Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Keep calm and Grinch on............

 

Okay, stick with me here.  Hubs and I find the characters on "The Big Bang Theory" whimsical and amusing.  Probably more me, than the Hubs, but he humors me and we watch it together. I got the biggest kick out of a character, who is likely autistic, comment about the Grinch. It goes like this Sheldon Cooper says, "No, on the contrary. I found the Grinch to be a relateable, engaging character."  As a child I loved the old Dr Seuss cartoon that played before Christmas, it was nostalgic and exciting to watch TV, which we normally didn't do a lot of! I, of course, wanted to "love the stuffing" out of that Grinch! I wanted to convince him he could be loved.
 As an adult with a brain injury my world is often a numb place.  Whether it is the injury to my brain or the result of just trying to survive on any "normal day", Christmastime now overwhelms me with everything being so busy, busy, busy. And I still struggle a great deal with making and coordinating plans!  All my usual parking spots at stores are taken, merchandise rearranged, lights flashing, bells ringing, its a sensory overload night mare. I tend to park in the same place and shop at the same stores to make up for some short term memory gaps! My family teases (out of love) me about being a "Grinch". If you came to my house right now you may agree! The tree is up (minus ornaments, its a fake prelit one, don't judge, it's survival, and my mom sent me little 'scent sticks' to put on it so it smells like a real tree) because poor hubby couldn't take it any longer.  The rest of the decorations? Still safely in their tub! It all takes energy I don't have and decisions I don't have the energy to make and it is frustrating at times trying to make my "hand and a half" (stroke curl) work together! And, this year I don't even want to talk about the 60 degree weather squashing my idea of a warm, fuzzy snow covered Christmas! Let's hope the heat savings equals the Amazon ordering (aka, the only way I will Christmas 'shop'.) Dear Mr Grinch, I can kinda get the living on a hill in a cave far from all the crazy overload in a quiet dark place with your dog for company (hehe.) I could never live like this all the time but just from November to January, it sounds mighty tempting!!!
   But, here is what I have come to love the most about the Grinch.  He has a change of heart.  He swallows this pride and bitterness and slides down that hill with all of the baggage and all of the wrong and returns. He drops his baggage and does not begrudgingly eat with the Whos in Whoville, he truly shares in their feast joyfully. The whos' don't shun him or "make him pay for what he has done. They forgive and invite him to dine.   "His heart grew three sizes that day!" It reminds me to let go of all that frustrates, and at times consumes, me this season and focus on the real reason for the season, The Messiah was born. He came to save me from my sin. The bitterness, the anger, the unkindness. He was born and died for me! And here's the even better news, he was born and died for you too! All you have to do is repent and believe and His shed blood will cover your sin too! 
  So, keep calm and Grinch on.           

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" 

Let Christ the Savior change your heart and Merry Christmas!!!! 



Friday, November 20, 2015

I remember you....................

I'll probably never get used to "being remembered." Here's the story, I was at a specialist today (unrelated to the brain, specifically.)  I haven't been to this particular doctor since 2011 when I just decided I had too many doctor appointments and that they were running me ragged.  I made a change and didn't go to followups that weren't vital to my existence.  In that time, this office changed from paper records to digital ones.  Those patients not seen during the course of that year are now considered "new patients."  I called this office concerning a medication they had originally prescribed but they had no records for me. Over six months ago, I made a new patient appointment and today I went.  The doctor hasn't seen me for years but walks in and shakes my hand. He says, "I thought I had a new patient appointment, then I saw your name and realized it wasn't really.  It isn't often I remember a patient from years ago but, I remember you." Of course, I reply, "It's the aneurysm thing, right?" He confirms that indeed it is a very unusual story to a doctor. To a rather shy, and generally unnoticed gal, it is always astonishing that somebody "remembered you" for any reason.  I have always had quite a memory for people related things especially before my aneurysm. It is still pretty good but there are just too many other things to sort out and it isn't quite as good as it used to be! What can I say, I just find people interesting and I genuinely care about their lives more than most people do.  It is both my greatest asset and biggest downfall!
 Thank you Lord for always remembering me even when I feel invisible and insignificant in this busy, foreign world!

 "I survived, my hair grew back and I got strong again. I look relatively normal on the outside, but on the inside, I am still the same stitched back together little creature................." -Clare Bowen
Only in my wildest dreams, did I really believe I'd find a guy who, in all seasons of life, always remembers me, stays with me and loves me despite my many faults, I'm a blessed girl!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

'stitched back together little creature'

And, the quote I am currently obsessed with is..................................

"I survived, my hair grew back and I got strong again. I look relatively normal on the outside, but on the inside, I am still the same stitched back together little creature................." -Clare Bowen






Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Brain Overload, The Real Deal: a short memoir

 
Several weeks ago my beloved Lab mix (who is 13, we think) had three grand-mal seizures (no previous history) in 12 hours and ended up at the emergency vet clinic. I have never been so happy to live "in civilization" and not the "boonies" that I grew up in.  Usually, my frugality wins but when it comes to this dog I can only see with my heart.  She was there to greet me out of the hospital and long before that nursed me through some pretty awful migraines. When I would shake and shiver in pain she "selflessly" would crawl into bed next to me until the shaking passed. She is an odd little dog full of anxious quirks. We just get each other even if nobody else does! So to say I had a stressful week adjusting to new medications and need to go out more during the day is a gross understatement! I was quite stressed.

It all caught up with me last week. I knew better than to run to BJs before my hair appointment (my summer pixie cut was growing a tail, Seriously, if you don't believe me ask my hairstylist friend.) So, I was determined to make it to my appointment! With list in hand, I foolishly entered the huge, overstimulating box store. About half way through, I knew it was a mistake.  I ducked down a 'quiet' aisle and took a few deep breaths trying to pull myself together enough to get out of the store at least! I was able to get out the door with my purchases. As I got in my Jeep I was done. I knew I was in no condition to drive and thankfully I had about an hour before my appointment since I all but bolted out of the store (yes, I paid, it's amazing actually.) So, I jumped in my Jeep and threw the seat back, dug out my "emergency chill pill"and took it . Of course, I grabbed the pillow I keep in my Jeep (not the first panic attack I've had folks) and began my deep breathing exercise, as the blanket I also keep under my seat served to block the rest of the assaulting sunshine from my closed eyes. Once my medicine kicked in I sat up and grabbed for my phone to check the time and to set an alarm so I didn't have to think about it! When I looked out my passenger side window and  saw parked in the spaces right in front of me was a blue pickup truck. Someone was sitting inside it apparently waiting for someone in the store.  If you remember my story you know that a blue pick up was reported leaving the scene of my accident.  Immediately, I knew it was a monument, a reminder from God He is in control and with His help I can keep going.  I'm not sure if you've ever been this exhausted and your brain so flooded you were convinced you could not go on.  That is where I was at that moment. It hasn't been quite this bad for me in awhile. It made me very thankful for a number of friends I knew would drop anything to come rescue me. But, this time I just needed a dark quiet car and the reminder of that blue pickup truck.  I literally didn't think I had the strength to get home! That blue truck sitting there "watching over me" somehow calmed me and reassured me, "this too shall pass!" Just as the Lord cared for me that fateful day, He continues to care for me daily!
After a short nap and a "God wink," as my friend calls it, I actually made my hair appointment (with a friend who 'gets it') and my tail was taken care of!
     The ordeal reminded me of a conversation at a wedding this summer.  We were seated with people from our church we didn't know well. After hearing my story, the curious friend asked me, "Do you think you will ever go back [to finish your Master's and to teaching]." I replied that I no longer wondered if it was my calling I can't even handle the organized chaos of a store by myself. Why would I ever enter a classroom again and be responsible for all the precious lives in my care. I have an amazing peace that it is not the place the Lord desires for me. I don't regret my choice of careers.  It prepared me, not for teaching in a classroom, but to help in my own recovery.  I had a lot of different strategies already in my memory and I loved learning, which came in really handy since there were and still are many things to relearn or learn for the first time!  At one point, just before my aneurysm be began to  I regret choosing Elementary Education as a major. I think the Lord was stirring my heart for what he had prepared my journey to be. I certainly haven't figured it all out yet but I am much more content with exactly where I am than striving to fit in a place that wasn't meant for me.
On that same note, you'd think a girl who wakes up every morning truly thankful for life and breath. Thankful that all her arms and legs move when her brain asks them to would be much better at "living in the moment." Perhaps, my conservative upbringing made me cringe at first when I heard this, but I am not good at this concept.  When I talk about "living in the moment" I mean enjoying and being thankful for what the moment, you are in, provides. You see, while I am truly thankful I notice that the moment is often spoiled with fears and anxiety about what might be around the next corner. So, in a way I'm not enjoying moments but anxiously fretting the next obstacle, test, trial.  My beloved and ancient dog has been teaching me this. She is still here and walking around, eating, drinking and living. Now I have moments of weakness when the reality of the situation hits me and I am teary, sad and anxious but, we take short walks every day. It has always been her favorite thing and I often use my own fatigue as an excuse to tell her, "not today!" But, this fall we take walks every day and she seems happy to smell all the creatures who walked around before we got there.  She even prances down our driveway and wears as much of a smile as a dog can wear. So, I have had almost an "extra month" of walks and pictures and spoiling her rotten, which she is pretty sure should have been her treatment all along (don't let her fool you, she was always spoiled by this tenderhearted, dog loving girl who always felt some responsibility cater to her anxious ways. I mean,  if we left I always brought her to my parents house (usually a two hour trip in the opposite direction,) where it was familiar to her and I was sure she would be taken care of exactly as I wished!)   Here is to many more days of spoiling and many more moments truly enjoyed!!
Click here for a really great explanation of "Brain flooding"

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Just another day in the life of Lisa!

     It has been a rough week, I need comic relief so here you go. I'm sure you had to be there but I'll do my best. I was a the library last week helping with books that were being discarded (missing pages, or they haven't been checked out for years, space is limited so they must go.) I had a cart of them and headed out to the dumpster myself, because it was a nice day! The stick that was made to hold up the dumpster top has long since gone missing and in its place is a flat metal tool with a long handle, I imagine is really used for chipping or scraping ice or removing shingles on a roof.  I have no problem figuring out how to wedge it to hold the plastic top open, Yeah, I was pretty proud of myself since my spacial planning ability was all but lost with my rupture.  I began throwing books into the dumpster when, I just had to peek in to see what else had gone in there.  Way in the back I spot it..................the Anne of Green Gables complete set, and they looked to be in pretty decent shape. I LOVE ANNE OF GREEN GABLES! I really want the set. It was the first book I read after my aneurysm. Since I tested at a 5th grade reading level I thought it appropriate to start with something familiar that I knew I already loved and was written for youth. You see, I love the beloved stories so much, I actually convinced my hubby to go to Prince Edward Island (the setting of AGG) for our honeymoon. We got as far as Maine, and loved it so much we decided to just stay there as we were exhausted from all the wedding/college (I had just graduated) stress anyway. It ended up being a good decision as I got sick and we came home a week earlier than we planned! Ah, but I digress! So, there I am calculating how I am going to retrieve that set from the back of the dumpster! I devise a plan to use that "long handled ice scraper thingy" holding the top open to gently pull the books to the front of the dumpster where they might be easier to retrieve!  Thankfully, there is a Pickett fence around the dumpster preventing patrons and colleagues from watching my silliness! With my curled left stroke hand I am now attempting to hold up the dumpster top while using my "good hand" to reach the books with that "ice scraper thingy". Of course, this overloads my brain circuits and I drop my tool in my attempt to reach the books. Just at that very moment, our maintenance guy walks around the corner to make sure I had figured out how to keep the top open. I burst out laughing and am forced to confess that I have dropped the tool in the dumpster. He has no problem reaching over the top and getting the tool. But, THEN I had to confess that I wanted those books in the back of the dumpster and am not leaving without them!  I am about in tears laughing at myself, he is good-natured and acts like it is totally normal while graciously trying to help drag the books to the front of the dumpster with, said tool. In his attempt to help the set ended up rolling over and even further back.  Knowing that I'm not going back inside without them he offers to go get a ladder so he can crawl inside. By now, I'm ALMOST embarrassed and don't want him to bother with a ladder. I feared it might bring too much attention to the situation! Using my "haymow skills"(yes, if only they could be added to a resume......"is capable of navigating a  wall of  precariously stacked hay bales." I may still be in a bit of denial about my current balance & spacial planning issues!!) I saw a bracket on the side of the dumpster that I could use to crawl in. Of course, the poor innocent bystander discouraged me from my own silliness, but I insisted so he stayed to witness it and make sure I got back out (I didn't realize a pick up was scheduled for that day!) I assured him I had "mad skills" and climbed in, grabbed my books and even got out without a mishap! So, that is how I got the complete set and still have no idea why they were thrown out after being donated to the library for the book sale that weekend.  I'm guessing their slightly yellowed pages don't sell well at a book sale, but they were good enough, for this crazy girl, to go "dumpster diving" for(*please note: this dumpster is a 'fiber' one and paper is all that is put in it, so I merely crawled over discarded books and recycled paper)!!!!!!!!!
Aren't they beautiful...hehehe
I mean really, the original box and all!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Tell me it gets better"

Summer has been busy, I haven't written in awhile. Not because I haven't pondered and formulated blogs in my head.  I just had too much cognitive fatigue to even desire trying to write them out!

Today "superhubs" took me to a walk for Brain Injury Awareness. Today also happens to be exactly 10 years ago that I was in my last 23 hour brain surgery. 2015 and  I am walking across the Hudson River. All by the Grace of God!!  There were hundreds of survivors, caregivers, friends and family (I had cousins even drive hours to join me, I was humbled and honored by their presence) All of us touched and changed in some way by Brain Injury.  It always overwhelms my tender, caring heart when I am surrounded by so many TBI stories. I wish I had the time and energy to know every single one! But today, because of the wonders of social media I got to meet, in person, another young brain surgery survivor (hers a tumor instead of an aneurysm.) We share the same first name too!! After talking recovery for a few minutes, I went to leave and let her (and me)  rest  (it was a really long, busy day for a survivor!) Just before walking away, she looked at me with tired eyes and said, "Tell me it gets better!" I was glad for dark sunglasses hiding the tears that began to form in my eyes and I took a deep breath and told her it honestly does get better! It will be slow and it isn't fun or easy but IT WILL GET BETTER! I still have to carefully manage my energy or I get migraines,dizzy or nauseous. But it happens less than it used to! My internal thermostat still doesn't work perfectly nor is my blood pressure always regulated perfectly by my brain. However, it has been years since I have literally panicked over the dysfunction so badly that my doctors ordered scans, just to put all of our minds at ease (I do have routine ones still. )I can even take a shower most days without needing an immediate nap from all the sequencing, IT DOES GET BETTER! And, I was reminded why I expend so much energy to get to these events.  I truly love advocating and raising awareness but the real reason I do it is so I can tell somebody what I so desperately needed to hear from another brain surgery survivor......You can live a happy, productive, fulfilling life if you let go of whatever image you had in your head before this and my friend, IT DOES GET BETTER, hang on!  You learn how to deal better with your own limits and accept them for what they are. Don't be like me, insecure and WAY too hard on herself. Give yourself some grace and time to heal!  You are here walking and talking about it and your life has purpose, "Be brave and keep going" (I have a necklace that says this and it is one of my favorites!)

As I prepared for and prayed over this walk, you see, I wasn't even going to go until a few weeks ago. The summer had been so busy I just wanted to write off anything not essential to living.  But, the Lord brought to mind my prayers of 13 years ago.  I was a newlywed and had just graduated from college with my education degree.  Life was great but, honestly, I was lonely.  I missed my college friends and my sister that I had gotten to see on campus every day for my last two years.  I missed a soul that wasn't drying up. I prayed for friends. I prayed for a career that would impact others lives for good. I prayed that I could find a place where my soul would heal and be real again instead of being driven by duty and stated meetings and I longed for a bit of rest, a place to thrive with my new hubby, not because we "had to" but because we "wanted to &we loved to." Two aneurysms, three brain surgeries, and a stroke later I see how my prayers were answered in the most mysterious ways! Honestly, if I had seen the whole picture I might have stopped praying and missed the glorious struggle.  Chasing after a career I didn't love, stuffed in a box that did not fit me and who God created me to be.  It doesn't look like the box most people get, but we always knew that :-)I think others can finally begin to see what I kinda always knew!  So I end my tired babbling thoughts being thankful for friends, freedom and room to grow, and a story I love to share if it will help others!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Day 3,748

Survival: the struggle is still very real.  I have some sort of cold/respiratory infection going on along with migraine aura #2 for the week. I'm tired, anxious, and just trying to survive the day! I'm clinging to the One who has overcome and praying for extra Grace! God Bless all!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Peter Pan- living quote

This quote spoke to me as I have been sick and helping hubby measure for his shop and feel like I'm barely surviving at the moment!
"To live would be an awfully BIG adventure!" Why yes, it sure is!

Blessed are.....

The "crack" in my head
      Bear with me as I obsess over my new favorite quote and attempt to blend a post I never published into this one post, "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light."  I'm sure it is obvious why this made me smile.  For starters, if you ran a finger down the right side of my forehead you can literally feel a "crack" where my skull was removed and replaced. Cracked things go back together and can look pretty "normal" once pieced back together but no matter how well you adhere it it never is exactly the same as it was before the crack. And, the nerves along this crack never heal exactly the same and have a way of reminding you they have been cut.  It is this funny tingle/water running down your face feeling even as I type this!!! March is[now WAS] Brain Injury Awareness Month (Ooops...it's now May, oh well it "fell through the cracks").  So, no matter how normal I look or act at times the crack is still there. It is a struggle to 'hold it all together.' I feel the crack every single day. However, I am determined that my crack/TBI/aneurysm also lets in light. It allows me time and space to take life at a slower pace and forces me to trust God daily in everything.
 Matthew 5:16 says,"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
     Blessed are the cracked, even if they aren't using their college degree?? Can you tell which struggle I l am still working through?? Perhaps it is one of the 'hazzards' of going to a small, private, highly esteemed college. Whenever I am talking to anyone with a connection to the college, the first question in polite conversation is usually, "So, how are you using your degree?" I can read our alumni milieu and learn of all the amazing things that fellow graduates are doing. I am truly amazed at their accomplishments and how God is using them in some pretty amazing ways.  In college, I was wound pretty tight. I stressed about everything. Our little school seemed to foster this personality so I fit right in! When you spend the kind of money my parents funded for a first rate education it is sort of expected you will go on to get a good job or dedicate your life to mission work in far off lands. I never considered that my education would instead, be the building block to relearning how to walk, talk, read, write, cook and just about everything for daily living.  I expected to finish my masters degree while I substitute taught then find a teaching job. You see when you give your life to Christ at an early age and seek to live your life accordingly you are not promised the life you saw for yourself.  He knows what is better even when it really disrupts your vision.  So, you may not see my story in our little Milieu but I promise you I am using my degree every day, God's way! I haven't mastered scholar servanthood yet.  I most likely won't be asked to speak at chapel or featured as a "success story" but that's okay.  I'll just continue plugging away in my quiet little life and cheer on my fellow graduates, those who's story about how they use their degree is much more impressive than mine! Here's to those using their degree in "less visible" ways! If we are surrendered to God's will, then isn't that exactly where we were taught to be? 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

She wondered, "Is there a cloaking device I am unaware of"

Insignificant, what a nasty little word!  What a monster it is to feel though! It's roots run deep and it's branches plentiful! Do you ever wrestle with this word? Do you ever feel it? Being painfully shy growing up is when I probably began to wrestle with it. "Relationships" along the way only seemed to justify the lie and destroyed my peace because I believed I would never be any one's first choice (until I met my hubs, of course.) I was always the girl without a date(okay, except for junior prom when a good friend knew my shy, sheltered ways and took pity on me figuring I had written the experience off. He asked me so 'I wouldn't miss out on such a milestone/memory in life' ), the one nobody thought/dared to invite. I was convinced I was invisible to everyone. Eventually, there was nothing you could do or say to convince me otherwise until my hubs managed to. I was shy, scared, sassy and believed a lot of silly lies! In college, I was determined to change this. But let's face it, I was just shy. Being outgoing and confident was very awkward and uncomfortable and just seemed like another lie!

The Lord has been working on my heart the last few months.  For some reason I really wrestled with it, this notion of insignificance!  Perhaps the combination of the hubs being gone so much with work obligations, big decisions needing to be made, and just a general brain fog/crash that seemed to cling on for dear life! Now if you know me or have ever read my blog you are probably asking yourself, how in the world could I ever struggle with this??? I mean God thought me significant enough to die on a cross for me.  He used a shy, rather insecure, awkward girl to give an amazing story to (remember the story of Moses arguing with God at the burning bush??) Thank you Lord for using the "unlikely ones." My story cannot be explained outside of His Grace and Healing!  It is obvious if you know me that it is Christ who has carried me through because that nervous, anxious, neurotic, fearful girl you knew sure would not have been able to carry on alone (and having an amazing hubs also helps)!

So I like everyone wrestle with pride and the desire to do big things with the story you have been given. I have always been a compassionate, people person.  Helping others from my experience is what I love to do!! Perhaps, that is why I chose the field of teaching?? So, I have been learning to daily surrender pride that feels like a failure because "nobody notices or wants my help aka--> I'm not good enough or too annoying" I am too hard on myself when I simply can't keep up now or when I don't feel like an intelligent person because the recall and processing is so much slower than I remember it to be!  Silly, silly girl, it is all there it just needs to be accessed differently. A new key made for every single file (that will surely take a lifetime).

Our women's conference at church had a whole session on getting "Untangled" from this very thing and recognizing your "Truly Significant Life." Um mm, it is no coincidence that the topic 'just happened' to be that. After relocating churches several years ago,time and time again my struggles have been met with truth in a practical way, and my soul heals just a little bit! So, do you get tangled in this lie?? Consider the advice of, Donna Jones, our speaker:
1. I get tangled if I derive my significance from my performance.
2. I get tangled if I derive my significance from position.
3. I get tangled if I derive my significance from appearance.
4. I GET UNTANGLED WHEN I DERIVE MY SIGNIFICANCE FROM God AND HOW He SEES ME

Happy untangling and don't forget to notice others and serve them which ultimately provides the only true significance. It is NOT who asks you to speak again or if the story you submitted is chosen.   Significance doesn't even mean 'visibly using your college degree in a chosen prefession'(but that is another blog for another day, the draft is being worked on so it says exactly what it is intended and not a bitter rant) Significance is surrendering to God's will and working there as he equips you! Then, one day it is the little things that begin to make you smile; like a friend saying she doesn't think she could handle the brain injury journey without someone who "gets it", having your photos used on a flyer, or having someone call you their "TiTi"(auntie)and your heart stops hearing the lies and remembers you are truly and deeply significant, right where you are! Just today, the Lord brought this story to my mind and I searched ALL morning, hoping I had posted it like I thought I probably did!

"Only one life 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."- CT Studd

Here is the story again from the "Streams in the Desert" devotional.............

"A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac.
And so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart's-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. "Well, heart's-ease, I'm glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least disheartened." "No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart's-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart's-ease that I can."
Others may do a greater work,
But you have your part to do;
And no one in all God's heritage
Can do it so well as you."          

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why I don't get out much!


This is my best attempt at explaining how a brain injury feels like every single day!  Now carry on as usual with all this going on in your head! Have a coherent, meaningful conversation, try getting dinner ready, now don't forget to put on shoes as your run out the door totally overloaded and utterly exhausted!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

10 years, a few days late



February 1 has come and gone. With an angiogram the next day I didn't have the courage or the energy to post or reflect on anything. I'll 'blame' my Elementary Education major on my need to reflect on everything since we wrote a 'reflection paper' for every single thing we did!! The procedure took a lot out of me and my brain has felt on overload ever since! A friend of mine recently told me of a phrase she repeats to herself to avoid a "panic reaction" to this overload. She says, "I'm not stressed, I'm just busy!" Thank you L.P. for your words of wisdom! So, no words of profound wisdom to impart with you. The word that keeps coming to my mind is the word "thrive." So at the ten year mark with a clear angiogram my goal is simply to, "thrive more." This may mean my saying "no" to a few things, please understand it isn't personal and I will still have days where I am "just trying to survive!" This is a brain injury reality! So I leave you with the YouTube video I made a few years ago for those 'new friends' I have in the 'cyber-world!'  And, if you like the music check out the band The Strange FamiliarI wrote the lead singer and asked her for permission to put their song on my video. She graciously responded and granted it to me! I like to acknowledge acts of awesome! Thank you K.L.A and The Strange Familiar.  Even the name of the bands so perfectly sums up what it feels like every.single.day. And to my dear friend M.M., please note the wheelchair as the mode of transportation FOR A SEASON.   WOW, I am so blessed!!!!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

But it's a happy limp

Yesterday ,I had an angiogram almost to the day of the 10th anniversary of my aneurysm rupture! It's a big deal at our house! I even got a dozen roses!!!! Today I "gimp" around since a catheter was placed in my femeral artery for the procedure.  No lifting for a week. No driving until tomorrow! What is a girl to do but read and nap?? I picked a great day for it too since we got about a foot of snow. No snow removal this time!!
The results: great!  My neurosurgeon says everything looks great and my bypass is open once again/still ! Actually, I remember at one point in the procedure them telling me to hold my breath, no coughing or swallowing so they could inject dye.  The dye is warm as it enters the bloodstream and you can feel where it is going.  The dye was injected and I could literally feel it surging through my bypass, down past my ear.  When they told me to breathe again I said, "well, the bypass is open." The doctor/fellow doing the procedure confirmed it.  I am so thankful for "happy drugs" and praising the Lord for some good news, because let me tell you, I really needed some!
The bracelet my sister gave me for Christmas helped me to be brave and remember all the Lord had already delivered me through. And. of course the Jeep that hubby gave me painted with actual touch-up paint from my old Jeep!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A "world weary lamb"

Tomorrow, February 1, 2015 marks 10 years since "the day that changed it all" or some would just say my "Annie"versary. Ten years since my first aneurysm ruptured suddenly filling my head with blood. Ten years of stumping the medical world! I have no words of wisdom to impart to you, I'm simply going to ramble because my brain has been fried by a birthday party for a special 7 year old (Hubby's side).
When I sit here in my current fried state my first thought should probably be: STOP just sit staring blankly into space! But, I'm going to type the wild gibberish swirling in my head. So when I think about my survival, that is the word I would use to sum it up.  The plain truth is most days I am simply trying to survive.  This Christmas season was particularly brutal with the death of a dear uncle. If I can just survive until Christmas.  Survival means I can attend one service not all of them with the rest of my family. I survived and my very next thought was, "If I can just survive Christmas." Christmas day came.  I had my mom help me with setting timers on my phone to put each item of food in the oven, yup survival!! Hubby woke up with some version of the flu, Christmas Day at our house was cancelled since nobody wanted to catch it. But, that just meant I had to "survive" celebrations another day! Not to mention "surviving" hubby being sick. If you know me, you know I was right behind him to disinfect anything he touched,....... I mean, I lovingly took care of him like a good wife would! Of course, I tried to do both because, I am me!!
Hubby had a one week training course for work in TX last week.  I thought, "If I can just survive the week then....." There is never a then. Then is just the next thing to survive. Of course, it is the end of January in the northeast so naturally there would be a blizzard predicted. SURVIVE. I did survive and I even proved to myself that I was capable of plowing out our driveway, with a tractor! Yup, that blizzard dumped a good 3 inches of snow!

So, for the first ten years, it's been survival for this survivor! Maybe the next ten years will be thriving! Don't get me wrong, this has always been the goal but reality has been surviving with moments of thriving like when I was asked to speak at a conference or participate in a walk with other survivors of all kinds! These moments have made me feel like I was thriving!  I will cling to those moments and end this post as blogspot is not cooperating with me like I think it should!
Please pray as Monday I have a 10 year followup angiogram just to make sure the clips are holding and blood is flowing as it should! Oh, the dread of the procedure!  Grace, just enough, just when you need it!