Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Day of the Miracle Makers

This is a strange September for me.  I feel like I should celebrate something, but “celebrating” a serious accident doesn’t really make sense.  I thought a good way for me to celebrate September 3rd was to feel safe and alive!  So I did some of my favorite things, went to work, after work I got in my jammies, sat on my featherbed, cuddled in my Spiderman blankets, ate pepperoni pizza and Burnt Almond Fudge, drank a HUGE glass of water and watched Star Wars.  That’s what I did, all day, but it didn’t feel right.  

I’ve been thinking alot about what happened last September.  There’s not alot to “celebrate” that happened to me last September.  

Except for one thing that I should never forget, the miracles.  You caused them to happen.  I wouldn’t be here without you.  I wouldn’t look the same.  I wouldn’t talk the same.  I wouldn’t remember you.  I just wouldn’t be the same, physically or mentally, with out you.  

For me, what should be remembered and celebrated about last September are the miracles and the people that made them happen.  There is no way I can repay all the love and support that was poured out to me during that time.  There is just no way.  You are the one’s that caused my miracles.  You are my miracle makers.   

I do have an idea that might help me feel like I can give back a little (emphasis on the little, because it is technically un-repayable).  Every family calendar that I do each year is going to have September 3rd be the day of the Miracle Makers.  This is the day that initiated the outpouring of love, support, prayers, fasts, positive thoughts, visits, facebooks, emails, phone calls and texts that resulted in my being healed so well and so quickly.  On September 3rd from now on, I’m going to do something that will hopefully contribute to miracles in other peoples lives.  Whether it’s visiting the hospital, doctors, therapists or patients, donating to a hospital charity, taking cookies to the 5th floor or the 12th floor, fasting and praying for someone in need, or spending the day with Rustin, my family and friends.  Whoever needs a miracle, count me in!  

This life is really about loving each other, expressing love, feeling love, being love.  Every year on September 3rd, I will re-dedicate myself to trying to be a Miracle Maker.  I want to be a Miracle Maker like all of you.  I’m grateful you made me whole again.  I hope I can play a small part in making a miracle happen for someone else.   

“Where there is love there is life.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

What a weekend!

One Year Later

It's officially been one year from my accident.  I'm so glad I don't remember it.  I am also amazed to be doing so well considering what my body went through.  The human body is unbelievable.  I can't believe what I put it through and how well it's recovered.  Be grateful for your brain.  What an incomprehensible machine it is!

Now I know my family didn't want to post any scary pictures of me on the blog, but I think it would be helpful for those of you who weren't able to see me in the hospital to know how bad it was.  I will just link to a picture so you can click on it if you want.  Feel free to skip over the link and focus on the positive and that will be just great!  Here is the link: CLICK HERE if you want to see it.  This was taken 4 days after my brain surgery and 7 days before my facial reconstruction surgery.  If you want to see a sketch of what they did in the facial reconstruction surgery (it's not gross, just educational),  CLICK HERE.

I think this stuff is just fascinating.  The doctors, the prayers, Rustin, my family, the support system, the nurses, the therapists, the people I work with, all the good people that contributed to my healing I will be in debt to you all, the rest of my life.  I can't express my gratitude.  So many doctors, nurses and therapists who see these situations all the time have told me that most people in situations similar to mine, don't heal as well.  Most of them believe it's because of all the love and support I received.  Apparently it was more than what most people get.  I don't think the reasons I have done so well has much to do with me, I think it has to do with all of your love and support for me and my family.  Don't call me a miracle because I couldn't have done it alone.  So enough of trying to express feelings that I can't do justice in words.  Just give people you love hugs today and count me in on those hugs!

Here is my one year later update!

Adventure #1:
My wonderful mom who knows exactly what I love to do got us tickets to go see the Utah Symphony perform the music of John Williams.  The 501st were there and I got my picture with them, of course!  On a less exciting note, on the way to the concert we were rear ended by some lady who wasn't paying attention to all the other cars in the other lanes of traffic stopped at the stop light.  We were stopped for about a minute when we got rear ended.  Luckily we were in the Millennium Falcon (the Audi) and it did a great job at absorbing the impact.  It was still a little scary.  Rustin's neck received some pretty good whiplash and so did mine, but luckily our heads were just fine and our amazing Chiropractor has been working his magic on us and it's helped a bunch.  If anyone needs a great chiropractor, just ask the Cannon's.  We know an amazing one!

Adventure #2:
AVENGER'S APRIL!  I came up with an entire schedule (considering it as Occupational Therapy) with themed color-coordinated dinners and movie nights as well as Saturday morning cartoons!  I was getting my family all prepped up on their nerdery so they didn't feel left out during the movie.  It was totally worth it for me and they were good sports to support me, once again!

Incredible Hulk night complete with Lime Chicken Enchiladas, Guacamole, Salad and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream for dessert!

I bought Rustin and myself a couple of Iron Man t-shirts for $5 from Old Navy to wear on opening night of the Avengers movie!  It was SOOOO good.  We've only seen it 5 the theater. 

Adventure #3:
We went to visit Rustin's best friends Scott & Jane Booth and their kids in Dallas, Texas.  It was my first time post-accident on an airplane.  I was so nervous to go through security with all the metal in my face so I took off my shoes & belt, emptied my front pockets and put my glasses in the tray and walked through security and the alarm went off!!!  I was so nervous that I'd have to explain my metallic situation BUT the security guy noticed that I had left my phone in my back pocket and so I went through again with no problem.  It was kinda funny. 

We got there and had so much fun with the Booth family!  We got to celebrate James' birthday with a homemade Scooby Doo cake!  They even went to see Avengers with us again and took us to their LEGO store.  This was a bit of an expensive visit for us.  I've fallen in love with LEGO's because they are great puzzles!  We got one Star Wars set and one Avengers set and I've put them both together.  They did have in the window a LEGO R2D2 but they couldn't keep him in stock so he was a special order item.  Bummer!  However it was much easier on our pocket books that they didn't have him in stock.

Adventure #4:
My darling little sister got married!  I got to design the invitations and everything.  I love doing invitations but it takes a bit more out of me than it used to.  I decided to throw Carole a bachelorette party and I only invited Carole and Mandy and myself.  Keeping it simple.  It was so fun.  We went and had yummy french toast at Kneaders at City Creek then went shopping and to the Disney store.  How exciting and delightful it was!  I needed a nap after...hehe.

My sister has met the most wonderful guy!  He's almost as wonderful as Rustin (in my humble opinion)!  He is so perfect for Carole.  We are so happy for her.  After what I accidentally put her through, she deserves the most amazing blessing of having Gordon as her hubby. 

Doing wedding stuff is so fun for me, but I wasn't able to do as much this year as I wanted to.  I came up with a silly idea after watching the special features on the Tangled DVD and I jokingly suggested to Carole that we could do sky lanterns, because people really do them.  I thought she would laugh at me but she totally wanted to do it!  For REAL!  So I researched it and we did a trial before the wedding to make sure it was safe and we ordered the lanterns and it was so MAGICAL and WONDERFUL!  See, there can be good things that can really happen in Disney movies!  And Carole is pretty much a princess deserving of magical things anyway.

Adventure #5:
After the wedding we all needed a break!  Rustin and I were invited to speak at Youth Conference for our ward.  That was an easy one for me, but hard on Rustin.  He actually had to go back and remember all the hard stuff again.  I don't remember the hard stuff.  He did a great job!  We are doing another fireside for some youth in October.  It's stressful, but such a great opportunity to share what we learned to hopefully help others.  So, after the wedding and youth conference we headed down to St. George, our relaxation vacation!  All we did was eat, watched Wimbledon and swam in the pool!  It was wonderful and helped me recover after so much overstimulation and excitement.  Plus, my brother Clark is so boring.  He never does anything fun or exciting...and he is really bad at making normally boring things way more fun than they should be.  Such a boring brother.  

That may or may not be him going down the slide to the pool in St. George.  He must have invited one of his fun friends over or something.  Gosh, I love that kid.  He's only 34, but he's still definitely a kid. 

Adventure #6:
I went to a ska show.  Talk about overstimulating!  Holy cow I was so excited and so happy when I walked in and heard the music.  I just started to dance and skank like I was 20 years old all over again.  Rustin was very protective of me and made sure I had good earplugs and enough water and took my breaks.  Stretch Armstrong and Swim Herschel Swim, who I had never seen before, performed together and it was an EPIC show.  I lasted 3 hours and had to leave after Swim had played about 4 songs because I could feel the headache and tiredness overcoming me, but man was I happy.  It was so FUN!

Adventure #7:
Birthday Anniversary Birthday weekend
Rustin surprised me with the LEGO R2D2 that we saw in Dallas.  He special ordered it for me.  I can't wait to start working on it! I was so giggly and joyful!

I attempted, with a ridiculous amount of help from my family, to put together a surprise party for Rustin's 40th birthday and our 3rd anniversary.  I was just so happy to be alive this birthday.  I was feeling everything more than normal, excited to take a shower, excited to drink water, excited to work on the computer, excited to talk to people I love, excited to give hugs, excited to eat chocolate and Sugarhouse BBQ.  Everyone who came made Rustin feel so loved, which is just what I was hoping for.  I love Rustin so much I wanted him to feel how much he is loved.

Adventure #8:
My Aunt Kath was so amazing to help my family and Rustin through this ordeal one year ago, that we wanted to do something fun for her birthday.  We decided to rent an RV again and head to Yellowstone.  Her daughter Katie and her family rented another RV and we caravanned all the way around Yellowstone.  It was a BLAST!  Cousin Erik was in charge of the food.  He served his mission in Italy and LOVES to cook so we took advantage and came home about 10 pounds heavier!  We had so much fun with them.  Little Audrey, Katie & Erik's youngest daughter, bought a stuffed animal beaver that she named "Rustin Beaver" (sounds like Justin Beiber).  Kids love Rustin, because he's a 40-year old kid.  

Adventure #9:
One of my great friends Morgen, an old mission companion from North Carolina, was in Cedar City for a family reunion.  She lived with the Cannon's for a few months after the mission.  We drove down to see her and her family which was so fun.  She is an amazing person and I have always admired her.  Her sweet son Isaac sent me a darling picture that he drew in his Primary class about fasting and it had a picture of me and a picture of him and says "I will fast for Nicole".  That kid has some serious faith because his fast really worked and I was the lucky one that benefited from it!

Adventure #10:
It was my mom's birthday this weekend.  Last year we had reservation for Daniels Summit Lodge but because I was almost dying in the hospital they had to cancel short notice.  The people at the Lodge were very kind and understanding and gave us a gift certificate to use later on.  So one year later, we used it!  I love that lodge, it is beautiful, secluded and cozy.  We went to Swiss Days then to the Alpine Slide and Coaster.  It was a seriously overstimulating weekend for me so I'm taking it easy over the next couple of days and just resting.  That being said, it was totally worth it.  We had so much fun on the Alpine slide.

 My dad and Rustin decided to race each other and Rustin recorded it on the Go Pro (video to come).  They both wiped out, a couple of times, and they are in pain now.  They both have shiny slide burns on their knees!  YIKES!  Doesn't it look like they are in so much pain?

So that's way too much that I have written, so if you've made it this far, you are seriously dedicated.  Just a quick update on what I am dealing with currently:
I started work at 2 hours a day 3 days a week in March.
I'm up to 5 hours a day 3 days a week.
Still working on getting back to full-time. 
I don't have headaches every day, only when I am overstimulated or over-excited.
I need to take 5-15 minute rest breaks 4-5 times a day because they help control the headaches (no Advil necessary).
If I am too headachy or tired, I'll take a nap during the day.
I go to bed early (around 9:30 or 10) and get up early (around 7:30).
I'm still amazed I can take a nap for an hour during the day and still fall asleep at 9:30.

I can't believe it's been a year.  I can't believe that happened to me.  I can't believe how much I am loved.  I can't believe how many amazing people me and my family know.

It's not enough to say thank you.
Give yourself a hug for me and know

Monday, June 4, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Six Months Ago...

It's been six months since September.
I can't believe my progress. Granted, I will never be "the same", but that is what change does to a person. If you are willing to change, you will never be the same regardless of what you CHOOSE to change and what happens to change you. I have never been a big fan of change, but I've definitely learned why it's a beautiful thing.
I wanted to give those who are still willing to check the blog an update at my six month mark. There have been some exciting things happening. I have loaded this up with pictures to help me remember the updates! Of course, my first choice of entry is about STAR WARS! On Valentine's Day we went to see Star Wars: Phantom Menace in 3D. It was so great! I have never seen that movie in the theater because I was on my mission when it came out. So I was just geeking out in the theater to see it there. It's not my favorite movie, but it was fun to see it in the theater and cool to see it clearly in 3D.
I've heard a few times that the Force is with me...I think I might agree! HAHA!
This is a shot of the most wonderful advent calendar that helped grow my love of Legos and Occupational Therapy. I built a Lego per day while we were getting ready for Christmas. So fun!
Now I just have to say that we are having a Leprechaun Frolic Party this week (as a new family tradition demands). Last year we were on a cruise ship in Hawaii, but that didn't stop us from dressing up like Leprechauns and partying all night! Anyone who reads this blog is invited. Here are the details:
If you go to this website, I designed it a couple years ago and I put some "Easter Eggs" or "Lucky Charms" into it of parties from past years. There are 9 links in the page, so find them if you can and have fun at it. It will give you a good idea of what the party will be like.
That brings me to a VERY exciting update. WE GOT A NEW CAR! One that has extra safety features and an active headrest and it's heavy and has new tires and all-wheel drive and it's WONDERFUL to drive. We test drove it one night, not thinking we would be that impressed, and we bought it the next day. Rustin is great at researching this stuff and finding great deals on the best stuff so he did an AMAZING job finding this car.
The more exciting news is that I passed my driving test. I had to take three tests. One that measured my reaction time and multi-tasking, one that was a shorter version of the DMV written test, and one that I had to drive in a Student Driver with an instructor and my therapist. I passed all three rather easily and I have been driving, extra safely, ever since. We love this car so much we nicknamed it "The Millennium Falcon" and I bought a Lego keychain for it.
This all happened around the middle of January.
I was more excited about this keychain than I probably will be about any keychain ever.
Rustin and I were invited by our friend Mona to go to Glenwood Springs! This is a favorite place of ours and we both needed it. It has two natural spring water pools. One is constantly 94 degrees and the "therapy pool", which is a bit smaller, ranges from 104-107 degrees. It was very theraputic for us both! We loved it and needed it. It was freezing outside but we would just jump in the water and stay there for hours. We were there for two days and went to swimming about 5 times. It's about 6 hours away from Salt Lake and it's just off of I-70! So worth it!
One of our favorite things about where we live is that we feel like we are in the woods! Every morning when we have breakfast we sit and watch the birds. There are so many and Rustin takes good care of them. They are happy and hungry birds. We also have made a new friend. His name is Squirrley. We feed him walnuts and spanish peanuts and sometimes peanut butter. He LOVES us. We will go outside and he comes right up to us. We haven't gotten him to eat from our hands yet, but we are close. He is very friendly!
Here is our little buddy eating some peanut butter off a corn cob Rustin has hooked him up with! I took this picture with my iPhone so he lets me get pretty close to him!
Can you believe it's been 40 years since my parents were married! They celebrate their anniversary this week. They are going to see a tennis tournament in Palm Springs, lucky devils! We are having the leprechaun party at their house while they are gone. It's a good thing my mom has taught us how to throw a mighty party!
These are two of my favorite "students", I'm actually their student but it can go both ways! What sweethearts! We are learning lots about the challenges of the Apple Store and loving every minute of it. Thanks to both of them for helping me progress so much so fast! I am officially going back to work on the 19th of March. I'm so excited to be back. I have missed teaching so much, not to mention all the amazing people I get to work with. I'm a lucky girl to have such great, supportive people at my work.
We did a fun little trip to Moab a few weekends ago with Mandy! We saw some beautiful arches and loved every minute of it. It's so nice to escape from all the appointments Rustin and I have. I didn't think I'd need a vacation having so much time away from work, but the appointment schedule we are on keeps us a busy as work does. It was so sunny and nice weather and we drove the Falcon so it was enjoyable on lots of levels!
So that's the update from the last time I wrote. I have a nerd quote to leave you with that is from my favorite author and were so many to choose from but I feel this applies well:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Full of Thanks!

WOW! This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. I was taken off my liquid diet within about two weeks of Thanksgiving dinner so I could practice chewing. I think I may have gone through each Thanksgiving of my life and have never felt grateful for the ABILITY to CHEW! This year, that was different. I emailed this photo to my facial surgeon (who gave me the ability to chew and told me to practice up for turkey day) to hopefully show my appreciation to him! What a delicious dinner! It was nice not to have to put it in a blender ;)
I have more to be grateful for than this blog can hold, so just know that I am thankful for all of you readers of the blog that have been praying for me and sending some POSITIVITY my way. I think I wouldn't be healing as fast without your help!
This was R2D2 day! Rustin and I celebrated with our R2D2 beanies that were hand-crafted by my friend in San Diego for me. How amazing is she? And she's not even a Star Wars fan! That is love, right there. They are my favorite beanies. This was right before a very long awaited visit to some of my dearest friends at work that have been so supportive and amazing to me. It was fun to see them and I wore my Millennium Falcon t-shirt in honor of them. Sweet little Applets.
After my work visit we went to our favorite Jamba Juice! We thought it would be fun to take some cross-eyed pictures of ourselves. We do that to practice exercising my left eye but it was fun to have some assistance.
This is a picture of me with my favorite Christmas decoration of my Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar. I put the legos together every day! I was excited this day because I got the X-wing fighter and Luke Skywalker. I also have some exciting news, because I was a little sad that I wouldn't be able to enjoy Star Wars in 3D but Rustin and I tested my 3D vision on his brother's 3D TV and I was able to see the 3D CLEARLY! The depth is a little less but it is CLEAR. This is exciting for me because I am going to be able to go see the movie in the theaters with all my fellow nerds!
Rustin and I got our Christmas tree early this year. It's a BIG tree!
For my therapy I have been trying to get up the gusto to put lights on the tree. I finally had a night when I had the energy to do it! Luckily my sweet parents said they would come help me. My sweet dad helped me with the tree and my sweet mom helped me decorate the house (something she is a natural at).
Enjoying the fruits of our labors! Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Tooth Fairy!

Hi Everyone,
I know people have been asking for updates on the blog. I am excited to actually be the one to update you all on the blog, since I owe lots of you a large part of my existence. I am so grateful for all the prayers, fastings, well-wishes and positive thoughts that have been coming my way and I owe a large part of my healing to all of YOU! I can't even say that I'm grateful because the way I feel about the love and support I have received is deeper than that. I wish there were words to express my gratitude and appreciation but "gratitude" and "appreciation" are all I can think of. I am overwhelmed by your love.
So let me give you a quick update on me. I'm doing quite well. Recovering from a brain injury can be time consuming and energy consuming. I can tell you all that my body is feeling pretty good. Most of the damage occurred on the left side of my body. It's healed really well. There are only two things that are interesting to me. I have a knee injury, which doesn't hurt, but it is just swollen and tight. It has been healing over time. I also have a compression fracture in my spine (and a couple in my neck) that acts up from time to time and causes a little pain. Other than that, it's smooth sailing for the rest of injuries that I sustained and they have all healed great!
The big part of the healing has to happen on my head. I have recovered very well according to my doctor's that have fixed the facial fractures and optics. I am so grateful for those doctors. Those are some seriously blessed hands. I learned I had quite a few fractures behind both eye sockets. I am lucky I am able to see out of my right eye. I have lost all vision in my left eye. The only real bummer about losing the vision in my left eye is that Star Wars is coming out in 3D and I will be unable to enjoy it in 3D because of the loss of vision in my left eye. Let me just say that I am extremely grateful for the vision in my right eye because I can still watch Star Wars in Blu-Ray and 7.1 surround sound in my jammies with some chocolate ice cream and my Spiderman blanket in absolute BLISS. Having perfect vision in my right eye is something I am terribly grateful for,
again. Star Wars in 3D is definitely ok for me to miss out on.
Another exciting piece of news is that I have had my front tooth repaired last week. It turns out I have quite a few cracks in the teeth along the top of my jaw, however the teeth are unlikely to be further damaged. Now I have attached a before and after picture, neither of which is terribly flattering, but you can see the difference.
I just love my dentist for the great job he did. It is very exciting to have my smile back!
Another exciting piece of news as of last Wednesday is that I am able to start eating soft foods in order to practice for Thanksgiving! I've been eating lots and lots of soups and Jamba Juices since I left the hospital. This has actually been awesome since so many people are so nice to make us soup! I am excited to actually be able to chew food at Thanksgiving dinner though. I am very excited about this.
Another challenge is my hearing in both ears has been funny, but mostly the left side. There is fluid in my ears and they said it will drain naturally in time. The good news is that it's working! The fluid is draining and my hearing is coming back better and better every week.
The other challenge, for me alone, is the mullet that I have. This is in part because my brain is becoming more and more self-aware and self-conscious day by day. I am so excited because my hair is growing so fast and all the scabs and scars on my head are healing and are starting to be covered by my sweet mullet.
Now, the biggest challenge is to recover from the brain injury. Like I said, this is challenging because my brain gets tired and overwhelmed much quicker than it used to. Some things are also mis-indexed and harder to find for me. That is normal for someone with a brain injury and I feel like I am making progress on recovering. This will just take time. Rustin is assigned as my 24-7 nurse. He is supposed to make sure I don't fall down and that I make good decisions. He has been so amazing through this. We work on about 4 hours of therapy per day by ourselves and then we have therapies to attend three times per week at TOSH Medical Center. My therapists are amazing and so helpful. They are making sure I'm progressing as much as possible in the time we have together. My brain definitely gets tired during the day so I need to rest it whenever it needs resting. We are also making sure I get all the right nutrients for my brain and body to continue healing.
Well, that is a much longer update than I intended for you all. I'm going to need a nap after this. But I am so grateful for all the love and kindness I have received from all of you and am so incredibly astounded at the difference you all made in my healing process. I love you and am so thankful for you all. I have been so blessed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Scary Tales

So, last week was Halloween.  Delightedly, we were able to maintain our tradition of attending Witches Tea at Grand America.  Mostly, we've kept it to the girls with Clark in attendance as a cat, our witches' familiar.  (See dictionary definition of familiar - a demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.)  However, it has turned out to be enough fun that Rick and Rustin joined the troops.  

 We rejoiced that Nicole was with us again.  It was a perfect menu for her because tea is the perfect thing for someone on a "no-chew" diet.

Nicole told us of what she and Rustin learned at their visit to the hospital. Immediately after her two brain surgeries, she had responded when the doctors asked her to lift two fingers and/or give a thumbs up.  Then nothing - no response for several days.  She described a point/counterpoint scenario that occurred.  The medical team was meeting in one room of the ICU deciding how to tell us that they feared Nicole was brain dead.  The family was meeting in another room deciding how to ask more people to pray for her recovery.  Obviously, the prayers carried the day.  I wonder if indeed, she left us for a while only to be brought back by the fervent prayers of those who love her so very deeply and those kind enough to pray for someone in need that they did not know well.  I believe every prayer was heard and answered.
 Last weekend was the Cowboy Poetry Festival in Heber City, Utah.  My dear cousin, Anna, came from California to visit and attend the Festival.  The night she arrived, we all met for dinner reunion with our California family  at Trolley Square.  Anna was incredulous that Nicole could come.  Anna thought Nicole's recovery is miraculous.  It truly is.
 On Saturday Jeff, Rick and I braved the snowstorm and headed up to Heber to see the cowboys; and there were some dandy ones.  Jeff, decked out in his Clint Eastwood hat, levis, cowboy boots and flannel shirt, was among them.  We listened to the "Sons of the San Joaquin" perform and then headed over to Jenny's house for homemade soup.  It was the perfect menu for a sunny snow-covered afternoon.
 All of us went to the 3:00 pm comedy concert featuring Baxter Black, cowboy poet.  Baxter pretty much had people rolling in the aisles.  This veterinarian-turned poet knows all the ins and outs of a cow.  The vendors on site at the festival sell the most fabulous, high-end cowboy gear I've ever seen; saddles, custom-made hats, cowboy boots, clothing, rocking horses, and fine art.  I was captivated by a female artist's carved gourds.  These beauties cost a few thousand dollars each but as you can see, they are works of art.

Early this week, I went with Nicole to a follow-up appointment with the plastic surgeon who reconstructed her face.  She had previously met with the ocular surgeon who advised her to wear glasses for the rest of her life to protect her right eye.  He said there is only a 1% chance she will regain vision in her left eye and if an accident happens, it always seems to endanger the vision in a person's good eye, not the damaged one.  She has picked out a cute pair of glasses that will protect her right eye.  

The plastic surgeon said she was doing remarkably well.  Her facial bones have healed enough that she can now begin chewing soft foods - well-cooked vegetables or maybe even a French fry! He said that the bone damage around her right eye was almost identical to the damage around the left eye.  She is incredibly lucky to have any vision at all.  Yet, she is blessed with very good vision in her right eye.  As I ponder what is and what could have been, I am moved with how obviously blessed we are.  Blessed by skilled and caring doctors and undoubtedly, the hand of God.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Again!

The extended Cannon family has come together often the past two months, for occasions like fasting for Nicole after her horrible accident and for Kevin Hegewald's funeral.  During those occasions, we came together with heavy hearts.  One bleak day at the hospital with Nicole, I recall trying to buoy myself up.  I engaged in some positive thinking.  I told myself that time would pass.  We would deal with whatever we had to deal with and in the future, we would share good times once again.  We would continue to feel love for one another.  Sometime in the future, we would feel happiness.

A couple of weeks ago, with the same idea as expressed in the song, "We Need a Little Christmas", I decided "We Need a Little Halloween"!  So we put up an "Over the Rainbow" of balloons and donned our Wizard of Oz costumes for a "Wicked" Cannon Family Halloween party.  Make-up artist, Kristen came to my house and gave me a deliciously green face to complete my Wicked Elphaba look.  My heart melted (appropriately) when three darling little Dorothy's came with Toto's in baskets.  Assorted witches, wizards, superheroes, aliens, ladybugs and others filled out the ranks.  

Our official greeter to Oz was Amanda, as Glinda the Good.  Those willing to eat brain or heart jello earned candy bar treats from Clark the Cowardly Lion for their courage.  Kids proved their Scarecrow-like brains in Oz trivia.  Tin Man Carole showed us all how to have a heart in a game of "Do You Love Your Neighbor?" Are my kids good sports or what?  Maybe they're just used to me.

The thrill of the evening was having Nicole there with us.  While waiting for her facial surgery to heal, she is on a no-chew diet, so it's soup every day.  She even was able to swallow a tiny spoonful of brain jello.  She was a gracious conversationalist; everyone wanted to talk to her.   My positive thinking that dreary day at the hospital had come to pass.  I felt love and happiness, together with family again.

P.S.  After the party, I attempted to post pictures on my Mobile Me gallery and send the link to the family to see.  Shortly after sending that email, I got a response from Nicole letting me know that I had done it wrong (as usual) and needed to send them a link she included so they could see the pictures.  I re-sent the correct link but it made me question - whose brain is working and whose isn't?  Maybe I need to eat some more of that jello.