On May 5th, 2010 our life was redefined when we discovered that I have a tumor
growing in the spinal cord of my neck.

The purpose of this blog to keep an updated record of our "Life Redefined" and give you the details you might be wondering about (surgery, recovery and other random daily stuff, etc...)

For our friends and our family members who want to be kept updated this is the easiest way for us to do it. It's also good therapy for me to write it down!

We still want you to call or visit if you feel like it - we find so much strength from you. All of your words and encouraging thoughts and prayers are a great blessing for us!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Home Again, Home Again! Jiggety Jig!"

As my mom always said when we arrived home after time away..."Home Again, Home Again!  Jiggety Jig!" 

I am home!  I have been home now for 4 days and it has been, well let's just say...wonderful and "all of the above!"

Maria and I!

We left the hospital at about 12:15 p.m. on Saturday.  I was, believe it or not, sad to say goodbye to some of the people I had grown to love while there.  My therapists, my new friends and some of the nurses and staff.  After 5 weeks with these people I feel like they are my friends and I care about them and it's hard to say goodbye. 

We headed 1st to have lunch with one of my best friends from high school, Erin, and her family.  They had just driven in from Arizona for a family vacation!  It was perfect timing because Erin and I rarely get to see each other!  After eating we headed outside for a picture of all of us, I was only using my crutches. Sure enough, within 3 minutes of me being on my feet I started to feel extremely ill, it was very scary.  I knew that I was within 60 seconds of fainting and Brian looked at me and told me that I was "as white as a ghost."  I barely made it through pictures and hugs goodbye and got in the car.   I am certain that my blood pressure dropped and that something was WAY off.  After that the 1st hour of our drive home was me recovering from that scary experience.  Isn't that typical?  2 hours out of the hospital and "where's my nurse?"!  I guess that was just my friendly reminder that while I am out, I am still recovering and I still need to be very cautious and take it easy.

Hope you had a great vacation at Aspen Grove Erin and Ryan! It was so good to see you!
(Do I look pale to anyone?)

When I arrived home it was just Brian, Levi and I.  Emily and Andrew were in Victor with Brian's parent's.  I walked into a completely clean house and filled refrigerator and freezer...thank you to the mystery cleaners and those who brought us food! 

For the 1st two days this house felt like a new house, like we had just moved!  It felt so wonderful!

Emily and Andrew arrived Sunday evening and it was a very sweet reunion!  They were darling and showered me with pictures and projects they had made for me while I was gone.

My mom showed up a few hours after them and we were well on our way to what I think I'll call "grateful chaos."  I am so grateful to be home and I am continually grateful for the amazing progress I make each day and the service from our neighbors, friends and family, but it is chaotic around here. 

Doing my therapy stretches with the kids! 
Even Levi was into it, pretty impressive for a 6 month old huh?!

I won't lie and say it's been nothing but wonderful since I arrived.  I am even now more aware of my new limitations and I continually ask myself, "when will I be an independent mother again?"  Like I said, I help out when I can, but it's limited.  For all of those other moments I just watch my mom and Brian count the millions of steps it requires to be a mom.  I don't even know how I did what I did before.  It baffles me.  Because of this it has caused some stress and I have had two emotional breakdowns since.  They come and they go. 

Physically, I continue to improve with each day!  I am able to walk around my house, very carefully, without any kind of aid,  for short periods of time.  We met with my new Physical Therapist today and he seems to have a good plan to maximize our time together and my physical progress!  I am in a lot of muscular pain in my neck and upper body and then the nerve pain sometimes takes it's toll.  I am hoping that my upper body pain heals quickly because that is one of the hardest parts of my day.

I am so happy to be home and I love all of the extra spontaneous hugs that I get from my kids!  It is not easy, we are having to adjust in so many ways and there is a fair amount of stress involved.  So, like I said it is "grateful chaos!"  We will be fine and in time we will all be adjusted to our "new normal" and hopefully, our "old normal" will be in our sights...only that we will be better, more humble, loving and serving people!  I am trying...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Last Post from the HOSPITAL! WOO HOO!

HOW FUN!  It's my last night here in Salt Lake and I will be going home with Levi and Brian tomorrow!  I am so excited that I feel kind of giddy!  I am excited to have nice carpet under my bed and to look up and see a normal ceiling (not a business office-like ceiling)!  I am a little bit nervous about the adjustment but I'm ready for it!  It's just time to move on to our "new normal" and continue to get Mommy better!

Here's a picture of us Video Skyping!  You can see Emily and I giving each other our goodnight hugs!
A visit from our friends and neighbors Matt & Carol!
Occupational Therapy!  Practicing getting in and out of the bathtub.  It really was very challenging and once I was in I wanted to just relax!
A visit from Uncle Rick from St. George!  Yeay!
My baby's are back!  Brian and Levi came into town to pick me up!  Levi has grown SO MUCH!  Since I have been in the hospital he has grown is 1st 2 teeth (today I found is 3rd had broke through!), he's learned to sit up, roll over and he just looks so much bigger!  It was SO FUN to see him today!
My last therapy session with Stephanie (OT) and Rob (PT!)
You guys have been wonderful and made all of the difference in the world!  As much as I don't want to stay another minute in the hospital...I will still miss many of you!
A Visit from my cousin Alisha and her family!  So glad you stopped by!  Happy camping!
(Yes!  They're all hers and they are all adorable!)

A visit from my long lost Darci!  We were "floormates" our 1st year of college!  Love you Darc and it was SO GREAT to see you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today's Joke and a visitor!

Today's Joke!

Q:  "Why would Snow White make a great judge?"
A: "Because she's the fairest of them all!"

Today's "Robism" from therapy!

When talking about my ability to walk without feeling Rob said...
"yea...Sensation is overrated!"
Love it! Very deep!

A visit from one of my sweet girls from the mission!  Love you Katie!

from my Journal

Aside from my blogging about this experience I keep a more personal journal.  This is where I have been recording my thoughts that to me seem like things I would rather keep private - good and bad.  Today, however, I was writing and felt like I would like to share this journal entry on my blog. 

So here it is:

"I was talking on the phone with Teresa yesterday.  She told me a very sweet story.  She told me that she was substituting in Primary on Sunday and Reese, a little girl Emily's ages, was giving the closing prayer in Primary and in her prayer she said, "and please bless Emily's mommy that she will get better.

It is no wonder I am improving the way I am ... homes all over the country and even in the world are praying for me.  Why?  Do I deserve it?  I don't suppose it matters whether I deserve it or not.  It just means that there is SO MUCH GOODNESS in this world and it goes so easily unnoticed with everything going on around us.  There are sweet little 5 year old girls praying daily for someone she barely knows because her parents have taught her that is it's better to "love one another" than to be selfish and unkind.  It is so humbling to me.  I am so grateful and in awe over how blessed we have been.

Only 4 days until I get to get into my van and go home.  There is NO place I would rather be right now.  I don't want to be on an exotic trip or vacation, I don't want to be anywhere but in my home...(for now anyway!).  Inside those walls where although not always "peaceful," it is where i feel so much love and joy.

This experience has really changed my perspective on how I view my life.  The only thing I care about right now are relationships.  My relationship with my sweet husband, which I have taken for granted so much.  My relationship with my children which I have abused and neglected...I was always too concerned with what I needed instead of what their little hearts needed from me.  My relationship with all of my extended family... do they really know how much I love them and how I would do anything for hem?  My relationship with my neighbors.  I do not serve enough, I do not get out of my comfort zone enough.  Relationships are the most important thing we have in our lives.  (I believe that they are ONE of the few things we get to take with us in the next life...not our material things, but our relationships!)  The most important relationship that I need to improve in is that with my Savior, Jesus Christ.  (This experience has been such a blessing in that way...I have felt His love in so many personal and amazing experiences, an answer to my prayers.)  I KNOW  that when that relationship is good then all other things come into place and life, even though it is full of trials and difficulties, becomes manageable, happy and worth the ride!

D&C 59:7
"Thou shalt thank the Lord they God in all things."

"We pay our debt of gratitude by living in such a way as to bring credit to our parents and the name we bear, by doing good to others, by being of service, by being willing to share the light and knowledge we have received so that others will also have joy and happiness, by living the principles of the gospel in their fulness.  Paul told us we should be filled with the Spirit, "giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20)." - Howard W. Hunter

Monday, June 21, 2010

Getting through my last week with Family and Friends!

A visit from some of my "other parents" from Spokane, Glen and Linnea!  So great to see them!

More visitors!  I got 3 of the McGrath siblings!  We missed the rest of you!  Can't wait to hear your news Ben and Brittany! Wink, Wink!

Kerrie and baby Montgomery stopped by while in the area!  Loved playing with Montgomery, he and Levi were just 1 day apart!

These next pictures are the new trick we found on Skype!  We took pictures of us Video Skyping our Family Home Evening tonight!

This is me teaching the lesson via the webcam!  We talked about how Heavenly Father's creations from the plants and flowers to us, his children.  We talked about how He sent Jesus Christ (I'm holding the picture of Jesus and the flowers!) to help us through all of our problems and how prayer is such a powerful tool!

Brian and Emily making funny faces to make Mommy smile while webcaming!

They turned the camera to the floor to show me how  Levi is sitting up!  He was so proud of himself and very excited!  We caught the picture with a smile on his face!  How fun!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Better Day...

Emotional times like yesterday come and go.  Yesterday they came and today they were gone. 

Today was just another day and although it was VERY uneventful, I was okay, no tears.  I was only in therapy for 2 hours and the rest of the day I have been in my room, listening to a book on tape, reading, taking a nap, watching a movie, Skyping with my family, talking to my mom or writing in my journal.  That is pretty much what I do to pass the time! 

I did get brave and I used my walker a couple of times today to get around my room.  I even took it across the hall to the bathroom and back!  There were a couple of times when I lost a tiny bit of balance and felt a little uneasy on the walker, but I quickly recovered!  Practice is important and key to me being able to come home as well as I can be...I am ready to keep surprising my PTs and OTs!  Yeay! 

Maybe by the time Levi is walking without help from anyone I'll be walking without help from a walker or crutches!  I give us about 6 mos...maybe less!  Then maybe by the time Levi is running I'll go for a jog too!  Wow!  I can't imagine how that would feel!  Time will tell!

Friday, June 18, 2010

a "WHATEVER" day!

Today was a "WHATEVER" day!  Literally!  It just started off on the wrong "wheel!" and I have had a hard time recovering!  I am glad it's almost bedtime and I can try my best to close it with peaceful thoughts and start tomorrow better!

This morning I got frustrated with the way things sometimes run around here when I finally got my breakfast and my schedule at 8 a.m. and my schedule said I had to be at therapy at 8:15 a.m.  I have usually been awoken by 6 a.m. or a least 7 a.m. by a nurse and that at least gets me going for the day and then I am ready for whatever the schedule brings.  This morning I had just barely woken up and had see no one until my food and schedule came.  I had 15 minutes to eat and get ready and try to be somewhat "awake" and chipper for my therapy.  Well...that kind of started it, but in truth I think it was just time for me to have a day like today.

Today my tears were on the surface all day long.  It was all I could to to keep from crying when I wheeled in to Physical Therapy and Rob saw it on my face and asked me was what wrong....trying not to cry (because there's a lot of people in that therapy gym, and I just felt like bawling) I replied, "nothing, it's just a 'whatever' day).  Rob read into that and tried to get more out of me but I felt so sure I was going to cry if I even said any part what was making me sad.  Trying to be nice he asked me if I needed to not have therapy this morning to which I replied "no" because the therapy is what keeps me sane.  It's my workout!  He then asked me if I cried since I've been here.  I told him "of course," and then changed the subject to "what are we doing today."  I just knew I was going to break down and lose it if I let him dig much further.  So after that the joke to get me through the day was..."It's just a 'whatever' day." 

Once right before therapy I found myself crying in the hallway while talking to my mom on the phone who just called to see how things were going.  I had to eventually find a bathroom to lock myself in and finish up just to get it out and wait until the redness in my eyes faded so that no one would ask me if I was "okay"...because then I was sure to start crying again.  The tears were just SO CLOSE TO THE SURFACE TODAY.  I have had at least 4 good cries that I can think of today.

I can attempt to tell you why, but really, I am sure you can imagine.  While I am so grateful to still have my life and so much going for me, the truth is, this is just SO HARD SOMETIMES.  Sometimes I just have to have a "whatever" day and cry, cry, cry to get it out so that I can move on.  Today I cried at several thoughts:

I cried at the thought of wanting to go home SO BADLY, there is NO PLACE I would rather be right now.  Seriously.  I just want to be home.  Brian, the kids and I video Skype every night.  It's wonderful!  I get to see them and talk to them and the kids sing me songs!  We give "hugs" and "kisses" over the video waves and they seem to love it and they count on it every night!  I love it too, but at the same time it's hard.  Behind their little sweet faces I see the walls of my home, the home means so much to me, the home that houses my family and the love that we share.  It looks so warm and comfortable, much more warm and comfortable than this hospital.  I know most of you are thinking to yourself that I only have a week left and that it's so quick.  You're right, a week isn't that long and I do need to be here, but when I think about it sometimes it is not fast enough and it breaks my heart.

Monday, Brian and the kids and I said goodbye from the zoo.  I that was the 1st time I was officially without any of my family staying here in Utah to be with me throughout the day, to be in on my therapies and to just BE.  It will probably be until Thursday before I see anyone from my family and that will be Brian coming for my last day of therapy and to finalize everything so he can take me home on Saturday.  That's 10 days without and right now that seems like forever.  Brian and the kids ended up staying home this weekend because with work days and crazy nights Brian really needed a weekend to start preparing the house to bring me home next weekend.  This weekend is going to be long, quiet and lonely.  Today Rob said, "well at least it's Friday."  I had no comment, because all I wanted to do was cry and say, "Friday's in the hospital only mean longer days to just sit around and try to figure out how to keep yourself happy and busy because there is less therapy Saturday and none on Sunday."  Sunday is Father's Day and I will miss it, but at least Brian with be with his kids.  I am sad I will not be there to help make it special for him.  He is a great dad who loves his kids so much and this year has been ridiculously crazy for me physically and he has born the burden so well and has been my hero in many ways.  I just wish I could repay.

I cry when I think of all of the unknowns.  While I am making such good progress and SO HAPPY to be doing so.  I pray and plead and pray some more that I will be able to one day again run with my kiddos while playing tag or whatever in our back yard!  I want to jog with my husband, even though he's always way faster than me!  I want to clog again!  While still know that I have to live in my reality today and take it day by day...that doesn't mean that my mind never wanders to the future and questions what it will bring or not bring. 

I am not trying to depress anyone, I guess I am just venting and letting you know my reality for today.  It's been kind of sad.  I did do laundry today!  WOO HOO!  I did have good therapy sessions today!  I really enjoy working hard to improve my abilities and problem solving with Stephanie and Lance (my OTs) so that I am more prepared for what awaits me at home)  I have had some tender mercies today in my sad moments and I am so grateful.  This has been a quite the journey so far.  This is part of the mortal journey, these lessons that I am learning are priceless and I hope I am a "good student"!  I want to remember these things that I have felt and learned forever so that I can use them for the benefit of my family, friends and neighbors and for my own spiritual growth.  To be a better and more useful Daughter of God!

I am going to end this post with a Joke or two (from a joke book I received from a friend) because I don't want you to think that I've totally lost it!  This post has probably been the most depressing one yet. Hopefully you'll at least smile or laugh a bit at these silly jokes!  I am still me!  I am still happy!  Today has just been a "whatever" day and I think it's probably a normal part of this process.

Joke 1 -
Two kids went into their parents' bathroom and noticed the scale in the corner.
"Whatever you do," said one youngster to the other, "don't step on it!"
"Why not?" asked the sibling.
"Because every time Mom does, she lets out an awful loud scream!"

Joke 2 -
Teacher - "What is the plural of mouse?"
Student - "Mice."
Teacher - "Good.  Now, what's the plural of baby?"
Student - "Twins!"

One of these things is not like the other!...

I didn't know what to title this post because the two pictures here have NOTHING to do with each other....hence my ridiculous title.

I was so happy to have more visitors from my ward in IF!  Shari and Angie drove down for the day and we had a great time!  I went on an OT shopping outing where they took me to Target!  One of my favorite stores!  Angie and Shari went with us.  While on these outings they have OT "goals" for me that I have to  accomplish while there.  For example, one of my goals was to be able to get everything I needed to purchase by my own abilities (I had to use a 'reacher' for some of this, because some things are just too high).  This killed my friends because they just wanted to help and I am sure that the 4 people surrounding me, my friends and the two OT people got a few dirty looks as other watched them watch me struggle to get stuff without offering to help!  We returned to the hospital and just had a great visit and laughed a lot!  Thanks ladies!  Oh, yes, and they brought me Jamba Juice and Jimmy Johns! 

And this picture has nothing to do with the other...but....

My incision is totally uncovered now and it looks pretty darn great (according to everyone else...who knows)!  I really don't think my scar will be very visible at all after time!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Can't Sleep Until I Share This...

I have been "falling asleep" off and on since 4 p.m. and still haven't really slept or taken a nap.  I thought for sure I was ready to sleep at about 9:20 p.m. when I was ending my video Skyping with the kids and was SO tired, but still I managed a few more phone calls and then the lights were off.  Here I am still not sleeping, I turned my lights on and turned to my journal for a moment to write something that had been on my mind.  Then the thoughts I had while writing in my journal made me turn to the scriptures.

I know that many of you who are following my blog are not members of my same religion or faith, but regardless you have expressed your deep Faith in God and have told me many times that you are praying for me.  The scriptures that I was turned to tonight are in the Book of Mormon and while some of you may not be familiar with the stories told in the Book of Mormon you will be familiar with these principles taught in the verses I read tonight in my sleeplessness. 

Just in case you're wondering where I am reading from: The Book of Mormon is set up like the Bible as far as separate books of scripture that have different names, such as Genesis, John, Ruth, Corinthians...etc...  The book from the Book of Mormon that I read from tonigt is coincidentally called "Mormon."  Mormon is the name of a prophet who also lived long ago on the American continent and who was an author of these ancient scriptures.  He had another role in helping compile other written works of that time into one book...and for that reason the Book of Mormon was named after him, for the role he played in bringing them together.

Mormon, Chapter 9, has long been a favorite chapter of scripture for me.  Now it holds new significance as I go through this experience and especially as I watch others around me go through much more challenging experiences than myself. 

Mormon 9: 15-21

15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.

16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?

17 Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?

18 And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.

19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.

20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

This is what I hang on to every day: the thought that if I do my part and  ask with faith in Him I may qualify for the miracle of a complete recovery!  I have already been the receiver of many great blessings and miracles!  For example: I am so grateful to have been blessed to find this tumor that was threatening my life, I am grateful that it was not cancerous and that the doctors are confident they got it all and I am SO GRATEFUL to be healing so quickly and to be walking and well on my way to a recovery!  Even if my recovery isn't 100% back to "normal" I know I'll be able to look back on this life experience and see how my prayers have been answered.  Having said that, I can do nothing else but pray and ask for the true desire of my heart and hope and pray that His will and my heart's desire are the same.

Thank you for letting me share!  Thank you again for all of your Faith and Prayers...I know it works!  I just know it!  I feel it every day!

A Weekend with the Family and a bit more!

Brian and the kids came to visit again this past weekend.  Taylor (a wonderful young woman) came with him to help out with the kids! 

This weekend I wanted to be sure to have some one on one time with each of them and it was successful!  Saturday morning Brian brought Andrew only to the hospital and left the other two with Taylor at the condo!  Andrew and Mommy and Daddy had a great time.  He was so cute and excited to be with just the two of us!  He came down to one of my PT group classes and did all of the exercises with me!  He was the star of the show and made a lot of the other patients smile! 

Emily and I had game time and craft time!  We decorated socks with fabric paint!  I had these terribly ugly socks tha the hospital gave me so I jazzed those up a bit and Emily made me a darling pair of socks that I wore proudly yesterday!  Everyone admired them too!


As part of  "reintegration into the community" my Recreation Therapist set up a family trip to the Hogle Zoo.  We were all so excited to go!  I knew that there were a few hills at that zoo, but I way underestimated it!  Hogle Zoo is NOTHING but hills and steep ones!  My Therapist had to push me up tons of steep hill...I tried to help, but I am sure I was not very helpful at all!  Then she had to hang on to me going down the hills so I didn't crash head over wheels!  It was crazy!  But, the kids loved it and it was fun!  The worst part was that after the zoo we said goodbye in the parking lot, unfortunately not knowing when or if I would see them again before arriving home.  That part was hard...2 more weeks...



My surprise Massage Therapist  (Becky's Sister-In-Law, Holly!) came back for an upper body massage!  She's great!  She's due in 2 weeks and is so very unselfish and kind!

Walking in a harness on a treadmill!  I did 3, 5 minute increments, and was able to let go of the handles for some time!

Rob's Leviticus

I have been really naughty lately and haven't been on the computer much. 

I have some posts to create today!

1st I wanted to post my "joke" of the day...courtesy of Rob, my Physical Trainer!  You have to 1st understand that he has a dry sense of humor and takes some getting used to!

We were practicing my walking and Rob was nagging me one more time about how I look down at my knees (my knees are my problem area, they buckle, hyper extend, don't straighten enough, etc...so I am always looking down at them).  He had to remind me for the 20th time to "look up, look at where you are going!"  I said, "I'm looking at my knees!  Trying to figure them out!"  He said...

"He who looks at his knees, runs into a tree!" 

For some reason this was so funny to me!  When I laugh while walking I lose my balance...unfair!

He then said..."It's in Leviticus...look it up!"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pics Plus more Surprise Videos!

Standing Up on my own!

This was one of the best surprises ever!  My cousin Brandon and family totally shocked my mom and I as they walked in the door.  We thought the were in Michigan!  Well, they were on their way to Michigan and driving through SLC!  Brandon just finished school and is an official Doctor!  He is going to be in Detroit in an ER!  Brave man!  Love you guys and THANK YOU SO MUCH for stopping by, it made my day...and my mom's!

A visit from Brian's sister and family!  Baby Conner is 3 months old and has the cutes nose in the world!

So, I'm sitting in the Cafeteria while Brian and the kid's are having dinner (they came down again for the weekend!).  All of a sudden these two show us behind me and it just so happens to be a friend from my mission!  Hermana Belliston!  How wonderful!  They were here to visit his sister and randomly spotted me in the Cafeteria!
(That's Levi's drool on my shirt...not mine!)

Enjoy these next 3 videos!
All in a Day's Work!
We've decided to stay another week because of this! 
It's kind of a no brainer at this point...hard, but a no brainer!
Now I am starting to get excited!

A Joke from a new friend!

One of my favorite people here in the hospital is named Keri.  He is a wonderful father and husband who suffered and ATV accident on April 16th.  He flew off a cliff and landed on his head and he is now a quadriplegic.  He has some arm movement but that's all.  He has faith like none other.  One day he looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I wouldn't change this experience for the world."  He is AMAZING and such a great example to me!  All day I see others who are way worse off than I am and they remind me that I truly am okay.  I have nothing to complain about!

So Keri was just down in a group OT session with me and he told a couple of us this story!

"Did you hear about the 4 year old boy who went up to his Grandpa and asked, "Hey Grandpa, when are you going to turn into a frog?" 

The Grandpa replied, "Why would you ask that?" 

The little boy replied, "Well Daddy says that when you croak we're going to Disneyland!"

The Terribles and the Greats!

I thought I would do a post that was more me just explaining how things are going, without pictures.

There have been some terribles and there have been some greats!

Last night for example was terrible and great!  I went to bed the earliest I have EVER done since being here in rehab and I was super proud of myself.  Shortly after having gone to bed I started feeling one of the most terrible pains I've ever felt.  Both of my feet were on FIRE...but completely on FIRE.  The pain would be uncomfortable and then increase over a short period of time to unbearable at which point I would start crying like a baby, not able to control myself.  It hurt so bad.  This would phase in and out over the course of about 5 minute increments.  I knew there was nothing the nurse could do about it because I knew it was "nerve pain" and the doctors had just increased my nerve pain meds that night (unfortunately it takes a few days for it to set in).  I eventually got so unbelievably frustrated that I ripped of these stiff huge boots that I have to wear to bed every night and threw them to the side and flung my legs off either side of the bed to where I was straddling the bed.  I was hoping that dangling my feet for a while might change the pain distribution or something.  Anyway...it worked!  The pain went from unbearable to bearable and I was able to sleep until 7 a.m.!  A record...since I am waking up usually at 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m.!  A Great! Last night was also the 1st night that I didn't have to wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night!  A Great!  When you're tired and you have to go and you're in a wheelchair it is the most inconvenient thing, transferring to my wheelchair and then the toilet takes energy and muscle, something that's hard to come by in the middle of the night.  So last night was terrible and great!

This morning has been great so far!  I was able to shower (in a shower wheelchair) all by myself!  I didn't have to have any aid or nurse in there with me.  I did it!  One more step toward independence!  Then, besides having my aid help me gather my clothes for the day I completely dressed myself and finished getting myself ready for the day!  A Great!

So here's the big terrible and great story...

I have been progressing so much that everyone around here is buzzing with excitement...the social worker told my mom that I am the "star of the floor," because of how quickly I've been progressing!  Well...we know why don't we????  Hard Work combined with Prayers, Fasting and Faith (from everywhere) and mostly the healing power of a loving Savior!  I am walking longer distances with a walker every day!  3 days ago Rob, my physical therapist, had me standing up on my own, without a walker or assistance.  He was blocking my weaker knee and right there beside me when I got wobbly or started losing my balance, but I was doing it by myself!  Then yesterday Rob said, "let's do some stairs" and I knew he wasn't joking!  So, we did them!  I had rails to hang on to the whole time.  Up and down 4 or 5 stairs!  Very Great!

Here's the Terrible about all of this.  Because I am doing so well, they want me to stay longer.  The thought makes me cry.  Rob, my PT guy,  looked at me just a couple of days ago and said..."do you want to walk out of here?"  The question shocked both my mother and I.  But the idea is this, if I stay longer then they think they would be able to discharge me with the ability to be able to walk - with the walker - independently around my house.  I would still be using a wheelchair because I would fatigue easily and slowly build up more strength and ability to do things while in the walker.  I would also definitely need a wheelchair for any kind of shopping our long outing.  If I were to leave today.  I wouldn't be able to do any of these things except in therapy.  Right now I receive 4-6 hours of therapy 6 days a week.  At home I would receive 3 hours of therapy a week...maybe.  So more than likely me getting to an independent in the walker stage in out-patient therapy will take a much longer time than if I just stay longer and work hard and get it done before I come home.  Our in-patient insurance benefits are great.  Our out-patient insurance benefits are not even close to enough, so in other words terrible.  (I am so grateful that I have insurance, don't get me wrong, we're just weighing our option financially too.)  So the answer seems obvious, but the idea is TERRIBLE, to be away from my husband and kids that much longer seems almost unbearable.  The idea of me "walking" out of here seems GREAT and MIRACULOUS!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Joke from my other Kara!

Q: "Why to seagulls fly over the sea?"
A: "Because if they flew over the bay, they'd be bagels!"

My kind of CHEESE!  From my kind of person!

Random Fun!

A Visit from Merrie Kay!

1st time Wearing  Jeans!  A Very Important Milestone! (Getting them on anyway!)

My 1st Car Ride!  My Brother Mike and I!

Recumbent Bike Ride around Liberty Park!
Part of my Recreational Therapy!

When my Rec Therapist (Steph, in the Light Blue Shirt) knew I was into biking (with the Triathlons and all) she immediately set me up for a ride on one of these amazingly fun bikes!  When I had worn myself out completely on this bike I finally had to convince myself to stop.  The men who run this program asked me "Did you like it?"  I said "It's not a matter of like, it's a matter of love!"  They all laughed, but the funniest part was when another man who was also there to ride the bikes said, "I wish a woman would say that about me!"  HA - so funny!

More Recreational Therapy!  Standing up, keeping my balance and Bowling on the Wii!  Fun, but painfully challenging!  That's what Rec Therpaists do, they disguise fun with hard work.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Joke! Ha! Thanks Erica!

Two lions broke loose in the zoo and were eating a clown.

One lion said to the other …

“Does this taste funny to you?”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I hope this brings a little bit of excitement to you all!  It made our day yesterday! 

Sorry, the videos were taken sideways so you'll have to turn your heads to view or flip your laptops like a book to see right side up!  Notice the progress from one video to the next!

What does this mean?  Well...it means that EVENTUALLY...we don't know how long, I will probably be able to walk with a walker independently around the house.  For now, and even when I come home, I will only be walking during my Physical Therapy appointments. 

The reason I can walk is because we have been working so hard on muscle control and I have improved A LOT over the last 2 weeks to be able to do so.  Mind over Matter, Lots of Prayers and as much Faith as we all can muster up!  It literally feels like I am walking on sticks...like NOTHING is below me...but something is.  Craziness.  Notice my knee giving me fits...I kind of torked it and now it feels like I may have injured a ligament or something ever so slightly.  It's a slow process, but very exciting news!  I am kind of even keel about it because I still don't know exactly what it means for the future!

The Rest of our Weekend with the Kids!

We went to church together!
It was Fast and Testimony meeting so of course Emily got up to bare hers!

Emily and Andrew "Checking their VITALS!" Just like Mommy!

Emily and Andrew were SO DARLING helping my aid make my bed! They were taking turns holding and stuffing pillow cases and I was shocked they could even do it!

At this moment Andrew is being disciplined while wiping my bed rails down with a wet wipe as he practices great self control to NOT PUSH ANY OF THE BUTTONS on my bed!  It was so funny to see him resist the great temptation!  My nurses call light got pressed way more than needed over the weekend!

And Levi the PERFECT baby just sits there happily!

My niece, Adeline, nephew, Cameron and Emily and Andrew had SO MUCH FUN racing around outside, playing every fun game we could think of!

My Brother Michael led a mean game of Hide and Seek and the kids were giggling like crazy!

My Sweet Sister-in-Law Jen and Cameron!

Andrew took these pictures of Brian, my Mom and Levi and I!  Not bad for a 2 year old!

I was mad at myself that I didn't get a picture of my Step Dad, Dennis, while he was here.  But Andrew got a picture of his knee!  Looks like a pretty nice knee huh?

Andrew was absolutely devastated that Adeline could run faster than him. 

And the PERFECT baby sleeps!

An "outing" to the Bistro restaurant!

This picture is for you Shari!  I was content to not open any of your candy bouquet for a while so I could just look at how cute it was for longer.  Michael just HAD to try the new Pretzel M&Ms so we took this picture!  It's bouquet is so cute!