Archive for January, 2011
I hope this finds everyone happily shoveling snow, or since it’s National Oatmeal Month, maybe you’re shoveling in some nice hot oatmeal! MY BAD! LOL
There’s just two more days until I’m outta here on a plane! The suspense is killing me! My bags are not all packed and I still have to do my manicure! Still have to iron some things before they go in the suitcase….they’ll be less wrinkled even if I have to re-iron them again. Also, I’m waiting on a pair of dressy shoes I ordered online… I couldn’t find a pair anywhere the style I needed. But I did online! Yaaay!
I made up some cookies and cake and cut them and packaged them for Greg and some breakfast sandwiches to nuke for him. I put everything in the freezer so he could get to it real easy. I also got some frozen dinner type stuff, so he won’t be hungry. He’s going to be at the house alone, Brian is going to AZ to see Ally! Just him and the bunnies! It’ll be so nice to not have to cook for three whole days!
I have some last minute laundry that needs done and then I can organize everything! LOOK OUT SAN DIEGO here I come!
Remember to take care of you and yours,
I’ll post when I can, or early next week,
It’s been a while since I’ve written…and there’s a good reason….I’ve been busy at life! WOW! It sure feels good to be getting back in the game with everyone else! I have a LOT to share with you before I go to San Diego. And I know I’ll have TONS to share with you after I’m back!
First I was filmed here at the house by two absolutely wonderful people. I really enjoyed their visit… I call it a visit because they seemed more like friends just visiting than someone doing a job. I’m still swimming or should I say I was up until Friday when I pulled into the parking lot and saw water gushing from the side of the building of the pool and 3 city trucks with men running around busily trying to stop it. A sign on the door read: NOTICE: Facility Closure Due to maintenance………… Ya THINK??? LOL
Also I needed a picture of me for the folks at the conference so I had to cut and color my hair sooner than I wanted to… but it all worked out… I got my new profile shot for Facebook out of the deal! I couldn’t get into the gal who cuts my hair the day before I took the pic, so I cut it myself…OH MY I made such a mess of my hair, she may never want to talk to me again! LOL I’m gonna try straightening it out before I go to the conference though… it’ll be a real crap shoot as to how it looks!
And then there’s the issue about my nails! Geesh! Of all times for my nails to grow out and all break off at the same time…. even my toenails… they”re down to nubs… Do you know how hard it is to make nubs look presentable let alone nice? Well I’ll tell you! It’s gonna be downright impossible! I’ll have maybe an eighth of an inch of nail by the time I leave for San Diego… bummer! I’m not one for fake nails…they feel way too funky… and what if one of them pops off? HUH? THEN WHAT? I can’t stand the acrylic nails, they’re waaaay too funky for me! Naaaw, I’m not a fake person, so my nails will have to do. I think they all broke off because of the meds I was on… I guess I didn’t realize it takes about seven months for a nail to grow completely out! NOW I DO! LOL I bought a couple different colors of polish and will try to change em so they’ll be nice for when I’m all dressed up! After all, I can’t talk unless I’m waving my hands! (NO I’m NOT Italian!)
I met the producer and ghost writer for the second time two days ago and I’m happy to say they came to the same conclusion I did. It’s a little unconventional how we’re gonna go about getting the book completed but I think it’ll work better this way. When they proposed the idea to me, I took a HUGE sigh of relief….we were all on the same page! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to say it to them without them getting offended, but I think it’s the least expensive way to complete the project. Now I just have to raise the funds to get it done. A lot of time has gone into thinking about how I want our relationship to go and I couldn’t be happier. I think it’ll be a win win situation for us all.
The producer is still dangling a possible companion project much further down the road, but first I mustget the first book written. A possible movie has been tossed around for about two years now. Also, a second memoir, a sequel or prequel may be possible too. There’s soo much to think about!
I’ve had some dear friends who’ve started their year off in not such great strides. One who lost her home and turned 50 all at the same time. I had a friend whose mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and is now doing the back and forth several times a day to care for both in-laws. I’ve had a friend who is struggling with being a stay at home mom with four beautiful children and a husband still in med school. There’s the 92 year old neighbor from the old neighborhood who had a lump removed from his back and his 90 year old wife who still bakes bread every Saturday. Then there’s my dear friend who will turn 50 in a few days whom I haven’t seen in a few years. She is caring for twins, one who is severely handicapped and trying to make sense of all his health needs. There’s the friend who just put her beloved cat down and her sister who is a single mom raising two beautiful children on her own. My heart hurts for ALL of them because I’ve walked most of those miles before them and I know the loneliness and pain that goes with all of those situations. But since I’ve had to reflect so much these past few weeks, I’ve come to realize I can be a beacon of hope for all of them.
They all personally know me and know the situations I’ve been in and the pain and suffering I’ve gone through. And they also all know that I’M STILL STANDING! That should give them hope. Hope that they CAN get through all of the lessons put before them, hope they can come through the storm a better person for having gone through the experience, hope that they can one day pass on their experience to those in need of what they know as well. That’s what I’ve come to discover about myself in these past days and weeks… all of what I’ve gone through has given me the perspective to share my life in an intimate way through words to give others hope. Hope is the one thing I never gave up having…it was my driving force that led me to today… I can only hope now that I can live up to the task and responsibility I’ve been given to share my life in a way that will give others hope. Some days, no, a LOT of days, hope was all I had, and it had to be enough to get me to tomorrow.
And now I’m asked to give others hope, and knowledge, from my experience from my surgery. I’m happy to do such a thing for only one reason. By my sharing, if I can dispel the myths and help others put aside their fears about having a “life-changing” operation that will free them from the chains of pain, or help someone who’s already had the surgery and needs reassurance that all will be well in time through words of encouragement, then I will have had purpose to all I’ve gone through and it will have been all worth it.
With each new thing the NuVasive people have asked from me I’ve been led to reflection… some of their questions are…
It took you a long time to find the right surgeon and insurance coverage you needed. What was it like going through the process of Workman’s Comp? How did you find your surgeon, and about XLIF?
My answer will be a brief explanation of how Workman’s Comp wouldn’t allow my back as part of my claim, but after seven years recognized the injury, then we moved. By moving I pretty much voided the claim and then ultimately had to close it. I researched all the health plans offered to us here in Nevada, getting a PPO. Getting a good health plan is just as important as getting a good doctor, without it, his hands are tied. I came to Dr. Smith through my general practitioner who had surgery with Dr. Smith himself. I saw a couple of other surgeons but knew in my heart I wanted a neurosurgeon after all of my research. It was through Dr. Smith that I learned of the XLIF procedure.
You’re obviously leading a very full life again and are a busy person. Why did you want to become involved in The Better Way Back to help others?
I once had a professor tell me that “Noblis Oblige” the noble are obliged. Not that I’m noble, but I have more experience which can be shared with others so they can learn from my experiences. It’s a way of giving back so others may not have to suffer the way I did. There IS a better way to live, a better way back.
You had a long time to reflect on all those things in life you had given up because of your debilitating back pain. In fact, word has it you’ve created a bucket list that we’re now sharing with other patients. What prompted that, and what are the top three things on your list?
Yes, a very long time to think about all the things I’d like to do, it was a way to lighten the burden of pain. My Mom always said your days are made better by your daydreams. It helped pass the relentless hours. Everyone needs at least one thing on their bucket list they know is almost unattainable… it keeps you driven to keep trying so my first thing on my list would be to sing The Impossible Dream with Andrea Bocelli. Secondly, I want to own my own home. And thirdly, I want to generate an income so I can do and buy all the rest of the “stuff” on my bucket list.
With all the reflection, I’ve become very introspective, about how I’ve led my life so far and how I want it to go now… it’s been pretty amazing, this journey I’ve been on! Stay with me and we can travel together!
Remember to take care of you and yours,
I’ll be posting soon,
WOW! What a wonderful and interesting day I had yesterday! A lot of my jitters immediatly melted away when I opened the door and met two really terrific people. Their collective talent delved deep into the realm of “DEEEP GEEEEK” as they spoke a different language altogether from the English the translated for me! It was a hoot to hear them talk in ISO and photo warmth!
Nadia and Jerry, accomplished photographers/photo journalists each in their own right, arrived timely to immediately set up and start interviewing me from the get-go. I really felt at ease with them and was comfortable with what was happening. They were very mindful of the environment they were in, my home, and very respectful! We had some laughs and great conversation that didn’t center just around me. I learned a few things about the company that manufactured the hardware that’s in me, a little about their families, some cool stuff about their travels and what led them to what they do now and that my doctor is one of a handful in the world who does what he does. I am sooo blessed!
And then, I did the most daring thing….I went on camera in a bathing suit! For any other reason I think I would’ve been intimidated by it, but because I know it will help convince others contemplating the XLIF procedure that there really is a whole new life afterward, I did it for them. I’m nowhere near in the shape I want to be in for the long haul but let’s face it….I’ve only been in PT and swimming since July! It took me ten years to look the way I did, and I’m doing something everyday for myself to be different, the way I want to look again!
As a treat, Nadia and Jerry took me to lunch! Applebee’s chicken taco appitizers! Out of this world! It really is a treat to go out to eat! I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and the great conversation they provided. I love meeting new people! We each have our own story and in it’s own way so unique it makes it interesting! Nadia and I share similar cultural upbringings, while I was envious of Jerry’s ”toys,” his camera equipment! They reminded me a lot of the duo who were our ”handlers” during the time of Brian’s wish in California from the General Motors Corp.
When we returned to the house, they allowed me time to get my hair done and makeup back on before they wrapped up the filming with me typing at my computer and then playing with the bunnies! They had me do some walking outside on the sidewalk too. All in all it was a very good day in the neighborhood where I live! At least from my perspective!
At this point I can hardly wait to see the finished product. It’s my understanding it’s a movie about the NuVasive company and I’m just a small part of a very big project. But, for me, I’m satisfied with my contribution to a greater cause. For everyone who sees me now, and hears how I was before, there’s hope. Hope for themselves or their loved ones suffering from excruciating pain that has no comparison!
I’m looking forward to meeting with patients and doctors from around the world who are a part of this very elite group, brought together by a company oozing with compassion and caring. The people who’ve managed to touch my life already in such positive ways are unbelievable at what they do. Always the consumate professionals!
I can only think that it was fate that brought me to this place in time to meet Dr. Smith who was willing to share his talents with me. Mom always said, “Kathie, the Lord works in mysterious ways.” The trust she instilled in me for His works of mercy have brought me through many things. Although I have trust issues with a lot of stuff, I’ve always trusted the Lord to keep me and Brian safe. And I have a calm trust in Dr. Smith.
There’s sixteen days before I’ll be in San Diego for the conference and Cheetah Ball, but who’s counting! I kind of know what I’ll be doing there but, I’ll wait to fill you all in on the details once I return. I do know that I’ll be on a patient discussion panel with the likes of Bill Walton, former NBA player for the Celtics, and Nate Rock Quarry, UFC fighter, who is the “Ultimate Ambassador” speaking on behalf of the NuVasive company about the XLIF procedure. I’ll have LOTS to talk about then.
Until then, I’ve got a bunch of swimming to do and planning all my girly stuff like hair and manicure and pedicure and ….. well you know, girly stuff! Not to mention I get my cap Thursday and my teeth cleaned! Oh, yeah, and I have to get in touch with the guys who’ll be helping me on my book! Geesh! I’m gonna be really busy! Then the next thing I guess I’ll have do is squeeze in some time for my neck surgery shortly after that! WHEW! I think I’ll go take a nap now!
Just remember to take care of you and yours and I’ll post real soon!
I hope this finds everyone still in good spirits although, as life goes on, my friends have dealt with some emotional blows already in this new year. The declining health of parents, the loss of a parent or dear pet, the questioning of one’s ability to just go on…. it breaks my heart to know my friends are suffering in such a personal way.
Life is a personal journey, unlike any other. The best we can do is share our journey in the hopes that in sharing, we can help someone else lighten their load on their own as they travel. Sharing makes us feel less alone and more like we may be doing some good for someone else, which is rather uplifting. In doing so, it lessens our burden by knowing we’re not alone, and, for whatever reason, we can take comfort in knowing others understand.
I feel that by sharing my journey with my back and me ultimately overcoming a whole lot of odds, I can inspire my friends and readers to know the message….you are NOT alone. Once I got that, it was a lot easier for me to deal with what I had before me. We each have something different to learn, that’s why God puts different things before us to challenge us. But always keep in mind, He will never give you more than what you can handle, and if you look to Him, he will guide you through.
Having said that, I want to share what’s coming in the near future, like Tuesday! A producer and cameraman are coming to my house to interview me for “The Better Way Back” program. This program is designed to assist potential surgical candidates and ones who’ve already gone through surgery. I’ve become a “Patient Ambassador,” a person who has already experienced the XLIF procedure who can talk with other patients and ally some of their concerns and fears. By sharing my experience, there is an assurance to the candidate that I totally “get” where they’re coming from. And believe me….I do!
Most of all, I want others to not be afraid of this new procedure. The horror stories I’ve heard from friends and strangers about their neighbors’ uncle who had back surgery that was useless and unsuccessful is NOT my experience. There is a BETTER WAY to do what I had to have done! I can only tell what my experience was and it was no horror story. As a matter of fact, on the 28th of this month, (my 8th month out of surgery) the NuVasive people, (they’re the manufacturer of the hardware in my body), invited me to go to San Diego where I’ll be part of a patient discussion panel, sharing my experience with fellow patients and doctors from around the world.
I’ll have the opportunity to connect with others whose healing is further along and I can ask questions about what to expect in the months ahead. I can share with those who haven’t yet had their surgery to dispell any fears they may have about the success of the XLIF procedure. I can hardly wait, it’ll be such an amazing time for me.
Right now though, I’m excited that they think my story is worthy of film time! I’ve always known I was living in a movie, and those of you who know me personally who are reading this can attest to that. Some of you just shake your heads when I tell of the next “thing” that comes by me without solicitation, and you are amazed how so much could happen to one person. One person who virtually has not ventured out into the world to get “into” things, as it were.
At any rate, that’s what I’ve been up to for the last few days, preparing for that, plus spending quality time with Brian and his girlfriend, Ally who stayed with us for 10 days to celebrate Christmas with us. We had a wonderful old fashioned Christmas just like when Brian was little with all the “stuff” that goes along with it. He wanted their ”first Christmas” to be special. I think he pulled it off! I have two more days left to clean and get all the Christmas decorations packed away. Then I’ll be meeting up with some people to help me finish my book, along with swimming.
I’ll post about how my time with the film crew went after Tuesday and keep you informed about what else is happening. Then I think I’ll be down for a while until after the Cheetah Ball (I’m gonna feel like Cinderella) at the end of the month. They have a dinner after the discussion panel. Gowns, Tuxes and all! I can hardly wait! I’m going to meet some pretty exciting and interesting people there I’m sure, so I’ll have LOTS to share with you when I get back.
Aside from all that my friends, know that I keep you in my heart and prayers that God gives you the strength to get through whatever challenge He’s put before you. Trust in Him and He will get you through whatever your challenge is. He does for me.
I’ll talk with you all soon,
Just remember to take care of you and yours,
PS: I still may be having another surgery in the spring to address my neck issues too.