As I lay here wide awake (I’ve now got my sleep schedule flipped, guess it’s bound to happen when you have no where to be) I couldn’t help but notice what date and time it is. Two down, one to go. At this time 11 months ago, I wasn’t asleep than either. Although, I WAS totally incoherent of my surroundings and the frenzied activities going on around me. I still don’t remember any of it. I’ve been told that I don’t want to, but there are several who will never forget. I was a guest on not just one, but two med-evac helicopter flights which ended at Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis. For the third time in less then a year, I was again fighting for my life against my own body. Next month will be the last on of my one year clotting anniversaries, and yet it’s the most significant due to the fact there’s been no recurrences this time. A one year recovery mark is huge for any survivor. It’s as though you’ve held your breath just waiting.. hoping… praying… that when day 365 comes around you’ll be in the clear. Right now, it’s bittersweet… I’m happy to have made it clot free…. Yet, I also know that my recovery is still ongoing due to the circumstances those clots incited. I’ve made it quite the distance to get to this point, and even though I know there’s still so far to go, today I WILL NOT let that be my concern. Instead, I will just ~ BREATHE IN…. BREATHE OUT…. REPEAT and continue on with Living ~ Not Just Surviving!!!!
CBS/AP/ March 2, 2011, 3:56 PM Serena Williams says blood clot “scary”
While having another one of what has now become a not so unusual occurrence of a restless night, I was again watching recorded shows from my DVR playlist. One of these, The Talk, is one that I watch religiously. On this particular airing, the guest of the day was John Stamos. During his interview, he mentioned meeting Gerald Christian during a recent Beach Boys concert and what an inspiration he was to him. Needless to say, when it comes to Greek yogurt and an inspirational story, John can’t be wrong… Right? Here is Gerald’s post referring to rockstar moment. Rock on Gerald!!!
You can either blame or credit my mother-in-law, Betty, for it. She could plant dirt and grow more dirt!! The Spring/Summer after she was diagnosed with cancer, shortly after completing a cycle of chemo/radiation, and so physically frail, she STILL would get out and garden a bit. After a couple of times having ‘caught’ her green thumbed, I decided that if I couldn’t stop her, might as well join, help when allowed, and be her extension when she was unable to do it herself. It was in doing this, that I learned to love dirt under my finger nails, the difference between perennials and annuals, nurseries in Spring and Fall, and more. She was the one who helped me plan out what i thought was a ‘small starter’ spot, (HA!!! What a joke!!!) which plants would be kind to a newbie, and a garden ‘theme’ (Butterflies were a shared favorite). She passed away the next July. Since then, some of the plants fell prey to my ignorance, but were changed out with new ones. Some are literally transplants from my Dad’s ‘yards’ as I may actually have at least one from each house they’ve lived in since then, some are from trips to Lowe’s for a few of my birthdays where the entire time I’m driving my stepmom nutty with all my inquiries and indecision, and last, but not least, those I was brave enough to start from seeds and they survived!! It’s been nearly 8 years since then. Each year I’m still amazed on seeing it come back, bigger and better than the year before. It’s definitely been an unexpected project that I totally love!! I like to think she would really like how it’s turned out…..so far..
For a retrospective look from the summer of 2011, click here to see an exported post from my first feeble attempt at blogging:
Sometimes, my mind gets caught up in my feelings and emotions, as it can with most, or so I believe. I can’t always express them directly as or maybe as clearly as I’d like. One of the ways I’ve been able to let out and let go of these things is through poetry. There are times when the words overtake my brain so quickly I can barely get them on paper before they disappear, and others where they flow soft and gentle like a light summer breeze…
I thought I’d start sharing some of them with you too. This is the most recent one.
I try conversation.
You barely talk.
Why do you run?
While I barely walk.
Is it that I’m broken?
Is it something I did?
These thoughts I ponder
While you remain hid.
We’ve traveled too far
Too long this path as friends.
I’ve seen our whole story,
This is NOT ‘The End
Please leave me your comments below if you’d like to see more posts like this or anything else in general… Even just to chat it up if you’d like….
Thanks for following and/or dropping by…
As I look back on the last 18 months of my life, there is so much to review. I’ve survived not one, but two, life threatening events that have shown me how much I have to be grateful for in this life. Of those things, I’ve come to realize that most people today do not have the privilege of being in constant contact, yet alone are able to know, their biological fathers. To me this is a disheartening situation that I cannot either fathom nor comprehend. In my life, I have not only been blessed with having a biological father that has been there for me no matter the circumstances, but also “Bonus Dads” that too have nurtured and guided me through many the difficult and blessed times in my life.
There are those that would look down on my upbringing in that it was too conservative, unstable, and demanding. To this I say, in some degrees I tend to agree with you. I was raised in a Nazarene parsonage where the rules were more strict than those of the others in my circle of friends. I was not allowed to attend dances, I didn’t see my first movie until after I left home, on my first visit home after attending college I got my ears pierced for the first time after my Mom signed the waiver only to have her exit the Claire’s store to cry while I got them done, I had a strict curfew, and dating was definitely something that could only be done upon reaching the age of 16. I’ve often been questioned about the instability of my childhood in that it involved frequent moves due to my Dad’s profession as a minister. Though they were difficult to not only accept, but to also become accustomed to, they were also a common part of my life that I learned (though not always happily) to accept. As for demanding?? Yes, It was VERY demanding. We were what others looked up too, used as examples, and would criticize to no end. That was the most difficult of all to follow. In seeing what the ‘other’ parishioners’ children could do beyond what we could and constantly question “Why can they…?” when I couldn’t. We were to represent the standards that our denomination had set into place no matter what others may do even though their guidelines were the same.
What I would not change are the blessings I’ve been given with each and every opportunity each new location brought. The experiences that I gained in learning about the diversities that exist in the many regions of our great country and the people that taught them to me. Of these people, I have come to know several as ‘Dad’ throughout my lifetime. Each has been there for me at different times of my life, each giving me the guidance and direction needed at those particular times. There was Gary Williams, from my time spent in Iowa, who, with his wife, Carolyn, kept us under his wing and his roof on more occasions than I can count. Memories flood my mind of four kids, who became as close as any brothers or sisters could, spending countless evenings doing what kids do while expertly distracting me from the issues of home with my Mom’s numerous hospital stays. Which brings me to Mark Fletcher and his wife Carolyn. Though Mark is now gone, his legacy continues in that he too helped raise someone else’s daughter during a time that stability was key. Mark and my Dad were partners both in church and in work, but their biggest partnership was in jointly raising their children. During a time of complete confusion over my Mom’s health and continued frequent hospitalizations, their home was one where I was always welcomed as treated as one of the family. Last, but not least, I mention the Rev. Jerrold Lake. A man that has seen me at my worst, most disparaging moments, yet showed me through counseling, guidance, and love that this too was just a moment in time that I could overcome. Eventually, I did just that, but I don’t believe it would have been possible without his patience and unconditional love. To my great joy, two of my ‘Dads’ are now family in their own right as a son and daughter were united in marriage recently. Be still my heart as my family has come full circle!
Yet, through all the changes and opportunities that my life has brought me, there has been one person who has been by my side throughout them all. He was there to give me my name, to hold me when I was hurt, to punish and guide me in the wrong and right way, to uplift me when I could not do so myself, to comfort me during the loss of a parent, to cry with me when bringing a new life into this world, and to be my first date as a shy 13 year-old who was just beginning to learn about life . It’s been his encouragement, praise, and pride that I have strove for. It’s his name that I proudly carry and hope to have brought and continue to bring honor too. It is in his shadow that I confidently walk knowing I never have to fear the unknown as long as he is there beside me.
It has been the most difficult time of my life to date these past few months to say the least. Yet, during each and every one of these times, I have awoken to the strongest, most caring, faithful, generous, and loving man I’ll ever know standing next to my hospital bed. It’s been during those drug induced hazes, that on opening my eyes and seeing him there, that my heart has leapt like a child’s running to jump into her Daddy’s arms. It is then that I once again know without any shadow of a doubt, I am…and will always be…my Daddy’s daughter.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’ve come to know that I’m not the only one who does this. It’s a common thread that links the majority of us that were fortunate to survive our embolism experiences. It’s what we believe as being a kindness to those that surround us as a way of keeping their minds at more at ease knowing that they are already overwhelmed, confused, and concerned for our well being. Only to then have major melt downs that can range from anger to sadness and loss, and may even go as far as self loathing/pity due to no longer being what we were before and trying to process, comprehend, and embrace the concept that we will never be again.
This brings up the question of, that, in reality, are we really being kind and considerate, or are we doing them a disservice by not sharing what’s going on both mentally and physically after such life changing events?
What do you think? Kindness or disservice maybe both?
Please share your thoughts and/or experiences regarding this subject.
Months ago my ‘first’ charitable 5k run/walk was a goal I set my mind to. Unfortunately, it will not be achieved. As of my last orthopedic appointment, I am no longer to do 5k runs or even walks. Even bicycling is months away. Due to the damage my knee has sustained as a result of the wreck, I am now limited to ADLs ONLY for the purpose of ‘saving’ not just one but both knees for as long as possible. The goal is that my knee will ‘last’ for 12 months before becoming completely immobile.
I have been very private in sharing this as it’s been very difficult to take in. Although I’m still trying to take it all in, I’ve taken to sharing this publicly in MY time. I am hoping that this will answer at least one or two of the questions that have come my way as of late that I have been reluctant, and, well honestly, not ready to answer.
For me, this was another blow to the several over the last 15 months. Another total life changing challenge, psyche change, self esteem/worth damager, along with a significant depression inducer.
I also want to thank everyone for their care, concern, worry, support, and, yes, maybe even the hugs given since learning this prognosis six weeks ago. It’s once again shown me that although I may FEEL lonely, I’m NOT alone. It is past time I said much, and now I am. THANK YOU!!
#fbf #flashbackfriday #0 #greatstrides #cysticfibrosis #greatstridesNEAR #friends #support #fundraiser #charity #run #walk #survivor #pulmonaryembolism #DVT #summer
First goal of 2012. I had already lost 30 lbs in my journey to become healthier and would lose another 20 in the months that followed. Although tired, I was both happy and proud at what i had accomplished. 6 months pre PE
2014 First 5k Goal:
Later on I learned what had happened by piecing together what I was told by family after once again waking up in a hospital ICU.
I’d been airlifted from the accident to the closest trauma unit approximately 90 miles away. My family got there soon after I arrived. On arrival tests were ran per protocol, then triaged which included unsuccessful attempts at getting my hip back into place. I’m unclear as to what happened or exactly what the specific medical necessity was, but from there, I was airlifted for the second time to Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis. I have no memory of this, except for waking up briefly at the end of the second flight panicked at not being able to move, unaware of where I was, and being highly claustrophobic did nothing to help the situation. Luckily, we landed before I had a full blown panic attack only to have them accidentally hit my hip on the helicopter frame when unloading me and passed out once again because of the pain.
I woke up only three times in the trauma unit that I remember. Each was after unsuccessful attempts at putting my hip into place. My bed was surrounded by the several medical personnel needed for this procedure. The medication used to put me under during these attempts caused me to have terrifying nightmares as I’ve never had before. So much so, before putting me under for the third time, I asked the nurse to stay with me. I remember exactly what I said to him. This would be the last attempt. That was final. I needed and begged him to stay with me, and not leave until I was completely under. I told him I wasn’t sure I’d come out of where I was being sent back too. I was scared, I was tired, I thought I was going to die…. alone.
I’d not only suffered a dislocated/broken hip which ended up having to be repaired surgically with a bracket and pins, but also several broken ribs, a third degree liver laceration, and a broken tibial plateau (knee) which wasn’t found until five weeks later during my routine post hospitalization follow up appointment with my orthopedist.
I was hospitalized for a week. On leaving, I was able to come directly home instead of going to a rehabilitation facility. My mobility was very limited and required the use of either a wheelchair for any extended periods of time or a walker for short distances. I needed assistance with almost everything from using the restroom to getting dressed to showering.
It’s been six months since the accident and I have yet to get back to where I was physically before everything happened. Then to be told at my last appointment that I never will due to residual damage and deterioration caused by the wreck, my life has once again taken an unforseen, twisted, and wicked turn. Once again, as I’m having to cope, adjust and learn a modified way of daily living, I remind myself . ..
And that it’s all about isn’t it?? Living ~Not Just Surviving….
In June of 2012 I’d achieved the first of my set goals for that year, but still had two more very big ones to meet.
That July we took our then 8 year old granddaughter to see the Atlantic Ocean from the historic Cocoa Beach (where we DID NOT find Jeannie) and then to Disney World where we went to all four parks in just as many days from open to close.
On returning home, I continued my journey to a healthier me. When Andrew decided on The Color Run scheduled for April 2013 as our celebratory survivor 5k run in September, I kicked my Couch to 5k training into full gear. When I had to slow down and the stop training due to not being able to catch my breath when running as I thought I was having my annual bout of bronchitis, I was up to 2.5-3 miles 2-3 times a week.
Christmas day, three weeks later, I was being rushed by ambulance to the nearest CCU with a life threatening saddle clot.
Although I did register for the run that January thinking I’d be fully recovered by April based on previous recovery times, I was sadly mistaken. Andrew ran his celebratory race with my sister looking on and cheering from the sidelines. I cheered and supported him virtually as I couldn’t even make the trip. What followed was another holiday hospitalization on July 4 with bilateral lower extremity DVTs resulting in three months of work medical leave and a further delay in my recovery.
September 10, I went to what was to be my medical release appointment with my physician. Ready and able I was looking forward to returning to work, being productive, and getting back to what had been my daily routine. Everything checked out well. With a written and signed Return to Work form in hand, I returned home mentally and physically ready to jump back into life. That was not to be the case after all….
On a spur of the moment, late night ice cream run, returning to the house, I passed* out behind the wheel. What resulted was my hitting an 18 wheeler whose driver did his best to avoid my oncoming vehicle leaving him no choice but to jack knife the trailer. I vaguely remember a panicked voice asking if I was okay followed by a bone chilling screamed response of no. Then my husband was there. My repeated apologies for wrecking the car while adamantly stating I’d fix it, but we had to get it home first.
We live a block from where this happened. He’d literally heard the impact in the house. When he couldn’t reach me on my phone is when he looked out the windows, walked over to the scene, and that’s when he saw me. The Rescue team had just finished cutting me out of the car and was placing me on the stretcher. Later on discussing what I remembered, I thought I was still in the car when I saw him not even realizing that I’d been assessed, cut out, back/neck braced, placed on a stretcher and was being put into the ambulance to be taken to the helio pad. Time had no reference or relevance.
*Later on, after medical review, I was told that the cause for my passing out was due to a complete blockage of the IVC filter that had been placed during my PE hospitalization. I’d been resistant to having one placed for years due to the multiple issues/side effects that had been reported post placement by both medical and patient resources. With the occurrence of not only the size but also the rarity of my pulmonary embolism, medical necessity, and family concern I finally gave in and consented to the procedure.