Archive for March, 2012
email@example.com Twitter @KathleenMosko
Candi, our lop-eared angora bunny hasn’t done all that great with Skittles’ passing. I knew it would be difficult for her, it has been for me. He was her whole life! She’s starting to come around more, like when we eat she’ll often get into her condo to eat with us, and she comes into my room to lay there while I write. I’ve even caught her up on my bed looking around. That’s where she and Skittles used to cuddle with me while I was recouperating.
Just as vital to the care of Skittles while he was sick to make a proper determination, Dr. Christine Kolmstetter has been very important in making sure I don’t foget about Candi, not that I would. Candi has her own set of circumstances and although my healing for the most part is over, I must never forget the continued care that she needs too.
Bunnies often have a condition where their teeth, if not ground down from chewing flat leafy food, will grow with hi points and they need to be ground down in a clinical setting. This is often the case with domesticated rabbits because we tend to feed them a much different diet than what they’d eat in the wild. Some breeds are more prone to it than others. If left unchecked, they can literally starve to death because they can’t chew their food. Candi is one of those such bunnies.
Rabbits are one of the most carefree animals to care for. That being said, there are some real particulars…
FIRST… Remember they can live between 6 & 15 years depending on their breed and care given ( not just being caged 24/7.)
SECONDLY…. although they do not require vaccinations, spay or neutering is a must for longevity, especially in females, otherwise they get uterine cancer very early.
THIRDLY….they need to see a vet regularly, just like any other pet you may have. HOWEVER, they’re considered an “EXOTIC” pet and many vets are not trained to care for them. These vets have special training in animals other than cats and dogs. Some small towns may not have an “exotic” trained vet at all. I was lucky enough to have one back in Ohio. And I was very much surprised when I got here to Vegas there were only three in a town of 2 million!
Lucky for Skittles and Candi I found a great doc early on. Dr. Chirstine Kolmstetter, now at Aloha Animal Hospital, has been caring for my bunnies for about four years now. In that time I’ve grown to appreciate her warmth and kindness beyond just our patient relationship. You vet plays a very important part in helping you communicate with your pet and allows you to do the best possible thing for them. Such is the case with Skittles during his illness.
From personally reaching out to me and our family by phone, notes and emails, Dr. K has showed the level of caring she understands about the impact pets make in our lives when we as humans rely on our pets in our times of need. She totally understood the dynamic in play and how important Skittles and Candi have been, first in the recovery of Brian with Skittles and with the both of them for me as I recovered.
Since Skittles’ passing Candi’s had a hard time adjusting. Dr. K has shared with me the signs of pet depression to look out for with her and some suggestions on how to correct them when they appear. Recently Candi was sneezing, (I didn’t know bunnies sneezed!) and Dr. K put her on some antibiotics. Well, Candi has gone kickin n screamin all the way to each dropper full, but she’s finally stopped sneezing, so I think Dr. K was right once again. Candi’s still pretty shy and I often have to look for her to get her into her cage so I can take her for a snuggling session.
This visit she only weighed in at 3.7 pounds. She really has no margin for error… if she doesn’t eat well everyday, it could mean disaster for her almost immediately. As it turned out, Candi’s teeth needed ground down and she was left to get the dental work done. Candi had to be out to get the job done with a light anesthesia. She came home but didn’t want to eat. Dr. K called twice to make sure Candi was making poop! LOL Amused, I called to leave Dr. K a message we had success, the girl on the other end of the line laughed. I got a followup email from Dr. K coveying she was glad to hear of the appearance of poop! LOL Dr. K has a great sense of humor too!
Since I’ve been more mobile I stay away from the house longer, in turn leaving Candi alone more. I’ve tried to spend extra “home time” involved with her so she doesn’t feel left out. When Skittles was around, I found an old metal framed baby crib I modified for him so he could be outside with us but safe from any predator birds. I tried to remember all the things I did with Skittles before she came along to do those things with her now. I’d take him on car rides to pick Brian up from school, and I’d put him on his leash, but so far Candi wants no part of that leash! Her fur is so long also that it makes it VERY easy for her to slip out of her harness no matter how snug I put it. So for now the crib will have to do for her to be outside.
As for Dr. Kolmstetter, you couldn’t ask for a better doctor, a more caring individual, a more concerned human being for the love of your pet. There are few words I can say to show how much I really appreciate her concern and her caring for our EXOTIC pets. She will always hold a special place in our hearts. Skittles died the first week Dr. K was at Aloha Animal Hospital. I was surprised to receive a sympathy card hand signed by every staff member including all the other doctors from the hospital along with a little heart shaped metal tag with the inscription “In loving memory of Skittles.” They have no idea how much that meant to Brian and I.
So out of appreciation, I want to send along a very heartfelt THANK YOU to Dr. K for all you do. Once again, she’s done a great job in keeping my exotic pet from harms way and for all the other pets she does that for as well. I’m sure there are many grateful pet owners who endear her to their families… Thanks for all you do Dr. K. I APPRECIATE YOU!
In the meantime, my dear readers, you all know what to do, take care of you and your!
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @KathleenMosko
I want to wish my son the happiest of birthdays! Today he’s 23! I COULDN’T BE MORE PROUD OF THE MAN HE’S BECOME!
In the past year, Brian fulfilled three of his life’s ambitions.
1. To get the girl! He and Ally got engaged this past year.
2. To own his own company and become CEO
3. To have a condo on the Strip in Vegas!
DONE, DONE, AND DONE! How sweet it must be for him, to know he’s already knocking off some of the items on his bucket list while many of his peers are still trying to figure out what a bucket list is….NICE!
It’s amazing to see this all unfold before my eyes, to watch him spread his wings and fly. I know all the hard work he put into learning the skills necessary to get what he wants and to know at such a young age what he wants, is just incredible! While his friends were out partying and getting stupid and drunk, he was honing those skills. And he sees the rewards. He told me it’s really nice to be in the position he’s in because he can be his own boss and there’s no one above him limiting him or his income.
He’s creative, and articulate, and crazy-fun to be around. He’s kept me on my toes, been my cheerleader and my caretaker in much the same way I was for him. He keeps me forever young in spirit, and, as he put it, now that Dr. Smith fixed me, I get to go back at least 15 years and I get a “do over!”
He’s his own person and knows who he is. He’s OK with wearing pink (he looks great in pink) and is mischievous in all the right ways…. he announced he was baking his own birthday cake, (he said he was paying attention all those years when he was in the kitchen with me) and he made a rainbow 4-layer cake! He’s decorating it himself as well since I bought him a pastry bag and tips…. I’m so glad he’s into all facets of life. Being a businessman can really bog you down unless you have the lightheartedness to set that aside and go for the gusto. And for those who know Brian, well, let’s just say… he’s got a LOT of gusto!
Life is all about balance. And I really think Brian gets that. He’s serious when he has to be, compassionate when he needs to be, and just downright fun when he wants to be! I would like him as a person even if he wasn’t my kid. And really, he hasn’t been my kid since the day he turned 18. He looked at me that day when I told him to go do something and he said, “You can’t make me, I’m 18 now!” I gently reminded him that that may well be the case but there are consequences for his actions I won’t be responsible for and can’t bail him out of if he gets stupid. There aren’t enough words in a book for me to teach him about this concept as much as his one buddy throwing a party at his parents’ home while they were away. His buddy got drunk and stupid with probably 60 people he invited, and 8 metro cars with a chopper hovering overhead descended upon said house! Brian and one other guy were the only ones NOT detained! Brian doesn’t drink… or do drugs or hookah or any other of that crap! Yeah, he saw it all firsthand and is well aware of the consequences of stupid…. he chooses differently. WHEW!
So, now that he’s well on his way with a bright future and someone to share it with, today, his 23rd birthday, is another beginning to the rest of his life.
Son, you’re an awesome person, and I’m proud you’re my son! I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!
Have a happy day!
email@example.com Twitter @KathleenMosko
Well, it finally happened…. I am at a stalemate with my writing…. the words just flowed from my fingertips when I thought I was talking to someone and not just writing… SO HERE’S THE NEWS! I’m opening up the comments once again in hopes that I can get back to being the writer I once was or even better!
Here’s another bit of news also…. MY SON CALLED ME OUT! When I kicked it around with him about opening the comments back up, he asked, “Why?”
“Because I had someone to talk “with” and “to” and not just put words down.”
He queried, “How will that help you in your writing?”
“It makes me feel like my writing has purpose, that I’m connected in some way, that I am contributing to their knowledge base.”
“MOM! I thought this website was aboutYOU, not about teaching people about all the medical stuff, or about something technical!”
“Well, that’s what it started out to be Brian, but, there’s so much I know now to share with others and it just doesn’t seem fair to keep it to myself.”
“But this is about YOUR journey, about what’s happening with YOU, about YOUR life, about how YOU’RE feeling health-wise and about things now that YOU’RE better. This is supposed to be about YOU and YOUR story and about how YOUR life’s changed in all the different ways. Isn’t that what YOU told me YOU originally wanted to do with this website?”
“Yeah, but, I discovered there’s so much more I could give, to share, that others could use!”
He suscintly answered, “Then write another book about THOSE things.”
“THIS WEBSITE IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT YOU!”
So for the last three weeks I’ve been contemplating about that conversation and how to handle it. I still don’t have all of it worked out in my mind, but I did start that third book. I’m compiling all the “medical” stuff I’ve incorporated in my website, pulled it out and will be putting it in some semblance of order for it to be all in one place.
I really miss talking with all of you the way I used to, not all that long ago. You’ve become my friends. I respond well to friends, to people I feel care about me. I begin to care about you as well. This is a big hint to anyone who wants to get on my good side, become my friend first…. it goes an extremely long way with me. Get to know me, share yourself with me, let me know you care. I’ll reciprocate. I’ve never really been comfortable putting myself out there, as so many of you don’t, but the more I do, the easier it’s becoming, and the easier it is to receive. Try it!
In the meantime, know that I do miss you all, your responses spurred me on to think deeper, write better, and have a richer life because of it. Serious writing is a full time job, and, I don’t know how I’m going to find the time to dedicate myself to do this these days. I have a few other things on my plate as well, but for now I’ll try. So I guess what I’m saying is, though I might be a little rusty, I’M BACK!
Hugs, to you all!
Take care of you and yours,
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @KathleenMosko
I know, I know, I’ve been gone for quite a while… it’s been hard to get back into the swing of things…. IT’S SPRING DARNIT! There’s things to do in the yard, places to go, rehearsals to attend…. GEESH! So much to do these days,(so many things I wasn’t able to do for so long), and so little time!!! Some days it’s hard to pick what I want to do first! And being ADHD, that can be a real challenge! HAHAHA
The ACDF surgery by far was my toughest one to recover from. This past Friday, March 16th, marked my one year anniversary from my ACDF. I thought I was being a bit of a crybaby and a wimp from having so many issues I thought would resolve themselves much quicker than what they did. But, from all the questions I’ve been getting, I guess there’s some real validity to the issues. In some ways I’m glad you’re writing to me because it lets me know I’m not alone and it validates the issues as real and not just unique to me alone.
That being said, I’ve had my share of ups and downs with trying to gain full strength and use of my neck. I’ve been doubly assaulted because most people didn’t have a second surgery less than 8 weeks after the ACDF having another airway put into their throat and are not singers as I am. Others have had the time to just let it heal on it’s own, as is the prescription of most doctors. My case, of course, was different. Dr. Smith told me I could start doing warm-ups and “light” singing after 5 months. But it wasn’t until almost the 9 month mark before I felt comfortable because my throat felt like something was pressing on my voice-box and I could literally move my voicebox back into place. The inner muscles just weren’t strong enough to do their job. And for all the practical activity I’ve encounter to do exercises to strengthen those inner muscles at the neck that were stretched, the only one I’ve found to be the most effective for me has been to sing.
At first it sounded so bad, like I had a ball of phlegm stuck in my throat that I couldn’t get out. And then there’s this issue of feeling like my Adam’s apple is pushing against my voice-box. Well, as I’m singing more, the rasp is almost gone, I don’t need to push my voice-box into place much any more, though it does still happen and is annoying as all hell, and the only time I feel my Adam’s apple is pushing against my voice-box now is when I try to sleep on my side.
I know that sounds really wierd but for several days now, Candi, my snuggle bunny and I have been spending some quality time together and our favorite activity is to be in bed under the covers. I don’t stay long with her but she’s finally warming up to me since Skittles’ departure. Her favorite spot is snuggling up against my neck laying on my arm while I’m on my side. She’s only four pounds so that’s not the issue, it’s the height ratio to the degree of the angle my neck is tilted while I’m on my side.
I’ll explain it further. I haven’t been able to find the right height pillow that will accommodate the weight of my head and get me to the proper height so my neck is exactly aligned with my spine if I’m on my side. You’d think it would be a no-brainer, just hold a pillow up to your ear and see if the thickness is out to your shoulder so when you’re on your side, it will hold your head in alignment with your spine… NOT! I can’t tell you how many pillows I’ve tried alone and stacked to make this work…. IT AIN’T THAT EASY! AND, I can tell you that my neck is letting me know the combinations aren’t working. My best position for her and I is flat on my back and I do mean FLAT!
I used to have pillows for my head, and then for under my legs to ease the back pain, and one under my arm so I could position my shoulder for the neck pain prior to surgery. Well since the neck pain is gone, I don’t have the arm pillow, and the back pain is gone so I don’t have the leg pillow (except for when I try to lay on my side which then gets put between my knees), and I invested in two different types and thicknesses of “orthopedic” pillows designed for supposedly helping brace your neck, which I found to be most uncomfortable. So, I sleep flat, no pillow. But I do have pillows within reach so if I do attempt to lay on my side I have some handy.
I did a full day of singing yesterday, trying to get rid of the last of the sometimes rasp which only shows up now when I’m fatigued. By singing so much I’m hoping to strengthen those inner muscles to a point where I won’t feel the rasp when I sing. I’m almost there. And about the Adam’s apple thing, well, I guess Candi’s just gonna have to settle for cuddling under my chin while I’m laying flat.
One plus I have noticed, I don’t snore as much as I did before. I think it’s the combination of me strengthening my outer and inner muscles, losing some weight, and not using a pillow. I can’t attribute the no snoring to any one thing because I’ve been doing them all simultaneously and won’t stop long enough to do only one at a time to find out ’cause I am singing at the Cathedral for Easter week, Vigil, and Easter Sunday, not to mention I’m going to be rehearsing in hopes I can get into one of the Philharmonic Choirs here in town. My goal is to sing with Bocelli even if it is only to sing in the backup choir he uses when he’s in town performing every year in November. But, I’m starting now! Who knows, maybe hard work and opportunity will collide and I can scratch my number 1 item off my bucket list!
Many of you have asked the questions about the feeling of your surgical plate hitting your voice-box or Adam’s apple, I hope by explaining my situation you find some answers as this is such an annoying feeling to have. And, I suggest that if you are going to try moving your voice-box as I did, DO IT G E N T L Y! It’s delicate in that region. It took me more than a few tries to find out how much pressure to use, and where to put it back to. In doing so it does relieve a lot of that feeling like the plate is hitting your voice-box because then everything’s back in place for a while until you inadvertently dislodge it again.
Like I said, I’m a full year out from surgery now and I’m still having some latent issues, none that are intolerable, just, I’m ready to get rid of them all for good! I tell Dr. Smith’s patients that, although he can work miracles on that operating table for people to become pain free, he’s still not God, (and he knows that) and it’s up to the patient to then take responsibility for their recovery. YOUR RECOVERY IS ONLY AS GOOD AS WHAT YOU PUT INTO YOUR REHABILITATION! Your doctor can’t be with you 24/7! Remember, he’s busy saving someone else’s life from the same pain and misery you experienced.
OH, and another thing… standard for recovery is at the two year mark post-op, so I theoretically am still healing and recovering for the next year with this ACDF… DON’T GET AHEAD OF YOUR SELF! Everyone wants to get back to life quicker than what their body’s can heal most of the time!
Your second line of defense is to get a really good physical therapist. Dr. Smith said I could chose to not go to PT if I didn’t want to, but I went, and was so happy I did! What I found out and did under the watchful eye of Dr. Amanda Scott Cain from MattSmith Physical Therapy I’ll be able to use forever. She was so caring in making sure I knew all the exercises I could have that would strengthen my neck’s outer muscles. As for the inner ones she was limited to help there, but did give me a few. We openly discussed what I could do to help the inner muscles and she said it was basically all up to me. The more I sang the stronger they would become. So I sing, almost every day now, and it’s delightful! There’s nothing like putting a song in your heart to lift your spirits no matter how bad you feel!
ALL OF THOSE EXERCISES SHE SHARED HAVE BEEN POSTED IN PRIOR POSTS ON THIS WEBSITE. MAKE SURE YOU CHECK WITH YOUR SURGEON BEFORE DOING ANYTHING FIRST… YOUR SITUATION IS AS UNIQUE AS YOU ARE…. DON’T SCREW YOURSELF UP! ASK YOUR SURGEON!!!
I do hope this has been helpful in addressing some of the many searches I’ve seen on my analytics looking for answers to this very topic. I felt compelled to address them once again as an update just so you get a feel as to how long and how intense your recovery will be a year post-op. Please keep in mind every body is different and will react to surgeries differently. Also, your level of commitment to your recovery is crucial to your final outcome… BE YOUR OWN BEST ADVOCATE!
I have to go warm up my voice now to be ready for mass then choir practice afterwards at the Cathedral. Have a great day and I’ll be posting again soon.
In the meantime, you remember what to do, take care of you and yours,
email@example.com Twitter @Kathleen Mosko
I’m really sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been dealing with some personal issues that have just derailed me. I did however want to recognize one of the most personally important days of my life, March 8th.
March 8th marks for me two years since I met Dr. Smith, who literally changed my life. Many people have a “hero” worship with their doctors when they cured them. I know he’s not a hero, but he’s more than that. I know he set out to change lives all those many years ago when he first started going to medical school, but I’m not sure he can comprehend what a difference he’s made in all the lives he’s touched, and in mine, simply because I’m still discovering all the ways he’s made a difference for me. I’m sure others feel the same. If I could wish one thing for him, it would be, for just one day, to be me and see himself through my eyes. Then he would know just how special he is to me.
Two years and one day prior to this Thursday, I was still facing all the uncertainty of conventional back surgery. The kind that would give me a measure of relief, but would do damage to good muscle and tissue in order to relieve me of far greater pains. Yes, I’d finally found an orthopedic doctor willing to take on my case, but with stern warnings he was limited as to how much he could help me. And, he shared he couldn’t get me completely out of pain. My spouse jumped at the chance and scheduled my surgery for me, allthewhile asking the surgeon how long it would be before I could do all my wifely duties.
In my heart of hearts, I’d always wanted a neurosurgeon to do my surgeries after reading all I did about my condition. It was MY BODY, and I had to remind my spouse of that as I waited patiently for my appointment with Dr. William Smith, Neurosurgeon. THAT’S who I wanted to see. I wanted to hear it from his mouth what he thought he could do for me. Little did I know WHO I was actually meeting that fortunate day.
Dr. William Smith has spent his life dedicated to helping others, to make their lives more fulfilling, more active, more whole. His dedication has been spent honing his skills, testing the outer edges of possibilities, learning, improvising, innovating, designing, crafting all the most modern technology possible to use as part of his arsenal in the operating room, where he is most comfortable. There nothing else matters, and everything matters. He understands full well he may hold that person’s whole future in his hands. He lives and breathes to “first do no harm” and to help mend the broken body before him the best way he knows how. His empathy for that broken life is unmatched by anything I’ve ever known. His calm demeanor, his calculated precision, and his compassion all culminate in a life saved from the ravages of inexplicable pain. I know, I was one of those patients on that operating table he believed was worth saving.
To me, it was a ”no-brainer” to volunteer at his office to speak with other patients going through the same doubts and fears. To know what Dr. Smith does not from a description but by experience has given me depth of understanding. I want others to know how much talent and dedication he has, and how much I want everyone else who needs him to trust him enough to do what he can to make them whole as well, it’s that important. I can extend to others my experiences and put their minds at ease in a way I didn’t have access to before I had the surgeries. In some small way I add to his ability to help others by showing them firsthand the results of his work, his sample on the shelf. But I know full well it all started March 8, 2010, a day I will always celebrate in a very personal way, knowing that was the day that changed my life forever.
Nothing I will ever do or become from that day forward could be attributed to anything else but the fortunate appointment I had with Dr. Smith. Without it my life would be a totally different one, and I’m guessing much less than the one I’ve got! He’s afforded me a measure of dignity and self worth I’ve not felt my entire life and he’s done it in a discrete manner, which is greatly appreciated. He’s helped to heal my body, mind, and spirit giving me hope when I needed it most.
So there’s really nothing for you my reader to celebrate except maybe for the fact that without March 8th being totally significant to me, all of you wouldn’t be able to benefit from what I share on my website with you.
I will be back at writing soon, but in the meantime, remember to take care of you and yours,