Friday, May 31, 2013

Amy- You'll hear many voices...your success is determined by the one you choose to listen to!

       Throughout our lives, we have that little voice in our heads, telling us to do the right thing, telling us we can or can't go on. We also hear other people in our heads. Now, I'm not talking about being schizophrenic or delusional...if you have arguments with the voices in your head, I'm gonna suggest you seek help from your nearest mental health professional! I'm talking about hearing the voice of our mom or dad, telling us we can cross the finish line, we can ace that test. Ever since I was a little girl, my parents have told me "you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to!". Every time I'm facing a difficult task, I hear their voices telling me that. We may also hear the voices of friends or other family encouraging us. Sadly, some of us have been in abusive relationships, and hear the voices of our abusers telling us we're worthless, "why would anyone want you?!?", "you're nothing but a _______(fill in the blank)!!"...yes, I have much personal experience with those voices myself! We hear many voices in day-to-day life and when we struggle with an ordeal. We'll HEAR many voices through our lives, but our success or failure is dictated by which ones we LISTEN to.
       For me, the worst thing someone can do is to tell me I can't do something. I always take that as a personal challenge to prove them wrong, and fight all the more so I can tell them "told you I could do it!". Right after I had my accident, I told y'all I was in and out of consciousness. I'd hear the doctors in my ICU room telling my parents "we don't know if she's gonna make it"; my spleen had ruptured and something ridiculous like 4 Liters of blood had been sucked outta my abdomen in surgery (I rec'd 15 units of blood throughout hospitalization). Once again, I took that as a personal challenge, and hung on with everything in me. When I got past those first 48 hrs., my chance of survival greatly increased. Now the attention was placed on my arms and legs and how functional I would be if I DID live through it. I heard the docs telling my family "we don't know if she'll be able to walk again". My parents, ever the optimists, and knowing me and how hard-headed I am, told the doctor "you don't Amy Marie! She'll be running before all this over!". My parents said the docs looked at them like they were crazy, heartbroken parents who couldn't accept the fact that their daughter, as they knew her, was gone. 
       After the first 11 or 12 surgeries, I was in so much pain; and for the first time in my life, I doubted I could get through it. The first voices I remember were my family cheering me on, telling me I'd been hit by a drunk driver but Bailey and I were  gonna be ok. I remember coming to and just writhing in pain. I mouthed something to my mom, and she leaned in closer and said "what baby? I can't hear you?". I said " it hurts too much... I can't do this anymore". She looked at me with a very worried and heartbroken expression and said "NO! Don't say that! We need you to hang on for us!". She went to the nurses station and had a Shirley MacLaine-style breakdown like the one in " Terms of Endearment"! She told the nurse "she said she can't do this anymore!!! She's hurting too much to hang on... YOU get in there and give her something to help her pain so she can keep going!!!", then she came in the room and told me they were coming to give me medicine. Being the drill sergeant she is, she then said " DON'T you give up, Amy Marie!!! You CAN and WILL do this...failure is not an option!!! Think of your kids, of your brother and sisters! And what about me and daddy?!?". Then the nurse came in with heavy drugs and I stopped wishing for death! Listening to the right voices, at the right time, can make you or break you!
       Over the next few weeks, doctors, nurses and occupational and physical therapists came in and out of my room. Some of them would tell me how amazing it was that I survived, how I was "lucky", or "blessed". As I progressed, they saw the effort I put into therapy, how hard I tried to do anything and everything the docs allowed me to do, and they told me how proud they were; that pushed me to try harder. We sometimes don't realize the positive impact our kind and encouraging words have on someone who may be struggling to keep going; keep that in mind the next time you see someone who could use a kind word. Your words may mean the difference btw life and death for that person!
       Unfortunately, vindictive people may also try to tear you down at your most vulnerable. A month and a half after my accident, the guy I'd been seeing for over a year broke up with me. He said it wasn't the accident, and maybe it wasn't, but it sure felt like it was when he texted taunting things to me. When he heard my present boyfriend, Kevin (now fiancĂ©) and I were talking, he said "what kind of loser is HE that he wants to date a woman who can't even walk?!?". That was one of those confusing times, when someone you care about tells you something that completely conflicts with the person you thought they were. I'm a person who really tries to find good in everyone, even people who aren't nice to me. I know that sounds naive, but I believe if someone is that miserable that they need to go outta their way to hurt me, they must not have been treated very nicely as kids. If it makes them feel better, fill some void in their lives, to be mean to me because someone was mean to them growing up, then so be it. I figure they've got much bigger problems than I do if they have to go that far! I still try to see the good in everyone, despite how they treat me. This was one of those rare moments when what someone said really hurt me, and it was hard to let it roll off my back. I was broken... physically, emotionally and spiritually. If a person you love can say that to you at the worst and lowest point in your life, they don't love you, and you don't need them in your life! When someone loves you...REALLY loves you...they want you to feel good about yourself! They see your beauty despite scars and broken bones. Kevin found out what my ex said , and said "that's ok...HE'S the fuckin' the loser for not realizing what he was throwing away! I'M lucky!".
       Although it hurt, I'm glad my ex said those things. It pissed me off enough to stop crying and feeling sorry for myself. I couldn't stand on my legs for 4.5 months after the accident, but I laid in my hospital bed in my parents' living room and worked out in bed. I did leg lifts, crunches, and after my broken ankles healed enough, I put ankle weights on and sat on the edge of the bed and did quad curls. It hurt like hell, especially since I'd had a piece of hip bone removed and grafted to my right ankle, but I pushed through the pain so I could be myself again. I couldn't stand in front of a mirror, so I laid my legs in front of me to see how much muscle tone I needed to gain back, and how my scars looked. I wasn't ever gonna give anyone the opportunity to tell me how much "better" I looked "BEFORE the accident"!
       My recovery was long and hard, but only possible because of the supportive people around me. People tell me what an "inspiration" I am, but I don't see it that way. Actually, I laugh a little on the inside when someone tells me how brave I am, and my mind immediately rewinds to the times I've just broken down and cried, sobbing about all I've lost because of this damn accident! I wonder what people would say if they could see me at those times; would they still tell me I'm an inspiration? I'm not sure, but I DO know that I see  my family, and Kevin, as the voices who made me strong when I wanted to break; giving me pep talks when I wanted to have a wimpy girl breakdown and abandon all hope. The way they believed in me, and assured me I could be myself again, is the only reason I didn't accept the mediocre standards my docs had set for me. I wanted to be the girl that you couldn't tell had been through hell and back...that chick in a bikini on the beach, that u sit down next to, never knowing the disfiguring scars and breaks that lie beneath! As the chick in "1965"  (white zombie) says, "I  never TRY anything, I just DO it! Wanna try me?!?". I may have broken nearly every bone in my body, but I'm still the chick who pushes the envelope a little further, and I don't "try", I DO...whatever I have the whimsy to do, including walking around the house in my pleather thigh high boots, just for a laugh and to make myself feel a little sexier and in control of the life that hasn't resembled MY life for quite some time! Only YOU can determine your own potential, and only you can determine your boundaries. Who do you know that gets to be close enough to whisper those words of condescension or words of encouragement? How will you recognize them? Only you can decide... Choose wisely my friends! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Jenny-What a pacemaker install is like...with pictures..

Picture Day!!

On my off time I help heart patients going through surgery. Several of them have been asking for more information on pacemaker installations so here's my go to guide complete with pictures.  Dedicated to my new friend Ruby!

This is a copy of my pacemaker.  You get a owner's manual with your pacemaker installation and a copy of your pacemaker.  The outside shell is made of titanium.  It's very small considering what it does!
I needed a pacemaker 4 months following my open heart/sinus node modification.  I was going into heart failure and my only shot at having a normal life was getting a pacemaker.  My echocardiograms were getting bad and my ejection fraction was too high.  (EF for short.) It means the heart is not pumping properly. That's not a good thing.  My heartrate was about 30 and I couldn't get over 120 without fainting and not in the cool (slow fall way) in the drop like a rock and scare a bunch of people and break shit on the way down kind of way.   I was also passing out constantly.  I was at the gym minding my own business and lifting 120 pounds doing squats. Then the room started spinning and I went down.  By the time I called my friend Laura to come get me I had trouble getting into her car.  Then to walk into the ER about 20 feet felt like 5 miles.  I couldn't talk by the time I got to the hospital. I knew it was time to get a pacemaker.

People ask me if it was a hard decision.  No, it wasn't a hard decision.  If I didn't get my pacemaker when I did I would have died. If I went home without it I would have coded by myself or with the kids.  I wasn't going to let that happen.  So I stayed until they implanted Bob Marley into my chest!  I couldn't wash my hair without passing out by the time I got my pacemaker.  It's very weird to get your nurses to wash your hair when you are 35 but I had to do it because Jeremy was out of town and I need clean hair. Because apparently I couldn't move my arms and keep my heart rate normal.  If I swung my arms, moved my elbows, leaned over slightly I was gasping for air.  So it was either walk like a Irish Stepdancer or go back to the Operating Room with Dr. Mehdi Razavi, my wonder doc.  I chose the OR with the best doc I know.

So you go into the Operating room.  You lay on a table and they tie you down with velcro straps. They tie down your arms and tie you to the actual table. Then they clean one boob. Not both boobs. Just one side.  Which is kind of hilarious and a little awkward. It wasn't weird for me because I've been in that Operating Room so often I knew the techs by name.  They also clean into your neck.  But you are awake so you feel the need to make small talk with the techs.  Or maybe that's just me. They have to cover your face too to keep germs out of the incision. So you have a blue tarp over your face. It's actually resting on a little metal thing so the tarp isn't touching your face. So you get to stare at blue tarp while they are working.  But you can talk to your doc.  It's a great time to ask really personal questions.  Just kidding.  I would NEVER do that. They have a guy (or girl) from the pacemaker company sitting at a laptop in the operating room programming your robot functions.  SO I was telling them I want to run SUPER fast and BREATHE like a normal person and JUMP really high.  They may or may not have thought I was serious. They probably thought it was THE DRUGS.  But it wasn't. It was just me and my need to make jokes in weird situations.  It's also very hard to NOT yell "Surprise or Peek-A-Boo" when they peek at you under the sheet.

Before my surgery the blood in my heart was going backwards. So my face and legs were swollen.  I was super exhausted and I couldn't walk and breathe at the same time. I looked like this...Yes, I know I look tired and puffy.  Not my best look.  But it's the truth.. This is what happens when you have a funky heart. No, I'm not wearing a hospital gown. Because I hate them and it's the one ounce of rebelliousness I get in the hospital.  I only wear them on my way to surgery. That's it. My rule.

I took this picture right after I could stand up for the first time since the surgery. I was super excited because I could breathe and stand at the same time. Then the xray tech came in to take a picture of my device and my leads. It's very important to know where your leads are located so you don't crush them. I couldn't see the display so I asked him to take a picture of the xray.

I have Medtronic Revo Pacemaker MRI Safe pacemaker. It's Bi-ventricular so I have two leads which are screwed into my heart. Most pacemakers are not screwed in.  I guess they don't trust me.  It's super important not to rip my leads so I try not to pickup small people (or large people) if I can help it.  But I can carry Mason.  I can do lots of things I couldn't do before the surgery. Like climb stairs. Try to contain your excitement!  I'm pretty excited about it.

My incision was glued shut. So it looked like this about a week after the surgery.  See my face is less swollen! Some bruising and definitely bloody, gory looking.  I didn't anticipate how sore I would be in bras so my friend Chris built me a pad for my bra. She's an amazing seamstress and she said it wasn't the weirdest thing she ever made.  Which really makes me wonder what else she has sewn! I think I probably scared some people when I went out.  But you aren't supposed to cover it and you can't bend your arm enough to get a regular t-shirt on. So I bought a bunch of v-neck shirts that were stretchy and used a lot of hoodies. You have to put a shirt on with the pacemaker side first and you can only bend that side like a chicken wing.  So your fashion options are limited. Ha Ha. You also cannot lift your arm above your shoulder for 6 weeks...

They velcro your arm down after the surgery so you don't forget and use that arm before it's healed. This part is very important because you need your pacemaker to settle into place and form scar tissue to secure the leads in place. This shoulder harness thing is very confusing to the public because everyone will think you had shoulder surgery and not that you became a robot.  So you'll have a lot of explaining to do when you leave the house! My arm was tied down all the time for a week or two then only at night.  Not using your arm is harder than it seems. Try cutting your food with one arm.  It's not easy.

The one thing I didn't think about immediately after was bras.  But you have to wear a bra with a pacemaker if you are a girl.  You need a really strong one like this Panache sports bra to limit movement. If you don't wear a bra it feels like your pacemaker is moving too much at first and it's uncomfortable.  Also your boobs moving makes your pacemaker think you are working out.  Yeah, who knew? I got reprogrammed so I'm not using the rate-response function so much anymore.  If you are using that function the pacemaker sees every movement as a trigger to turn on and off. So riding in a car without a bra was suffocating me, because my pacemaker thought I was working out.  I couldn't breathe going up stairs until I "clicked" on which meant I was hopping up and down before I climbed stairs. Which doesn't look exactly normal. But since April was with me we looked like we were trying some new dance move.  It sadly did not catch on. So we got reprogrammed to pace with our atrium.  So we both pace 99% of the time. We also bypass our junctional rhythms. When you hit junctional you feel like you got kicked in the throat.  It's NOT awesome. So it's pretty amazing we can program our way out of dealing with it.  Our pacemakers let us get one beat into a funky junctional rhythm then they take over.  We mess up 99% of the time. So we're only 1% awesome on our own. Yeah for the 1%!

I also didn't realize that riding in a car would be uncomfortable because of where the seatbelt hits your shoulder. So this is my driving turtle. Yes, I sometimes yeah sparkle nail polish. Don't judge me. I use "turtle" when I drive to make my seatbelt more cushiony unless my kids steal it. In which case I use anything I can find in my car.  Sure I look goofy but we all know that's not the first time I've looked goofy.  So I'm going with it.

In other news our daughter graduated from Kindergarten this week!  Yeah Ava!  Such a bright and beautiful girl!  So proud of you honeybee!

Before I had a pacemaker I saw terrible, scary pictures online that were of people's scars.  But getting a pacemaker when you are young is completely different from getting one as an older person. Mine doesn't really stick out. It looks like I got involved in a "minor stabbing." Just think of all the money you can save when people don't make you pay for stuff because you look dangerous.  Look on the bright side, if you get one then you too can be a cyborg.  You can set off theft deterrent systems in stores, and all the alarms go off for your arrival at your location.  It's kinda awesome. So in honor of Ava's Graduation I have now provided you with a picture book blog of pacemakers. You are welcome.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


We are in the process of moving.  We live in a great little town close to the water.  People wear flip flops and swimsuits to the grocery store.  I've only rarely worn "real shoes" in the 4 years we have lived in this house. It's kind of like living on a resort.  The palm trees are everywhere including the Wal-Mart parking lot. Seagulls fly around overhead.  It's a magical place really.  We live 2 minutes from the water, it's a very relaxing place.  I guess because we're moving I've been confronted with all the memories I have of this place, of this town, it's people, and the love my brother had for this community.

All over this city I see things that remind me of Adam. The church where I was with him the week before he died, while he was talking about the future and how much all of us had to look forward to together, the fish mailbox that he liked, the restaurants he liked. The Kemah Boardwalk where he walked his dog and where he went to go to think.  So many memories, all tied to this city.  It feels strange to leave it. But I can bring him with me.

It was 2 years ago in April.  The irony that my heart twin's name is April was not lost on me.  Oh course her name is April because that's a hard month for me. It was the day before my parent's 40th wedding anniversary.  My only sibling, Adam had gone out of town for a business trip and he crashed his car on the way home into the median of the highway.  He was an excellent driver so we were all confused what had happened.  He was transported to the hospital because his car called OnStar when all the airbags had been deployed. He was found unconscious when the EMT's transported him. The hospital personnel tried to revive him, they did CPR, but they were not able to save him.  His heart has stopped. He lived 36 years and he died in about 10 minutes.  The cops came to tell me at 3am. Then I had to make the worst phone call of my life, wake my parents up and tell them their only son was dead at 36 years old.

Living in the media related society we live in as soon as the accident happened I found a news cast online talking about the accident. A reporter who didn't know me was taking boringly about my brother, my dead brother.  I saw pictures of my brother's car, bent up at the front with all the airbags deployed.  Pictures I wish I did not see. Adam did not die from the crash.  He went unconscious very quickly and died from a Widowmaker heart attack. It's the type of heart attack that is 99% fatal.  You'd basically have to already be at the hospital to survive it. He had been complaining about his stomach hurting for months.  He thought it was his stomach, but it wasn't.  It was his heart.  Heart disease presents many different ways.  It also causes different symptoms in men than in women. It was Adam's LAD-Lateral Descending Artery completely blocked with plaque that caused his heart attack.  Could his death had been prevented?  We will never know.

When all of us hear of bad things happening in the news we are confronted with the thought of what would we do if that were us.  If that were our child in that tornado in Oklahoma. What if I never see the person I loved again?  We all just need to live with that thought in mind.  Not with dread, but with the knowledge that none of us knows when our last day will be.  So don't put things off. Don't wait until tomorrow to make that phone call.  Write that letter you have been meaning to write.  Call your parents and tell them you appreciate every sacrifice they have made for you.  Kiss your kids every chance you get.  Don't go to bed mad. Read that book again for the 400th time to your child.  Because life is fleeting and we're only here a short time.

When you have been in the Operating room as many times as I have been in there you realize how complicated our bodies are.  We all have the same parts.  But yet all of us are different.  We all have different configurations of things.  Some of us were born missing parts, or with extra ones.  It's all pretty amazing really when you think about it.  Because all of these complicated things an systems work together in unison.  Except when they don't.

My dad had the same artery blocked as my brother.  He got regular checkups and had a triple bypass almost 5 years ago.  They saved his life.  Most of the men in my family have been affected by heart disease.  My Grandfather died of congestive heart failure, my uncle died of a heart attack, my other uncle had a bypass, and my brother died at 36.  I am the only girl in the mix.  I am alive because I fought for my life.  I went to the surgeons.  I did the tests. I was proactive about my health.  I researched my options.  We made the decisions that we needed to make. I get to live.

The problem I had with my heart wasn't because of plaque or blocked arteries.  My problem was an electrical problem in my heart.  My heart essentially was always in fight or flight mode.  Always running super fast.  I didn't know normal people don't hear their heart beating in their ears, or feel every beat of their heart.  It was kind of lonely at first.  I wasn't used to my heart being quiet.  I'm still trying to get used to it.  But I am so grateful I have the surgeons I've had that saved my life.  That gave me the chance to go home to my kids.  So yeah I'm pretty passionate about heart disease.

Sometimes you have to save yourself.  Your issue might not be with your heart.  It might be something else. But listen to yourself.  Pay attention.  Get regular checkups. Don't ignore things and let them go.

Heart disease has been my family's legacy. It doesn't have to be yours.


Amy- Sooooo tired of fighting!!!

       I'm tired of this nightmare...can I wake up now? Or at least switch to one with an easier theme, like being chased by satan and his rabid hounds of hell?!? I have been drowning these last few weeks in court hearings, end-of-year school projects/book reports, chasing down paperwork from my doctors confirming I can't go back to work, applications for financial assistance,  and preparing for my disability hearing!
       As you know, I can't return to work because my surgeons don't feel comfortable releasing me, seeing as how my left arm and left leg were crushed and are now being held together with bubble gum and some shoe string!!!  Ok, well, they're held together with titanium, actually, but there's a lot of pins and screws in both! Anyway, I haven't worked since December of 2011, and got my last paycheck in January 2012!!! I would love nothing more than to go back to work; I miss taking care of my patients and seeing my friends at work! But more than that, I miss having MONEY!!!
       When I began my job at the hospital, I was still married to my ex-husband. I won't say his name...instead, we'll use my nickname for him, "the antidote to fun" (spontaneous laughter and fun always came to an abrupt end when he entered a room) . Anyway, the antidote to fun had a job with health insurance and benefits, which we were already on. When I started at the hospital, if I didn't take the benefits, the pay was $5 more an hour, so he didn't want me to take the benefits. I remained on his insurance and I was without any benefits, including health insurance, life insurance, 401K, ad any insurance that may have reimbursed me for injuries and given me the ability to continue paying 
my house note and other bills after my accident, like Aflac. After we got separated, I tried to go during open enrollment and enroll in benefits, but I was a night nurse and I was working all 3 nights that the benefit enrollment was going on in the day. Needless to say, I was unable to enroll at that time. I tried calling the people in charge of it, but, of course, they didn't return my calls!!! Because of this, I didn't have benefits or my own health insurance when I had my accident. Fortunately, my ex-husband kept me on his insurance after the accident because our divorce wasn't final yet, and he knew I would need more surgeries.  He was verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive, so
this was uncharacteristically nice of him. I really appreciated his keeping me on the insurance,
because that allowed me to have the surgery that released my contracted arm that was frozen in one position, and allowed me to bend my arm again!
       My mom and sister began the application process for disability and any other type of assistance available within weeks after my accident. I was in and out of consciousness, but they were nice enough to fill out the applications as best they could and send them off. I was denied disability the first time I applied. I got a social security attorney and he told me that it was common practice for
social security to deny everyone the first time they apply. When you're denied disability/SSI, you can appeal. The appeal involves attending a hearing and presenting paperwork from doctors stating you're unable to return to work because of your limitations. My hearing is this Thursday, so please everyone-say a little prayer for me!
       I have also applied for food stamps, TANF and any other available funds. I HATE the idea that I have to go this extreme, but I have no income and 3 kids to take care of! My ex-husband and I share custody 50/50, so I do not get child support. Knowing I have no income, he texted me a few weeks ago to let me know that our oldest daughter picked out a $300 dress for a dance, and my half was $150. My reply was "I have no money, and sadly, I can't pull it out my ass! Where would you like me to get it?". He has an "it's not my problem" attitude, and that's fine because it's not his problem! However, I was with him for 18 yrs., married to him for 14 yrs. As the mother of his children, and as the woman who endured his verbal, emotional and physical abuse, that should count for something, like a little slack! If I don't have it, I don't have it! 
       It floors me that I always get behind people in line at the grocery store who pull out their Louisiana purchase cards; they appear perfectly capable of working, have no apparent disabilities or conditions that preclude them from working! Many of these people talk to you while you're in line, and they let you know that they're not working and have never worked for any substantial amount of time! How is it that they are able to take advantage of all these funds that are supposed available to those in NEED, while I, a formerly productive member of the workforce, who has had 14 surgeries over the last year, had to re-learn to walk, and regain use of my left arm and hand, get denied?!? I worked...I paid my taxes and paid into all the state programs that I desperately need right now, and for which I have been repeatedly turned down, while my poor fiancĂ© works his ass off as a firefighter to pay for our food and all other expenses?!? It's not fair! It's almost as if you need to be born into a family who is already on Medicaid, foodstamps, and any other assistance for you to automatically be accepted! It's like "oh, your parents are on assistance? Ok, sign here and your benefits will be in the mail!". I hate asking for help. I hate having to apply for these things. I hate having to admit to myself and everyone else that I can't take care of myself and my kids financially. Logically, I know I'm unable to do those things I could do before!!! But then there's that part of me, the hard-headed, pain in the ass part who believes she can do anything, and it's hard telling that part of me "you can't go
back to work! You have to sit this one out!".
       The moral of the story is this; PLAN AHEAD! What happened to us can happen to anyone.  We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have happened to any one of you...imagine what type of help you would need, what kind of justice would you want? I cannot stress this enough! What would you have to fall back on if you could no longer work? Who would take care of your children in the event that you were badly injured, or, God forbid, you should die?
        I took the stand and conveyed our story so the court would understand what impact this tragedy had on our family. I was speaking up for all of us moms who drive the streets, night or day, running errands with our babies in the car, while drunk drivers carelessly weave in and out of traffic, endangering us and everyone else on the street. In the weeks to come, I will be passing along information about our legislators and what we need to do to make the changes that will protect us and our children, so please be sure to watch our blog. Drunk driving laws MUST change so that none of you ever have to go through this, and it needs to change ASAP!!! One person CAN make a difference! Until then, please pray that I am able to get some type of assistance until I'm able to find an alternate income. I will keep everyone posted about my disability hearing. If anyone needs any advice or questions regarding types of assistance available, please feel free to ask! If I don't have the answer, I'll do what I can to find the answer! Have a good night all!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jenny- A Sense of Impending Doom...

I am a very positive person.  In the face of uncertainty I have had 9 heart surgeries fully believing that this one was the last one and that I would rock the world as soon and I got out the Operating room.
When you have medical problems like the 3 of us you live always knowing something WILL happen.  You know at some point you'll have to go back in to the hospital and your life will be in upheaval.  I tend to make it to the 3 month mark then something happens.  Next week will be my 3 month mark.  I don't think anything will happen.  But to be honest so many bad things have happened over the years that getting to live like a normal person seemed like an impossible goal. I don't have a hospital bag packed and that feels incredible.

I was reflecting this week on everything me, Perky, and Monique have been through. We had so many setbacks we don't actually probably remember what it's like for things to just go well. My kids have always known that I will leave them at some point.  I think they are starting to trust that I'm going to be around for them.  I'm hoping all of us can experience that feeling soon.  It's not that we're living in our problems. It's that we have to think about these issues everyday.  We are all in rehab mode. We have to live around our limitations.  Because if something CAN be overcome the 3 of us will manage to do it.  We have to watch out for danger, random toothbrushes, i pad covers, metal detectors and giant magnets!  Ha Ha. Okay, maybe that last part is just me!

Fear and I have a tricky relationship.  I'm trying to maintain a healthy sense of fear over ripping my leads because in my head I am a super athlete.  In my head I can lift weights, carry around children and probably save the planet.  But I have to be honest.  My left arm still isn't healed yet. It hurts a lot to use my left arm in drive thru lanes for the bank and the pharmacy.  I have a long way to go to rebuild all the function in that arm.  I can't lift weights above my head. I can't do pushups. I'm so dependent on the pacemaker that I don't know if I would survive ripping the leads.

I have to write these things out so I believe them.  You wouldn't notice anything by looking at me.  But it's just not perfect yet.  I hate the word LIMITATIONS.  All of us hate that word.  I'm working on it.  But I am trying to remember I can't do everything. Which is a hard realization for me. I need help.  We are in the middle of moving and I'm going to actually need movers and Jeremy to help me lift things. Which sucks.  But keeping myself well is my job.  I want to be here for the kids.  So that means it's time to bring on some good luck!!

I feel really good. Not faking it till I make it good, actually good.  Everything is stable.  Pacemaker no longer feels like it's going to fall out my chest when I bend over.  It feels like part of me.  I'm able to be the kind of mom I want to be.  I feel safe again.  I haven't felt safe in a long time.  I don't worry about the pacemaker not working. I just trust it.  It's so much more dependable than my own heart.  As I've been hearing other people's stories I get reminded of the hard times and I am so grateful to be on the other side.

What's is like to not have to deal with these complications?  I don't know.  But I'm so looking forward to spending the summer at the pool with my kids.  A summer of laughing, our first vacation ever as a family, and living life to it's fullest. Sounds kinda amazing. Could I be this lucky?  I wonder what other people feel like that don't live with a sense of impending doom.  How amazing that must feel to have the freedom to do whatever you want to do.  If you are that person appreciate your life, appreciate your fully working body and take good care of it.

I had to fill out a volunteer form for Ava's school saying which projects I took a part in this year.  I didn't have much to write because I had so many surgeries this year.  Next year will be different.  Something I've never experienced.  Life is very good right now. Jeremy and I will be married 10 years on June 14th.  We're moving closer to Jeremy's office and he can spend much more time with the family.  He has been commuting 3 hours a day!  Jeremy finally has a job he loves and I am so happy that we can all be together as a family.  I feel so blessed. God has been so good to me.  Some people have asked me why I'm not mad with God. How could I be?  Maybe this is God's plan for me.  I think I'm here to help other people overcome heart disease.  I think I am one of the people who is here to support others going through these surgeries.  I plan on speaking for the American Heart Association.  I'm hoping that my words will help someone not feel alone in this struggle.

On a side note people love to guess what my scar is when I go out.  It's kinda hilarious.  One dude just walked up and said, "Car accident?" Ummm, no.  Shoulder surgery? Umm, not even close. When people ask sometimes I tell them it was a prison stabbing. Just because it makes me giggle to see them get uncomfortable.  But I usually tell them that it's a pacemaker! Sometimes I don't.  It's just more fun that way. Hope all of you readers are having a great week.  Remember to take a breath, be thankful for your body, your working heart, and the ability to walk, talk, and move.  Always be grateful for your life no matter what challenges you face.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Moneek - Weird Manifestations of SCI, ie Sparkiness

There are things you never think about your spinal cord controlling, such as your heart's ability to maintain adequate blood pressure, or your skin's ability to continue to sweat. I do not have total loss of anything, but I do have diminished senses in my legs and trunk. I'm no longer ticklish (I used to be SO ticklish!) though my feet seem to be picking that up again. Bruises don't hurt like they used to and walking in the dark is a little more difficult because of my lack of proprioception in my ankle - but it's actually improving too!

By far the weirdest thing for me I call getting "sparky." Not  taking baclofen won't kill me, but if I don't then my sympathetic nervous system over- reacts, or at least that's how I interpret it. See, you have basically 2 types of autonomic nervous systems, the sympathetic and parasympathetic. Parasympathetic controls your "mundane" processes, such as regulation of internal organs and glands, and everything you do at rest. I've also heard "feed and breed" or "rest and digest". Your sympathetic nervous system is "fight or flight" and is responsible for your reaction to noxious stimuli. Anything that requires a quick response.  For example, your pupils dilate, your heart beats faster, you jump and say "AAAHHH!" That's sympathetic. Wikipedia describes it as sympathetic being the police responders and parasympathetic being the court system.
MY sympathetic system over-reacts sometimes if I forget the baclofen. Nothing dangerous just kind of funny. So any loud noise, even if I cognitively know it's not dangerous, I'll jump at. Something even slightly painful, such as scratching an itch on my arm, can make me snatch away that limb.That's why I call it "sparky", because my body seems to jump at everything! I can totally feel it coming on, so it's not unavoidable, but it IS pretty annoying! But also, laughable. Sheesh! The stuff ya never think about..;)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Jenny-Gypsies, Interference, and My amazing friends

Remember that cheesy infomercial out in the late "90's??? Set it and forget it?? I think it was for a rotisserie grill or something.  That's what having a pacemaker that is set up correctly is like for the most part!  I've been keeping busy this week helping some fellow heart patients and I was reminded that all of us (Perky, Monique, and Myself) have all survived largely in part to having help. Our families have fully supported all of us. Been there for EVERYTHING. I could write a blog post everyday for the rest of my life and still not get to thank them sufficiently for everything that our families has done.  Because when I call and ask for help.  It could be for months. Taking my children for months.  Stopping your life as you know it within the span of a few hours.  But today I wanted to mention just some of our friends. We all have amazing friends that supported us in the darkest of times and celebrated during the high points.  We've also unfortunately also had friends that couldn't take it or left our lives unexpectedly.

I'm a big believer that some people need to be in your life for a short period of time, others you need around forever.  Sometimes it's best to part ways and leave with the memories you had of what you learned from that person.  I've also left friends too for one reason or another.  We all have our reasons.  I want to be there for my friends during the good and bad times.  We all go through things and we all need support. The people I have in my life now are awesome and deserve much more than words on paper but here it goes.

My neighbor Laura has cooked too many meals to mention for me.  Not just any meals, gluten free, heart healthy meals. She also cooked for my entire family, took me to the hospital when I needed a pacemaker and has all around been incredible.  I'm so lucky that she is my friend.  She's also the most loving, Godly person who is a joy in our lives. She has the face of an angel and she shows up on your doorstep whenever you need her.  Thank you Laura for everything for done for me and my family. She's straight up

Brian, my wonderful NASA Engineer neighbor friend has rehabbed me through ALL of my surgeries.  That's right, all 9 of them!  He has walked with me even when I was too sick to walk further than a block. He was with me when I started to pass out when I got fluid in my lungs and heart.  He's listened to me, congratulated me and pushed me along the way.  He's taken me to the pharmacy, helped me get setup at the house after surgeries, even picked me up from the hospital. I wouldn't be doing as well without Brian.  My family and Jeremy are so grateful to him too because he was always there whenever I needed help.  He's also made hospital runs with me too.  Being my friend is hard work! So lucky that Brian has been so dependable to listen, to help, and to make me feel safe. Something that was really scary after each surgery. I knew I was okay to leave the house because he was with me.

Stacey, my beautiful friend has been with me for going on 12 years. She goes to every hospital stay, every surgery, she has bought crazy items for me like denture glue when a crown came out! She doesn't even act weird when I say stuff like. "Umm, I'm gonna need you to bring denture glue to the hospital, downtown, yes, denture glue." She's all around the most loyal, best go-to girl for just about anything.  She could have bought a small island with the amount she has spent on hospital parking! I hope she stays around forever because I love her like a sister.  Nothing fazes her. No matter what the situation she has your back. Sometimes she even has your lost crown.  Ha Ha.  She's literally been my voice for me when I couldn't speak and she knows my medical history better than Jeremy.  I don't know if I deserve to have friends this amazing but I'm so grateful.  Because the number one thing I hate the most is asking for help.

I was at at Mother's Day Tea today and the mother's of Ava's classmates were saying that she's so resilient, so empathetic, so understanding of what other people need.  The mothers of the children know that Ava has missed months of school and jumped right back in when where she left off. Ava is so grown up that when she used to see me sick she would ask. "How many days do we have before you have to go back to the hospital mom? I know you are going. Please wake me up when you have to leave." I would leave her notes when I'd have to leave.  Hardest damn thing to write.  Not knowing if I would survive. I'd want to write just the right thing to her.  You don't want your last note to say "BRUSH YOUR TEETH WHEN YOU GET UP!"

Let me tell you, no pain I have felt from the surgeries was worse than missing my children. No pain that surpassed seeing the look on their faces when they knew I was leaving. again, and I never knew if I was coming back.  How do you tell your children, your husband, your family goodbye?  It's heartbreaking.  Today Ava's teacher was welcoming us to the Mother's Day event with tears in her eyes telling us these children are a REFLECTION OF THEIR PARENTS.  They show their classmates the same love we give them, they learned it from us.  It was the nicest compliment anyone can give a mom.  All Perky, Monique, and I want is to raise happy, well adjusted, healthy children.  Our friends have helped us so much along the way.

Thank God we have each other to pull each other through the rough times.  We'll all lost jobs due to our medical problems.  All three of us have been laid off while on FMLA.  That's right, left without a job during our weakest points.  Yes, the Family Medical Leave Act that is supposed to protect you doesn't always protect you.  But we will survive. We will get up, brush ourselves off and keep fighting.  Because we don't have another choice and we fought too hard to give up now.  (Love you Monique.)

Last weekend my daughter straight up bawled her eyes out because she asked me when I was getting my pacemaker out.  Umm, it doesn't come out.  In a hushed, wavy voice she said, "So you can't ever take me to Disneyworld and ride with me?  She cried her eyes out. I felt terrible that she thought this was a temporary situation.  I am determined with the help of my friends and family to make sure my children have every opportunity in life.  Even if that means giving my daughter to gypsies.

Okay, so maybe I didn't exactly give her away but I did have to let her ride on an fair amusement park ride with some people who were gypsies because I didn't want to risk turning off my pacemaker.  The gypsies were so incredible because they had to get several gypsies from around the park just so my daughter could ride (which is almost the same thing as GIVING your daughter to gypsies.)  I did get to spread my message because in an odd twist of fate the gypsy lady needs a pacemaker and was scared to get one.  I told her if she got one then she didn't have to ride the crappy rides!  Just kidding.  The ride had a huge engine and it didn't seem smart to turn off my pacemaker AGAIN because I was like trying to be normal and stuff.  No problem, she got to ride the ride and I got to keep my heart beating.  But still feels weird that I couldn't ride with her.  It's a small price to pay considering the freedom I have now!

In other news Chris told me about the apple people!!! They tried to take out all us pacemaker people by making magnetic covers for iPads. They turn off pacemakers. Shit! Add this one to the list of things I'm running from!

As if running from ipads, toothbrushes, and Carnie run amusement park rides isn't funny enough I set off a metal detector this week. I laughed when I said "I'm not a thief, I'm just a robot!" It's hard to look all gansta when you run from appliances! Thug life 4-ever! Just kidding mom! Don't you all want to hang out with me? I'm awesome at parties!


Monique - Adventures in Depression (a nod to Allie & Hyperbole and a Half)

Those guys have been having awesome weeks, but mine not so much. We all have ups and downs, and this is my down. I hope this is just the beginning of a come-back story! Good stuff happened too. Cross-posted from my blog:

Summer Rain...Happy Birthday BONO!!

The purpose of this post is to hopefully show a great comeback from rock bottom, because that's where I am right now. The low point in my 35 years is now. I've survived an abusive marriage and a ton of money problems, and I gotta believe I'll survive this too. But MAN am I tired of being strong! Give me weak and easy, I'd be cool with that for now!

Bono's Birthday is today! My favorite band. This is my favorite song from them; if I had to pick a song that accurately represents me, this is it.
It's called Summer Rain.

It's not this bad, I just really really love this blog and she's just gone through some bad times: MAKE SURE you read at least one other thing besides the "Adventures in Depression" posts! I like the Dog one. Hyperbole and a Half

This has been a crazy week. Lots of good, one really bad. In that I lost my job. I don't really get the details, basically they waited until I was no longer on FMLA even though I tried to get back to work before it was out, and then said since I was no longer on FMLA they were letting me go. My therapists and doctors filled out a lot of paperwork for them, all saying I can go back. HR kept coming up with weird next steps that I had to do, which I now see were probably stalling tactics. YES I'm confident I can do the job now, I honestly don't know what the problem is. I'm healed enough that I'm confident that I could even do surgery. I wish I had the opportunity to show them I'm okay now, I miss it. But I don't know where to go from here.

SO what to do?? Honestly, I'm scared, and hurt, and incredibly sad. It's the icing on the cake for me, everything I built has come crashing down. I wanted to be a vet all my life - since I was seven years old - and I can't even afford working in private practice because of my mega student loans. Can't leave the state easily because I have a kid with aforementioned ex-husband, and of course I'm still healing from this broken neck business.
I read something on Facebook recently that said something to the effect of if you don't believe it will be okay, you don't trust life enough. It's true, I don't, and I have a hard time trusting it will be okay.
Nic said if it's not working to trust God right now, trust in how strong I am. That helps.
My awesomest friend Jess said there are 2 type of people, those that are good at adapting and blending in and going along with things, and those that are determined to get what they want. The world needs both types. Her analogy was that if we were stranded on a desert island she would be the type that blends in with the natives and became part of their culture, and I would be the type to build a boat and find a way to get back where I wanted to be. That's how she knows I'm going to be okay. I think Nic is the 1st type too, along with her. It works. My life is still together because of him.
Jess & Me
So I need a job. For reals this time. Even if it's a new profession. I want to work.

ON to the good things!!!

I'm 99% walking with a cane now! It doesn't help me walk correctly but it does help with my balance. And is sooo much more easy to carry around! And hug people! And shoo away pets and children and things! Hooray!
500y swimming this week! If ya think that's tough, try doing it as a paraplegic! Gogglesss! ;) (I forgot them)
Follow my progress! NOLA RnR 2014 Training Log

I attended the 1st time trial of the season by Precision Bikes. I sucked at cycling when I started racing, but this was always a fun time even though I came in last! It Was Great; I met quite a few people there. The awesome chiropractor Keith Terro, Ruud Vuijsters the PT, badass Jamie Scott whom came to visit me in the hospital (I don't really remember!,) and equally badass Aimee Copeland that had done my x-rays (I also don't remember). Also there was Stanley Lerille (vote for him HERE to go to Kona!) and Scott Coco that I met when I was still in a wheelchair, and Amanda Cole whom I just bought some cycling stuff from the day before, my first since getting mashed up, Mark Miller of course,and a TON of other people.You should come out next time - the Corner Bar ya'll!

Nic's sister Laura Zaunbrecher & her boyfriend Charles Garabedian went to see Frank Shorter talk. They got him to sign this great picture of us at the finish line! Frank Shorter had cheered us on and handed me my walker. SO stoked about it!!

BikeLafayette's Jen Steele and I were on KATC promoting  the "Ride of Silence,"  a world-wide event that honors cyclists that were hit or killed on roadways. I'm one of the honorees this year, along with other really great people. May 15th 7PM at the Mickey Shunick Ghost Bike memorial!!

Have a happy weekend! Go listen to some U2!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Amy-Holy shit...KICKED ASS!!!

      I'm still shaking. The assistant D.A. Came to us before court and told us that he wouldn't get jail time, that the most he'd get was a year probation and be ordered to pay restitution for out-of-pocket medical expenses. She tried apologizing, saying how she sits up nights trying to find ways to bring justice to these people. I said "I appreciate that, but with all due respect, he FUCKED my world up!!!". She said a fee more things which I tuned out bc I was SOOOO fuckin pissed, and just stared straight ahead. His docket came up and the assistant DA said "your honor, one of the victims is here and would like to speak". I felt every eye in the court room on me as I walked up to the stand and got sworn in. The assistant DA asked "Mrs. Sutton, is this Derek Perrilloux, the man who hit you seated here?". With a sneer on my face, I locked eyes with him and said "yes it is". She then asked a few questions about the accident and Bailey, and asked  if I had anything to say. I said "your honor, this man drove into us head-on. I broke my left leg in 4 places and my right ankle, broke every rib, fractured my spine and had a brain injury. My life as I knew it, is over. I can't lift more than 2 lbs. with my left arm. I was a successful RN, a mother, a runner...6 miles a day every day, even when I was nine months pregnant. To the average onlooker, I look ok"...then I locked eyes with him and said "Mr. Perrilloux, I will never be ok again...because of YOU!!! I know you have 2 kids, and I sincerely hope you never have anything like this happen to your family!!!".
      You could hear a pin drop...the judge looked over her glasses at me and said "what sentence would you recommend? 0-5years?" I didn't even let her finish the words before I said "FIVE!!!". I stepped down, and she deliberated with his attorney and the DA. The judge said he gets 5 years, 4 of them suspended, one he MUST serve. After that, she wanted him on house arrest. His attorney said "your honor, are we saying one year house arrest with no jail time?", and she said "No, he has to serve!". We go back June 11th to see if they're gonna accept, or go to trial!
     It felt sooooooo good to stare him down with my teeth gritted and tell him all that he has taken!!! He squirmed in his chair, sometimes looking at me, sometimes looking down. I think I did a pretty good job conveying to him what a piece of shit I think he is! Thank you everyone for your support!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Amy - "Let's get ready to RRRUUUUUUUUUUMMMBBLE!!!!"

...that's right guys, it's court time again! On Wed., May 8th, I get to, once again, place eyes on the man who took my life from me, thereby reliving the physical, emotional and spiritual pain I've endured in the last 17 months.This will be our 4th or 5th court appearance, and each time, his lawyer has the case extended!  My offender has apparently "found God" and is a changed man, according to what people tell me he posts on Facebook. My answer to that is "too little, too late"!!! My life as I knew it is gone...all because you had to drive with a blood alcohol of 0.16...that's TWICE the legal limit!!!
       I'm not a whiny little girl that has to have things "just so". I face my problems head-on, and if an obvious solution can't be found, I'll find or make one. Always the tomboy as a child, I've never been afraid to get my hands dirty. My parents didn't raise a whiny ass...they raised a hard-ass, fighting, kicking and screaming bitch who doesn't back down!  However, this...this situation, doesn't seem to be one with an "easy fix". I just want my life back. I want the man who took all I had to come to justice, nothing more, nothing less. I survived because, for some reason, God spared me. I appear at every court date looking like my old self bc I fought for it...THAT, I earned! Please everybody say prayers that this SOB gets what he deserves!!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Amy- Be your own advocate!

     Some of us have different ways of going about obtaining our goals. Some of us are the hard-nose, pain-in-the-butt individuals that hold onto their goals until they are accomplished, like a dog with a bone. However, there comes a time when even we, the "type A" personalities, are met with objection. That's when it's most important to fight for your goal. For Jenny and myself, we had experiences with health professionals who, because they couldn't find what they "thought" they might find, basically wrote us off as crazy hypochondriacs. This is when it's most important to be your own advocate! I cannot stress this point enough!!!
      The accidents and heart surgeries are just a small part of what we've been through in the last few years. Much went on "behind the scenes" that we haven't told you. Jen almost had a surgery she didn't need and that wouldn't have helped her because her usual heart surgeon wasn't consulted on her admission to the hospital. The surgeons seeing her were going to do a completely different procedure than the life-saving one she had as the result of her own surgeon being consulted at her insistence!    
      Likewise, years before my accident, I had been having unexplained spiking fevers, joint pain and migraine headaches. My general practitioner told me I was "depressed" and "overwhelmed" because I had just had my third child in the months before. I didnt consider myself a depressed person. I'm actually the happy-go-lucky type, always looking for the fun in everything. However, trusting my doc and her opinion, I took the prescription for antidepressants and anti-convulsant meds (to prevent the migraines), and moved along. In the week I started the anti-depressant and anti-convulsant meds, I felt jittery and strange. I also lost 15 pounds, which I didn't need to lose because I was only 125 lbs. and 5'7"! I called my docs office to inform them of this, and they assured me it was my body adjusting to the medication. I answered with "but you don't understand; I feel like something is off and the sight of any food makes me nauseous!". They explained this was a side-effect of both meds and said "ok?" in a patronizing voice. So, I learned to ignore the nagging feeling. After all, she was the doctor...SHE should know better, right?!?
       WRONG!!!! Within about 2-3 years, I had stopped the anti-convulsant, but was still taking the anti-depressant. I had finally gone to a rheumatologist about my aches, fevers and migraines. They were discovered to be the result of an autoimmune illness I'd had for years. My rheumatologist was the one who told me that my anti-depressant and anti-convulsant couldn't be mixed, so i stopped the anti-convulsant. My rheumatologist had told me that it may have caused damage to my liver and/or pancreas, due to the amount of time they were taken. However, being the invincible Amy, I said "nah, I'll be fine!", but I spoke too soon! A few months later, I had just come home from a long night at the hospital when I noticed a nagging feeling in my left side. I ignored it, thinking it would go away. However, within 2 hours I was writhing on my floor in pain calling my mother's house so she or my dad could come take me to the hospital.
       When I got to the hospital, my blood pressure went from 191/100 to 80/30, and I was in big trouble. My poor daddy just sat back with this look of terror on his face as staff members raced around the ER. That memory sticks in my mind because my dad is the epitome of tough; nothing shakes him! But when they said "she's crashing", he was terrified. They gave me lots of fluids and ran tests, and I had severe necrotizing pancreatitis. This type of pancreatitis is rare, and instead of just inflaming your pancreas, it destroys part or all of your pancreas, which you can't live without! It releases many enzymes responsible for breaking down your food, as well as releasing insulin so you can obtain energy from sugar-the brain's only form of energy. I was airlifted to Ochsner in New Orleans after a week at my local hospital, because my case was too complicated.
       After much investigation into my health history, they found that the anti-depressant and Anti-convulsant I had been taking for about 2-3 yrs. were not supposed to be mixed! It's even on the commercials for both medications! My GI doc told my family "it doesn't look good; say your goodbyes". I received Last Rites and, while confessing, realized a lot about my life that I wanted to change. The next day, I started doing better. I eventually recuperated fully and made the changes to my life I regretted when examining my life in what I thought were my last moments. There's nothing worse than waiting for death knowing there were things you could've tried but didn't, because of fear.
       By the same token, don't let fear dictate whether or not you speak up for yourself. "LISTEN TO YOURSELF!!!"! Don't ever let anyone make you second-guess yourself or doubt that what you're feeling is real! I don't know where I'd be if not for Jen, my family and my rheumatologist! When it was all said and done, my rheumatologist told me that she was the one who called Ochsner. She had been watching my labs and they were BAD, but my "assigned" docs didn't pay attention. My survival in that situation was only because of her, and I was lucky. Only YOU know how you feel. Only YOU can make others hear you, no matter how bleak it may seem. You never know who that one person may be who just may save your life, all because you spoke up!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jenny- I found my Kryptonite....

So I thought I was all cool and stuff.  Until I accidentally almost killed myself by brushing my teeth.  True story.. I totally un-Super-maned myself. (No, you are right that's not really a word. Thanks but I'm going to use it anyway.). Go ahead and get on your comfy pants. Yes, the ones with holes, that are stretched out so much no one can read the words on your butt.  (Why do people wear words on their butt? If I did wear words on my butt they'd probably say STOP LOOKING AT MY BUTT.)

Anyway, I was feeling all badass because I've been working out everyday and playing soccer for an entire hour.  Then I brushed my teeth.  How could that be dangerous you ask?  Well, apparently you can't use a Soniccare electric toothbrush when you have a pacemaker.  Oops. Big oops.  Instantly couldn't breathe, brought myself down to the floor. Massive chest pains. Then realized it was the damn toothbrush.  Jeremy was there to witness this unfortunately so I couldn't even pretend I totally didn't just accidentally almost break my new heart because of a toothbrush. No one is bad ass that can be crippled by their love of dental health.  So I guess I'm going have to re-establish myself as semi-badass. Until someone busts out an electric toothbrush.  Stay away ya'll. Don't come show me your cool new phone until you are safely 10 inches from me.  Ha Ha. Because I will totally Matrix you and do the whole weird leaning back thing if you are trying to kill me.

So I may have found my Kryptonite.  (Thanks for the word Chris!) But other than than that I have been doing amazing. Like normal people amazing.  If normal people run from toothbrushes and lawn equipment I guess. (Just make me feel better and tell me you do too.) I've been cooking, being a mom, and I can officially run faster than the children.  Which is awesome.  (Because I can't beat grown people by out running them-yet.) I added a new workout this week. Swimming.  My left arm is still weaker than my right from having it tied down for a month.  So I'm working on it.  Unfortunately my constant arm stretching at the gym has led a lot of people to think I am waving to them.  I'm either am going to have a lot of new friends soon or people are going to start talking about me. I'm just going to go with it and pretend I'm waving so OTHER people don't get embarrassed.

I love new people in the gym. I was listening to my gansta rap and jamming out on the elliptical (Don't judge me.) when I noticed new dude.  He was about to get all crazy and start screaming that NONE of the MACHINES In This AWFUL GYM ACTUALLY WORK. But little dude didn't know you have to get on the elliptical first and start moving before it will turn on.  So if you are trying to look like a gym rat this could a helpful hint for you.  Also, clean the machines when you are done.  Because you are gross if you don't and I will totally judge you. I could have watched this saga for 5 minutes but I helped him out. I should get a merit badge or something. Totally.

So I'm getting back of the swing of things and spending my days pretending to be normal and working out a lot.  I'm getting my endurance back.  I still have to wait 5 minutes in between exercises to let my bionic heart slow the hell down. So I have 5 whole minutes to pretend I'm doing something.  It's a long time.  By the way Webster's or spell check does not understand gansta rap someone should remedy this situation.  I'm so in trouble if my earbuds come out at the gym.  It's going to be awesome. Somebody suggest some things I could do for 5 whole minutes while my bionic heart takes a break.

See you people on the flip side.