Sunday, September 30, 2012

Well taken care of

So I have been home recovering for two weeks now.  I'm not having much pain and am walking pretty well.  We received an abundance of delicious food that kept the family and me going for two weeks including these gorgeous gluten free cupcakes! (Sometimes I find it hard to share.)

My beloved sister has been sending marvelous care packages filled with encouraging uplifting gifties and notes.  Lovely.

It has been wonderful to see people and have visits.  It's so nice to eat food from people who are wishing us well.

My friend Lena is an amazing cook and she brought a banquet that was devoured.  I took photos because it was so beautiful (and there was sunshine!  There has not been much sunshine this last week!)

Here is a pile of dishes from all the kind-hearted people who brought us food even though their lives are busy.  I am so grateful.

Here's my spot on the couch where I spend alot of time.  The Halloween decorations are up really early on the porch (you can see the fake spider webs on the porch) because my sister was here and there was no way I could drag the Halloween box out and hang everything so someone else had to do it all.  She won't be back for a few weeks so she got busy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Surgery went well!

I went in at 1pm Monday for pre-op IV start and such.  Everyone was busy, friendly and competent.  My mom and Rob were there with me.  Dr Oh came and checked in with us before surgery and wrote his initials on my back where he would be doing the surgery.  He is very calm and friendly.  He told us that I had the largest herniation he'd seen all year.  My mother looked horrified and asked if that would make the surgery more complicated and difficult. Dr Oh replied that it was actually easier because when the herniation is large it is easier to just "pluck it out"  I liked that image of ease.

I was given lots of anti-nausea meds like zofran and a scopalamine patch before I was rolled back to surgery.  I was going to ask the doctor how I would be positioned for the surgery but then I didn't really want to know.  It seemed so vulnerable to be prone.  How would the equipment reach me to breathe?  Would I be floppy?  I didn't ask.

I woke up and was taken to my room and there was Rob and my Mom.  It was early evening.  Everything had gone well.  Dr Oh came by to reiterate what he had already told Rob and my mom.  The herniated portion of the disk came out easily.  The S1 nerve had been pinched between a ligament and the herniation and now it was free. He was confident my function would come back to my left leg and foot.  Hooray!
 Here is my bed-side table with some of my stuff and a view of my hospital socks.

Home! I was discharged the next morning after I proved I could pee. My mother stayed in the B&B across the street from the hospital, the same place she stayed when I was sick with sepsis last year.  This admission was much calmer and less life threatening than last time I was in the hospital.

I hoped it helped my family release some of the PTSD around the experience of my last illness.  I slept when I got home.  The pain meds knock me out.  My sister and her husband had come on my surgery day and stayed home with Georgia, who was sick with a fever and stomach ache that, thankfully, I did not get before surgery.  The next day Rob stayed home with me after he caught me trying to put away dirty dishes into the cabinet.  "You're too loopy to be left alone!"  He muttered.  I took a nap outside and enjoyed the last days of summer sunshine.

Georgia was still sick so I did not get the serene solitude I was envisioning, but she was very cuddly and sweet so we napped together and both healed.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More surgery prep

Here are all my carrier oils that I get to choose from when I'm making a blend.  I've got them on my Antahkarana symbol that I laminated so it will protect my desk.  Here's an excerpt from the article on these ancient symbols from William Rand's Reiki webpage

"The Antahkarana is an ancient healing and meditation symbol that has been used in Tibet and China for thousands of years. It is a powerful symbol and simply by having it in your presence, it will create a positive affect on the chakras and aura. When doing healing work, it focuses and deepens the actions of the healing energies involved. When meditating with the symbol on your person or close by, it automatically creates what the Taoists call the great microcosmic orbit wherein spiritual energies travel up the spine, over the crown chakra, then down through the front of the body to the root chakra and back up again continuously moving around and around. This action balances the chakras and prevents too much energy building up in one or more chakras.  "

Here are my completed products on my Reiki grid.  I made a peppermint hand sanitizer with alot of germ killing oils to avoid infection.  I've been learning that essential oils like Juniper Berry, Palmarosa, Ravintsara, Lemongrass, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus  have tremendous bacteria, virus and fungus-killing abilities.  Also essential oils are naturally varied because each batch is different depending on where and how they were grown, so the germs can't adapt to them like they can to the uniform synthetic antibacterial products.

I made a sleep spray with calming oils, a livening spray for uplifting and a roll on with jojoba and coconut oil for soothing sleep.  I also made 2 inhalers, one peppermint for nausea and and a bergamont for post-surgical depression.

Here is Rose Hip Seed Oil I got from Elizabeth Van Buren
because it is amazing for skin and scar healing.  I made a wound healing oil to put around my incision  made with Rose Hip Seed Oil and essential oils of True Lavender and Frankincense in my exciting violet glass bottle I got from Ananda Apothocary

Here's what their website says about this special glass:
"Miron Glass of Switzerland had created bottles which essentially completely block all ultraviolet light rays from contacting your essential oils, carriers and blends, except a very specific frequency of violet light that scientific research has shown to enhance the natural therapeutic potential of plant materials and extracts (including essential oils). The bottles are very attractive as well -- high tech in every way!"

I'll bring them all in my little pouch so I can sniff and apply them while I'm in the hospital.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nice timing

This week's horoscope looks perfect for my couple of weeks drugged recovery!

Sagittarius Horoscope for week of September 13, 2012
Verticle Oracle card Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
If I'm accurately interpreting the astrological omens, the coming months will be a soulful feast in which every day will bring you a shimmering revelation about the nature of your soul's code and how best to activate it. Reasons for grateful amazement will flow so freely that you may come to feel that miracles are routine and naturally-occurring phenomena. And get this: In your dreams, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty will get married, win the lottery, and devote their fortune to fostering your spiritual education until you are irrevocably enlightened. (I confess there's a slight chance I'm misinterpreting the signs, and everything I described will be true for only a week or so, not months.)



When I was camping Labor Day weekend I had a power dream.  I woke up buzzing with energy and excitement.

It was short.

In it I was driving in my car up a dark road in Gill.  I turned down a dark road and drove up a hill for a bit.

In the dream I was excited, anticipating something.

Then In front of me was a pile of something furry in the center of the road.

Then it got up and trotted away from me and my headlights.

It was heading into the woods.

I couldn't quite tell what creature it was, it was small and furry, trotting confidently; then it stopped and looked over it's right shoulder at me.

It was a baby fox or baby coyote.

It was beckoning me to follow!
To follow into the woods.
At night.

Then Georgia said something and woke me up.

I was going to follow that creature.

What does it mean.
I felt half in dream for a bit.  I felt so much energy whirring through me; I knew it meant something, but what?
And was it a fox or a coyote?

Tonight on my way home from work I saw something shiny on the side of the entrance ramp on the highway.  It was glowing eyes trotting toward me, low to the ground.  I figured skunk or possom and slowed down and who should cross my headlights, but a little fox, greyish with a reddish tip to its tail, maybe it was a coyote?  It was carrying something in its mouth and passed in front of my car and out of sight.

It looked exactly like the creature in my dream from two weeks ago!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Home office is coming along

So, another thing I'm doing before surgery is getting my study ready for seeing clients.
It is looking quite lovely.
I painted the dings and chips in the walls and molding last week.
I gathered all my crystals together in this watercolor box and looking at that really makes me happy.
I ordered some emergency essential oils for surgery so I could make some potions to help me heal.  (I had used up all my peppermint and lavender.)

Here is my thrilling briefcase of essential oils.  It smells good and each oil is a potent powerhouse.  My teacher says, "Each drop is like a thousand flowers."

Here's the magical glowing dragonfly stained glass lamp my sister bought me for my 40th b-day and a little laminated grid for me to make my essential oil combinations.

My Reiki Grid/altar to charge up any items or prayers. as well as the room in general.

Ooh another angle with the crystal suitcase.  You will recall this room was a terrible mess.  It was actually an image in my mind of this box, filled with crystals on my empty desk, that came to me as I fell asleep one night months ago, that motivated me to clean, paint and toss like I did all summer.

Another view of the altar with the pleasing lotus decoration hanging above.  I love to just stand in the room and look around.  I do need a chair in there so I can sit.  I have an office chair but it's not too comfy.  I've got my eye on an IKEA puffy chair, but it might not fit.  I still have a laundry basket full of papers to go through but I shoved that into the closet for now.  Maybe I'll get to that while I recover.

Here's the photo from Mid-may.  Ackkk!

Surgery prep

I am having an odd week.  Trying to get everything done before surgery.  It's almost like getting ready before a trip.  My c-section and appendix surgery were both unplanned so this is strange and new.  I'm trying to balance the checkbook, shine up the credit cards and answer any old emails.

I have lists and lists of things to do that will drive me crazy if I can't do them.

I made my homemade chocolates.  Don't they look fancy?  I bought a silicone candy mold on Amazon a few months ago.

I use the raw organic cacao powder from the co-op and organic  mesquite powder in equal parts added to double the amount of melted (at low temp in a double boiler so it stays raw) organic coco butter (both of them from sunfood online) and then add a few teaspoons of agave. The family doesn't really like it (although Rob will eat it if there is nothing else in the house) but I like it and it satisfies my cravings quickly.  Raw chocolate has an amazing amount of antioxidants and the mesquite and coco butter are also good for you.  Yum  I had to have it just in case I had cravings just after surgery.

I also had to find some organic balsam for my massage oils.  I have two craft fairs in the fall and need to start it steeping.  We went yesterday to the lovely Couch Brook Farm
where she pruned her trees for me and gave me the branches for free.  How nice.  I came home and bottled it up in sterile jars with extra virgin olive oil.  Lovely.

Monday, September 10, 2012


So, I went, finally, to the surgeon, Dr Oh at Baystate Neurosurgeon, to talk  about my back that I herniated 3 months ago.  I was feeling pretty confident.  I hadn't taken pain meds for a few days, which seemed like a miracle.  I wasn't in pain!  I was walking better, still weakness in my left leg, but I was very optimistic.  I couldn't find a babysitter so I told Rob he didn't have to come to my appointment, even though initially the plan was for him to come.  Instead I dropped the kids off at his work and headed down to my appointment.

First I saw the PA who was startled by how well I was doing, "You have a very large herniation.  Many people are crying in these appointments."  I was proud.  I told him about the acupuncture, cranialsacral, physical therapy and my inversion table.  He said, "Your doing so well, it is a testament to all of your complementary therapies."  He wasn't sure if the surgery would help the foot because he thought it was a subtle combination of motor, strength and sensory nerve issues, which can take time to repair.

So, I was pretty clear I wouldn't do surgery.

Then Dr Oh came in and had me look at the MRI.  The disk was just bulging in the initial 2009 MRI and then 2012 the disk is all splurched out and compressing the nerves and almost blocking the channel of cerebral spinal fluid.  Dr Oh calmly told me that even though I was doing well, he wanted to do surgery to prevent Caudal Equina syndrome, which is when the disk compresses the caudal equina (horse tail) which is the nerve root for all the nerves that innervate the lower body.  So he said if I herniated any more I could lose bowel, bladder, leg and sexual function.  Actually he said, "private area function."

 I could feel the physical response of fear building and then I started to cry.  We sat there for a bit while I recovered and then I asked lots of questions about surgery, recovery, and risks, which he answered.  They only offer surgery to 10% of the patients who come in and he really thought I should get it done.  I was mostly appalled about taking a month off work.  I have almost no sick time because I took time off for my sepsis last year and then time when I first herniated the disk this spring.  I could not imagine how we could do it financially.

He pointed out that the risk and recovery from surgery was much less than from the syndrome itself.

I was skeptical, stunned and confused.

He told me he wanted to do the surgery as soon as possible, in the next week or so.  He would fit me in.  He said if I was his sister he would want me to have it right away.  He told me that if I waited and the disk did herniate I would need emergency surgery and it might not work.  (Actually he didn't say it might not work I found that on WebMD later.)

I called Rob, crying from the elevator.  I called and left messages on my parent's and sister's voicemail.  I thought maybe he was somehow wrong.

It was the afternoon before school started so I had to hold it together, but Georgia was a bear.  I am realizing she is so sensitive to the energy around her, she knew something was happening even thought I didn't talk about it in front of them.

Over the week I talked to people, looked it up online and emailed with my PT and the doctor who looked at my MRI earlier.  I saw my cranial sacral practitioner and let it sink in.  Rob and my family were ready for me to have the surgery immediately.  I read this article from WebMD and it really scared me.

Living With Cauda Equina Syndrome

If permanent damage has occurred, surgery cannot always repair it. Your cauda equina syndrome is chronic. You will need to learn ways to adapt to changes in your body's functioning. You'll find that both physical and emotional support is essential.
Try to involve your family in your care. Many professionals can also provide you support. Depending on your limitations, you can seek help from:
  • An occupational or physical therapist
  • A social worker
  • A continence advisor
  • A sex therapist
And, as with many conditions, there may be nothing quite as helpful as support from those who really understand what you're going through. That's why joining a cauda equina support group may be a good idea.
If you have loss of bladder or bowel function, the following tips may help:
  • Use a catheter to completely empty your bladder three or four times a day.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and use good personal hygiene to prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Check for waste and clear the bowels with gloved hands. If needed, use glycerin suppositories or enemas.
  • Wear protective pads and pants to prevent leaks.
Also, ask your doctor about medication for help with pain, as well as bladder and bowel problems.

Holy Shit!
Ok, then.
When I asked my intuition it said yes.  Surgery.  Yes. Yes.  Every time.  So I called and scheduled it for Monday September 17th.

gorgeous pickings

Ahhhhhh, tasty tomatoes and peppers , kale and beets.

and the bright calendula I'll use in teas this winter.  When you drop the dried flower in hot water it opens up like a glowing sun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Camping over Labor Day

We went for our annual camping trip with friends this weekend.  I was getting dressed in the tent when I heard Georgia holler louder and louder.  "porkypine!  Porkypine! PORKYPINE!  P OR K Y P I N E!!!!"
I stumbled out of the tent in my underwear because I could tell from the building hysteria in her tone that there really was some creature nearby.  Sure enough, this dear ambling porcupine was waddling past our campsite, in no hurry at all.  At that moment the ranger showed up, I thought maybe she was on porcupine duty so I told her, breathless, "There's a porcupine!  I'm in my underwear.  I ran out of the tent because I heard her calling."  I hopped into my pants while she politely nodded and then asked me to move my car out of the road.  I chased the escaping porcupine enough to grab this photo and then we let her go in peace.  Porcupines spend most of their time up in trees, especially Hemlocks, but after seeing this one up close, I can't imagine how they climb a tree.

We lit the campfire and had a grand time.  This year we camped at a swimming spot so we alternated from the beach to the site.  I didn't really have an agenda or time line so we got to just hang out, which was lovely.  At one point I just stood there enjoying the feeling of not rushing my children to the next event and they thrived in the open free time with their friends.