Thursday, July 31, 2008

Date night and my sisters..

Brett is on his way home and we are headin' out for one last "date" before my surgery. We are going to dinner and to Starbucks-then we are going to rent a movie and snuggle up and watch it together. I am really looking forward to spending time with him-things have been so busy and I am ready to just relax and enjoy some time together.

I just got a call from one of my "sisters" (Tanya)-I am just amazed at how they have pulled together to prepare a schedule for helping me out after my surgery. They have thought of everything! My church is providing 2 weeks of meals after my mom leaves and my friends are picking up where they leave off. Tanya has even stepped up and offered to do my grocery shopping every week and Karen has jokingly offered to come shave my legs :) -I bought some "Nair" instead! I feel so blessed to have friends like them. I know they all have busy lives of their own-they are mothers, they work, run their own houses,................ and yet they have taken the time to consider me. They have "stepped outside themselves" and put themselves into my shoes and I feel like that is an amazing quality! Thank You-I love you all and you will never know how much your kindness means to me!! sniffle...sniffle

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pre-op appt.

As you all know, today was my pre-op appt. We were there the entire day-I was so glad that Karen went with me-we actually had FUN! We met some very interesting people-to say the least. The appt went ok-there were a couple of issues I had though. The first being that the info that I had conflicted somewhat with what the info the surgeon's office had. Yesterday I got the surgeon's notes (from my first appt) in the mail. In his notes he mentioned doing the TLIF (which I knew about)and also doing a "facet fusion". I did not know what a facet fusion was, so I asked the assistant today. He explained what it was but then he told me that I was not having that done (or at least he did not have the paperwork drawn up for me to sign consenting to that surgery as well). I showed him the letter I had gotten in the mail yesterday and he was perplexed-the surgeon is on vacation right now and he can not be reached,so they are going to ask him about it when he comes back and have the paperwork drawn up for me to sign the morning of my surgery. If he does (or doesn't) do it,I do not think it will make a difference as far as my recovery. It will just mean some more "screws" will be put into my spine-in a different part of the bone than just the TLIF would require. Anyhoo-I just got a little frustrated by that situation-I mean did the doc just "forget" that he was also doing the facet fusion (and therefore forget to put it in the paperwork) or did change his mind about adding that surgery since he mailed me the report? I am not sure I am happy with either answer. I am gonna have to be at the hospital at.....5:30 AM Tuesday(which means leaving at 4:30 am)! Bummer! Not so much for me-since I will get to "sleep"-but Brett and my Mom are gonna be exhausted! I also found out that I will be wearing a back brace for at least 3 months (24/7!). I was really hoping I would not have to wear one-some people I have talked to online had to wear one but others-didn't. I was hoping to be one of the "lucky" ones who would not have to wear one. Especially since being measured for the custom made brace..I am not sure I am going to be able to breathe! It is kinda weird how different surgeons require different things for the same surgery. Some surgeons require the patient use a "walker" (YES! The "old people" kind!) and others refuse to LET their patients use one! I also found out that I will be put in ICU for a day or so after the surgery-since I will be "under" for so long (they say it will take 6 hours-if all goes well). I am glad that they told me that upfront, so I could prepare my Mother-I knew she'd be worried if she did not know that it was planned that way. Hopefully I will be able to come home within 4 days-that is gonna be my goal! I am gonna do everything I am told to do-(YES! Karen! EVERYTHING!-even stick the "stuff" up my nose! :( ) Well, I am ready to kick back and relax for a while. I just wanted everyone to know that we made it home (miracle in itself! We did not know where we were going!). Please Keep praying for me! Thanks!


Last night was my last "Girls' night out" for a while :(. Although, I like the way Brett put it, in the note that he left out for me last night, (along with my pjs,water,my towel....I know that I am spoiled!) he said "don't look at it as your last night out with your friends for a long time but rather your last night out with them while you are in so much pain." I guess that is one way to look at it. We went to "The cheesecake factory" and then Karen and I went to see the musical "Mama Mia". We had a really great time with lots of really "rich" conversation at supper. I have said it 100 times...but I am so glad that God has given me my sisters! Karen is now on her way from Clearwater (where she lives) to New Port Richey (where I live) to go with me to my pre op appt, in Tampa,this morning (ON HER DAY OFF!)-even after we stayed out until 1:00 am last night. She is amazing-I feel kinda bad that she is going with me-I feel guilty:( , but I am really glad that she will be there for me! We will be there all day long because I have 2 appts back to back. I have been to so many docs appts by myself and I can never remember half of what they tell me and it is going to be really nice to have a friend there for me this time. Thank you Karen!! She has even made me up a "hospital survival kit" to take with me for my stay at TGH-I thought that it was really sweet-she even put a huge chocolate bar in it that has a "emergency chocolate" label on it. Anyhoo... I will let everyone know how everything goes today.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I just wanted to let everyone know that a couple from my church is giving me a recliner. I sent out an email to everyone, asking if anyone knew someone who had one that they wanted to get rid of, and this couple graciously agreed to give me a Broyhill recliner that they were unable to use. A few weeks ago, while taking pictures for the church directory, I did pics for this couple-the wife told me that her husband was in the care of "Hospice" and she wanted to get a copy of the picture that I took. I made them several copies-edited in various ways-and gave the pics to them. They were so grateful and said that it was "the best picture that they had ever had taken"! I was excited to be able to bless them in that way, and now, God is using them to be a blessing to me! Funny how that works-huh? Thanks for all of you who responded to my email!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Old picture

My mom sent me this old picture taken of her and my Dad many (many!) moons ago-I thought it was a very beautiful and artistic photo. Notice the camera in her is in my genes!
Today I got a lot done. I planted a flowering bush outside my living room picture window-while I was outside I cleaned the windows, which lead me to clean the inside windows, while cleaning the girls' room windows I noticed that their curtains needed washing, while taking the curtains down I noticed their mini blinds needed washing, after taking down the blinds and washing them-I put them back up. It was then that I decided that their room needed some additional paint colors now that they have new quilts (the ones my mom made). The room was painted to match their old comforters but the new quilts have the same colors and some additional ones too. So....I started painting orange hearts and pink polka dots on their walls. I am worn out! I still have some more painting to do, but I got most of it finished. My day reminds me of that classic book "If you give a pig a pancake" or "If you give a mouse a muffin". It has been a busy day but a productive one-it is now 11:17 pm and I just finished folding the last load of laundry! Brett is still out working-he had an airport run that will be coming in at 11:40-then he has to drive them back to Brookesville! He will not be home until 2:30 am-he looked so tired when he left-I feel so badly for him. I think that it wears on him more knowing that he is working 2 jobs(about 60+ hours a week) and it is STILL not enough! I just keep waiting for something to "give"-but it seems like every time it does something else comes up that sucks us dry! We have paid off over $15,000 in bills this year (mostly because of my SSD back pay check),...that is FIVE less payments that we have to make, but it has not effected us at ALL! I guess since everything else has gone up it is just costing more to live-anyhoo...this blog has turned into me rambling on. What is with me today!? Well-I am about ready to turn it for the night. I am gonna just keep trusting God-He must have a plan.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

we're back

We got back last night-we had sooo much fun this trip! I think it was the most fun I have ever had at the springs! Yesterday we spent the entire day out there and for most of the day we had the whole spring to ourselves (me and Allie and the 9 kids!). We played a game that the kids made up earlier in the summer-this trip, I got in on it too! I was unbeatable! :) One match I even took on ALL the kids by myself and I still won! I am very competitive and at one point-I even tackled my own children! Brooke and Bubba tried to take away my team's "treasure" and I was not about to let that happen! We all survived. I did a lot of stuff that I know I shouldn't do...knowing that my surgery date is approaching has caused me to be a bit of a "daredevil". I guess since I know that I am getting the surgery-I know that I can't really do any more damage to my spine and knowing that I will not be able to do all that fun stuff for a loooong time-if ever- has made me want to do everything I can do now!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday fun

Today after church I had to take Maddie to the walk in clinic-she has an ear infection. This evening, after supper, we went to feed the fish and turtles. I love going to the pond to do that-it is cheap therapy:) Now, we are getting everything ready to leave for Cross City tomorrow morning. I just wanted to share some pics from the day and also the pics of the girls in their new uniforms. Check out that pic of the bird eating the fish! Click on it to enlarge it-it is pretty cool.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

One last trip..

The kids and I (along with Brooke's best friend) are going back up to Cross city for one last time before my surgery. I really wanted to just take some time to spend with them and have fun with them since I will not be able to do anything with them for several weeks after my surgery. We are going to go to the springs and we are just gonna kick back and relax and spend some time together-we are really looking forward to it! We will be back on Thursday because Brooke and Chelsea are going to "Blizzard Beach" with the youth group on Friday. That next week is going to be kinda hectic-we are going to try to get everything ready for the kids to start school, it is also my best friend's B-day so we are having a "Girl's night out" on Tuesday. Then Wednesday I have my pre-op appt at USF. My kids are all going to Pensacola, with Brett's parents, to visit Brett's brother and his family the week of my surgery-I think that it is best that way so they will not be as concerned for me and my mom will be able to stay with me at the hospital without worrying about taking care of the kids. I am not really that nervous about the surgery-more concerned about the recovery! I am also worried about getting sick from the anesthesia and pain meds-the 2 times that I had surgery in the past I woke up "puking". I do not handle pain meds very well! The last time I was in the hospital they gave me a med to keep me from getting sick from the pain meds and it did not work. I am ramblin' on tonight-huh? Anyhoo..just something ya'll can help me pray about. It is bad enough to be in pain, but then to be sick on top of that (which then makes the pain worse) is NO fun! Some people act as though I should not have the surgery-I guess because of the risks and because there are no guarantees (my surgeon was upfront about that). BUT...there are no other options for me. The surgeon told me that my spine was too far gone for anything else to work-it is either "live with it" or try the surgery. I am DONE "living with it"-tired of it. I have been praying for years for insurance so I could get help-now that I have it-I do not understand why people are questioning my decision. I did not even need to "think" about it-the surgeon told me about the surgery and I made the date within mins. This is an answer to prayer....LOTS of prayer.....lots of tears. I am sure that 2 weeks from now it may not "feel" like that-but I am believing that the fusions will work and I will be better in the end.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Ming Ming's" B-day

Brooke has been given the nick name "Ming Ming" by her cousins and it has caught on-she even wanted her B-day cake to say "Happy Birthday Ming Ming". It is from a children's show "The Wonder pets"-Brooke, her sister and their cousins were all being goofy one night (while we were in Cross City) and they were making fun of different kid's shows-some how-Brooke got a new nickname out of it all. Anyhoo-here are some pics from her party.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My "Sista"

Tonight I am going to be catchin' a movie with Karen (I've got a FREE ticket! Gotta love that!). She is finally back from vacation! Anyhoo, we are going for coffee and a movie and I am looking forward to spending time with her. I have been in serious need of some "sista" time! I am so blessed to have her (and all my other "sistas"!).

Monday, July 14, 2008

I came across this saying in one of my old college journals and I thought that it summed up the "what really matters" blog below. "In the questionable things let there be liberty; In the important things let there be unity. In all things-let there be love." I can not remember who said it, or where I even got it from, but I think that it is appropriate.

Weight Watchers

Today was my weigh in at WW. I lost another 1.6 lbs! I am very happy with that since we had pizza, B-day cake and ice cream last night. Not that it would actually show up on the scale this soon-but when I eat "junk" my body retains water like crazy. Anyway-I wanted to update everyone-so, since I got "serious" 2 weeks ago and started going to meetings weekly (and actually followed the program!) I have lost 4.4 lbs. I am thrilled with that especially since I have not been exercising at all (I know I need to-I am gonna try harder!).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What really matters

Visual Poetry -
Ok-I already know that my family is....well...."different". I get that. And I realize that I do not "fit the mold". I am ok with that too. What I do not understand is why other people are so caught up in things that really do not matter. Let me back up a little and say (for those of you who may not know)-I was in a car accident in 2004-it changed my life and how I view the world around me. In a matter of seconds my life could have been taken (thank God for seat belts!! USE them!). It was after my accident that the doctors found the tumor in my spine-I was shifted from doctor to doctor-test after test, and it took months to find out that I did not have cancer. Dealing with all of it really put my life into perspective and I realized that a lot of what we think "matters" really has no impact on our lives. Most of the things that we fret over and worry about-mean nothing in a life or death situation. I no longer worry about the small stuff, you WILL see me in Wal Mart with my hair pulled up, wearing no make up. You may see my kids (or me!) with pink hair, or chunky blond highlights. You will definitely find me wearing jeans on a Sunday morning (gasp!)-or even capris-with my tattoo proudly displayed! You will see video of me, my family, or my husband acting crazy-dancing to Toby Mac. None of that "stuff" matters. I have heard from a few of my readers that we are a "crazy" family (and not in a good tone-I will add)-it really is ok. They (or you) may not understand me-you may judge me by my appearance, you may not appreciate the things I find funny, you may even be offended by my kids having pink hair-but if you really knew me-if you understood all I have gone through to get to this point, you may be more accepting. I never want to hurt anyone, or truly offend people-but some people are going to be offended no matter what you do. So, I am going to live my life, really live my life, appreciating each and every day-knowing it is a gift from God. I can learn to accept differences in other people-but I really wish that everyone could know "what really matters" and what doesn't. I wish you all...the important things in life-family, health, happiness, love...... .

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to my "Baby Girl"!! Today Brooke is 12 years old!! WOW! Where did the time go? It is hard to believe that she is already 12. :( She has become such a beautiful young woman and I am SOOOO proud to be her Mother! She has such a caring heart, she has an incredible sense of humor (she keeps us laughing!!), she can dance "like no body's business", she is brilliant (if I may say so myself)....she is truly beautiful inside and out! Happy Birthday "Ming-Ming"!! I love you!

Friday, July 11, 2008

More info

I got a little more info on what kind of surgery I will be having. I guess they will put some screws into my vertebrae and place a "metal cage" on my spine-then they take some bone from my hip and place it in (and around?) the metal parts- The bone is supposed to grow over the metal pieces and cause a fusion of all of the bones from L4-S1 (within about 9 months). One question...will I now make metal detectors go off? ;) They called me this morning and wanted to move the surgery to next Tuesday-July 15th, but Aug 5th is a better date for my Mom to come down to help me. I am kinda glad it worked out that way-I am going to try and get out 6 weeks worth of energy between now and then! I want to run, and swim and dance........

Every doctor I have seen has asked me what I did to get my spine in such bad shape-yesterday, the doc asked me if I was an "athlete"-uhhh...NO! He told me that the type of spinal injuries that I have are what they expect to see in pro football players! Makes you wonder, huh?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Neurosurgeon #2 appt

So I guess the "no hope" thing worked-I am scheduled for a
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion "TLIF" surgery (L4-S1) on Aug. 5th. I have mixed feelings about it-I am glad that I am finally getting something done but I am not looking forward to the recovery. Everyone knows that I can't sit still-it is going to be hard to sit still for 6 weeks! Your prayers are appreciated!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Our day

Today has been a busy day-this morning I put pink ( highlights in Brooke's hair-just something crazy and fun to do. Then, we went to the beach for a while-then we came home and swam in our pool. After lunch, I finally finished editing the church directory pictures and then I took a long nap! We just got home from church and I am getting ready to lay back in my "dormia" (I love my bed! :) ) and watch some TV. Tomorrow is my neurosurgeon appt-this one is in Tampa and I am dreading the drive. I am tired of having to find my way to these appts by myself! Anyway-I am still not hopeful, but I am still going none the less. I will let everyone know what the new doc says.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weight loss update

I weighed in at Weight Watchers this morning and I lost 2.8 lbs this week! I tried at a new meeting time/location last Monday morning and I really liked it so I changed my weigh in day. I followed the Flex program all week, I saved all my 35 flex points for our weekend trip (and I used them all on Brooke's B-day ice cream cake! Yum!). Anyhoo-I am doing well on the program and I am really enjoying the journey!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our trip pics

We are back in town, here are some pics from the weekend. The kids and I are gonna be making another trip back up there, once I get past the doctor's appts I have coming up, but we are home for now. The pics are of Brett and I taking all the kids for a walk on Friday night.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I just got a call from USF and they will take my insurance. I have an appt. on July 10th. I am grateful that they have agreed to see me but I refuse to be hopeful at this point. Please contnue to keep me in your prayers-I need them badly right now!

Neurosurgeon appt

Today I had my neuro appt. and once again, my hope was crushed! I am so tired-of all of it. The doctor told me that my case was "too complicated" for him to handle and he referred me out to the neurosurgeons at the University of South Florida. I am so frustrated-I feel much like a "ping pong ball", being bounced from doctor to doctor! It seems everyone is interested in seeing me and reviewing my case but no one wants to do anything about it! I just keep getting passed along to the next doctor. The doctor today told me that I need a biopsy of the tumor, but that it would be difficult since they would have to go through bone to get to it. I just do not understand why we are still even talking about this tumor! I thought it was already decided what it was (a giant notochordal rest)-all the docs I have seen have said that it may not even be the source of my pain-since I have so much other "stuff" going on in the same area of my spine. I asked the doctor why we can't just "fix" all the other stuff and find out if that makes me better. He said that I need a spinal fusion and that he no longer preforms them since they only work 50% of the time (those odds seem a lot better than the odds I face with out surgery!). Anyhoo, I am back at square one-I have called USF-it doesn't look like they even take my insurance, but they are looking into it. I do not know where to go from here-I have considered calling an orthopedic surgeon that is local-even though everyone I have talked to has told me that I should only see a neurosurgeon. I have also considered calling the doctor from Washington State University, who has been kind enough to view my films and offer any help she can. She has emailed me and called me several times and she has even given me her direct cell phone #-she has done a study on Giant Notochordal Rests and has used my case at the university. Now that I have medical insurance she may be able to get the surgeons there to help me. I am just so tired-I do not feel like dealing with it at all. I just want to go to sleep-I want to give up on even trying to get help. It is emotionally draining for me to have to continue getting my hopes up, only to have them crushed again. This has been going on for 4 and 1/2 years now-I am just so tired of it. I have already been given the "trust God" speech from my Mom (I love you Mom! :) )-it is not that I do not trust God, it is just that I am tired of being in pain and waiting (hoping) to get help. Well, once again, my "realness" is showing-huh? I have always said I am "real" on this blog-the good, bad and the ugly included! Thanks for "listening". I need a nap now!