(I'm skipping today's Secret Sunday here. If you'd still like to submit a secret or fantasy feel free to visit me in The Secret Garden).
Here's the follow-up to Nicole Moore's story from Tuesday. With her permission I'm posting her blog entries, from the beginning to most recent. Please note I've condensed her posts, while I would have liked to keep them all intact this would have been much longer. But I've made every effort to preserve the timeline of events so important in her recovery.
Nicole, a sincere thank you for allowing me to share this with my readers and friends. You're a remarkable person.
A New Beginning.
February 15, 2011
Last week, the wonderful team of plastic surgeons were able to rebuild my left thigh where the shark bit with a flap taken from my right leg. I was quite excited about my new skinny legs. All was going well but for some reason that we’re not sure of, suddenly yesterday my flap started to die. In the end, they had to remove it (my flap not my leg). That means I’m back to square one. Major set back but that means there’s only one direction to head…forward. Since I’m back to square one, that makes today a new beginning and a better beginning since we’re experienced now.
February 16th, 2011
Here’s the big news…I just finished my first physio session!!! That makes it a great day in itself. Big plans tomorrow…I’m going to try to get up to a chair for the first time in over 2 weeks. A little apprehensive but looking forward to it. And my day’s not even over yet. Teri is coming for a visit shortly & bringing me dinner tonight too. Can this day get any better? The simplest things make me so happy these days and what is more important than good friends & family, love, good food, children’s laughter and good health?
February 19, 2011
I’m in great spirits. Not unusual you say? Maybe not, after all I do believe in positive thinking because negativity only breeds negativity, but there is something that I think is important to share with you all. Monday was a really bad day for me. For two weeks after my shark attack, I gave my all, enduring so much suffering, to gain steps forward in my healing. But in one day (Monday), all of the surgeries and all of my battles were reduced to nothing and my injuries were basically back to the state that they were in just after the attack. Back to square one. I was devastated. I broke down, cried, felt helpless and scared. I had a quiet day that day. Tuesday morning, when I woke, I told myself that it’s a new day & that I need to move forward, but my heart was not on board with this plan. It was still too heavy with sadness…until I opened my blog page. I saw the incredible response to my “bad day” posting and was overwhelmed. Seeing all of the responses and reading all of the comments made me feel so supported and loved that it gave me the strength I needed to carry me through that bad day.
People have told me that my story and my attitude are inspirational, yet to me, the response from everyone else is what I find inspirational. Much of my strength and attitude stems from the love and support of my family and friends. If you feel helpless, like you wish you could do more, please take my words to heart when I tell you that you’re giving me the most valuable gift anyone could give me…love and for that I am grateful.
Please accept a HUGE THANKS en masse for all of the selfless things you have done to ease our suffering. The world is a better place because of all of you.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
February 22, 2011
Today’s operation over and it was only a couple a hours. I’m exhausted but wanted to give an update. There is good news and bad.
The good news is that my legs are doing better than we had hoped for. My own tissue is growing and filling in some of the bite site. That means I have a better chance that the next flap (a piece of my tissue used to cover the wound) will survive and a better recovery.
Now the bad news…my left arm has been the more challenging of the two wounds and we were hoping that we could nurture it and continue with the slow reconstruction. Today however, when they removed my dressing, the damage had worsened. Unfortunately, my arm cannot be saved and will be amputated on Friday. I am saddened by this news but I am alive and that is far more important. It will take a lot of adjustment, but I know I can get through this like so many other people. If I falter along the way, I know that I have many people wanting and willing to lend a hand and help me through. I am blessed.
Good News, Bad News, No News
February 28, 2011
The good news is I got the surgeon that I wanted. The bad news is I have to have an above the elbow amputation. I was hoping we could stay below the elbow but there’s no way around it unless a miracle happens. So how am I doing? Good. I’m OK with this plan and hoping the surgery is sooner than later so I can move forward. Alot of people have asked me how I can be OK with all of this and handle it so well. My answer is: I’m healthy, I’m strong, I’m alive. I’m motivated to face the difficulties in my recovery with a positive attitude because I can. When I know a surgery date for my amputation, I’ll post it because based on the outpouring of comments, I know how many of you care. I may sound like a broken record, but I am truly touched by all of the support I have received from so many on this blog, in our community and beyond. Thank you to all of you. You lift my spirits.
One Step Closer to Home
March 5, 2011
Good morning and what a good morning it is. My operation is over and it went as planned. The amputation unfortunately was above the elbow, but honest to goodness, when I woke up, I was so happy it was over that I almost started giggling. I was grinning ear to ear and making jokes. When it was time for me to leave the recovery room, the lady that was next to me said “do you really have to go”. Put on your water wings for the record rainfall and enjoy it. It’s only a dreary day if you want it to be…it’s all about attitude.
A little bit of understanding.
March 9, 2011
I suppose most of you have seen the story of me published today in the Toronto Star. I feel compelled to mention that I did not condone this story. I found out about it by sheer coincidence yesterday and told them that I didn’t want them to run it. Although the story was well written and not malicious, it still did two things that I was not prepared for at this time; it made my blog global and opened the gate releasing the media lions.
The response from people and reporters is staggering. I thought it was difficult keeping up with the blog before today but now I am completely overwhelmed. As a result, I don’t believe that I’ll be able to keep up with responses in a timely manner and that I’ll have even less time to return comments or messages. This breaks my heart. I love, appreciate and draw strength from your postings and I want to reply to each one. I know it’s not expected, but in my heart, I truly want to. This was an impossible task prior to today but I was able to respond to some at least. Now that the blog has gone global and based on the volumes of blogs and messages that I witnessed today, at this time I will not be able to respond to many people so…
I’m asking for a little understanding when I am unable to get to your postings, messages, email, texts, etc in a timely manner or when I’m unable to post a message. I’ll do what I can when I can but my recovery is what I must focus on first. I know you’ll understand.
I want to welcome and send thanks out to the new people that have started to read my blog. I hope you’re inspired by not only my story, but more importantly, by the people that respond. I hope that readers read each others comments as they can easily raise you up close to heaven and make your day brighter. Thanks to all for what I hope will be a little bit of understanding.
March 11, 2011
I did it. I faced the mountain ahead of me, all shredded & torn. Something inside of me knew I had to reach the other side and so I climbed, step by step, always looking up and moving forward. Today I reached the summit…the last operation on the road toward home and conquered it. I know the path down the mountain can be arduous, but with the summit behind me, I am driven by a sense of fulfillment which eases the doubt.
And The Silence Is Broken…
March 15, 2011
It’s a bright sunny Tuesday and no surgery. I’m already starting the day off right. I also have another reason to be excited. Since my last surgery, I’ve been on strict bed rest which has been driving me crazy but if all goes well, tomorrow should be my last day of bed rest.
My last operation involved taking skin grafts from my good leg and transplanting them to my bite leg. This type of operation is very delicate, but even more so with me because I don’t have the tissue base on the recipient site that normal people have so I have to stay very still in bed (shhhh, be verwy, verwy, quiet…I’m huntin rwabbit). Tomorrow, the docs will remove my dressing and see if the graft took. If it looks good then I can start to rehab slowly on Thursday. If the graft didn’t take…well lets not think like that.
So many people have collected, raised or simply donated money and gifts to assist us in this difficult time and we are so touched and honored to be part of such a giving society. I am blown away by people’s generosity. What a wonderful world we live in.
March 16, 2011
The grafts took. I have to be on bed rest for 2 more days and then another 2 more days of just dangling my legs off the edge of the bed but then I have the thumbs up to slowly move onto physio. I can begin to learn how to walk again but the doc put some reins on me however. I will not be able to weight bear for 4 weeks on by bite leg so I’ll have to learn how to walk with a device of some sort. A challenge without an arm but together with physio, we have begun to brainstorm on some ideas already and will McGuiver something together. My doctors really stressed that I have to take it slow or I may damage the leg and set me back dramatically. Despite my surging desire to push as hard as I can to get out of here, I will take heed of their advice so don’t expect me to blog huge accomplishments. It’ll be baby steps but as I said before…slow and steady still gets the job done…but I’ll still be pushing the envelope on those baby steps:)
Dingle Dangle Days
March 20, 2011
Hooray…My bed rest is over!! Over the weekend, in between my plethora of visitors, I have been dangling my feet over the side of the bed a little bit at a time. I was also able to get up to my wheelchair yesterday and today. I guess I forgot to mention that both of my vac machines are gone along with my PCA pump and my IV pumps. You might not understand what all of that is, but what matters is that a lot of what I needed to get better is not needed anymore and is gone. Tomorrow is a big day. I get to get up with physio. Maybe I’ll just stand and pivot to a chair or maybe we’ll just hobble a few steps (no weight bear on bad leg for 4 weeks). Either way, I’ll be up and I couldn’t be happier. These little advances mean so much to me. To me, each achievement is a pat on my back and on the backs of my health care team and my family.
Family or not, March break or not, I hope that last week made you thankful for something and that this week you’re just as lucky.
Close But Not Out the Door Yet
March 22, 2011
OMG…I walked out of my room and down the hall…but not out of the door yet. I’m making spectacular advancements if I do say so myself but now I see that I have a long way to go.
Yesterday was the first day that I was officially allowed to do full physio... Bonnie, my physiotherapist, wanted to make sure I was safe and that my muscles were ready and I agreed. And so we started what was to be a slow introduction to walking. Fortunately, each movement that she guided me through was accomplished swiftly until I was taking small steps…a task that Bonnie was surprised I accomplished. I learned how to balance on a crutch and took about 5 steps to my wheelchair. Up until now, I have only stood, pivoted and shuffled a bit to my chair. These were my first real steps.
Today, day two, I am officially tube free. No more IV lines and no more catheter. Nothing.
Being tube free, I accomplished two major things: I peed on a toilet for the first time (sorry but it’s SUCH a great feeling when you haven’t done it in forever!), and I walked. Bonnie and I started out with the goal of trying to walk with my crutch to the door of my bathroom…I walked out of my room and all the way to the nurses station. A huge accomplishment and I am proud of myself but I also realized how weak my muscles are and how far I still have to go. I still have a long descent, but I’m loving the view so far.
Upon some solid recommendations, I have agreed to go to a rehab facility to continue my care. At this point, I don’t know when and where I’ll be going but I hope to know soon. Unfortunately, it will not be closer to home. The type of facility that I need is only offered here in Toronto so here I stay. Despite the move, I’m still going to try to be home for my birthday. I’ve made it this far so I’m going to just keep pushing and giving my all. I know no other way.
Buckle up…here I come.
Out the Door But Not Home Yet.
March 25, 2011
I was making such leaps and bounds with my physio that Sunnybrook decided I was too healthy to stay but not healthy enough to go home yet. I have left the hospital and and went to a rehab facility. I am excited because the place is so much more comfortable and 100% geared toward physio. I’m walking well but am still incredibly weak so this place is exactly what I need. Here’s the bad news…the rehab centre does not have Wi-fi. Can you believe it? I have become so accustomed to it that I was left dumbfounded wondering what I’m going to do. I guess I can find things to do fill my time but I will not be able to blog as often :(. Of course this means that it will take me much longer to post your comments and even longer to post again. I will try to get on and post any other big accomplishments as they come. All and all, I don’t expect that I will be here very long…two weeks at the most but we’ll see. The difficult part of the downhill path begins now but I’m so close to completing my journey. Time to dig my heels in and get to work.