Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good, no, Great Things In The Air

I feel wonderful:
  • My back is finally feeling healthy (I have an appt with Dr. W on Christmas Eve and am praying for a full release).
  • I have my energy back.
  • Christmas is right around the corner.
  • I have two incredible children.
  • Words cannot describe the love I have for my husband.
  • We have an awesome church family who cares for us in all circumstances.
  • My friends are the absolute best! I'd put them up against anyone else's friends any day! Oh and we're going to have a wild and crazy girls' night out this weekend!
  • There are some great, incredible things on the horizon for us. More to come...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I posted prematurely :)

The pictures in the previous post of the snow were taken around 8pm. I posted them and then around 10pm, looked out the window. To my surprise, it had not stopped snowing and here is what everything looked like by that time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sickness Has Abounded!

That's right. Since I last wrote, I got over the whole 'sinus infection from a very unpleasant place' thing, felt better for a few busy days, and then came down with a stomach virus Monday afternoon. Trust me when I say you do not want the gory details. The bright side, no one (at my house) has gotten it besides me. Many of the other women at church have come down with it, but so far, I've heard nothing of the children and men. I'm glad.

So anyway, this will be a quick "catch up" post and then tomorrow (hopefully) I'll start posting regularly again. First order of business, my pet peeves about outdoor Christmas light displays. It'll rock your socks off so, be sure to check back :)

1. I got a new washer and dryer in an unbelievable Black Friday sale! They are awesome! They can do just about anything, are super fast and energy efficient, and even play a nifty little tune when they're done. The best part (at least from Brandon's point of view) is that they are front loaders and on pedestals that put them at the perfect height for me to be able to do laundry again!!! I never thought I could love a pair of appliances so much! Here are some pictures of my new babies...

2. We put up our tree and only our tree this year. It's just too hard to do more than that in my "condition". Here are some pictures of it. It stands about 15 feet tall. These really don't do it justice.

3. It SNOWED today!!! I am not kidding! The kids absolutely loved it. Here are some pictures...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm Sick!

I don't like being sick. I have a disgusting cold or sinus infection, something like that. You know, one of those things where your throat itches, you're coughing & sneezing, you have a runny/stuffy nose (depends on the moment), your eyes are watery, your ears are stuffy, and you have a horrible headache. Yeah, I'm sick and I don't like it. Happy Thanksgiving all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm a Slacker!

I know I've been absent. I don't know, however, what's wrong with me. I have been feeling blah. I think it may have to do with my insane addiction to Spider Solitaire (my win percentage is 11% on difficult!). That plus the stock market and dieting, Voila! you have the makings for a blah
couple of weeks. Anyway, here are the pictures I promised of the cake I made for the LSU/Alabama game. It was really cute and I have to give Brandon credit for the goal posts. We had a great time even if we did lose in overtime. LSU really needs a good quarterback!

I'll try to update again soon. I plan on getting out of the funk real soon :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tomorrow's Game Day!!!

We have decided to end our era of being unsocial! We love to entertain and have people over, but have been unable to since my back surgery. Well, that all ends tomorrow! We are having a big party for the LSU vs. Alabama game. I LOVE, no ADORE LSU football. It's a sickness really, but I am not in denial about our lack of ability this year. The Georgia and Florida games made me sick! I was screaming like a mad woman at the TV and I really could have ripped someone's head off. I am preparing myself for tomorrow's game to be even more upsetting, so I decided it best to have friends here to watch it with. Maybe being surrounded by my best church friends will make me act more "Christian" towards Les Miles, Nick Saban, and their respective teams. We'll see... I plan on taking some pictures (I'm making a super cool football field cake!) and I'll post them at the beginning of the week. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

My kids got to vote in a mock election at school yesterday while the rest of us were "real" voting. They had been preparing all week for this. Their teachers gave them a run down of each (major) candidate for president and each (once again, major) party. I would overhear conversations between the two of them all weekend about who they thought they would vote for and why. I was asked a few times who I was voting for and decided that I was going to conduct my own little experiment and remain unbiased and keep my vote a secret. My response was "I know who I'm voting for, but I want you to decide for you. So, I'm not going to tell you until after the election." They came home from school yesterday very excited about voting. They both said that they voted for McCain and both for different reasons. It was very interesting to hear why they voted the way they did. Aubrey really didn't like Obama's plans for education and teacher enrichment. Blaine's reasons were a little more disturbing. First he said that Obama doesn't say the Pledge of Allegiance (I know the root of this, but have no idea where he heard it from). Then, he said it's because Obama smokes (I told him I don't think that's true, but I'm not sure.). Their school, as a whole, went to McCain. So, this morning I asked "Do you guys want to know who our new president is?" The answer, of course, was "YES!" I told them Obama won and here is what followed:

Aubrey: "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Blaine (simultaneously): crying sounds

Me: "It's okay!"

Aubrey (looking at Blaine): "Well, now we're going to be poor! I guess we better start packing."

Blaine (immediately looking at me): "Yep, we're going to lose our house."

Me: "No, we're not. We are going to be okay."

Aubrey: "How do you know that?"

Me: "Because God is in control of everything and He knew who would win president. In fact, He put who He wanted in that position. And, He's going to take care of us!"

Aubrey (to Blaine): "Come on Blaine. Let's pack. We're going to have to live with Maw Maw in Louisiana."

Me: "We are going to be okay!"

Aubrey: "Do you know anyone who voted for Obama?"

Me: "I do." I then named a couple of out of state family members who were Obama supporters.

Aubrey: "Why on Earth did they do that!? Wait, they live in *insert state*!"

Me: "First of all Aubrey, they voted for Obama because they had things they liked better about him just like you had things you liked better about McCain. The thing about having the right to vote is that you also have to accept it when the person you really wanted doesn't win. That's the way democracy works. Everything will be okay. Secondly, they got to vote in *insert state* because the race was for President of the entire United States."

Aubrey: "Are you kidding me!!?? I thought it was for President of Texas! Now, where are we gonna live. Louisiana's not safe either!"

Well, my good counsel may not have helped Aubrey at all, but I'm going to cling to it. God put Barack Obama where he is now. I trust that whether it makes my earthly body happy or not.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Is "randomness" even a word? Hmmm... Anyway, High School Musical 3 was great! And, I'm not the only one who thinks so, just ask Brandon (he'll probably lie, but I'll tell you the truth- he liked it!). It was the number 1 movie at the box office this week, so apparently, I'm not alone!

I'm beginning to get antsy about my recovery (shocking, I know!). I know I still have three more months of recovery ahead of me, at least, but I'm beginning to think about the future- something I have been putting off because of my back. I've been thinking about the fact that my kids are both in school and I'm only 28 years old. All I have ever wanted to be was a Mom. I remember being a little girl and people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up and answering "a Mom". I never dreamt that I would be "done" so young and we would only have two children. I go through phases of obsessing over adding to our family. I wish so badly I could have more children. I know there are other ways, but the door just hasn't opened for it. *Honesty time- I am beginning to fight feelings of resentment when I hear friends of mine who can have children say things like "We're done! No way I would be crazy enough to have any more!" I know what they mean. I said the same thing after Blaine was born (remember I had two children 14 months apart!), but now my perspective has totally changed and I don't have babies or toddlers anymore and I realize how insensitive this comment can be. So, if I ever offended anyone by saying something like that, I'm sincerely sorry. End Rant* I am looking at the fact that I stay at home, am 28 years old, and my kids are gone all day. Do I think that's enough for me? Can I really justify staying at home for the next 30+ years alone? If not, what do I want to do? The only thing I seem to come up with is, I want a baby. That makes me sad.

Friday, October 24, 2008

High School Musical 3!!!

I'm going to see it today! Woo! Hoo! I'm super excited! That's all...oh, and I'm beginning to think I may be a teenager stuck in an adult's body...hmmm.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Best. Concert. Ever.

I know a lot of people think that it's totally stupid and pathetic that grown women would completely freak out over New Kids on the Block. I don't care! That concert was the best thing ever! Rachel, Ashley, Darcas, Kristy, and I had a blast! Our seats were incredible, too! Kristy even said it was one of the 4 best days of her life (she has three kids!) :) They put on a great show, as expected. But, even in my wildest dreams, it wasn't as good as reality. What I didn't expect is how emotional I got! I felt like that 8-9 year old girl again. The one who would lay on her bed listening to "I'll Be Loving You Forever" and dream that Jordan was singing it to her. It was crazy. I nearly passed out and all I could think was "I'm going to be that woman. The one with a husband and kids at home (not to mention a full torso back brace) who passed out when New Kids on the Block came on stage!" Thankfully, I didn't (thanks Ashley for the fanning!). It really was a crazy, stupid dream come true. We ALL left completely hoarse, and barely able to hear from all the screaming. I bonded with those girls and this will always be "our" thing. When we're old, we'll reminiscence about "that" concert and smile. Thanks girls for sharing it with me! And, thanks to Brandon, Tony, Tim, Michael, and John for letting us go and listening to us talk about other men for what will probably be a while!
Here are some pictures. The first is a picture of the front of the T-shirts I made for everyone. They were SUPER cute! I even put our names on the back. Ashley won a koozie from the radio station outside the Toyota Center. She was unbelievably excited :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still Alive

Just a quick update to let everyone know that I am, indeed, still alive. We had a great, but busy and exhausting weekend. Amanda and Tom are now officially married and Aubrey not only did a great job, she was an absolutely beautiful flower girl in an absolutely beautiful wedding. Hopefully I'll have some pictures emailed to me soon from family (it was just too much being Aubrey's personal assistant and taking pictures!). I do have a pretty hilarious video of her getting her "groove" on at the reception that I'll try to post later (if anyone knows how to do that, shoot me a line).

I'm doing okay, recovery wise. It's a long and tedious holding pattern that I'm stuck in, but I've found myself crying less this week, so that's good. There's just so much all around me that needs to be done and I simply cannot do it. It's very frustrating.

Another thing I want to address, I was reading some of my old blogs on my former blogspot and myspace and realized that I used to be pretty funny. I don't know exactly when that changed, but I'm going to try and bring the funny back. Maybe the further post-op I get, the funnier I'll get. One can only hope. For now, I leave you with some super funny pictures of my brother, Scott, riding Aubrey's bike complete with her pink helmet. I love my brother!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

There is No One Else For Me...None But Jesus

In the quiet
In the stillness
I know that You are God

In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored

When You call i won't refuse
Each new day again I'll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos in confusion
I know You're sovereign still

In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will

When You call I won't delay
This my song through all my days

All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord
Forever more

That about sums it up!

(Hillsong United)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I know I said I was going to get better about updating, well, I failed miserably. I have had a really "off" week. My pain meds will run out tomorrow and I've been trying to wean myself gradually and it has not been easy, at all. I have felt pretty darn horrible. We have a big wedding this weekend (Brandon's cousin), which is thankfully here in Houston, and Aubrey is the flowergirl. My mother and father-in-law will be in, as well as, one of my sister-in-laws, her husband, and children. I am really excited and can't wait to see everyone- just hope the pain and tightness doesn't get the best of me. Hopefully, we'll have some great pictures to post that I'll get to before, say, Christmas :)

I/Brandon finally got the x-rays scanned so here they are:

The first view is from the front and you can see the rods on either side of my spine and the screws in relation to my spine. If you look closely you can also see the floating bone graft just between the heads of the bottom two screws. The second view is from the side with my front being the right side of the x-ray, looking at a rod passing through the heads of two screws. You can see the angle at which the screws go into my spine and once again, closely, you can see the bone graft towards the front in the middle of the two screws. So there it is, the reason I am unable to move my torso for the next five months, visually.

I'll update more soon. Thanks everyone for writing. I really do have the best friends and family too (I love you too, Scott!).

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Lover of the Lame

I started a Beth Moore Bible study this week with a group of wonderful ladies from church. We are doing "Beloved Disciple: The Life and Ministry of John". I think I'm going to really like this study and the Lord knows how badly I need it. There have been few times in my life that I think I have been this sad, I can only think of three others (and those were completely justified by anyone standards!). I just can't seem to pull out. The difference between this time and those others is that I can actually stop and think about all I have to be thankful for and it seems so ridiculous that I could be this upset. I have a wonderful, loving husband who would do anything for me. I have two of the most awesome children in the world. We live in a great home and have been financially blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Both Brandon and I have wonderful, loving families who care for us and would be here in an instant if we needed them. Our church family is the absolute greatest. I really could never brag on them enough. They love us as though we were blood. They have blessed us in ways I never knew possible and I love them more than I could say. I have friends near and far who love me and wish me well with phone calls and emails constantly. My pre-op pain is completely gone and I am "healed" in that respect. So why am I so sad? I am a stay at home wife and mother. Taking care of my husband and children and keeping our house a home is what I do. It is my only job and right now, I cannot do it. I sit here all day and look around at how I am failing in this area. I know it's through no fault of my own, but it's there none the less. This week in the introduction to our new Bible study, Beth Moore spoke about a dear friend of hers that passed away suddenly and how this friend's husband asked Beth to look through her Bible study notes and comprise a eulogy for her out of her own words (what a neat thought!). One thing Beth found in those notes that really spoke to me was a passage her friend wrote saying, "God truly is the ultimate shame destroyer and the lover of the lame." Both of these really struck a chord with me. If you don't know my testimony, I'd be glad to share it with you and maybe one day I'll post it on here, but the thought of God being the "ultimate shame destroyer" is one that will always resonate with me. It's the reason I'm even here today. And for this season, "the lover of the lame" is something I'm going to cling to.

Last night at prayer meeting I was reminded of Psalm 100. Here is what it says:

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

This is such a beautiful reminder. The Lord is good and His love never fails no matter what we have been or are going through. One of my favorite lines from any song ever (and I am a HUGE music person) is from Chris Tomlin's "Indescribable" where he says "You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same. You are amazing God." There is NO one else in all the universe that we could say that about besides God. No matter how your mother or your spouse love you (I use those two because they seem to be the closest you could get), they will never love you the way God loves you. Only we and God know the depths of our hearts and can understand how huge a thing it is to say that a perfect God could know that and love us as though we were blemish free because in His eyes, we are through the saving, redeeming, and perfect sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ.

So for me, for now, I'm going to choose to think on the things of God and fight with all I have to stay away and out of the pit of despair that I am so desperately dangling on the edge of. And if you are reading this and you don't know the love that I'm speaking of and want more or you just need someone to talk to, someone who is right there with you, write me-

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Physically, okay...

mentally, not so much. My husband and a few wonderful friends from church have a maid service coming starting tomorrow. I sobbed hysterically for awhile when I found out. Not because it was such a nice thing to do or I'm so happy, but because it is a solid realization that I cannot do it myself. I want to clean my own house. Mentally, I'm messed up.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm going to do better about updating...

I have resolved to do better about updating this blog. I mean, I have nothing much else to do right?

I'm doing a little better than yesterday. The kids did well at school and I did well for my first day "alone" since surgery. I go to the doctor on Monday to get an update on my progress. I really can't wait to see what my x-rays look like. I'm going to try and get a copy to show everyone my hardware.

My brother, Scott, is coming in from Waco to visit this weekend and I'm excited about seeing him. The distraction will be nice. Oh, and I love my brother. I'll try to take lots of pictures of us doing various things (mostly hanging out around the house) and post them. I just really need to figure out all the picture settings and such on my new laptop. Hey, that's a good job for Scott this weekend...

Oh and thanks no one for posting comments. I love you all! :)- (that's a smiley face with it's tongue stuck out or something like that)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An Attempt to Catch Up

Today is the kids first day back at school since being out two weeks due to Ike. I thought I would attempt to catch everyone up on this blog since, well, I can't do much else. This may be a little long.

As far as hurricane recovery, everything is trying to get back to normal, but it will take a while. Not all schools, even in our district, were able to go back today. A lot of people still don't have power (I feel for those poor souls) and even worse, a lot of people don't have homes. My dear friend, Dawn, took a huge hit and I am constantly thinking of her, her hubby, and their five children. I want to help them so badly, I just have to figure out how.

As far as Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (that's the clinical name and my attempt at humor), it's going. Everyone who has seen me says "You're so much further than I thought you would be at this point!" To me, it feels so slow. I guess I'll back up a little. Surgery itself went well. There were a couple of problems with my low blood pressure and that had to be treated in the operating room, but other than that I did well. I came out with a seven inch incision directly on my spine, an epidural, and three drains coming from the area. I had some difficulty with vomiting for the first day, but after that I did great. Ike was looming out in the Gulf so after some begging, my doctor decided to release me one day early to be home for the storm. I really did not want to have to be downtown in a hospital, as safe as it is, without my husband and children during a hurricane. The hurricane itself was scary. They always are, but we made it through with very minimal damage (I'll post pictures of all sorts of stuff at some point). Since I've been home, I am to wear my brace (which is actually a body molded cast that can come off for things like showering and sleeping) anytime I'm up. It's hot (especially when there was no A/C) and bulky. I don't like it. I can walk, but I'm incredibly slow. So slow that I feel like a burden and hindrance to anyone around me. I can sit, but it is SO difficult to get up and down, it's pretty much not worth it. I have a very specific routine I am to use to get in and out of bed so as not to twist my spine at all. It's difficult and exhausting. I can lay on my back, which is comfortable for a little while, or my sides, which really aren't comfortable because of the pain from the bone graft from my pelvis so, I'm having trouble sleeping. I can't do pretty much anything around the house since I can't bend or twist in any way, but I can't really reach forward very far either. Just washing my hands stretches my limits. I'm incredibly emotional. I sobbed Sunday (in front of a lot of people) over milk. Not even spilt milk, actual contained gallons of milk that were brought to us by our Pastor's wife. We needed milk, she responded as so many people in our church have with various things. Our church rocks and I am so humbled by the way people are willing to help us! I knew all these things would be "things", but one thing I've learned is that it's impossible to prepare yourself for being physically disabled in any way for any amount of time. I want to clean my house, I can't. I want to shave my legs, I can't. I want to take a shower alone, I can't. I want a long, hot bath, I can't. I want to do a lot of things, simple things, that I just can't. I know these things will come and there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel, it's just hard right now. It's only been two weeks and I am so tired of feeling like a burden to those I love. Just 5 1/2 months longer, at least. Not sure how I'm going to do it, but I am sure that my God will get me through it. I'm clinging to that...

*If you visit, please leave me a comment. I have no idea who looks at this and I think I'd write it even if it was just for me to "vent", but I would like to know that someone other than me is reading and notes of encouragement really do help!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back UP!!!

Our electricity came back up at approximately 4:00pm today! Our 10, count 'em 10, days of misery have come to an end! It was absolutely surreal to see light bulbs light up and fans come on. I am so happy. Now, I can focus on recovery and healing.

P.S. Don't stop praying for those who lost so much, many of them I know and love. Hurricanes=bad

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not Yet

Still no power and the school cancellation has now been extended to next Thursday. It's getting hot again and I'm having some trouble with my incision, but waiting on a call from the doctor to find out what to do. Surviving, for now.

Did I mention that I'm addicted to Spider Solitaire?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 6 (or something like that) without power

That's right, still no electricity. We're hearing rumors that it could be two more weeks! School has been canceled through Monday with "an update to follow" so, that doesn't look too promising for power. I'm really trying to focus on the good things: we have a home, we have family here who are doing more than any human should be asked to do for us, we have friends, the weather has been nice, and mostly, we have our health (thank goodness for pain medicine!). We also have a generator to help out at night (we're not running it all the time because it's costly and difficult to get gas). This is just so hard for me. I really need electricity to "lighten" my mood, pardon the pun. It would help. When we're up and running, I'm going to go back and journal this last week since surgery. It's just too much right now especially only being able to use the laptop when the generator's running.

One thing I do want to address right now, I've heard/read people who don't live in this area wondering what's so bad about being without electricity or "what did they do before electricity?" To try and be polite, that's ignorance. If you really don't see what the "big deal" is, try it. And I don't mean turn off your air conditioner for a day when the weather's nice. I mean no a/c, no lights (even at night!), no oven or microwave (we have a gas stovetop so, I'll let you use that), no toaster, no cellphones, no hairdryer or flat iron (thank God for a gas hot water heater), etc. And right now, NO ONE in our area has power so it's not like we can go have a break at someone else's house or at a store- not possible. Plus, there is a two to three hour wait to get gas ANYWHERE, if you can even get it so, it would be irresponsible to just drive around. The stores are open for limited hours and they let in like ten people at a time, cash only (hope you got cash before hand, because there are no banks or ATMs). They limit what you can buy like one gallon of milk and one loaf of bread. A lot of people have just gone ahead and left town, but that's not an option for us right now either. We take all these things for granted on a daily basis, but right now, in the midst of it, I really don't want to hear people belittle our situation. Walk even a day in our shoes and then we can talk! *Notice I'm not even mentioning having back surgery a week ago because I'm not looking for sympathy, just understanding* Now, I will say that the one good thing that has come from this is fellowship. People are taking care of each other and our neighbor across the street came over to talk yesterday for the first time in more than two years! I love that, but I'd love it even more with electricity :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Latest...

I just wanted to post a quick update to let you all know that we're here. A lot of you have tried to check in on us and I really appreciate it. We are "hunkered" down still, without power. Thank God we were able to get a generator so we can at least cool off at night. I was released from the hospital a little early just so I could be home in time for the hurricane. We were unable to evacuate since I have a 20 mile limit, as far as traveling. We have no idea how long it will be until our power is up and since we can't leave, we're just hoping we don't run out of gas. I am so thankful for Brandon's parents who came here straight from suffering Gustav to help us. I don't know what we would have done without them. I know there are a lot of people who are suffering and we have so much to be thankful for: our lives and very minor property damage. It's just very difficult trying to recover from major surgery without power (and pretty depressing). Keep us in your prayers! Our cell phone towers have been taken over by FEMA apparently so, no phone service for us. I will try to check email and myspace a couple of times a day if anyone needs us (or you can comment here and our home phone is hit or miss). I'm off to cry now...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Quick Update...

just to let everyone know that I'm alive. Surgery is over and I'm recovering. I'll be in the hospital until Friday, at the least. If you need anything, you can email or comment me here. I'll be checking in periodically on my laptop, it's just very hard to type with an IV and oxygen monitor on one hand.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers! Don't stop :) I need Ike to stay away now (among other things)! More to come...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Countdown has Begun!

We have had evacuees for the past three days. My mom, Cole, and Maw Maw fled Hurricane Gustav and hung out with us. They were able to head home today and thankfully, everything is good back "home". Brandon's family didn't fair so well in Baton Rouge, but it's only property damage. They are without electricity for no one knows how long, so I feel for them. That is absolutely miserable! Now, we're hoping that the roads will be clear enough for his parents to make it here on Monday.

The countdown to surgery has officially begun. One week from today, I'll be in recovery. I am SO ready to be done with this! People keeping asking me if I am nervous. I am, but the hope of being well far outweighs the fear at this point. So, in honor of that, here's a list of things that I am unable to do right now (and for the past several weeks) and am looking forward to being able to do again:

  • Walk further than my bed or couch to the kitchen or bathroom without pain.

  • Stand for any period of time (more than a couple of minutes).

  • Bend over- AT ALL

  • Put on socks.

  • Wear shoes that aren't slip-ons.

  • Roll over in bed without help.

  • Get in bed without help.

  • Dry off the bottom half of my body after a shower or bath.

  • Get in the car and lift my non-leading leg in without having to pick it up with my hands and put it in.

  • Do anything without grunting and groaning!

So, here's to one more week until recovery begins!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One Day at a Time

Well, Brandon's gone until late Saturday night and so, I really am taking it one day at a time. It's so hard without him. If I think about it, my only thought is "how am I going to make it!?" So, I try not to.

I had my appointment with the anesthesiologist on Monday. It went well. He attempted to put my mind at ease- it's just very hard considering what I went through with my last surgery (I had post-op aspiration pneumonia.). They are going to take a few extra precautions this time and hopefully, there will be no complications. I go in for my "casting" tomorrow and I still have not gotten an answer about the blood. I'm pretty annoyed about that. Anyway, I'm busy preparing our home and family for what is sure to be a long, hard time. I'm so thankful to my friends and church family. They've really taken the lead with all this and have started a volunteer calendar for feeding us, helping with childcare, cleaning, etc. They rock!

Brandon got me a mack-daddy laptop as a kinda surgery gift. It is uber-cool! I have a huge 17" HD screen, backlit keyboard, Blu-Ray player, DVD burner among other things. It also has PhotoShop. I have been wanting to get into PhotoShop for quite some time and plan on becoming a pro (it's not as easy as it looks!) while I'm laid up. Here's my first piece of art. Back home in good ol' Lake Charles, LA there is a large area South of town that was once owned by my grandfather and his brothers. I grew up in the middle of this area. One of the streets (very near my old house) is a road named "Gossett Rd." named for our family (Gossett being my maiden name). Well, my brother, Scott, went by last week when he was in the area and here is what he found:

For whatever reason, the wonderful city of Lake Charles replaced the street sign with a misspelled version! In Scott's words, this is an absolute "travesty"! Most people probably don't care, but to us, this is our family name and it has two "T"s! So, here's what I did to cheer Scott up:

So, if you live in the area, write your police juror, congressman, governor, whomever. This has got to be set straight! Meanwhile, I'll be practicing my PhotoShopping. Just wait 'til you see me with perfect skin and 70 pounds lighter :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm Way TOO Emotional!

I'm not an emotional person, normally. I don't cry at just anything and I'm pretty good at handling my emotions. Until now... this whole "back" thing has really messed me up. I'm fighting back tears all the time. I really think I need to just sit down (with Brandon) and have a good cry. I need to grieve for this whole process. It's incredibly sad to finally give in, but I know it's the right thing. I'm getting worse daily (I didn't think this was possible.). How I wish things didn't have to be this way! For now, I wait to see when the flood will come. It will probably be when some of my dear friends from church come over Tuesday morning to meet with me about ministering to us. We have a WONDERFUL church family! They will be helping us through all of this and are wanting me to give them a wish list of sorts, of what we need done. I don't like asking for help and this is going to be difficult for me, no matter how much we'll need it. I love these people though. They really are our family away from "home". Hopefully the flood won't come while Brandon's out of town this week, although this is pretty likely too. Oh yeah, that's another thing. Brandon is going to be gone from Wednesday morning to late Saturday night! GREAT timing!

The kids start school tomorrow and I have my pre-admit appointment at the hospital and my appointment with the anesthesiologist. I'll let everyone know how it goes. Oh, and I'm going to beg the nurse to not make me donate blood again! Wish me luck :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Well, I successfully donated my first unit of blood yesterday. My blood pressure was 101/65 so, much better but still kinda low. It was a horrible ordeal. I got really sick and blacked out. They had to lean me back in the chair, put ice on the front and back of my neck, put a fan on me, and give me something to vomit in. I have never felt like that in my whole life and had no idea I would react that way. I do not want to do that again! I'm going to call my doctor on Monday and see if there is any way one unit can suffice. If not, I'll just have to suck it up next Friday.

The kids go back to school Monday! This has been one of the longest summers ever! Probably because I've been laid up for most of it. Their orientation went well and they both seem to have really great teachers. We're all excited.

I have my pre-op appointment at the hospital, with the anesthesioligist, on Monday, my casting for my brace on Thursday, and lots of other odds and ends to get done this week. I'll catch everyone up when I can. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Time To Try Again

My white blood cell count is back to normal and my blood pressure has been better the past few days so, tomorrow morning I am going to try to donate again. Hopefully...

Monday, August 18, 2008

So Much Going Wrong!

This weekend was absolutely insane! Saturday the boys (Brandon, Scott, and Cole) moved Scott to Waco. Mom, the kids, and I went to get my first blood donation out of the way. Well, when they did the pre-assessment, I had a low grade temp and my blood pressure was 88/56- borderline dead! The nurse even had a supervisor come re-check it and talk to me. Needless to say, I was not able to donate. I feel fine, other than the extreme pain in my back, so I have no idea why my bp would be so low. I go to the doctor on Tuesday to repeat my labs and hopefully my bp will be normal. They told me to stay in bed because they're worried that I will black out, but I really do feel ok. If I'm not able to give my first donation by this Saturday, I won't make the surgery date so, we're really hoping it works!

Well, that was just the beginning. Mom and Cole went to church with us on Sunday morning. We had lunch after and then they headed out, back to Sulphur. About an hour later, I got the call. The call that everyone dreads- "there's been an accident". It's hard to even type this without bursting into tears! They were on Hwy 90 in a real rural area and Mom blacked out (the reason is still unknown). They veered off the road and hit a guardrail and flew about 50 yards into a field. They hit that guardrail with the cruise control set at 70 mph and Mom still unconscious! We headed towards them (as did Scott, who was in Lake Charles. No one could get ahold of my stepdad until much later!) We were told they were being taken by ambulance to the hospital in Liberty (yes, Liberty, TX has a hospital. The smallest hospital EVER). We beat them there. It was so sad to see them each come through those doors on backboards and stretchers. After a long afternoon, they are both going to be okay. Cole has a sprained knee and some cuts. Mom has some pretty bad contusions, cuts, and burns (from the airbag) and a concussion, but overall, they're alright. The bigger concern now, is why Mom passed out. I guess we'll find that out eventually. For now, the whole thing is nothing short of miraculous. God was with them in that car. Everyone: police, witnesses, EMTs, cannot believe they essentially walked away. Somehow, Mom hit the guardrail in the dead center of the car and the engine came up through the center of the console. If she had hit it to either side, one of them would be gone. I am so thankful for God's hand in all of this. I really don't know how I could cope with losing one of them. It's unbearable to think of.

Well, hopefully things calm down this week. I'll keep you posted :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Add One More

I got a call from my PCP, and my blood work from Tuesday is back (I wasn't even thinking that I would hear anything. They'd be normal, and passed on to my surgeon.). Well, my white blood cells are elevated so, I have to go in again this Tuesday and have the labs repeated. So, add that to my list from yesterday. Is it possible for me to have to have any more blood drawn?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

September 9

...that's the day. I have so much to do before then, something made even more difficult by the fact that I'm in a ton of pain. So, in now just shy of four weeks, I have to accomplish the following, plus some:

  • get Aubrey's flowergirl dress altered
  • get the kids school supplies
  • back to school orientation
  • get the kids in school :)
  • come up with some sort of "schedule" for post op care of me, the kids, and our home
  • donate blood twice (for myself! this disgusts me!)
  • pre-admit at the hospital
  • get fitted for my back brace
  • have an appointment with the anesthesiologist
  • join a gym for my post op rehab
  • cancel anything I had scheduled for the next 6 months (like my class reunion, our family church retreat, Christmas! this makes me sad!)
  • insert anything I'm forgetting here :)
In the past few days I've already had a physical exam, lots of lab work, an EKG, and a chest x-ray. This is just the beginning...

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Verdict

Went to the doctor this morning. My MRI shows the same problems: a bulging, herniated disc at L5-S1 and bilateral foraminal stenosis at that level. The disc is now bulging more severely into the neural space on the left (this is what is causing the severe nerve pain on my left side). My disc is nearly bone on bone and for some reason won't just rupture. It's been bulging for at least 15 months. Dr. W. basically said that, after reviewing the latest MRI, it's his opinion that I'm not going to get better on my own and since it's a mechanical problem causing a nerve problem, the steroid epidural injections would be of no help to me. So now, it's just a quality of life issue- it comes down to how long I can put up with the pain. I can't anymore. So, I began the pre-op process today (it's very involved since it's such a complicated surgery and takes about a month to complete everything). I will know a surgery date on Monday morning, but it looks like it will be the beginning of September. I'm really nervous, but I know it is the best thing. I really can't go on like this. I don't think most people could have lasted this long so, I'm okay with saying "UNCLE!" It's going to be a long road though. Dr. W. will take a bone graft from my pelvis and fuse my lumbar at the L5-S1 level and then decompress the neural space on the side of the vertebrae. He will then insert screws and rods on the sides to stabilize the fusion. I will be in the hospital for four days and then be able to very slowly return to activity. A complete fusion of the bone will vary in time and is dependent on many factors, including genetics, health, how well I follow instructions :) , etc. It normally takes between 6 months to a year. I will be in a custom made back brace until that happens and unable to bend or twist. I will be able to walk, stand, and lay, but cannot sit for longer than 20 minutes three times a day. I will only be able to ride in the car on very short trips starting week two (such as church and the grocery store) until month two when I can go a max of twenty miles until fusion!

Well, that's the low down. I'll post when we have a date. Please pray for us. It's going to be a difficult time, but I am so eager to feel better!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm Here

It's been awhile! Things have been really busy. So, here's a quick update...

We had Blaine's birthday party Saturday. It was great- Brandon's parents, his sister, Jennifer, her hubby, Donovan, and their sweet toddler came in, as well as my mom and Cole. I love having family visit!

My brother, Scott, arrived back in the States Tuesday afternoon (in the middle of a tropical storm!) after a year in France. It was so great to see him and it's still great to have him here! My mom and Cole came back to visit as well as Scott's girlfriend. So, we've pretty much had a full house since last Friday. I absolutely LOVE it!

Brandon and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary yesterday! I love that man!!!

Some one looked at our house Tuesday night (once again, in the middle of a tropical storm!) for the first time since May! They are really interested, but haven't made up their minds yet. I'm hoping this works out. It's crunch time!

My back is awful. I had a terrible weekend, in that respect. I am back on the 'roids now and go to see Dr. W tomorrow at 7am!!! I'll be leaving here before sun up! I'm really anxious about getting my MRI results. I'll post and let everyone know what the verdict is as soon as I can.

Hope everyone else is well. I'll post tomorrow :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Baby is SEVEN Today!!!

Where to begin...I guess with today. Blaine's 7th birthday is today! I cannot believe how quickly it all goes by. When you have a baby, everyone says "Enjoy them when they're little, because before you know it..." Well, I am here to say that it's so true! In so many ways, my kids seemed to be babies forever (maybe it's because they're a mere 14 months apart!!!), but in other ways, it went by way too fast. I do like sleeping through the night though :). Blaine is so excited about his birthday. He has been referring to himself as "the birthday boy" all week. Tonight, we are going to CiCi's for dinner and then, Shankz- black light miniature golf per his request. It should be a lot of fun. Brandon's parents are coming in tomorrow (for the weekend!) and my mom is coming in on Saturday for the birthday bash. I am so excited. I love it when we get to have company, especially our families!!!

As for me, I've been feeling pretty good the last couple of days, but taking it VERY easy. Today will be the test, I have to grocery shop and that has historically been bad news.

This house is still here. No one has even "seen" it since May 22. I'm frustrated. We reduced our price a month ago and added an incentive. Still, no one. I'm really hoping something will happen this weekend (but not during the party!). The house (our dream house) we wanted, but was a little out of our price range, was reduced again this week! That makes the total reductions, since it's been on the market, $170,000! This reduction alone was $56,000! Yes, you read that right. It is now affordable for us and it just seems too good to be true (it may be if this house doesn't sell!). I'm really hoping!

I'll leave you with this. This is what I woke up to on Saturday morning...

Yes, that is my husband (the "I am so totally awesome, you can't contain it." version) standing in front of the bounce house, that he brought in to blow up, in our living room!

Here he is again with it blown up and very proud of himself.

The kids loved it!

The "perfect" addition to our living room!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Feeling Awful

Well, it's official: I feel awful. I went to my orthopedic surgeon yesterday. I told him that the steroids last week seemed to help, but as soon as I was done, the pain came back. I could barely move for him. He examined my reflexes and decided it was time for another MRI. He wants to see if anything has changed since the last one and then decide where to go from there. I only have two options left: epidural injections (I've tried those before with no success, but depending on the MRI, I may have a better chance with them now.) or surgery. I had the MRI yesterday (after waiting three hours!). It was absolutely excruciating laying on that hard board for 35 minutes! All I could do was pray for strength and endurance the entire 35 minutes! Then, the rad tech acted very strange afterwards, saying, "Don't be surprised it they call you and ask you to come in. I just wanted to give you a heads up." Now, I'm a little concerned especially since my doctor is on vacation until the 4th of August. I go back on August 8th to discuss the results and decide which route we are going to go. I'll keep you posted. For now, he gave me another pack of steroids, but I'm going to try not to start those for a couple of days. Blaine's birthday is next week (which I have not even planned) and I really want to feel good for that. Oh, and I want our house to sell! We really need to be closer to people who can help us right now. I don't know what the deal is, but someone needs to buy this house! Well, I'm off to bed (again). It's the best option right now...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Raining (literally)!

It's been raining since very early this morning and doesn't look like it's going to let up. I love the rain and we haven't had enough lately. I'm going to sit here and enjoy it.

Brandon got off to Dallas just fine this morning. He decided last night that he would reschedule his flight for next week and go ahead and drive today, just in case he needed to be back for me. When I was awakened by the thunder and rain during the night, I was concerned about that decision, but he did just fine and it may be for the best since his plane may have been delayed due to the weather.

I'm really going to miss him tonight (at least it's only one night again). As bad as I was feeling last night, we laid in bed and reminisced about the "Great Purple Crayon in the Dryer of '03". That story is only one of the reasons Heather hate purple crayons! The best part of it was the fact that when I went through my giant load of light colored, dressy clothes and found them covered with purple polka dots, the large spot of melted purple wax (indicating from whence the purple crayon originated) was on the pocket of a pair of Brandon's dress khakis! There was the evidence, staring me down in plain purple: my husband, not my three or even two year old, was the reason the purple crayon was in the dryer! I'm really glad we can laugh about it now.

Anyway, I'm feeling pretty rotten. I'm taking it way easy. I think we have enough food and clean clothes to get us through the next couple of days so, I'll be spending my day sitting or laying. My kids are so good to me. They really step up and help when they know I'm not feeling well. I am so proud of them and thankful! Later, taters!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not good :(

My back hurts again and now, I'm sad again. Add to it that Brandon will be out of town the next couple of days and this may be a "perfect" storm. I'm not sure how we're going to handle this, but I'm sure it will be okay. Just yesterday I felt so good that I was contemplating canceling my doctor's appointment for Friday. I decided to wait and see how today went. Good thing. Today, the pain medicine is taking the edge off, but I have a feeling that I will be laid up tomorrow. Pray for me. Oh, and sorry for being so gloomy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Quick Update ('cause I'm supposed to be busy)

I am feeling really great (other than the issues that accompany the 'roids)! This morning I took the kids and we met Rachel and her girls for some bike riding, splash fun, and a picnic. It was nice, but hot.

Tomorrow our home is on the "Realtor Tour" from 10am-2pm so, not only do I have a ton of cleaning to do, I have to be out of the house for the day tomorrow. I think I'm going to take the kids shopping for school clothes. I'm sure they will complain, but I should do it before it gets too close and Aubrey has barely anything that fits. That girl grows like none I've seen! I'm very ready to be done with all this house stuff, either way. I don't know why I do this to myself. I think I just really love houses, the excitement of moving, and the feeling of having someplace new. There's something wrong with me :)

Well, I'm out. Time for laundry, floors, and bathrooms. Maybe I'll take a nap first...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I ♥ Brandon

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love my husband and how it makes me feel to see him leading worship on Sunday mornings. He was born to be a worship leader and no matter what we have to sacrifice (he's not giving up his "day" job, but it is a huge time sacrifice), we will. God wants him right there; I want him right there! That's all I wanted to say right now. More tomorrow...
Did I mention he has gorgeous eyes? Oh, and he took me to the LSU BCS National Championship game?!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

His joy comes with the morning...

Today is a new day. Last night was pretty awful. I was in terrible pain and then around 8:30 pm, everything changed. Suddenly my back no longer hurt and my legs felt terrible! The best I can describe was it felt like I had cement blocks stacked from hip to toe on both legs. Dr. Williamson had told me awhile back that my disc would eventually rupture. It was bulging pretty badly on MRI and putting a lot of pressure on my already messed up nerves. He said when this happened my back would feel wonderful, but my legs would kill me. I think it finally blew. Well, I had a miserable night; between the leg pain and the 'roid rage, I got no sleep. I had decided I was going to do all I could to get to Dr. Warnell's Memorial service today and laid there all night thinking "How am I going to do this? I need to go to that service!" I pulled myself up when my alarm sounded at 7:45 am and guess what!!! NO pain!!! Nothing, nada- for the first moment in 8 very long days and after no sleep! I got ready, brought the kids to Rachel (a God send, by the way), and headed to Kingwood to meet the office crew and head to the Memorial. I am thankful beyond words... I was so blessed by Dr. Warnell's family. He was a wonderful son, brother, uncle, father, husband, doctor, and most importantly, amazing man of God. This is the first funeral type service I have ever attended that left me longing for Heaven! I left there feeling so much better, still very sad, but better and rejoicing for the life that Dr. Warnell led and the eternity he gets to spend with God! It was awesome! The world lost an amazing and compassionate doctor and to us, it seems too soon, but to God it's the perfect timing. So today, I am thankful for everything God gives and takes away- whether it be someone we love or our pain. I am going to be thankful for feeling good in this moment, however long it lasts...

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Up and Running (well, not literally)

I have decided to re-enter the blogging world. I was very active (and popular, if I do say so myself) on blogger up until a couple of years ago. We moved to Houston and for some reason blogger began to reject me and my posts so, I gave up. Well, I have finally decided to start over. It's hard to believe it's been two years that we've been here. Time has flown by. Where to begin?

The kids are growing like bad weeds; Blaine will start 2nd grade next month and Aubrey, 3rd. Brandon started a new job here, two weeks ago. He loves it and it was a huge step in the right direction for his career. He is also leading Worship at our church- Summer Creek Baptist. We have found a wonderful place to get connected and could not ask for a better church family. They rock! We have our house up for sale and are looking to move to a different school zone (you know, we don't stay put too long. That gets boring!). So far, nothing. We are going to give it a couple more weeks and if it hasn't sold, we'll settle in for the winter and perhaps try again next Spring.

Now, to the not so good part. This week has been hard. My back had been doing pretty well. For those of you who don't know and some of you who do,but don't really have a good explanation, I was diagnosed a year ago with "bilateral foraminal stenosis" and a "bulging, degenerative disc" at the L5-S1 level. It is a chronic debilitating condition that is very rare and pretty much unheard of in someone my age. The only real solution is a lumbar fusion which, as I am sure you can guess, is not a pleasant surgery. They take a bone graft from the pelvis and fuse it, along with rods and screws, to the disc needing to be fused. In my case, that is L5-S1. The recovery is LONG- 12-18 months! I would have a bad day here and there, nothing I could not handle, and so we decided to put the surgery off as long as possible. I have children to raise! My orthopedic surgeon predicted, at that time, that I would be unable to walk within 18 months. Well, here we are a year later, and I was doing great! Maybe once a month, I would wake up sore and stiff, take it easy, and be up and at 'em by the next day. That all changed last Thursday, I woke up stiff and by 3pm, was on the floor screaming in pain and unable to move my left leg. My kids were in hysterics (Blaine thought I was having a baby!). Poor Brandon got a call on his cell from Aubrey saying "Mom is on the floor and she is having a crisis! You have to get home!" He wasn't far behind. Today is day seven and I am still very uncomfortable and every now and then, in so much pain, death sounds good. I am only getting up and walking when absolutely necessary: a child needs something, bathroom break, food, etc. Even at that, there are times when it is physically impossible to walk- either my left leg will not work or (the more excruciating option) I feel like I am being electrocuted with every single step. Well, I finally got in to my ortho this morning. He is one of the rare ones, the NOT knife happy kind of surgeons. He is really rooting for me and hoping I can hold out as long as possible (The surgery is not always successful and even when it is, it may only have a 15-20 year life. So, every year I can hold out, the better off I am in the long run.). He put me on steroids to hopefully cut down some inflammation and a different pain medicine. I will go back a week from Friday and see what's happened. If I am not better, we'll, more than likely, schedule. I don't want to do this. I am SO scared! My last surgery in 2004 was a complete disaster. I almost didn't make it through and this is far more invasive and serious. Right now, I'm homebound (my poor kids!) and can't even do things that I would normally not want to do, like housework. I really don't know how much more I can take. It's very hard and scary to be unable to walk, bend, or sit. I need a healing! I know it might not happen and that God may have other plans- plans that seem awful to me, but in the end will bring Him glory and will prosper me. I am SO emotional. I am crying at the drop of a hat (I cried for poor Dr. Williamson this morning; he was very sweet!) and that is very unlike me.

Then, Monday I got the call that the doctor I was working for (up until January, but still remained close to), passed away of an apparent aneurysm Sunday night. I am so sad. It was completely unexpected. He was such a good man and doctor and VERY young, in excellent health. Please pray for Dr. Warnell's family, especially his five year old son, Colbie. I remember when he got lost on his way to have this picture taken. I was attempting to give him directions on his cell phone (I had no idea where he was either!), and he stumbled upon the place, late, and stressed. In true Dr. Warnell form, he was still as nice as ever, laughing at me and himself and I'm sure smiling from ear to ear.

Dr. Charles Warnell
You will be so missed!

I know that in spite of everything, we are beyond blessed and this is just a detour. I'm clinging to that.

Well, all that rambling to say: I'm back (at least in the blog world)! And a special thanks to Angela, who over the past two years has not stopped asking me to start blogging again! I love you, girl!