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.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 11 Monday, December 20th

Today started out with Elizabeth being up and ready early as usual for the 9 am start time for the first therapy session today. It was an outing to the grocery store. This is to see how patients are doing with these type of day to day activities. She was givien a list of items to purchase. These items would be for another group therapy that would involve working in a kitchen. She did well with this. She was able to navigate her way around the store pretty well and carry a hand cart with about 10 pounds in it. She was able to get in and out of the van pretty easily with me shadowing her.

We then went to speech therapy where she did some complex exercises to challenge her more. Some were following directions through mazes and others were memory exercises. They also worked on speech inflection. Her speech has become much better throughout these 6 days at the rehab center.

The next therapy session was working in a kitchen they have at the facility. It rivals a home kitchen environment. Her job was to make pizza. She said “I love pizza, this is a good activity for me!” On Friday when she learned of this activity her jaw was still hurting so bad that she  said “maybe they can put my pizza in a blender”… She was able to eat the pizza today without the blender.  Others in the group were making salad and preparing fruit. She did pretty well with this exercise. They had her doing multi tasking with clean up as they went. The pizza was really really good.  She talked about how we never made that at home and that we should because its easy, fresh and taste good. After all the cooking was done, we all sat down to eat. It was a fun activity for all.

She then had a final therapy session of the day with the Nuro psychologist. They were really impressed with the change they had seen in Elizabeth since their last meeting on Thursday. That was nice to hear from them…. Elizabeth told them how happy she is to have that thing out of her head and in the past. A life without fear of a ticking time bomb in her head. Now it’s time to continue to get better. Elizabeth told them she was happy with her progress and gave much credit to the rehab center team.

We then went back to the room and she wanted to rest. After she woke up, we talk for awhile about all our plans for getting home. As most of you remember, Elizabeth is being discharged tomorrow! She has elected to ride in our SUV back to California with me and Jack. She has been cleared to either fly or drive. It is about the same time when you put in all the time that it takes to fly before you’re even in the air. She then ate dinner which was good to see. She took a shower with me helping very little. I then got the room packed and ready for tomorrows exit. It was kind of surreal putting away flowers, taking down the pictures Jack had drawn, and pictures of us as a family from the walls. Although this whole thing has felt surreal... I often kept thinking I was dreaming. This was the end of a rollercoaster of emotions we experienced here in Phoenix…. leaving now with momentum that things are working in the right direction.

I then proceeded to my sisters to help with Jack and pack and get ready to leave. Tomorrow will be interesting to say the least with our trip back. I’ll be heading back with a packed SUV, Elizabeth who is recovering still, and Jack. Luckily he’s a pretty good traveler. I hope that is the case tomorrow. I think I heard it’s been raining in our hometown area. Hopefully we don’t get too wet. In reality after what we’ve been through, that all seems easy…

Today is a great day because it’s the last real working day for Elizabeth at the rehab center. We had many hugs with staff here today and will miss them, but it will be great for us to be in our own home!!! The staff here has been incredible! They really take so much care and professionalism in what they do. We couldn’t have made these initial strides without them! They have grown fond of Elizabeth and will miss her too!!!

It will be an emotional departure tomorrow to say the least…. but we are now committed to Elizabeth getting better and we are looking forward to our new life without a cavernous angioma!!!

Elizabeth and I have always had a great perspective on the appreciation of life and how important that is and now that’s just a little bit sweeter…just like our love…. It just keeps getting better!!! My love for her and Jack is simply immeasurable!!! Elizabeth is truly like that oak tree I keep referring to!!! I will leave it now for you to read. It is a remarkable poem that is an example of Elizabeth’s incredible strength to endure!

“The Oak Tree”

A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,

Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark,

But the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around.

The weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How can you still be standing Oak?”

The oak tree said, “I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two,

Carry every leaf away,
Shake my limbs and make me sway,

But I have roots stretched in the earth,
Growing stronger since my birth.

You’ll never touch them, for you see,
They are the deepest part of me.

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure.

But now I’ve found, with thanks to you,
I’m stronger than I ever knew”.

Thanks everyone for all your continued support. We appreciate so much. It is very powerful!

Thank you, thank you, thank you,….

The next post I write will be from home sweet home!

Thanks again,



  1. Woo hoo! Congratulations and wishes for a continued strong recovery. You will enjoy the trip home even though it takes awhile, and you won't have to go through security, either. Best wishes.


  2. Congratulations Elizabeth on ALL the very hard work you've done and all the progress you've made and will continue to make!!!
    Have a safe journey home for the 3 of you and hope it goes well for Elizabeth.
    Best wishes & continued 'cheers,':)

  3. It's so awesome to hear that you are doing so well and that you get to come home before Christmas!!! We think of you everyday and all throughout each day. I am so proud of you for your leaps and bounds in your recovery (but wouldn't expect any less from you). You have always been an inspiration and great example of doing what needs to be done and doing it better then most of us every could!! I love that about you.
    Drive safe.....It's been raining for days here and isn't suppose to let up before Thursday. I'm sure it'll be so great to be able to continue your progress in your own home. Here's to an amazing night's sleep in your own bed!!
    Love you, Juliet

  4. Fantastic! I am so happy for you.You have been so lucky to have so many wonderful people helping!John and Elizabth you have been so strong! Homeward bound! Yes, it has been pretty much none stop raining here. But, it sounds like you are carrying the sun!!!!!So, bring it on! Safe trip!

  5. Elizabeth, John and Jack – What an amazing sight for me today to watch the three of you head toward home! It is a little bittersweet for us though as that little guy is taking pieces of our hearts home with you!! Drive safe! Love you! Miss you already!! Rebecca/Aunt Becca

  6. We will continue to pray for you guys! Have a safe trip home. We are here for you if you need anything. Please feel free to call or knock on the door anytime. We would love to have you guys over for dinner or bring a meal over. Please let us know what & when is best. Take care, Mike, Marina, Anthony & Aaron Zeccardi (you neighbors)

  7. Yeah!!!!!! You are breaking out tomorrow!!!! What great news!!

    Glad to hear you were able to eat you pizza with it not being in a blender first!

    Drive safe tomorrow, can't wait to see how your drive goes.