Friday, September 28, 2012

HAPPY WEEKEND! hope you go surfing

I feel reluctant to admit that my days start to blur together. I find myself thinking with true surprise "Oh! its Friday!" Then the that thought is immediately followed by, "well lets be honest, Saturday and Sunday, not that exciting. They'll look just like that slurred together mon-tueswethrurfriday, except with more football."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I'm just saying, I have a pattern. So for those of you who are working oh so hard and earning your friday afternoon relief - here are some fun links I found across the world wide web.

Here's to hoping you have a fun filled weekend with absolutely only a little time to waste surfing around!!

I have been thrilled by the fact that I enjoy coffee again and Jerry Seinfeld's web series "Comedians in Cars getting Coffee" has been the most delightful entertainment to accompany a cup of joe. Each episode is about 12 minutes long and dialogue is so easy that you honestly feel like you're sharing a booth with these guys. When hanging out with Neil in the evening, I find myself wanting to say "oh yeah, my friend was just talking about that" when I really mean- "I watched Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld discuss that during a phase of my life when I was alone all day and I had no sense of distance, normalcy, or proper human interaction. In fairness they DO seem friendly."

Here's a list of the 500 worst passwords. ha, people are stupid.
oh. wait.... yep, the password I used for all four years of college is in column two.

Neil and I still have our weekly football bets, but instead of the loser having to do a heavy duty household chore (scrubbing baseboards is a rude task to hand your post-operative wife), we decided to reward the winner with getting a CD of their choice! For one of my wins I went back a few years to Iron & Wine's The Shepard's Dog... wow. just wow.

I have professed my love for the site Letters of Note before but I bring it up again because I think I discovered my favorite note. The 'hotter than a pepper sprout', Johnny Cash, wrote a To Do list that makes me feel a warm and fuzzy sort of way.
Its also nice that at this point in my recovery I can accomplish #1, #5, and #6 and sometimes #7

Even though I don't have a child, I have a sense of humor - so this stay at home father's tumblr, Message With a Bottle, is hilarious!

I think the "recently operated" might be the target audience for Network TV's Fall Premiers. I'm truly undiscerning about what new shows I ingest. (by "undiscerning" I mean I watch them all.)
Elementary? why not!
Go On? I have a half hour!
Unfortunately, I have zero advice to give you on which of these shows are good and which are horrible. My television taste buds were numb after I dove into episode 2 of "Guys with Kids"

I have to give Caty Young a big thank you for last weekend. Not only did she share with me so much love and fun and early 90s flash backs- she gave me this diamond of knowledge about the Baby Sitters Club. As I set my sites for my future, now I know I just want to end up better than Claudia.

We are transitioning into some hearty, wholesome fall foods in our CSA and its exciting to dream up recipes. (Then hand them off to my husband to execute, serve, and clean-up!) This weekend its this rustic cabbage soup, with some carrots and corn tossed in for good measure.

And I'll end with something as close to self promotion as I can get... after hours of Neil and I (and some friends) sitting around talking about music, Neil started a blog discussing music. He (and some friends) post with either ideas or actual albums they like. This brand new site is to be a forum where you can gain exposure to good music you may never listen to otherwise - then talk about it.

Happy Weekend! I'll work hard on recovery (and less on time wasting) and report back on Monday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Running for my Life

It more like walking for my life.

I've officially signed up for my first race since the surgery!

Its the Freaky 5K run/walk on October 27th (and all the shirts say "Run for Your Life" so I went with it in the post title)

So far I can walk 3 miles. This leaves me with a whole month to add one more tenth of a mile. I figured I can most likely make up the difference. I even checked with my Neurosurgeon at my last appointment and got the go-ahead to participate.

I have 12 other friends (maybe more) doing the race too and we're all dressing up!

I wanted a costume that allows me to carry a drink. Recently, I haven't needed to take as many sips of water on my walks, but I feel more comfortable knowing I would have something by my side. Last year for Halloween I was dressed as the Statue of Liberty and my torch was a flashlight taped to a bottle of, um, libations.

I swear that mixture is more iced tea than whiskey.
I have Jack Bauer there to keep me honest. 

This year I plan to recycle much of the costume and fill that bottle with flame colored gatorade so I can hydrate as I stroll through North Park as Lady Liberty.

If there's anything to look forward to - its combining my walking with seeing people I love - AND it feels oh so good to have a race on the calender again!

Monday, September 24, 2012


I had a wonderful follow-up appointment today with Dr Okonkwo.

- My incision site remains nice looking (and infection free)

- My walking is great! Yesterday we did 3 miles.

- The mobility in my neck is good. I can look 90 degrees both left and right.

- I've been functioning well on no medication for about 10 days now.

- My ability to eat has returned, even if I'm not that hungry. I do eat!

All and all I think he was pleased

We also got some encouraging news for moving forward.

I have to be careful not to strain in any way. The mesh that was sewn into my head will take about 3 months before my dura (the covering of the brain) fully re-grows and incorporates itself with my brain in this new position. Until then, doing anything too strenuous could bust the stitches that my genius surgeon worked so hard to put in place. That's an outcome I'd like to avoid.

So I've put jazzercise and breakdancing on hold for a while. Along with jogging. I'm so very okay with this.

In the meantime, I'm encouraged to walk as much as I can tolerate. To stretch and keep my body moving (even mild yoga). And he even said my 3 lb weights are good (I have all the proper work outs from months of physical therapy that I went through a few years ago).

I can also move forward with other activities - in moderation - as my energy level can handle. That means if I REALLY REALLY wanted to attend a rave (which I don't, this is a hypothetical) it technically wouldn't harm my surgery's success - but it might make me fatigued. And rest is still important.

Overall, I'm so excited about all this!  There's been a few initial post-surgical guidelines that had been strictly enforced in this household (i.e.: "no cooking"). Now they can be lifted in favor of giving me back my discernment and a bit more freedom (I'm not about roast a turkey but can a girl dice an onion!)

Neil I know you are reading this, please don't think me ungrateful for your vigilance... thanks to you I've progressed so well. But please excuse me while I reach above my head to grab that fall sweater off the top shelf - with out assistance.   oh sweet freedom!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

over the straw curve

With out even fully realizing it, I've surpassed another milestone.

I'm drinking without a straw.

It became clear to me when I asked Neil to grab me some juice and he said "wait, do you want a straw with that?" I'm not the fastest gunslinger in the west, so my gradual smile and hardly committal "Huh" hopefully told him that it was slowly dawning on me - "This is interesting. I'm over the straw curve."

This seemingly minor feet, is actually quite exciting. It means I'm sitting up when I sip. It means I'm tipping my head back when I reach the bottom of the glass. It means I've been getting my own water because Neil didn't notice right away. It means I'm definitely moving towards normal, at least in the drinking department (as long as you ignore the prune juice in my fridge)!

Don't get me wrong, I'll still say yes to the Krazy Straw.

Of course now it would be strictly on principle - not out of necessity.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September Date Night

We opened our two year anniversary gifts early this year. (I was otherwise detained on the actual day) As always, we went for simple in terms of cost - which means I went overboard in terms of effort.

Of the 12 gifts I got him (this looks like overkill but most were oh so insignificant)...

One particular mason jar was my favorite. It had a special gift that was to last all year long.

It held 12 envelops, with each month of the year on the outside. On the inside of each envelop is a specific date night for us. On the first day of each month this year he gets to open a new envelop and we go forth with our date!

Making this gift was tricky because I had to predict how I might feel in February and July. I had to hope I could be in public at a certain point, and expect I could handle large amounts of fun around, well, who knows when?

Making this gift was a blessing because I could say to Neil just before having surgery, not only do I have no doubt I'll live through this (otherwise, crappy gift right?) but I'll also choose to believe I get better and better and we'll have a wonderful year together.


For our kick off month I did have to set the bar rather low. I knew we would be inside not just one weekend but ALL the weekends (and ALL the weeknights). I wanted to do something not too straining but somewhat unique...

Thus - Movie Nights - we stay in, we make popcorn, we snuggle under covers, and we turn off phones. But these aren't typical movies. Our theme is to go through all of our parents' and step-parents' favorite films. We are still collecting some data, and gathering DVDs, but so far its been a blast! Can you believe we never asked them what they love most?

And so now we have a way to separate special nights from just every other night. We also have a new (and renewed) appreciation for:

thanks to John

thanks to Dave

(on deck is)
thanks to Donna

thanks to Paul
(which happens to mine AND Neil's favorite as well. triple whammy!)

and guess who picked

*if you said Joe T, you win!

So far we've lucked out - everyone has impeccable taste, in our opinion - and our September date nights have been delightful! We can't wait to get everyone's final vote and then we might even cycle through some of the second place movies we were given (Ten Commandments, Seabiscuit, Young Frankenstein, The Dream Team, Back to School and Gone With the Wind)

Do you have a favorite movie we could watch? Have you asked any parents or family members what they love the most? I can't believe I waited so long to ask - now that I watch them knowing how beloved they are, they're even better than I remember!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One Whole Month

Today was exactly one month since surgery!

Now sing along with me...
Happy Birthday Month-iversary to youuu, dear mesh thingy holding my brain in place
Happy Month-iversary to youuu, pesky piece of suture thats sticking out but won't budge
oh, wait
you don't know that one? 
its okay, its not all that common.

I'm posting this late because I was so busy today with things like

  • catching up on some phone calls 
  • making coffee (I like it again!) 
  • emailing multi-paragraphed emails 
  • neck stretching 
  • showering (a surprisingly exhausting event)
  • walking with Neil around the reservoir - twice - which equals about 2 miles!
  • eating a dinner of my favorite take out
  • and reading in bed 
I'm so much better than I thought I'd be at four weeks and I look forward to (slowly) adding more good things to my days of rest!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Colin's Inspiring Message

For all the people that have asked about my friend Colin (Neil posted about him recently - he is the biker in the south side that was attacked, stabbed, had his throat slit, and left for dead).

Well, after that kind of intro, I'm happy to announce that he is doing amazingly well!! He is still a bit weak (after losing 1/2 his blood), but he's alive and he's home and he's on the mend.

More than that, he spoke at our church this last sunday...

I wouldn't normally promote something so strongly, but this message is well worth a listen. (seriously friends, its good. have a listen)

I must say that I'm not surprised at all by his talk. This grace and love he shares now is something he has shown before. He and his wife Carina are the kind of people who are able to take off the heaviness of their situation. While so many wear their tragedies like cloaks, these two are able to shed the things that befall them - then remarkably look at the bright side of things.

Last year, when their house burned down (a huge thing), and when city officials wouldn't return phone calls about stuff like zoning (a small thing), they just shrugged off any justifiable anger or the "woah is me's" that I, quite honestly, felt could have merit.

They would actually walk into our apartment (where they stayed for a bit) covered in ash from working on their home and they would smile and chat, then go to wash off all that grime. Sitting with us in the living room, all clean and fresh, they would amaze me by counting the things in life they could celebrate.

So again, its no surprise that now in the face of violence and malice, Colin and Carina can discard those heavy cloaks of fear and anger and revenge and dispair and hurt and on and on - its their nature to stand tall, to find lightness. They've done it both the great things and the small things.

This reminds me of the parable of the ten servants in Luke 19 - when Jesus ultimately says "those who use well what they've been given, even more will be given." Who you are when it matters little is who you'll be when it matters greatly.

There's a number of things that make this talk so very very encouraging for me to hear. (I mean it, I'm just going to keep posting this same link and telling you to go hear him speak!)...

- First and foremost, I was so elated to listen to the (very alive) voice of my friend.
- But I'm also considering how I will emerge from these years of pain. All this time, the hurt I've carried has been physical and emotional.  If I emerge pain free, as I hope, I'll have to shed all the years of heaviness too - I'm so inspired by Colin and Carina for how they continue to move ahead in the good things, leaving in the past what has passed.
- Finally, this talk resonates because I know how much his message can be applied to the small things in life... traffic, comcast billing, neighbors with a weedwacker before 8 am, etc. It sounds overly simple to say but why can't anger and annoyance at those things be replaced with grace and kindness and the old golden rule.

If nothing else, thank you dear Colin and Carina, for the beautiful example.


Monday, September 17, 2012

a welcome fatigue

I'm sorry for not posting for a few days. I have been so very tired, but in such a good way.

My old tired was due to lack of sleep.

My new tired is involves getting sleep (!) in a few hour bits here and there. It's been such a blessing to start feeling rested enough to have a foothold and then begin feeling better and better.

Since then I've been adding many more good things. I can walk longer and farther. I have had a few more visitors. And I was able even to go to get a much needed massage! (I've been to this massage therapist for years because of neck pain and back spasms - this time she was a miracle worker on my hips and low back)

The very nature of the weekend is that I have Neil around all day - that is wonderful but draining as well. I'm not used to having people around all the time!

So you can see why I chose rest over internet posts again and again. Thankfully my fatigue has been the result of healing and I'm being careful not to over-do things.

Now that the week has re-set, I'm back to having my day to myself. (oh and there's the watching Mad Men on netflix between writing thank you notes and trying to nap). I keep doing my gentle neck stretches and patiently await my daily walks... so I can go to bed tired yet again.

thank you for all of your continued thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

what a difference a day makes

Its hard to believe how different I feel writing this today compared to yesterday. These flowers came as a perfect symbol that suddenly things are feeling much brighter (Rachel, how ever did you pull off such timing?)

After almost a week of not sleeping (I mean not catching even a wink), I was such a mess that I took it to this public blog. I figured reaching out to all of you was better than morphing into Tyler Durden.

Then last night we tried a few new things...
- I went bit farther than usual and we walked about a mile
- Just before bed, we broke out the giant foam roller that came with Neil's P90X-2 (picture a sturdy cylinder that you roll over to massage your muscles)
- I took my beloved heat pack to bed with me as well
- And of course, there were the Tylenol PMs

And then...I was able to fall asleep! (miracle!!) Even though it was a disruptive sleep, I caught a few hours here and there. This is such a vast improvement that I feel like a whole new human!! No more fear of Neil coming home to his wife ordering Ikea furniture and making soap.

A wonderful friend called today to encourage me, and he reminded me that when narcotics leave your system they can also leave you sleepless. This makes quite a bit of sense to me. I have always been hyper-sensitive to medications. After a string of IV morphine, then percocet, then oxy - its no great leap  to think that when they were eventually gone, I'd lay awake, buzzing and restless.

Here's to hoping that last night was no fluke, and that now I have a foothold. I will walk more today and stretch more today and thank our God above repeatedly that I got some sleep. I'm also thanking you - you beautiful bunch of readers - because the very same night I put this out there and the problem resolved! amen and amen!

p.s. to top it all off, I had the most adorable (already crawling!) lunch date today!  

 darling Nora

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


This time in the recovery process is definitely part of the difficult limbo period. I'm not quite so terribly pained that I stay in bed/on the couch all day anymore and yet I'm not quite over the hump of some pretty rough patches.

Parts of me are healing faster than others making for an awkward time that reminds me of the scene when Bambi tries to stand up all wobbly legged on ice (except with narcotics). 

I'll let you know the specifics of it, not to complain, but so maybe you can say a small prayer or send out some good thoughts. Mostly things are progressing well but other things are quite difficult.

I have been dropping off of my medications rather quickly and realizing that I am fully okay with my pain through the day. My neck is achy (among other things) but I'm not one unaccustomed to pain. Actually, I think because I spent so long with pain that once I had strong drugs in me, I started getting woozy and nauseated. Now that they are all out of my system, I realized I'm okay without them. My eating has even gotten much better.

Through this last week, its been hard to determine how much to cut back and when. (more on that later) But for now I got to a place where I'm drug free, aside from occasional tylenol.

Pains in my...
I think all the weight I lost was in my rear-end. I also think my bony butt is angry at me for sitting around on it these three weeks straight. In fact, my hips and lower back and sides and legs have joined in on the complaints. I didn't think I'd be so sore but my goodness!

During the day I sit up, I move, I stretch, and I change positions. I walk multiple times. I try to answer the restlessness of my body. But I can only do so much before my neck and head need to lay down again. I was pretty active before the surgery (I ran 3 miles the day before the cut me open) and now I think my muscles are not liking the bed bound life they've been forced to lead.

So at night, I just cannot get comfortable. I cannot find a position that doesn't hurt from head to toe and I have that age old problem for me, yet again...

Here is where all those other two things come together. At first I was going back to add some of my medications just at night - maybe they would help me sleep. Instead, I was up all night feeling queasy and sick. Then I tried nights without the medications, and I was up all night feeling pain and restlessness. 

Just after coming home from the hospital, I was able to get 1 or 2 hour bits of sleep through the night. Now I don't even fall alseep till around 4 or 5 am and I might get two broken up hours total, if I'm lucky. (Which is to say, this in-between time I've called "limbo" has been rough enough to merit more harsh names, to say the least)

I spoke with the nurse on staff at my surgeon's office and she recommended I do not go back on the narcotics that make me sick - that instead I try tylenol PM tonight. I figured I'd share this with you because I do believe prayer goes well with those little blue tablets. 

Like I said earlier, I know this is just a rough patch. Parts of my body are feeling much healthier - in time, other parts will catch up. As I'm able to hold my head up longer and longer, my walks will increase, my aches will go away, and my sleep will get better. I know that. I just really want to get there already. (I'm only 3 weeks into a long recovery, I'm not surprised that its hard, but it is still hard).

Oh and maybe you could send a thought out to Neil too. It's my guess that it can't be easy living with an emotionally raw post-operative zombie that tosses and turns all night. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

my favorite time of day

When I came home from the hospital, my Mom and Joe T had left a surprise for us by giving our porch an extreme home make over...

complete with cozy chairs, end tables, and even flowers!

We've always loved our porch for the beautiful Ivy and view of the neighborhood, but it was in dire need of places to sit!

Now, we have just that place. We go there in the morning sometimes to get a bit of fresh air. We go there just before the sun sets for a short while and Neil will read to me. But my favorite time of day is right around 6 pm...

Every day we go for a walk together. Its just a few blocks and I inch along, taking water breaks and pausing here and there. As I slowly increase my distance it takes a bit longer (eventually I'm supposed to walk for an hour) and Neil is never in a rush. When its over I usually want to rest. Conveniently, now we have seats! 

We always save the mail for this time of day and we open the cards slowly. We read and re-read them. We talk. We relax.

If I haven't gotten to personally thank you for a card you mailed to us, please know it is cherished. It supplies my favorite time of day. In fact, I think the neighbors are beginning to get suspicious of the emotional girl that sits on the porch.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fall and Football

Happy Steeler Sunday Friends!!!!

Neil and I usually celebrate the regular season kick off with pumpkin ale and french onion soup - watching all the games at Silky's (its quiet and empty on a sunday and there are so many TVs).

But this season is different. Not to worry, we still bet with each other on every game. However, its still different.

Since we are homebound but just as football focused, Neil splurged for NFL Red Zone as a gift for me (well, for us really)!!! Last night we started scheming and worked a way to bring the guest room TV in to the living room to maximize our Sunday Fun.

This early afternoon we're eating the delicious squash soup Neil made and sipping - water (its good for the brain)- and wearing steeler gear.

Its easy to forget how achy and tired I am on a crisp, fall, football day like today. 

We feel blessed because 'different' doesn't necessarily mean bad at all. Its quite perfect. 

I hope you have some great Sunday Fun too!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sutures Gone! (warning a visual)

Multiple people have asked how the sutures looked and since my neurosurgeon, David Okonkwo, was a rock star - they looked really good. And I figured, why not share.

They're all lined up and neat with no blood and I believe even those with a weak stomach would be fine seeing them (granted I have a skewed view of things, coming from a nursing background).

So this is your warning if you don't like pictures...

turn back now...

(I'm not good at blogger so I don't know how to imbed an image I just know how to make you scroll down for it.)

Honestly its not gruesome it looks really good...

day 3, discharge from hospital

week one - wound is healing!

just over week two - sutures out!
(no more itchy feelings!)

as a side note, my hair grows so so fast!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A good man, a horrible act

(This is Neil filling in for Em while she rests tonight....we just felt the need to post about this)

I am not sure if you have seen this story in the news but a horrible act was committed in what appears to be a road rage incident against a biker.  The biker is our friend Colin.  You may have heard this name before specifically about our friend Colin, his wife Carina and their house on Fairmount Street.... because their house had burnt to the ground last July.  

A tragic event like this almost leaves me at a loss for words.  All I can say is what I know for sure which is that Colin is a good man.  Despite all that they have been through he never lost his kindness, positive spirit and his faith.  I can not stop thinking about this because such a tragic event should never happen to such a great person.

I wasn't there. I didn't see what started this incident (not that it matters).  But I can guarantee that no wrong was done on his part and I am as sure of this as I can be of anything.  The character of this man is enough to make me fully stand behind that belief.  All I can hope is that the Lord can give them strength and calm the nerves of their family as Colin heals from this heinous act.

They were asked what they needed because so many people want to do what they can to help.  The only thing they said that they wanted was prayer.  So you can bet your a** that is what we will continue to do and I encourage you to do the same.

However, for those of you that are compelled to do more I can tell you this.  They have a website that is still set up from the fire that burned their home down a little over a year ago

You can go to the "Ways to Help Give" tab and in the left hand column there is a donate button which will link you to their pay pal account. Em spoke with a friend that saw Colin this afternoon. He said this would be an acceptable way to contribute to them at this time.  

I know that Colin has health care that will help with their coverage but with the potential additional medical expenses and the fact that he may not be able to work for awhile I am sure that any help would go a long way in supporting Colin and his family during his recovery.

There is no simple way to end this post so I am just going to stop here and do all that I can at this moment, pray.....

*additional note: update on colin is in the comments section and here are a few more news stories for you if you're interested...

we still can't fathom this could happen

Measurable Good

In the two weeks since surgery, we've been happy to share with you that I'm feeling a little better every day but I'm sure that you have no idea what that looks like when you aren't in my living room turned 'recovery center' with me.

Originally I thought it might be hard for me to appreciate progress. Generally when something is happening to you the gradual changes are hard to see, but that's not been the case here. I feel like I notice the shifts in my healing all the time. Its wonderful! Maybe its because I spent so many years with such minimal improvement, moving a glacial speed, that now surgical recovery feels like I'm zooming.

Because it makes me smile, I'll share with you some of these specific examples of progress:

* I  have worked my way up to walking three blocks (which technically equals 6 blocks cause I count doubling back to get home). We go nice and slow with pauses for water and I feel good. 

* I have clean hair right now! Attempt #2 at washing was easy and wonderful and I never was so happy to be grease free!!

* When I brush my teeth, now I can lean down enough to spit into the sink without hurting my neck. It seems like a small victory but its really been a perk these last two days not to get toothpaste dribble on my clothes.

* I have gained back 2 pounds of what I lost post surgery. I have a history of my weight being all over the place since the accident so I'm not going to stress too much about how much I lost with surgery. I'm just going to eat many small meals of healthy, nutrient rich food and get back to a decent weight whenever that may happen. And eating has been rough, so I'm pretty pleased with 2 pounds.

* I can read again! It was blurry for me at first (I jumped in a bit early) but now that I've eased back into things I'm doing well.... I still can't concentrate for long periods of time but I'm back to books and that makes me happy. A big thanks goes out to Frank, who knows me so perfectly, because this is what he brought to the hospital...

* My spinal headache is much much better. I rarely feel the siren pains when I sit up anymore.

* If you imagine looking straight ahead to be 0 degrees, then directly over your shoulder to be 90 degrees, I can turn my head about 60 degrees both left and right. (this one I've slowly worked on and I feel especially proud about)

* I have been able to cut back my oxycontin from every 4 hours to every 6 hours without problem and just today I started taking them every 8 hours and I feel okay.  I still love my muscle relaxer too much to mess with that, but for now I feel good about the change. (I'm posting this picture because I think its really sweet how Neil has my meds set up in chart form with his own abbreviations. Plus, he even has the bottles in order by size.)

this is a financial man turned nurse at its best

* My sutures have healed and they will be taken out tomorrow morning (by my neurosurgeon, not by Neil). This means we've successfully made it through the time period of all the scary infection issues and the potential leaking CSF complications!

* I can sit upright for a bit longer than 15 minutes before having to rest my neck muscles again on a pillow

* I am, um, regular (that might be waaay too much information but if anyone of you have been through a surgery, you know how much of a victory it can be when you conquering your digestion.)

* I can eat a whole bowl of something - in one sitting - without feeling it won't stay down! A whole bowl!!
In fact, here I am doing an amazing feat - enjoying a (very generous edible arrangement) fruit flower while standing...

There's still a long way to go, being about 2 weeks into a 3 month recovery, but as I move along I'm happy to celebrate all those good things I can measure!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Neil has returned to work at the office this week (he had been working from home so far), which has nudged me out of the nest and back into the world of posting!

I still might be very slow to respond to emails, facebook messages, thank you notes, and such but I'm getting there (too much time sitting upright and focusing can be difficult).

I will let you know the bullet points of how things are progressing soon. **Spoiler Alert: they are progressing very well**

For now I will take on the immense task of trying to say, in my own words, thank you.

[well, now, I'm already crying a bit which means this won't be easy]

For years I endured pain and I did it on what felt like my own strength. Granted I've had prayers and faith. I've had a fantastic husband. I've had great support. But I was on something of an island with what I had to feel and it was okay. I could manage.

Even leading up to and right after the surgery - things were very very difficult. But I was enduring. I was supremely grateful and deeply appreciative of all the love... but it was mainly me getting through the pain.

Then we came home from the hospital, and for some reason I thought each day was supposed to be better and better. Instead, I felt worse. In hindsight, it wasn't a huge deal that they reduced my medications upon discharge - I've dealt with much worse, physically - but it ended up being so hard. I think it was that no one told me it was going to happen. I was blindsided. So maybe the inability to brace myself, or maybe just because I was due, it wiped me out mentally and emotionally (even more than physically). It was a really rough period...

And every single day the comments came pouring in. And every single day cards were spilling out of our mail box. And kind texts would show up on my phone. I would cry and cry and ask Neil to read me the notes yet again. Right when I would start to believe that I'm too tired, this has all been too hard someone would write to me to say "I think you are strong."

So I don't know how to really express a Thank You for your support. We've been saying "thank you for your kind words and your support" in most of our posts and that might start to just read as a polite addendum, but its so much more. I hit a point when my reserve tank was empty and I didn't think I could get by, and I went from appreciating your words to needing your words, because "me" wasn't nearly enough.

I've been quiet for a while - resting and quiet - so I wish I could have expressed this sooner. Things are vastly improved since getting home from the hospital and really really getting measurably better each day. My mental and emotional pillars feel strong again and when I start cry as I open my mail these days, its because I feel so overwhelmingly blessed, not because I feel so overwhelmed.

from my full heart I say to you truly
Thank You for your kind words and support,
it has meant the world to me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Just moving along

As I said in the last post things have been progressing.  It has been to hard to compartmentalize to understand which part of her body is bringing her pain so the question we have been asked, understandibly, is 'are her headaches gone'.  It has been a tricky question to answer.  Right now her pain is just there and it could be just from the surgery, it could be a little from the surgery and a lot from her concussion, it could be equal parts of all factors....we just don't know.

What we do know is that yet again she feels better today than yesterday, and better yesterday than the day before.  I think it is too hard for us emotionally to speculate if this was the answer that she has been seeking.  So right now our focus is getting better each day. 

We still have been walking.  Today we reached the new max of two blocks out and two back (plus the stairs in our appartment).  I think it has been very good. Each day walking is a little easier and will probably start to translate into a little farther. 

All I can say is that she is amazing (as you all know) and I am just so happy to see her getting better by the day!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Are you repeating yourself?

I think at this point the day post are getting a little bit repetitive.  I can say that again Emily had a good day, slightly better than yesterday.  We also had our first few visitors which was nice but left her tired.  Hopefully as she adjusts we can continue to see people (hopefully more regularly too).

Since not much as changed from the last post here are a few interesting things:

 - One of Em's favorite things is a cup of coffee.  And caffeine helps with spinal headaches so you would think that is an easy win.  For some reason though since the surgery she can't stomach a cup.  Hopefully that is only for the short term and she does not have to continue drinking Coca-Cola products for her morning caffeine

- There are other favorites that she has been unable to eat like eggs, spicy food, hummus and most DAIRY products.  If these were the only things that made up the food pyramid (dairy being the largest section) she would be a well oiled machine in the past.  Now, it would spell trouble.

- So the other thing is that at first she was unable to eat.  But she gets cravings.  Two of those cravings have been, a turkey bacon bravo sandwich from Panera and a steak salad.......before the surgery Em was a vegetarian.  Actually in the 4 years of our relationship I have never seen her eat a piece of red meat.  Kinda weird, right.