Saturday, September 26, 2009


I don't know what to say, those beautiful yellow roses in the picture were sent to me by Kathy Ireland and give me so much hope. Kathy Ireland couldn't have sent anything that inspired me more (unless they were silk and lasted forever). Ray took the picture and I am going to put it in my favorite album. I am so fortunate to have such loving people in my life.

I found out that Martin (Marty) Altman died this week. I worked with him when I was working at Langley. I knew him at least 10 years and worked with him for about 5 years. He was a nice man who had multiple schlerosis. He didn't have a big family and his immediate family was just his wife, Cindy. I saw Cindy on numerous occasions when Marty had a need for me to stop by and take something in for him when he was ill or just working at home. He worked at home quite a bit. Sometimes, it was difficult for him to get into work. He had a laptop and could work there on a lot of his projects. He sold us a generator last year because he had one put on his house. He charged us very little for it.

Bobbi sent me an email saying that Marty had died. I called and left a message for Cindy to call me. She was in New Jersy attending the funeral. She called me on Monday and we made arrangements to meet on Friday after my doctor's appointment. Cindy is Korean and she had been married to Marty for 26 years. Her sister flew in on Tuesday to stay with her for 3 months. She will be coming to live with Cindy as soon as the Visas/green cards are in effect. She is a very nice person, I think. She doesn't speak English yet, but is planning on taking classes in English and business. She is a business woman and travels to Shanghai a lot doing business. She is in the jewelry business. Nothing on a big scale, but on a small scale.

I have decided that I really want to help Cindy acclamate to life without Marty. They really don't have any close friends and she needs help. I contacted a friend at church who is going to meet us after the service tomorrow. Hyon is of Korean descent, but married to an American. Hyon will be a big help, I am sure. It turns out that the best Korean Christian Church will be the one right down the street from us on Harpersville.

Cindy did take my advice and call Marty's brother. He had come and took Marty's laptop and all the paperwork so that he could oversee the estate but he hadn't been exactly kind I think. She called him and got things straightened out. She felt like he took all her money, even though he was just doing what Marty had assigned him to do. Although, I don't agree that someone else should handle her affairs, she will now have the opportunity to go to school with her sister and learn how to take care of her own things. She is not a young girl and she will need to learn if she wants to continue to have a good life. I hope that I can help her in some way.

It will be my first Sunday back at church and the pastor will be there tomorrow. He is back from a revival in Northern Virginia.

Monday, September 21, 2009


This picture is Kathy Ireland. She is a Super Model and one of the most Super People that I have ever met. We have not actually met in person, but we are twitter friends forever. She reached out to me at one of the worst moments of my life. During my battle this past 8 months with Breast Cancer and then with Pneumonia, she has been there and encouraged me constantly. She didn't know me from Adam, not to mention she is a mom and a celebrity with lots of responsibilities. She has a huge, very profitable business, a lovely home, beautiful family, but she took the time out of her busy schedule to notice that I was in pain. She has tweeted me almost daily and promised flowers, etc. She doesn't need to send me anything, I am sure that there are people who are much more needy and deserving.

I am asking all my friends and #SweetTweets from twitter to vote for her at www. (Dancing with the Stars). She deserves every vote for her kind and loving heart. I love to dance and respect her so much for just trying to make it on DWTS. And, she is doing this to raise money for charity.

"Comments on Team KATONY have been expressed across many channels of communication, such, Facebook and twitter, where Kathy's good friend Dame Elizabeth Taylor twittered... "I'm so excited to see Kathy Ireland on Dancing With The Stars! She is so beautiful. To watch her in movement will be a golden chance to see beauty in action and grace, which is what that lady is all about... She is beauty personified because it glows from within and takes her on wing." Dame Elizabeth Taylor"

Please vote for her. The link for KATONY is This will tell you about what is going on the the team.

I am expecting more communications from Kathy and will share them on my sister website at

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I have had so much sleep today, I feel lymph. I hate it when I do that. I don't know what it is, but I find it hard to relax. Maybe it is all the medication. I have some more to take for today, but I am waiting because I want to be able to think clearly for a while.

Also, I want to watch "Bones." I don't know why but I have developed a strange affinity for this program. When I was 9 years old, we moved to England and lived there for 3 years. It was wonderful. I would go again if I could. While we were there, they were building a new hospital at Lakenheath AB and as a student at the Lakenheath/Mildenhall school, some of us got to go to the site when they dug up a Anglo/Saxon burial ground. It was really something. We were able to actually dig with scrapers and brushes. We found strange thngs like hair clasps that still had hair in them, weapons, cooking pots, clay pots, etc. The ground was clay, so it was pretty well-preserved. It was so interesting, I think, because the archeologists that were there treated us very well and were interested in what we had to say about what we were doing. I look back and remember it as a time that an adult actually paid attention to what I thought instead of just acting like "children should be seen, not heard." I was treated like an intelligent human being because I had something intelligent to say. Children usually have to hit about 40 before their parents begin to treat them like they have any sense.


I have received so many cards from members of my church that it is almost overwhelming. I know for a fact that there are over 200 cards. The really comforting thing about the cards is that every time I look at the basket, I see prayers. I see prayers from loving friends and even from people that I really didn't know were my friends. There is so much love in the card basket that I shouldn't even be able to pick it up. I never realized how important it is to get these cards. Most people did more than just sign the card, they actually wrote a comment, prayer, or referenced Scripture. That is a lot of attention to pay to a friend, much less someone who you don't really know very well. I think that is the difference is being a Christian and not being a Christian. As a Christian, we know each other better and are better able to express our feelings. We know what our roots are and what we believe. We reach out every day to witness to those we can. We try not to be exclusive, but it is very difficult. When I see someone that I love that I know does not know Christ, it breaks my heart. I want to be with them in the hearafter. If they do not know Christ the way that I know Christ, they won't be there. I have absolutely no doubt that I will be with Christ in Heaven. I just pray that others would know this too.

But, nowadays, we have email. I have received so many of them, that the numbers are probably in the thousands. If I had printed them out, I guess it would have been more tangible proof, but being a little bit of a tree hugger myself, just couldn't use up all that paper. Unless, you have been in this situation, I don't know how you could realize how much it means to receive a card. I receive one almost every day and it really brightens up my day.

Phone calls are nice, but sometimes it is just difficult to talk. And, I tend to forget what I told who to and get myself in trouble. Not that I am lying, it is that I am drugged up and don't know what I am saying. Actually, I am probably closer to the truth (that people don't want to hear). When I send an email, I usually write what I think and then edit it, it is usually a lot nicer. I found out a long time ago that people take me too seriously sometimes.
Then on the other hand, they don't take me seriously enough. I love people and only want the best for them. Sometimes, I come off as a know it all, and I really don't know it all. I just know that sometimes you can understand hurt better when you have been hurt, sick when you have been sick, grief when a loved one has died, etc.

Friday, September 11, 2009


The most Amazing thing happened today. I won the nomination for @AmericanWomannn's BabeAlert on Twitter. How awesome is that? Little ole lady me, A Babe? (Betcha didn't know I knew how to yodel.) This so amazing to me that I even had a chance. Sarah Marshall (@AmericanWomannn) is one of the most wonderful people I know. "Did I mention @BarbaraDuke has been given new babalicious name from @AmericanWomannn #Babealert! Go Babalicious Barbara Go! Know "

Outside of myself, Sarah is the most positive person I know.
She is always looking for the good in things and all those that know her appreciate her so much.

To be labeled "Babe of the Day" on 9/11 was almost more honor than I could stand. I was busy in prayer for the families of the victims of that awful day. Thank you Sarah for helping to make that day more bearable for me.
On 9/11/2001, Ray was in DC taking his Professionable Parliamentarian Exam and I was scared silly when I couldn't get through to him on his cellphone. He actually heard and felt the airplane go down in DC.

Sarah is so positive that I started a new group of friends and she was at the top of the list. My list is #SweetTweets. Anyone can be on this list as long as they are nice people. If you don't see your name on #SweetTweets sometimes, you might want to up your game. Everyone is a #SweetTweet until they do something absolutely awful to get taken off. You will always be forgiven, but have to earn your way back to the list.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I received a tweet from the lovely Kathy Ireland, which said, "@BarbaraDuke Dearest Barbara, want 2 do something in addition to prayers. Food for UR nurses, calls, flowers? Anything. Love & Prayers Angel"

This is the address at the hospital:
Riverside Regional Medical Center
Oncology Unit 5 West
500 J.Clyde Morris Blvd
Newport News Va 23601

[757-594-2564,Charge Nurse]
My doctor is:
Kimberly W. Schlesinger, MD
Specialties: Medical Oncology Hematology

Practice:Riverside Medical Group

Peninsula Cancer Institute
Office Location: 12100 Warwick Blvd, Suite 201

Newport News, VA 23601
Phone: (757) 534-5555

Dearest Kathy,

I was also treated for my pneumonia on the Oncology 5 West Ward (Room 505). The nurses and doctors there were awesome and so helpful. They were there holding my hand when I got sick and cleaned up after me when I got sick. I can not possibly thank them enough.
Hopefully, this is it and I should be going home in the next week. Love to all, GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME!

I love you for your kind thoughts and prayers. Thank you so much for showing us each and every one of us your faith in the Lord.
Barbara Duke
224 Agusta Drive
Newport News VA 23601-1440

Phone: 757-591-2363
Pictured with my mother, Bertha Burns of Lexington KY, in my hospital room (Don't you just love the wonderful oversized attire for the occasion & my new wig). Odviously, we were Tweeting for health. Twitter friends kept my spirits up.


This has been a truly strange month. First, I am in the hospital in New Bern NC while my mother is visiting. I have pneumonia. I am on all kinds of medicine to include pain medication which seems to have skewed up my memory of what happened. Things seemed to run together and I am not really sure of what went on where.

I do remember vaguely sending Bella in California a tweet telling her I was going to the hospital. She let everyone know and even left a message for Ray here at home on the phone. I found it yesterday when I was cleaning off the messages. Pain medication really messes up your mind. I guess I sent Bella the note because they wouldn't let me take the computer to the hospital. It has been such a lifeline to me over the past months. Bella is actually @CiaoBella50 on Twitter and so sweet. I just can't tell you what a sweet person she is. Everyone on Twitter was so nice.

Speaking of nice, I have received over 200 Get Well/Thinking of You cards since January. Each one is a prayer and each time I see them, they remind me of prayer and thanksgiving for each person/family who sent them. God is surely good, all the time. I give thanks for my dear church family and actually for many people praying for me here at home and abroad. What did I ever do to elicit such compassion and love? It is a little overwhelming at times.

I was able to connect with someone I hadn't seen in almost two years at the hospital. I still cannot remember her name, but the Lord has plans for the both of us in the near future. I have to go through all my notes I took at the hospital. I am sure I wrote something down. Unexpected angels in my life.

My dear sweet mother couldn't help with my poor yard so she sent something to help Rhonda do something. And, boy did she. She wondered where all my flowers were, I keep telling people that unless a man is a "Gardener" he cannot tell the difference between flower and weed. I had some people clean up the yard in March and they pulled up at least 5 Clematis vines that I had been nurturing for over 4 years and left the poision ivy I had been trying to get rid of for 10 years. They hacked my bushes, destroyed my broken pottery garden, etc. You can rest assured, I will plow the yard under before they step foot in it again. I will garden again, even if it is for only for an hour a day. Whatever the Lord allows.

I am still sorting all this out. I didn't mean to get confused and wanted to deliver the story "as was", but I guess I didn't think about the effects of the pain medication on my memory. There may be changes coming soon. I just don't know whether to go back and correct or ask for help from other people's memory.

Bertha Pink

When I learned that my mother was coming on May 11th for visit, I was so excited and Catherine and I cleaned really good. I even had my daughter in NC cleaning our weekend home. Rhonda has been decorating and made everything look so nice and clean.

We got down to NC on Thursday evening. I had been having a time in the car. I felt almost like I had appendicitis or some such. The pain got so bad that they had to call the rescue squad. They took me to East Carolina Medical Center in New Bern. They took a chest x-ray and a CAT scan and determined that I have pneumonia. How did that happen? I have been so careful. My feet and legs were also swollen and hurt. I have been here in the hospital for the whole time.

My mother has had a ball going from one grand child's home to another. Jeff took her riding around on Sunday and she got to see and hear a lot of things that she hasn't seen before. They wouldn't let me have my computer until yesterday, which was probably a good thing, because I got a lot of sleep.
I really miss my blogs, FaceBook, and Twitter.When I went into Twitter. I literally had hundreds of messages about me being in the hospital and so many have said prayers for me. I feel so special. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I am going to publish this now but will probably post more later. Love to you. Barbara


There has been so much going on, I find out that if you don't write everyday, your memory plays games with you. It has been a long couple of weeks. I am home now and will try to fill in as I can. I am on so many pain medications, it is hard to remember what happened this morning.

I think I figured out that the illness triggered two genetic markers for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Whatever it is, it is painful. I sure hope this is a side effect and not a permanent disorder. Life should be getting easier for Ray and I, not more difficult. It really makes you tired all the time.

I couldn't have received better care than I received at Riverside Regional Hospital. I loved the fact that we were so close to home and Ray could go home to sleep instead of trying to bunch up in a recliner. The nurses and doctors were awesome. The room was kept clean and the food wasn't too bad. Actually, the food at the East Carolina Medical Center in New Bern was better because they had a restaurant type menu and you could choose anything you like to eat unless you were assigned to a certain diet. The food was so fresh, well-cooked & seasoned, and the salads crispy.

I think I was surprised by the diagnosis more than anything. Pneumonia? Who gets pneumonia? Evidently, lots of people do. It was more like pleurisy.

We came home from NC on August 24 and I went into the hospital at Riverside on the 25th and stayed a week or so. I really don't know whether I am coming or going.

God has Ray taking care of me. Praise His holy name. It is so hard to keep up with it all.