A Change of Heart

I’ve had a change of heart.
The beating of my heart had become more and more erratic.
Now, I have a 
 to keep things a bit more 

I’m learning to align
my mind and emotions 
with my body 
while it acclimates to a new and different heart rhythm pattern,
one more orderly,
one not yet understood.

The medical notes from the recent X-ray read:
A left subclavian transvenous bipolar pacemaker has been inserted. 
Leads project over the region of the right atrium and right ventricle.
 The notes go on to say I have a new bipolar pacemaker.

It all seems a bit surreal.
I wonder at times how those notations became a part of my medical record.

The time had come when I knew things had to change.
I simply could not go on the way things were.

Some hearts found in my study:
A pink heart from blogging friends Sandi & Deb, A big heart from Vashon Island, A colorful heart made by my granddaughter Hannah,  a heart from Deb from Catbirdscout, a found heart.

On March 24, after years of irregular heart beats that never seemed to get better, a loop recorder was implanted in a very simple procedure performed by my cardiologist.  Just before the procedure, I was told that this device gave the doctors very good results very quickly.  Basically, the tiny little device, implanted just under the skin over the heart, is set to record those irregular heart beats that occur throughout the day in my heart.  Every night, at midnight, the day’s recording was wirelessly sent from the implanted device to a receiver that situated near my bed.  I felt nothing.  I did nothing.  The device in my body just talked to the device by my bedside.  Amazing.

At 8:00 the next morning, these reports were read by my doctor’s office.  If there were any events that were life threatening, I would be notified.  Of course, if I felt any of these events, I would have notified them!

For some reason, from the end of March until Easter Sunday, my symptoms just kept getting worse and worse.  I had two reactions to allergy shots that caused my heart to go a bit crazy.  In the evening of the day day of the second allergic reaction, thinking I was going to black out, I took my blood pressure.  My heart rate was listed as 48 beats a minute.  “Surely, this is a mistake,” I thought.  I am the girl with the overly fast beating heart.  I don’t have slow beats.  As the night wore one, I became more and more faint and had readings of beats in the 30’s.  My husband insisted I get to the doctor the next day.

On Good Friday, I saw my doctor.  He said the reports were showing that I was having a lot of events, “a lot” he emphasized.  “You have beats in the 30’s,” he said.  Thats a relief, thought I.  I was just sure that suddenly my blood pressure machine was not working, or I was crazy.  “You are showing us that you now have Tachy-brady syndrome.  How do you feel?”    “I feel terrible,” was my response.  I can’t function. I feel faint. I am exhausted.  I’m afraid to drive.”  

He thought we should treat the symptoms systemically for a little while to see if we got positive results.  If not, I was told I’d need a pacemaker.   I was on the low-normal range on potassium.  Knowing the potassium might help sounded reasonable.  I’d try that.  I’m not one to jump to surgery, but to be honest, I’ve heard the pacemaker suggested for too many years, and I was beginning to think it was time.

On Easter Sunday, after going to church, and then to a lovely brunch with my dear husband at the fanciest place in town, The Broadmoor Hotel, I again was faint and nearly blacked out.  My blood pressure was very low.  The exertion of the day had done me in.  At 7:00 that evening, at the insistence of my doctor’s office, I was in the emergency room.  I had a total melt down.  Sobbing to the nurse, I said, “I can’t do this anymore.  I am done.  This has to stop.”  She then told me I must calm down because in that one minute my heart had skipped 30 beats!  I calmed down. I also made a decision.  I decided that I was having surgery for a pacemaker as soon as it could be scheduled.

On Friday, April 10, my good Dr. L., my cardiologist for the past ten years, the one to whom I trust the intricacies of my heart, implanted a pacemaker.  The procedure went well.  It seemed to go quickly.  I awoke to find my kind and supportive husband by my side.  I sent him to eat breakfast while I rested.   Soon, my dear high school girlfriend, KM, was holding my hand and kissing my check while she spoke encouraging words to my heart and prayed for me.  

I came home from the hospital the next day.  I thought I would walk into the hospital, get the pacemaker, walk out, and go on with life without a bit of interruption.  It hasn’t been quite that easy.  True to form, I overdid yesterday.  I attended a tension filled meeting for my HOA.  I’m the secretary.  I thought I HAD to be there.  Wrong.  I then visited for two hours at a friend’s house.  By the time I was home my anxiety levels and stress levels were off the charts.  

The nurse calls everyday.  She says the first week is a rough one for many.  Yesterday, she said a meeting might be good.  It would keep my mind occupied.  The meeting was too stressful.  I should have stayed home.  I’m not handling stress well right now.

I go to get a device check tomorrow.  I took today off.  I have done nothing all day.  I will do the same until I am feeling stronger.


The heart is a sensitive organ, and mine appears to be especially sensitive.
Both doctors who have done invasive procedures have said my heart was particularly sensitive to the medical instruments used, more so than the normal patient.

I wonder if the doctors saw the broken part of my heart?
The part that keeps on beating through all the sorrow.
Does a broken heart become more sensitive?

Did they see my strong heart?
The part that is resilient, full of hope, that looks forward to the future.
Did they see that I have a survivor’s heart, one that wants to overcome the hurts of the past while remembering and holding on to the love that remains for the one who is no longer here?

Did they see my loving heart?
The one that is full of so much love for my husband and my children and grandchildren.
The one that is so full of love that I want it to beat strongly so I can fill my days with their joys and sorrows and accomplishments and laughter.
The one that wants to live as fully as possible.

Modern medicine is a miracle.
I now have a computer inside my body that regulates the beats of my heart.
I hope this does not make my heart mechanical.
I’m sure that will never happen.
That little computer will just help smooth things out for me and my heart.

It is hard to wrap one’s head around it all.

I still feel the skipped beats, and the new rhythm pattern is one I don’t quite understand.
Sometimes that makes me very anxious.

I must learn to trust
the device within my heart.
I must learn to trust more fully
 the One who made my heart.
Ultimately, He controls the span of my days.  
Each day I learn anew that I must trust.

Living life fully makes trust easier to come by.

My heart has been subject to an invasive procedure.
I know from experience that this means that I will suffer some emotional side effects.
My husband, my children, my friends have been so supportive as I have prepared for and gone through this procedure that I honestly don’t know what I would do with out them.

Healing is not a liner process.
Some days are better than others.
One must learn to listen the rhythms of the body and the heart and let them work together.
Healing takes time.

I am reminded of the lesson I learned with a head injury in 2012.
Adopt the pace of nature:
Her secret is patience.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A rose from my rose garden:  Pope John Paul II

A lesson from Proverbs:
A joyful heart is good medicine…
Proverbs 17:22

A life verse written out that has been on my reading table for many years:
Be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:24

I borrow a line from a poem by Emily Jane Bronte,
not because I feel that sadness of the poem, but because I think her advice speaks wisdom to me:

Me thinks this heart should rest awhile…

I will not push through life as I am prone to do.
I will give myself time to heal.
I’ll be walking much faster and farther,
I’ll be able to go over 8,000 feet in elevation again.
I will be feeling better than I have for years.

I’ve needed a change of heart.
I think this this change will be wonderful.

I never was good at keeping a beat.
My rhythm has always been a bit off.
That has been changed.

The beat goes on.

Unplanned Time with My Son

Where to start?  One day, I was trying to adjust to idea I was in the waning days of summer with autumn fast approaching, and the next day, I was on a plane flying to Pennsylvania to be at son's side after he had been involved in an accident that nearly took his life.  On Sunday afternoon, September 21, a message was left on my phone from a nurse at a hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania, telling me that my son had been in accident. "He's ok," she said, but I needed to call because he wished to speak with me.  My heart stopped when I heard the message.  Then, for another twenty agonizing minutes I could not reach the nurse because she was with my son who was having a MRI done.  No one could tell me what had happened because of HIPAA rules.  

Finally, I was able to connect with the nurse and more importantly with my son.  He had suffered a terrible trauma to his brachial plexus on his right side when he was cut by glass.  He is fortunate to be alive.  He received seven units of blood.  Surgery was performed to save his life.  In the process, somewhere along the way, damage was done to his nerves on the right arm in the brachial plexus area.  I think we all were in shock those first few days.  Certainly Jon was.  Certainly, I was.  

Two days later, On September 23, I flew from Colorado to Pennsylvania on a one way ticket.  I wanted to leave the date of my departure open.  By the time I got here, he'd been discharged from the hospital right from ICU.  I guess at that point I became his trauma nurse.  

For three days, I tried to navigate the unknowable medical field waters in search of aftercare treatment. My son was and is paralyzed from the shoulder down on the right side of his body.  He had an incision that is about seven inches long and contains over twenty stitches and staples.  Not being from this area, and with him being new to the area, I had no idea where to start in finding the help I knew he would need to heal.  For three days, I tried to get him into doctors and therapy.  Finally, this week it all began to come together.  We were able to connect with an occupational therapist whom I think will really be a source of great help and encouragement for him on this journey.  We also found a straight shooter for a primary care doctor whom I think will put together a plan to get him into the specialists he may need in his recovery.  We are optimistic that he will recover the use of his arm.  

Jonathan amazes me with his determination.  I'm not surprised.  He is one amazing kid.  He has had many adventures in his life.  Perhaps, he has lived life a bit too much on the edge.  He's always been daring and ready to push the envelope.  

He returned to work on the following Monday, September 29. He is teaching a full load of classes at the university.  I am here until next week trying to support him in any way I can.  Mostly, I'm just being mom and trying to keep body and soul together while he adapts to his new normal.  I am grateful to have this time with him.  These are treasured moments.  I get to be a participant in my son's life.  I get to observe his determination and hard work as he works so diligently on his classes.  I am able to be here with him in the hard parts of this journey when we can share what is in our hearts.  

On last Saturday, the sun was shining and we went to a nearby park for a walk.  I felt so blessed to walk in these Pennsylvania woods with my son and his son.  

Gratitude: walking in the woods on a sunny early fall day with my son and grandson.  

I gather up these memories and store them in my heart.  I may be here because of an unexpected and unwanted event, but I am here with my boys and for that I am grateful.  I also am most grateful that my son is here standing upright and able to show me this place so soon after his accident.  Youth and good health is on his side.  

From the shadows into the light, we follow the path we find ourselves on.  

Sometimes the paths of life are not as well laid out as the one we see in this photo.  In those cases, I always think of a path that is new to me.  Parts of it are rocky and obscure.  Other parts have waters rushing across.  I'm not sure how the path will end.  I sometimes feel very lost. That is when I think of this American Indian story:
 "You are deep in the woods, and you think you are lost; stop, look at the trees, the rocks, rivers-they are not lost.  They are here.  You are not lost, you are here."

Last night, Jon's son Atticus came to spend the night.  I was quite touched to see old Oso in Atticus' suitcase.  I gave this bear, as is my tradition, to Atticus on his first Christmas.  I must say no first Christmas bear of any other grandchild has seen the adventures this bear has seen.  He lived in Colorado to begin his life.  He then moved from there to Boston.  This dear bear, Oso, already rather travel worn, made his way to Bangladesh.  After a year and a half there, Oso, always at the side of Atticus, flew over the North Pole and home to the United States.  After living in Boston, he made his way to Pennsylvania.  I was glad to see this old friend from my grandson's earliest days.

Life seems complete when I have my kids by my side.  It is good being here cooking meals, driving my son to school on some days, he drives on others.  I try to keep the house running as he keeps up with his school work.  He tires easily and comes home exhausted and ready to have a big rest before the evening activities, but each day he seems stronger.

I will fly home next week.  I hate to leave.  My former husband and father of my children will come to spend some time with Jon the day before I leave.  He will be here for the next leg on this journey. 

It is so hard when your baby chicks grow up and leave home.  They seem to go to such far away places.  The miles separate us, but in this day of modern technology, we are only a text or a phone call away.  For that, I am also grateful.  

In the end, as a mom I've learned I must ultimately leave my children in hands that are much greater than mine.  They are all prayed over, and prayed over some more.  Whether they believe in my prayers or not, that does not matter.  I pray for them.  Each of them.  Everyday.  And, I thank God that I was blessed with each dear life.  Being a mom is hard, even when they are all grown up, but being a mom, I also know the rich blessings that I have in being a part of the journey that each child is on.  Their stories are intertwined with mine.  They are part of the story of my life.  We walk down this path together.  

One Who Helped Me Heal

Imagine feeling the following sensations periodically on a daily basis: 
light headedness,

Add to that:
 a sense of being out of sync with life, your environment, and those around you.

This all makes you feel
not understood.

Add to all of these symptoms, pain and headaches.
Along with the headaches, 
visual disturbances,
fullness in the ears.  

Along with the above symptoms and sensations,
that does not go away even as you sleep much of the day away,
loss of the ability to
the loss of 
short term memory,
and the inability to problem solve.

not being able to drive,
frequent public places,
 go grocery shopping
because you are overwhelmed by the sights and sounds surrounding you.

Add crippling anxiety to all of the above.

Intensify the debilitating effect of all of the above with the process of dealing with
 grief over the recent death of a child.  

Imagine that it is the dead of winter and the landscape seems bleak and bare.
Nothing seems to be blooming in your life, not even hope.  

This is how I felt though much of January of 2012 after a head injury from falling down the stairs of my home.  This fall sent me on a new journey of learning much about healing, hope, pacing, and patience.
I remember that one of the first pieces of advice given me after my injury by my chiropractor was, 
"Be patient with yourself."
I am not a patient person.

I needed a very special person in my life to teach me patience and pacing.  I also needed one who had the education and skills to properly diagnose my problems and give me the therapy I needed to heal.
That person was

Julie, a physical therapist with South Valley Physical Therapy, is a board certified neurological clinical specialist who specializes in all those symptoms that were robbing me of the life I once had.  To say that she was a God send to my life is an understatement.  I honestly do not know how I would have survived without the skill set that she used to diagnose my problems and to design a treatment plan that would give me both hope and healing.

In many ways, I consider that fact that I even found Julie Knoll nothing short of a miracle.  As I reflect back on my life over the past year, I am aware that I have suffered from vertigo and dizziness since early last summer.  Just as the symptoms of vertigo were finally abating some, I fell down the stairs and my problems with this puzzling symptom in my life were exacerbated.  If I count the number of doctors and tests that I had before I fell, I come up with at least four different specialists or tests that were done to try to find out what was going on in my life.  I was tested for seizures.  I was given MRIs and CAT scans.  I saw a balance disorder specialist.  I was sent to a cardiologist.  I had all kinds of tests, but I had no answers.  Interestingly, the Vestibular Disorders Association found in a survey of those diagnosed to have this disorder that 52% of those diagnosed had seen five or more doctors before they were properly diagnosed and treated.  

After already suffering from attacks of vertigo from an unknown source,  I fell and suffered a head injury.  After the head injury, when things just weren't getting better, my chiropractor,  of all people, sent me to an optometrist, Dr. Saxerud,  who specializes in visual mid-line shift problems.  This doctor confirmed I did not have a visual mid-line shift but told me I totally failed the test for vestibular disorder.  He recommended that I see Julie Knoll. He said she was the best person he knew of to help me with this problem, but he also noted that I would have to travel to Castle Rock, Colorado to see her.  That was not a problem.  Driving 85 miles to see someone who could help me seemed like a blessing.  At least I didn't have to go into Denver.

When I first met Julie, I was immediately impressed by her demeanor.  In fact, since I had been working on acquiring patience in dealing with my vertigo and headaches, I felt especially reassured by the quote on a plaque behind her desk.  I have superimposed it on this photo of the Pope John Paul II rose from my garden.  The quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson reads:  "Adopt the pace of nature, her name is patience."  I knew my healing would not be instantaneous, but I knew I had found someone who would help on the journey.

Julie exudes competence, self-confidence, wisdom, peace, patience, and hope.  She is able to build all of these same virtues in her patients.  As Julie began to review the intake form I had filled out prior to seeing her the first time, I was immediately aware of her great knowledge about the disorder for which I was seeking treatment.  Her academic knowledge was enhanced by her obvious possession of much successful experience in her chosen field.  While all of these attributes are greatly sought for in looking for any healer, I was especially struck by Julie's healing nature which was expressed by her care, concern, and willingness to truly listen and respond with ideas to aid in healing.  She didn't just come up with a treatment plan, she gave me other resources to help me on my path to health.  She suggested books to read, tips on handling times when I was experiencing symptoms, tips on traveling with this disorder, food choice that might make a difference, and advice on how to handle reactions to activities and medications.  She is both a gifted healer and teacher.  She taught me about the importance of exercise and diet to aid in recovery.  She suggested that I might explore dietary changes.

Every time I saw Julie, she gave me exercises to do to help me overcome my disorder and injury.  The philosophy behind the exercise program she developed in one of habituation.  In other words, I was to do those very things that made me dizzy in order to retrain my brain to accept those things that caused me to be out of balance with my body and my world.

As I think back over the past year, and especially over the last six months, I truly do not know what I would have done without the support, encouragement, knowledge, and help I received from this outstanding professional.  It is no small thing to give one a name for something that is disrupting one's ability to cope with what is going on within one's body and brain.  I learned that what I was experiencing had a name:  vestibular disorder.  I learned there was much to learn about the disorder itself, and I learned that the more you inform yourself about your disorder, the better equipped you will be to manage your symptoms and communicate effectively about your needs with family, friends, and health professionals.*

This past week, my husband and I traveled to the other side of the state to visit my mother.  The trip itself was horrendous.  The canyon roads that wind through deep canyons brought back intense vertigo.  The changes in altitude as we drove over mountain passes caused pressure and fullness in my ears that added to the vertigo and nausea.  I was fatigued, nearly unable to cope, my memory and concentration were disrupted as I struggled to regain some sense of equanimity in my mind and my body.  Thankfully, I knew this was temporary.  I knew what to do to regain some balance.  I knew it would take time.  I knew I needed to be patient, to pace myself, to rest.  I was reminded that I should build in a recovery day when I travel.  I was fine after resting a day.  I am not able to drive mountain passes yet.  I hope to be able to do so soon.

I know many will never understand the full scope of how this disorder has impacted my life, but I know that because just one person did know, did have the ability to diagnose and treat my symptoms, and listened to me while giving me help and hope, I am able to do those things I love to do again.  That person is Julie Knoll. I will be forever grateful for her.  She gave me the tools I needed to begin to recover my life.  Thank you, Julie.

*Quote from brochure published by Vestibular Disorder Association

Pacing - Part II

Tonight, I sit at my computer cognizant of my inability to put together the post I really want to write.  There are too many pieces and parts to it, and I have not significantly put together the parts in my mind to create the whole.  As I think of how I am unable to complete a task that would have seemed so easy a few months ago, I become even more aware of how much healing my brain still needs in order to do what I once was able to do.  I would be very discouraged about realizing that I can't formulate a clearly presented post on the topic about which I wish to write if it were not for the fact that I am

 not being 

For three days prior to today, I was so dizzy I could barely function.  When I get those dizzy spells, or the accompanying headaches, I begin to think I will never be well again.  

The search for answers about my symptoms:
Since my head injury on the January 2, I have been referred to several specialist.  One was an opthamologist  who ruled out a visual mid-line shift.  I had never heard of such a disorder, but it turns out that this can accompany head trauma.  The good news is that many people can reclaim their lives once they are diagnosed with visual mid-line shift by being fitted with prism lenses.  The sad news is that many of our soldiers are coming home with this problem which could be fixed by these lenses, but they don't have the type of insurance coverage to take care of the lenses.  Without insurance the cost is prohibitive.  Even with insurance, the co-pays can also be prohibitive.  I have been told there are 20,000 returning soldiers in Colorado Springs who suffer from head injury trauma and/or PTSD.  The services they need are many times not covered by insurance.

The opthamologist who ruled out visual mid-line shift did diagnose a vestibular disorder.  He referred me to a vestibular rehab specialist.  I met with this wonderful therapist in Castle Rock, Colorado, which is about two hours from my home, on Valentine's Day.  I was given a very through exam, and I was also assessed as to my risk factor for falling, and for the severity of my problem.  It turns out I am at moderate risk for falling again.  I also have a pretty significant imbalance in my balance system.  The good news is:  It is most likely quite fixable.  The bad news:  It takes time, and it could get worse before it gets better.

It turns out I am "visually" dependent.  I use my vision excessively for balance.  Since my fall, I experienced "visual motion hypersensitivity."  This is one reason I can't spend much time on the computer, on my iPhone using apps.  This hypersensitivity also means I can't drive, do much reading, nor can I tolerate spending time in crowds, or shopping.  I told my husband that WalMart make me crazy because it is too visually stimulating.  She countered with the bet that I would have no trouble at Nordstroms.  (He may or may not have a point there.)   I just know that when I am too visually stimulated, I get dizzy.

What I learned about pacing
  • I cannot go to a high school basketball game on Friday night unless I plan on taking it easy the next day.
  • Walking along a winding path around a lake that reflects sunlight off its waves on a Saturday morning while watching the dog dart back and forth in front of my is extremely visually stimulating.  That is why when I became dizzy on a walk Saturday morning, I should have spent the rest of the day resting.
  • One who understands pacing, would not have gone to a dedication ceremony on Saturday afternoon after becoming dizzy just walking beside a lake.  I did not understand pacing, nor did I assess my true condition well, so I went to the ceremony.  When I looked up on the stage during the dedication ceremony to watch a power point presentation flash photos across a screen, I became so dizzy, I had to leave the auditorium.
  • Mingling with the crowd of friends who had gathered at the ceremony also is not a good idea when one is dizzy.  Crowds make one more dizzy.
I spoke with my vestibular therapist today.  She was helpful in helping me deconstruct the cumulative events that led to my three day dizzy spell.  

Pacing oneself is truly a learning process.  I love to walk along the river walk in our town.  I love to go to the basketball games.  I love to spend time writing and reading on my computer.  I love to socialize.  I love to be in groups of people.  Those are the activities that defined me in the past.  I also think that if I feel good one day, I can jump back in where I left off.  

I am wrong.  
I have more to learn about healing.

I love this quote that my vestibular therapist has hanging in her office:

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is PATIENCE
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

That lesson, the secret of adopting nature's pace, is not one I will learn easily.
Patience is a hard lesson for me to learn, and to practice.

Healing Touches From Friends

“If you can make it through January, you can make it through anything.”
These words from my dear friend, who was quoting something her mother used to say, echoed in my mind throughout the long month of January after I suffered a fall down the basement stairs on the second day of the new year.  

I had such high hopes for January this year.  I was thinking of taking a class since I need some credits to renew my teaching certificate.  I was determined to spend much time at the computer writing.  I wanted to start my memoir.  On the first day of 2012, little did I know that after my head and neck injury,  I would spend nearly the entire month of January sitting quietly with my eyes closed through much of the first two weeks.  

I am happy to report that I made it through January! 
On the last day of January, which was also my youngest son's birthday, I celebrated 
Getting a Massage
Getting a manicure and pedicure! 

I want you to meet my two friends who have provided a healing touch to me for so long.  
I love these two ladies. 

Meet Monica 
Monica Suarez
Masseuse Extraordinaire
I have been going to Monica for massages for years.  She looks way too young to have been providing a healing touch to my life as long as she has, but I think I have been going to her for at least eight years.  Monica is truly a gifted masseuse.  She understands the body medically, and she seems to know exactly where I need work on my tight, knotted muscles.  She knows my problem areas, and she deals with them with great skill.  

Not only does she have healing hands, she has a heart and an attitude toward life that is healing and affirmative.  She is wise beyond her years.  She is all about family, tradition, health, and love.  She is the youngest child in a large family.  She honors her mother, and the memory of her father, her siblings, and her heritage.  As a way of passing on her love of her culture and heritage, she is teaching young girls, including her daughter, how to be folklorico dancers.  

Image from the internet
showing folklorico dancers
Monica is also a wonderful wife and mother.  Her job allows her to set her hours so that she can work around her children's schedule.  We share stories on family, gardening, and life in general.

Monica has seen me through some pretty rough patches in my life and in my health.  When my dizzy spells were at there worst, pre-head injury, this past summer, I nearly passed out on her table.  She knew just what to do.  

I was scheduled for a massage on January 3rd, so I went to see her even though I had just been injured the day before.  Wisely, we decided against the massage, but I was able to see the chiropractor where she works that day.  He has been such a good resource and practitioner for me also.  He has worked a lot with patients with head injuries, so between him and Monica, I know I am in good hands when I go in for treatment.

Truly, with my long standing problems with sciatica, lower back problems, and since  my first huge flare-up of major pain from stenosis in my neck a year ago, I don't know how I would continue to function without Monica.   Especially, in the past month, she has been invaluable in my journey toward health and healing.  If you live in Pueblo, and you need a good massage, call Monica!  

Love you, Monica.  Thanks for your healing touch in my life.

A girl is having a great day when she has a massage in the morning and a pedicure and manicure in the afternoon.  As I said earlier, I celebrated making it through January by visiting two of my favorite people.  You just met Monica.  

Meet Kerri
Kerri Bell
Head to Toe

Kerri Bell has also been a very important person in my life for a very long time.  Oh how I look forward to spending time with Kerri while she does my nails. I think we bonded in a special way the very first time we met years ago.  My husband found her for me.  I was looking for someone to give me a pedicure for the prom (he was a high school principal).  He told me of the mother of one of his favorite students, and the rest is just history.  Kerri has been doing my nails ever since.

Kerri and her friend Judy just reached a milestone when they opened their own salon together a few months ago.  I'm so happy for them.  The name of the salon is Head to Toe.  If you are in Pueblo, it is on Pueblo Boulevard right next door to Mi Ranchito.  They have created a warm, welcoming, soothing place to go to have your nails and/or your hair done.

Hair stylist
Head to Toe

Kerri and I have both shared some hard times together.  She has always been there for me.  I sometimes tell her that she is better than any therapist out there because while she does my nails, she also listens.  We have shared many a laugh, many tears, and have encouraged each other through the rough times in life.  If you want to know all the DRAMA in my life, you could ask Kerri what it is, but she wouldn't tell you.  She's loyal like that.  She listens, but she doesn't tell others.  Maybe that is one reason I love her so much.

Some may not care about getting a manicure, or a pedicure, but I love to have both.  When looking for a manicurist, I insist that I go to a place that clean, like crazy clean, and managed by professional people who take more time being caring and clean than in making money by pushing through as many clients as they can in a day.  This is just a basic in my book.  If I can also enjoy the atmosphere, the other stylists, the other clients, and my own manicurist at the same time, then I am really happy.  While Judy has never done my hair, I have come to know her over the years and look forward to seeing her and chatting with her as Kerri does my nails.

Kerri and I have shared some pretty funny times together.  I sometimes bring her tuna fish sandwiches and we have lunch while I soak my feet.  One time last winter we had a terrible snow storm and the roads were sheer ice because the temperatures were hovering around -3 F during the day, but I had an appointment for a pedicure and manicure that day, and I wasn't going to miss it.  

I walked into the shop in my UGG boots.  I walked out in sandals.  Kerri had already taken my keys, turned on my car to heat it up, and then she helped me to the car so I wouldn't slip and fall.  I was not about to mess up my pedicure by putting on my boots.  Mike, the owner of the shop she was in at time, said, "Your clients are nuts."   Nuts, maybe, but I had no time to let my nails dry, I had to drive across town to my real therapist.  Now, when I walked in her office in sandals, carrying my UGG boots, well that is the topic for another post.  

Love you, Kerri!  Thanks for commiserating with me during the difficult times, crying with me during my grief, being there for me when I need a friend who understands, laughing at my stories, and sharing stories of your beautiful girls and your wonderful new granddaughter with me.  Your life has blessed mine.  You are a very special friend who has always given me your healing touch.

January - Trying to Get Through It

January of 2012 seemed so promising on its second day.  I had high hopes for the day, for the month, for the year.  And, then, in just an instant, everything changed.  I fell down the basement stairs.  I didn't fall far, but I fell hard.  Since that time, I have been mostly absent from life as I knew it.

I have not driven.
I have not read.
I have not written.
I have stayed away from the computer because I cannot tolerate the light from it, 
nor can I tolerate the text I see written on it.  
I do not watch television.
I cannot watch movies.
I cannot tolerate crowds of people.
I cannot tolerate noise.
I prefer darkness over light.

I have focused on getting through each day.
I have focused on believing that I would see light coming through the dark clouds that seemed to always be overhead.
I have tried to hang on to hope:
hope that I would get better,
hope that the pain and dizziness would go away,
hope that I would be myself again.

Today, I had the best day that I have had in 17 days.  I am finally feeling better.  I am finally believing that I will be better.  We have an action plan as far as how to deal with this injury, and I am sure that in time, I will be better.

My husband has been my constant encourager.  He has allowed me to sit quietly in the dark for hours on end so I could give my brain time to heal.  He has downloaded stories for me to listen to on my iPhone.  He has driven me to get my hair cut so I would feel better about the way I looked.  He has driven me to doctors.  He has been patient.  He has, as always been my champion.  I don't know what I would do without him.

Yesterday, my dear friend from college days told me that her mother always said, "If you can make it through January, you can make it through anything."  True.  January can be so bleak at times.  It can be a harsh month to get through.  I am working on that right now.  I am working on getting through January.

I have missed my blogging friends, but I am not quite ready to read blogs again.  I will check in as I am able.

Writing this post is an accomplishment.  I hope to be back going full steam soon.  I hope you all are well.  I miss you.