Saturday, July 31, 2010

Real quick-like

Hi everyone!  I can't sit upright for very long, so this is a short one.  First, THANK YOU for all the support.  It's been rough, the hospital stay was very rough, but it gets better every day.

here's a list of a few ideas i had to tell people if they ask about the huge row of staples:

  • they've implanted government secrets into my brain, a place Russia would never look
  • i am now a robot
  • they took out some memories and hid them in someone else's brain (FRINGE anyone?)
  • turned my back to Zorro (never ever turn your back on Zorro)
thanks again for all the well wishes.  this will be a long road to recovery, but it absolutely helps to have all your support.
my blogging husband.  He's such a trooper!

Friday, July 30, 2010

releeeeease meeee...

remember that awesome line from independence day?  when the alien plasters the scientist up against the glass wall and speaks through him because he wants out of the lab?  yeah.  amy totally did that to one of the nurses yesterday and it seems to have worked.  she's free of the confines of hospital, the smell of a sterile environment, an open-backed gown, a weird liquid diet, and various tubes.

yesterday around noon one of the surgeon assistants came in the room to talk to amy about how she was feeling.  amy was pretty upbeat, and i think the assistant caught on quick.  after a few minutes of conversation, the assistant determined that amy was fit for discharge.  a few of the nurses gathered the necessary paperwork while amy was given the after care instructions.  by 3PM we were on our way down the hallway, out of the hospital, and into the beautiful milwaukee sun.

we decided to take the scenic route back to the hotel, following lake shore drive right along the coast of lake michigan.  if you've never experienced the wealth of coastal lake michigan homes, it's pretty awe-inspiring.  the homes are giant;  large gates, brick or stone sided, beautifully maintained yards with huge fountains.  i had to ask myself where these people had gotten their wealth.  medical community?  old brewery money?  by now we were roughly halfway home, and the excitement of being out of the hospital and not laying down constantly caught up with amy.  not to mention the lousy road conditions out here.  every road seems to need repair.  at any rate, amy started getting a headache, so, when we returned i helped her lay down for a nap (plus the meds).

after a few hours of rest we decided to have dinner.  while dad and i picked up the food, amy was able to take a shower.  mom helped wash her hair (i'm sure all of the lady readers understand why this is so important, given it had been a few days).  after dinner amy took turns between lying flat, sitting up, and walking around a little bit.  we even took a few photos to document her incision.  i'm not sure if the photo really does it justice, but it is quite an impressive piece of work that dr. heffez pulled off.

probably pretty obvious why the patients that have gone through the procedure call themselves, "zipper heads", eh?

amy ended up laying down for the night around 9PM.  throughout the night i would hear her stir, and would check to see how she was doing.  her pain comes and goes, so we medicate accordingly.  amy is anxious to get up and do the things she normally does.  today she woke up, ate breakfast, and took the time to shave her legs.  then, we went out and sat by the pool at the hotel for about an hour.  but of course, with that activity, comes headaches.  i think it's a fine balance of walking, sitting, standing, or lying down.  i imagine that the headaches will be less frequent as her body gets used to the idea of recovery and not lying down for hours on end.

right now she is lying next to me on the bed, asleep.  over the next couple of days we'll monitor her recovery, and try to make a plan for the most comfortable flight home possible.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

times are changin'

you guessed it, another jeff blog on amy's behalf.

first, don't get used to reading my blogs online.  this is a lot of work, and i'm surprised people voluntarily sign up for it.  second, the post was delayed this morning because we've actually had quite a bit of activity.  so, to begin.

yesterday was a step in the right direction, as it relates to amy's recovery.  in the early afternoon the nursing staff began elevating her to about 40 degrees (by 4PM or so).  after that, they were able to remove a couple of the IV lines that she was using, and have tapered back on some medications.  the greatest change of yesterday involved wheeling amy out of the ICU, and onto the 7th floor.  her new room is more private, with a real closing wood door, a large armchair that reclines, a private bathroom, sink, and TV.  because the room is on the 7th floor, it has a beautiful view of lake michigan and the east side of milwaukee (hopefully see attached photo...we're trying to get that included).

amy spent the majority of the early evening resting in her bed, drifting in and out of sleep.  the big news came when amy's new nurse, donna, helped her get to her feet and sit in a chair for the first time since the operation.  amy seemed to stand up pretty easily.  donna told amy that she only wanted her to sit for about 10 minutes, then it was back to the bed.  amy was able to stand up on her own, then sat down with ease.

for the first time amy was able to eat "real food" post surgery.  amy ate a fruit plate and a blueberry muffin.  it was great to see her actually sit up and eat.  she was able to watch TV briefly (seinfeld of course), and ultimately fell asleep once the sun set and her room was dark.  i sat next to her in the armchair playing my video games and occupying myself with movies until she was asleep.  once she looked like she was comfortable, i closed my eyes and drifted off too.

throughout the night we both woke from time to time, amy sometimes asking for pain meds or another pillow.  around 7:15AM we woke to the sound of the phone ringing.  i answered it, and spoke with someone from the food service.  i ordered amy's breakfast and chatted with her for a few minutes.

while we were waiting for her food, stephanie with physical therapy stepped into the room and spoke with amy.  stephanie helped amy get into the armchair.  stephanie set a goal of getting amy to walk out of the room and into the nursing area.  amy stood up, paused for a moment, and told stephanie that she felt light-headed (probably a combination of lying down for hours and no food in her belly).  amy took a break, walked a bit more, then returned to her bed.  it was fantastic.  i helped amy finish her breakfast, then she brushed her teeth (another notable moment).

around 9AM amy was met by an occupational therapist, betty.  betty went through a series of questions with her, then helped her with some basic hygiene (washed her face, etc.).  while amy was meeting with betty, i stepped out to get some breakfast of my own.  i went outside and sat in the grass on the front lawn of the hospital.  it was (and still is) beautiful outside.  probably 75 degrees out, low humidity, some cloud cover.  i try not to tell amy these things...she doesn't need to hear how nice it is when she's confined to a air-conditioned hospital room.

when i returned to the room amy was ready to make some more significant changes.  by now her parents had returned (they brought me breakfast).  amy's new nurse (laurie) removed her IV and her catheter.  that may have been amy's favorite event of the morning.  then, her mom helped her with changing out of the lousy hospital gown and into some more familiar clothing.

as i'm writing this amy is taking another break, lying down.  she just opened a package from a close family friend (thanks barb), revealing an oven mitt fashioned after the great state of michigan.  
today may be a bit more boring for amy, as she seems to be a bit more awake and less medicated.  the last couple of days she's been very drowsy from meds, and has spent a lot of time in and out of sleep.  maybe today she'll spend some time just watching the DVD's that she brought.  

more to come...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a change in elevation

yet another entry on amy's behalf...

it is somewhat ironic that the people from washington, land of mountains, are excited about a change in elevation.  especially considering that we are in wisconsin.  i'm not sure people in wisconsin have any idea what a mountain looks like.  although, this is a different kind of elevation.  lately the discussion surrounding amy's recovery has turned to how soon we can begin elevating her from 180 degrees to 90 degrees.

as of right now, she's been lying totally flat since the procedure.  that was some time around noon on monday.  that means at noon today, she will have been flat on her back for 48 hours.  you can probably imagine how miserable that is.  the nursing staff plans to begin elevating her about 10 degrees every hour until she is sitting up.  i'm not sure when that will begin, though.

otherwise, amy has been sleeping a little more consistently.  her pain is primarily in her head, between where the incision was made, and general headaches.  she's mentioned that her back, shoulders and torso are sore.  hopefully that will go away quickly once she is able to shift her body weight and sit up.  the nurses tell us that amy is doing really well, given the fact that she has been able to monitor and control her nausea.  amy may get angry that i mention it, but she hasn't vomited yet...which apparently is pretty remarkable.  she's drinking water and juice when she wants, but needs help doing so.

mom spent a lot of time with amy yesterday while us boys took a break and went to a brewers baseball game.  she mentioned that amy laid quietly while she read to her.  mom said that at one point she thought amy was asleep because she had closed her eyes and was breathing so quietly.  then, amy broke the silence by saying, "this sucks".  those are probably the two most insightful words that have been spoken all week.

dad ended up staying with amy all night last night.  when we came in this morning to relieve him he looked tired.  i'm guessing he didn't get a whole lot of sleep in these lousy chairs, either.  ben leaves this afternoon to head back to work.  it's been good having him here.  i think amy really likes having ben around, he lifts her spirits with their inside jokes.

i suppose that's about all the news i can muster right now...not a whole lot of change.  the nursing staff continues to rotate and take care of amy, although i still think katie is my favorite nurse for amy.  she seems to be the most in tune with what amy needs.

thanks again for all the kind support.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


while amy rests, i figured i'd post something on her blog for anyone that may be interested in a general breakdown of yesterday's activities.

the day has come and gone.

yesterday we arrived at the hospital at about 5:45am to check in.  amy was a little nervous, but carried her self with a strong sense of determination to get the procedure done.  by 7am we were sitting in a small room, surrounded by various specialists, assistants and nurses.  some were taking vitals, others were hooking amy up with electrodes, one discussed anesthesia with her, and everyone made her spell her entire name and date of birth (like 5 times over).

by 7:30 dr. chase (anesthesiologist) was giving amy the magic cocktail that would put her out.  he said it would be like she had a couple of margaritas.  by the looks of it, i'd say it was a little stronger than any margaritas i've ever made.  amy was in good spirits, primarily thanks to dr. chase.  he was good-humored and very clear about his role in the procedure.  i think he made some very comforting remarks that helped bring some peace to amy's mind.  at any rate, amy was wheeled out of that room shortly thereafter (already sedated and slurring her speech), and disappeared down an unfamiliar hallway.

then, we waited.

mom, dad, ben and i went to a family waiting room and waited to hear from staff.  ben taught me to play gin and gin rummy.  by the end of the day i think i cleared most of my debt, probably owing him about 35 cents (a point is worth a penny).

around 10:30am dr. heffez (the great brain surgeon) stepped into the waiting room.  for anyone that is unfamiliar with the doctoral abilities vs. bedside manner discussion, this interaction was a classic illustration of that.  the dr. simply said that amy did "very well".  he simply stood there and looked at us.  amy's dad asked if there were any surprises.  dr. heffez responded with, "no surprises."  i think he made a parting comment about when we could expect to see her, then stepped out.

i suppose this is a topic for a separate blog, but i have no issues with dr. heffez's brevity.  i'd rather have the best operating surgeon working on my wife, with no real "personal skills", than a doctor who can make me laugh and is mediocre.  in either regard, amy was now resting in a different area of the hospital.  we would wait about another two hours before seeing her.

around 12:30 we went to the ICU to see amy.  now, she won't know until she reads this, but i about passed out when i saw her laying there in the bed.  she had (or has) several tubes running into her arms, IV's, oxygen, antibiotics, machines humming, buzzing, beeping, leftover iodine scrub on the back of her neck, and a weary look on her face.  she greeted us with a joke, of course, then told the nurse that she couldn't muster the energy to say what she had originally wanted to say to me.  apparently she and her nurse (katie) had plotted to play the amnesia game with me.  she said she wanted to say "who are you?"  when i came in.  hilarious amy.  hilarious.

i've never seen my wife in this kind of significant pain, nor have i seen her in a state of complete dependency like yesterday.  it wasn't easy.  although, similarly to how she has carried her self over the past 5-6 years, amy is pushing through it.  this is clearly the most miserable phase of the treatment.  amy will have to lay flat on her bed for roughly 24-36 hours post surgery.  after that, she can begin sitting up in increments of 10 degrees (to balance the pressure in her neck and head).  hospital staff says that she will spend a total of 2 days or so in ICU, at which point she will be transferred to a recovery ward (provided everything goes well).

the family and i have taken turns just sitting with amy, passing time by simply watching her breathe, reading a book, chatting with her, or feeding her ice.  her nurse told her last night that she may be able to handle jello this morning.  as i'm writing this amy is (or appears to be) resting peacefully.  that really eases my mind.  yesterday seemed to be an inconsistent dance between sleep and restlessness.  the poor girl was drugged, teetering on the edge of sleep, but couldn't stay asleep.  i stayed here over night with amy to make sure i was available if she needed anything.  i ended up nodding off a few times in the world's most uncomfortable chairs.  although, if the nurse came in i woke up.

i think the family will come relieve me some time in the next couple of hours.  they will sit with amy while i go back to the hotel to catch up on sleep.

so then.

to everyone that has sent their well-wishes, thoughts and prayers, thank you.  it means a lot to all of us.  amy will probably be able to communicate with people in the next few days.  which reminds me, most of us are il communicado while at the hospital due to a lack of cell phone use here.  i've got my laptop now, so if you'd like to send amy any messages, i can certainly read them to her.

that's all for my first blog.  thanks again to everyone for your support.

jeff (and amy)

Sunday, July 25, 2010


It's the night before my surgery and I don't have anything to say.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Last minute

FINALLY the power is back on.  We had some crazo storms that knocked it out early yesterday and it just came back late tonight.  Now it's a mad dash to do all the laundry that we were wanting to do today, as well as all the other last minute things.  We leave tomorrow am and meet my husband in Milwaukee, the surgery is Monday morning.

I am so thankful I've had this time with my family away from all my real life obligations before this big journey.  It's been relaxing, although I did not get the tan I was expecting.  And those of you who know me well know I like me a good tan.

I'm anxious to see Jeff and to get it all done and overwith.  Not much else to say.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In the Mit, cont

Yeah, I got this shirt for $5 today.  Simply amazing.  It's Jet City Jumpers colors, and Michigan IS America's high five!

My time in Michigan continues to go well and as it always does this time of year.  Today was my day at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, one of the biggest art fairs in the country.  If you ever get a chance to go, you should.  It's artists from around the country, plus a lot of stores have sidewalk sales with mega deals.  See my last post for my Urban Outfitters sale, LOVE it.

Trying not to think about the fact that in a few days I will be having brain surgery.  And it may or may not work.  Yeah, did I mention that?  It may or may not cure my symptoms.  If the symptoms are caused by Chiari, it will help, but there is no way of knowing for sure if Chiari is the problem or not.  Super freaky.  From the outside, it probably seems crazy to have this surgery with no promise of success. But it's not, it's crazy not to.  I can't continue living my life like this, with the pain that I have.  I just can't.  I don't know how to explain it, and I don't think I need to.  I hurt all the time.  How about that?  I once said that, and someone said to me, "Do you hurt right now?"  What part of all the time do you not understand?  No, I don't hurt now, just all the OTHER time.  YES, right now!  Geez.

Although I have never been pregnant, I relate chronic pain to being pregnant in a way.  From what I understand, you are completely out of control of your body when you're pregnant.  Chronic pain is a little like that.  You have no control of how you feel, you feel like there's an alien in your body and won't leave you alone.  Even if you want to do certain things, you just can't because the pain won't allow you to.  That make sense?

Tomorrow is a day without plans (nice!) then Saturday I head to Runyan Lake to visit with family.  Hopefully will do a bit of tubing, some swimming, hoping for sunshine.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home again

I call lots of places 'home.'  Sometimes I even call the studio where I work 'home.'  But there's nothing like going back to where you began, and for me that's the great state of Michigan.  I'm spending a few days here before I head to Milwaukee with my family for my surgery.  I don't know how to explain it, and maybe it's this way with all 'homes,' but Michigan gets in your blood.  If you're a Michigander, you are always a Michigander.

Ahhh, summer!  This is the sight that I'm used to from Michigan summer - watermelon and corn on the cob.  All that's missing is a bathing suit and beach towel.  It's hot and muggy here, just the way July should be here.  I come back every year at this same time for several reasons.  A.) Guaranteed hot weather, B.) spend time with family and my bestie friends, C.) Ann Arbor Art Fair!  I've been going to this since forever, and it's the most amazing Urban Outfitter's sale ever.  Seriously, it's amazing.  The majority of my wardrobe is from this sale over the years.  It was better in the old days when Molly and I would go and everything was $1, $3, $5, or $10.  UH mazing.  It's a bit pricier now, no more $1 and $3.  But still, good deals.

There's something comforting about this summer routine.  It makes me feel grounded, feel normal.  I love seeing my family, I love seeing my best friends for forever, Molly and Mary.  Although I love my life in Washington with my husband and furry family, I love my roots here in the Mit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The time is almost here

Well, tomorrow is my last day here at home until I return from Milwaukee after surgery.  My suitcase is on the floor in my bedroom, looking like it has vomited most of my summer wardrobe.  The bathroom counter has every possible item that I think I might want on it, much to my husband's dismay.  I just don't know what I'll want or need, so I'm bringing it all.  And I don't care that I have to pay for my bag.  I mean, I do think it's ridiculous that I have to pay to check a bag, but I can't pack it all in a carryon.  So there.

Thank you for all of the support.  It is truly overwhelming to realize how many people are praying for me and hoping for the best.  It's probably because you guys don't want me to be a grumpy bitch anymore, huh?  Yeah, I thought so.

One week from tomorrow I go under the knife, hopefully to change my life for the better.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Paid in full

I paid dearly for the events of yesterday.  Last night I woke up in terrible pain when my husband came home, he got me some pain killers to take the edge off.  That's the thing with CM, at least with mine, if you have the energy to, oh let's say, run three miles, then you pay dearly for it later.  Sometimes I can be really hurting for days after a big 'event,' such as a run or a tough class at the gym.  So unfair.  I do my best to be so kind to my body and treat it well, challenge my muscles and lungs, and then it all bitchslaps me in the face.  Hard.

Today was my last day of work for quite a while.  Which is weird.  We just moved into a new spot and had our open house tonight.  It was nice to celebrate all the hard work we've done and to show off our new spot, but it was a bit bittersweet.  I won't be there to discover the best spots to shoot and at what time of day is best.  And I'll miss several shoots with clients that I've been working with for years.  But maybe a break will spark a new passion for my job.  And maybe I'll get some new ideas with all the pain meds I'll be on.

Tomorrow is a demo with Georgia's flyball team, Jet City Jumpers.  (Flyball is a dog sport.  It involves several things that Georgia loves - running and jumping.  And treats.)  It will be our last hoorah with flyball for a while, although I will hopefully be working with Georgia as soon as I'm feeling up to it.  I'll do my best to enjoy the day and not think about all the packing I have left to do, and that my surgery is just over a week away.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What is with today?

Today I ran over three miles.  That may not seem like a lot to you, but that's the farthest i've ran since my leg pain began, which is over two years ago.  My sister in law and I used to run together.  We ran a 10k together, and I can't really explain what kind of accomplishment that is for me.  It's a big one.  I was never a good runner, I'm not built for it.  But it's a challenge and in a strange way I like it.

I got up at 7am today.  That is another accomplishment I can't even explain.  I never get up early.  (Ask my husband.  There has to be a flight I need to catch.)  For a long time I just felt lazy, but one of the symptoms of Chiari Malformation is constant fatigue, no matter how much you sleep.

What is with today?  I got up super early, I ran three miles...?  I think I have a lot of anxiety but the surgery that I'm trying to deal with.  I feel like I'm dealing ok.  Not great, but ok.

PS, for those of you who are wondering, Dozer and I passed the pet partners therapy animal evaluation today!  Yes!  That means we will be registered by Delta Society in a national database of therapy teams and will be able to  work with a facility (hospital, nursing home, group home, etc) and Dozer and I will visit and spread his love.  Those of you who know him know he was MADE for this work.  He is so people oriented and can't wait to start this journey together.  I am so glad, that was a big weight lifted to pass that and be able to look forward to starting our work after I recover.  Special huge, huge thanks to Christi Dudzik, we took her therapy training course and she prepared us so well and she has been an awesome support to us.

My badge photo, I'm sending in my reg packet tomorrow!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

on my S list

My mom used to say that.  "You're on my S list!"  I didn't know what it meant for a long time, but I knew it wasn't good.

You know what helps me in almost any situation?  A list.  Actually, various lists.  Last night I was feeling a bit high strung, so I sat down and wrote lists.  I wrote a list of the cat supplies and the cat care, I wrote a list of non-clothing items I'm bringing, of electronics, DVDs I want to bring, all kinds of lists.  I leave Tuesday at 7:30am for my vacay pre-surgery, so it's approaching fast.  Here is a list of some of the things I need to do or done before I leave:

  • Brush Dozer a ton (he's shedding like a crazydog and won't pass his eval if he's shedding that much)
  • cut his nails
  • get his paperwork together for the eval
  • Take the therapy dog evaluation test with Dozer tomorrow morning
  • cut Georgia's nails
  • laundry
  • open house for work
  • flyball all day sunday
  • get my hair cut and colored
  • PACK!  (that's a bit overwhelming because it takes me days to pack)
  • make sure the cat has enough supplies for while i'm gone
  • give the cat an IV twice 
  • see my friends Erin and Leo who've been in Spain forEVER.
I feel like I could go on and on forever.  I think the beauty of lists is that I can cross things off.  And no matter how much I add, as long as I keep crossing things off I feel better.

Monday, July 12, 2010

recovering like a super star

I am determined to go into this surgery as healthy as I can be, and be as helpful as possible to my body during the recovery.  I won't lie, I am concerned.  I am concerned about being so inactive for a long period of time.  I wouldn't say I'm a gym rat, but I definitely like my workouts.  Here's a few tips I found to speed my recovery.  Some legit, some ridiculous.

  • have your affairs in order: major cleaning done, bills paid, etc  (affairs in order?  sounds like I'm dying...)
  • plan some quiet activities for when you feel so so - like knitting or puzzles  (knitting?  don't be an ass, i don't knit.  I crochet.)
  • get someone to help you, don't feel like you need to do everything alone  (Oh i plan on it.  My husband will be making me pb&j and grilled cheese.  And frozen pizzas.)  
  • listen to your body - don't push too hard, but push  (walks.  i like walks.  I plan on getting out of my hospital bed as soon as i can.)
  • avoid food with sugar, refined carbs, caffeine, artificial additives (this is the ridiculous one.  You really think i'm going to avoid sugar, ie my best friend ice cream??)
recovery is unknown, I don't know how long it will take.  But I have to remember, it will be a drop in the bucket compared to the 6 years I've been in pain.

    Sunday, July 11, 2010


    I was telling my husband the other day that I am feeling a little frantic deep down inside.  I had all these things planned for summer before surgery and now all the sudden time is racing by.  Today is my last free Sunday before I leave for Michigan, then from Michigan it's to Milwaukee I go.  My trip to MI is filling up so quickly, where I thought I had time for everything.  I had all these plans to make food and freeze it for myself, go to this place or that, work with my dogs more, ride our tandum bike....  And this week I work all week getting ready for our open house on saturday, sunday is a day of flyball with a demo and a meeting, and monday I pack up, get my hair cut, Tuesday I leave.

    It's a weird feeling, feeling like time is moving by and feeling a bit frantic and worried.  Overall, I am of course tentatively excited about the end product of the surgery.  But I'm somewhat freaked out about getting there.  To be honest, it's the time in the hospital that is most scary to me.  I've never been in a hospital, not as a patient and only once visiting someone.  And there isn't anything anyone can say to calm my fears - I am scared.  And that's that.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010


    I used to run.  I used to run with my sister-in-law, we would run for an hour at a time and it was wonderful.  That's a big accomplishment for me, running is hard.  I don't care what anyone says, running is hard.

    As my symptoms have gotten worse, I have been able to run less and less.  I used to go to the gym about 6 days a week, now it's 3-4.  I used to be able to run for an hour+, now it's 5 minutes and my head pounds and my legs ache.

    I've seen a number of comments from other Chiarians on the Chiari FB page discussing running, and many have talked about running post-surgery.  That is so uplifting to me, makes me so excited.

    I am seriously stressed about being so inactive for so long.  But the idea that it's possible I may have my pain gone or lessened, and be able to run again makes it a little easier.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Watch this.

    I'm a TV watcher for sure.  I won't lie, Bravo is on almost nonstop in my house.  I've seen every episode of every Real Housewives series, yet I continue to watch the repeats.  I can feel my brain rotting, but I still watch it.

    I'm curious as to what I'll be up for while I recover.  Will I want to watch my friends, the ladies of RH of NJ?  How drugged will I be?  And what is the effect of the combination of those two?  Frightening.

    Any suggestions for TV series or movies I should watch while I'm healing?  Keep in mind, I will most likely be on large doses of narcotics.  Nothing scary.

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    It is now July.

    I kind of had a realization yesterday - it's July.  To some of you that may be obvious, but here in the PacNW we are living in a constant state of February.  It's cold, it's unpleasant, it's cloudy, and in no way represents anything that says 'July' in my mind.  So it came as a surprise to me that it's July, the month of my surgery.

    I have 3 weeks til my surgery.  3 weeks of this life that I know - I've grown so used to the pain I experience that I absolutely cannot wrap my mind around the idea of not feeling that pain anymore.  It's bizarre.  And I don't know that I can explain to those of you out there what it's like to be in pain all the time.  If you haven't had chronic pain, it's impossible to know what it's like.  Not that that is a bad thing.  It's a wonderful thing, and I am envious of those of you who have a headache for a few hours, even a day.  I don't talk about my pain a super lot, it feels so 'poor me.'  I guess if I had to explain it, it would be like this: I hurt.  I hurt all the time, my head never stops hurting, the pain never totally goes away.  It lessens at times, and definitely worsens at times.  But it is never gone.  Kind of like syphilis.  

    There's a lot going on between now and when I get my skull opened up, so I'm sure the time will pass quickly.  And I don't know what I would rather - time pass slow or fast.

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    four legged nurses

    Research shows that animals of all kinds can improve self esteem, provide a positive outlet for energy, and brighten your mood.  (Info from Healing Paws, Inc, where Dozer and I attend Therapy Training classes.  Haven't taken our evaluation yet but hope to do so soon and pass!)  My dogs have provided all kinds of therapy for me for the past 6 1/2 years, and now there's a new little therapist in the house.

    This is my foster kitty, Alexander.  (AKA Alex, Allie, Alliecat, Dirty Beard)
    He's a 13 yr old Persian cat, his lady died and he came to the shelter completely matted and weighing only 4lbs.  He was completely miserable, and being bullied by the other cats.  I saw him in the Purrfect Pals kitty room, laying with his face smushed up against the wall.  and I knew he had to come home with me.

    I've never been a real cat person, I've always been in love with dogs.  But I am an overall animal person, and my dear, sweet husband let me open our home to Purrfect Pals kitties with no forever home.  Alex is our third kitty, and has wormed his way into our hearts.

    There's nothing like a furry friend to cheer you up, to sit with you when you cry, to look at you with eyes that only want love.  Allie sleeps by my head, he crawls under my comforter, he now ventures downstairs to hang out with me and the dogs while I cook.  (Mostly because he's a hog and will beg for meatsies while I eat.)  He makes me laugh, and does all kinds of funny cat things I never knew cats did.   I didn't realize how much cats like closets.  Or boxes and bags.  I didn't know it was normal for a cat run wildly about upstairs, making the 6lbs they weigh sound like 160. 

    As much as my animals drive me crazy at times, they are my therapy and I am so thankful they will be here to help me heal.  

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Dream on

    I dream a lot.  especially when I'm stressed.  I usually dream that my teeth are falling out, or made of some kind of gummy material and stretching and dripping at awkward times.  (I guess when is that not awkward?)  Sometimes I dream that I can't bite down all the way, or that I actually run my tongue over my gums and there are no teeth.  And it's so real, it's freaky.  Or I dream I'm driving and mashing on the brakes and the car is hardly slowing down.

    Last night every one of the Real Housewives of New York was in my dream.  And the auditions for Last Comic Standing were involved.  Stress?  I don't know.  Vicodin?  Probably.  Obsessed with trashy TV and maybe want those trashy women to be my frienemies, and possibly want to bring back my funny?  Totally.