Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy.

~ Mother Teresa

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thank you Pintrest!

Ok! So I got my crafty on!
Thanks to my new favorite website...
I made a craft!
A non-crafty person!
Found this and *knew* I had to make it!
It is SO me! 
It took me only about 3 hours...
which was fine on a Sunday afternoon. 
Happy Easter Wreath!!

Check out all the other fun things I am finding and dreaming about... oh! And the fabulous recipes I am gleaning as well!
Be warned! It is SUPER fun!
Here is the link:

My builder Caleb

The other night (ok a couple weeks ago) Caleb built an awesome "city"
That boy can build I tell you what! :) 
Reminds me of the Great Wall of China or some Egyptian Pyramid 
I love how creative he is!  

There is even a little boat with a covered area (the green with yellow structure thingy) to float the people to the City. He is awesome!

I can't believe it!

Holy Cow ~ Someone entered my name to win an new outfit and hair sytle from this fun little boutique in SF and they chose me!! :0 Thank you to whomever you are... *tears* after this last month... words don't describe how tickled I am to get to go and do something so frivolous and girly like this!! ♥ Everyone go check out this darling shop!! I still am in shock! ♥
Big City Styles, Small Town Prices! The Cutest little store in Utah County! Ranging from Jeans, Shirts, Hats, Jewelry, and much, much more! Come in and see all of our BIG STYLES at SMALL PRICES! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quick Fly-by

Almost a week later...

Doing better. Have most all of my right side response back today - only struggling with weakness on and off.

Only limped a little this evening after a long day of a college class, some Costco shopping, cleaning with my sister and mom and Dr. appts. with Jes.

Thank you so much for all the thoughts and prayers! :)

Hoping we are done with this "episode" for awhile!

We love you all!!

More to come...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Physical Therapy #2 - One Week Later

Friday Feb. 10th -

One week ago since this all started with a trip to the ER with hives.

Had my second trip to Physical Therapy today. I went without a cane. It made Jes a little nervous, but I felt confident in my hip's abilities when I woke up this morning. :)

I made great improvements overnight. (yipee!!!)

Brad didn't let me down. He worked me hard.

15 minutes on the Rowing/Stepper, on level 5! Ouch.

We reviewed all my exercises that I had been doing faithfully and he was extremely pleased with my progress. He said he felt like I had a 50% improvement in just two days!

He started me on a sliding board to do squats. Both legs together = no problem. Left leg (while they held my right leg up) = no problem. Right leg alone? Yikes. For the first rep. of 15. On the second it clicked. I could do it!!

He got out some clips for me to maneuver with my hands... and though it was tough at first... the pathway blazed right then and there! I could do it without much thought towards the end.

Then Brad pulled out my little friends from before: the metal pegs, washers and grommets with their little peg board. At first it was hard. My fingers did not want to keep gripping. He wanted me to put together 10 of them (1 peg, a washer, a grommet and then another washer). The first 5 took me about a minute a piece. All of a sudden I felt almost a instant tingle in  my mind... and there it was! I could do it super fast without any real thought! TEARS!

We worked on another 5-6 exercises, mostly to strengthen my shoulder. (still a lot of weakness there and in my hip) He also had me walk high step marching across the room, then backwards back again. Backwards was hard... but only at first :) .

Next, we side stepped across the room. Stepping left first, then pulling my right leg to me was not so hard... but switching to coming back with the right leg first took a great amount of mental power. It was h.a.r.d. When almost back to start on my second rep acrossed it just clicked! It was so pleasing to hear Brad say that this is his favorite part of helping with brain healing... to see the brain all of sudden "get it!" It was a awesome!

Last but not least, he wanted me to grapevine across the floor (stepping across in front of each leg walking sideways) What a let down inside. It was not there. I could not do it, no matter how hard I thought about it. And by the time I quit trying I had sparkles behind my eyes and felt dizzy and sick. That was the end of my therapy for today.

I was limb shaky as we left and I kinda wished I had listened to Jestin and brought my cane, but I just held his arm and smiled as I thought of the progress that has been made in DAYS... not months!! :)

I have tried to write multiple times, and I must hold the pencil or pen with both hands to guide my handwritting, but I can write. It is dark and clear, and painstakingly slow, but I can do it! :) Practice makes perfect! Or as Brad teaches me: Perfect PRACTICE makes perfect. *GRIN*
HUGE improvements!!!!!!!!! I have not used my cane today. (I limp somethin' fierce, but can manage without my cane here at home) And I helped my Mom-in-law fold clothes this afternoon - ok sorta... she did most of it... but I did do some! *grin* I have rested most of the day today. Tomorrow I will continue with my exercises and rest... and I have a secret hope to be able to walk into church on Sunday without a visible limp. :) As well as attend all my college classes next week! We shall see...

First day back to class

Thursday Feb 9th -
Can I just say I love my mommy? She is the bestest!

I got up early so that I could try to take a shower. I was more sure footed this morning. :) Miracles!
I was able to wash my hair with one hand, and slide my arm up the shower walls to do my cleaning. ;) It was tiring, but the independence was almost like a little bit of euphoria!
I got myself ready, encouraged the kids out the door, and gathered my school stuff.
Ma got here about 9 am. We loaded me and my book bags into the car and off we went.
I was really nervous... mostly for the embarrassment of being a limping, foot dragging fool. (LOL)
She parked the car, and walked me to my classroom. We had to wait a few minutes for the last class to leave. Ma set up my computer so I could take notes with one hand, and got out my book. Then she left me there while she ran home to get her purse (she had forgotten it in her haste that morning :/) I was kind of glad... it made it so she didn't have to just sit there for an hour and 15 minutes.

My professor was SHOCKED to see me, as was my mentor! I had sent them messages about what was going on on Monday before I was discharged. My professor told the whole class "That's it! None of you get to call in sick to class if Heather can make it here after all that!" Bwahahaha! I begged him to not compare me... I was just a super stubborn soul who is afraid to get behind! LOL

Class went well for the first 40-45 minutes. But soon, listening to him talk, and the class make comments, and watch him write on the board, and try to process that, and stay upright in the desk, I started to feel myself be a little too stimulated. The last 15-20 minutes of class I had to keep closing my eyes just to keep from crying. But I was there! I took notes. I got my participation points! And it made me happy.

Ma came in just as it ended and gathered up my things. I stood up to leave and realized I had lost ALL connection with my right leg. I had to just drag it to the car. I was overstimulated and it was not workin' anymore. *pout*

We drove to Costco (and I closed my eyes and shed a couple of tears), so by the time we got there, she could push me in a wheelchair and we could grab the couple of things Jestin needed. We snagged a salad on the way home. Ma stayed and ate lunch with me, then left me to rest. I crawled into my bed and did not move for 4 hours. I woke up feeling better.

I did some math homework - and realized that my number recollections were not as bad as they seemed. It was not as easy as it had been before... but it was not as bad as it was before I regained the pathway last month. So... that's good right?

First day back to class. Not quite epic fail... but I would not really call it a success.

I limped pretty bad all evening.

This has got to hurry and get better!! UGH!

Physical Therapy - Day 2 at Home

Wednesday Feb 8th - Therapy started at 8 am. Jes left for work at 5:30, so I got up about 7 am and got myself ready. I found I could hold my hair brush... I could only comb half way down... and when I wanted to let go of it, my hand would not... LOL... but I brushed my own hair! I slid my elbow up the wall and used my right hand to hold onto my hair, while I used my left hand to finagle a hair tie onto it to create a pony tail. It wasn't beauty queen... LOL... but it was out of my face for the workout ahead! ;) Go me!

I limped into the kitchen, and talked with my kids as they got ready for school. I even made myself a bowl of cereal. I discovered if I gripped my pill bottles with my right hand, and pushed down really hard with my left hand (so they couldn't twist in my hand) the lids would come off! YEA! Freedom!
By the time Jes got here to take me to PT, I was ready to go!

Getting down the stairs was a challenge (shoot! there were only TWO!) and getting in and out of the car had to be remembered (wrap my left leg around my right to lift it in and out) but hey! I was out in the world! And the sun was on my face! And I was headed to go see one of my heroes! Brad is an amazing PT and I really appreciate how he works with me and teaches me as we go.

I brought my cane and when I hobbled onto the therapy floor Brad's eyes were sad to see me. He sent me to a small room while he finished with the client he was with, then he came in to get the whole scoop. He did a full analysis and was super optimistic for me. (as always) We went straight to work.

Rowing machine for 10 minutes. TORTURE. The opposite motion on each side of my body, plus focusing on keeping my hand gripped on the hand bar, my foot on the pedal, and to just breathe was super stimulating! I had to close my eyes.

Then we did some walking. Phooey.

He moved me to a table to do "clam shells" (laying on my side, keeping my ankles together, but lifting my knees) - not so easy.

We also did "bridges" (laying on my back with my knees up, lifting my hips off the table). My left side totally had to drag my right side up, but I could feel it tugging at something inside my head! Hope!

Next he had me get on my hands and knees and shift the weight of my body from one shoulder to the other, lifting my arm at the elbow on each side. This proved the hardest one, even with Jestin gently stroking my elbow. My shoulder was very asleep.

The last exercise he gave me to do at home was to lay on my back, and interlock my fingers, then use my left hand's strength to pull my right arm up and over my head while keeping my arms straight. This was almost painful. My shoulder was SOO stiff from just hanging limp for days!

After I got my homework exercises, Brad had me stand in front of him with my feet off alignment and he did a bunch of balance tests. He was proud of me as I did each one; I remembered his teaching from before of focusing on my center of gravity and getting it in alignment at the hips regardless of where my feet were. :)

I really appreciate his honesty and optimism! He believes this can be a quick recovery. He knows how stubborn I am... and he sees how much I have already taken back. We are hoping for a full recovery in just a couple of weeks!! YEA!

Jestin brought me home and I slept. And slept. And slept. I know that victims of brain related injuries need a lot of sleep... but part of me feels guilt! I could sleep for hours and hours! I was tempted to try and attend my math class that night... but I was still just super wiped out so we chose against it.

Instead after my nap, I went on a short ride with Jes to pick up some parts for a side job, but that was the extent of my outings this day.

Ma has agreed to be my "Little Yellow School Bus", as I am forbidden from driving - obviously - and so we are going to try my class on campus in the morning! *gulp* Hoping for a "breakthrough" nights sleep!

First Day Home

Tuesday Feb 7th -  I woke up the next morning, and I could put one foot in front of the other! My hand and arm did big movements! YEA!

Quickly I realized that the biggest losses still were actually my shoulder (I had nada there :(  ) and my hip (it did not want to move or support me). I worked them all all day long on and off with the therapy exercises I could remember.

Jes left for work (reluctantly), but I assured him I was exhausted and I would stay in bed. I did. Jenny had the day off, so she came down and brought me lunch.

My mom-in-law came a few minutes after lunch, and she and Jenny went to work disinfecting the entire house! The bleached the doors, handles, deep cleaned both bathrooms plus the whole kitchen, table and chairs, remotes, Lysoled furniture etc etc etc! I tried to help wipe down some of the game controllers, but quickly fell asleep. I just could not get enough sleep!

Jenny had stripped the kids beds the night before, and re-made them with clean sheets, so MaryJo folded bedding and rotated laundry as well. The weather was beautiful, about 50 degrees, so we also opened the doors, and turned on the furnace fan to let the fresh air flow and get the germs out! My house smelled wonderfully clean and fresh!

Jenny helped me write out some bills. And she also straightened my hair. Between she and MaryJo, they accomplished what would have taken me a couple of weeks. It felt SOOO good knowing all the germs were gone! And that my house was mostly in order for me to be able to keep up on.

Friends from the ward brought us dinner. Since I had been admitted Saturday morning, every night someone has brought my little family a wonderful meal! And someone else dropped by treats, and another paper plates, cups etc and a bunch of kid-friendly-easy-to-make foods! And we could feel their prayers like balm to our souls. Our hearts are so full of gratitude and we are so humbled!! We have such amazing friends and family!! How did we get so lucky??

Most of today was spent sleeping when I could. Everyone here on the home front was completely feeling better. (HALLELUJAH!!) Jes and kids went to work and school. It was wonderful!

School. What am I going to do about school? Hmmm.... *gulp*

I scheduled my first physical therapy with Brad in the morning.

Hospital Stay - Part 6 - Monday

Sleep came easier during the night. I didn't care what they did to me. I was exhausted! It was a wonderful blessing that Ma's chair laid perfectly flat... and they cuddled her in blankets and pillows too... we both slept and slept. They came in and did their vitals etc, but I did not move much until almost 9:30 the next day!

The hospital physical therapist was the one who woke us up. He didn't even give me a chance to go to the bathroom, wipe the goo off my teeth or really get my eyes open... he wanted me out of bed and seeing what I could do. *sigh* At first I was rickety and slow, but about half way to the nurses station, something clicked. I could lift my foot and place it almost in one fluid motion in front of me. It took effort. A lot of mental effort. But it could be done. I had to tell him to quit talking to me so I could concentrate (the alarms going off in other rooms, the hospital staff etc etc was enough to try and keep out of my mind while focusing!) , LOL, but it was doable! YEA! I rested on a chair at the nurses station and enjoyed the encouragement from my nurse Darin (he was back again). It felt like having a little brother there with my best interest in his heart. That young man was meant to be a nurse!

We worked our way back to my room, where I was able to move more of my hand and arm, and more of my foot. My speech was almost completely back, and my swallowing was almost all better as well! As he tested different parts of my body, I explained that often in recovery before, Jes would gently stroke whichever muscle I was suppose to be using, and the tactile contact would draw out that brain pathway and I could make the move. He started trying it, and before long he was having a good old time! He told me I was his new favorite toy... and that when he wanted me to bend at the elbow, and I couldn't until he stroked the back of my arm... he laughed began calling me "Buzz Lightyear" with "karate chop action!" We laughed... but secretly I thought he was a dork! How could he be helping stroke victims and have never heard of this?? I was grateful I told him... maybe it will ease someone else's struggle some.

When he came back later, he again said he was excited to play with his "new favorite toy". ((insert rolling eyes)) I just hope it helps him be a better doctor... right?

The day took off as usual from there. Busy busy. Doctors with results did not come until late afternoon, but that was ok. I was feeling less brain-strained as the day went on and I was ITCHING to get out of that bed and make some pathways return!

Jes' grandparents stopped by to drop off my cane for me (Mom-in-law had brought it from my house the day before). It seemed naked without the bright blue tinsel with snowflakes my kiddos had decorated it with the year before. But it had the promise of freedom, and I liked looking at it.

They were both really sick, so they did not stay but just a few minutes.

Most of the results were in. The A&A for lupus was negative, but the other tests were inconclusive. Rats. (I know it is common to not get a positive for A&A even though you have lupus... I just hoped for a solid concrete answer!)

They told us they believed it was an "echo" from the previous "stroke" and recovery... that my immune system was just so tapped out it could not keep up and so it shut down the "country roads" I had recently built where the "super highway" in my brain was destroyed before... and the illness was a "huge rain storm" that washed out the roads... so I just needed to let them dry out and my brain would start using them again. *Giggle* it was a cute analogy anyway! and we enjoyed the humor.

They want me to follow up with a neurologist though. They are also really leaning toward/concerned about it being a rare form of migraine, called Hemiplegic Migraine.

I was happier with my "echo of a stroke" diagnosis... though this keeps haunting my thoughts. I have spent a number of hours pouring over any and all information I can find, and though I still in my heart want to believe this will never happen again because it is just an "echo", and I can make myself strong enough, and my pathways concrete enough, that it never will... I know I must see this through to be sure. My family cannot keep going through all of this every 6 months or so! And all the testing for a stroke is EXPENSIVE. Not that a degenerative headache cycle is any better.

I just don't know! :'(

As soon as we had most of the results (there were a few blood tests that still had not come back yet) I told them I wanted to go home. They were very reluctant... I did not have great mobility and you could tell they weren't terribly comfortable with it, but I assured them I would follow up with my own PT Brad, and that I would go see the neurologist, and my primary care doc, and that I would do a lot better AT HOME. I no longer have stairs in my home... so I would be fine.

They required one more visit with the speech therapist, to guarantee my swallowing ability, and when I passed with pretty good results (still a little catch... but that will resolve with practice) I was cleared. Reluctantly they discharged me and let Jes bring me home.

Seeing Jes walk in that door was like nothing I can explain! He looked really tired, but fantastic at the same time! I just wanted to hold him... even if it was only with one arm... and cry. He apologized he didn't bring me flowers... and I just laughed! Flowers compared to HIM??? Who needs stinking flowers??

We got home about 7:30 pm. My kids were so excited to see me. Caleb curled up next to me and let some crocodile tears quietly flow. (I think he hoped I didn't see them) We ate dinner together and then Jes helped me take a shower.

A real shower! We held each other and sobbed. What a weekend!!

Jenny came down to see us and help get me settled. She ran Emma to Walmart to get her best friend a birthday present while Jes and I showered, then she slathered me with oils again, combed out my hair and tucked me in bed. I don't know what I would do without my sister. I tear up whenever I think of all she has done for me and my family... and how little I can ever do to re-pay her. She is a gift!!

And so was being home, in my own bed, with my sweetheart next to me, and my babies close by. :)

Hospital Stay - Part 5 - Super Bowl Sunday

I don't know how anyone can get better in a hospital. Just sayin'.
Sleep was anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes at a shot.
So many interruptions!
I was woken up at 5 am for a blood draw. (in my other arm from my IV ??)
About an hour later, I woke up with water trickling down my arm. My IV was leaking.
It was shift change, so the nurse just turned off the IV and said she would be in to fix it as soon as she could. I tried to go back to sleep, but woke up about 20 minutes later with blood all over me. My IV had pulled out, and with the blood thinners in me, I was makin' a mess!
Go that cleaned up.
A really nice older male nurse (Bob) came in and tried to get a new IV started. He stuck me 3 times. My veins kept collapsing on him.
Finally, the floor's charge nurse was called in and she had to dig around, but found a vein (shoot me now!) and I was all hooked back up, and blood cleaned up. Just in time to start the questions again: "What's your name? What's your birthday?" Neurological tests. Vitals. Etc etc.
I could push down more with my foot, but could not pull my toes back. I could squeeze fingers a little more. And my smile seemed more even, and my speech less slurred.
Breakfast. Bathroom. Speech therapist = not swallowing well enough, I got switched to an all soft diet. (yuck) Physical Therapist came in, and his assistant was a fellow I knew!! He walked in and I said, "How do I know you and why do I like you so much??" (I could not at all place him!) He is the nephew/grandson of the people we rented our house from (our dear friends the Wilkins & Berrocals) and we spent weeks working together to get them moved to St. George! He helped with my therapy that morning. I was able to walk to the nurses station (3 doors down), rest for while and walk back. I drug my foot, but I could stabilize myself enough to stay standing and rotate my weight to move. It was a good morning!
Dad came by after his meetings at the MTC and took Ma home to take a nap. Jenny came and spent the day with me. It took us 4-5 tries, but we finally got them to leave us alone long enough to have her help me do a quick sponge bath, and some lotion, and brush my hair. She also put some more essential oils on me. We visited and dozed. She read. I tried to sleep on and off.
Jes' parents stopped by to see me for a few minutes as well as they headed down to my house to help Jes. It was nice to see some family. :) They were awesome and went down to have the Super Bowl snack fest my little family had planned on doing, and played some games with the kids, while my poor sick sweetheart slept and slept some more. Cody had some body aches this day, but that was a sick as he ever got.
I had a great nurse while I was there. His name was Darin. He was super kind, and reminded me a lot of my brother-in-law Greg. He teased me about my lack of interest in turning on the TV to watch the game - see how I was?? LOL I could not do the lights and noise. The only time the TV came on was on Sunday evening, when we heard about the murder Josh Powell committed on his 2 innocent babies, and his selfish suicide. It was heart wrenching... and perfectly distracting. Nothing I was going through was as bad as this. The Cox family lives in my brother's ward and so it hit close to home for them... and for us. I can't imagine the test of faith they are experiencing! Words fail me.
Ma came back to spend the night with me again. The neurologist did not have any answers for us yet, and most of the blood work had not come back. So we were there for at least another night. *sigh*
I called to say prayers with my little family over the phone and tell them all goodnight. About 30 minutes later, Jes called to say goodnight again, and let me know that my Cameron had started a migraine suddenly, and was hiding from light within 15 minutes, and 10 minutes later throwing up from pain. He had fallen asleep... but his monthly migraine had struck while I was away. :( My poor boy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hospital Stay - Part 4 - Sat. Eve / Visitors

The day did not slow down much. I had not slept but for a few minutes of dozing in my 2 different trips in the MRI machine since I got up Friday morning! Jenny spent a few hours with me, she put oils on my feet and just tried to keep me company and comfortable. Ma came back to spend the night with me. We were still waiting to hear results from the 2nd MRI, confirming for SURE that there was no new stroke, and they also began a myriad of tests to exclude all kinds of other things that I dared not even think about, including one I DID want to know about: Lupus.

They have said I am borderline Lupus most of my life. I have many of the symptoms. (hives for one, strange rashes, unexplained low grade fevers for weeks at a time, and unexplained to-the-bone fatigue, bouts of extreme muscle pain, sensitivity to sunlight, heat and cold, just to name a few). I was hopeful maybe my phantom symptoms that make me feel like a hypochondriac would finally have a name.

The physical therapist came in and helped me take some steps. I could take 6. Only six! I was frustrated! The good part was that as the day went on, I could make more words work. And that gave me hope!

I spent the day working my hand as often as I could, as well as trying to flex my foot. It was infuriating to be strapped to the bed and not be able to do much more. Both legs had a little attachment that inflated every 20 seconds or so and then deflated. One arm had an IV, and the other had a blood pressure cuff and O2 sensor. Added to all the heart monitors, I was not going anywhere without a large amount of unhooking and alarm making. LOL

Earlier in the evening, I had sent a message to one of my FLYSistahs (a group of my dearest friends) and she spread the word. After 9:00 there was a knock at my door...

Patty (from Murray) & Allie (from Roy)

I could not believe it! Talk about a wonderful gift!!
Being without my little family was torture!
And these two dear friends brought love, laughter and hope.

Suzie stopped by as well, and Ma and I and my 3 dear friends chatted late into the night.
We shared our faith and hope.
I felt so encouraged and uplifted!

After Suzie headed home, Allie & Patty did a HUGE gift for me. They drove to my house, picking up my cell phone charger, but more importantly, giving my sick little Emmalee the hug I could not.
(possibility of getting sick and all!)
Emma had been texting my mom all day... and was really worried and wanted to be here SOOO badly!
They also took her her favorite drink of choice when sick - a Gatorade.
They acted in my stead... something that can never be repaid.

It was nice to hear that they saw my sweetheart too.
Patty said she was going to ask how Jes was... but she told him she may as well not - cause he just looked "like hell" LOL

Then they came back and we laughed and talked with my Ma and I for a little longer.
They snuck out about 2 am.
I went to bed with a lighter heart.
With some hope.
And knowing my family at least had a "touch of my love" before bedtime.

Hospital Trip - Part 3 - Admittted/ Day 1

I was wheeled to a room on the 3rd floor, where my dear sweet Suzie was waiting. It was just after 5 am - Feb 4th. Neurological test, after test, after test, were performed. Everyone that came in seemed to want the answer to 3 specific questions: What's your name? What's your birthday? Do you know where you are? *sigh* I don't think Suzie and I had more than 10-15 minutes alone at a time! It was non-stop. I don't know how she stayed awake! We talked and tried to keep our minds off it all... though the conversation kept going back to the crisis at hand. What was I going to do now?

They feared it was a new stroke. They were almost certain.

I could not stomach it. Memories of how hard hard hard it was to recover last time... and the toll it took on my family, and the amount of work it would be... not to mention the loss of all that I had worked SOO hard to regain... and then my newest pathways with regards to school and numbers! I just couldn't stomach it. I had to believe it was not a new stroke! I HAD to.

Sometime that morning, Suzie and I called my mom. I knew she was planning to go to Idaho to see my Grandpa that morning... and I knew she would turn the car around the minute she heard, so we called her before she left. She and my dad immediately came right down to relieve Suzie. I was not going anywhere anytime soon.... and my sweetheart was at home fevering in bed.

Beyond that phone call, no calls were made for a while. No exchange of information. My mind could barely keep up with the events in the here and now... and I had to close my eyes to process each one as they happened. "What's your name?" - "What's your birthday?"

Yeah. Scary huh? That is a FULL smile.
And YIKES my hair looks fantastic post MRI! LOL

At some point, Suzie headed home to take care of her own family and get some sleep. My mom came and stayed. She took over all the information gathering, and I was able to allow that stimulation to diminish. It was a never ending entourage of doctors and specialists. Neurologists, cardiologists, internal medicine doctors, nurses, aids, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapist.
"What's your name?" - "What's your birthday?"

Finally the words I longed to hear.
It was NOT a new stroke.

Another set of words I didn't know I longed to hear:
It is not M.S.

So then what?

Another MRI... this time of my neck and blood vessels.
And an echo cardiogram.
(My Daddy loved that one!
Watching the bubble shoot through my heart as it pumped was pretty cool! LOL)

My Daddy bought me a little friend.
Meet Cleopatra - "Cleo"

The heartache of my little family being at home, sick, without me, the mommy!, and unable to come see me, or me see them, while facing all of this, was almost more than I could bear.
So, this 35 year old mother of 4, held onto her little stuffed puppy, which my sister Jenny rubbed down with my favorite "feel better" essential oil (Theives) and smelled her... and shed some tears.

Jenny came at one point in the day and let Mom and Dad go home to rest. At some point my mom called Jes' mom... after we realized that Jes had spent the entire day asleep in bed, with Emma asleep on the couch, and the boys watching movies all day... and no one had called her! I sobbed. I knew she would be heartbroken to find out almost a day later. And to know that Jes was so sick he didn't even leave his bed, when he knew the kids were fending for themselves... (he hates to leave them to fend for themselves and is SUCH a good dad!) I knew it was bad. And I was strapped to a hospital bed, unable to even walk to the bathroom. I only called him once or twice. There was never anything definitive to say... unless he wanted to know my name or birthday!

And I could tell hearing my voice, and my inability to talk was breaking his heart. When I finally called him that morning after my MRI's and he was awake for a minute... he has been sobbing. We could barely communicate. We just listened to one another breathe and felt each others presence. It was excruciating.

Hospital Trip - Part Two - MRI/MRA

Suzie and I sat and visited happily in the ER room. We had planned to get together that week for a breakfast meeting, since we are so busy lately, so it was great to catch up! As they prepared to let me go, the nurse came in and explained my discharge papers to us. I had them in my left hand.

I went to reach for my cell phone on my lap... and realized that my right arm would not move.

At all.

I looked up right as she asked if we had any last questions.

"Is it normal for the shot to make your arm not be able to move?" I asked.

(The benedryl shot had gone in that arm)

She said no, and immediately went to get the Dr.

Within minutes, they had done an assessment and realized not only did my arm not move, but right leg as well. It was like horrible flash backs of the morning of my stroke!

Things started moving fast. I made a trip to the bathroom (my own little test of how bad it really was) and could barely hold it together as my right leg drug behind me, and I could not maneuver my own britches! NOT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!! I did my best not to burst into tears.

They had to call in the MRI team, as they were not on that night, so we had to wait a little while, but the nurses and doctor kept that time filled. In between their visits, IV's and blood draws... Suzie and I were kind of quiet. There was not much to say. Just fear. And fighting tears. She sent Jes a text for me... but he didn't respond. He was sound asleep... sick as a dog.

At one point the Dr. came in to talk to me... and the paralysis had moved into my face and speech. Suzie looked really scared as my face did not move when I spoke, I could not say "g", "b", "th" and any other sound that moves your tongue forward in your mouth. Words became hard to find and I had to speak slowly to make sure I said what I was trying to say. Suzie quickly told that Dr. that "This is NOT normal!!" *smile* I think he realized that. My smile was crooked. My eye didn't close well. My tongue would not stick out straight. And soon I realized... after asking Suzie for a piece of gum to clear the "dry mouth of fear" out a bit... I could not chew on my right side, and if the gum got pushed over to that side (out of habit when chewing gum) I had to use my finger to move it back... or it would not budge and I got close to chocking.

About 2am I was whisked to the MRI machine.

They strapped me down (since I struggled to hold my dead arm against me with an IV in the other arm) and I was shot down the little tunnel of noise. It was loud, and stuffy, and slightly painful (my IV burned when they shot me with contrast). I had 2 MRI's - one with contrast and one without - and an MRA of my brain and head.

I was in the machine for about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I dozed a little here and there - (heh heh - I did have benedryl in me after all. But otherwise I tried really hard to think of songs to sing to keep me distracted. I could only come up with the first lines of my favorite hymns... then my brain lost what I was doing. "Come thou fount of every blessing..." was a phrase that kept playing my mind, though I could not find what was the next line after that.
So did "Nearer my God to thee... Nearer to Thee..." but that is all I could conjure up there. I was loosing the pathways to finish a thought processes. It was so frustrating!
I could barely pray... and not enough to even consider it a full prayer.
It was more feelings from my heart... without words.
I just didn't know what to say.

Hospital Trip - Part One - Hives

My fever broke finally on Thursday morning (Feb 2nd). What a relief! However... I was covered in hives. I get hives on a daily basis if I do not take my antihistamines, but this was excessive. I still was coughing, and now I was itchy... but I finally felt better! Yea!

Sorry it's crooked! LOL
Emma was still fighting it. And slept most of the day.

Jes and I decided that we really wanted to attend our Stake's Couple Fireside the next evening. He was feeling a little tired, but that's all. I was still hiving and coughing, but figured I would be coughing for weeks... So we sat in the back, I kept my mouth covered when I coughed, and we enjoyed one of the best firesides we have been to ever!

Later that night, about 10pm, I realized that the hives were now going down my throat and taking over! I had some in my tongue, and it began to feel stuffy to breathe. I asked Jestin if he would take me to the hospital for a shot. He got teary eyed and said he couldn't. Within the last 3o minutes the influenza had apparently taken over and he was I.L.L.

Emma and Cody had both gone to bed already, so the littles were still awake and couldn't be left alone anyway. I text the above picture to my sister, asking her opinion, and she said GO NOW. I called my friend Suzie who lives right here close, and donned a mask, and off we went.

We arrived at the ER, and they took one look at me and whisked me back. I couldn't have an ephedrine shot (remember the EPIpen? LOL) so they gave me a bendryl shot and some prednisone. After observing me for a while, they prepared to let us come home. I was going to stay on steroids for a few days and hopefully the hives would calm down. It was just after 1 am - Feb 4th.

14 months to the day (and almost the time) since my stroke.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Facebook post...

Working hard to come home soon... thanks for all the love... it helps! :) — at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Influenza Flu

Cam started coughing last week. We kept him home from school Tues-Friday because he just couldn't seem to get enough air. We thought it was more asthma related. I took him to the Dr. on Thursday, and he did not have a fever, and his O2s were ok (thank heavens!), so we continued our regular regime when he is in a flare and went on with life.

We had the Daddy Daughter dinner here on Saturday. *gulp* I was extremely fatigued that night, but that often happens to me... so I just figured it was recourse from a very busy week + school.
We all went to church Sunday morning.
We had been up REALLY late from the party and so the aches and pains that I felt, and Jes felt, and the whiney kids, we just brushed aside.
The longer we sat in church, the worse I felt.
And I started to cough.
So did Caleb.
We decided to go back home after Sacrament Meeting, and only let Emma and Cody stay
(they both felt fine, and had no symptoms)
All our friends tried to shake our hands or hug us, but we shyed away and tried to get out of there as quick as possible!

Within hours Caleb and I were running fevers. Cam as well. Jes had the aches, was weak and pale. He would not allow me to take his temp.
And here we are... almost 4 full days later... Sick... SiCk... SICK!!

Symptoms       COLD                     FLU
Fever              Rare               * Usually
Aches            Slight              * Mod-Severe
Chills            Uncommon     * Fairly Common
Fatigue          Mild                * Mod-Severe
Coughing    Productive        * Dry, Unproductive
Sneezing       Common         * Uncommon
Stuffy Nose   Common        * Uncommon
Sore Throat     Common      * Uncommon
Chest Pain     Mild-Mod      * Often severe
Headache      Uncommon    * Common

This is a chart issued to us a couple of years back by the CDC. The ones that have stars are all the symptoms we are dealing with.

Cam just barely tried school today. He made it ok... but is pale and weak now. He still coughs, but I am sure he will for weeks. He has not had a fever since Monday.

Emma started with a "tickle in her throat" she said this morning, and refused to stay home from school. This evening she is chilling, headache, coughing etc. The fever just hasn't started yet.

I can't get my fever below 99.8, though it prefers 101-102.6 . Everything hurts. My heart protests and does funny rhythms randomly. We also have had nausea on and off and both boys threw up a couple of times... but I think it was coughing related?

The worst complaints are the aches, the chest pain, the burning cough, and the fatigue.

All in all... It has NOT been a super fun week at our house.
I have missed 3 days of class.
Caleb has missed 4 days so far.
Cam was sick for 8 days.
Jes seems to be fighting it on and off - thankfully he usually doesn't not catch stuff like this
((knock on wood!!!))
Emma will not be going tomorrow.

Cody needs a foster home!

I went out to check on Caleb watching a movie this afternoon and this is what I found:

Caleb was on the couch, but Rexie, his beloved stuffed dinosaur, was tucked comfy in his pillow and blanket.
You see...
Rexie has the flu too.

Here's to appreciating the healthy days a little bit more...
and praying with all our hearts we did not spread this like wildfire before we realized what it really was!
Cause YIKES! It's a doozy!

(And PLEEEASE let us get warm and stop coughing til our eyes are reds and bloodshot and our chests burn! :P )