Friday, September 30, 2011


You know I love stories of "God's unusual providence", or 'miracles' as some would call them.  Stories that doctors and textbooks can't explain!  While doing my devotions this morning I read of a man named Christopher Coleman.  His story will inspire you and make you cry!  It made me also want to go back to teaching 'special education' and love those kids most teachers/society forget about! Read his story here...... Christopher's testimony.  Have a wonderful day :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Determined To Paint!!!!!!!!!!!

Why on earth would it take two weeks to paint a tiny bathroom?? Before my aneurysm, I would have had it done start to finish in two days, tops! But, now EVERYTHING takes slow, deliberate planning.....EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have this list (I love making lists, they are like false control over something, anything really).  So, I have this list that is labeled "When Energy......", and I put down all the things I'd like to do if I ever had the energy or mental concentration over like 5 minutes so I could actually complete something and get it off my list!!  At work one day, I was telling my supervisor how every fall I have this urge to pack up all my belongings and go back to college.  Maybe, it is my longing to function like I used to with some vague sense of  "normal", this is not saying I could ever be defined as normal, but could usually function pretty normally (you get my point).  Anyway, my supervisor said, maybe every fall I should start something new, like redecorate a room, or learn a new language (ha ha, how about mastering the one I already try to speak, as I constantly search for words when trying to communicate).  SO, this year I looked at my 'list', the "When Energy" wish list.  Although, I didn't feel particularly energetic I decided(was determined) I would tackle repainting our bathroom, anyway. It has been on my list since right after we moved in. Right after moving, I just took down the old 80s wall paper, filled in major holes and painted just to get it looking presentable to guests! It needed a lot of TLC!!  So, I carefully wrote down all the steps I would need to do to complete the project then broke them down into what I thought were 'managable pieces'." Manageable pieces" were like, Spackle on one day, the next day sand and vacuum up as much dust as possible.  Then repeat(there is one week), "taping around trim/doors" was one day followed by "painting the trim around doors,day" then there was the "get paint, day". OOPS....I just messed up the order again, just noticed while editing, you need to but paint before painting, should have looked back at my 'list'! Sequencing things still gets me, every time!!!! My 'lists' are always labeled with numbers for the order in which to do things.  I make an ordered list each evening for the next day. As you can see, each step was one whole day's worth of energy for me, plus you need to factor in the days I was really just too tired to tackle anything!! On the "roll walls with paint, day", I stepped back and wasn't sure I liked the color I picked on "get paint, day" (don't worry, paint samples were hanging on my wall for over a year before that day, actually arrived) .  I can't make a decision/compare and contrast to save my life.  While this is probably more genetic than brain injury, I'll blame it on the injury!! By the end of, "roll walls with paint, day", I was so tired that I didn't even care what color it was, I was just glad it was done and I could check it off my "list"! Oh, and I was so tired that I had ABSOLUTELY NO desire, what-so-ever, to go back to college....MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!!  Here are some "quick" before and after pictures.....I still need to accessorize and put up our mirror over the sink in the 'after shot'!

Before..."Manhattan Mist" blue/purple color

After... "Ocean Pearl" a light 'seafoam', sage green color

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


   My dear, dear friend was back in the hospital with further heart arrhythmia problems that are potentially life-threatening. My heart felt very heavy for her and her family.  Of course, my devotions were about trials and joy among them!  I had to confess I was not feeling joyful!  On my way to visit her in a local hospital to relieve her from the boredom and sterile, white hospital walls I thought I would stop at Panera and pick us up a little lunch! I got our meals to-go and was walking out the door when I saw a pumpkin cookie advertised.  I thought it would be a nice little treat for my friend and wasn't going to leave without one!!  I got back into the long lunch line and when it was my turn I explained that I had just ordered lunch and just wondered if I could purchase one of the cookies advertised.  The cashier asked me if I ordered a drink. Of course, I had not, just grabbed the free water!! He explained that the cookie came with a meal and a drink.  I said, "thank  you" and went to turn around when the cashier told me to 'wait a minute'.  He then grabbed a pumpkin cookie and said, "here, this one is on the house".  I thanked him profusely and then shared that I really wanted it for my friend in the hospital.  He wished her well, and I left with a smile on my face.  It is the little things, like free cookies!
As always, I had a lovely visit with my friend despite the setting and circumstances! I left the hospital, found my Jeep and followed the exit signs taking me in endless, anxiety provoking circles through the parking garage!  Upon exiting, I handed the 'toll guy' enough cash to cover their "maximum fee" for being there all day.  It was SO worth the few $$ though!! He scanned my ticket and asked me if I was coming back later, "no", then, "are you going to be here all week?, "I hope not, I was just visiting my good friend".  "Okay", he said "when was your friend admitted?".  I just said the first day that came to my mind, "Wednesday, oh wait, what day is today, anyway".  I was still recovering from the circles in the parking garage! "Tuesday" the guy says.  "Oh well then Sunday I think".  He hands me back my money and says, "you mean she was admitted today", "no I'm pretty sure it was Sunday, maybe Monday morning".  He says, "free parking the day of admission, have a nice day".  I'm a little slow but then I got it.  Again, it is the little things like free cookies and free parking that make you smile when things around you make you want to cry! Please keep my friend and her family in your prayers.  "What is impossible with man IS possible with God" My story reminds me of that everyday!  I would never wish these trails on anyone but as long as we are both experiencing them, I am so thankful for a friend who can truly, truly understand what it is like to be a medical anomaly in your early 30s!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brain Aneurysm Foundation needs your help.........

The Brain Aneurysm Fountdation is trying to raise awareness further by sending letters to the Vice President.  The letter is all written for you, just add your name and click "send"! Thanks everyone!!!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Help me raise awreness of aneurysms...........

If you have a few extra seconds follow this link to help the Brain Aneurysm Foundation raise awareness of this silent killer. They format all the letters for you and send them electronically, you just need to click send! Thanks everyone!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

another rainy day!

Mookie with her black, spotted tongue out!

Mookie on 'her deck' soaking up the sun!

If you read my blog or know me well, you probably already know that cool, rainy days are my absolute favorite.  So, today seemed promising from the start!  I went to let my beloved dogs outside this morning when, my little Mookie catches wind of something that was in our yard last night and decides to BOLT right past me out the door.  She has a tendency to not come when you call, especially if she is 'mad' about something. Yup, she has done this to me before. I have visions of the busy road our little dead end connects to. I am now on the back deck, in my bathrobe, screaming at her like a crazy lady (or am I a crazy lady screaming at her?? don't answer that)  She huffs off on the trail of whatever it is and I can no longer see or hear her.  I have to decide whether to jump in my Jeep in my bathrobe and find her or take the extra time to change.  I decided to change, shocking, I know. As I run out the front door, shaking with fear of loosing my furry friend forever, I see her.  She is standing in our back yard just looking at me like "what's your problem?". I am so thankful that my quick prayers were answered and promptly realized that maybe, just maybe, I love my dogs more than most people do???

Mookie and Buddy

Visibly rattled, I still had an appointment I had to 'pull it together' for! I am happy to say that, although I was still not putting together complete sentences, I made it to the therapy (the kind, ironically, associated with 'crazy people' lol) appointment. It went well, and I made it home. 

Like most brain injury patients I get 'stuck or fixated' on one thing.  Today, I saw my camera sitting out with a note on it.  Ever since vacation, all the images my good SLR camera has taken won't give me a "preview" when I go to view them on the computer.  VERY annoying when you have thousands of images to view !!! Today, I am determined that it 'MUST be fixed'.  I called a friend at a camera shop and after my disconnected explanation he graciously gave me Canon's tech support number! The poor tech support guy had no idea what was coming at! After holding for 15+ minutes, a voice on the other end says, "how may I help you", to which I reply, "where do we start??" He got basic information then I tried explaining it my disconnected brain what was going on.  He was not amused that I didn't know if I had a '32 or 64 bit operating system'.  I thought I was doing good knowing I had Windows 7.  To make a long story short, the whole problem was the 'shooting' mode accidentally got changed to a more advanced one that can only be viewed using Canon software, GREAT.  It was a quick, 'hit this, hit that button' and a very unamused tech support guy and my problem was solved, never mind that I have been fixated on this for DAYS maybe even weeks now!!!! By this time, I was so tired my head literally felt "fuzzy" as it does when I have had to think too much!!! Ah, the joys of being me now! But, now I can preview my pictures and that sure makes me very, very happy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

"A Letter from your Brain"


I'm glad to see that you are awake! This is your brain talking. I had to find some way to communicate with you. I feel like I barely survived WWIII and am still not quite all in one piece. That's why I need you. I need you to take care of me.
remember this??

As time passes and you and I feel better and better, people, even doctors, will tell you that we are fine, "it's time to get on with life." That sounds good to me and probably even better to you. But before you go rushing back out into that big wide world, I need you to listen to me, really listen. Don't shut me out. Don't tune me out. When I'm getting into trouble I'll need your help more than I ever have before.

I know that you want to believe that we are going to be the same. I'll do my best to make that happen. The problem is that too many people in our situation get impatient and try to rush the healing process; or when their brains can't fully recover they deny it and, instead of adapting, they force their brains to function in ways they are no longer able too. Some people even push their brains until they seize, and worse... I'm scared. I'm afraid that you will do that to me. If you don't accept me I am lost. We both will be lost.

How can I tell you how much I need you now? I need you to accept me as I am today... not for what I used to be, or what I might be in the future. So many people are so busy looking at what their brains used to do, as if past accomplishments were a magical yardstick to measure present success or failures, that they fail to see how far their brains have come. It's as if here is shame, or guilt, in being injured. Silly, huh?

Please don't be embarrassed or feel guilt, or shame, because of me. We are okay. We have made it this far. If you work with me we can make it even further. I can't say how far. I won't make any false promises. I can only promise you this, that I will do my best.

What I need you to do is this: because neither of us knows how badly I've been hurt (things are still a little foggy for me), or how much I will recover, or how quickly, please go s-l-o-w-l-y when you start back trying to resume your life. If I give you a headache, or make you sick to your stomach, or make you unusually irritable, or confused, or disoriented, or afraid, or make you feel that you are overdoing it, I'm trying to get your attention in the only way I can. Stop and listen to me.

I get exhausted easily since being hurt, and cannot succeed when overworked. I want to succeed as much as you do. I want to be as well as I can be, but I need to do it at a different pace than I could before I got hurt. Help me to help us by paying attention and heeding the messages I send to you.

I will do my part to do my very best to get us back on our feet. I am a little worried though that if I am not exactly the same... you will reject me and may even want to kill us. Other people have wanted to kill their brains, and some people have succeeded. I don't want to die, and I don't want you to die.

I want us to live, and breath and be, even if being is not the same as it was. Different may be better. It may be harder too, but I don't want you to give up. Don't give up on me. Don't give up on yourself. Our time here isn't through yet. There are things that I want to do and I want to try, even if trying has to be done in a different way. It isn't easy. I have to work very hard, much harder, and I know that you do too. I see people scoff, and misunderstand. I don't care. What I do care about is that you understand how hard I am working and how much I want to be as good as I can be, but I need you to take good care of us, as well as you can do that.

Don't be ashamed of me. We are alive. We are still here. I want the chance to try to show you what we are made of. I want to show you the things that are really important in life. We have been given another chance to be better, to learn what is really important. When it is finally time for our final exit I would like to look back and feel good about what we made of us and out of everything that made up our life, including this injury. I cannot do it without you. I cannot do it if you hate me for the way being injured has affected me and our life together. Please try not to be bitter in grief. That would crush me.

Please don't reject me. There is little I can do without you, without your determination to not give up. Take good care of us and of yourself. I need you very much, especially now.

©1996 Stephanie St. Claire
May be reprinted for personal, not for profit use.