Before you pour that bucket of water over your head….

iceWell it seems like everybody is getting in on the action of the ALS ice bucket challenge.  I commend everyone for taking the plunge, so to speak, and also donating to a good cause.

But, before you video yourself and nominate other people to do the same, take a moment to think why this challenge came up in the first place.

Pete Frates, a former athlete with ALS, is credited with initiated the movement and going viral.  The effect of this challenge has been to raise millions and millions of dollars for research to fight this insidious disease.

So let’s take a look at this disease.  Most people know it as Lou Gehrig’s disease, because he puts a face and name we all know to it.  It is a motor neuron disease which robs it victims of motor function, leaving them with only their eyes and brains unaffected.

It is an ugly disease.  Nobody talks much about it, or wants to see pictures of videos of people in the later stages.  It is certainly not for the faint of heart.  I would not wish this disease on my worst enemy.  Well, maybe I would make a few exceptions ;) .

There is a new video out that I saw on Facebook.  It really puts the whole ALS thing into perspective.  I think everyone should see this video, whether they are doing the ice bucket challenge or donating, to see what it is really all about.  It is not about dumping ice on your head and making the coolest video.  (Although I have seen some very unique ones!)  It is about raising money for an orphan disease that big pharma doesn’t waste their research dollars on, because not enough people have this disease to make it profitable.  Please take a few moments to watch this video.

I hope all the donations help ALS suffers.  I really do.  I hope the money donated actually goes towards a real cure, and helps the people that need it, and doesn’t get lost in administrative costs or something other than what it is intended for.

I wish we could do an ice bucket challenge for every disease in the world, so we could eradicate all the pain and suffering.  Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, heart disease, CANCER………big pharma only produces drugs to relieve the symptoms, because if they found a cure, they wouldn’t get money for their products.  One would think they if we can put a man on the moon, we could find some cures for things like AIDS and Cancer to name a few.  All the brilliant minds in the world….

How about Autism?  It affects so many of our children, and is on the rise.  It is scary stuff.  What is the damn cause?  Vaccinations?  GMO’s? (Genetically modified foods that allow us to eat corn etc that is sprayed with Round-Up.  Oh joy).  Who knows.  All kinds of bad shit out there.  Every day something new pops up.  Makes you want to drop off the grid and grow all your own food etc and become a hermit.

Anyway, I have been thinking about all this a lot, given all the pain and suffering I have experienced in the hospital/nursing home this past year and a half.  I thought I was the unluckiest person in the world, and often felt sorry for myself.  Let me tell you, after some of the videos I have seen about ALS sufferers, I am ashamed of myself.  My battles were temporary.  I got better.  There was always a light at the end of the tunnel.  These people don’t have a light.  They are handed a death sentence.  And a horrible path to the death.  I don’t know if I would be strong enough to handle it.

When it came out that Robin Williams was suffering from Parkinson’s, my first thought was, that was it.  The final straw.  He knew what was ahead for him, and maybe didn’t want to deal with it.  I can understand that to a certain extent.  My Crohn’s disease is a chronic incurable disease.  However, it is manageable, to a certain extent, and is not necessarily a death sentence.  It is definitely an inconvenience, but you adapt.  You may not have 100% control over your bowels, but you still can get up every day and walk and talk and go about daily life for the most part.  Yes, there are bad times when you can’t.  I have spent many weeks in the hospital due to my Crohn’s.  But in my mind I always knew it was a just a setback that I could overcome, and luckily for me, it got better after surgery to remove some intestines.  ALS, or Parkinsons, not so much.  I watched my BIL with his Parkinsons for many years and saw how he deteriorated.  He was a brave man, who soldiered on every day.  It was very sad for his family to see the effects.  Luckily, every day there are more and more treatments for diseases like Crohn’s and Parkinsons. So far, not much for ALS.

But we need CURES.  Cures for all these insidious diseases.  I think ALS would probably rate as one of the worst.  Your body fails you but your mind is still sharp as a tack.  I myself worry about Alzheimers, as my mother had it.  Your body might be ok, but your mind is gone.  The opposite of ALS.  But just as devasting.

So, I am glad to see the ice bucket challenge.  I am glad to see the money donated.  I hope it helps.  I really, really do.  These people need a glimmer of hope.

I wish I were a bear…..

casey_bearThis is my latest obsession.  The man, not the bear, although the bear is cute at times.  This is Casey Anderson, star of the Nat Geo Wild series.  He is a Montana home boy, who obviously loves the wilderness, and an animal magnet.

Casey adopted Brutus as a cub and Brutus was even Best Man in his wedding.  He has since divorced.  (Available!) :)

best man

Casey spends a lot of time off the grid (a reason for divorce?).  He is on Nat Geo a lot, and spends most of time at the Sanctuary he started, and studies grizzlies.

He seems like a really good person (he’s an animal lover, hello!) and is pretty damn easy on the eyes.  I think I would like to have lunch with him and Yogi Bear Brutus one day!


Mind Meld Moment

eyes-2979-1280x800Has this ever happened to you?  You have a moment with another person, and can read their mind or know exactly what they are thinking?

It happened to me, very clearly.  I was at the tender young age of 21, and was walking down the sidewalk in downtown Chicago.  I was carrying stuff from one Harris Bank building to another.  The streets were crowded, and all the parking places along the curb were taken except for one.

I heard a car coming at a high rate of speed, which was unusual, so I stopped and turned to look.  A man in a brand new slick expensive sports car was coming in hot to that parking place.  My immediate thought was, what an asshole, he’s going to hit something!  Like the nice sedate Mercedes in front of that empty spot.

I locked eyes with the driver for a few seconds.  In those few seconds, I could read his mind and knew exactly what was going on.  See, it seems his fancy new sports car had a manual transmission, that he wasn’t used to.  So as he wanted to slow down and pull into the empty spot, he hit the clutch instead of the brake.  He was stomping on that clutch for all he was worth, and nothing was happened.  He knew he was stepping on the wrong pedal, but he was committed, and it was too late to change it.

I knew all this from the few seconds of looking into his eyes.  I read it, I saw the panic, I knew he knew I knew, and for a moment we were one.  Then he crashed very dramatically into the Mercedes, and it was over as quickly as it had started.  He sat there slumped over the steering wheel, banging his fists on it, and his mind flashed to me, stupid stupid stupid!  Why didn’t I step on the other pedal?  I had time to do it.  But I just couldn’t.  My body could not execute the command my mind gave it.  It was too late.

He got out of his car when the man who owned the Mercedes came running out of the bank.  He was quite upset of course, as there was a lot of damage to both cars.  I stepped up to the Mercedes man and said, “Sir, I saw the whole thing happen, and I think this man got confused with his brake pedal and clutch, and smashed up his pretty new car.  It was an accident, plain and simple.”  The other man said yes, that’s exactly what happened, I am so sorry, my insurance company will cover your damages.

I went in the bank at that point to conduct my business, and when I came out, the two gentlemen were done talking and exchanging insurance information.  They shook hands, and the Mercedes man went on his way, as both cars were still drivable.  The sports car man looked at me and didn’t need to speak a word.  He just nodded his head, with his eyes on me the whole time, and drove away.

I never forgot that day.  That incident.  It has stayed with me all this time.  Sometimes no words are needed.

Cello anyone?


Take 2 hot dudes from Croatia, train them in classic cello, and then turn them loose on Youtube for Michael Jackson’s Criminal Minds ( and you have yourselves an overnight viral sensation who has since swept the world with their electric cellos and penchant for rock songs like AC/DC and Michael Jackson among others.

So hot in fact that Elton John immediately signed them up for his tour. Since then, they headline and fill their own venues. And people go crazy for them, especially the ladies. Luka Sulic is the more serious of the two, while Stjepan Hauser is a wild man. The best of both worlds, I’d say.

I knew of these guys from various shows they appeared on, including Glee. I started checking out their videos online, and was flabbergasted by their talent and appeal. I highly urge you to do the same, but warn that they are addictive!

So when I was watching America’s Got Talent a couple weeks ago, imagine my surprise when two young fellows named Emil and Dariel got on stage and performed a rock cello cover of Purple Haze. They were total copycats of 2cellos, in fact, 2cellos had already nicknamed them 2cellos Jr. and had them on stage performing with them a few times! The young brothers have the mannerisms and style down pat, and it was glorious to watch them. The judges on AGT obviously had never heard of 2cellos because they remarked they had never seen anything like that before. My only criticism of Emil and Dariel would be that at that point they might have mentioned their heroes, 2cellos, as their mentors. But, whatever, 2cellos are quite famous, especially in Europe, and don’t need the plug. I’m just happy that America got to see how cool the cello can be!

So if you like music, do yourselves a favor and check them out, especially Thunderstruck and Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. Well worth your time!

10 years ago in Mosul, I fell in love

UPDATE: I got to thinking about my army pilot and wondered if he was still active and perhaps had some insight into the current Iraq situation. Well he is retired. And running for Congress! (Does that mean I get to say that I’ve slept with a Congressman? lol)

I’m Almost Famous once again.


That is a helicopter, over the city of Mosul. There is a pilot inside. 10 years ago, we took over the city of Mosul, and filled the Iraq Army camp there with our own USA army guys.

How do I know this? I was there.

It’s true. Thanks to the power of the internet and web cams, I experienced a lot of Mosul (which I never should have) with my Army pilot that I met on

Now, when I say “met”, there are different levels of met. I met him online and we made plans to meet. He was stationed with the 101st Airborne in Fort Campbell KY, and lived nearby in Clarksville, TN. He was due for deployment to Afghanistan later in the year.

Right before we were going to meet in person, he got deployed. To Iraq. Basically under cover of darkness. He left, basically incommunicado.

6 months later he reappeared safe and sound in Mosul. He spent the rest of his deployment there, and so did I, via his web cam.

I fell in love with him over that web cam. I felt I knew him inside and out. When he finally got home his first order of business after his debriefing was to drive to my house to meet me. On Valentines Day. It was so damn romantic. As a gift he gave me a glass bottle of sand from Mosul. A few weeks later when I went to visit him in Clarksville, they delivered his foot locker to him at his house. When he opened it, I good a good whiff of Mosul. Sun, sand, sweat. It permeated everything in there.

We dated long distance for about a year, until he chose to go back to Iraq instead of staying home with me.

That’s ok, it was obviously not meant to be. But I am VERY SAD AND MAD that Mosul has fallen back to the Taliban. It was a very expensive city to take over, in terms of American lives/limbs/brains/finances. I heard that the Iraqi army we spent so much time and money on just deserted the place, leaving behind all the equipment etc. Costly mistake, for only 10 years.

E feel like I lost my heart in Mosul, and now the Taliban it to stomp all over. Not a good feeling. We cleaned those fuckers out once. Now I’m sure we’ll have to do it again. Sigh.

Go see Lone Survivor. This will happen again.

My glass is half full!


So if my glass is half full, why am I not excited?

I had my aspiration surgery yesterday, which is yet another step in this wonderful hip removal/replacement process. I need a diagram chart to map out what all the possible paths are. So far, I have had
1. Infected hip removed
2. Antibiotic spacers inserted
3. 6 weeks of IV antibiotic therapy in a nursing home
4. 2 weeks of waiting period at home with NO antibiotics to see if infection is gone
5. Aspiration surgery where they insert a large needle into the hip bone joint and take samples, and also tissue samples, and culture them to see if any infection grows.

So this is where I am currently at. I guess over the years I have always expected the worst, because that is what usually happens to me. Just the mere fact that the brand new hip implant done a year ago was infected within the first five days proves my point. Only happens to 0.05% Lucky me! I fought the good fight for a year with multiple surgeries and at home IV therapies and months of antibiotics to no available. And, even now, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. With these last 5 procedures, here’s what has happened:
1. They tried for hours to remove my stake from my femur bone and finally had to break it open and cut out a large window and use saws to get it out and then put a metal cage around the femur with zip ties to hold it all together.
2. The antibiotic spacer floats with the femur and pops and grinds every time I move my leg. Sometimes it hurts cause it is “out of joint”. Most times it doesn’t.
3. 6 weeks flat on my back, the first few were awful as I was 100% dependent on nurses for EVERYTHING. My dignity suffered the most I think, even more than the awful pain.
4. 2 weeks at home was GREAT but I miscalculated how difficult it would be to take care of myself 100%, and especially with a walker on plush carpet and not hard floors. It was not a fun time, and I think I have used up all my the goodwill from my sister for the rest of my life.
5. Aspiration surgery went ok, my leg is a bit sore today but that is to be expected.

On the way home from the hospital, I actually WENT TO A RESTURANT! My favorite breakfast restaurant, The Point, on Rt 41 and Rt 21 is on the way home and I begged my sister as it is great for handicapped people, easy in easy out. So I had IRISH EGGS BENEDICT AND PANCAKES! It was the best breakfast ever, and my sister said her omlette was the best ever. So I can’t believe I got to eat out! It was so awesome, I wanted to cry. Instead I stuffed my face, lol.

I laid down when I got home, and the phone rang about 5 and I almost didn’t answer. Luckily I did, as it was my ortho surgeon. He said he wanted to call with good news so I wasn’t worrying so much over the weekend. My blood test numbers looked good! Sed rate (ESR) and CRP and WBC were all within normal range! He said to call back early next week, as we still have to wait to see if anything bad grows in the cultures. Also need to repeat blood tests on Friday. If all is good, I get my new hip June 13th.

So all that is great, right? Why do I keep looking up waiting for the shoe to drop on my head? I guess I won’t feel 100% comfortable till it is all over and done with. So many things could still go wrong between now and then.

I am NOT being NEGATIVE. I am seriously trying to stay POSITIVE. I am GRATEFUL for all the help I have received, especially from my sister. I have wonderful friends and family who have sent cards, food, prayers, hugs….you name it. I have dodged a big bullet with this latest news, so maybe my luck has finally changed.

THANK YOU GOD and please let me continue down this road. I will NEVER take simple things for granted again.

Here kitty kitty, here kitty!

Ozzy grass My Ozzy cat has been a bad boy. Last week Thursday my sister came over and when she left she didn’t latch the screen door, and the big door was open. Laying in bed I heard the door open and close. I got up as quick as I could and rolled my walker over to the stairs and sure enough spotted Ozzy out on the front porch. I didn’t know what to do, I had to get him before he ran away. I managed to hippity hop down the stairs and I opened the door and luckily he came right in. Then I had to drag my fat ass back up the stairs using only my arms on the raillings. Took a lot out of me. Then Friday nite I called and called Ozzy to come to bed and he never came, and he always does. I got up a couple time to look for him cause Izzy kept crying. I figured Ozzy must have gotten locked up in the basement, he has before. But then around 7 am I got worried and called my brother’s house and my SIL came over and searched the whole house, no Ozzy. So then she tells me she heard the sounds of an animals screeching it’s death throes about 1 am that night. I broke down sobbing, and she went out the sliding doors onto the deck, calling for him, and then I heard her say,, Ozzy you bad boy, she had him, he was under the stairs by the hot tub. He was a bit scared I could tell, and has stayed by my side all nights ever since. Like I don’t have enough to worry about!

How many spoons do you need?


Some time ago I heard a story about spoons, in regards to Crohn’s disease.  I don’t remember it exactly, and I’m going to apply it to my hip situation today.  It might help people understand what I am going through, or any people for that matter.  So here goes.

When you are sick, or don’t have a hip like me, you wake up every day with only a certain amount of energy, or spoons if you will, to get through the day. Every task, every chore, yea, every bit of entertainment costs you spoons. Some days you will wake up with more spoons than other days. Therefore, you must choose the use of your spoons wisely.

Today I woke up with 10 spoons. To get out of bed go to the kitchen and get coffee cost me one spoon. To make breakfast cost me another spoon. I got showered and dressed, that was probably more than one spoon. I talked to insurance companies and nurses. Another spoon. I am typing up this blog. Spoon.

Sigh. Here it is not even lunchtime and I’ve already used up 5 spoons. Only 5 more left to get me through the rest of the day and bedtime. I must be conservative with my spoons, because if I “borrow” a spoon from tomorrow for today, tomorrow will be that much more difficult.

So how many dang spoons do I really need? Well, when you are feeling good and able to do just about anything you want, you feel like you have an unlimited number of spoons. Me, I feel lucky that I have worked my way up to 10 spoons. Right after surgery I think I started out with only one spoon.

It is difficult to answer people when they ask how you feel, or how your day has been. I think this spoon analogy is an easy way to get people to realize how being handicapped in some way feels. Cause once your spoons are gone, they are gone dude. I don’t care how much you beg and plead and cry, there are no more spoons to be had. So learn your lesson and be more careful in how you spend your spoons tomorrow.

You never know how many spoons you will wake up with.

My world in 3 feet or less

A little while ago I posted something about losing body freedom when you are sick. The worst of it is the 3 foot circumference that make up your entire world. If it is within that space, great. If it is not, it is lost to you until someone helps you.

That’s a tough pill to swallow if you are an independent woman. Through the pain and haze of surgery, you are helpless. Totally helpless. You whole existence depends upon people who will feed you, water you, change you, help you go to the bathrrom. How degrading.

After a few days you feel a little better, but you are still a prisoner in your own bed. You cannot bend, you cannot move your leg, you flop around like a fish in a drained pond. If you are cold, you stay cold. If you are hot, you stay hot. If you drop your TV remote, you watch the same channel. If you lose your bed remote, you stay in one position. And if you lose your call button, you stay this way for all eternity.

Nursing homes/rehab facilities are great. You go there to get better. And you do. However most of them are understaffed, and if you need immediate attention, you must learn patience. Sometimes it’s hard to do, if it’s an “emergency”. Other times you can wait for a half hour, no big deal. But being left on a commode for a half hour is not fun, nor is waiting for blanket or whatever. So you learn to write lists, and when you do see a nurse, you get all your needs taken care of at once. Nothing worse than pushing that call button right away again!

I am now a bit past the 3 foot phase. I am able, with help, to get out of bed and into a wheelchair. Feels like heaven. Still have a long way to go. But I’m getting there.

BUT. If this infection doesn’t go away with one round, and I have to do this all over again, all bets are off!

This is me

Hey folks, I am one of the authors in What a Woman is Worth #WAWIW and an excerpt from my story was the featured graphic yesterday! Woo Hoo!

Currently I am laid up in a rehab hospital with no hip for 8 weeks, so it’s been hard for me to keep up and promote the book etc. I hope you take the time to go the website and at least check it out.

Thanks so much!