Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More Golf Photos

For the first tournament, Ryan shot a 69 in the practice round, but a 79 during play.  2nd tournament today, he shot a 76.  Should be home later tonight I would imagine.

Have a great day!


Monday, March 29, 2010

First Collegiate Golf Tourney with Ryan

Hubs and I were able to make our first (and only) Collegiate golf tournament  with Ryan today, which was quite the feat considering the ridiculous amount of traveling hubs has been required to do lately.  But we made it!  Drove over last night and the only room in town was one with a double bed, but it worked out 'cause I don't move at night when I sleep - you know, the 'ole "coffin" position I sleep in.  We were nice and cozy and I loved it!

Here is a photo of us taken with my iPhone:

And I was able to get a photo of Ryan - can you tell how thrilled he was?  lol

I had a lidocaine patch on my buttock and one on my low back, a pillow in the golf cart with me and was really really careful with the positions I sat in.  And I'm doing OK tonight.  Yay!!!  It was very windy and chilly, but we survived.

Ryan has another separate tournament tomorrow before they come back home - an unusual 2 independent tournaments on one golf trip.  

Have a great day!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Out to Dinner with the Boys

Why are we always at Texas Roadhouse in these photos?  lol  We knew something was up when Holt ordered water instead of a soda.  We KNEW this meant the steak he was going to order MUST be expensive.  And it was.  He ordered an 18 oz Texas T-Bone for $19.49.  That would be standard operating procedure for him.  lol  And he ate the WHOLE thing, after having just eaten 3/4 of an entire pizza 1.5 hours prior.  Ryan does not know how Holt does not blimp out for as much as he eats!

Photo quality not the best as it was taken with my iPhone.  Both boys got haircuts this week, so don't they look nice?  Ryan just spent a week in Florida, hence the tan.

I had just picked Andy up at the airport and we met the boys.  Here we are tonight:

My hair is getting longer....woo hoo!!  Although I'm doing it to wear my hair curly one of these days, Andy LOVES longer hair.  He is SO happy!  If wearing my hair to his liking makes him SO pleased, I'm happy to do it!

Have a great day!


Ever used a Microfiber towel on your hair?

As some of you know, I am growing my hair out to be able to wear my hair curly for a few months.  I tried it a bit ago, but my hair was too short and by the time the curls formed, my hair was then too short for my taste.  While reading all about curly hair and how to take care of it, I came across a recommendation to use a microfiber towel on hair, regardless of whether one has curly hair or not.

The microfiber towel actually soaks up the water so fast and efficiently, it cuts way down on frizz.  I kept it in the back of my mind, but did not want to pay $20+ for that towel online.  

We were at Marshalls one day and I saw this product:  A microfiber towel for dogs!!

As you can see, it was only $5.99.  I brought it home and put it away, knowing I was months away from needing it (thinking only to use it on curly hair).

We were in Bed Bath and Beyond the other day in the sheets section looking for those elastic things that hold sheets on your bed, and I saw a"fancy" microfiber towel for hair drying - for $21.99!!  Yikes!  That reminded me to come home and get mine out.

I am writing this post because you HAVE to go get one!!  Wow!!  Here are pictures from what my hair looks like after taking a regular towel down and after the microfiber towel.  I have not touched the hair with my fingers at all yet.

Notice all the frizz?

Do you see the huge difference?  Now imagine you don't have curls, but tons of frizz.  This microfiber business is awesome and makes styling so much easier.  

These curls are my natural hair after shampooing and then wrapping my hair in a towel "turban" while I put on my makeup.  And can you believe I never knew I had curly hair?  HA!!  I'm not even kidding!  My hairdresser had quite a look on her face one day when she asked if I wanted her to style my hair curly that day.  I looked like a dumbstruck 2 year old.  "HUH?"  I said?    

So now, I have these beautiful curls, and I can't wait until my hair is long enough to have beautiful curly hair and some length.  

Always true to my frugal ways, see if you can find that pet towel at Marshalls or TJ Maxx.  You will LOVE IT. 
P.S.  It is so much lighter on the head than a regular towel  - no more headaches!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Makeup on my mind

I just showed you my closet and makeup organization in the previous post and I'm so happy I've gotten that accomplished.   With the spinal cord stimulator, I'm just able to do more and more.  Yahoo!   I'll admit - it is to the point that I have maintain a list on my iPhone of anything I run across that I might want need someday.  I even put CVS or something in front of it, in case it can only be purchased at certain places.  lol  My plan is for hubs to have a place to get an idea if he wants to surprise me a small gift.  That works, doesn't it?  lol

I think the rule is to get rid of makeup after 6 months?  Wellll, as you could tell from some of those photos, I have some well-used products that are YEARS old.  Just hate to throw perfectly good items away.  (With the exception of mascara, which I definitely keep an eye on, as there can be a larger risk of infection.)

Wanted to share a few things you might enjoy:

Makeup brushes!

This is the first time I have ever made a point to use makeup brushes and I'm 43!  With high end eye shadow that is very pigmented, it isn't difficult to get good color.  But with the cheaper drug store products, using a better brush helps with application and result.  Everyone talks on and on about MAC brushes online, and when I checked the prices, I croaked.  NO WAY.  So I kept reading and found out that some very good MAC (MAC Cosmetics) dupes are the Essence of Beauty brushes available only through CVS.  Have you ever tried them?  Here are some favorites of mine:

My FAVORITE Essence of Beauty Dual Use Eyeshadow Brush -- only $6.99!  The dome end on the right is perfect for smudging and I use the left end every single day.   And that traditional eye shadow end on the left works so great - deposits color quickly and cleanly.  Excellent coverage.  

Another must have is the Essence of Beauty Crease Brush Duo Eyes for $5.49.  You will be in heaven!  Have you ever had a brush that look like this?  Ever try to get a darker color in the crease and end up with too big of a swipe?  These brushes are perfect for that.  The smaller one is amazing for adding a small bit of dark color to the outer corner, or "v".  

Also wanted to mention something I haven't tried yet.  Apparently the Loew Cornell paint brushes at M.ichaels are great duplicates for the MAC brushes as well.  Haven't had a chance to check it out myself, but have seen a few videos and reviews online.  So much cheaper, considering some of the MAC brushes are $30+ each!  And don't forget to use those 40% coupons.

For tips, there are so many neat videos online.  Have you seen any of the videos from TiffanyD?  Her eyes are gorgeous and her videos are fun to watch.  If you look at all her video choices, she has a gazillion.  If there is something makeup or nail related, she probably has a video.   Oh my goodness, her video today is on some of HER favorite drug store finds.  He He. 

Here is the video that inspired me to organize.  Now, sit down and take a deep breath.  You are about to see a makeup collection that you cannot imagine.  Seriously.  She is a professional makeup artist, but she is so inspiring.   But wait until you see this:

Another neat blogger with makeup videos is Beauty Broadcast by Emily Eddington.  She is a TV anchorwoman but uses almost 100% drugstore products and does her own makeup.  She also refuses to get her nails professionally done, and uses the press-on type.  She has a tutorial on that, recommending different brands and giving tips for success.   She has a page on MAC Dupes - if you like makeup but won't pay the ridiculous MAC Makeup prices!  Here is that list:

Now, the other day my dear hubby and I were out running errands and celebrating our anniversary weekend.   As I've mentioned, I cannot go out walking by myself due to my fall risk and also rarely drive.  He loves to make sure we get out and do lots of walking on the weekends and going in different stores with me is something he loves to do.  He's a bigger shopper than me, if you can believe it. :)  Anyway, we actually don't "shop", but 99% of the time we just browse.  Just love the time we spend together.  Anyhoo....we did go in a Sephora store at an outdoor mall area and ran across this palette.  I had seen this online and he told me to order it.  Since I didn't, he had kept it in his mind to get for me.

Sephora Palette
Isn't this neat?  Guess how much?  $29.50!!  It has 50 eyeshadows, 10 lip colors and 5 blushes. What is neat about this palette is that the colors are grouped together for a cohesive look.   See that blank area to the right?  That is an empty palette that removes, and each color palette also removes.  This way, you can take a palette with you for the day.  Here's a photo:

I'm sorry it's a little blurry, but it shows what you can do with that extra palette. Wouldn't this be a neat gift for someone?  They have other palettes as well, but we decided on this one.

Anyhoo.....hope this gives you some ideas for cheap, fun makeup items. 

Have fun!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Closet and Makeup Organization

It's Spring!  Even for you gals covered in snow right now!  Is your closet crying for some attention?  I'm all for even decorating your closet to make it a welcoming place.  If you've seen my "color" posts, you know I'm a big believer in color affecting mood.  Well, organization and having a clutter-free dwelling also impacts your mental health and overall happiness.

My Colorful Life

Take small baby steps - and one small room to try is your closet!

I am a naturally organized person and always have been.  I suspect my "sensory issues" impact my need for a clutter-free life.  When my surroundings are in disarray, I feel stressed.  The sense of calm I get from cleaning and organizing makes me desire to do this daily.  lol  (One reason I LOVED home staging before my health crisis - loved helping others also!)

I wanted to share what we have done in my closet for my makeup area particularly.   Not being able to bend, lift or twist requires me to reorder many areas of our home and I love what we were able to do with this.

To start, we have had this large metal cabinet for years, to keep things locked up that kiddos don't need access to.  We deliberately chose a tall one to use for my makeup station and being 5'8, I can walk right up and the mirror is at my head level.  No bending necessary.  (My next project will be to make a decorative fabric cover for this "ugly" metal cabinet.) Here are some photos:

Rug at the base of the cabinet to protect carpet from all the things I drop!  To help pick those items up (since I cannot bend ever again), I use a grabber - $9.99 at stores like W.almart.  I have 5 around the house and it is also how I do laundry.

These grabbers/grippers can pick up a bobby pin off the floor.  I love them!

So, on the top of this cabinet, I have always kept my make up mirror, but I had to lean down a bit and had my makeup and other items scattered all around the top, along with in the carousel to the left.  Made it hard to keep clean, dust, etc.  I asked my engineer hubby for help on getting the perfect organizing storage items and this is what we came up with.  I love it!

This is actually a makeup carousel AND a plastic 2-tier lazy susan (from wally world) below, holding the makeup palettes.  The makeup carousel had broken and on longer turned.  This worked perfectly and holds all the smaller items.

This is one of my favorite all-time gifts.  My dear mother got this for me from P.ier One several years ago and it holds earrings and other jewelry, along with anything else I throw in there.  And it is so pretty!  Those are ceramic drawers.

We purchased this metal organizer at wally world and then purchased a small bag of plastic bean bag filler beads at M.ichaels.  This makes a perfect medium to put the brushes in and they stand up and come in and out easily.  I found it now much cheaper at J.o Ann's.

Since I originally posted this, I decided I needed a cleaner 'look" for the makeup brushes and found this ceramic container on sale and with a coupon.  It works better and looks much cleaner.

Michaels also had a 40% sale on the Loew Cornell paint brushes, and I was able to get the Maxine Mop brushes (purple handle with white brush bristles, although in the photo above, the handles look more blue than purple - they are to the right hand side of the photo) for 40% off.  They are originally $3.99 and $5.99 or so?  How awesome is that?  These work JUST as well as the MAC brushes, which can run over $30 each!   There were 2 displays of the Loew Cornell and American Painter brushes, but a separate section had a mixture of natural bristles.  We were able to get the percentage off showing that coupon (they didn't ring up automatically on sale). 

Ok, now to the large drawers on the main unit.  Of course, my engineer hubby had to go to Lowe's and get me some non-skid rubber mats.  Love him!

Top drawer holds my different creams.  If you want to feel utter bliss, go to Simply Divine Botanicals and order their Samples Pack - this is all those smaller white containers. 

Middle drawer has separate organizer drawers (of course, lol) and holds eye liners and gels, lip products, concealers, and then mascaras.

Back to organization.  Do you have an old tie rack from years ago?  Hang it and use it to hold necklaces!

For my clothes, I recommend sectioning shirts, pants, dresses, etc.  And for me, nothing beats color-coordinated items!  Even little things like this can make a huge difference in what your brain perceives as clutter.  Quick dressing and beautiful to look it - perfect!

Now for shoes - I don't keep the original boxes as that "looks" cluttered.   These plastic see-through containers can be purchased very inexpensively and protect your shoes. I've seen some folks take a photo of the shoe inside and put it on the outside edge, to make it even faster to find what you need.   I have narrow feet and cannot purchase cheaper shoes, as they fall right off my feet.  When Andy met me 24 years ago, I was selling higher end shoes and I warned right then and there that if he had a problem with purchasing quality shoes, I wasn't his girl.  Not to worry, as I found out - his favorite shoes then were Allen Edmonds to the tune of over $200 a pair (in 1986!!).  What I spent for shoes paled in comparison to this, so I was safe.  ($50 was expensive to me.)  Match made in heaven. 

Sadly, I can no longer wear ANY of those shoes.  These are the dressier shoes that can no longer be worn.   Heels or any shoe that is not perfectly flat presents a danger to me.   I am slowly discarding these.   Sigh........  These are the shoes I CAN wear:

Notice how no bending is required?  I can just slip them on.  Dankso shoes are very safe for folks who need stability and require ideal shoes for posture.  Nurses and health professionals love these shoes.  Definitely pricey, but they last forever.

We vacuum every week, so I keep the floors clean and tidy as well.

I am willing to sacrifice the entire left side of my closet to be able to iron peacefully!!  I recommend it!  The shirts are next up for ironing.   

And finally, we keep a file cabinet for our private papers and I use the top for additional storage.

This keeps the bathroom counter clean and tidy, as I can reach in quickly to get what I need.

When I met Andy, he had the most organized closet and was one of the most organized men I had ever met.  Nowadays, not so much (lol), but I wanted to show you his closet.  This is how he prefers to keep his closet - and I don't impose my color-coordination on him.  lol

I will be linking to the following:

Have a glorious day!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Julia Roberts in "Eat Pray Love" this summer!

I am SO excited!!!  Have you read the book Eat Pray Love - One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert?  It is the BEST story!!  In fact, we gave this out as gifts a few years back.

Her story is about having the courage to face your life and make courageous decisions.  About the author's inner and outer journey.  Are you really happy with your life?  Your career?  Your choices?  Do you have dreams you don't or won't have the courage to explore?  And why not? 

Some say the book was focused too much on Elizabeth, but the title and story state that it was her year of self-reflection.   I found it touching and inspirational.   I just firmly believe all of us should strive to follow our dreams, have the most love, the most authentic love in our lives.  To fully experience everything.....from what we do, to what we eat, to what we say.  So many of us keep ourselves boxed in and don't allow.....yes I said "allow"....ourselves to see, feel and taste joy.

When we honor ourselves, we become the best we can offer.  The best mother, the best wife, the best friend.....because we truly know ourselves.  No longer trying to be all to everyone, but the best of who we can and should be.  But isn't this self-centered or selfish?  Not at all.   Today's world is so wrapped up in judging everyone, having something to say about everyone's choices and then we do it to ourselves.  Are we the best mother?  Wife?  As if some sort of emotional pain is a requirement for life.  

As my life shows, you never know when your ability to do anything at all can suddenly change or disappear altogether.   There is no perfect tomorrow.  Listen to your intuition - live for today!

Here is the trailer:

I can't wait to see it this summer!

Have a glorious day!


Bad bad morning

Just had to share how sweet my husband was this morning.  I take what is called "long-acting" medication for pain that must be taken every 8 hours to build up your blood plasma levels to be effective.  Any one pill - you feel nothing.   As it slowly releases and builds up in your system, you get an overall pain relief.  (With traditional pain meds, you take one and start feeling relief in 30 minutes or so.  Not with long-acting medication.)

When I woke up this morning at  6:30am, fire was flying through my body.  As I rolled over, the overall body pain I felt made me want to die.  I struggled to sit up, trying to figure out what had happened.  I then realized I had forgotten my bedtime meds and this meant the last time I took any medication was 2PM the day before.  16.5 hours prior.  

Andy was already getting ready for work and when he saw me, he knew immediately that this was going to be very bad for me for a while.   It hadn't fully hit me yet what had happened and I was trying to physically get back in bed.  He helped me back in to my "coffin" sleeping position.   This is how I sleep all night, every night, and he swears I will look just like this one day in a coffin.  I am on my back, arms over my chest, legs straight with 2 pillows up under my knees.  And I don't move, all night long.   Many  nights, he swears he has checked to make sure I am breathing.  Kinda creepy for him.   lol

He realized as he tucked me in that I had started holding my breath, my way of holding in emotion.   He sweetly told me to breathe, in and out, in and out, as he laid next to me with his arms around me.  As I took the first breath, the tears hit fast and furious.  I was in a level of pain that I don't have words to describe.....

I started heaving with the crying and he needed to get me calmed down.  He started whispering about me flying up in the sky, floating comfortably, and seeing a house on fire below (representing the fire in my body, and taking it away from me personally).   Visualization almost always helps me.  Very shortly, I was asleep.

I haven't had the best day physically (as expected) but I can't get over how sweet and caring he was with me this morning.  Without his gentle support, I would have been much more panicked.  Means the world to me that he cares so much.  
It made me think - do we all do what we can to bring comfort to a spouse when needed, or are we too busy?  Too wrapped up in what we are doing or what we need?

Sometimes it is a true burden to be dealing with a health crisis, particularly one like mine that isn't going anywhere and we all just have to accept it.  But it still matters, even to "I'm fine" little Miss "Pretend" girls like me.  Sometimes, when things really aren't fine, it means so much to have someone show they care in a special way.

I love you, honey!

Have a glorious day!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So What Happened To Me? Part 2

Goodness, I did not think it would be a month before I continued. To be honest, this is really difficult for me. Going back over the details and reliving what happened......just so hard. But I think this will potentially help others and in the end, be cathartic for me, so here we go again.

To read Part 1, click the link:

Part 1

I had been having this “RBP” – Random Butt Pain – for about 4 months and my family doctor had no idea what was wrong. Of course, every time I went to see her, I had this huge smile on my face. As friends and family will attest, Cheri ALWAYS presents with a huge smile. It makes it difficult for medical professionals to assess how I am really doing, because while I am stating how horrible the pain is, how my leg keeps going out and I’m falling, I’m glowing with this huge smile. Anyone else do this? I’ve tried wearing no makeup, thinking of something I am angry about, anything to wipe that smile off my face! Sigh…..

My pain had started out in just honestly the center of my buttock, but as the weeks wore on, the pain started radiating down my thighs. When it got to my feet, I knew it was worsening. Sometimes it ached constantly, but I would get what I call "lightening strikes" that shoot through my body, from buttock down and out my toes. These "strikes" can knock me off my feet. I cannot find the words to describe these pains. I do get these occasionally to this day. And I live in fear of them, honestly. Was it just sciatica?

My doctor finally sent me to physical therapy to see if that would help the pain. In less than 5 minutes, the therapist told me she was certain I had a blown disc, most likely at L5-S1. I was incredulous that I did NOT have a back problem! Never had back pain. I had a BUTT muscle problem, darn it! A quickly ordered MRI showed a massively herniated disc at L5-S1. This meant that a major portion of the disc material at that level has protruded out into the vertebral space where it is NOT supposed to be. This can not only put pressure on adjacent nerves but can cause chemical changes to the nerves. This damage to the nerves can be temporary or permanent.

First order of business was 2 epidural steroid injections (also known as ESI), which is where steroids are injected into the problem area to help relieve inflammation getting the disc off the nerves. For me, there was no relief.

At this point, an orthopedic surgeon recommended a laminectomy/discectomy – a minimally invasive procedure where a small part of the lamina is removed to access the disc, and the excess protruding disc is cut away.

This link does an excellent job of explaining the procedure with diagrams.

This is intended to relieve pressure on the nerves. I had heard so many horror stories about one back surgery leading to multiple back surgeries and I wanted to wait and to be honest, I was honestly in denial at this point. I made it a few more weeks, until one day, I was almost fainting from the pain. I was training agents again and I just could not fake it anymore. At this point, at the end of my training sessions, my husband would meet me to pack up everything entirely for me. He was no longer letting me drive as my leg was not reliable and might go out at any moment. As soon as the last student left, I would immediately hit the floor. Andy finally begged me to get the surgery as it was killing him to see me in this much pain, knowing my pain tolerance.

I went in for this surgery in December, 2005, with a highly recommended orthopedic surgeon. When facing this type of surgery, you either choose an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon. -I believed I was in capable hands. According to the after surgery update that Andy received from the surgeon, that MRI had not shown my damage clearly. He told Andy I had one of the most squashed nerves he had EVER operated on and frankly did not know how I had been walking. He said the nerve was completely flat and should have had functional issues as well as pain. (This explained the leg giving out all the time!) The surgeon hoped my nerves would heal. As it would turn out, they did not.

Unavoidably, a month later in January, my husband moved to another state with a new job. This decision was made assuming my back was fine and I would be back to normal soon. The plan was for the boys and I to follow at Spring Break in March. That was not to be. By the middle of February, I was a mess. After being disabled with a horrid case of vertigo lasting 2 weeks, my family doc sent to physical therapy again to be evaluated. Thankfully, the PT office was able to “cure” the vertigo, but recommended I then have some exercises done to assess my balance (or lack of).This is where my life took a turn for the worst.

The therapist had me doing different things and at one point, had me sit on what I call a Fit Ball.

She asked me to sit and rotate my hips around and around and see if I could maintain my balance. REPEATEDLY I asked her if I should be doing this, as I just had surgery a month ago. She told me I was fine every time I asked. Since this did not hurt, I trusted her. The next morning, I could not get out of bed. FIRE shot through my legs. I was panicked and had no idea what to do. A few days later when I was up and functioning again, I went to the original surgeon for another visit. He ordered another MRI and sure enough – I was not only massively herniated AGAIN but this time I had what is called an EXTRUDED/SEQUESTRATED disc, where disc material has broken loose and is floating around in the spinal fluid. This was a disaster.

While deciding what to do about this on whether I should have surgery before I moved, I ended up with several trips to the ER in unbelievable pain. Our oldest son Ryan, then 16, was the “man” in charge and took me to the ER each time. My best friend Amy would meet us there and take over with me and the docs. There wasn’t anything anyone could do besides medicate for the pain since surgery was needed. One night, I was given WAY too much medication but it was not obvious until after Amy went home for the night. God was looking out for me that night, as I feel asleep sitting up, because at some point, I vomited in my mouth. Had I been lying down, I might have aspirated and stopped breathing.

A few days later, Andy was home for a visit and when he hugged me, could not believe what my breathing sounded like. It freaked him out as I sounded like a freight train! He rushed me to the ER again where I was immediately admitted for of all things, Aspiration Pneumonia (from the inhalation of the some of the vomit days earlier)!!! Isn’t this sounding like a soap opera at this point??I spent 2-3 days in the hospital getting respiratory treatment and was finally released. At this point, Andy was DONE. He could not face leaving me alone with all these problems and decided to move us all with him that weekend!

He quickly rented 2 moving trucks and started packing us up hastily, pretty much by himself. The boys helped as much as 13 and 16 year olds can really help. I was still in terrible pain and spent most of my time laying down as sitting, standing, basically any movement or position hurt terribly. We had no choice but to have Ryan drive one of the moving trucks, with Andy driving the other pulling one of our cars. There was no way I could make the trip in a truck, and we needed our vehicles. I HAD to drive one of the cars and this would prove to be a bad idea, but we had no choice. We simply prayed that things would go well.

Within 3 hours of our destination, we stopped to eat before we started getting into the really rural, curvy roads. As we left the restaurant, Andy and the boys took off ahead of me to get to their trucks which were parked quite far off. As my bad luck would have it, I did not make it to my car. I did not know until this time that I was almost dragging my feet due to the nerve damage and some uneven pavement caused me to fall. HARD. I hit the ground with the fall shattering my plastic cup and jarring me head to toe. As I gathered my senses, I just started hysterically crying. I was in the middle of a parking lot in the pitch dark of night, alone, bleeding and bruised with no idea where the guys were. I just started yelling out between sobs. I had no idea if anyone even heard me. After 7 hours of driving with 3 more to go, I was just defeated.

No one was around, but Holt thought he heard something even though it was very windy. The three of them came running, following the sound of my voice having no idea where I was. When they found me, Andy was just crushed and his eyes filled with tears. I’m sure it terrified him. The boys were speechless. I was sprawled out in a big mess, knees bleeding, just broken and devastated and in even more pain. We had no choice but to have me drive to a nearby gas station where there was light to clean me up and assess my new injuries and gas up the moving trucks. Our plans were to stay in a local hotel for several weeks until our house was ready.

Within 3 weeks of arriving to our new town, I was in surgery AGAIN. This was 3 months exactly since the first surgery. This time, we made a VERY bad choice of a surgeon and he butchered my back. He had just moved to town to be near his son and his reputation was great.  By the time we realized what he had done to me, he was on the move again, as his malpractice past had caught up to him in our town.  He actually did a fusion without hardware, and this is rarely done as the 2nd surgery in back patients. In a fusion, the damaged disc material is removed and one of two options:Grafts made from pieces of bone (usually taken from your hip) or bony material. A small metal cage filled with bone graft material. My doctor used both my bone and a product called BMP - Bone Morphogenic Protein. There is some growing controversy over whether the BMP can cause additional nerve damage. Definitely research this if you are allowing this in an upcoming surgery.

My extruded disc was only worsened during that fall, and my nerves were severely compromised. This second surgery was not only poorly done, but had a major complication that went undeclared as this doctor "pretended" I was healing nicely. Looking back, I think we were just overwhelmed with everything and I was in so much pain. The nearest “civilization” to interview any other doctors was a 4-hour round trip on rural.curvy roads. Not a great excuse, but the level of pain I was in was just indescribable. I just could not face this. By this point, I could not sit, stand, walk or do much of anything for more than 20 minutes at a time.

My life consisted of living in my recliner, fully reclined. I am going to post a picture I don't think anyone has seen. This was my life. We were living in a hotel for over 2 months - primarily because with the stress of working full time, taking care of me and the boys and getting the house ready to move in, Andy was overwhelmed. And he thought moving to the house would be worse for me. Keeping me in the hotel, in my recliner and contained made him feel "safer" that I wouldn't hurt myself again.   He had a complimentary hot breakfast every morning, maid service (such that it was) and I was contained.  Going crazy, but physically contained.  Sounds mean, but he was trying to keep it all together while starting a new job, no less.

So every day, as the boys went to school and Andy to work, I stayed fully reclined in my chair for 23 hours a day. I slept there, ate there, lived there. If I got up from the fully reclined position, I died from pain. It was just awful and here is a photo to prove it. My chair is in the center, with 2 tables right up against it so I could reach everything I needed and not have to get up unless to go to the bathroom. Andy came home every day at lunch to get me food and check on me, get me anything I needed. Rinse, wash, repeat for over 60 days. (That was our "kitchen" in the back right corner.)

Yes, it looks like a frat house, because 3 boys/men were in charge. The only girl, ME, could do nothing. Barely could use the bathroom by myself. Everyone who knows me in real life knows I am an organized, super clean gal....and living like this, crammed in....and with no physical ability to tie my own shoe, let alone clean up was demoralizing. Thankfully, the boys had their own adjoining room so we weren't all stuffed into one hotel room.Why do I have pictures of this nightmare? Well, I always take pictures of my "homes" and this was no exception! lol

This was my "view" daily and I can promise you, I watched that door longingly for someone to come home. It was pitiful. Can you see Sweety on the bed? lol  Always keeping an eye on me, as she knew something was really wrong with her Mama.  I was "up" taking this picture and I didn't GET up.  She was on alert.  The open door past the TV was the door to the boys room.  Thankfully, I have no pictures of that room!  lol

When we moved to the house, I was one happy girl, even though it was literally months before we had most of the main floor unpacked. I'm telling you ladies - imagine moving and having NO input. No packing, no unpacking, no nothing. And just waiting until any of the guys had time or "felt like" unpacking, let alone decorating or even decluttering to a female's standards. A dark time in my life, but I was also SO appreciative that I had such a wonderful husband who took on all this extra load without a single complaint. I kept my mouth shut as well, not criticizing or pressuring. I was just thankful to be in a home with windows and trees instead of hotel walls. Let me tell you.

During this time, I needed help in and out of my chair. The boys or hubs were having to get me anything I needed, from water to food to whatever. I felt so helpless. but if I got up to do anything myself, I had such horrid pain. It would be months before I found out why.

Although this 2nd orthopedic surgeon told me I was “fine” at every follow-up visit, I knew I was not. Not only was the pain not better, it was worse. And I could not walk properly. He offered me more epidural steroid injections, but I knew better. Finally, I just demanded my records and fired him. My gut told me something was really wrong.

And it was.

To be continued…..