The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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Entries by Fried Nerves and Jam (326)



A funny thing happens during the 6th-8th month of this rollercoaster that is a Stem Cell Transplant recovery, and having spoken to others I am discovering I am not alone. The last two months became kind of a black hole, a padded room, an island without communication to the outside world. Ok, not quite, but something happened where all of a sudden my recovery became so intense, the labor of physical therapy so exhausting and the status of my progress progressing yet uncertain, that my mind could not wrap around updating something I couldn’t understand myself. Sound crazy? Sure felt that way. A span of incredible days where I was Wonder Woman flipped on its head to excruciating setbacks where I wondered if I had messed it all up for good. Going from a sense of fierce independence to treading on eggshells and knocking on wood at every flash of accomplishment. Finally, at 8 1/2 months (knock on wood) I have reached a tipping point, finally leaning into a life and possibilities I could have only dreamed of before. My first steps teetering on legs firing on cylinders renewed via some extended warranty. I step with rusty, wobbling joints with muscles a mix of roast beef and jello, together in a union for a common goal. My knees finally lifting my toes off the floor but with what feels like bags of cement tied to my toes, a stuttering scenario but so beautiful I ache in disbelief. It is happening. I am learning to walk all over again. I can stand at my sink and take some steps on my own. Our goal is to continue to stretch the amount of time my spine can manage the pressures and challenges of this new mobility, mechanical issues that will take time to see if walking full time can be possible again.  But to stand up and hug my husband, our children, my mother on Christmas Day, I look back on how much I took for granted in a hug. The mere ability to feel another heartbeat and never want to let go again. 

So here is this journey so far, ongoing but at the most beautiful place atop a mountain where for the first time I can see both sides and each face of all that was and that this can be. This video is the planting of a flag to say, I was here, one for others to know it’s a place anyone could be. 

Dr. Todd Malan, Stem Cell Therapyy #arachnoiditisArachnoiditissArachnoiditis SocietyyArachnoiditis USAALife With ArachnoiditissCRPSS #crps 


(I have never been compensated for mentioning doctors. If you ever see ‘Sponsored’ on any post it is due to a Boost increasing awareness of topics covered on our journey).


Background Info:

I am 47, a wife of a rock and mother of four two-legged people and three four-legged people. I was initially injured in a accident in my driveway when the corner of the electric tailgate of my car lodged itself in the temple of my skull as I stood up quickly when unloading groceries. This inverted my cervical spine also causing CRPS of the spine as well as Arachnoiditis (two of the most painful conditions in the world above childbirth and phantom limb). My accident resulted in over 20+ surgeries and procedures, a wheelchair, and 6 years in bed 80-90% of the time. Flares of spinal contractions lasting from weeks to months occurred every 15-20 minutes around the clock(Bring in those tiny violins!) 


As of June 28, 2017 I underwent a unique Stem Cell Transplant trial and am in that recovery phase, one that has saved my life and offered me whole new one.


 Our type of injury is like suffering the death of who we were and what we knew in our hearts our life would become. It's a long process as we know and are finding out. I appreciate your acceptance and look forward to growing along with everyone here. If I discuss SCT, it will never be to try to convince anyone, only that it is a part of my personal Recovery and a multi-disciplinary approach is essential to any protocol we endure.


The Untouchability of a Stranger Thing

The Untouchability of a Stranger Things


If you are of the “tween” set, or parents-of, you would have to have lived under a rock not to have heard of the NETFLIX hit, Stranger Things. One of its young breakthrough stars from its ensemble is Finn Wolfhard, a dark haired fresh-faced newly knighted prince of today’s emerging Hollywood royalty.


Our daughter is the bullseye of Finn’s target market. She is 12 years old and has watched both seasons of Stranger Things to the point of lip syncing both seasons and figured out its theme song on the piano - a repetitive flurry of fingers each time she passes its keyboard. Many of her Christmas presents this year are Finn-themed and her greatest hope is to meet him in person someday. Or, at least breathe the same air.  Of all things Finn, the biggest draw for our girl was discovering that he actually had a band named Calpurnia. A friend of hers heard something about a Los Angeles performance.  


Our girl is not alone. Millions of young people seem to have contracted this sort of Finn-itis, a gradual inflammation of the heart caused by the mere site or mention of Finn’s name. Our home just happens to feel as though we could very possibly be, ground zero. As this ever-expanding patient population grows, millions more parents watch helplessly as their children wish upon this star to somehow, some way, point in their direction, and even more parents are trying anything they can to make this happen.  


I Google for fan conventions or celebrity appearances for the cast of Stranger Things. We live in Los Angeles, who knows, right? Nothing comes up. It is Christmas, I remind myself. The schedules for next year’s Comicon etc. probably aren’t even finalized. Then I remember Finn’s band. A few more Googles leads me to its name I had mistakingly remembered as Cornucopia. Calpurnia, evidently, was the name of Julius Caesar’s third wife as well as a genus for ‘a noble family’.  Thank you, Internet. 


Again, my search results in nothing. Trying another zip code, the idealism of a few hours of driving with my daughter strikes a tone. We could bond, she will tell me secrets and we will laugh.  That is why we do these things, right? Moms, we try.  We try so hard to create that memory, that moment our child will forever hold as the time I met my mom. 


I see it. Calpurnia is playing in New York. Three thousand miles away, the fantasy of being the type of people who could whisk their child across the country for one special night quickly clicks to reality as the right column fills the screen. As if the inability to buy plane tickets wasn’t enough, 

the cost per-ticket for a General Admission is $600. 


I understand ticket pricing is traditionally based upon supply and demand - there is but one Finn Wolfhard, and millions in demand. For a talented young man at what may be his peak, with a management team most likely accounting for the uncertainty of the industry regarding a young actor’s longevity, I can understand wanting to strike while the iron’s hot. But as a mother of four, it is yet another reminder of how out of reach our children’s idols of the day can make seem especially during a time when families are struggling and the future uncertain, even in our dreams. 


Even if we lived in New York, the cost for us to take our daughter and a friend to see Finn’s band would be more than half the equivalent of her teacher’s net monthly income. 



I am not exactly sure why I decided to put down, type up and post the gymnastics of my mind. Perhaps it is simply venting, or most likely just me being a mom at Christmastime wondering how the world keeps seeming to slip its roots. How did something that should be accessible for such a young fan base become this untouchable implausibility? For now, I will wrap for her the art-poster from Etsy with Finn and his friends on their bikes, an ironic image of relatability in this world of ever stranger things.


DAY 66 Stem Cell Transplant Recovery Learning to Stand

This video includes physical therapy exercises essential for strengthening the specific muscles necessary for standing. It also includes the first time I have been able to stand since being in a wheelchair. I hope this is helpful to anyone in my situation, but please remember, I am not a physician and was prescribed this treatment protocol by my doctor. Never attempt without clearance from your physician, and do not attempt Standing without a second person present to hold your waistband and support with their arm around your waist. I have reached this point by building my muscles with isometric exercises every day to reach this point. Do not rush your progress. This is not a sprint, it's a marathon as the wise woman said🤓 Thank you for taking the time to watch. Please feel free to share!🤸🏼‍♀️ 


DAY 54 Stem Cell Transplant Recovery - Back to the Gym

DAY 54 Stem Cell Transplant Recovery - Blue Belle and I Went 'Back' to the Gym!


I am not a physician and attend PT under an official Physical Therapist. This is an exercise pre-approved and one I take very slowly and carefully. I purposefully did not state how long I stayed on the machine because every body is relative and the only thing that matters is that we all move forward at our own pace while carefully monitoring our personal well-being. Pain is not progress! Thanks for watching!


Feel free to share! 




Mic & Blue


#stemcells #stemcelltransplantrecovery #stemcellrecovery #exerciseafterstemcells Dr. Todd Malan, Stem Cell Therapy




Day 41 Stem Cell Transplant Recovery - Ozone Infusion


Day 39 Stem Cell Transplant Recovery - Travel Crash & Burn


DAY 34 Stem Cell Transplant Recovery - Cleaning House


DAY 30 Stem Cell Transplant Recovery- The Beach


Open Letter to Faux Emotional and Service Dogs

Emotional Service Dogs and Service Dogs abide by a different set of rules. ESDs can be removed from almost any establishment at any time, especially if it is not trained. ESAs are not trained to perform tasks or recognize particular signs or symptoms but are distinguished by the close, emotional, and supportive bond between the animal and the owner to provide mental and/or emotional support that must be documented by a licensed physician (NOT ONLINE) verifying the exact service your ESD is providing for you. This makes it very easy for those who wish to violate the law. One does not need to state their psychological disability, but must have a doctor's letter on hand at all times. Service Dogs are more difficult to imitate as it takes at least 2 years in most cases to train them to perform the services needed, and in turn are mind blowingly (I know, not really a word) obedient. However, here's where we are keeping it real. 


For psychological support, anyone feels comforted by having their animal next to them; This is NOT to take away from individuals with legit conditions and physician sponsored documentation (This is the reason ESD's are so invaluable). However, if you are purchasing a vest on Amazon without having been to an official living breathing doctor (who's breath you've smelled of garlic after his lunch or seen the sweat on his brow of exacerbation with insurance companies) who has written for you a legitimate letter of verifying your need for an ESD on letter head - not a scanned letterhead upon which you killed with med-speak) and are posing your animal as on ESD, you are not only breaking the law you are literally, every single time, making another human being's life (with legitimate disabilities)more difficult.  Even us IN WHEELCHAIRS with fully years-in-the-making hard-core trained service dogs tied to us, PULLING US into a store, get raked over the coals and interrogated by uninformed employees because of people abusing the very laws - that took decades to implement - created to protect us. Every time you think of pulling out that little red vest you got at such a great price (Prime shipping rocks!) and placing it on your animal so you can take him to dinner (because he's so cute and doesn't bark so he'll be fine) or so he can fly with you or stay in a hotel without a charge, every single time, imagine you are placing a disabled person in handcuffs. People who have struggled their entire lives to make it through one day without wondering if there is a God. People who would probably give up their permanent handicapped placard for you just so they wouldn't ever HAVE to use it again. Disabled 'privileges' are not. If you think they are, take my wheelchair for a day and try to maneuver the world. Take my actual service dog with you each day and see how many people wonder if it's real. You, my friend and supposed supporter of those in need, have crafted this environment perfectly to a tee. Those extra few feet you have to walk because you don't have a placard? Take my spot and try crawling into the store. I'll trade with you any day of the week. 

I was the lady rejected from Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK because the employee thought all service dogs were ESDs and needed a letter of verification. Why? Because of those who abuse the system. Corporations don't know what's what because all they can see are fakers polluting the air so the legitimates are now invisible. You have won the race! Congratulations! There is already so much confusion out there because of those 'beating the system' because they can. Because you can, doesn't mean you should. Every time you can, you are bringing 'can't' to the millions of those who would never dare breathe that word. 

So, the next time you think of going shopping, to drinks, on a flight or to a hotel and decide how lucky you are because you are tricking the system so beautifully, believe me, you aren't. The public sees through everything. And if they don't, then it's because you have trained them (years in the making) to believe that all SD's and ESDs  are fake. So either way, you're frowned upon the minute you walk in the room. Just like us now. It's not cute. It doesn't make you look special, although deep inside we know you are. Just Imagine every time you walk into a business in your cute outfit with paws in your purse or your confidence boosted with your chic magnet in tow, minds like windmills passing by. It is not a breeze that causes turn, but the stirring assumptions of exactly who are you, why you have done it and the damaged it has caused. 

If I sound bitter, I am not. I'm angry. Even after dozens of surgeries and procedures, six years in bed and rolling the fires of Hell, I am still in love with life and blessed a thousand fold, so why am I on a soap box? Because a death by a thousand cuts can ruin anyone's day and sometimes even a life. We are an invisible community so often too hard for you to see - especially those with invisible conditions who bare the brunt of your deeds. We are an army with regiments supporting our own and one where everyone leads. So please, I beg of you with all of our hearts, the next time you pick up that leash, think twice not only of how you will look, but all of the lives you'll never lead. 


Goodwill ADA Violator Santa Clarita CA