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 19, 2010

Day 9 Saturday, December 18th

Today started out great with Elizabeth saying she slept good and the jaw was noticeably better! That made me feel really good right out of the gate today and I was also noticing that left side face muscles looked a bit better too! The brain seems to be re-routing re-learning as she has a bit better control. Needless to say it’s a really great sign!
She was ready early as usual and had eaten a small breakfast. Saturday and the rehab center was a slightly shorter day then usual by a couple hours…. still very vigorous and fast past though. This place really does not mess around. They have to deal with many different levels of recovery and they really do a good job with many different people working really hard with us. It’s really humbling being in a place like this. We’re thankful for all the therapists and techs here. They have really put us on the right track and it’s such a great starting point for us.
The first activity of the day was an outing to the Starbuck’s kiosk at the main entry to the hospital. It’s a pretty good trek. Probably about 600 feet totally distance round trip. There was about five patients  along in this group.  Some are in wheelchairs. Elizabeth asked one of the therapists if she could push her roommate who was in a wheelchair for this outing. Elizabeth said she needs to get strong to push Jack in his stroller. They let her and she did well with it. They would ask the group on the way back from Starbucks which way to turn etc. as they are working on memory with the patients. Elizabeth did well with this too and always knew her way back (which was even hard for me to remember). As they enjoyed there coffee’s they sat and talked about their challenges. Elizabeth was very enlightening with everyone and injected real positivity into the group. Again the therapists were inspired by Elizabeth as they talked about how rewarding their work is. That’s what it’s all about!
Next was Physical Therapy. Again, Elizabeth did pretty well and was really challenging herself. She practices sit down bike, side stepping, forward backward walking, and stairs. Another of these activities was talking a ¼ mile walk outside around the facility. It was an extra special outing for me as we started to walk with the therapist outside on the side walk and Elizabeth held my hand. It’s really is the little things as it made me feel so good!!! She did well with the walk although she can tend to drift to the left a bit at times…. all part of what we’re working on.
One hour of occupational therapy was next. She practiced lifting a baby doll that was about 12 pounds. She also did a hand/eye task that was putting little plastic pieces on little posts with her left hand. This was a little hard but she managed to do it. The funny thing I thought about it was how she put them in this little clean precise pattern. I thought this is just like her as she is such an organized person always. I always think how crazy it is that we can find a receipt from a convenience store from four years ago in 2 seconds. This OT continued with exercise machines. One machine that you peddle with your hands made her dizzy. It’s somehow looking at the moving objects that make her complain about her eyes. Something we will have to address when we get home with a neuro ophthalmologist.  
She then had lunch after a tiring morning and ate well! The jaw is feeling better and her apatite is back! She ate almost all of it. It was like a chicken pot pie with a fresh roll with butter. She said it tasted pretty good. She said “it’s just lucky I got my appetite back because I’m starting to disappear”… she was referring to her weight which is about 110 but this will come back. This is about 15 pounds off her normal weight. I joked about how she would come back looking 15 pounds lighter and I would come back looking 15 years older…. We both laughed. She also ate the whole dinner which was a salisbury steak with mash potatoes. It’s so great to see her eating. She even asked about stuff like taco bell and In-N-out Burger. Tomorrow (Sunday) is an off day at the rehab with no work being done with patients but we will be busy planning everything for the departure home/doctors appt/filling in planning calendars… mixed with practicing some exercises and maybe going in our own vehicle off site to In-N-Out Burger! And she will see Jack Sunday evening as well… Also she may try to post! So even on an off day we’re busy.
Elizabeth talked today about the Tirabassi family annual Christmas party that was tonight. This is family from her dad’s side and it is in Las Vegas. She talked about how much fun it always was and that we’ll be making up for lost time next year.
One fun thing that we did tonight was watch video I shot of Jack running and playing in a park that is right by Tom and Rebecca’s house where Jack and I are staying. She really liked that. She can’t wait to see him tomorrow (Sunday night). Rebecca and Tom did well today for their first day with Jack for the whole day. Jack has really warmed up to them! Thanks again Rebecca and Tom, you guys have been awesome!!!
Thanks to everyone for your continued well wishes on this blog. We are always reading them! They are truly inspiring to us!!!
Thanks so much…


  1. I have been forwarding your posts to my husband. It is helpful to him to read the very supportive messages so he will know he is not alone in the husbanding role. He has been my rock, and we are both glad that you are there for Elizabeth (and Elizabeth is there for you!).

  2. Elizabeth, I'm just in awe of how well you're doing and am sooo happy and relieved for you!!!
    What great accomplishments in such short time and what an inspiration you truly are.
    Rick also reads the blogs, or asks about how you're doing.
    You, Adelle & I are very blessed with loving and supportive husband's! :)
    Enjoy your day off from all the hard work you're doing, and can only imagine your anticipation of family time with Jack!
    Wow, 2 more days till you guys go home. Yay, Elizabeth!!!

  3. Elizabeth and John - Tom and I have been so very happy that we can help. However, there is no need to thank us for hanging out with Jack... WE should be thanking you!! I wish it had been under better circumstances but spending time with that little boy has meant more to me than you could ever know! He is such a good boy. You two are EXCELLENT parents! Jack and I were listening and dancing to Xmas music yesterday (BTW - he is a great little dancer) and "I'll be home for Christmas" came on! I told Jack "This is your Christmas song cause you, Mama and Dada will ALL be home for Christmas!!" Even though I will miss you all, I know there is no place like home and I am so glad you soon be in the comfort of yours!!
    Rebecca (aka Aunt Becca)!!!

  4. So excited to hear how well and fast Elizabeth is recovering!!!! Hopefully John has gotten a little sleep the past few days as well. And happy to hear that Jack will get to have his Mommy around him a little more. So glad to hear you are headed back home. We'd love to help on this end, if there is something we can do, once you settle in. It is going to be sooooo great to get there! Great work!
    May god continue to give you such great strength as you head home and continue on your journey.
    God Bless!