephews. She loved sitting on her deck & soaking up the sun. She loved hearing the train by the house. She more than loved her tea. She loved scrapbooking & painting. She loved driving the Tundra. She loved travelling & road trips. She loved to sing. She loved to have a beer or 2. She loved having poker nights. She loved birthdays. She loved having Jigg's dinner and how for her little family of 3 they would go through 2 buckets of beef. She loved Baba's cabbage rolls & her potatoes. She loved Mary Brown's taters, dressing & gravy. She loved eating cod. She loved Red Lobster. She LOVED Christmas. Every year she had the most beautiful tree & the house was always so festive. She'd have decorations and garland everywhere. She loved her cabinet & her crystals. She loved making people happy. She loved Amazing Grace. Lisa just LOVED.
As for Dwayne: Like I said on our first date. When I told Lisa I Love her, I knew. I had never met anyone with a personality like she had. She was strong willed & her attitude was infectious. She wasn't fake. The depth of our conversations we immediately had were beyond anything I had experienced before, so there had to be more to come. She was absolutely gorgeous too. She was fun to be around & liked having fun. As she had been previously hurt more than once before, she had her guard up. She quickly realized what I was about & how I thought & she let her guard down. The love in our relationship was unstoppable. There may have been some hiccups along the way, but there almost has to be to keep each other strong & real. We had many great trips & adventures. She was an incredible Mother to Brayden. She was non stop with him right from a baby until the day she passed. When Brayden would not be around her or be with his friends & then came home, Lisa didn't stop being that Mother. The conversations she had with Brayden and then told me after were incredible. She would always tell Mona "I love my little family!". She WAS my best friend! She always called me her Teddy Bear. Lisa and I always talked about everything. We have 2 hope chests. One at the end of our bed & one in the closet. She had always told me that if she had ever died, there was a letter for myself & a letter for Brayden in the closet chest. Over the previous couple of weeks she had mentioned it a few more times & I had always replied with "don't worry, I know" and then would say to her "why? you're not going anywhere". She would say "just making sure you know". It started to frustrate me a bit as she knew I knew. Then that Tuesday turned us upside down. On Thursday I was looking for the letters in the hope chest where they would always be. I tore it apart & couldn't find them (I did find the sweater that Lisa wore the first night I met her though). I put everything back in the chest & was upset I couldn't find them. I opened the chest at the foot of our bed & our 2 letters were sitting there, right on top. They weren't there the week before. I was talking with Mona & we were sharing some stories. She told me that 3 weeks ago, Lisa had sent her a package. Graham went to the mailbox & gave it to Mona. She called Lisa. Mona asked her what she was sending her. "Is that what I think it is?". She said Lisa was quiet for a moment and when she spoke she kind of had a giggle. "That's so you can take some of Shadow's fur & carry it around with you". Mona asked Lisa in the most confused voice "Why would I take some of my living dog's fur and put it in a cremation locket?". After another moment, Lisa then said with another awkward kind of giggle "I don't know. You can use it when he dies". It wasn't a pet locket. Mona had never heard that little something in Lisa's voice before and it scared her. Lisa laughed even more. She hadn't stopped thinking about how Lisa said what she did as it gave her the willies, and after she passed, we were left with even more to question. Did she know? Why were the letters moved? Why was she refusing so hard to go to the hospital? I rarely used to talk with Mona. After Lisa had passed, I've talked with my Mother & her Mother everyday and there've been great conversations. Lisa once told me that there was one time I was once walking in the alley between Sun Toyota & her apartment & called out "Hey Liissaaa." She said she heard me & wasn't going to wave because I was getting annoying (she ALWAYS waved at me). We would always laugh at how I used to do that. Mona told me after she had passed, that Lisa would often tell her a story. She told her how I used to walk the alley for work & how I called out her name everytime I passed. She also said that there was one time she heard my voice and wasn't going to smile & wave. She then told her Mom that when she wasn't going to look, that something else made her look out the window that time. And when she did, her mind felt peaceful and had the most harmony she's felt, and she had a thought. Then she smiled & waved at me. Lisa then told Mona that the thought she had when she looked at me that one time was "there's my guardian angel". Lisa never told me that part of the story. While she was sick in the hospitals & I was there beside her & for her, she's made the comment of "you're my guardian angel" a few times, but I always thought she was just saying that because she was sick & I was there to care for her. That's always been my nature with her. To hear that really makes one think. I Thank God for "my little family" and the time I was able to spend with Lisa. It hurts as she is no longer in mine & Brayden's physical presence and only time & conversations will make that heal or at least make us feel a little bit at ease. Her spirit lives on & can still be felt. I believe that everything happens for a reason and if we are looking for but can't find those reasons here, then one day we will. God doesn't make us suffer as we are His children. He takes us home when we can't help ourselves from suffering anymore. Brayden & I will always Love & miss you, but like you said in my letter, one day we will see each other again.
Rest In Peace my Lisa Pizza.
I Love You.
Sincerely, Your Teddy Bear,
Due to COVID restrictions, please watch Lisa's memorial service on Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 1:00 PM using the following link: