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