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.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 12 Tuesday, December 21st

All I can say is, man.. what a day! There was so much going on today I don’t even know where to start? So I guess I’ll start the best spot… the beginning. The day started out with me waking up to putting all the bags in our SUV while Jack was still asleep and that continued after he woke up. My sister Rebecca was able to take a few hours away from work to help me get out of her house and help me get Elizabeth out of the neuro rehab center with Jack in tow.  My brother in law Tom left for work and I hugged him and told him how much all his help meant to Elizabeth and me. I told him how lucky we are to have him in our family! It was an emotional moment.  I finally got all our stuff in the car as it barely fit coming here and we went back with a few extras for Jack from Rebecca and Tom. (Hand me down toys) and Christmas presents as well. Jack and I proceeded to the hospital as Rebecca fallowed.  

Elizabeth was excited to see us and her Big Boy and was organized and ready to go.  We started to work our way though the facility to the exit and say our goodbyes and Jack was waving and saying “Hi, Hi” to everyone. It was definitely an emotional departure from the facility to say the least. This is a place that has put Elizabeth on the right path to recovery. We are truly grateful for each and every one of the staff members at Barrows Neuro Rehabilitation Center! We continued to exit the center as people gave Elizabeth pats on the back and said “look at you, you’re doing great” and “good luck” as I filmed this big moment of her leaving the facility. It was awesome to see her walk out of that place so much better then when she was wheeled in! It was a great  site to see! She continues to look and sound better each day!

We got to our vehicle and loaded Elizabeth’s bags. We then said our goodbyes to Rebecca which was hard and good as she has grown pretty attached to our little guy and we are so extremely grateful for her. My sister Rebecca and my brother in law Tom have been a gigantic part of us getting thru and getting to this point!!! We all hugged and cried good tears. Thanks Rebecca and Tom... you guys are the best!

We had one more thing to do before we left and that was to get some prescriptions filled. We had to wait a bit and got some lunch before we picked up the prescription and started to head back to Valencia, California. 

The trip started out good as we avoided rain during all the loading. Once we got going, Elizabeth felt good with the movement of driving and did not feel motion sickness. Jack passed out in about 15 minutes and the grey rainy weather is good for his sleeping. They both slept for the first two hours. They both continued to have a good go of it although I was driving in the rain. It wasn’t too bad until we got about two hours from home and we hit heavy rain as darkness fell. We also hit some traffic… but Elizabeth and Jack both did well. The traffic made us get home later than we were hoping for but we all were so happy to be getting home including Jack as for the last five minutes of the drive he kept saying “out, out , out!” It was a great feeling driving into our dry garage! Home at last!!!

Elizabeth’s Mom Michelle was there to greet us not with just her face but with food cooking in the oven and groceries in the fridge! Her sister and brother came over to help Michelle get situated with goodies for us. Elizabeth’s brother Christopher, who is a very talented artist, drew a big “welcome home sweet home” sign! The sign was a really cool thing to see right when we walked in!!! It was really nice to come home to. It was a really nice feeling to be in our own home!!  We sat down and had an amazing meal prepared my Michelle who is a phenomenal cook. It was really nice for Elizabeth and I…. and Jack too! Michelle helped Jack take a bath as I started to get Elizabeth a few things so Elizabeth could get ready to go to bed as she was really tired as could be imaged. Elizabeth read Jack some book’s on our bed and she then went to sleep saying: “this is gonna be so nice” When she was looking at the bed, she had this look like a starving person staring at a steak. This will be some good sleep for her! I then put Jack down and unpacked the rest our vehicle.

I will be extending my time off from work as an electrical contractor through the first of the year.  I want to be sure we are completely settled with all the details of our new routine with outpatient rehab. We will be keeping it mellow thru Christmas as we have not had time to do anything for that. We don’t want to deal with a big tree and all that. Our storage keeps getting more packed instead of more empty as I would like and as some of you know, Elizabeth is a real holiday decorator. Heck, we have like 15 large tubs of stuff... and it does look really nice when she does it up. Unfortunately they are buried in the back to the storage and there is no time for all that.  We thought we would get a small tree and keep it low key this year…. put a few lights on it and buy a cheap ornament set because we can’t get to our holiday stuff without an all day effort to get to the back to the storage. But I then thought it would be cool if people wanted to show support instead of flowers etc., … they would get her an ornament and we would decorate the tree just with these ornaments. They can come after Christmas too as we will have the tree up for a while… and we could use in other years as well. Any show of support in any way is fine by me of course but, if anyone wanted to do that I think it would be fun.

This has been a journey for the last year and a half and today was another significant part of it for us… getting home! To come back to the same Train album I mentioned before, ...with her hand in the air Elizabeth would always sing out this one line of a song on that album… here is that part of the lyrics with that line highlighted in bold from the song  “If It’s Love”

Hold our cell phones up in the air
And just be glad we made it here alive!
On a spinning ball in the middle of space
I love you from your toes to your face

We played that song coming home and she sang that line with her hand in her air! It was great!!!
She is happy to be alive and happy to not have “a bleeding ping pong ball” in her head as she so un-affectionately called it. It was a really uplifting day today! We are so glad to be home and are also ready for Elizabeth to keep getting better here! Nothing like the sleep you get in your own bed!

Thanks again for all your supportive comments. You all are so very much appreciated!!!

It’s great to be home! She has requested donuts for tomorrow morning.. Donuts it is!!!




  1. Elizabeth and John, you have faced fears, many of us can not comprehend. Job well done. A very Merry Christmas to your young family. Love surrounds you!
    With very much love Aunt Cathy and Uncle Joe.

    All in your family have kept love, peace, light, and vigilant prayer for this outcome. Praise God from whom All blessings flow XOXO

  2. I think Dorothy said it best...."There is no place like home, there is no place like home." What a journey through Oz, huh? And nothing like a home cooked meal by Mom. I can only imagine how great that meal was. Michelle is the only person I know who can take an ordinary grill cheese sandwich and turn it into a gourmet meal! (Wow! Were those good Michelle!)Hey, you left some stuff here so I guess I will need to drive to Cal today to make sure you get it. :) :) Ok, maybe I will just have to put them in the mail :) Happy you made it safe and sound. Rebecca!

  3. Welcome home, SWEET HOME, Elizabeth, John & Jack!!! So glad to hear you're back...and yes, what a journey it's been. I can 'feel' the relief on your behalf.....sigh!
    Rest up & enjoy HOME. :)

  4. Congratualations on your safe trip home!
    Ornaments....what a great idea!Ornaments it is!
    Hope you are having a great 1st day home!

  5. It is true that there is no place like home. So glad you have arrived safely and now can begin the next (and best!) phase of this journey.

  6. So glad you made it home with out any problems! Especially any nausea!! YEAH!!

    Rest up and DO NOT over do it!!