Monday, April 28, 2008

Self Portrait ~ Incredible!

I have always had a deep respect and affinity for elephants. They are the gentle giants of the earth. I have read numerous stories about how incredibly smart creatures they are, but this is the first time I have seen a video of an elephant painting. What an amazing creature ~ just watch for yourself. Wouldn't it be neat to work with these incredible animals!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Holder of Precious Things ~

My first week back at work was a little rough on my body both physically and mentally. Getting up at 5:45 am was definitely a rude awakening since I was used to rolling out of bed whenever I felt like it for 3 months. Sitting in a rolling chair all day also took it's toll as I worked on finding way of sitting that was the least painful position. I have found out this week that I am finally able to discern and define the differences symptoms of a tethered cord and chiari/cranial settling effects.

Although the tingling/numbness in my arms and legs is gone I am still feeling stiffness and pain in my neck and the back of my head. This next week will be a doosy as the weather forecast is calling for a low pressure front to settle like a blanket over our area and bring rain off and on all week long. But on the brighter side of things I found a new and fun website yesterday. For an avid movie/TV watcher it's been fun exploring all kinds of old and new tv/movie clips. Check it out for yourself ~ .

Here are some of my favs so far ~

Spoiler Alert ~ If you haven't seen JUNO yet don't watch the clip below.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Want To Believe

More news on the new X-Files Movie, I Want To Believe. Did I already tell you that I am super excited about the cinematic reunion of Scully and Mulder ~ Chris Carter is already mulling over the idea of shooting yet a third X-Files based movie!

But six years after the series ended (and a decade since the last film),
the new movie promises to be a lot more straightforward than fans of the show
might expect. Written by series creator Chris Carter and his right-hand man
Frank Spotnitz — and stemming from an idea they'd been kicking around for years
— it's a stand-alone story, set in the winter of 2008, that Carter describes as
a ''suspense thriller'' akin to the monster-of-the-week episodes from the show's
early days. Gone is the occasionally baffling mythology — Black oil! Ice picks!
Bees! — that came to define the series. The new film is designed to satisfy the
faithful while courting a new generation of fans raised on Saw and Hostel. ''Oh,
it's a great relief to not have to reweave all the strands of the narrative,''
says Spotnitz. ''We just wanted to tell a really good story with characters that
we love.''

My fellow nerdling,sci-fi nut friend and guest blogger, E, are planning an X-Files road trip when the movie opens this July. You see, she lives in Virginia and I in New York ~ so halfway between the two is Moosic or Scranton, Pennsylvania. If anyone has a favorite place to eat in either of those cities, let me know. An extra bonus for the road trip would be to find a store that sells Shiner Bock beer ~ the Texan in me yearns for Texas beers in the heat of the summer!

Monday, April 21, 2008

In The Blink of An Eye

Today was my first day back at work. Wow ~ 12 weeks really flew by! After spending all day looking at a computer screen my eyes are feeling a little bit googly! Getting back into the swing of things wasn't as hard as I had anticipated and ~ shocker ~ my brain seems to be working better than before the tethered cord surgery.

Something unexpected that happened today was my re-introduction to my desk chair. Clearly, a swiveling desk chair doesn't seem threatening to the average person. I've never had a problem with my chair before ~ but now ~ every time I moved in the chair I winced. I never realized how much I rolled around in the chair during the day. Now I have to be careful not to accidentally fall off the chair or pull my back out of whack while sliding around my cubicle! Maybe if I put some googly eyes on my chair I will know where I stand with the chair. Hmmmm ~ I just might have to search for the perfect pair of googly eyes now!

During my drive to work this morning I heard the song, "In the Blink of an Eye" and realized how time really flew by while I was home recovering. Of course I had lots of grandiose ideas of projects that would keep me from being bored. I still have a long list of movies I have yet to see. Time totally got away from me! What's more amazing is that the memory of the pain I felt seems to have faded. There wasn't one time during my recovery that I broke down and cried from the pain ~ I wasn't expecting that reaction at all. I found out that my pain tolerance is pretty high. These things were encouraging to me. Press on ~ push through to the next obstacle. ~ Sigh ~ So, what's next? Waiting for my real life to begin ~ probably ~ but trying to stay in the here and now and not look too forward into the future.

"In The Blink Of An Eye"~ Mercy Me

You put me here for a reason

You have a mission for me

You knew my name and You called it

Long before I learned to breathe

Sometimes I feel disappointed

By the way I spend my time

How can I further Your kingdom

When I'm so wrapped up in mine

In a Blink of an eye that is when

I'll be closer to You than I've ever been

Time will fly, but until then

I'll embrace every moment I'm given

There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye

And though I'm living a good life

Can my life be something great?

I have to answer the question

Before it's too late

Cause in a Blink of an eye that is when

I'll be closer to You than I've ever been

Time will fly, but until then

I'll embrace every moment I'm given

There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye

If I give the very best of me

That becomes my legacy

So tell me what am I waiting for?

What am I waiting for?

In a Blink of an eye that is when

I'll be closer to You than I've ever been

Time will fly, but until then

I'll embrace every moment I'm given

In a Blink of an eye that is when

I'll be closer to You than I've ever been

Time will fly, but until then

I'll embrace every moment I'm given

There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Googgly Eyes

A couple of weeks ago Christopher Walken was the host of SNL and I have to say that every skit, down to the very last one was hilarious! I especially enjoyed the one I posted above about the indoor gardener who's scared of his plants. His solution ~ put googly eyes on them so that he can establish eye contact with them. You just gotta laugh!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Shout to the Lord ~ Idol Gives Back

In a world that censors and tries to keep Jesus out of the school system ~ what an amazing victory as American Idol contestants sang Shout to the Lord on national TV this week.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Headache From Hell!

Just when I thought it was safe to act normal again I got slammed with a fierce headache as I awoke yesterday. At first I thought it was just a 'lack of coffee' headache ~ but later in the morning my vision started to blur and I felt the all too familiar pains of a fierce Chiari headache and a migraine brewing.

I still had some heavy duty migraine medicine so I took that naively thinking that would calm the beast. Long story short, the migraine medicine didn't do anything but make me feel loopy. I was curled up in a fetal position most of the day ~ wanting to die. What had I done to bring on a headache like that???? By the time John came home from work I was in tears and suddenly remembered that I had Morphine! So I took some and about an hour later the headache was beginning to diminish. The Morphine left me feeling super loopy and nauseated! So ~ yesterday ~ not so good ~ I am hoping for a much better day today!

Monday, April 7, 2008

These Are the Signs of Life

I awoke from an intense dream this morning. In my dream a good friend of mine was really upset and crying ~ she told me that someone very dear to her had passed away. When I woke up my heart was heavy and I was planning on e-mailing my friend as soon as I had a cup of coffee to make sure that she was OK. To my surprise, she beat me to the punch ~ there was an e-mail from her already in my inbox! Sadly, she was e-mailing me from a funeral of a good friend. JTM ~ sending you a big hug across the miles!

You might have read in earlier posts that I have a hard time getting to sleep. It's hard to turn my brain off ~ I believe that my brain tail is to blame most of the time. I have learned to follow up on dreams that pull at my heartstrings. As demonstrated this morning, there's a reason why people show up in my dreams. No wonder I am so exhausted in the morning! I have a theory that other people with Chiari malformations are also ultra sensitive to other's emotions ~ no matter how far away they might be. I know that no one in the medical community would verify this, but I have come to know that the brain tail isn't all that bad!

What a beautiful day it was today! While I was walking along the river I saw signs of life everywhere ~ munks (chipmunks), caterpillars, baby robins, geese, ducks ~ and some of the trees were beginning to bud, too! Much to my surprise, I have sun kissed shoulders to prove that I spent more than an hour under the blue skies and brilliant sun this afternoon.

I was checking out the site meter on my blog and was amazed how many hits I got last night after the re-airing of the Extreme Makeover about the Carter Family. I usually get about 40 visitors on the site a day and just in the three hours after the show aired I got 150 hits. Today so far I have about 111 hits. I am beyond thrilled that education about Chiari Malformations is getting out there ~ being educated about the disease is half the battle. Even though I don't agonize and blog daily about the pains of having a brain tail I am always thinking of those of you out there that also have Chiari. Remember, I still have my brain tail, but it's just not beating up on me as bad as before the detethering.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Good Mail ~ Bad Mail

I got a couple of letters in the mail today ~ two from my insurance company and one from the records department from the hospital where I was detethered. I always get a sick feeling in my stomach when I see letters from the insurance company. They were my giant to slay for so long ~ it's hard for me to have a complete attitude change towards them now that they are supporting me 100%. Actually ~ the last conversation I had with my out of network coordinator was almost comical. I really had to keep myself from laughing out loud on the phone.

I had called to get pre-authorization for numerous MRI's, a CT scan and a neuro-followup appointment in May. Her reaction was comical ~

"Certainly ~ just let me know what you need and I will write up the auths for
you. You know, people who come to us with Chiari (she pronounced it like
'chair-y') ~ we always send them to TCI ~ they offer the
most excellent treatment there!"

For those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning, you know that it took a year and a half to get approved to go to TCI. I clearly have educated the insurance company and have hopefully paved an easier road for others in their journey to get to TCI. Anyway ~ the letters I got from the insurance company were approved auths for my appointment in May ~ yeah. It's so nice to get pre-authed without the whole red tape drama!

About 3 weeks ago I had sent a letter to the hospital requesting copies of my medical chart so that I would have the medical terminology for the findings during the surgery. Today the letter I received told me that in order for them to release my files I would need to send them payment for $123.55! SERIOUSLY ~ these are MY records ~ do copies and shipping really cost that much! How big is my file?! Anyway ~ maybe I will save some $$$ and see if they will let me read my file while I am in town for my appointment. What a conspiracy!

When I woke up this morning I was rudely reminded that my brain tail is still alive and kicking ~ me in the head! Go figure ~ there's a low pressure front moving in bringing frozen precip and rain tomorrow! Wish I didn't have those friendly reminders ~ I would like to just forget about my Chiari all together! The prospect of brain surgery still weighs heavy on my mind, but truth be known, even if I do have surgery there's no guarantee that I will not have any more headaches. I will have some peace of mind after my follow-up visit at TCI in May. Sigh ~

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Number of Breaths

The calendar reads ~ April 1, 2008 ~ clearly mother nature is trying to fool me into thinking that springtime has officially arrived. The weather forecast today in the paper read ~ high of 63 degrees ~ so I gleefully put on some shorts and a short sleeve shirt, tied my sneakers, and threw on an anorak just for good measure. I headed down to the trail by the river and set out on a long walk.

The air was thick with humidity, there was a stiff breeze blowing off the river, my legs felt strong and my gait was quick. So this is what it feels like to feel 'alive'! It's been so long since I have felt this way ~ I finally feel like I am coming back to life. Chiari had really pulled me down to the deep dark pit and I didn't think I would ever be returning to the land of the living. But ~ here I am ~ living, breathing, pain free except for an occasional low pressure headache. Time heals all wounds ~ I am living proof. So for today ~ I am incredibly encouraged and hopeful.