Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Monday, my Angel baby, Zachary turned four (4). To celebrate, we had a DINOmite dinosaur birthday party this past weekend. We tried to infuse the dinosaur theme into everything. We had a ROARing good time and friends & family made it EGGstra special. It feels like just yesterday we were bringing home from the hospital. It is so hard to believe he's already four. So grown up! I remember last year, I was still unable to swallow & hoping to have some of the birthday party food, Moose's Tooth pizza. Unfortunately, I was unable, but this year, I partook fully.

In addition to the birthday party, I also have 31 Teddy bears to finish dressing for Salvation Army's Teddy bear tea.

I also volunteered at Zach's preschool and that was an interesting experience. I am amazed at the patience his teachers have. It was great to see what Zach does at school. I really enjoyed it despite one little girl commenting on my voice and one little boy growling, hissing & gnashing his teeth at me when I broke him and another boy apart.

I learned Tuesday that I'm mostly done with speech therapy. My therapist and I plan to meet occasionally. I am really not sure how to feel about this. It's definitely a milestone, but I had dreams that I'd sound like I use to. I guess I'll have to accept the truth, it just makes me really sad. I also had to say farewell to Anne, my therapist, who played such a significant role in my recovery. Anne believed in me and encouraged me when I wasn't sure I'd swallow and I was so convinced that I'd never get better. She has been such a big Blessing in my life and I'm grateful she took me on as a patient.

Thank you Anne! Your gift of encouragement, support, guidance, kindness, and love were so uplifting to me. I'll never forget that.

Although I'm still processing how I feel about this new stage, I'm not only reminded of where I've been, but I'm grieving the part of me that will never be. As I'm looking at my life and the course I've travelled these last two years, I find myself confused. I'm such a planner by nature and before all this happened, I had everything planned & mapped out. Now, it's different. I'm not saying, I don't have hopes & dreams for the future, I just have a realization of who holds my future. God says in Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Here's to the road that lies ahead! I can't wait to see where God leads me. Thank you God for getting me this far!


Monday, September 05, 2011


This week marks the 18 month anniversary of being out of the hospital! Wow! Time flies when you're having fun. (or something). I needed some information regarding my care and I started to reread the notebook Jaime compiled for me that includes daily progress summaries, email prayer request updates from her & my mom, and the responses received back from those emails. I realized how truly blessed I am. It's super easy to focus on the deficits I still have, but I've come a long way, and my initial outcome could have been a lot worse than it was. In looking at the book Jaime made, I am amazed by everyones response & how everyone was so eager to encourage, love, support, and pray for me. I won't lie, this has been a very tough road to travel, but your prayers, love & God's graceful & loving healing hand have sustained me. I've tried to remain positive & upbeat throughout this journey, and most of the time I've been successful. But, I have my share of tough moment & days. I have a hard time reading about those first days in CCU. I don't recall most of it and I'm thankful for that, but hearing how rough I was in appearance, behavior & spirit has been a tough pill for me to swallow. My family is quick to say, look what you were going through & the medications you were on, it's expected, but I still feel bad. I was truly horrible & ugly in my behavior & word and I sincerely apologize again to my family, nurses & doctors. Thankfully, I came around. Although there were a lot of tough times, I remember some good memories too:

-My first visits with my boys

-Movie night when Darren slept over in Rehab (thank you Nurse Cherie)

-singing with my microphone (Yonker) in CCU

- dirty laundry basketball with Dad

- panic phone call to Darren from me while in Rehab when I awoke from a nap & no one was with me (can't he have a bathroom break?)

-Dr. Kralick sitting on my walker in rehab, asking first if it was a portable commode before siting

- Order for Dr. Pepper in my tube (thank you Dr. Kralick)

-LeeAnne's big girl panty talk

- Mom shaving my legs in PCU with an electric razor b/c I was on blood thinner

-Shari giving my toenails a touch up

- My sleepover guests & their opinion of my overactive bladder @ the wee hours of the morning & how'd they would share that info in family care shift change each morning

- Subway :) Again?!? Need I say more?

-Joe & Shari washing my hair in CCU at a very unique angle & then finishing my experience with Princess Leia. Buns (can we say hot & stylin'?)

- Spirometer races with Joe (the smoker one, what?)

-Passing out on my way to the bathroom & then asking when I came to, Did I go?

- Wheelchair trip outside CCU (to the waiting room) early in the morning, asking where Dad was as he camped out there every day I was in CCU and then in my room for PCU & Rehab

-Watching whole 'final four' basketball tournament with Dad in Rehab (Grandma would've been proud)

-First sleepover with Dad & getting over 'privacy issue' during bathroom help

-Sleep moaners (person cursing the hospital in unknown dialect & lady wailing in pain in her recovery from hip surgery)

-Super nose - I could smell anything food related miles away

-First time I sat in a chair (4hours) boy was I tired!

- First time I walked around CCU (200 ft)

- CCU board with Darren's drawing & Zachary's picture (thanks Mom)

-First time I rode the stationary bike & even managed to bop to the country music my PT LeeAnne played (I have a picture- thank you iphone)

-First time I walked unassisted (Mom & Dad there - LeeAnne shot video, which I have)

-LeeAnne trying to have my Dad shoot video of my first steps, he got the floor :) I did a lot of walking that day

- First trip outside the hospital by my own power (thank you Heather, guest PT on weekend who became my outpatient PT -love her)

-Chair I was strapped into for transport to swallow study & Lisa's driving (Can we say here's Hannibal?)

-Nurse Ellen hunting down 'the good' shampoo for my first shower

-Cards, prayers, flowers/balloons(CCU), well wishes from so many I know & don't know. Thank you for setting aside time out of your day for me. Your love & belief in God's ability to do incurable things made this road easier to travel. I don't know how one does it without hope in the Lord or without incredible family to keep me focused on what really mattered. I KNOW it wasn't always easy (in fact it probably never was), but I appreciate it more than I can ever express.

Thank you for loving me enough to walk this road with me and for all the sacrifices you made to do it. I'm sincerely humbled & grateful.

Whether it was whispering a prayer, sitting & waiting for news, coming to the hospital, sending a card/drawing/flowers or balloons, caring for my most precious boys, sleeping over so Darren could have a break, becoming so versed in medical lingo you could explode, stepping into make sure my care was quality & correct, holding my hand & comforting my aching heart, telling me I was gonna be OK, desperately trying to understand me when I spoke, wrote or signed, helping me go to the bathroom or therapy or wherever, being present in each moment & showering me with love regardless of my behavior, not accepting the pity & self doubt I spoke of at the beginning, and much much more. I was and am surrounded by incredible people. I love you & Thank You!

I still am on the road to recovery, accomplishing stuff daily. I still have concerns/deficits in front of me and I'd love continued pray for it...still needing some touch:

-double vision
-walking - still off balance
-DVT - still have it & fear regarding this
-Swallow - thought this was done? Still working on it, but enjoying food once again
-restless arm & legs
-sleep (what's that?)
-motivation for getting up & to the gym
-speech - enunciation & precision
-saliva (I know it has a purpose, but I wish mine were in over drive)
-blood pressure & heart rate (still wonky)
-paralyzed vocal fold (it can still return to function even after the procedure I just did) & continued healing from that operation
-soft palate speed (needs a 5 hour energy or something)

I know that this is a lot to ask and it seems as if that is all I do, but I know your track record and I've benefited from it, so I'm asking again. Thank you in advance.

p.s if anyone has any questions about this, I'd be happy to answer - just post them in the comment section.

Thank you!

Psalm 56:3 New Living Translation (NLT)
But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.

Proverbs 3:5 New Living Translation (NLT)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Isaiah 40:31 New Living Translation (NLT)
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.