May MRI appointment

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I forgot to mention that I had my 6 month MRI scheduled on May 10. Well, I had a MRI scheduled that I didn’t remember to tell you guys about 😉 I was a little apprehensive as the date approached because of Jeffrey’s schedule, I wasn’t sure he was going to be able to take me. I approached several people, and I was a little concerned that I wasn’t gonna find anyone to go with me, but I got things figured out. Then God answered my prayer and sent Jeffrey home to accompany me to my appointment! I was a little concerned because I had been having headaches, even had a few JMs (my last one was in March). You’d think by now I’d be used to this routine, but I guess it’s always gonna be nerve-wracking…

The first thing I have to do is get an IV put in for the contrast. I had a feeling it would be difficult because first thing in the morning, I am a little dehydrated. But little did I know HOW difficult. Oy. The tech tried my left side first (antecubital fossa). Yeah. No. Wasn’t working. O.O she wanted to try lower on my left wrist area, but I was like, well, I was already having tendonitis pain in my left wrist area, so maybe try the right side? Yeah. No. Not much better but I willed that needle in and kept remembering to breathe…the last time I held my breath I passed out, remember? LOL that was the day I went in for the angiogram and Jeffrey was there with me, it was pretty scary but now I can look back and chuckle at the goings on then and I think what a day that tech must’ve had, lol.

This time I had an easier time transferring to the MRI bench, so that was really cool to see, to realize how far I’ve come. I always seem to get a really great nap when I’m in that MRI tube, you wouldn’t think so, because of all that noise. I do remember having the worst MRI after one of my surgeries though, it was truly awful, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that it was like 2 a.m. after a rough night among other issues I was having. Ugh. Anyway!

So I go upstairs and the woman at the front desk was so nice and complimentary and then the assistant who took me back was so nice too then I realized I had put on makeup and did my hair that morning, so that made a difference, LOL! They had never seen me with makeup or my hair done 😀 I was wondering why they were making such a big fuss over how good I looked, haha.

Some doctor came in and gave us a quick rundown of things and said that there were NO changes but that Dr. Coppa would be in and talk with us. He then told us that Dr. Coppa was leaving the practice to go back East where he’s from. Dr. Coppa came in and told us yeah, there were no changes, and was actually going to suggest a year MRI but since our medical coverage might change at the end of the year and for our peace of mind, he okayed another one in 6 months. I also got to show him my walking with a walker and he was quite impressed with my improvements. So all in all things are going well in that aspect, so Maynard isn’t growing, and that’s pretty awesome. Thanks for all the prayers, I surely appreciated them! Until later this month…

HE>i,
jewels

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all women reading this, be you a mom to humans, fur babies, feathered babies, unborn babies, angel babies, others’ babies, chosen babies, or a mom figure to anyone, you are thought of and celebrated today…have a wonderful day!

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The REAL April 2013 Update

Sorry for that last one, I don’t know what happened. I must have pressed publish instead of cancel and save. Anyway. This will be worth your time, I promise! Lots of videos to watch! Click on the blue to see videos.

So April. The first week of April, Jeffrey was gone and Siena had spring break. Her cousins (Makenna, Jack and Max) came up with Auntie Erika, Maka and Papa and we all went to OMSI for the day, I even got in the BRW (Big Red Wagon, the Suburban), which was a little difficult to get into, but we managed and I didn’t fall or get hurt, so that’s a WIN 😉 It was nice to hang with the family, for sure, we appreciate them driving all the way up for the day.

SPEAKING of DRIVING…well…guess who’s driving!?! No, Siena’s turn will come way too soon, LOL…ME!!! I’m DRIVING. My therapists and physiatrist have been talking about this and I looked into it, and I found a driving school that had a car equipped with hand controls and a brake on the passenger side that I could take lessons. Jeffrey was very preoccupied with learning a new aircraft, so he didn’t have time to discuss the options with me. Well, I thought I’d just go ahead and take a driving lesson, just to see if I could do it. I met my instructor at the IKEA parking lot and off we went! Karen was brave enough to sit in the backseat and take video of me the first time I ever got behind the wheel. Here’s video: First time . It was a 90 minute session and he had me using the spinner knob at first but I had a difficult time with it so he took it off and I did much better. By the first hour was done, he was like, ok, I think you got this, I really think you don’t need any more instruction. I was like, wha??? He said he’d be glad to take my money but that I just really needed to get practice in and just go with it. So I called up Performance Mobility and had them install the hand controls and here I go! Getting in and Driving don’t mind us, we had the giggles! And Karen will attest that I am a good driver =) so when Jeffrey finally came home, we had to take his truck to the Hampton so that when he flew in he could drive home. He asked me to have Karen take care of it thinking she would have her husband help drive the truck over. Well, since it was a last minute trip, we decided that I would drive the Honda and she would drive the truck and she followed me. I was a little nervous because I had to drive on the freeway and then the Glenn Jackson bridge, which I hadn’t done yet, but off we went. Of course there was a cop who pulled someone over right on the beginning part of the bridge, but I didn’t panic, I did very well! And I drove back too. So when Jeffrey woke up, I said I have something to show you. And I walked out to the car, and passed the passenger side and kept walking to the driver side. He looked over at Karen with a puzzled look on his face, and she just smiled. So I got in and he thought I had control over my feet, but no, I showed him the controls and he was very surprised. Then I got to surprise Siena and part 2. Needless to say she was very happy. I have been wanting to drive for awhile now and it’s been so awesome to have the freedom and independence to be able to drive her to the park or drive us to church, just getting around has been such a blessing, and a privilege that I took for granted and missed so much. I even drove a couple times with Jeffrey and it almost seems like old times 🙂

Stats for Feb/Mar/Apr.
TUG (Timed up and go): 32 / 25 / 22 seconds
Gait speed: .55 / .63 / .72 m/sec
6 minute walk: 420 / 555 / 639 feet <— not sure why these are blue, there's no videos attached.
SO YES!!! I am still improving! PTL!!! I thought that I would have some plateau, but I am so STOKED that it hasn't really happened yet. IMUA!

As far as PT goes, Sean has been working with me with just a quad cane on one side and no AFOs. It's not easy, but it gets better every week. I think. He works almost as hard as I do, cuz he has to make sure I don't fall!!! We started with two quad canes, AFOs, then gradually working my way to that one quad cane, no AFOs. He actually said to me that he really thinks that one day I may walk without any type of aids. Wow! I guess I never thought about an end goal of being able to walk without any aids, I just assumed that I wouldn't stop until I just did it, haha. Truthfully, I never even thought about an end goal, really. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and pray that it just gets better every time. I haven't used the pool lift in months now, and Jason is still trying to drown me, but I just get better at dog paddling each week, lol. And Hoku and the Litegait, I tried something new. Pretty incredible to think a year ago I had to have two people help move my feet forward (this video was shot at RIO and I was in a Glidetrak).

I saw Dr. Kafrouni again to kind of map out my next Botox and to see me walk again. He recommends I walk without AFOs, shoes, anything as much as possible. So I try, but sometimes it’s difficult because my hands/arms/shoulders get the brunt of it. So I have to kind of monitor that.

Anyway. I guess I should wrap it up for now…I hope you enjoyed this update =)

HE>i, jewels

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April 2013

I’m guessing it would be best to update monthly, so we’ll try it this way =)

Jeffrey was gone for first week, and Siena had spring break.

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End Feb – March 2013

Okie dokie, well, that went by fast! I always say I’ll update my blog later then it gets later and later, then next thing I know, a whole month flew by. Hmm…end of Feb. I’ll start with my Feb. eval. Every month I get evaluated by Sean to see if I met or exceeded the goals for that month. Feb. 28 my gait speed was .55 meters per second, which was an improvement if I recall correctly, I believe it was in the .44 range in Jan. TUG (Timed up and go) was 32 sec for my best time, I believe it was 40 sec? in Jan. And my 6 minute walk; I was kind of stuck in the 300′ range for a bit, so I really wanted to kill it. So I did and ended up walking 420′ (my real goal, LOL). So things are definitely improving when you see these measurements. Sean cautioned me, though, that we may not see such big improvements all the time that plateauing is normal and may see just little improvements here and there.

I had my Botox appointment March 6, and we did both sartorius muscles and both posterior tibialis. A little more on the left than the right though, because I get such inversion on the left. And I did make a little noise this time, he got a nerve or something cuz it caused my left foot to feel like a shock through my toes! Yeah not fun, lol!

Before finding out about Maynard, I was experiencing a change in vision, and I had gone to the eye doctor who prescribed glasses for me, so I was due for a 2 year check up in March. I went to my appt and was interested to update the doc on what’s been going on with me for the past two years. Well, I told her that after my surgery that I noticed I could see a lot more clearer without my glasses and she checked my eyes and found that I was 20/15 or something like that. I did complain of having to pull things away from me to read clearer (haha, sign of old age) but she said it was so slight that she wouldn’t even recommend anything right now. How strange, yeah? She said that where Maynard was located was nowhere near the optic nerves, so that it couldn’t have been causing the vision change, but that she’s heard of people who’ve gone under general anesthesia for several hours, and that their vision changes back to “normal” 20/20 because their eye muscles get relaxed and changes back to normal vision. Whatever the explanation, I don’t care because I’m just happy to have my eyesight back!!! PTL!

I have been transferring myself into many different vehicles, so that’s been pretty cool to know that I can get into different cars. And I find that I use my manual wheelchair out and about less and less. I have been walking into the shower without Vibrams, last update I spoke of using them in the shower, but now I’ve gotten the hang of getting in/out without anything on my feet and I do walk without anything on my feet more than I did last month. I got to visit RIO the other week, I was in the neighborhood so I stopped in for a quick visit. That was nice to see a bunch of people =) I did have a set of JMs March 5, so I talked to the advice nurse at my neuro office and she said that Dr. Sax would leave it up to me if I wanted to increase my gabapentin or not because I notice it does make me a bit forgetful. So I said that I’d watch and wait for now and I seem to be ok on what I have now.

I was watching some old rehab videos from a year ago: FVCC and it was pretty cool to watch how I was trying to get stronger before my final surgery, March 19. The tone in my LE (lower extremities) were so strong that I could barely walk with assistance, my feet kept crossing over each other and my core was so weak that I couldn’t really move or activate it to assist in walking. But I was skinnier, LOL aaaahhhh…I’ll take my ability to walk over being skinny!!! Wouldn’t you agree? =)

So I was trying to figure out what’s new that I can report…I still do 2 hours of therapy on Tue (land/pool), 1 hour with Litegait (and Hoku) on Wed, 2 hours on Thu (land/pool) and I try to squeeze in another hour or two on my own with Karen’s help. I have been walking A LOT more whenever we go out, like to church and restaurants, I don’t use my wheelchair as much any more. And when Karen and I go to Costco (which is too often, lol) or other grocery stores, I use the motorized carts which is pretty cool because I can transfer myself from the car to the cart and back, Karen gets to drive the cart to/from the store. And I am doing more yoga stretching of my hips (double pigeon or fire log stack or whatever) and going to the gym an extra day. I’m getting better at swimming…OH! I know! I can get into the pool without the lift! I can actually stand up from my wheelchair, using the bar, and walk side stepping down the stairs into the pool! Unassisted! Isn’t that cool? This is a huge thing…been working on it for awhile at Jeffrey’s suggestion and just kept doing it.

And another thing that I started doing is that I can now sit on my couch and do a sit to stand without using my arms to push off and not fall over or get stuck. I was so used to pushing off chairs with armrests and it was a combo of not having enough strength in my hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, to be able to stand without grabbing onto something. Sometimes I still have a mental block and have to focus on what I’m doing otherwise I can’t do it as well. But this is a big thing because now I can sit on my couch and get up without anyone being here to assist me. I do notice when I am doing a sit to stand, that my muscles feel stronger and it feels differently when I do them (more “normal”?). I also notice my walking backwards is better and sideways as well. So things are coming along, it just doesn’t seem that way in the midst of it all. And it seems to be taking forever O.o

My March eval was done this past week and my gait speed increased from .55 mps to .63 (normal would be 1.2 mps for my age, gender). My TUG went from 32 to 24.8 (25) seconds! And my 6 minute walk…I walked 555′!!! Needless to say, Sean was quite impressed. Remember earlier I said that he said that I might not see a lot of improvement and that there might be a plateau? Yeah. Well. Not this month, lol! He said the gains that I had were not chance, they were not a fluke. I have been working hard in the pool and on land and it is showing. And of course, time and repetition has played a big role, and foremost, it’s all in God’s timing 😉

Dr. Kafrouni saw me for a 3 week check post Botox treatment and I walked around for him without AFOs. He noticed my right foot is “money” meaning, whenever I take a step or land on that right foot, it lands perfectly, I don’t have to think of rolling my ankle straight to make sure I get all the weight onto the foot, it doesn’t invert hardly at all. My toes scrunch a little though, but other than that it’s great. My left foot still tends to invert, but nowhere near as bad as it was before. He said that Botox/tone is a sneaky thing. You inject Botox into a group of muscles affected by tone, then the tone goes away only to sneak around and affect a different muscle group or it comes back after a hiatus. So I may be having some dreaded adductor tone coming back. The idea is to work hard on building muscles up on the weaker sides to counteract the tone, but sometimes tone can be just too overpowering. I see him again in 3 weeks to see how things are all working out and plan our next move.

Jeffrey has been doing very well in his training. He spent most of March in Hawaii, he did come home for one day to spend with us, that was nice. Although we miss him dearly, we are so proud of him for doing so well, he has one more month of training this time in Miami, so prayers are appreciated for him as he continues his training. He’s fighting illness right now, so please pray for health and healing for him. He doesn’t do stress very well, it takes a toll on his body. Thanks in advance for your prayers!

Siena is doing very well in school, she received a good report from her teacher recently so she’s on target to reach all the goals set for Kindergarten by the time June rolls around. She’s made another girl friend/classmate who’s an only as well, she’s been talking about having a playdate with Sarah forever and we finally got them together and they’re just like peas in a pod, lol! Siena is funny because sometimes she can be very shy, but sometimes she surprises me. We went to an Easter Eggstravaganza at Lifepoint church (where my friend Holly attends) and there was a singing contest. Well, let me back up. Lifepoint had a PNO (Parents’ Night Out) where you can drop your kids off and go out on a date and they’ll take care of your kids for several hours for a cheap rate. Holly dropped off Chloe and I ended up scrambling to find some girls (Sooz and Tami) to hang out with and dropped off Siena and Nathan Cowan. When we picked her up, she had entered a singing contest and she WON! She had to sing a song with the word “star” in it and she sang an obscure verse that I didn’t even know existed from “Twinkle, twinkle little star”. She was tickled! And I was proud of her. So anyway…she entered this singing contest at the egg hunt and this place was PACKED. I mean there were hundreds of people, it was crazy. She got up there and the word they had to sing had to have the word “baby” in it. She told me she was gonna sing “Rock a bye baby” and scooted on up there. There were more than 10 kids up there. Right before she was to sing some other kid sang “Rock a bye baby” so I thought, uh oh!!! But I told you before, this girl is quick. She quickly picked out another song and sang, “He’s got the little bitty baby in His hands…” from “He’s got the whole world in His hands” and I was like, wow!!! Here’s a clip: Siena sings She didn’t end up winning, but made top 4, and if you were to rate on singing ability, she really was 2nd place, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mom =) anyway. Oh and I need to back up even further because when I was growing up we used to play singing contest whenever my family was in the VW bus, driving to/from Makakilo and Ewa Beach, going to grandpa Ikeda’s house so she definitely gets that from the Alejado side 🙂 So she’s doing good for the most part. She says she’s “daddy sick” her word for missing her daddy, like homesick but daddysick. Cute, yeah?

Anyway…keep my BIL in your prayers as well, he’s passed his next round of tests and so now that wait is for OHSU to eval his case and see what happens next. Their blog: Heart4PK Please pray that things go smoothly and God’s perfect timing and plan will be done.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, Siena and I had a great Easter weekend. We colored eggs on Friday after school with Holly and Chloe, then went to two Easter egg hunts on Saturday, then an awesome church service at River Rock Camas/Washougal, followed by a delicious Easter brunch with some friends and a third Easter egg hunt! I was concerned that we would have junk weather (which we usually do, haha) and that we didn’t have plans with either side family. But The Lord blessed us richly and provided us with gorgeous weather and kind, generous and loving friends who welcomed us into their home. I’m so used to hosting or being part of a big family thing and inviting those without family to come over, so it was a little unusual to be the one without a place to go, but it was kind of cool to be the one to accept the invitation this time. And it’s pretty neat to be able to go pretty much anywhere and feel comfortable getting into different houses and seats, etc. I’ve come a long way, I know it! Thank You, Lord for blessing me through all of this. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to know how far I have come and yet there’s still more to go. Just keep us in your prayers, if you could, I sincerely appreciate it!

HE>i,
jewels

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End Jan-mid Feb 2013 SUPER DUPER LONG

But super duper worth it. Promise =)

So I was going to update sooner, but obviously I haven’t…the last update I spoke of my Vibrams. I used it several times. In fact, it was so helpful that I have now been able to independently transfer into the shower, shower myself and get out all by myself! This has been the biggest obstacle since I’ve been home and I have been working on it and now can even do it without the Vibrams! Those Vibrams are just a touch too big so they keep falling off my feet. I did end up buying a different pair because it was falling off in the pool. I need to kind of build up the soles of my feet because they are SO tender, like a baby’s foot, hypersensitive. I also walked with my walker without Vibrams, or AFOs, just barefoot to the toilet from my bed and back. THAT was cool.

I also had another fall…yup! I fell again…this time I was in the kitchen. I usually walk along the counters, sidestepping or holding on to the countertop with at least one hand. But I overextended myself from the counter to the refrigerator and grabbed the freezer door which is light (duh) and it opened on me and down I went. My scapula took the brunt of the fall onto the corner of the granite counter then I fell to the hardwood floor. I tried to get up, but because my AFOs lock my foot into a dorsiflexed position, it’s really hard to get to a good position to get up. So I had to scoot to get to the house phone. But all my numbers are in my cell phone which was on the other side of the kitchen. So I had to scoot more. By this time I realize how hard the floor is or that my backside is lacking cushion, and my neighbors weren’t home. Fortunately, Holly’s husband Donovan was home and he came over and helped me up. Yay! Speaking of Holly, she gets her cast off next week and will have a removable one for two more weeks, so she is doing well. She had surgery to help fix some tendons in her foot and if all goes well, she will be able to walk better.

Another new development is that Sean (my land PT) told us about a SNF that has a litegait machine that I had used at RIO, right here in Camas! So I scheduled a tour and they have all the same equipment and some different higher tech stuff than RIO does. They just went through a renovation so it’s pretty nice. I scheduled an eval appointment with a therapist and went last week Wed. Her name is Hoku. YUP she’s from Hawaii. From Kaneohe, went to school in Indiana. Pretty cool, yeah? We got me in the litegait machine and I did so much better than I did back at RIO because I’ve gotten much stronger and have more core strength than I did back then. I had to have 3 people help me walk then so it was neat to see my progress. Here’s clip 1 and clip 2. I’m excited to add this to my therapy and there’s even options like electrostim to try.

I’m still working with Sean and Jason land/pool therapy. I see improvements here and there. I guess because I see myself every day that I don’t see the improvements but I know that I am building new pathways for the brain to tell my body what to do so it’s a lot of repetition but also challenging. I walk with two quad canes and that’s getting better as well. I think all of the therapies combined will help get me to the next level. I also can’t wait for my next Botox appointment. Early March.

One huge thing…we have an annual luau that we do here in WA, and I remember going by myself last year, taking a van transportation in my power wheelchair from FVCC. I think Jeffrey wasn’t in town and therefore, Siena was down in Albany. I remember it took about 3 people to help transfer me to the toilet and that my legs were spasming big time the whole ride back to FVCC, I was in pain on the ride home. This year Deva mentioned me doing a chair hula. I was like, uh, sure. Not thinking she really meant it. She insisted and wanted me to do a hula for Jeffrey because he’s been there by my side through it all. I didn’t even know if Jeffrey was going to be in town and so I said ok, sure, I totally agree, I want to do this for him. So I practiced. And practiced. He would go to bed upstairs and I would practice in my bathroom in front of the mirror. When I got his schedule and realized he was going to be in town I was like, uhoh! I thought I could get out of it but the more I practiced, the more confident I felt. And it was good for balancing =) so I didn’t even consider doing it from the chair, I was going to stand and do it. I showed Sean because I wanted him to see my balance and for him to evaluate my posture and give feedback and he said that there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the audience. I looked at him like, yeah right!?! But he was so right. Here’s the video: Moonlight and Shadows after I walked off, I looked over at the musicians, and Keawe is bawling his head off and Kaloku was crying too, and I know there were a lot of tears, but I was surprised at how many men said they cried, lol! Jeffrey and I have shed many a tear over the past year and a half, so we are a little cried out, haha. Siena even said she had happy tears, that meant so much to me. I really wanted to show Jeffrey my appreciation for him being there through my recovery and I felt that this was the best way to show him. And it meant so much for the Ke Kukui Foundation board members to accompany me onstage. There are some ladies who never ever dance but because I really wanted them to, they joined me onstage. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such aloha and ohana…

Speaking of ohana…please pray for my brother in law, Perry. He needs to go on the heart transplant list. My sister has started her own blog to chronicle their journey. Man, I gotta tell ya…my poor parents…it just dawned on me what a life they’ve had thus far. I think the worst thing is to watch your kids suffer. They have been through some tough times regarding us kids. My sister always had problems with asthma. My brother was born with a cleft lip/palate with multiple surgeries. Me being accident prone (multiple ER visits, LOL) and then Maynard…and now my sister’s husband needing this life changing surgery. My heart goes out to them, those crazy 18, 19 year olds who married just out of high school, with 3 blessings by the time they were 22, 23. It has been a journey, for sure. From homeschooling pioneers, to Awana missionaries, to opening their home to ssssoooo many people. I have learned so much about forgiveness, generosity, grace and mercy through them. By no means are they perfect, but when I think of all they’ve gone through, I’m just amazed. What a mighty God we serve. Anyway, being put on that list means a lot of things…Perry’s heart is not that great, being that he needs a new heart, so working is kind of out of the question for him. So Rae, Perry and Dane will need to live with my parents for a little bit (prayers for them ALL, please!). Jeffrey and I have scooted out of our little upstairs apartment for the time being…we were there for 9 years. I just felt bad for Jeffrey because he had to move out all our stuff that we accumulated over those 9 years, it was a big project for sure. And it was a little bittersweet because I had wanted to go back and see our little place once again, but I know the space is needed and I’ve no immediate plans to go back (yet).

So now I just continue with my therapies, and trying to spend more time out of my AFOs building up ankle strength…I do use my walker a lot more when we go out, especially to church I now use my walker exclusively and even sometimes I will walk into a restaurant and sit in chairs/booth, etc. Next up? Jeffrey will be gone for about 2 months. Yeah. Not looking forward to it, but I know it’s part of God’s ultimate plan for us. He is changing aircraft from 767 to the Airbus 330 AND he’ll be a captain. How cool! I know he will do well, I’m in so much better shape now than if this change were to happen even six months ago. He’s ready for this challenge, he was born to be an airline pilot. But keep us in your prayers as we all have to go through this challenge together. Also keep Siena in your prayers, she has been through so many changes the past few years, with Jeffrey being gone it will be tough on all of us. She’s been seeing a counselor who specializes in play therapy and she loves it, and I think that’s helpful for us to try and help her cope with all the adjustments she’s had to go through. We’ll be ok when Jeffrey’s gone because we have Karen (our nanny). She has been such a blessing to us, she is GREAT, she even taught me how to make pupusas!

Sorry this post seems all jumbled up, I just had a lot to say and I hope it was worth the read =)

HE>i,
jewels

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Happy New Year! First Update of 2013

Well, hello there my peeps! I sincerely apologize for not updating sooner. Things got crazy busy as it usually does for everyone. And not much “new” was going on in therapy because I was in that donut hole of no coverage for the last couple months of the year. I did continue as best I could with twice a week pool sessions and whenever Jeffrey was in town, he’d take me as well.

On 12/22 my dear dear friend, Elsie turned 50 so her daughters wanted to throw her a surprise party. Elsie HATES surprises so we really wanted to make sure we did it right. I told her that I had a company Christmas party to attend on Saturday, 12/22 and that Jeffrey wasn’t gonna be in town so if she could take me that would be great! So of course, she agreed. And we had everyone park down the street and she actually ran a bit late (which she NEVER does). Didn’t suspect a thing. Comes in and was SO surprised. It was so neat to be able to bless her for once and it was such fun.

Christmas was good, we went down to Albany to spend with the David’s. I was a little concerned about not having the “comforts of home” but things went really well. We went to Auntie Georgia’s church for candle light service and it was there that Siena heard her new favorite Christmas song, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” that was sung by an adorable trio of girls. Siena had a blast with her cousins attending the Nutcracker Ballet, playing and was thrilled that Santa brought her what she wanted (a pink LeapPad2). Jeffrey had to fly out on the 26th, so we had to drive back up on the evening of the 25th.

New Year’s was quiet as Jeffrey wasn’t home (Japan) and it was just Siena and me. I told her she could stay up with me until midnight and she was quite excited about that. Until 11:00. She comes up to me and kissed me goodnight and went to bed, lol! So I myself tucked in at 11:30 then decided to do some Bible reading and next thing you know, it was midnight. It was actually the first time I was ever in the Word at the stroke of midnight on New Years Day and I thought that was pretty neat.

So new year means my therapy benefits reset. I did do some evaluations during the past months and I didn’t really regress too much, in fact, I actually improved a bit. Highlights so far: I’ve been walking a lot more…at the gym on the treadmill I actually can walk by myself pretty well, at slower speeds. I walked 10 min at 0.5-0.7 speed and I walked a good 5 min at 1.0 speed. At home I try to walk more, it’s just difficult to go from point A to point B because most times I am carrying something requiring me to use my chair. But I got myself a basket for the walker and have been using that a lot more. In the pool, I get to work on a lot of things because the water helps take weight off and I’m freer to walk and move about. My core is getting stronger, too and that also helps in the water, so I’m not as afraid as I once was. Just getting up in the morning to get dressed is a chore, but it is definitely easier than it was before. My one thing that I need help with is still my shower, but I’m working on that as well.

I’ve been trying to walk more with my walker and have actually done a few trips to church just using the walker, and other places. It just takes me awhile to get anywhere, and if people are staring at me (like they usually do) it makes it a little more difficult to concentrate and harder to walk faster effectively. But I’m working on it =)

The newest thing I have to report is my Vibrams. I was using another model in the pool, but was looking for something a little easier to wear. So I found these and bought them sight unseen and not even tried on. They’re just off the rack, nothing special, but they have made a difference in my walking. I’m actually standing with them on in my standing frame typing this out (it takes me a few times to get the update posted, so I stood for a good 30 mins). As soon as I got them in the mail, I tried them on and Jeffrey was like, ok, take a step. And I was like, ooohhhkkkaaayyy…then I did and all the things I do in the pool came to me and I remembered what to do. I’ll attach video here Part 1 of 2 and Part 2 of 2 for those of you who didn’t get to see it on FB. So I’ll be working on walking more with these Vibrams on. I think the thing is that every part of my foot gets feedback so it’s more effective in helping me walk. Today I actually walked a bunch. I could totally feel a difference in different muscles, just like a normal walker would because I recall that when people transitioned from a regular tennis shoe to these minimalist type of shoe, they reported feeling different muscular areas that they never felt before. Pretty neat! Very encouraging and I thank you all so much for your prayers…they’re working!!! I’ll close here for now, but will try to come back and update more frequently =)

HE>i,
jewels

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Weekly update #37

So Mahalo Dad for last update, I’ve been SO busy lately that I haven’t been able to keep up with the blog :hides: so I will try to update in a quick fashion…
I believe Dad left Thu. 11/15? Yeah. It was too short of a visit, but I was grateful for the time he did get to come and spend with me.
Mon. 11/19 Pool PT w/Jason
Tue. 11/20 Pool PT w/Jason, I might have done land PT with Jeffrey, my memory fails me…lol

Wed. 11/21 Botox appointment. This time he did the left sartorius muscle and both posterior tibs. And know what? I did not make a peep. I was so calm and quiet that I think we all were a bit surprised. The assistant was like, wow, I know most of our patients wouldn’t have been able to handle that. I’m guessing I’m getting used to it, but I think the real truth is that I have a lot of prayer warriors lifting me up =) that’s a much better explanation, yes?

Thu. 11/22 Thanksgiving. There’s a first time for everything, right? Well, this Thanksgiving was the first time we ordered a premade turkey from a local grocery store. It was just easier because of Siena’s birthday the next day and I know I couldn’t have done a turkey. Don, Linda and Auntie Georgia came up and brought homemade sides so that was good. The turkey wasn’t so bad, but the most important thing was that we were a family and could be thankful for that. I look back and remember last Thanksgiving where I came home for the day and went back to RIO at night. I was in no condition to come home to live back then, so I have a lot to be grateful for this year. The Perry family came by after for dessert and that was nice to see them.

Fri. 11/23 Siena’s 6th birthday. Celebrated with a bunch of friends at JJ Jump a bouncy place where the kids can jump and slide and burn off lots of energy =) She had a great time and was blessed with some great gifts!

Sat. 11/24
Sun. 11/25 The last week of the series, HE greater than…and it was so good…there was a chance to say a few words and I managed to squeak out a few things, but I didn’t know what to say or how to say it, haha…I wasn’t prepared but wanted to say thanks to everyone who has ever prayed for me. Elsie brought me to church (for the 2nd week in a row) because Jeffrey was gone.

Mon. 11/26 Land eval by Sean! It was cool to see him after not seeing him for land PT since 11/1. We did the TUG, timed up and go and the 6 minute timed walk and the gait speed and functional reach. All I know is that I improved all across the board! My functional reach had been stuck at 8 inches, and my goal was 10 inches and I almost got to the 10, but I reached out and touched the walker, so we called it a 9, haha. I walked 330′ in 6 minutes, and he looked at our notes and I believe I had a hard time walking 110′ way back when (June?) not even timed. I couldn’t even walk at a speed good enough to be timed nor a length long enough either. And the furthest I had gone was 280′ during a 6 minute walk. So all in all I am happy with the results, even not having my land PT sessions with Sean. =)

OH! Today Siena went back to Gymnastics at Vega! I called and left a message early in the day just wanted to find out some info about putting her in classes. Back during the early part of my surgery days, and during the summer, Siena would go to Vega, Sooz would take her and Niles. They had found out about my surgery and wanted to help so they gave both Siena and Niles scholarships to keep going to gymnastics! Then Siena was spending more time in Albany so they took her off the list but had told Sooz that if Siena were to ever come back that she would still be on a scholarship. This was many months ago. Now any time I ask S to get me something or she had a free moment, this girl is doing cartwheels, roundoffs, trying to do headstands, crazy stuff. So I called and talked to someone on the phone and they remembered Siena and totally said that she would still be on a scholarship! PTL how cool is that? So she started today, and was so excited, she could hardly stand it. I am excited to see how she blossoms in her gymnastics.

Tue. 11/27
Wed. 11/28 Pool PT w/Jason
Thu. 11/29
Fri. 11/30

Sat. 12/1 I had always wanted to do something advent-like for Siena, but could never find something that I LOVED. Well, I just let it go and resolved to find something next year (as I’ve always said, lol). A couple days ago, I was blessed with a wonderful gift. This shows the beauty of FB…ok, so I have a wonderful friend, Diane Mosier, who’s one of my mom’s BFFs. She had come up to help when I first moved back home when I was in bad shape and we had a great time. Well, before I had my surgery, she had this friend, Dan Hooley, who had just had a brain tumor removed a couple weeks before my surgery. So we “met” through FB after I had several months of recovery and had my wits about me better. And we encourage and support each other through FB. He sent me a message saying his wife wanted to send me something (and subsequently she became my friend too on FB). So I gave him my address. I didn’t know what to expect. So I get this box and inside was a Jesse Tree Devotional Book with a little tree and lights and all the ornaments all wrapped and ready to go! I was amazed that someone I had never met in real life would go through all that trouble and mail it to me to be sure I had it in time to do this with my daughter. The Hooleys even have 5 kids, I don’t even know how she did it. I am so grateful, thankful and blessed beyond words. Mahalo nui loa, Hooley ohana, we LOVE it! And you too, can’t wait to meet you guys…

Sun. 12/2 Jeffrey was home so we went to church. There’s a new series, It’s Always Christmas. And Pastor Kelly was back, it was so good to see him and hear about the great things happening in River Rock Philippines. He taught today about Mary and Joseph and their reaction to the news of the event that would change their life and how it can apply to our lives today. Joseph (at first) reacted out of fear, and Mary responded with faith. This is so poignant because it has always been how I’ve lived my life. I am a quick reactor and at first I react by being defensive and that is caused by fear…fear of being hurt, fear of being weak, fear of being taken advantage of. But God has been impressing upon me to be more like Mary and respond with faith. Don’t get me wrong, I still react, but I am slowly becoming better at not reacting out loud but taking it all in and responding with faith. Have I told you before how much I love my church?!? 😉 It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for me…

During the evening, I went with Holly to her church, Lifepoint, women’s dessert gala. There were so many desserts, it was crazy! But I thought the best dessert was the red velvet cake she made with pecans, I just loved it! The Union High School Chorale sang for us as well, so that was nice.

Mon. 12/3
Tue. 12/4

Wed. 12/5 Most amazingest day ever. Stick with me here…so I did a little short land session with Jeffrey before pool. Jeffrey was kind of bossing me around, like he usually does, and demanded that I do 4 minutes on the treadmill. So I just took a deep breath and prayed my little “ICDAT” a short code for “I Can Do All Things” through Christ who gives me strength. And began walking. I pushed and held on and made it to the 4 minutes on 1.1 speed. AWESOME and give God the glory…I wouldn’t have been able to do it had I not stopped and took a deep breath and leaned into Him for strength and ability. Jason got to see a little bit of my walking, so that was cool.

Pool PT w/Jason was next and my BFF Toni came to watch my pool therapy. I did my normal routine and did a lot of free walking in the pool, unassisted. It’s been about a couple weeks or so that Jason found these water AFOs, just generic AFOs that can be used in the water. Since I’ve been using them, I’ve been able to walk more without my ankles buckling. I started off using a waist belt and noodle to help with balance/floating, supporting my trunk. Then he made these pvc poles to use to help me walk, kind of like ski poles, which someone would walk in front of me, facing me and holding the poles, helping me walk reciprocally. Then I finally got to a point where I could support myself correctly and now can walk without any aids, just me, the AFOs and the water. AMAZING. It’s a good thing I couldn’t see Toni because I think there were some tears there as she saw me walk =)

Then I get out of the pool and Jeffrey wasn’t done with me yet. So we get back in the gym and for some reason I got this idea, hey, let’s try walking with 2 canes! O.o so he gets 2 quad canes from the closet at the gym and I tried to walk. No, I didn’t TRY, I WALKED…idk if you remember, but the first time I tried this with Sean, it was like Bambi on ice…arms, legs, canes, all in different directions. Not this time. I walked a good 10′ and turned around and back with a gait belt on and Jeffrey barely touching me. I was AMAZED. For the first time during this journey, I could really see that walking unassisted will one day be a reality. Maybe not today, tomorrow or next week, but it was very encouraging and validating to see. I almost cried. Had Toni been there, I would’ve, LOL!!! Another Praise God moment.

Tonight was the first night of the Camas/Washougal Women’s Lifegroup Bible Study on the book by Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued. I’ve been so blessed by Proverbs 31 ministries daily email devotions, so when I found out about the Unglued book, I bought it on Kindle and encouraged my ma to get it too and then we decided we wanted to do the DVD bible study with me, my sis and my ma. But just one thing…we live too far away, so we didn’t have a chance to start it. Well, God must have really wanted me to do this study, so He found a way for me to find out about the study starting in Dec. A new dear friend Darci, headed up meal train this last go around and she was part of the CW Women’s Lifegroup and told me about the study and she said that they would find a way to get me into whatever house we were going to meet at. Well, I kind of suggested that maybe I could host and that would kill two birds so to speak? LOL I was a bit hesitant to bring it up with Jeffrey because I didn’t know how he would react, being that I had always overcommitted in the past with many things. But God must have laid it on his heart to be receptive and he didn’t even say his typical “I have to think about it” he just said “sure”. So there you go…I’m so looking forward to this study, I’ve never really been a part of a women’s group bible study like this before 😯 I know, so hard to believe, but it’s always been a goal of mine. It just all had to happen in God’s time.

Thu. 12/6
Fri. 12/7 Went to sleep around 11ish, maybe midnight? Got woken up by an unusual JM at about 1 a.m….it started kind of in my chest/shoulder area. I could feel a distinct thumping motion in my arm, somewhat uncontrollable. It went down my left side and down my left leg to my toes. It was weird. Because I was totally in my sleep when it started and it lasted a good 1/2 hour. Haven’t had one since 11/12, but that didn’t last too long, and before that was Sept. 17. Strange…

Sat. 12/8
Sun. 12/9 Today I was driven to church by Darci, she has been such a blessing to me, I thank God for bringing her into my life. We also went to lunch and had a good time.

So there’s some gaps here and I can’t remember what happened on those dates…I really need to keep up with this blog because I realize how much I have to be thankful for and how I need to share with the people who are continually praying for me that your prayers are being answered and things are happening. Please keep them up, I’m so grateful and blessed to have such wonderful people praying and sending positive thoughts and blessings.

HE>i, He IS the reason for this season…
jewels

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