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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

lives.

 

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Sunday
Aug172014

Tool Chest

It's been a while since I posted here.  I think one reason I'd never make a professional blogger is I'd let too many people down. Blogging just to blog has never been my intention. Only when inspired am I able to pour it all out onto the screen. With these past few years, blogging has become one of the greatest tools in my chest for recovery. A friend broke my heart this summer, telling me she could no longer be friends with me as she could not understand how I could be so public with my challenge. It's funny how hundreds if not thousands of words of support can lift, and it takes just one to tear you down. I was torn down, but only for a night. I know in my heart, and from the thoughtful and brave responses I have received from others enduring the same, that in connecting with others comes a most powerful healing. We are all going through a challenge of one kind or another. Some are physical, others emotional, some are from the pain from watching our loved ones hurt. But either way, it is a weight so heavy it would be impossible to carry alone. I hope with all of my heart that by sharing my story, it has helped to lift the burdens of challenges other than my own.

This summer has gone by much too quickly. Ketamine infusions kicked it off, so that erased a nice part of it. Otherwise it was one of growth. Physical Therapy and core-strengthening have been my primary focus. Unfortunately, as my core grew stronger, so did the pain levels. It's a mixed bag that's for sure. I am now in the wheelchair full-time, with no recto-flexor function in my left leg. But I'm trying to make the best of it every single day. 

Another surgery lurks in the wings like an understudy drooling in wait for the lead to fail. Looks like I will be having a pain pump implanted within the next month. A lovely little gas tank imbedded in my trunk that spews medicine upon my spine for a smoother, more enjoyable ride. 

The summer also brought with it moments of reflection. The memorial for my dearest friend, her presence seen as a butterfly from heaven landed in front of us with other-worldly hues in its wings that could only be painted by God. Deep purples and blues I have never seen before, nonetheless on an insect. Although some insects are magnificent, especially those in National Geographic, her colors went beyond Nature's pallet. She fluttered up into the air and back down to our feet - then up again as though asking everyone to look at the glory that life still holds.

So, as much as things have changed, much is still the same. The blur of summer is clearing now, leaving time to return to what feeds me most: connecting with those I love.

 

In my efforts to strengthen, I discovered painting. It began by perusing Pinterest, discovering chalk paint, and watching endless videos on refinishing techniques. I can hardly sit for lengths of time at all, so how in the world I was going to make this happen was beyond me. But the pull was so strong that I ordered the paint, the supplies (shopping is still a feat that leaves me bedridden some days so Amazon is my new best friend, much to my husband's chegrin ;) Then I sat propped on pillows, or in my chair, or literally laying on my side, and began to paint my great-grandmother's 200 year old dresser in our foyer. It was a solid brown with handles so old and worn, removing them would result in splitting of the wood. I was so nervous. Would I ruin it forever? Would I have enough energy to finish it? What was I getting myself in to?

What should have taken an hour, took a day. But it was an interesting day. Every move I made was an exercise in strengthening. I straightened my spine, tightened my stomach, and with every brush of the stroke, envisioned my body getting stronger. Blood flowed through areas of my body that have been stagnant for three years. I broke into a sweat. And for a moment, I felt like my old self again.

Today I am on my bed, pain has returned and I am paying for my efforts this week. I have found something creative, and productive, that is also a form of therapy that is but another tool in my chest of possibilities.

 

 

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