Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Strong Enough to Handle It

Mother Theresa once said, "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."

Many of my friends have also agreed with Mother Theresa telling me that God hasn't given me anything in my life that He knew I couldn't handle. Well if there is a God, He certainly gave me something BIG that I guess He knew I could handle because I almost died 2 1/2 years ago and have suffered BIG time ever since. So I guess He must trust me almost as much as He trusted Mother Theresa because He dealt me an accident that almost killed me. I wish He didn't trust me so much. Because if I was a weaker person, maybe this would have never happened. So my question is, is it better to be a weaker person so that God will not deal you a bad hand just because He thinks you can handle it? I guess He thought I was a strong enough person to handle it so He dealt me a bad hand. A very, very bad hand. Somehow, that seems like cruel and unusual punishment to me.

I'm about to go through my 23rd and 24th surgery this next month so I guess I'm a pretty strong person to manage to go through all of this and not be on suicide watch. But I break down often so how strong am I really? I completely agree with Mother Theresa: I wish He didn't trust me so much because maybe this would have never happened if I wasn't so "strong" to "handle" this kind of accident. It just doesn't seem fair. But then, I suppose, life isn't fair. I found that out the hard way.

New News on Surgery #23 and now #24

So here's an update on my surgery. The doc is actually doing it in two parts (how he's doing it in two parts I don't know yet) - the first surgery on Aug 20th and the second on Aug 30th. The surgery on Aug 20th I will only be in the hospital for 2-3 days and then surgery on aug 30th I will be in the hospital for at least 5 days. I have a pre-op appt on Aug 19th and I also emailed him about how exactly he is doing this in two parts so either he'll email, call me, or I'll wait until my pre-op appt to find out how exactly this is done.

I wish it was being done in one sweep but he knows best and doing it in two parts must be the best way to do it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Meet My Morgan

You know, I don't know if I've ever introduced you to my therapy dog. Her name is Morgan and she just turned 2! I can't believe how she has grown! Seems like just yesterday I was bringing her home. She is a purebred Papillon. A kind of dog I have wanted for a long time.

We got her as therapy for me in my recovery. She certainly helps my days. She is so special to me and quite the character AND sooo smart! I can't believe how smart she is. I want to take her to a dog training school but one hasn't come around our area yet. There was one last September but I was in the hospital. But she is so beautiful and her ears are filling out nicely. That's what papillon's are known for - the flowing hair that grows from their ears.

She is near and dear to my heart. She's my little best friend. And like Mr Henry Nubbins, my besty's twin sister's dog, she is also Team Edward :) That was just for you Kate :-)

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Quote

I saw this quote on a good friend's status on their Facebook and it fit my situation like a glove:

"If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, "I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me."
~Ann Landers

I know I have already blogged today but I just had to post this as well before I forgot it. So thank you to Joe Garoutte for finding it and posting it for me to read and see. I feel as though it spoke directly to me. I must look at my situation, the fire, the scars "squarely in the eye" and tell them just that. That I will be bigger than them and they canot defeat me, even on my worst of days.

Manager wins Best Director and Best Screenplay!

So as you all know, I have spoken of an Independent film that I was going to be in back in New York. Well, things did not turn out as I had hoped so instead of casting someone else, they basically got rid of my character except for voiceovers like over intercoms. So I recorded some lines and sent it to them and then they used it in the film so I was kinda in it but you only ever hear my voice because I was just not well enough to go to travel to New York and be in front of a camera. This was highly upsetting but at least I got to be a part of it in some small way.

Well, the film has first gone to the New York Independent Film Festival and it won for best screenplay and best director and that director is my manager. So I'm extremely proud of him. This is like the fourth time he's won in this festival but this is a special one cause it was a screenplay he had been working on for about 10 years trying to get it done and he finally did and won recognition for it. I just wish I was back there and had been in the film as planned and been able to celebrate this great accomplishment.

He is next taking it to Cannes Film Festival and I plan on being there for that! I hope anyway....but the investors who have invested in this film have contracted him to do three more films because they really loved his directing style and my dear, dear manager is going to have me in all of them because he knows how much acting is my dream, my life. Luckily, I plan on definitely being in these films this time because the first one is not until October of next year at the earliest and by then I should be looking pretty good.

I am not going to give up on my dream of acting. It can happen for me, I know it. So congratulations to Joe Goodavage, my manager and winner of Best Director and Best Screenplay for The Last Gamble. Him and I are going to be like Burton and Depp, Scorsese and DiCaprio. I am going to have one great story to tell someday when I'm a big star :) And I am gonna be a big star.....

My manager and I at the 2006 New York Independent Film Festival

Thursday, July 22, 2010


A fellow burn survivor and friend just recently had his 18 year anniversary of his burn. I can't imagine finally being so far away from all of this. I am envious of him. He looks great and his attitude is incredible. He told me the other day that since he's known me (which is only a couple months) that my attitude has changed for the better and he can see it but i'm not so sure. I feel like I'm in a funk, a rut that I can't get out of.

On another note, a good friend of mine asked me to write a poem for him a couple days ago. So stupid me actually did it and sent it to him via email. I haven't heard anything back from him and it breaks my heart. Why did I put myself in this position? What was I thinking opening up my heart like that? Stupid, stupid, stupid. I feel humiliated.

So here I am, still alone. And frustrated with waiting for this surgery. I am hoping my besty and her sister will be able to come down for this surgery. I have thought about asking the person I wrote the poem for to come down as well to see me but after not hearing back from him, I think I'm gonna squash that idea. Would have been nice.

On a lighter note, I did go out last night to two very dear friends of mine. They are married and I went to college with them. They have three great kids and it got a little crazy with them last night but I had a good time. At least I got out of the house twice this week so far. I think that might be a record. How sad is that?

And by the way, for those of you that I do see and you read this, I don't want to talk about the poem or who it was for. It was a waste of my heart.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Surgery #23 Scheduled

Oh the strength it takes to wait. I heard word from my doctor and he can't get me into the OR until August 20th. That's a whole month away!! I was really hoping for 2 weeks from now. So I'm having a hard time being patient with this one cause usually I get scheduled pretty quick. And my neck and lip are just getting worse. So to have to live with this for another month is killing me both physically and emotionally and testing my patience.

It takes such incredible strength to have patience and I'm not sure I have that kind of strength. I try. oh boy do I ever try. But I don't know how successful I really am. My days pass but with little patience. This causes for a lot of tension at home sometimes. You'd think that after 2 1/2 years of this I'd have all the patience in the world, but I don't. I've been waiting for this next neck surgery and to have to wait for a whole 'nother month kills me inside because this surgery means no more contractures in my neck which also means greater mobility and well, looking better physically. Am I the only one whose skin crawls just thinking about waiting out that month? Oh patience, please come to me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Nice Sunday and Impatient Monday

I had a wonderful Sunday. I got to see my besty of 22 years for a brunch. Her twin sister and her husband as well as my besty's fiance came as well to see me. They are such good, good people and I'm so lucky to have them in my life again. I lost Corrie (my besty) for awhile during highschool and college and then reunited again after my accident. She just recently got engaged to a wonderful, wonderful man and her sister is also married to quite the guy too. I hope someday to have a guy like she does. But it was wonderful. We went to Foley Station and I think we were a bit loud as we laughed and laughed. But then I had to say goodbye and that's so hard because they live so far away. They all live in Seattle so I don't get to see them very often.

I'm impatiently waiting on a phone call from my doctor today. He said I would hear from him on Monday about a schedule for surgery and today is Monday so I'm waiting. I'm particularly impatient when it comes to this kind of stuff, especially now when it's happening sooner than expected so I want it to happen now! So I'll let you know as soon as I hear something.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Getting Back In Touch with All My Irish Friends

I have recently had the pleasure of reconnecting with dear old friends from my old workplace back in New York - House of Brews. Only two remain there - the owner and one of the bartenders - the other two have moved on. One of them is now bartender somewhere else in New York and the other has moved back to Ireland. His name is Barry and he moved back to Ireland because his mother was sick (and eventually passed away) and I adored him. I still do and we recently became friends on Facebook and have written a few emails back and forth and are having the best time reminiscing. We had just a wonderful, silly friendship and I'm so excited to hopefully get it back.

My old employer and owner of The House of Brews also wrote me an email saying he was thinking of me with everything I'm going through and told me when I come back to New York he will have a pint of guiness (he's Irish too) waiting for me. That gave me a good smile and nice fuzzy feeling inside. In fact, getting back in touch with Barry gives me that nice fuzzy feeling inside because we were close in a unique way and boy did we have some laughs together and I mean rich, soulful laughs. I used to yell at him, "Baaaarry! I need...." and he would always reply in his cute irish accent, "I here ye!"

So I've decided that the first place I'm going once I can leave this country and take a vacation for myself (and maybe with a couple buddies) is Ireland to see Barry. I used to bartend with another guy named Terry (i know it's funny...Barry and Terry) and he's back in Ireland now too so I can see him as well. This will be such a fun, fun trip. I have got to start saving. I miss Barry so much and I just love him dearly.

Anyway, these new contacts, especially Barry's, have brought happiness to my days...for now anyway. And that has been hard to come by lately so thank you Barry, Tony, Kieran, and Colin...all my Irish boys. You've brought smiles to my face and especially to my heart. I hope we will continue to keep in touch and I hope, someday, to see you in NY Tony for that pint of guiness and to see you in Ireland Barry!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Doctor Appt 7/14/2010

I had a doctor appointment today and I haven't seen him for about 6 weeks while my neck was healing. My mother drove me and we of course went over the night before because my appointment was at 10am. I went in expecting to start expansions again when we got different news.

The next step is surgery #23 overall and #5 on my neck alone. He has decided not to use the tissue expanders that are in my scapulas and do a flap again where he stretches and wraps the skin around my neck but instead to do a different kind of flap. This kind of flap is called a "Free Flap" where he is going to basically take a chunk of skin out of my thigh (that includes tissue, muscle, fatty tissue and blood vessels), remove the scar tissue on the front center of my neck, place the new skin (from my thigh) where he removed the scar tissue and tie the blood vessels together. This is NOT a graft because blood vessels are being taken with the skin. He will then also have to do liposuction on the rest of my thigh so that I don't have this dent, more or less, in my leg.

Since this is a flap and NOT a graft, I repeat, there will be no contractures, which is what my body really likes to form. That is the advantage to doing it this way. The disadvantage is it is quite the surgery, lasting at least 8 hours. Now I've been through a 7 hour surgery but with my history this will probably last more than 8 hours. Oh my poor mother, waiting for so long, hoping there are no complications, which I also have a good history of.

As I said in the beginning of this post, it has been awhile since I've seen my dear doctor because we were waiting on my neck to heal so it was really good to see him. He gave me a big hug, which I love getting from him :) He said he hopes to get me into the OR as soon as he can and I will hopefully hear about getting a surgery scheduled by Monday. I hope I hear sooner. I am anxious to get this done because my neck is getting worse and worse in the center front. A terrible contracture is forming in a major way and it's pulling my lip out again as well as my right eye.

Well, that's the latest!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Forgiving What Happened

I was having a rough day yesterday and my mother nailed it right on the head as to why - I need to forgive what happened and move on from it. I can't keep festering over the past. I must forgive and maybe then I may be able to move on but finding that strength to forgive is so hard for me. I suffer heavily from what happened and just can't seem to find that strength to forgive it. It's just not in me right now. And part of that reason is because of my inability to have faith in God. or any faith at all for that matter. I know that if I had faith in God, I would be able to forgive what happened but I'm just having a tough time with the idea of God right now for if he really loved me, why would He let something so horrendous happen? My mother says He saved me but I'm not so sure. I don't know why I lived because I really should have died. But I didn't. I survived. And I don't know why. But I do know that while I was in the throes of death, I didn't see or hear any God who told me I needed to stay, that there was a reason for me to stay. Why am I still here? And when will I be able to forgive what happened to me?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Very Much In Public Today

I was out and about in public today. Very much in public. It was Crazy Days today in La Grande and my mother and I decided to get out and go walk around Crazy Days for a bit. I was pretty nervous being around so many people, being stared at and worried that I might run into anyone who hasn't seen me yet. I did pretty well reining in my fear but I could not ignore any stares. Those are the hardest to get over. However, I also did run into someone I knew whom I hadn't seen yet. Something I also did not want to happen but it turned out ok. He treated me very well and didn't make me feel different at all. So thank you Shaun, for being so kind.

I'm not sure what strangers think when they see me and my scars. I know they want desperately to ask me what happened and that's why they're staring but I still can't stand the stares. I wonder if they know my scars are from a burn, if they recognize that particular look of the scars. My occupational therapists tell me I need to learn to smile, and actually say to whoever is staring at me, "I am a burn survivor." But I can't seem to find the confidence to do that. I'm scared to speak up and tell them that what they are staring at is a burn and I was burned in an accident in my home. For some reason that is so hard for me to do. Why? That's why they're staring at me; to know what happened so wouldn't they be happy if I spoke up about it? But the nerve to do so alludes me time after time.

On a side note, I was asked by Shaun if I was going to go to the class reunion which is happening in about a month. Many people have asked me this and I'm just not sure. For awhile there I was adament that I would not go for reasons that I think (and hope) everyone can understand. But at that time, not many people had seen me. Now I have gone public with photos of myself so it's not so much a secret about my scars and disfigurement but to me, I feel like it's quite the difference between photos and seeing me in person. Everyone, on the other hand, have been so supportive of me that I think, well maybe it won't be so bad to go to the picnic at least. But when I think about it, it scares the shit out of me: to see so many people who knew what I looked like before the accident and to see how I look now. I just don't know what to do.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One Damn Day At A Time

Can I just express how much I hate the phrase "take it one day at a time,"? So many people tell me that and I just boil inside when I hear it because that phrase may seem to always be the right thing to say but once you've been in shoes like mine, it means shit. It's so hard to "take it one day at a time." So to have people constantly telling me to do so drives me crazy cause I just want to yell at them, "you take it one damn day at a time when you've been burned, scarred, disfigured and gone through 21 surgeries only to face and endure more in the future! Now step in my fucking shoes and you tell me that you can take it one day at a time when all you want is to get out on your own again and take care of yourself like your perfect brothers and most of all be done with all of this!"

I constantly look at my current situation and look at what I used to have and what I wish I could have in the future. Taking it one day at a time is a terrible thing to say to someone no matter how comforting you think it is, at least to me. I've now been living at home at 28 years old for over 2 years and though I love my family with all my heart, there is something about being able to live on your own and take care of yourself and I look at my future and all I see is surgery and doctor appointments and still living at home when I turn 30. I can't take it one day at a time so don't tell me to. It's especially hard to do so when your faith is being tested. Maybe if I had more faith in God, taking it one day at a time might be easier. Or maybe if I had someone it would be easier to do so. But it's just me, living at home at 28 and facing x amount more years of being at home as an adult and alone.

So word to the wise, don't tell me to take it one day at a time because in my shoes, it's impossible for me right now. I can't stop crying over the past and future yet. So tell me something more original.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Don't live a lie; this is your one life."

"Don't live a lie, this is your one life."

This life is so hard, trust me, I know. But that statement should be true for everyone: "Don't live a lie; this is your one life." Living a lie is exhausting and it's not fair to those who love you nor yourself. I know this because my last year in New York I lived a lie. I tried to pretend that everything was ok when it wasn't. Things were getting really hard but I didn't want to own up to it until finally everything came crashing down on me. I was laid off of my job and my unemployment had run out and I had no money. So I came home for a break and that's when my accident happened.

Now I know this is our one life and we shouldn't live it as a lie nor should we take anything for granted. I almost lost my one life but I was given a second chance and I swore I would not live a lie anymore. I swore I would live life to its fullest, no matter how cheesy that sounds. But when you wake up from a month long coma of nothing but darkness, it scares you that that could have been forever: an abyss of darkness. No heaven or hell. Just nothingness. And that is damn scary. Trust me once again, I lived that month of nothingness and when I woke up I had no clue how long I had been in that darkness of nothingness. Had I met God or any angels? I don't know cause there was nothing. What if that is all there is after death? That abyss of nothingness and darkness that I had already experienced.

So we must not live a lie for this is our one life and we have truly no idea what will happen after it. All we can have is our faith and right now my faith is being questioned because of my experience. But I do know that I won't take this one life for granted anymore and I will live it to its absolute best because I was given a second chance from that darkness. Right now though, life is pretty hard for me. I'm scared of a lot of things with regards to the results of the accident. Will they be able to repair me? Will I act again? Will I stand in front of that camera again or step onto a stage again? Or is my dream gone forever? What of my faith? Is there a God? If there is, was I saved for a purpose and if so, what is that purpose? What if I don't fulfill that purpose? What if I screw up my life again? I can't let that happen. I need faith in something greater than myself, greater than the world that I will not screw up again. But it's so hard when you've experienced that abyss of nothingness and are so lonely. It's all so scary when you don't have any faith. I've gotta believe that I was saved for a purpose in this world and I must find the faith in order to find that purpose, believe in it, and fulfill it.