Category: Stroke (Page 1 of 2)

Nearly Four Weeks Since Her Last Faint!

Tomorrow night will mark four weeks since 16-year-old R’s last fainting episode. Since that faint was number 31 in 20 days and 4 hours, we got her on an airplane and down to lower altitude. We have been staying near two major medical institutions (where her health has been being addressed by multiple kinds of world-leading specialists).

We are making medical strides on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis! The more than gets calmed down, the more underlying layers become evident. There is still much work to accomplish here.

The hope in giving her body a full 60-day reprieve from altitude, while simultaneously addressing a host of underlying triggers that are pushed over tolerance levels by elevation, is that we will be able to permanently return home at the end of summer and that her health remains stable there.

We have had days here with as many as four medical appointments in a single day, and weeks with anywhere from two to five appointment days in the week. However, as a stroke survivor and a teenager alone together in a state where we had met no one prior to January, we are also striving to approach this trip with as much of a “vacation mindset” as possible. The fact that R remains faint-free is helping that goal immensely!

Since neither of us has a driver’s license, we’ve gotten really good at RideShare services, shuttles, and walking much further (pushing my pretty pink walker, Bubbles) than either of us are used to. We have a great church home-away-from-home that we’ve managed to visit three of our four trips down here in since we started these trips in January.

The youth group has included R in all their events and welcomes her to participate in much summer fun.  We’ve enjoyed cooking and art offerings at the local libraries, weekly classes at a community center, are in our community pool about four times a week, and are taking one “big” special memory-making outing per week. This week we’ll get trained to volunteer at the local animal shelter.

Our first week here was rough, between excessive heat, bugs, and a major issue with the former tenant, all without knowing folks or having much of a support system yet. Now we’ve somewhat acclimated to the temperatures, made lots of medical progress, gained a few friends, become more confident in our own abilities, more knowledgeable of our resources, and settled into more of a routine.

We’ve done girly things to redeem the years my strokes stole from us, like manicures, pedicures, home facials, and hair coloring. We’ve selected beautiful mother/daughter rings.  We’ve taken “mermaid swimming lessons” (complete with fins and tails – I can’t initially get pictures to upload, but I’m trying), and we went indoor sky diving – both were less terrifying but more physically demanding than I had anticipated.

R was the “rock star” (flight instructor’s words) of the mermaid and skydiving classes, while I made excessively modified attempts at each and my body demanded I sit much of the activities out. I was amazing to sit back and watch R thrive though. She’s nearly always smiling, but after past few years she has endured, truly living is a beautiful thing to witness happening in our girl’s world!

I am so glad R wanted to learn how to make “raw lasagna” this week. This free author presentation at the library was actually one of my favorite activities down here, so far. I was capable of many of the skill required, and the results were easy, delicious, and beautiful. Because of all our time in swimming pools, I also just re-learned to do in-water somersaults, something I’ve done since my earliest childhood memories, but had not been able to master since my strokes, coming up on 8 years this fall.

I don’t know why pictures aren’t uploading from the road, but I wanted to get you an update before more time passed. I have successfully added a few pictures with this post’s link (June 22, 2019) on my Facebook page, Harvesting Hope from Heartache, if you wish to view them there. (I would be delighted if you “like” the page while you are there too. Thanks!)


Our daughter got both sight (blind since late September) and hearing (deaf for the past month, since January 14) back around 4:30 this morning (Feb 18). Not even a week ago I was sharing how we have been praying for this!

She yawned and her “ears popped” and her “eyes popped”.

The eyesight is still a bit dim (and quite blurry, but she has worn glasses since second grade and her glasses prescription seems to have significantly changed again). We don’t know if her scenes will fade again or not.

But the massive migraine that happened in conjunction with restored sight/hearing gives us a major new clue.

Praise the Lord!

It’s been an eventful day. I really haven’t slept much in the past 13 1/2 hours since R. burst into our room!

I also started with a new physical therapist who is both chiropractic stroke- and EDS-literate (he has EDS himself!) this morning. MyPT intake interview lasted an hour and a half. Boyd was SO KIND and GENTLE and ENCOURAGING.

He warned me I would feel run over by a truck the rest of the day, and I do. He hardly even touched anywhere other than my shoulder, mostly just coaching me on proper head and neck and eye movements to address stroke deficits, yet I was so dizzy and sore by the time my hubby drove me home, my teeth hurt! Yet I am looking forward to going back Friday. I anticipate huge help as a result of this new partnership.

The most encouraging words he said to me was that I was “so brave” coming to him to help with physical therapy for my severe post-stroke neck pain, after what I endured seven years ago on a very similar looking table. Having the reasonableness of PTSD acknowledged in that situation helped so much. Just a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to emotionally tolerate the kind of physical therapy I so need, and finally pursued today.

Words Stuck

It seems I write update posts for this blog, then life dramatically changes again before I get a chance to post.

Here are short highlights of things I wanted to tell you. I feel like I need to race to try to update with the basics.

  1. Our almost-16-year-old is now deaf.
  2. That happened 8 days ago, as I was at orientation for my new job that puts  me full-time (well, I only get paid for part-time, officially am volunteering every other hour she is on campus, but now have full access to staff locations and resources) at her school.
  3. After my first week, my one-on-one student and I have forged a workable truce. I respect he doesn’t want or “need” an aid and strive to give him some leeway. He respects that I have a job to do and will push back when he pushes too far. He has three times said “thank you” to things he initially resisted, and he has twice assured me to “not take it personally” because his resistance is toward the idea of having ANY aide, not anger at me individually. Between my strokes and our daughter’s journey, I feel for the emotions this young man is processing right now!
  4. By last period of Friday, he turned in the best assignment he had given one teacher all year, thanks to a series of 5-minute timers set on my phone and my continual encouragement to engage in the next thing. He is starting to see some of the benefits of how I can put him on a more-level playing field with peers, thus making his world a little easier.
  5. I’m EXHAUSTED! The latest I’ve gone to bed was 9, once this week, on a day I had also taken an after-school nap. Friday night I was in bed by 5:30 or 6! Most of the week it was around 8. My body is in physical in pain from mentally and physically pushing myself for over 7 hours each day. But I am excited to be making a difference in one child’s life, and ever-so-thankful to have such immediate access to my daughter when she needs me. And they are even paying me too!

To give today’s update, I borrow words from my sweet friend Joy DeKok, when she announced her breast cancer today:

I wasn’t sure I was going to share this just yet because sometimes life experiences are hard to talk about. And intimate…

That’s when the words get stuck in my throat…

In all of the uncertainties, I am surer of God than ever before. His Word. His love. His plan. His Goodness. This disease is changing so many things in our lives, but it has no power to change God – He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the I AM.

No matter what – I believe in the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

Even when the words get stuck in my throat.

R. and I stayed home from work/school today. I am setting timers for every 15-20 minutes, all day long, to check in on her. I hold my breath as I approach her room, never knowing what I will find. I breathe a prayer of relief and praise when I find her conscious yet again. This is no fun!

My same sweet girl who has now had 37 documented faints and been seen in five different hospitals in three states, all within the past 4 1/2 months, just spent another two nights in a local pediatric ward. (She is up to 14 admission nights this fall/winter, between four facilities.) We have ridden so many ambulances and visited so many emergency rooms I can only count them by the stack of bills now. Of all the trips, this was probably our most physically and emotionally brutal stay. The staff were amazingly fantastic. It is her body continues to mystify doctors and is getting downright cruel in how that plays out.

Before you ask, yes we are investigating autoimmune, various forms of poisoning like lead or mold and other, bird- and animal-born illnesses, birth defects and genetic causes, and all of the most remote possibilities anyone can think of. So far nothing medically makes since. We now have four profound diagnoses at play, and even all together, there are symptoms that remain unaccounted for.

Though God is bringing some clarity as to what processes are unfolding, we are still clueless as to why they are happening, nor how to make anything better. By the week, sometimes by the day, she continues significant declines. Fainting. Hair loss. Blindness. Deafness. Now something that looks a lot like seizure, yet isn’t anything area doctors have seen before.

As you continue to pray for us, we are petitioning God to bring hidden things to light; give wisdom, clarity, inspiration, and insight to our care teams; clearly direct our steps by opening and closing doors; peace and His joy through the process; physical and emotional comfort and release from fear for our whole family, especially R.; and ultimate healing from the Great Physician and Wonderful Counselor, in His way, His will, His timing.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
– 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (NIV)

God has worked so mightily in my heart since I first looked at 2 Cor. 4 after my strokes!

He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God. – Joshua 4:24

For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. – Job 5:18

In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.- Job 12:10

Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. –  Psalm 108:6

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. – Psalm 111:7

Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. – Psalm 119:73

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. –  Isaiah 41:10

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:6

Best Foot Forward

I’m talented.

Ankle bruise was already there before base of big toe got injected.

The joys of poor balance.

I have SEVERE (as in x-ray doesn’t even show a joint exist anymore) arthritis at the base of my big toe on the less-stoked side, as well as that bone spur of extra bone growth. It took both the doctor and his nurse – that’s two medically trained, full-grown adults – pulling with all their strength, to separate the joint enough to insert a thin needle between the bones.

Another thank you from the strokes. Nearly 7 years of putting excess pressure on my “good” foot, developed serious degenerative arthritis.

Wednesday evening, I just got two CCs of 2 kinds of steroids and 2 anesthetics, injected into the joint. I go back in 3 weeks to have a specialty insole molded, and as soon as possible (today or tomorrow I think I have a ride?) to get my temporary orthodic.

Oh, and both of my big toe bones grow crooked too (fun side note, not stroke-related).

I’ll be posting an invitation on Friday to my new In Darkness Sing interactive hope community on Facebook. See you there!


I just got brave and bought my first pair of “heals” (look, the wedge is tall enough to pass the first joint of my index finger!) and I’ve actually managed to wear them twice, with orthotics to help maintain balance.

They are “doable” now, at least for the short term, but I’m honestly very anxious wearing them as know I’m not making an overly safe decision. They will have to be saved for very special occasions, worn only on indoor, smooth floors and for limited stretches of time. Using my cane is a must when I attempt to wear these very daring sandals!

Shoes must be very flat, very balanced, either designed with great arch support and a little cupping of the heal for my foot to sit down into, or the proper width to accommodate my orthotics, and hold onto my foot in at least three key places: behind my ankle, across my toes, and strapped across the front of my ankle. Slip ons, like Mary Janes that come only half or 3/4 up the foot, are a no go.

Flip flops, or any style of shoe without a back, or without support around the front of the ankle, are out too. Even if the lack of angle grip were not an issue, I’ve learned that I can’t wear anything designed with a piece that comes up between my toes, since this is too painful to my wonkey nerves now, so those flip-flops have another strike against them.


I’ve lived the summer in these Dawgs that supportively cradle my foot without inserts. They have served me for everything from pool water therapy to a couple of weddings! I probably feel safer in these shoes than in any other pair I own.

Snugly-fitting, lace-up tennis shoes are a good choice for me. Many kind of boots (as long as there is NO added heal height) work too. 

 I see the podiatrist in three weeks. Surgery may or may not be an option right now, for a bone spur at the base of my right toe. (I have pretty much ignored the pain for about four months, but my new flower heals highlighted the problem, so I finally got in to see my primary care doctor and got x-rayed this week.)

I have an “imbalanced muscular-skeletal system” thanks to the strokes. In other words, I put far more pressure on my less-stoked right side than on the left. I’ve started arthritis in the joints on the right. Unless God chooses to intervene, this will be an ongoing, progressive issue, and the entire right side is susceptible. 

Lord Jesus, I present my request to you, asking that, if to Your highest glory, You will to reverse this course. Please bring healing to my joints and entire system of balance. 


My strokes happened 6 years, 10 months ago, during a chiropractic neck manipulation, in Reno, Nevada, USA. On October 25, 2018, we will hit my 7-year “re-birthday” or stroke-a-versary.

I initially started my “Stroke of Grace” blog with the several-times-per week, weary detailing of the early years of my catastrophic stroke recovery journey. As I’ve gotten farther and farther away from the moment-by-moment shock and anguish of being plunged from able-bodied, into instantly trying to survive while being considered medically too fragile to sustain life, my blogging has become more infrequent, but has progressively focused less on stroke realities and more on the great grace God has been unveiling through the process. I’ve moved from primarily focusing on physical deficits, to my own name-based domain where I share many aspects of life, in anticipation of future book projects.

This week it occurs to me that I haven’t given my physical therapists, nurses, doctors, other stroke survivors, and families of Strokies, a very recent look into post-stroke realities. This post isn’t meant as a “downer,” but is an intentional attempt to contextualize the Grace aspect of my posts, against the ongoing physical struggle of post-stroke life. For those looking to hear about weight, hair, pain, eyes, ears, walking, exercise / therapy, emotions, family, ongoing upkeep, and a sample week, here you go!


In 2010 and 2011 (pre-stroke) I was intentionally working hard at loosing the 40 pounds I weighed heavier than my medically prescribed “ideal” for height /age / gender. While I have faced a, sometimes highly debilitating, chronic illness since my teens, I did NOT smoke, drink, do drugs, take birth control pills, or engage in any behavior that put me at risk for heart attack or stroke. Those 40 pounds were my biggest health enemy, so I was safely and steadily whittling them away. As a late 39th birthday gift to myself, I bought a lovely leather jacket in my ideal size. I had been eyeing it for months, but waited to make the investment in celebration of that accomplished weight loss goal.

I had little time, a week I think, to enjoy the jacket while it fit properly. I soon was on a feeding tube and RAPIDLY loosing weight. It was estimated that my body was initially burning about 5,000 calories a day, just to sustain life in the face of such massive brain injury. As we transitioned to oral food, my regular meals were supplemented with 6 Boost-laden, full-fat, ice cream shakes per day. By the time I left the hospital around Christmas, I was about 20-pounds UNDER weight and the new leather jacket hung limply on my skeletal frame. (Since I couldn’t coax my left arm into a coat sleeve anyway, I wasn’t initially very aware of this loss.)

Gradually brain function stabilized and caloric requirements reduced. Since I had so much ground to regain, I keep those early eating patterns the hospital had trained me to develop. I gained back that lost 20 and kept right on going, also regaining my hard-fought 40 pound loss. Since my energies went to sleep and therapy, I focus little on the “vanity” of numbers on a scale.

Around 2014 – 2016, I began to put some thought back into food choices and prevented further gain, even whittling away at the excess weight again. By early July, 2017, I was nearing my goal range of 125-133. I was at 134 one week, and one a dime, GAINED 15 pounds within 10 days.

Since we were traveling, and I was indulging in soda (not part of my normal diet), I thought this sudden jump must be a combination of fluid retention from air flight, and short-lived poor eating choices that would soon reverse. However, within about 13 months, I pack on a total of 45 pounds, breaking my all-time highest weight record (far heavier than my highest pregnancy weight).

This brings us within a few weeks of today. After seeing my primary care provider, specialists in several different fields, and running huge batteries of tests, the conclusion is that my thyroid and other functions seem fairly stable. A nutritionist and bariatric (weight) doctor are now coaching me. The current working theory is that I had still been taking in between 2,000 – 3,000 calories on an average day. Most individual food choices were of excellent quality, I was just so messed up in my perception of hunger and intake verses calorie expense, that, upon aging (I turned 45 the month I started rapidly gaining), and with continued brain connection improvement reducing energy fuel needs, that something flipped in my body’s inability to cope with so much extra nutrition.

I’m now keeping a food log of every single thing I eat or drink, measuring portions and recoding everything. (MyFitnessPal, an app I tried to understand a few years back but still couldn’t quite grasp yet, has been the best tool in this round of this fight!) Without factoring in my twice-a-week water therapy, my body seems to burn around 1,400 – 1,450 calories per day right now, so my current daily goal range is to consume between 1,200 – 1,400 calories daily. I have already lost a little weight even during these first couple highly stressful weeks I’ve been starting to pay attention to these numbers. (My plan is to start logging in earnest next week, when my schedule becomes more predictable again.)

I have no significantly changed my fluid intake pattern, but by charting everything we have discovered that I typically drink two to three times the average daily recommended 64 ounces. My doctor says that for many people this would be a problem, throwing off electrolytes and dangerously diluting various needed elements in the body, but that my levels are exactly where they need to be, so I should keep listen to my body’s accurate fluid demands.

Fun Facts: Altoids Arctic mints are 5 calories. A stalk of celery is 6 calories, and your body uses 1 calorie to digest it, for a net gain of 5 calories.

This Week:

The past week has been pretty intense.

A week ago Thursday, found me at the eye doctor with a sudden onset of a painfully crusty infection that required two different kinds of antibiotic drops and gel, treatments 5 times a day, through Tuesday. I guess this is the result of all the massive west coast wildfires and how my eye, with a still profoundly effected tear duct, reacted to the prolonged on slot of smoke allergies.

The swelling and eye infection wasn’t clearing up quite as fast as it should have been, but I started mega doses of steroids on Monday (in preparation for my year MRI and CT scans on Wednesday) and the eye infection responded beautifully to the steroids and was totally clear by Tuesday!

Wednesday I took 167 mg (starting dose is 4 mg) of Prednisone and mythelPredniSolone within 13 hours, YUCK!!! Plus 50 mg Benadryl. I then went and did the tests and got “fun” contrast dye pumped into my veins. I think the CT tech thought I was being over dramatic when I winced and cried out as he pushed the dye, but I felt a little validated when that particular vein was visibly bruised on Thursday, showing clear evidence that the IV push had actually been as painful as I had acted!

I had planned on a much longer post tonight, but I will need to hit topics of family, emotions, therapy, walking, eyes, ears, hair, business, writing, and pain, in another post, along with pictures. I’m currently on Benadryl again and too brain-exhausted to type clearly. Tonight, yes, more than 78 hours after testing (but also 14 hours after my final step-down lowest dose of steroids) I went and welted out in hives. *sigh*

Since hubby is out of town, both our adult son and my parents are on stand-by to take me into ER overnight, if needed. I’m praying that Benadryl will kick in, I’ll soon be asleep, and there will be no further need for medical intervention!!!

Yesterday I posted to facebook:

I haven’t slept much since Monday. Tomorrow is last dose of steroids. 

This morning I posted this praise update.


I was asked Thursday, “If you got offered the reset button for your life, would you push it?”.
My firm reply was simply, “NOPE!”

Later I added, “If you had asked me 2, 3, or 5 years ago, the answer likely might have been different, but now I realize I’m living the best “reset” God perfectly planned for me and I’m so very thankful, now, that I wasn’t given that option then!”


I just took my final 4 mg dose on methylPredniSolone! I can’t say how glad I am to be DONE with these six days of mega steroids (Wednesday was 167 mg within 13 hours)! 
Yesterday was rough. Water therapy consisted on sitting on the pool steps for 45 minutes and struggling just to stay upright and not throw up, in the buffeting waves produced by 20 ladies doing the water aerobics I typically fully participate in. 
I was EXHAUSTED all day yesterday and was in bed for the night by 7:30. I got close to 10 hours of pretty solid sleep (awake several times, but usually just long enough to pray for my husband on his men’s retreat, then roll back over and quickly fall back asleep, as opposed to many several-hour stretches of wakefulness this week) and since I’ve not slept more than a very few hours in any 24 since Monday, this was an AMAZING gift! I’m still far from feeling 100% today, but SO MUCH BETTER this morning than yesterday!

The Glasses

It’s been nearly 7 years now. When will the startling “firsts” and painful reminders stop catching us by surprise?

Does ANYONE know the name, artist, or source of this picture, pretty please??? I found the picture on Facebook, do not own copyright, but am risking posting it here because the image moves me and I want to track down the person to credit!

We attended a wedding on Saturday. The couple met just weeks before I stroked. My mind had the hardest time reconciling between their reality of the past almost seven years, and ours!

I cleaned my husband’s dresser yesterday. Not only did I find my old medication list and dosage schedule from the rehab hospital, but I also found something that really took me for an unexpected turn.

I gathered a few pair of glasses, my husband’s old prescriptions and some sun glasses, and put them together in a basket. When I showed him one of the two cases I had put with them, I commented that the soft case had a pair of glasses inside.

“That’s weird,” he replied, unzipping the pouch.

We both froze as he pulled out the pair of glasses I had worn to the chiropractor on the morning of October 25, 2011.

Until that moment, neither of us had thought any more of the hospital’s name emblazoned on that little black caddy, than as advertising swag. As if on fire, the case instantly burned our minds and hearts with the realization that the hospital had placed my glasses in that case when the ambulance deposited me in the emergency room.

Just last week I had wondered what ever happened to those glasses. Little did I know that I slept within eight feet of their resting place each night!

No, the prescription no longer offers me any benefit. Yes, it was time for new glasses anyway. These frames are still in great shape (after all, they have been well persevered in a dark, padded bag for nearly seven years!), and since they were fairly new when I entered the hospital, I think I’ll take them to my eye exam and try to get new lenses in them.

On the topic of stroke reality, here’s my pretty foot after a little boy dropped a soda can on it over a week ago.

Yes, a soda can. 

I don’t have proper circulation anymore. Blood likes to pool in my stroked foot.


Breaking Up With Bed

On this date of July, 2010, I wrote this resignation letter:

Dear Bed,
You are a faithful friend. We spend many more hours together than most. I know you well and am thankful for your comfort. But may I be honest and say I really would prefer to spend much less time together from here on out? It’s not you, it’s me. I really would like to move on from this dependent relationship!

Today, I wrote this prayer:

Lord, thank You that chronic illness is in a more manageable season for me right now. Thank You that You did grant the desire of my heart to need less hours in bed that year, blessing my kids and husband to get to know a fairly normal-energied mom/wife for several months. Thank you that every day I’m gaining a little more ground from the strokes that put me down harder than I’d ever been before, less than 16 months after this day of desperation. God, You are good! You are faithful!

6 1/2 years

This evening, 6 1/2 years back, I was in the Emergency Room with a migraine headache. I had been fighting it for over a week, had seen my primary doctor, received two pain shots, and was still hurting. (I had experienced several migraines lasting 20-30 days in the past, due to messed up hormones, so we were far from our “worst case scenario” yet.) 

My doctor sent me to ER because I was tired of trying to tough out the pain. I had been hospitalized less than two weeks prior, due to suspected heart-related symptoms, that turned out to be pancreatitis (unrelated to this headache). I was tired, done with pain, on overload, ready for a break. Relief, please!

My primary care office took my recent struggles into account and felt I could use more assistance in overcoming this headache than I typically asked for.  My hubby dropped everything at work, to join me at the hospital for the second time in two weeks. (In 25+ years of marriage, he’s made it to nearly every hospital trip I’ve needed to take, even if I’ve only been there a few hours).

Because I had rarely bothered to take one of my horrid migraines to ER, I didn’t quite know what to expect. ER gave me heavy-duty, hospital-supervision-only, pain meds, quickly followed by steroids, when I had an allergic reaction to the pain medication. They then conducted an extensive neurological evaluation, including a CaT scan, just to rule out anything that shouldn’t be happening, like a brain tumor or an impending stroke.

In the end, I was sent home with a fully clean bill of health, other than a migraine that still was not relieved (thanks to aforementioned allergic reaction).  My head, heart (thanks to testing less than two weeks prior), and arteries all looked fantastic. I had no determinable risk of impending stroke.

About 18 hours later, my husband was called away from work once again, this time to race the ambulance to the regional stroke center, praying his 39-year-old wife would still be alive by the time he got there. (Had we had the opportunity to pursue a lawsuit, the fact that my arteries were sound the prior evening, that I was seeking chiropractic care for the common complaint of migraine and had no stroke risk upon entering the chiropractor’s office, would have certainly come into play in trial testimony.) If you wish to read the story of what happened 6 1/2 years ago tomorrow morning, I’ve detailed it at

This morning I texted my dear friend, Kendra, who stroked a little over 5 1/2 months after I did. When she hit her 6-year mark a little over a week ago, the anniversary hit her harder than expected. I knew she would totally understand this mornings emotions. “Tomorrow is my half year mark. No idea why the emotions of these landmarks can still catch me by such surprise and trip me up.”

The thing is, I’m (finally) ever-so-thankful to still be here, blessed to be engaged in the life of my family. We are relearning to embrace life and experience joy again. I still have notable deficits, but at 6 1/2 years out, I’ve gained back far more than what remains lost. I’m a living, breathing, walking, talking miracle! If anyone gets how many “will never”s God has absolutely blown out of the water with my life, it is me.

Yet, as Kendra replied concerning these anniversaries and the unanticipated emotions they stir up, “They are such wonky days, for sure.”

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