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, April 23, 2012

What brain injury survivors want you to know

Here is a great article  that explains what it is like to deal with a brain injury. This article is directed at family members and loved ones but anyone can gain understanding and insight if they chose to. Thanks to Patti G. for passing it my way.
http://www.brainline.org/content/2011/07/lost-found-what-brain-injury-survivors-want-you-to-know.html

I look forward to the day when this article is no longer relevant to me personally. That day has not come as of right now. This article details a number of the "issues" those of us with brain injuries face on a near daily basis. To use my mom's phasing..."I'm not complaining...I'm explaining." Really! I am completely grateful for where I'm at today and how far I've come, but the reality is I still have a number of things I would like to see improve.
I recently attended Easter festivities with a large portion of my family. It was one of the first "family functions" that I have attended post-stroke. I have been to a few other events, but none quite the same as Easter. It was difficult. I came home basically in tears and somewhat disappointed about how hard it was for me.  While I knew it might be challenging, I wasn't entirely prepared for how hard it turned out to be. When I get upset with myself for not doing as well as I wished...I come right back to where I started. It was a bad place. I have come so far, and I am doing really great no matter what.  I am so grateful for what I can do and for the things that I can do well. Turns out, large social functions are on the list of still needing improvement. I am always hoping that these situations will just get better in time. This article acts as a reminder to be more gentle and patient with myself as I slowly try to regain all that I lost. It is certainly hard for my family to understand what I am dealing with, as I didn't even expect it to be such a challenge.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Brain injury recovery video

Another great video on recovery. Alison Shapiro also wrote an inspirational recovery book, Healing into Possibility. Even at this point in my recovery (almost a year and a half), I am still hoping to see improvements. I just keep reminding myself that it's about belief, and will. This type of video reinforces how much control we have in making our brains change to work for us. Thanks to Patti G. for sending this my way. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meeting Angioma Alliance members

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to meet up with some other Angioma Alliance members that also live in the Los Angeles area and Connie (ambassador and founder of AA) with her daughter Julia. It was an awesome and also humbling experience to meet others who's lives are affected by cavernous angiomas. Several of the people in attendance have "multiples"...which to me is like a whole different deal. Having more than one means you most likely can't just have one surgery and be done. Not that one brain surgery is any walk in the park, but having more than one surgery multiplies your risk of complications, deficits, recovery, and associated stress. Also, if you have multiples, you could develop more angiomas at any time, meaning greater risk of bleeding over time, and constant uncertainty. It could also mean that there is a genetic factor involved, resulting in a 50/50 chance of any of your kids inheriting the faulty gene that creates angiomas. Point is...to have one stinks...to have many really, really stinks!! So in the group of 15 or so...I felt lucky to have only had one angioma. It also keeps what we had to deal with it in perspective. I feel like I have no right to "complain" about how hard it was. Sure it was tough, sometimes it still is tough, but really...people with multiples have to deal with what I went through plus so much more. Meeting Connie and Julia was an honor, after all, they started Angioma Alliance and they are very involved in finding a cure. Make sure you and everyone you know with a cavernous angioma signs up for  the international patient registry...even if you already had surgery www.angioma.org/registry I have said it many times, but Angioma Alliance was a tremendous resource for me from diagnosis through today, and supporting this organization is near and dear to my heart. Connie and Julia are continuing their trip cross country so check the website if you would like to meetup. www.angioma.org/roadtrip The meeting was great and left me wanting to do more to raise awareness for this unrepresented illness/condition...whatever you call it. I have been brainstorming fundraising ideas...but unfortunately my brain doesn't work all that well and so far I have no ideas. 5ks are popular, but there are so many in my area for other causes already and I'm not even a runner...it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I like some of the ideas that other people have done...a wine auction, dinner event...but I have no idea where to get started...so the brainstorming continues. Everything takes longer when your brain doesn't work quite right. ;) If I can ever figure out how to upload the picture we took of everyone at the meeting, I will post it. (It is at the end of almost 3,000 photos on our camera and it will only load all of them.Safe to say I am not tech savey in ANY way.)Take away:
 1. If you have not signed up for the registry...do so now...a cure depends on it.
2.    If you are able to meet Connie and Julia...do so...it is an opportunity you don't want to miss.