Thursday, September 6, 2012

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!


  1. You look fantastic!!! That hair - it's clean! All of these accomplishments are amazing. Keep up the good work. Hope the dr. visit goes well tomorrow - bye bye sutures.

  2. Emily , this is amazing!! SO happy for each victory and they are major victories!!! I especially the, um, regular comment!! I hear you gorgeous!

    God bless beautiful one, and wonderful handsome hubby!!

    Praying and praying for continued victories!

    I love you!

    Stacy :)

  3. This update has made my night and I am tempted to wake up Doug to share the good news because we think and talk about you every day and I know that he will be just as thrilled! You are simply an amazing inspiration, Emily!
    Hugs, Gabrielle

  4. If I wrote a book about my month of August, "Conquering Digestion" could be the title. So I, for one, see that as no small accomplishment! :)

  5. It's so good to see pictures of you. I think we needed that! I know you have a long way to go, but it's hard to believe how far you've come in only 2 weeks.

    And I love that accountant husband of yours. I knew you were in good hands and I obviously knew you loved each other, but seeing that notebook and how carefully he lined up your pill bottles was a real visual of that "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health" part of marriage vows that we take for granted. You two are amazing. I will continue to keep you both in my prayers.

    On a lighter note, sorry about those Panthers of yours. Recuperating this Fall will be absolutely unbearable and miserable for you if the teams you love don't get it together!!!

  6. Emily! This is amazing!

    Rachel sent me the link to your blog, and I came in at a good time. You have made so much progress already! I am excited to see what else is to come.

    We have been thinking about you a lot.

    Much love from Chicago/Goshen,

  7. Hey Emma :)

    I concur on the picture. So good to see you :) And as to your 3 block walks, I believe our house is 3 blocks from you. Feel free to rest ANYTIME on our front porch. We have a rocking chair (and a Wendy's in the back yard if you get hungry, although I wouldn't recommend it if you're finally regular...)

    So thankful that you are healing, and we (Chris+I, Catalyst, Hindmarshes) will continue to pray for you. And Neil needs an award for that organization. My mom would be so proud :)

    PS: read the weight blog you was timely for me. Certainly always appreciated you and your way with words.

  8. What a post! Beautiful, encouraging words and beautiful pictures. God bless you both. Love, Aunt Barb

  9. Em , you and Neil are an amazing couple and an inspiration to us all !! Prayers and happy thoughts still coming your way from all of us!!