Sunday, May 30, 2010


My very "minimal" scar. I think my surgeon is an amazing man. The three dots above the scar are marks made by the surgeon in pen.
I was required to wear this neck brace for two weeks, including sleeping and showering in it.
Side view of the plate and screws that are in my neck only I have one more level of fusion.
Front view of the plate and screws that are now making my neck their home

I'm recovering from ACDF surgery....Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, cervical being my 'NECK'. I recently underwent spinal fusion from C4-C7. I was having chronic headaches and tingling in my right arm, sometimes left too, that wouldn't go away at all. I've suffered chronic headaches since around 1998, but didn't know it was my neck causing it, even though I'd take one of those microwavable bean tubey thingys to work and wear it when I worked in Endoscopy way back then.

It was a big decision to undergo surgery, and one that was fraught with much tension, fear and hesitation. I even went as far as calling my doctors office to cancel the surgery. But he asked me to allow him to review my films and he'd call me back. Mind you, this is a very conservative surgeon so when he called me back and said that if I decided to postpone, it would behoove me to be very cautious since my discs were basically collapsed in places and were pressing on my spinal cord leaving a bruise that could, if I got in an accident or something, leave me with permanent damage and loss of function of my right arm. YIKES!!!

This scared me!!! And I don't think it coincidence that one morning while driving to work, the car in front of me a distance off, turned sideways so I would hit him broadside. I pumped my breaks, the road was super slippery with ice. I kept pumping and pumping, then holding the brake down.......there was a cement barrier on my left, a car on my right, I had no where to go except right into this white car turned sideways.

I said to him and to myself, "my car is toast....YOUR CAR is toast.....this is going to be a very bad day for both of us. I hope my neck can handle it.... I hope I don't get a whiplash......I prayed before I left this morning that neither me nor anyone around me would get in an accident.....I kept braking and braking and just as I figured all was lost, the white car pulled out of my lane and into the next lane, missing him entirely.

I started to bawl. I couldn't contain myself. Crying and crying thanking God. Then about a week later, I was caught in a nasty snow storm which kept me not even a 1/2 mile away from the hospital, sitting on the highway in the same place for an hour and a half. It took me four hours to get home that night. I didn't reach home until 11:30 p.m. That night the roads were so bad, fear hung in the air around me like I'd be lucky to make it home without getting in an accident. It's awful when you feel you're in danger just by driving home!

Needless to say, I kept my scheduled surgical date and am now into week 7 of recovery phase. I still have a very stiff neck and can actually feel the plate in my neck when I swallow, which my surgeon has reassured me will dissipate in time. I've never been more grateful for narcotic intervention in my life. I'm hoping in the next six months, I'll be able to say I'm grateful I had the surgery. Right now, I'm still having pain and spasms, but I keep being reassured I will heal in time. I am grateful I had the surgeon that I did. He is an amazing man.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pika Learning to Say I Love You

Our cute Rat Terrier Pika (pronounced Peeka) is being coaxed to say I Love You in dog talk by Heather and Whit. She is doing a pretty good job. We can get her to howl all the time, but only recently has she been giving us syllables to suggest she understands "I Love You".

She's so fun. When I come home, she is so excited she barely knows what to do with her energy and so will have something in her mouth so as not to bite me! Really they are really energetic nibbles. I kiss her on the neck and have since she was very tiny, so she kisses me on the neck too, but it's nibbles! She's a lot of fun.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sara Bareilles - Gravity

The dance done by Kupono and Kayla on So You Think You Can Dance is a very creative interpretation of Sara's song. I think this music video is so creatively AWESOME, I love it!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Exercise is Grrrrrrrrrreat

My legs are killing me, my butt is tight making it very hard not to walk funny, my shoulders feel like they are in a tight sling, but my Pilates classes and tests are DONE! Well, almost done.  I now have to accumulate 200 teaching hours, 100 observation hours and the rest of my practice hours. I haven't added up all my practice hours but I don't have that many, maybe 20.  

It's a beautiful thing being this far into my training. I absolutely love Pilates.  Problem is, I just had an MRI of my neck done and have four, count them, FOUR bulging discs in my cervical spine making it very hard to do the roll over, which just happens to be one of the exercises that was in my test out!

My neck always hurts and I now seem to almost have chronic headaches. I now need to make an appointment with a spine specialist! Yikes, not what I ever planned for.

I guess we don't always plan for things like this, but I don't know what I would have done, besides compete gymnastics, to have hurt my neck!  No worries though....I don't plan on letting it stop me in Pilates!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Best Mother's Day Ever

I had to stare at these boxes for five days 
waiting to open them.

The Reformer with Tower.
(The floor isn't finished yet)

The Cadillac (or Trapeze as it is called)

Nate sitting
 on the Cadillac

I got my Pilates equipment on the 4th of May.  They were supposed to be here by April 28th but were late!  I was worried about it because we knew Nate was going to Utah and I wanted him to be able to put the equipment up before he left.  
Too bad, so sad for me.  They didn't come until AFTER  my four days of Pilates training.


I was really worried about getting the 800 pounds of equipment off the truck without Nate being  here. Because I bought it in the month of April, I got free delivery which would have been nearly $500.00.  This only included "curbside" delivery so they would take the equipment to the garage and not help get it into the house! 

I couldn't believe the guy this big moving company sent to unload my equipment.  His gut stuck out to Maine and he had a limp and moved really slow.  He was TOTALLY  out of shape to be lifting and moving the boxes we had.  I was worried he was going to hurt himself and so I asked if he had had an injury.  He told me he had numbness and tingling in his leg!  GREAT!  This guy was going to move my $9000.00 dollars worth of equipment off a truck four feet off the ground and into our garage.  At that point I wondered why I ever asked him if he had any tips as to how to get it into the house.  As it turned out...he wouldn't have been able to do it himself!  

Heather, Whit and I helped him finagle it off the truck and a few times Heather and I both thought he was going to drop them on the ground from off the lift!  He was trying to get the boxes, which were stacked on top of each other three high, from inside the truck to the lift so he kept rocking them back and forth getting them nearer and nearer to the edge of the lift. I kept trying to brace them to make sure they wouldn't fall off and  I seriously thought he was going to drop them on my head a couple times.  THAT could have killed me as they were just above my head!
I was so grateful to get them in the garage I quickly signed the papers to get the dude off our land and started oogling the boxes anxious to see what was inside! 

Have you ever gotten a gift in a box that big?  Can you blame me for being excited? Go back to the top and look at the size of those boxes! I had to look at them sitting in my garage for FIVE LONG DAYS....just waiting for the equipment in them to be put up in my gym.  That was a very long wait!

After the moving guy left, I really looked the boxes over and there were a few dents in them. THEN I read the signs on the boxes that said to look at the boxes BEFORE  the delivery guy left and if there was damage, make him open them on the spot to inspect the equipment! 


Each box was about 400 pounds and we were supposed to take the top one off so we could inspect the contents of the bottom box that had damage.  That was never gonna happen!! Especially with the help of the dude with the limp and big gut! 

I took pictures and sent them to the company I bought them from. Everything turned out o.k. No damage at all. 

Putting up my equipment was better than Christmas!  It was the best Mother's Day I've ever had!

The gym is getting pretty crowded now what with the new additions, but I'm not complaining. It's been super fun practicing and I'll be getting into shape before you know it!  I'm thinking of cutting down by one day at work so I can have more time to play! Maybe after I visit Aub and Nate and the kids in July! 


Thursday, April 9, 2009


Maybe I've been expecting too much, seeing  Hollywood as something of a God, but ever since I was a little girl I've been fascinated with celebrity, movies and the shining vision of being a star, dreaming I was on stage receiving one of those golden cameos of honor.  I can remember sitting down with my parents to watch the Oscars and listening to the presenters dressed in their royal gala, the audience filled with all our favorite actors and actresses and only dreaming I could be amongst them. 

I guess I never saw the Oscar for what it really is...... a "political" award.  I always saw the winner as the "best of the best".  Now as an adult, I can go back and actually look at the prior winners and say with conviction that the award doesn't always go to best movie, though there are very many fantastic films honored with the award, one of them being The Sound of Music.  I love how this movie makes me feel.  The story line, the music, the setting, the acting, all breathe such life and love into my soul. 

I've been waiting for Slumdog Millionaire to come in the mail since putting it on our queue on Blockbuster after the Oscars.  Now that I've seen it, I have to go back to what motivated me to love the Oscars in the first place.  

After viewing this film, I don't see how it can claim being "The feel-good film of the decade", especially when compared to The Sound of Music.  I felt like I had been pushed in a sewer and left out to dry in a garbage dump!

I asked my Pakistani patient if there was any truth to the down trodden portrayal of life in India and he said "yes".  That there are some there whose home consists of a canopy attached to a building and that they live there all their life.  He said that the garbage dump areas truly do exist.  I was appalled.

How can you compare riding bicycles in the countryside and singing Do Rae Me to children getting their legs cut off and their eyes burned out as being one and the same?  I didn't "feel good" at all after viewing this film.

Not to mention that it also won for best music.  The song Jai Ho showed up at the end of the film with a bunch of Indian youth dancing to a souped up version of Persian Rap with Michael Jackson dance moves and was totally disconnected to the entire movie. Why didn't they keep to the Pakistani ways and use Persian choreography?  The song at the end of Wall-e made me cry it has such a potent message in it.  Why didn't IT win? I don't get it.   

Nah! The U.S. being at war with a Persian country and a film based on Persian lifestyle winning the Oscar isn't a political thing...... wouldn't you agree?  


The past three years have really changed my feelings about the Oscar and has left me disappointed and sad to say the least.  

Movies have and will continue to be a constant in our families diet.  I love to watch the Oscars like some people love the Super Bowl. In fact, every year I threaten to hold an Oscar party with the works, you know,  champagne, hor d'oerves and ball gowns, but it never happens.  I do, however,  keep close tabs on upcoming movies and plunk myself down, rivoted to the t.v. on Oscar night.

The problem I've found, is that no matter how many movies I've seen in the year, the ones nominated, for the most part, are movies I haven't even heard of, let alone seen, and most likely are still in theaters, which makes it even more difficult to view them all before Oscar rolls around.

So more than likely we end up seeing the winners of last years Oscars over the span of the next year and this is exactly what we are still doing.  We're still catching up on 2008 movies, which were the 2007 picks, so I'm seriously two years behind.

This year I printed up the Oscar ballots for everyone and we all picked which movie, song, actor we wanted to win and which ones actually won.  It was fun but got a little heated because poor Claralynne was bored to death in a darkened room where she couldn't be two years old and run around getting into things while we were all glued to the t.v. 

After finally getting to best actor/actress and best picture, it appeared that the DVR had stopped taping so when all we really needed to do was move into the next taped area on the DVR, we accidently fast forwarded and the in rewinding revealed all the winners in fast motion replay.........shoot! Oh well, no worries! Sean Penn looked great in fast-mo!

I've since viewed Milk and Vicky Christina Barcelona, only one of which was good film and it didn't have a sexy actress in it! If I had known Vicky Christina was a Woody Allen film I wouldn't have wasted my time. I can't stand him..... speaking of Hollywood Politics.  I haven't the foggiest why everyone thinks he us such an icon! I really don't like his films, nor his lifestyle at all!

I have no clue why Penelope Cruz won for best supporting actress.  So what if she can get angry and stay pretty, that doesn't prove she can act!  Sean Penn, however, did a phenomenal job in Milk, and I will buy that film.  I haven't seen Benjamin Button yet but it is in my Blockbuster queue right now and I'm waiting for it to come in the mail!

I like it when I finish viewing a movie and want to watch it again or maybe want to buy it so I can see it again some time in the future. I'm not a snob about blood and guts, one of my favorite movies is Pulp Fiction, and I can remember seeing the end and couldn't believe I actually loved it, especially because it has many elements in it that made me hate the other movies. 

So I guess what it boils down to is that all the Hollywood glamour just doesn't cut it for me now that I can see through it and have my own best movie opinions. Oscar may be losing it's luster for me, but this hasn't damaged my love of movies. 

Maybe I'll hold my own Oscars and pick from the films my family and cohorts actually saw in the year, not the ones the film community chose for us.  Just because I feel let down by the prior Oscar winners, doesn't mean you won't find me at Blockbuster or in the theater getting my fill of movie adventure.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Getting Older

I think about aging EVERY SINGLE DAY! 

I look in the mirror and wonder where my youthful face went. 

The secret about staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age
~ Lucille Ball ~. 

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it's up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. ~Coco Chanel~

Old Age: First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull your zipper down.  
~Leo Rosenberg~

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon"
Said the old man, "I do that too."
The little boy whispered. "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the old man."
Said the little boy, "I  often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worse of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grownups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the old man.
~Shel Silverstein~

I don't feel really really really old, but I remember when my eyes were opened to aging.  It didn't happen when I looked into my grandmothers eyes, or felt the soft loose skin on the underside of her arm.  It wasn't when I noticed my mother had gone gray, or when my dad's front tooth broke off.  And is wasn't when I no longer got the full attention of my grandfather pinning me down for a whisker burn, not because I couldn't take it, but that he couldn't get back up off the floor.

It was in nursing school.  My eyes were opened to what happens to us when we lose bladder control, and when our minds don't function like we want them to when memory seems to close in on us or almost disappear altogether.  

I remember being really resentful of having my ignorance taken.  I didn't want to know what was coming.  I liked being in the dark about that part of the future. But once your eyes are open, they don't close again.