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.



  1. What more can I say? Thanks be to God. And, I love you!

  2. I love you Jess. I am so very proud of you and all you have accomplished. xoxo

  3. I came across your entry on Dale Ostrander's blog and I am so grateful I visited your blog. My son was diagnosed with 2 neuro conditions (hydrocephalus & chiari malformation)when he was a year & half. He's had multiple surgeries for each condition, a total of 7 to date. I've been a woman full of faith for many years but this last surgery in May was the most intense yet, not quite like your situation but watching my son in the situation all I could do was seek God's guidance for healing. I have learned so much about healing from God's perspective, the Bible is filled with so many truths about healing that I did not realize the power of speaking those truths over my son's life. Even though he had brain surgery in May was readmitted in June for a week due to chemical meningitis as a complication of the surgery, by the middle of July he was playing on a basketball team at the rec center-all by the merciful hand of God. Before my son's surgery God lead me to scripture "Jesus said, do not be afraid, just believe and she(he) will be healed."luke 8:50 As I prayed for my son's healing my cousin was then lead to Mark 9:14-29. This scripture passage opened my eyes and understanding and I have not looked back since. God bless you on your continued journey! "Thank you Lord that you are ever true to Your promises & You can be depended on!."1Corinthians1:9

  4. Thank you Kit! Sorry I am so slow about responding... still trying to figure out comments :0)