Welcome to our blog! I originally started this blog in November 2010 just prior to having a major brain surgery to remove a large bleeding cavernous angioma from a deep part of my brain. You can best understand the gravity of our experience by reading the first several entries.(Nov 2010-Dec 2010) I wrote the first one and my sweet, adoring husband, John, wrote the next several (while I was too sick to do much of anything) that documented surgery, immediate recovery, and our reaction to the surgery complication (stroke)that was revealed 2 days after surgery. This recovery process has been difficult but we are making it. We appreciate all the kind words of encouragement we have received and we would like to thank everyone that has participated in helping us along this difficult journey. Also, if you have any questions about my personal experience, please leave them as a comment or contact me directly at thankfulforeveryday@yahoo.com and I will respond although I am not a doctor and this is not a replacement for medical care or advise. Please ask a real professional, or probably several. :) I hope to be able to help at least one person along the challenging road of brain surgery and recovery.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 17 Sunday, December 26th

The past few days have continued to be pretty good days for Elizabeth. Christmas Eve was a pretty slow day with Elizabeth being pretty tired. I think this was from the day before being such a busy day.  She slept a lot and did some exercises. Jessica was here in the morning (Friday) for a few hours to help. I was then able to do some needed things around the house and yard. This whole thing has been quite an adjustment for Jack and he is doing pretty well. Elizabeth and Jack slept in the afternoon. Once they woke up, we then decided to check out some Christmas lights at some neighborhoods around us that are known for great light shows. We arrived at the street with many lights to Jack saying “ ights, ights”. We put him in the stroller and headed out for a walk. Elizabeth was doing well at this point except it was a bit chilly. It was around 50 which is cold for us at that time of night. We walked up and down the streets with Jack saying “Ohhh” and “Wow” the whole time while pointing at all the lights as I filmed some video. We saw many snowmen or “amen” as Jack likes to call them and whenever we see Santa he says “HO HO!”  We were able to do all this without her nudging me off the curb like she would do at the rehab center as she would drift to the left. That has gotten better. We walked about 500 feet and she started getting tired. This has pretty much been the standard through this whole thing. She is able to go in short burst and then needs rest. It was really nice to get out and check out the lights! It was a fun time for all of us. Again, after all we have been through, I am so grateful to be able to do an outing like this two weeks after the complication that happened during major brain surgery! She has made really great progress in these last two weeks. We are hopeful that continues.

Christmas day was a really nice day all around. She was feeling better than the previous day which we feel was due to her resting and not having such an eventful day on Christmas Eve. Elizabeth’s dad Nick, Step Mom Marti, and Brother Christopher arrived at our home in the morning. It was a really nice reunion as they had not seen Elizabeth since shortly after the surgery in Phoenix. I could tell they were eager to see her! They were very happy to see how much better she was doing. We visited for a while over coffee and sweets and then with help from us, Jack opened some of his many presents. Some of the big hits were a Mr. Potato Head, a talking helicopter, a pedal car with cool flames painted on it, and a talking Elmo game... just to name a few… It was a really great time for all of us. Her left side was so weak after the surgery she could barely move her left arm, as well as speech and left side face were really troublesome… but on this day I looked across the room at Elizabeth smiling and talking so much better than 2 weeks ago - I thought to myself - man this progress so far is amazing… I’m so thankful! We then put ornaments on the tree from Elizabeth’s Dad and Marti, as well as Elizabeth’s Aunt Nicolette and Grandma Tirabassi.  The tree is coming along nicely! She really loves looking at all these special well wishing ornaments that have arrived so far. Elizabeth’s mom Michelle and Mimi Ruth arrived later as well. Elizabeth barely made it through this second round of visitors. Michelle brought some amazing food that we all ate and Elizabeth and Jack then went down for a nap. I had slept this afternoon as I too am starting to catch up on sleep. We awoke as Nick and Marti arrived back at our home after they visited at Elizabeth’s sister’s house and with our help Jack opened the rest of his presents. We also ate a tri tip meal that Elizabeth’s mom had prepared for us earlier.  The meal was awesome! Thanks Michelle! She also got to finally have some, now world famous, Rite Aid/Thrifty’s Chocolate Malted Crunch ice cream! In a word, her quote was -  “delicious!”

All in all it was a very eventful, joyful day. It was a Christmas that will definitely be remembered!  Thankfully Elizabeth is able to be up and about for a few hours at a time and enjoy some of the festivities of Christmas. It is one of Elizabeth’s favorite times of year and I was so happy to see her doing better and enjoying it in our own home!

Thanks again for all your nice comments, texts, emails, cards, and calls… They mean the world to us and have given us immense strength during this challenging time!

Elizabeth continues to inspire me every day! I love her so much!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

We will update soon,

Thanks so much…



  1. Hi, Elizabeth and John!
    I am so glad to hear that you made it home OK, especially in time for Christmas. It sounds like Elizabeth is doing a remarkable job of working hard at her recovery yet taking the much-needed rests. I am sure Jack is a great motivator--what a doll!

    It was so nice of you two to visit me after my surgery at St Joseph's with Becky and husband, also from the Angioma Alliance. I wouldn't have known Elizabeth had had a stroke if you hadn't told me. I am sure she will make a full recovery, and soon, because of her determination, hard work, and supportive family and friends.

    I arrived home on the 23rd and have been taking it easy except for walks. Will probably start physical therapy next week to gain strength and balance.

    Take care and keep up the great work--John as the great encourager, and Elizabeth for being so strong and determined.

    Wishing you all good things in 2011!

  2. Love the new pictures! You guys have a true Christmas story this year....and now on to a very happy New Year!!! xoxo, Elizabeth

  3. Elizabeth, John and Jack, A very happy and healthy 2011 .... a year we can all really count our blessings. You are one of our blessings for sure.
    Keep up the great work.... With much love A Cathy & U Joe

  4. We love hearing about the huge leaps and bounds in your progress.....still sending you healing thoughts and intentions everyday. Your doing an amazing job with your recovery.....I know that will continue and hope a full recovery happens sooner then you may expect!! Glad you had a Merry Christmas....Miss you and would still love to help out in any way possible. We'd love to see Jack.....Gavin's been asking to see him a lot lately and he's so stinkin' cute!!

    Here's to continued healing.....Love you guys

    Juliet and Family

  5. Love the pics... Happy to hear you three had a great xmas, and Elizabeth is getting better day by day.

    Hope you three have a great 2011

    Joshua Knight

  6. John-

    Through this all, I wanted to say how much I admire Elizabeth, of course, for her outlook on everything and her strength to persevere. But, I think it also should be said that you're so much a part of that... she's so fortunate to have someone who would clearly do anything and everything for her, and cares so deeply.

    I just wanted to say that I'm so glad that Elizabeth has you through all of this. What you write about my sister literally brings tears to my eyes. The way you describe everything is touching to say the least. She has someone who would do anything for her and my adorable nephew...

    I hope you're all doing well..


  7. Happy, HEALTHY New Year to the 3 of you!!!
    Elizabeth, I'm so happy to read of your ongoing progress and your fighting spirit. You are an inspiration! :)

  8. John, Elizabeth & Jack:

    So glad that things are progressing so well. You've been in our thoughts and prayers and we wish you a very healthy and Happy New Year.

    Lisa Gaston (and Ferigo family)