About Me

  Patricia Hammell Kashtock

Aka: Pat Kashtock. Mother of three, wife of one. BA in Social Work and Biblical Studies. Graduate work at Virginia Tech interrupted, then derailed by oldest child’s brain tumor...

My life has not followed the course I planned. But I am not complaining. Pain is to be expected in a world broken apart from its Creator.

The miracle resides in the ability to find joy when least expected...


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Windows to the Woman’s Soul (W2WSoul)
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For What It's Worth

Each life is a journey. The voices of many guides try to direct us, saying, “This is the path – walk in it!” Yet each one leads in a different direction.

I believe only one Voice can be true. That Voice will lead us in ways most unexpected, into worlds yet undiscovered. It will lead us up the hill, around the river and through the forest. And sometimes, it will lead without mercy.

Or so it seems.

I have made listening for that Voice and following it, my life’s quest. I will share some of what I have heard that Voice say with you. But I am not in the business of telling people how to think or what to believe. Each has to decide for himself. Only you can decide if you find the truth of the Voice in these words. And only you can decide how much it is worth to know the Voice, and follow.

But for me, it is worth the whole world.

And then some…

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Please Pray for Mike's Surgery Dec 17, 7:30 AM

Many things happen when one cares for a grown child who becomes increasingly incapacitated. You feel trapped in a never waking nightmare with each new downturn. You grieve each new loss, your child's pain, the loss of the future that should have been. The one you planned without realizing it when you looked into that child's perfect newborn face.

I suppose those are the things an astute person might realize would happen.

But there are somethings no one preps you for. Like the destruction of bits of your body from caring for someone who weighs the majority of what you do. Towards the end, I had trouble keeping Heidi upright. Sometimes, when I walked her by holding her arm and the gait belt that encircled her waist, her foot would suddenly turn under. She then pitched forward with incredible force. It took all my strength to keep her face from hitting the floor. And it seemed like it pulled my arm out of its socket. Pain shot through my lower back, as if I had been rear ended. And I was terrified I might drop her. 

It got so bad, Mike took over the physical care when he was home.

And ended up with both rotator cuffs torn.

I'm sure they were already in a fragile state, but the wear and yanking finished them off.

Tomorrow at 0-dark-early, he will have a disk in his neck replaced. I have to wonder if all the yanking played a part in this, too. But I don't know.

I do know I am grateful this surgery has been postponed until this month. Just a few months ago, he likely would have had to have his neck fused. For him, I suspect that would bring accelerated degeneration of the adjacent disks.

But disk replacement surgery has recently moved out of the investigational stage and into something covered by insurance. Thank You, Lord!

Please pray for the surgeon and Mike's good recovery.



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Reader Comments (2)

Dear Pat and Mike,
I too understand what it is like to have an adult child die. My daughter Amy died suddenly, unlike your beautiful girl Heidi. It is not an easy path we trod.

One of my neighbors just had similar surgery (I don't pretend to know if they are exactly the same) and she is doing just fine! They went in through the front of her neck and within 3 days or so, was out walking. It's been about 2 weeks and my neighbor is back to her old self! She also had lower back surgery at the same time. For the first time in years, she is pain free.

It is 8:21 a.m. and I know that Mike is in surgery right now. I am praying for him and your family and hope that all goes well.

May G-d bless you and yours.


December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShelley Stull Topf

Hi Shelley -- Thank you so much, both for the prayers and the encouragement. It is wonderful to know how well someone came through it. I am sitting in the room now with Mike.

I am so very sorry about Amy. The shock of a sudden death like that must be a horror beyond imagining. Just for one's brain to even wrap around the realization that it happened seems like it would be a nightmare's journey. It must have exhausted you.

Both kinds are exhausting. Watching one's child die piece by piece is a kind of torture. But to have your child one moment and suddenly, they are gone? It must feel like your soul has been ripped from your heart. I'm just so sorry, Shelley.

Lord, please bless Shelley and her family during this Christmas/Hanukkah season when families get together. Touch the places in their hearts that hurt with the emptiness of Amy's absence. Fill them with Your love and Your presence.

In Jesus name,

Many blessings to you, Shelley. Thank you so much for writing -

December 17, 2009 | Registered Commenter[Pat Kashtock]

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