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.