Sunday, February 28, 2010

Home Again

Home again, jiggety jig.

I can't tell you how happy I am to be home.  I'm pretty sure my brother is happy to be home, too!  He wrote in his CaringBridge Journal that he had his first real sleep since surgery two weeks ago.

Thank you, all, for all your prayers.  So many people have been praying for his recovery----I shouldn't have been surprised to find out that all kinds of people I don't even know at our parish were praying for him!  He's doing so well, it is amazing.

One week after his astounding 31-hour brain surgery, he was still very sick and weak.  Even the first 5 days I was there were very difficult for us in that he was so weak, scared of his weakness, scared of the long road to recovery, scared that he wouldn't be able to handle it, scared that he would not recover as well as he had hoped and that he would have a lot more damage than expected.

I think it was Monday or Tuesday that he seemed to turn the corner, as they say.  His mood and energy level were slightly better.  I could see the difference.  It must have been Monday because that is the day his barium swallow test was scheduled to see if he could eat food or would have to have a PEG tube inserted into his stomach.  Obviously, we were hoping for food, but he was pretty confident that he had no ability to swallow because of the paralysis on one side of his face.  Praise be to God, he was wrong and was cleared to eat a diet of pureed foods!  Not ideal, but so much better than tube feeding!!

After that, the floodgates seemed to open and he got visibly stronger every day.  All the tubes were removed except for the "brain drain", the ventriculostomy tube that drains excess Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) from the brain.  That was supposed to come out one evening (Monday, again?) when a neuro resident noticed CSF leakage from his sutures.  They had to oversew the stitches to make it tighter and keep draining the CSF while the incision healed to prevent meningitis.  They were extremely cautious and gave it plenty of time, so the drain stayed until Friday, which is when I was on my way home.

Since that had been the only thing keeping him in ICU, he was moved to a regular room (which he was able to walk to!) for less than 24 hours and then released!

It has been a long, long couple of weeks, and even though I was emotional as we said our goodbyes,  I felt confident that my brother was going to be fine.  A very different goodbye from my sister's as she left a still critical patient.  For now, my brother has paralysis/weakness on the side of his face,  as if he had a stroke, and generalized balance problems.  These should resolve themselves with time.  He may always have some facial paralysis, but it's already much less than the surgeon anticipated.  And it's a little thing to live with, because, after all, he gets to live.  There are so many worse things, and I think he spent quite a few days dwelling on those less-favorable options.

God is so good.  We are so lucky to have Him to lean on.

And now I have to come up with a Lenten sacrifice!  My brother took care of the first week.  Now it's up to me.  But I'm okay with that----the ones that God picks are H.A.R.D.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Weds.---I need dpns!

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Tuesday progress. Reindeer!

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Life Goes On

I should be leaving for the hospital right now, to get there in time for PT and OT and whatever zillions of doctors drop in to see my miracle of a brother (who is doing AMAZINGLY---dare I say 'miraculously'?----well since his 31 hour brain surgery).

But I just got an email from TMax with pretzels that they made yesterday---a suggestion for Little Princess's Lenten project that he printed out.  I'm not being clear, am I?  Guess I'm in a hurry.  Suffice it to say, they are trying to keep up with what schoolwork they can along with Lenten projects.  Their pretzels look great!

Trying to post the pic, but it might show up in a different post!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Progress on Monday

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

40 Bags in 40 Days


Unfortunately, I have to wait until I get back from Virginia to start this.  I'm leaving tomorrow to spend about a week with my brother and helping him with his recovery.  But when I get back.....

I've got it all planned.  Which rooms, which days.  We'll finish going over the house with a fine tooth comb just in time for Holy Week.  Then I'll  we'll spend 3 days cleaning the newly decluttered house from top to bottom.  One floor per day.

I'm looking forward to it.  That's the fun part of Lent, though, not the real work.

Say a prayer for me tomorrow as I drive up to VA all by myself.  I don't know how much blogging I'll be able to do, so I'll see you in about a week.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Inspiration for My Pianist

I'm posting this for TMax to watch.  This little girl is amazing!

H/T:  Creative Minority Report

The Longest Day

On Friday, this beautiful snow started in the early afternoon while my brother was having brain surgery.

My sister kept calling or texting every 2 hours with updates.

The snow kept falling, and the texts kept coming.  The ENT's have just finished opening the skull and exposing the tumor.

They've started to remove the tumor. 

It's going well.

There were a lot of those "It's going well; he's doing fine."  reports.

But they kept coming.  
The snow kept falling and I wanted to enjoy it, but my heart was in Virginia with my brother and sister.

I baked cinnamon rolls all afternoon while the children played in the winter wonderland.

Every time I got a text, I said another prayer.

Finally, a message that they expected to be finished in the wee small hours of the morning.  Did I want to be updated during the night or get my sleep?

Update me, please.  

And so she did.  Every couple of hours my phone buzzed on my nightstand.  

He's doing well.  Might be finished between 7 and 8 a.m.

Late morning.

Around 7:30 a.m. I heard that they expected another 5-6 hours.  
Those prayers after texts were becoming more insistent!  Begging.  For the surgeons to be able to continue.  For my brother to remain stable.  

I broke down and cried after the report that it could last even longer.  It had been nearly 24 hours, not the 12-18 that we thought was the worst-case scenario.

It seemed like it would never end---this dangerous operation near the brain stem using microscopes.  I was dreading every text message, afraid that the news would finally be bad.  But, mercifully, it never was.  And the end, which we thought would never come, came.  The saint of a surgeon finally came out after 29 agonizing hours to say they were closing up and it was a success as far as he could tell.

They're keeping my brother sedated for at least a full day, which is good because his wife, son, and sister desperately needed to sleep, too.

So it has been very quiet since the last text with the doctor's report.  There has been an easing of tensions here.  I'm breathing deeply and sighing a lot to let the stress out.

God is so good to have gotten us this far.  Now we just need to continue to hold His hand on the road to Recovery.

Thanks for all your prayers!

Friday, February 12, 2010

7 Quick Takes


My brother is in surgery today.  Lot's of praying going on for him!


Started the day early with prayers for my brother, and then last minute details for the spelling bee today.  We had to get all our paperwork, directions, a photograph together.  I had to go to Target when it opened to buy ink for the printer!

There were only 4 kids at this homeschool spell-off and we had no idea what the competition would be like.  TMax was very well prepared and won it, so now we move on to District in a couple of weeks where there will be about 50 spellers.  If he wins that, it's on to State and then Nationals in Washington, DC.  I'm not getting my hopes up about any of it because I'm learning how incredibly intense (and difficult) the competition is.


We waiting anxiously for snow here, today.  We could get 1/2" or 4"!  That would be nice.  I know it's nothing compared to what some people have been getting, but we would like it!


I still haven't decided what I'm knitting for the Olympics.  As soon as I finish this I'm going to go downstairs and make a decision.


And then I'm going to do laundry and start PW's cinnamon rolls for our pro-Life bake sale at church and a king cake for Mardi Gras.


I'm going to do some more cooking for the family, too, since I'm planning to leave next Thursday to go be with my brother.  That's just around the corner!  Along with Lent!  


No hyper-links today.  I'm trying to get this done with icy-cold fingers and chat w/ my sister on FB at the same time.



Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's a Sign

Doing my daily blog reading using my "next" button on the toolbar (which I love, love, love because it takes me directly to the blog and I don't have to read in my reader or click over for people who only supply a partial feed {ahem}), I came across the Yarn Harlot's post about The Knitting Olympics.  I thought to myself, "Self, you'll have to think about doing this.  Even though it starts tomorrow and that's precious little time to come up with a project and yarn."

I looked at the form to fill out to get on the list of athletes knith-letes knitters.  And I thought, I can come back to her post if I think of something today.

And then, when I clicked the Next button again, I went to a new blog.  Surprise, surprise.

But then, when I clicked the Next button again, I went to the Harlot's post AGAIN!

It's a sign.   What can I say?  I'm entering the Knitting Olympics.  It's a good thing I'm already in fine physical form!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Move Over Alton Brown!

Make way for Tyler Florence!

Isn't he a cutie?  I love his show, not that I get to watch it often, but I love it when I do.  He cooks some yummy stuff.

I hate to say it, but he may be even better than the Pioneer Woman.  Shhh!  Don't tell her I said that, or I'll never win one of her giveaways!

We made Tyler's Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars on Saturday for the Super Bowl.  They almost didn't make it until Sunday.  I cut them on Sunday after church and they almost didn't make it to the game.  They were to. die. for.  Seriously yummy.


They're so easy, too.  We have extra cream cheese, so we might have to make some more soon.
I didn't follow his recipe exactly---but then he tells you to "eyeball" the amount of sugar you put in, so I don't think he'll mind.  I didn't use the graham cracker crust because no matter how many times TMax and I reminded each other that we had passed by the graham crackers in the store and we needed to go back down that aisle to get them, we forgot.  Lame, I know.  But I think it was a happy mistake because my crust was way better than a dry old graham cracker crust!

I just threw about 2 cups of nuts into my food processor.  Eyeball it.  ;-)  I used half walnuts and half pecans because that's what I had, although I would normally use all pecans.  About 4T butter, a heavy dash of cinnamon (1/2 tsp?), and a handful of brownsugar (1/4 c?).  

See?  I like Tyler because he cooks the way I do---by handfuls!

Anyway....just blend it all together until it's grainy and press it into the bottom of the pan.  Soooo much better than graham crackers!

Friday, February 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Rain Edition)


Our families in Virginia are getting hit by a "historic" snowstorm this weekend.  Dh remarked last night that they're predicting snowfall in feet, not inches.  

I wish we could have some of that.  I think we're getting historic amounts of rain.


I think I've mentioned before that my basement leaks a little in heavy rains, so that leaky part is an unfinished storage room.  Well, there are new leaks in that room.  I'm trying hard not to think about the walls that are covered with (currently) drywall.

I don't think we had all these leaks last year when we had rivers in the backyard.


We're going on a field trip today.  In mid-town Atlanta.  In morning rush-hour traffic.  In the driving rain.  It's at the Center for Puppetry Arts, which is a fun place, so I hope we're able to forget about the rain for a while. 

Oh, wait, we're seeing a show about the RAIN forest.


We could still use your prayers on that job situation, if you don't mind.  

While you're praying, my brother seriously needs them.  He has surgery next Friday to remove his brain tumor.  He's scared, angry, tired, scared.  Scared of the surgery; scared of possible complications; scared that every headache or facial twitch means that this benign tumor might kill him before the surgery. 


It's been a hard week here, emotionally speaking.  That's probably why there haven't been any posts on my blog.  My life is good; it really is.   I'm continually amazed that God has given me such a good life, wonderful husband, and beautiful, amazing kids, but I'm finding myself turning inward, away from everyone else, to protect myself from the emotions and tensions that are everywhere.  I'm focusing on schooling, cooking, knitting, and working on my prayer life.  Trying to keep up with responsibilities with little energy to spare for anything else---like smiling or socializing.

I've got to work more on that prayer life, I think.  I have a strong urge to curl up in front of the fire and watch TV and relax, but I would prefer to curl up with Jesus.  As much as I love to knit and watch TV, it would be more satisfying and refreshing to spend the time with the Lord. 

Do you think He'd mind if I did it in front of the fire instead of the chilly living room where I normally pray?


I've been cooking a lot this week.  Well, I always cook, but I'm cooking large meals (well, I always do that, too!) and freezing half instead of using them for leftovers.  Since I'm planning to go out to my brother's to spend a week helping him after his surgery, I'm trying to fill up the freezer to make things easier for my family.  

My sister will be with Tod  and his family for the surgery itself and the first week.  I'll be going for the second week.


We're looking forward to the SuperBowl on Sunday.  Dh requested Super Nachos as one of the dishes.  We're looking forward to rooting for the Saints.  Mostly, I think we're looking forward to relaxing and not thinking about all the other stuff going on.  


Stop by Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Monday, February 1, 2010


The Little Princess Cardigan.

But I can't show you because, for some strange reason, when I go to upload the photos they don't appear in iphoto.

If I open iphoto alone, they are there in the folder where I put them.  But not if I try to add a photo to my blog. 

Weird.  If you can help, I'm all ears.

Amazingly enough, though, the sleeves turned out great even though I frogged 1/3 of them, down to where the shoulder shaping began, and made them larger.  Not knowing a single thing about writing a pattern and very little about gauge, I just guessed at how many stitches I would need to increase to get the right size.  I guess I guessed right since they're perfect---not too long and not too short.  And they fit into the armholes nicely.

I'm sad I didn't add another cable repeat or two to the body since it's only just long enough.  I don't have any hope that she won't grow in the next year. 

I'm glad to have that one checked off my list----and I started KT's socks yesterday.  I'm thinking of making them pedicure socks (makes my job easier!).  What do you want KT?  Toes or Pedis?


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