May 29, 2008


Today was exciting. I was sleeping in my hospital room and an alarm starting going off. I woke up and we heard a bunch of sirens. Tony and I weren't sure what was going on, so we turned on the television.

The first image we saw was the hospital on fire with a bunch of billowing smoke. We were in that building. We soon learned that the hospital was hit by a helicopter, but we were in the south tower, and it was the central tower that was hit by the helicopter.

We were watching wzzm and they asked anyone that saw it or had any information to call in. So, I called. I was on the news and I got to talk to Lauren Stanton on air (I think that is who it was).

Because of the accident, they had all of the roads around the hospital closed off, which delayed my discharge. But, I was able to get home by three.

I am home now, resting, healing, and doing well. The leg pain is gone. My back is quite sore, but I am in good hands.

If I have called you and wasn't making any sense, I apologize. I don't remember many of my phone calls.

And thanks again for all of your encouraging comments and phone calls.

May 28, 2008


The surgery went really well yesterday, according to the surgeon. I went in to the operating room at 12:30 and made it to my room at 4:45ish.

I was in a lot of pain when I woke up, and they have been trying to manage it. The pain in my leg is gone, so that is a good sign. The pain that I have been having is in my back, near the incision.

I am going to stay in the hospital one more night, and then I will go home.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us. Things couldn't have gone smoother.
The next obstacle will be recovering from home. One day at a time.

May 25, 2008

New Home

We successfully moved yesterday. People arrived and by ten am we had a house full of eleven people, making quick work of loading all of our stuff into the multiple vehicles.

Our caravan to the new apartment included three trucks, two vans, and a Buick. We ended up in Muskegon with everything where it needed to go by two. Very effective.

Now we are at the old place cleaning and finishing up some odds and ends. Later tonight and tomorrow we will attempt to unpack and organize our new place.

Tuesday is the day of surgery.

A note- we will be without phone and internet until Thursday. We will have our tracphone for limited calls.

May 21, 2008

Conversation With Bethany

My baby sister is now ten. Here are her thoughts on my surgery

Beth: So, I hear you are having back surgery.

Me: Yes, I am.

Beth: Well, it is a good thing you aren't 40.

Me: Why is that?

Beth: Because then you would be 40 and having back surgery and people would tell you that you are old.

May 18, 2008


There have been many changes brewing for some time now, and it has been frustrating waiting, wondering what was going to come of all of it. There are some answers to some questions we have been asking, although the changes feel like a temporary distraction at best to the true questions we have been struggling with.

So the big changes that are happening:

1- I am having surgery on May 27. This is much sooner than expected, but I am happy to get it over with. The spinal injection didn't work. Dr.Stubbart will be doing a discectomy and a laminectomy. He will be removing the herniated part of the disc, as well as a small part of the bone to get to the disc. He will not be doing a fusion. They say there will be about a 6 week recovery, and I won't be able to drive for 2-3 weeks.

2- We are moving! Yey. We signed our lease on Friday and will be moving this Saturday, with help from some family and friends. We will be living in Grand Rapids. This will mean we will be closer to a lot of things, such as the farmer's market and the hospital. It is a small one bedroom, so we are working on downsizing, but it is the perfect apartment. I am excited to move.

3- I quit my job at Target. Because of everything going on with my back, we decided it was best for me to quit. I am left on good terms, so if I ever want to go back I can. And this will give me the summer to rest and heal. Once I am better, I can find a job that works for me.

So lots of changes, lots of emotions. We shall see what this leads us to.

May 15, 2008

Really Good

I have been complaining a lot lately. Things have been really difficult and I haven't had a lot of nice things to say. So I think I should talk about something that is really good. Something (more accurately, someone) that I have a lot of nice things to say about.

Tony. He has been amazing through this whole thing. The last year has been full of crap, and there have been many many moments that I have been difficult to live with (shocking, I know). But Tony has stayed by my side.

And Tony has my back. No matter what I want to do. No matter what crazy idea I come up with next, Tony will be the first to find ways to accomplish it.

When I am upset, he does this really annoying thing where he wants to know what is wrong and how he can make it better.

He is my best friend. He will listen to me blather on for hours.

He is intelligent and hilarious. He is the sexiest man I know. He is gentle and kind. He is selfless and generous.

My life is better because Tony is in it.

And that makes me happy.

May 14, 2008

Painful Relief

Yesterday I had a spinal injection. It was the worst experience so far in my road to no pain.

It was a relatively short procedure, but I cried through the whole thing. It felt like he was digging in my bone. And my leg went numb. I was nauseous all day, and had hot flashes that night. Some of the pain was gone, but I had a bunch of tightness in my thigh and lower leg. Not pleasant.

Today, I woke up feeling better. The nausea is gone. Yey. And the pain that has been shooting down my leg for the last several months is not there. Big yey. There is aching in my butt cheek and just below it.

So I am happy to have some relief after such a painful procedure. I am concerned that it will not last. I am also concerned they will want me to do it again. I really really don't want to.

I also met with a surgeon on Monday and have a surgery scheduled for June 12. He said if the injection worked and I made significant improvement I could cancel it. So, I am not sure what is going to happen at this point.

Other good news, we found an apartment in the city. Really Big Yey. We have to be out of here by June 1. We will be within walking distance of the hospital, Fulton Street Farmers Market, Wealthy Street Bakery, and many other great places. I am excited to move. I am excited for this new chapter in our life.

So a lot is going on, and there is still a lot that we don't know anything about. I am sure we will continue to have an emotionally charged journey.

May 07, 2008

A Plan

I met with Dr.Ellis today. I had X-rays and he examined my MRI film.

He doesn't think that we have exhausted all nonsurgical options, but agrees I am a surgical candidate.

So three things are happening:

1- He prescribed a strong anti inflammatory prescription. This should help with the pain.

2- I scheduled an appointment for a spinal injection, a nerve block, as Dr.Ellis called it. This is a combination of steroids and pain killers that is shot into the nerve. In my case they will inject it into L5, although the S1 nerve is also being pinched.

3- I am scheduling an appointment to meet with a surgeon. I am not going to wait to see if the nonsurgical options work before meeting with a surgeon, as I don't want to waste time. I think ten months of dealing with this is long enough.

From my understanding, the herniated disc itself isn't the issue. The problem is that it is hitting the nerve root and putting pressure on the nerves. Which is why the injection might help, but I am skeptical.

If I do have surgery, it sounds like I will be in the hospital for a few days and it could take a few weeks for recovery. For some people this surgery solves all their problems, for others, it is a big mistake.

I am still in pain. And it seems to be getting worse. But there is a plan.

May 06, 2008


Monday I had a physical therapy appointment with Rick, my usual therapist. I was in a lot of pain, and I had no relief over the weekend. Saturday night I woke up at 2:30 in the morning in pain and was unable to sleep. Because of this, he wanted me to meet with Rob, the founder of Health Motion (where I have been going for pt). Rick wasn't pleased with the progress I was making.

Today I had the appointment with Rob, and he did a physical. After asking several questions and lots of pushing and pulling, he told me that physical therapy is no longer going to be useful to me and said he would cancel the rest of my physical therapy appointments. I have had some relief from it, but at this point it is not producing the results he wants to see. The compression is too great on the nerve root. He said he was shocked that I was still able to walk.

He said to meet with a specialist to discuss surgery as an option. I have an appointment tomorrow with a physical medication and rehabilitation specialist. It is an appointment that I have had for a while, in case I didn't get better.

I met with my chiropractor to let him know the latest information. He was shocked. He had seen the improvement I was making and didn't think it was going to come to surgery.

Today I have been trying to wrap my head around the idea that I will most likely be having back surgery.

I don't want to lose another summer. I don't want to be in pain anymore. I don't want to have surgery. I don't want to be alone in a hospital. I don't want to be a burden. I don't want to have to trust some stranger with my life. I don't want to be unable to go for a bike ride with my husband.

I am not doing well.

I think I agree with the words of Ginger "huh? rain? stop it God!"

May 04, 2008


I would define the last year of our life as a struggle.

A heart-wrenching, fear-inducing, difficult and rewarding, struggle.

A physical, emotional, financial, spiritual struggle.

A struggle to find peace and hope.

We moved away from Muskegon, moving away from family with hopes of building new, healthy life-long relationships. Our goal has been to see the pattern of chaos and deep brokenness that exists within each of our families come to an end.

One of the things that has been the most difficult for me to accept and understand is the lack of people in our lives. We have large distant families, but we have needed to distance ourselves from most of them as they are unhealthy and have been hurtful in our past.

And we have a handful of good friends. And we are truly grateful for them in our lives.

But on the day to day struggle of life, we find ourselves feeling alone and without people. And that is the biggest struggle for me.

So we go on, trying to make sense of our life and what we are supposed to be doing. And I am sure I am not alone in feeling alone.

Trying to not allow bitterness and anger to control the way I engage the world. I want to choose joy and hope.

But it is a struggle.