Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

9/8/11

Videos Galore

I've been meaning for some time now to share the videos put together by Jewish hospital about my story. The day I found out I was going to be released from Frazier, Adam suggested we go back and visit the nurses in the ICU. As the day went on and word spread that we were coming for a visit, the hospital decided to film and photograph the event. As a result, this video was put together...

video


A few weeks after I came home the videographer asked to come out to our house to take some footage of us with Landon.The second video was used during nurses week this year. It is a final edit of the first video so the two are very similar.

video




It is so very hard for me to express the amount of gratitude that I have to each and every person that cared for me while I was in the hospital. Looking back on the video, I am overcome with tears. I feel like I'm right back there again and completely unable to say the right words to these people who did so much for me. I wish I could do this all over and say something more prophetic, but even as I sit here today almost six months later, I realize that there are not, nor probably ever will be, enough words to convey my emotions and feelings for these care givers. It is with all my heart that I just say Thank you and hope that is enough.

On a lighter note, here is video I just took of Landon getting ready to crawl. He wanted that ball and was determined to get it. Any bets on how much longer until he is up and moving on all fours? 


video

8/17/11

Happiness

Recently I was listening to my favorite radio talk show host Dennis Prager who was doing his weekly hour on happiness. He was talking about being happy despite tragedy in our lives. This hour especially hit home to me and I wanted so badly to call and share my story with him, but I wasn’t able. Instead I decided that I would blog about what I wanted to share with him.

When I woke up after being medically sedated for almost five weeks I was not a happy person. In the first days that I can remember, I was scared, confused, and VERY angry.  I didn’t completely understand what had happened and I really didn’t understand why this had happened to ME. I wanted so badly to see my son who at the time was 5 weeks old.  I wanted things to progress much faster than they were and more than anything I wanted to just be able to walk or move on my own. For about two weeks whenever I was awake with no doctors or visitors I would just sit and stare. Mainly at the two pictures of my son and the date on the board that was located on the wall in front of me. Adam would ask me if I wanted to watch tv or read a book and my answer was always no. I wanted to sleep as much as I possibly could and I never wanted the blinds of my room open to let the sunlight in. For the first time in my life I was severally depressed and as most people told me, it was rightfully so. By the time I was moved to Frazier I was doing better, but I was still in a major depression. I had picked up watching my favorite shows and was allowing the blinds open at certain times, but I still felt trapped in my body and very very angry. There were many times that my family expressed God’s role in miraculously healing me and while I wasn’t bitter with God, I wasn’t sure exactly where I stood with him at that point.

While I had been in the hospital, Adam’s grandfather had been at home dying. It was a gradual process that started before I became sick and worsened tremendously while I was sick. During my first few days at Frazier Adam asked my doctors if it would be possible for me to leave the hospital for an hour or two to visit him. Adam and his family knew that he probably wouldn’t make it until I got out and after several days of constant pestering, all my doctors agreed. It was set for me to leave the hospital for a few hours between my morning and afternoon therapy sessions.  I spent my morning session with a big grin on my face practicing walking up and down steps since there were 20 steps between me and seeing Papa once I got to the house.  At 11:45, once both my morning sessions were over, Adam got my wheelchair and took me to our truck in the parking garage.  While Adam put the wheelchair in the back of the truck I crawled in and for the first time in over seven weeks I was outside of the hospital. Sitting in that truck I was overcome with emotions. I almost cried just being able to be in it again. We pulled out of the parking garage and it was one of the most beautiful days I can ever remember. It was the middle of March and a perfect spring day. The sky was an amazing blue spotted with white puffy clouds. All the trees were green and blossoming and the tulips had just started to make their debut.

I wish everyone could experience what I experienced that day. I remember telling Adam that the colors seemed more vibrant than I ever remembered and I swore I could smell the flowers on the side of the road while we were driving past them. I LOVED seeing all the people in their cars and walking down the street just living their lives. I couldn’t take deep breaths to soak it all in. Life gave me a big smack in the face during that short trip and it was so exhilarating. I had a wonderful visit with Papa and Landon for a little over an hour. I got to see my son with a man that has influenced my life in so many ways and it made me so unbelievably happy. After an hour visit it was back to Frazier and while I didn’t want to go back I was even more determined to get better and try harder.  I was forever changed. That afternoon I decided to stop sleeping during my breaks, I decided to reconcile with my situation, and I decided to stop being angry. It was the biggest turning point in my recovery. I say this, because I realized nothing really mattered if I couldn’t appreciate life. Whatever it was like, it was life. We drove back to the hospital with the windows down enjoying the beauty of the day in ways I had never had before.

So many people talk to me about my grief and how it is ok for me to be depressed and take time to grieve all my losses, but there was no loss. There is nothing for me to grieve. Yes, awful terrible things happened that I would not wish on my worst enemy, but what I have learned and come away with supersedes all pain, suffering and loss that I experienced. I’m not going to lie; I still have moments where I can become overcome with sadness. Missing the first nine weeks of my Son’s life will never get easier to think about. Seeing all the scars on my body from surgeries and equipment used to save my life still makes me want to crawl into a hole. But, I choose to not dwell on those things. I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I have a husband that gave more of himself to me in the last 6 months than most people would see in ten lifetimes. I have a beautiful little boy who is the epitome of happiness and all that is good in this world. I have friends and family that are nothing short of amazing. I saw the goodness and kindness of strangers in ways that still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Life is beautiful in so many ways and it was just waiting for me to open my eyes and see that.

If I had not had a turning point that day, I honestly do not know where I would be today. So many people have told me how strong I am and that’s what got me through this, but that is not true. Call it what you want, God, the beauty of Spring, Papa leaving a little of himself with me that day, but I was awakened in a way that I wish I could give to anyone struggling with depression, loss and sadness that they cannot overcome.  Dennis Prager says we have a moral obligation to be happy, but it shouldn’t feel like an obligation. No matter what awful, horrible, traumatizing things have happened to us we STILL have no reason not to be happy. We just have to open our eyes to see the good of everything including the good parts of awful things. We just need that one day to realize the beauty of life, because if you are here to experience life in whatever form it comes in, it is beautiful and we should all be happy to experience it.  

8/3/11

Happy 65th Wedding Anniversary!

Today is Noni and Papa's 65th Wedding Anniversary! I can honestly say that no two other people have had such an impact on my life. Here is my favorite picture of them from their wedding in 1946...


And here is my favorite from our wedding two years ago...
Together these pictures sum up a lifetime of admiration, love and devotion. Noni calls Papa her leader, but I would call Noni Papa's life support. I have never been inspired by anyone like I am by them and in so many different ways. Congratulations Noni! Papa may not be here this year to celebrate it with you, but the rest of us can. Love you both to pieces!!!!!!!!

7/29/11

Its time...

That I resurrect this blog!!! Not that it was ever much to begin with, but it was something that I wanted to do and still is and so...here we go again. If you know me, and I figure everyone reading this thus far does, you know these last few months of my life have been a little crazy. I feel that this blog will be a good outlet for me and my thoughts since now I have a lot more to write about than I did when I first started this blog. Landon, my son, is 6 months old today. I am all but fully recovered from a medical illness that almost took my life, and I am back at work (boo), but only part-time allowing me to stay home and be a Mommy and Wife full-time four days a week. Life is good and I'm trying to live it the fullest.
I decided to start this blog back tonight, because this week I've started a list of four major goals that I want to accomplish and I think this will be the best place to log my progress. I know that writing my progress down will help me to stay more on track towards my goal. They are all very important to me and I want to make sure that I stay on target with them. Slacking off is easier than staying motivated, but I am determined and the only thing in my way is myself. Hopefully, I won't be an issue. So here they are..

1.) Lose weight.
30 pounds to be exact. I have a lot self-esteem issues that stem from everything that happened to me this past year. There are many things about my body that I cannot change. I will have to learn to deal with and get past most everything, but my weight is not one of them. I am 5'8" and weighed 182.5 pounds at my first weight watchers meeting tonight. That's right, in order to meet my first goal I am joining weight watchers. I am very excited. I picked weight watchers for many reasons, but mainly because I feel like weight watchers is going to be a lifestyle change and not just a diet. I am ready for that and I feel like I will be successful. My first hurdle comes in only two days when my family and I are going for dinner at Bucca Di Beppo. A restaurant that will probably blow my 31 point daily allowance out the window with just a bit of their delicious Italian food, but have no fear, I get an extra 49 points a week and I will probably need them all for that dinner. I'm most looking forward to trying new healthy recipes and tricking Adam into doing with me (shhh...I'm not going to tell him though).

2.) Find a church.
Since our priest, Father Bill retired in June, Adam and I decided to find a new church. We are both hoping to find a church that is more conservative than the Cathedral, but I am also very interested in finding a church with a good children's community for Landon and a good community outreach and formation program for myself. Since I've gotten home I've felt a real need to give back in some way. I don't yet know how or what I can do, but I want to explore. A man told me just this week "Seek and you will find" and that is exactly what I am doing...I am seeking to make a difference, to give back, and to try in some way to help others. This Sunday we are trying mass at St. Francis of Assisi. They have a wonderful children's community which includes religious classes for children who do not attend Catholic schools. Even though this is a few years away, we do not plan on sending Landon to a Catholic school and so making sure he gets a Catholic education is very important. I've heard wonderful things about St. Francis and they are a great community church so we will see how it goes. I'm am very excited to try it. The following week Adam gets to pick and we are going to St. Micheal's, the Orthodox church, so in I am hoping we enjoy St. Francis and can end our search.

3.) Find a bible study and start aggressively reading the bible.
Wanting to reach out and help others is what I want to do to give back, but reading the bible and really studying it is what I want to do for myself. I've started numerous times, read bits and pieces here and there, but I've never read the bible all the way through or really studied and tried to understand what the bible says. This has now become a very important goal of mine, probably my biggest goal and I feel like finding a bible study will help me to really conquer this goal. Finding a bible study in the Catholic church is not an easy task though. No wonder people say Catholics do not read the bible. I've called around all week and just when I thought I may go outside of the church (which is fine), I found a small bible study that meets Sunday morning at St. Francis of Assisi. Hence, why we are going to Mass there this week. I'm looking forward to finding a group of people I can feel comfortable with sharing and learning. Like the church, I don't know if St. Francis will be that place, but I am going to start there and see what happens.

4.) Write my story.
I can't explain it, but I have a strong urge to write down my experience over the past six months. Starting with getting sick in January. Its is not a story that is over yet as I still have my battles, my good days and bad days. The main reason I feel a need to write everything down is because no one other than Adam really understands what this experience was like for me. Everyone else shares a similar experience that pretty much ended in March when I woke up and it was clear that I was going to be ok. That is when it actually started for me, having been medically sedated and unware of everything up until that point I came to and my whole life had been turned upside down. I think what I went through was a unique experience that not many people can relate to and I want to be able to explain what it is like to go asleep one day, wake up over a month later, and not be able to move. I want to share my dreams, well nightmares, my daily struggles with staying positive and appreciative for making it through and  I want to share what I have learned from it all. I by no means feel like I now hold the answers to life, but I do feel like I've learned some very valuable lessons and I would like to share it. I also feel in some way it will be therapeutic for me to write it all down. It won't be a short task, but one I am looking forward to.

I found a great quote yesterday that said "What defines us is how well we rise after failing" I have adopted that as my motto. My life has changed in so many in the last 6 months. I am ready to reach for the stars, but I plan on starting with these four simple goals that will help me to continue to rise and become the person that I want to be.