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 12, 2010

Day 3 Sunday, December 12th surgery complication STROKE

I was thinking these updates would get easier to write but that is not the case. Unfortunately this morning we received news that was unsettling to say the least. The post surgery MRI images came in and they showed that Elizabeth has suffered a stroke during surgery. We were obviously concerned the past few days with the left side weakness and slurred speech. I like everyone was hoping it was just the normal process of all this but the film shows the harsh reality of what we are now dealing with.... which is something more than smooth sailing. It’s taken most of the day for the reality of this news to set in for me. That being the bad news I will get to the good..... The area where the stroke occurred in the brain is one that heals more easily than other places in the brain and the stroke was small. Ultimately we knew of the risks going in as some of these removals are more dangerous than others. Hers is in a tough, deep location. Most nuro surgeons wouldn’t even attempt this surgery and we would be left with this ticking time bomb in her head. The positive side of all this is, again, it’s in a good location for healing, it was small and she is young. ... and they expect her to do well. And the truth of it is there are many, many other things that could have gone wrong that would be a lot worse and we knew that like I said.....but you weigh out the risk/benefit factors and we were left with this extremely tough decision.
Elizabeth is un-surprisingly upbeat and positive about this... as she/we knew the risks.... as she says "at least I’m alive"..."at least I’m not paralyzed" and "at least that thing is out of my head" "I can walk and talk" "I'll get through this.... it's just gonna take some extra work”. I can’t tell you how awesome her attitude is for the situation we're in. She is like that strong oak tree I talked about. I'll post that encouraging poem later... she is strong and she makes me stronger! We will get through this!

We will be in the hospital longer than expected and will be starting neuro rehab in the morning. She has been moved to a regular recovery room in the neuro wing. The room is very nice.  I can’t say enough about how nice this facility is! Barrows neuro is really top notch. She is still very tired and is trying to rest a lot. Still not eating much as she is still nauseous and jaw is still very sore.  She is getting around better and was able to take a shower today with her mom's help. Hopefully we will see some fast progress with her speech and left side weakness once this rehab work begins. We will start this rehab work here tomorrow and then in a few weeks continue at home for as long as it takes.

A philosophy I always try to fallow in life is to not dwell on what you don’t have but to appreciate what you do have! To not dwell on the bad but look for the good. It’s all about perspective ya know.  I have a wife and a little boy that love me and I love them more than I ever thought I could love anything ...it just runs so deep! The malformation is out of her brain and she can walk, talk, has all her wits about her, and is ALIVE! It's not gonna be the smooth road we were hoping for but this is doable.... It’s just gonna take more time than we were hoping for.

Elizabeth has told me to tell everyone that she is sooo grateful for all your thoughts prayers and well wishes...she is truly thankful for all of your love and support. It means so much to us during this time! I echo all those thoughts 1000%


I will update tomorrow... Thanks, John


  1. I am so sorry to hear about Elizabeth's complication during surgery. It's good to hear that she is upbeat and in good spirits despite this setback - her positive attitude will aid in her healing even more so.

    I feel like a broken record, but you are all in my thoughts. Tell Elizabeth I said hi and that I'm so proud of her for going through with surgery! She no longer has to worry of the ticking time bomb and the possible complications that can arise from having one.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about this complication. Elizabeth is an in incredibly strong woman with an incredibly strong husband. I know she will get through this. She is determined! My prayers are with you during this healing process. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Thank you for your updates and please give Elizabeth a big hug for me. The Angioma alliance is behind her 100%!!


  3. i have been reading your updates daily and continually speaking with christopher and my parents for updates.

    please know that you and elizabeth are in my prayers each and every night.

    my best wishes and all of my love, brittany

  4. We are continually praying for Elizabeth, and everyone involved in the healing process!
    Sounds like she is solid as a rock!
    Love is raining down on Elizabeth and all you.
    There is a presence there, I can tell..... God is with you.....
    ROCK ON!!!!!!

    Liz, Michael Sydney and Danielle

  5. Elizabeth & John, good morning and thanks for the update. The two of you have a wonderful and upbeat attitude. Grateful for your blessings, serves this situation and life well. Your love for each other and Jack is a blessing for all to see.
    Keep the faith! We love you, A Cathy & U Joe

  6. Elizabeth & John,
    I'm so sorry to hear of the stroke, but echo all the positive things you already said.
    And yes, with Elizabeth's will, determination and beautiful attitude and with you & Jack by her side, the 3 of you WILL get through this!
    Hugs & best wishes,

  7. Hi John and Elizabeth - The following was posted on Mom's frig and I immediately thought of you guys... "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with what happens to you." I was wondering if maybe you put it there? :):) I so admire how strong and positive you both have been!! "The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible." Love you and see you soon! Rebecca

  8. Elizabeth and John:

    You guys are both amazing and I know that there is a rainbow at the end of the road for the both of you!! Mike, Gavin and I have been sending you positive thoughts every day.
    John, I know this must be hard for you but you are such an awesome husband and dad and I am so thankful Elizabeth has you by her side. I know my sister will get through this....she is strong, determined and motivated. There isn't a minute she is not in my thoughts. Please let me know if I can help in any way possible now or when you both get home. We love you.
    Juliet, Mike and Gavin xoxoxo

  9. I have been thinking about all of you so much. I have been there and my husband has been there with me, and I am glad that you have each other. You will come through this. Wish I could bring you that ice cream!

    Adelle in Tennessee

  10. Sorry to hear about the stroke, but Elizabeth you will overcome this!

    What ice cream flavor is close to the kind she wanted and I would love to bring some up! It can be some motivation! :) Is it close to Thrifty brand? I do know where to get Thrifty brand ice cream!!

    Beckyinaz (angioma alliance)

  11. Elizabeth,

    Adam and I heard the news about your surgery from Valerey, at Abbott, yesterday. We read your blogs and have been thinking about you and praying for you. We are so sad that you have had to deal with all of this, but happy that you are able to be so positive and had a successful surgery. It looks like you have an amazing support system with John, family and friends.....and of course Jack! He is SO adorable!! =) Hope you have a speedy recovery and know that we are thinking of you!

    Michelle and Adam Tancrede

  12. Elizabeth every one from Tarzana send lots of love and that they are praying for you. Sandy,Linda,Youlanda want you to know they wish you well and fast recovery.Jean ann says if you need anything at all please let her know and she will keep you in her prayer.
    And as always I love you and can't wait for you to come home.Jhon keep up the good work and thank you again for talking care of her.


  13. Hi John,
    Hope with each minute Elizabeth improves. We are all praying & pulling for her. I know she was worried about finding a home for Sugar. I spoke with her about Sugar before you left, we were hoping to try to adopt her, the kids actually put up a stocking for her in hopes it would work out. Let us know if we can help. The stocking is still on the fireplace mantle waiting for her if having one less thing to worry about helps. So thankful you are letting us know how Elizabeth is with this blog. May God strengthen you to be there in every way possible for Elizabeth & Jack.