Saturday, November 27, 2010

It Is the Struggle That Gives It Its Beauty

I get a lot of inspirational quotes from books that I read and right now I'm in the middle of a memoir by Jeannette Walls called The Glass Castle. And this quote was particularly striking to me and you'll see why. There's a small conversation between Jeannette and her mother about a Joshua Tree. Now if you don't know what a Joshua tree is, it's one of those trees that from the time it was a tiny sapling, it has been so beaten down by the whipping wind that, rather than trying to grow skyward, it had grown in the direction that the wind pushed it. So it exists now in a state of permanent state of "windblowness," leaning over so far that it seems ready to topple, though its roots hold it firmly in place.

So Jeannette, as a little girl, finds another tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old Joshua tree. She says she wants to dig it up and replant it near their house so she could protect it from the wind and water everyday so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Her mother frowned at her saying, "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty."

It's the struggle that gives it it's beauty...I thought that was a beautiful way of saying it. Perhaps it is my struggle that will give me my beauty again. For I struggled to stay alive those critical first hours and I continue to struggle through every surgery, every recovery and damn, just everyday life. I so long to be beautiful again somehow and maybe this is the way that I will get it back is by showing and sharing with others my struggle. I wish I was beautiful in the classic way but I'm afraid I may never be so beautiful again as I once was. But perhaps my struggle in this windblown life I have come to know now is going to be my beauty now.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Small Yet Thankful 2010 Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving Day started out wonderfully by sleeping in and then once up, warmed up with a nice cup of hot, peppermint coffee and the watching of the Macy's Day Parade in New York, where I once lived. It definitely made me miss New York in many ways. As the day progressed Father read while I started in on the apple cider and cross stitched. Mother also began to make some peperations for the small feast we were to have (it was just the three of us this year).

(Mother beginning the makings of a great, yet small, feast)

(the official Turkey Breast cooked and ready to eat)

There are many things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving but I'd really like to focus on a couple.

First and foremost is my mother and caretaker. She was always there for me before my accident and she has stepped up to the plate even more so since my accident and not only has been my mother, and an awesome mother at that, but my caretaker as well. She is the one that showers me, cleans me, dresses my wounds and dresses me, makes my food and most of all, loves me unconditionally, even during my worst of days. I love you momma.

I'm also thankful for the wonderful and amazing friends I have, some who were there before the accident and those that I have acquired since my accident. You all know who you are. You have loved me through thick and thin, through beauty and scars. You have truly shown me what friendship is and I'm so thankful for that for now, since my accident, I know what a real, true friend is. I love you, my friends.

And thirdly, I'm thankful for the advances my doctors have made on me. Thanks to them, I was able to reach up to the cupboard with my right arm (the one that they just recently released) and grab dinner plates. I have not been able to do that since my accident, 2.5 years ago. I am also thankful for the great advances in my neck. I once was at a mere 5cm neck extension and now because of my doctors great hands I am now up to 16cm neck extension. A normal person's neck extension is 17 cm!! So now I am able to look up to the ceiling, to the sky and left and right, around in a circle. It's amazing what has been done on that operating table under the hands of my wonderful doctor and his team. So thank you Dr. Vangelisti.

It has been a long struggle but I am here for another holiday season. It could have been a second holiday season without me here on this earth. But I am here and for what reason I am not sure yet. My life was spared and I have yet to find my purpose.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The First 2010 Winter Downpour

Can I just say I LOVE THIS SEASON!!! AND I LOVE THE SNOW! It just "smells" like the holiday season even though snow doesn't smell, but ya know what I mean? This is a picture of our first 2010 winter downpour - about 4 inches - and let me tell you it is COLD outside too! But I love it.

Unfortunately I must admit that I am and am not at the same time one of those people who gets into the Christmas season after Halloween. When I say I am and am not I mean I do get into Christmas in terms of decorating with Christmas decorations around the house and sometimes even listening to Christmas music BUT I also get into Thanksgiving too. The only reason I start decorating in Christmas right after Halloween is because I don't have any Thanksgiving decorations! So, I just get right into Christmas.

But I am NOT one of those Black Friday Shoppers where I get up at 3am just to go shopping. I understand that yes, you probably do get incredible deals but I just can't deal with all the insane shoppers and I think it's a little insane to get up at 3am to go get a good deal anyway. But I suppose I also understand if you have a lot of people to buy for so you need the big deals. But I don't. So I slowly buy presents as the season rolls around.

Hot Cocoa and peppermint brittle (for those of you who don't know what that is it's like peanut brittle only peppermint) are also in order for this beginning downpour and beginning of this fun holiday season!!! YAY!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Been Awhile but Another 2 Surgeries Under My Belt

Well I go in for 1 surgery and it turns into 2 and a week long stay turns into about a week 1/2 long stay. All the precursors to surgery number 25 were not looking too good. Our hotel was overbooked so they sent us over to another (not so nice) hotel and my blood sugars were not doing well - too high, much, much too high. Then as we were going up the elevator to the Day Surgery Area I get a call from them asking where I am. So I tell them and they say, "Ok we'll see you soon." Well it turns out my surgery time got moved up quite a bit from 9:30 to 8:15am so my check in time was actually 6:15 so they were wondering where I was. BUT they NEVER told me they changed the surgery time!!! So we were all a fluster getting checked in in a hurry. And of course they couldn't get an IV in so they had to take me into surgery with the anesthetist and give me laughing gas to put me under and then get an IV in me. Well turns out they couldn't get one in anywhere except for my foot and that's no good for a diabetic but they did it anyway.

So the Doc got the tissue expander advanced and put in another tissue expander in my neck but when he went to go work on my right axilla (right armpit) he opened it up to a MASSIVE wound of thick and tangled and nasty scar tissue along with some fatty tissue as I haven't been able to exactly do any exercising on that arm with the limited mobility I had in it. So he decided to just do the one arm and put cadaver skin on it for a little while and go in for a second surgery and replace it with autograft, which is my own skin.

So my 25 surgery did not go as well as had hoped and led to a 26th surgery sooner than planned. Surgery 26 came along on Friday and went well. Fortunately this time, they had successfully gotten a PICC line in me on thursday so no IV was needed thankfully because of the PICC line. For those of you who may be wondering, "what is a PICC line?" A PICC line is a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. It is a long, slender and flexible tube that is inserted into peripheral vein (usually the upper arm) and then advanced until the tip of the line "terminates" into a large vein in the chest near the heart allowing for intravenous access. A PICC line can stay in the body for up to 7 days, sometimes longer whereas an IV usually needs to be changed every 3 days and for someone like myself where it is nearly impossible to get in an IV and whose IV's often "blow", a PICC line is most advantageous.

I came out of surgery #26 with flying colors but unfortunately in a cast/splint like thing on my right arm so I had to do everything one handed...that was more than a little annoying. Wednesday came around and I finally got my dressings taken down and was discharged that very day. But boy let me tell you I was wiping tears from my face as they took down my dressings because it hurt so bad despite how gentle they were being. Taking down the donor dressings and all the staples were blinding my eyes with tears. Then they had to redress me so I could go home, but that didn't hurt as bad.

So we made it over the over the mountains with dry roads. Now I'm trying to adjust to being back at home. Those of you who have been in the hospital for awhile and finally get to come home know that it can be kinda hard to readjust to being back home.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Heightened Level of Anxiety

I love peppermint coffee in the Fall/Winter. It just starts out my morning right and sets the mood for a wonderful afternoon when you have a cup later in the day. I am having a cup right now and it makes me feel all cozy inside after the busy morning I had.

We went to go get my blood drawn...AGAIN!! And of course they resorted to the knuckle vein that hurts like hell. But after poking me four times that was their last and only option since it usually is a good one for giving blood. Then we had to go to the church and drop off my crafts for the bazaar. THEN we went to the college to go pay for my online class only to find out that they are not accepting payments for winter term until after December 11th. So we went and tried to get my student ID....same thing. So that was a waste of time. Should have called.

Well, it's 3 days until my 25th surgery and my anxiety level is a little higher than normal for several of the same old reasons but one reason is new. And that is my father is going to be there instead of my mother. Now my mother has been there for EVERY surgery and she is my caretaker, I'm very close to my mother. My father, on the other hand, hasn't been there for a surgery in a LOOOOONG time. So I'm going to be missing my mother's support very much. Not that I don't love my father, but my mother is not just my mother, she has become my caretaker as well and knows how to go through the surgery process with me. My father does not. So this has taken my anxiety to a whole new level that I do not like.

So my dad is only gonna be able to stay until Wednesday and then he leaves to go back to work. My mother will then come back on the weekend and take me home. So that leaves two days where I'm all by myself, which I really don't like when I'm in the hospital. You have no idea how long a day it is when you're all by yourself. It is such a long day, so lonely, and so boring. So I am not looking forward to this hospital stay, not that I ever do, but this one more than any other.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Tooth, New Hair, and Other Random Things

Well if you didn't know, I chipped one of my front teeth last week and got it fixed on monday. Thanks goodness for OHP covering dental work. And then today I got my hair done. I went crazy again and took out the red and replaced it with blue so I now have purple and blue in my hair. It looks really good. Emily always does a fabulous job. I wanted to get it done before I went in to surgery again.

And I have also officially registered for an online class at EOU. I can't believe I'm actually doing this. I'm excited yet nervous all at the same time. Deep breaths....

Well, Halloween went well. We had nearly 50 trick-or-treaters, which is pretty good for my neighborhood. Here are three of my favorite outfits:

The middle one is the Larkin kids, (from left to right: Riley, Aiden, and Morgan). They came over to my house just to see me. It was really sweet. I loved of course the the football players, one being a beaver and the other a duck. And of course, the little babe was just adorable. So we had a good time handing out candy and taking pictures.

My good day that I wrote about came to a screeching halt this week. I think because my high anxiety is kicking in for surgery. I'm not too excited about this one. My mom is not going to be there. My dad is taking me this time and it's just not gonna be the same with my mom not there. This is causing a lot more anxiety than I usually have. My dad hasn't been to a surgery in MONTHS.

I'm all ready for the bazaar. I have to go to the church tonight and hand in what I made. I didn't get done nearly everything I wanted to get done but oh well. At least I contributed right?

Well that's all for today.