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Archived Updates:
Santa Rosa: April 11th - May 11th
Early SCVMC rehab: May 11th - May 20th
SCVMC ICU: May 21st - June 10th
SCVMC Rehab (round two): June 11th - September 14th
Home in GV: September 14th - April 11th 2005
Home in GV: April 11th 2005 - August 26th 2006
My new life

April 11th 2005 - August 26th 2006 (Read chronologically from bottom to top)

August 24

Two more nights at home! I can't believe I'm actually moving out! It feels even better this time than it did the first time because doctors said to my family it'd be highly unlikely that I could live alone again. I can't explain how wonderful it feels to be able to move out. I really took advantage of the smallest things when I lived alone before my injury. On Saturday, I went to my storage and sorted what stays in storage until I get my own place, and what goes with me to my apartment. I got lots of clothes out (surprise, surprise!) and tried a lot of them on today, thinking about how easy they are to ICP in and put on. I'm giving a lot of them away because they are too small now. Sunday, my parents and I moved a lot of stuff into my apartment with help from our friends Terry and Matt, Grammy, Aunt Jan, and Cousin Maureen. It was so weird to see my stuff from over two years ago like my kitchen table & chairs, chair and a half, etc! Because of all the move stuff, we were too late for our friend Joy's bridal shower, but we dropped off their present on our way home from Sacramento. Monday, I had a dentist appointment and had my blood levels checked at the hospital for the last time before I move out of Grass Valley. Tuesday, I got a ride to therapy from Telecare and I did everything on my own with no one home in the morning. At therapy, I had speech, OT, and PT and they gave me a going away party complete with balloons, a present, and a cake. I will miss them! Wednesday was my last meeting with Emily, my counselor, and she bought us SPD deli sandwiches, which was nice of her! I took Telecare home. Today, I rode my bike for 1.5 hours and Christy and I packed up the rest of my clothes and cosmetics for the big move. Tonight, our friend Steve helped my Dad move a lot of my stuff into the smaller storage unit. Next time I do an update, I'll be in my own place!

August 17

It has been another very busy week for me. Saturday night, Christy and Dylan came over for dinner and it was so fun. We ate outside; it was beautiful. My parents and I went to the Nevada County Fair with some friends and neighbors Thursday night and we got to hang out at the bar and watch the band play. The next day, my friends Callie and Jason came over for a while and we visited. This was Jason's first experience with the Grass Valley Fair--it's quite an experience if you've never been before! The pool has been closed so the roof can be repaired so I've been riding my bike a lot on the top of the road. Some neighbors have been very interested in my contraption; there are photos on this site if you are curious. Tuesday, Christy and I went to Sacramento to check out my new apartment. We also went to lunch with Kelly after we checked out the apartment. Last night, my parents and I went to dinner at The Northridge with the Bringolfs and had a great time. We saw our friends Karen, Barry, Ashlyn, and Taylor. For me, the big news is that I'm gaining a lot more of my independence back; I've been showering with nobody home (transferring into the shower and out) and it's so nice to be able to do that. I can't explain what a great feeling it is to be able to shower with nobody home! I've also been playing the shoe game. I've been working on getting my shoes on by myself--it's hard with the HO so I can't bend my leg to make it easier. But, I've gotten three new pairs of shoes that I'm able to put on.

August 11

I'm so excited about moving out. I rode my bike again today for an hour--I love it because I'm able to sweat! I've also been upgrading my photos by throwing ones away I don't want, cropping some, and putting them into photo albums. I have a digital camera, so these are photos I took when I had my other camera. I'm getting faster at showering by myself--today it only took me an hour and a half to do everything. On Monday, I hung out with Kelly at the grocery store by our new apartment: we had drinks at the little coffee shop in the grocery store. We also chose which room/bathroom we each want in our new place. Tuesday, I went to the grocery store with my OT by bus (there and back) and I figured out that I'll need to leave a reacher in the grocery store by my apartment. Wednesday, I had my hair cut and highlighted by Therese and I went to my counselor Emily. I will miss them when I'm in Sacramento! I took Telecare home after my appointment. Thursday, I went to the Nevada County Fair with some of our friends. We watched a fun band and ate the yummy food on Treat Street. Have a great week.

August 4

I'm preparing to move out by going through my clothes (short skirts/dresses don't work in a wheelchair!) I'm getting very good at showering totally alone and it takes me less time than it used to when I first started doing it on my own. This involves transferring, moving my legs in and out of the shower, grabbing my towels to make sure they are reachable, putting on lotion, and getting dressed. This week I went to a Tastefully Simple party, where you sample lots of different types of food, at one of my mom's coworker's houses. I also purchased and made dinner Wednesday: this involved getting the public bus, wheeling up to the grocery store (where 3 different people asked me if they could help), getting everything in the grocery store, and checking out. It was nice to know that I could do it! I just bought one of those pre-maid chickens, a bag salad, and a loaf of French bread, so it was a simple meal to make! (But super nice to know that I can do it.) Yesterday, I rode my bike on the road for about an hour, and then Annabelle, a co-worker of my mom's, came over for dinner. Today, I worked on getting my shoes on because I haven't mastered that yet due to the extra bone growth in my legs. I figured out with my dad that using a piece of wood to elevate my feet makes it easier to put on my not socks and shoes. I also bought a great low dresser from our friend Matt Peterson whose family owns Hedman's Furniture in Grass Valley.

July 31

It's been a long time since I updated my site! I was in Monterey for 4 nights at a Mason family reunion. A lot of the Denver & Texas Masons traveled out here for it. We stayed at the Lighthouse and had a great dinner for all of us on Saturday night. It was so cute: on Friday night, my cousins Beret and Dan's daughter Delany, who is 2 1/2 walked up to me and said "Come outside and run with me!" I loved it. I brought my hand cycle that Chelsea gave to me and went along the ocean on the bike path (5 miles Friday, and 4 miles Saturday). We had our big dinner for the family reunion catered by the hotel. One night, my immediate family and I went out to dinner with Grammy (mom's mom) because she was in town with her friend. We went kayaking on the bay for several hours and it was so great! Sunday night, my friend Sarah came from Santa Cruz and we had horsd'oeuvres up on the deck at our hotel before we had dinner at Mission Ranch (Clint Eastwood's restaurant) with Karin, Mason, and Melanie. It was beautiful because before we sat at our table inside, we were looking over the green valley and could see the ocean during the sunset. On the 22nd, my parents and I had dinner at my friend Megan's house. Christy and I also went out to lunch with our friends from the pool last week. And my biggest news is that I found a great apartment and roommate named Kelly in Sacramento! I move down there in the next few weeks and I'm so excited.

July 21

Last weekend, I took my bike to my friend Megan's house and let her try it. We chatted about college because she's leaving soon for Southern California. I also looked at apartments in Sacramento with my parents. I'm getting closer because I realize that if the development is newer, it works better for me. I found one that I really like in the Pocket area of Sacramento. Lately, my stubborn side is coming out! I've been able to totally shower by myself--legs in and out of the tub even. I know this doesn't seem like that big of a deal for you, but it gives me the freedom and independence I've been lacking for 2+ years! I'm going to try to remember that I get in my chair first, and then move my legs out of the shower. Christy came two of the days last week and I did the hand cycle at the top of the road (because that area is flat). I haven't been swimming because the pool I swim at has a leaky roof and is getting fixed. I got to kayak on Kelly Lake with our friend Karen's sit on top and it was so great! I did end up having my dad remove the spacer from the right side because now, I just grab the wheel. So my thumb won't cheat anymore! (My brother will be happy with that fact!) I had physical therapy on Tuesday then my parents and I went to Sacramento to look at a few apartments. We met my brother in San Rafael and went to dinner at The Seafood Peddler. We sat outside; it was so nice because the temperature was perfect. Wednesday, Dan got up early and went to work; then my parents and I went to a Giant's game with my aunt and cousin with some tickets our financial planner gave us. We got to see a great game--Giants won--and then afterwards, we did batting practice with Vita Blue and Mike McCormick. I even hit a few--with my right hand. I showered at home (because my Grammy's bathrooms are not accessible) then had physical therapy.

July 13

My birthday was so fun. My parents drove me to Sacramento to meet up with my friend Veronica and I got to see her new house! John (her fiance) could not make it after all because he was with his nieces. Veronica drove and we went up to Santa Rosa together to Becky's parents' house. It was great to see everyone; especially Becky who we haven't seen in a year because she's been in New Zealand (since my last birthday celebration at Veronica's old house in Sacramento). Jeff's fiance Sarah was there with Jeff, pregnant Heidi was there with her son Thomas, Bobby was there after his graduation from grad school in Boston, Sarah "Dr. Ginn" was there, and my brother. It was great to see everyone. I've also been looking at apartments in Sacramento since I plan to move there in August. Saturday night was my childhood friend's bridal shower in Grass Valley; she's getting married in October to Dewey on the East Coast. Monday, I swam and then hung out with Christy in Auburn for the afternoon and evening. We went to Ross and out to dinner together and had a really nice time! I got to see where she lives. On Tuesday, I had an ultrasound appointment at UC Davis Med Center for my bladder and then we looked at apartments and I realized that the apartments don't have to be deemed "accessible" but they just need to be newer. Wednesday, I saw Emily my counselor and today I swam and had physical therapy where I am trying to wean myself off of having the spacer on the right wheel. Because of my brain injury, my right hand is always numb and doesn't work as well as my left. I swam 21 laps back stroke today, my mom and I did some grocery shopping, and our friend/neighbor Terry came over for dinner. I'm busy looking for an accessible vacation spot for our family (like Asilomar, Yosemite, a cruise, etc.) so if you know of a place, please let me know!

July 6

Happy Thursday, everyone. If you haven't seen, my brother posted new photos on the site and there are pictures of me kayaking, using my new bike, and being a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding. I love using my bike because I can work up a sweat when I do it. I really miss sweating! For the Fourth of July, my parents, brother, and I went camping at Bliss Beach on Lake Tahoe with a lot of Carbones---we had five campsites for all of us. The whole camping thing was better this year because I'm stronger. I also slept on the cot given to me by my aunt and uncle which made it easier to transfer from my chair to bed. I'm still not as big of a fan of camping as I used to be because it's harder for me to move around but I love being with my whole family. My brother, Melanie, and I went kayaking and it was a little sketchy because it was wavy on the lake. I also took my bike and rode two different days on the bike trail. We left Tahoe and picked up salads for dinner at a Truckee grocery store on the way home. I had a department of rehabilitation meeting yesterday and she's going to transfer my case to another counselor in Sacramento. I'm pretty much on schedule to move to Sacramento in August, so I'm starting to get excited about it! And if you hear of anyone who is looking for a roommate, let me know. My friend Becky is visiting from New Zealand, so I'm going to get to see her on Sunday in Santa Rosa and I can't wait. I'm riding up with Veronica and John from Sacramento--it will be great to see them!

June 30

Once again, I'm a bit late on this but it's just because I'm busy not because I forgot! Today, I went kayaking on Scott's Flat Lake for the first time since my injury. It was so fun rowing around and enjoying the beautiful weather we have. I also went swimming this morning with my mom. Last night, my friend Natalie and I had dinner together at my place; it was good to see her. I am really worried about my future (where I'll live, work, etc.) so I was a bit scattered. Thursday, I had lunch with Chelsea (the friend who gave me the bike) and Christy at a restaurant called Sergios. I had the bike fitted to me as well by a local welder. Last weekend was my childhood friend's wedding in Folsom and it was outside and so hot! The reception was indoors, though so we were able to cool off. Another thing: please influence your legislators to vote yes on HR 810. I wrote this letter to a senator this evening. Ms. Barbara Boxer, I wanted to let you know that I am newly in a wheelchair and it seems there are some exciting things happening in our government. The Coalition for the Advancement of Stem Cell Research has sent us this message to forward on to you, but I feel that a canned message is not as effective as knowing our individual stories. I was riding my bike, on a training ride, with my boyfriend Alan in Santa Rosa on April 11, 2004 when we were struck by a man driving a sedan who was almost 4 times the legal limit drunk at 11:30 in the morning on Easter Sunday. He was killed instantly, and I was in a coma for 2 months. Harvey changed my life forever, and took away Alan's. I have a severed spinal cord and a traumatic brain injury. This is my reason for asking you to support HR 810. "I strongly support the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810) and ask that you vote in favor of it. Only a vote in favor of H.R. 810 is a vote in favor of moving stem cell research forward in our country. Please work to pass H.R. 810 soon with no amendments and no alternatives."

June 22

I had a lot happen again this week. I went to my rehab doctor and he seemed excited about all my progress. Last weekend, my parents and I went to Symposium (a Greek restaurant in Davis) to celebrate with about 25 others my cousin Cory's graduation from UC Davis. She also got into the UC Davis Law School for graduate work. My brother and Melanie met us there and it was so great to see them. My friends Julie and Brent (from SCVMC) got married as well but we weren't able to attend because it was the same weekend as the graduation and Daniel also competed in the Nevada City Classic Bike Race. He's a category 3 now and it's so fun to watch because he's able to compete in more races as a cat 3. Monday, I swam again and I love doing the back stroke still. I'm also getting more confident about putting my head in without needing to plug my nose. I had a conference with my therapists and parents. One thing my counselor always says is I've surpassed every expectation the doctors had for me at the beginning. I went to a meeting at Vocational Rehab as an orientation and set up a meeting next week with one of the counselors. I went to the hospital for an x-ray of my right hip because my doctor is concerned about the H.O. Yesterday, I went to Sacramento to go to UC Davis Med Center and my mom and I had lunch with my friends at 33rd Street Bistro right by the hospital. I am going to go to UC Davis Med Center for therapy in September, so I'm very excited. The doctors introduced me to a guy who's doing a study on electrically stimulating leg muscles that make paralyzed people able to pedal a stationary bike. I may be a subject in his study; he's a PhD student. After the appointment, my parents and I went and toured a few apartments and then met my friend Veronica (who's newly engaged) for dinner at Beppo's. So now, I'm looking for a 2Br 2Ba apartment and a roommate in Sacramento. Today, I swam and had therapy.

June 16

Once again, I am late on my update, but I have a better reason this time than 'I forgot!' Last night, my parents and I had a bunch of friends who all live on our road over for heavy horsd'oeuvres. We had about 20 people over. It was so fun chatting with everyone. I talked to my friend Erin who called and I got to hear about her trip to Hawaii. My friends all have big news these days. Heidi and Matt have another baby on the way, Kina has a new exciting job--she's an executive now, Veronica is engaged to John, Sarah got a new great job as an Archeology professor at Cabrillo as she finishes her doctoral dissertation, and Becky is coming back to the states in two weeks to see everyone and she's happily in love in New Zealand! I'm so excited for everyone--it's been a wonderful week. And I want to say that I am so happy and thankful to have my friends in my life! My plans for moving to Sacramento are slow because it's turned out to be hard to find an accessible apartment! I talked to my doctor today about my new plan to do therapy at UC Davis. I'm excited I actually have a plan now. Another thing that I'm doing--and this doesn't seem like that big of deal--is that I'm going to bed totally on my own. I'm transferring, adjusting my legs, and pulling the covers up. Hope you all have a super week.

June 10

Sorry for the period of silence. I for some reason thought I did an update on Thursday, but apparently, I didn't! That's a brain injury for you. Friday of last week (June 2nd) was mom and dad's wedding anniversary. They went out to dinner and I stayed home alone for like 5 hours and it was great for me. Sunday, my friend Heidi came for lunch on her way back from Tahoe with her son Thomas. It was so great to see them! We ate lunch on the deck outside and the weather was beautiful! Sunday night, my parents and I went to a Music in the Mountains concert at the fairgrounds and it was a beautiful evening. We sat with people my dad works with and I got to chat with my 5th grade band teacher! We went to a Union Hill graduation (the school where my mom is a counselor) and it was good because it was in the gym versus outside last year. It seemed more focused this year. My mom and I went to a sandals and sacks party at our neighbors' and friends' house. It was great because I got to chat with a lot of people. Today, my parents and I went to my friend Chelsea's house in Penn Valley where she gave me her road bike chair so I can use it on roads to get some exercise. I am so excited to have a bike I can use! I plan to take her out to a nice lunch for giving it to me because she wouldn't let me pay her for it. Another thing I realized is that in the future, I need to live in a place with hard wood floors! Chelsea's home and the place I went for the sandals/sacks party have hard wood floors and they are so easy to move around in! Tonight, we went to a party at our friends'/neighbors' house to celebrate Kevin's graduation from high school. I used to baby sit him and his older brother. I'm old! Tomorrow, my parents and I are going to Marin County to celebrate with my mom's family for five cousins' graduations (2 college and 3 high school). About the living thing, I am now thinking I will rent a place in the Sacramento area for 6 months to a year, starting in August, to get used to living on my own again and then figure out what I need in a place. Have a great week.

June 1

The wedding was so much fun! My brother and I were both in the wedding and we had a blast. Although I couldn't cut a rug like I used to at the reception, I was still able to dance by using my arms and hips! My mom's birthday was Friday, so she went out to dinner with some family members while Dan and I were at the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. The reception was at the Dante Club in Sacramento. Jess is the first cousin to get hitched out of 18 first cousins, so it was very exciting for our whole family! Mom and Dad had Monday off because of the holiday, so we hung out. I did some laps on the driveway with my Widget chair and did a good job getting some cardio! Christy came back on Tuesday and it was so great to see her again. She seemed impressed with all of the improvements I've made. I realize that I missed her while she was gone! She's more than a caregiver, but a friend too! My two friends Veronica and Jeff are engaged to their significant others: John and Sarah. So two more fun weddings to anticipate! My newest plan is to move to the Sacramento area in August because it's closer to home, and then eventually try to make it back to the South Bay. I'm nervous because I haven't lived on my own in 2+ years and I've never lived alone in a wheelchair. I guess I'm not feeling confident about the move; I know I want to be back in a city, but I'm not sure what it will be like! Enjoy your week.

May 25

It was yet another independence week for me. I'm getting much faster and it's so great that getting dressed is not such a chore anymore! Because of my independence this week, I've been riding Telecare a lot (the organization that picks you up at your house and drops you off where you need to go.) I've also stayed home alone a lot which is great. I had another presentation at the high school where I went (Nevada Union) on Monday. This one was for about 100 students in the Science Lecture Hall, which is like a theater. Again, my high school English teacher signed me up for it and it gets better every time! My friend Veronica came to see it from Sacramento where she lives and she liked it. My occupational therapist and my Dad also were there. I received in the mail some photos for Gabriel (Katie's new baby) and Rita also sent me a photo of the sign for Alan they put up along the road where we were hit. In therapy on Tuesday, I went to buy a voice recorder for my phone with my therapists but it doesn't fit my phone so I had to take it back yesterday. It's a great thing I can use in the future though. After talking to my parents and brother, they think I'm going through an "improvement phase" so that's exciting. Another exciting thing is that my old company (TRC Lowney www.lowney.com) is doing a fundraiser relay team for me at the Big Sur (the marathon I ran in 1999)! My friends Scott and Erin are working on putting together a relay team for next year. I am very touched by their support. This weekend is my cousin's wedding and I can't wait because she's the first cousin to get married!

May 18

This week has been a big independence week for me because Christy has been sick. My family and I are thinking of her. I am getting much better at doing everything on my own except putting on my shoes! Aaah! So when she comes back, I will be a "new woman!" It was my girlfriend Becky's birthday this week (the one in New Zealand) so I'm sure her card will take forever to get there! For mother's day, we met a small group of Carbones (family) at a winery in Sacramento. ("Small" meaning about 15 of us!) It was warm out; it was so nice to be outside in the sun. Sunday, I sat outside and did some reading homework for my speech therapy. In swimming, I am loving doing the back stoke (not elementary, the opposite of freestyle). I got to swim with my Dad this week and he seemed impressed at how well I am doing. Talking to my brother and Dad last night, they said how much I've been improving lately and that was great to hear. I feel like everything I do takes work now, but it's getting much faster the more I do it.

May 11

For Cinco de Mayo, my parents and I went to our friends' house The Bringolfs for dinner. Christy and I also did the Longs shopping for my mom. It was huge because her list is very particular so it was great that we did it! Christy, her son Dylan and I went to lunch at Hollywood Sweets, a sandwich/bagel place in Grass Valley. I also talked to Alan's grandmother, Jean Liu and it was great to talk to her. She sent me something so sweet; she sent me Alan's SAE pin and class ring from MIT. I will cherish them forever! Also, Alan's sister Katie had a baby boy and named him Gabriel Alan. So exciting for their families! On Monday, I swam and I'm so excited because I actually felt tired afterwards! I now do the back stroke and I went about 19 long laps, so that was wonderful! I'm swimming tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it. Christy and I went to the Wheelchair Center to try to have my chair tuned up and fixed but he needed to order a bolt for it so hopefully I'll get it tomorrow. Today, Christy and I went to Penney's to get some Mother's Day presents for my mom and we also went to Fashion Bug and poked around. Today, I also got my hair cut and highlighted and it's finally all the same length! My family and I are going to Sacramento to see a lot of folks from my mom's family for Mother's Day so that should be fun. Have a great week.

May 4

I'm getting ready to move out (again) so I'm doing everything on my own except for getting my shoes on. I've been having a lot of independence days and I'm getting faster! My typical caregiver and friend Christy's car was broken so I met two new people this week. I gave my PowerPoint to one and she liked it. Last weekend, my mom and I went to Roseville to do some shopping. We saw my friend Julie and my counselor Emily and I got to meet her daughter Grace. I got four pairs of cute capris for summer because with shorts, I end up sticking to the board when I transfer. I also stayed home alone for about 5 hours when my parents went to a wine tasting thing with our friends/neighbors. It was so nice to have that freedom. I made my dinner and watched the movie: My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I've been working on insurance stuff lately and it's very annoying because I had money saved up for a down payment on a house so I'm technically not in need. My newest thing is that I want to find a roommate for about a year to rent a place in the South Bay so if you know anyone, please let me know. Have a great week.

April 27

The big news is that today was my "independence day" where I did everything as if I was living alone. The only problem I had was with my stubborn right leg--I still can't get my shoe/slipper on it because the swelling makes it not able to go onto my other leg! Grrr. On Tuesday, I went down the road with the Widget chair and I pushed all the way up the big hill which was great exercise for me! I also swam on Monday and Wednesday. Swimming is hard for me right now because I am unable to put my face in without plugging my nose. For a while, I was doing a great job, but now it's bad again! I swear it's my brain injury. I also took my dog form to therapy and to my rehab doctor. Last weekend, I went to lunch at Round Table with my friend Chelsea. My family and I also watched two movies: Brokeback Mountain and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Sunday night, our friends and neighbors the Bringolfs and Bill Goode came for dinner. Have a great week!

April 21

Well I didn't get a chance to do my update last night because I was doing a lot of other stuff. I'm busy making arrangements to hopefully move back to the South Bay by July or August of this year. I need to get serious about finding a roommate for about a year and then I can continue my search for a house to purchase in the Bay Area. If you know anyone who is looking for a roommate, please let me know. I would like to live in Sunnyvale, Mountain View, or Palo Alto because I'm pretty familiar with them and really like the areas. I can do everything on my own. The only thing I need a spotter for is transferring into and out of the shower and I should be able to hire someone to help me with that. I'm also having trouble getting my right shoe on! Aaah! My leg is pretty swollen and so that makes it hard to put it on my knee. I also contacted my speech therapist Theresa about possibly having therapy again at Santa Clara Valley Med Center. In therapy yesterday, it was sunny outside so I practiced going up and down curbs with Katie, my PT. This morning, I swam at the Bowman Solinski Pool and now I'm staying home by myself (shock!) for a few hours because Christy's son is sick! I hope he gets better.

April 16

Sorry for the long period of silence. So the bach party was fun! We went to Jessica's shower first at a mexican restaurant with a lot of the family members, then to a dinner place and dancing. I was a little worried about the dance club because I am not the dancer I used to be, but it was so fun! We stayed out until 2am! Then, mom and I came home and my family and I went on vacation for the holiday. The big news is that I flew on a plane to Southern California for the first time in a wheelchair. They stowed my chair beneath the plane, and they gave me an aisle chair which is skinny and fits between the seats, then I transferred to the plane seat. We were lucky because we got to sit in the first bulk head seats which are close to the cockpit and have more room. In LA, my brother flew in from SF and we went out to dinner at some great places close to the hotel. (The first night, we had dinner in the room all together; just some stuff from a grocery store.) For breakfast we ate on the deck each day and we had bagels and fruit from a bagel shop. Our view was the best; we could see the beach and ocean and we were on about the 10th floor so we had a great view. It was rainy at home but sunny where we were so we loved it. We lounged on the beach and I actually got sunburned for the first time since my injury! I was sad the first few days because I really miss Alan and my old life. As my mind comes back, things get harder for me emotionally. We went to Casa Colina and toured the facility and the good news is that I don't need to go there this summer because I am too advanced for it! So my next step is to find a place and a roommate for about a year, starting in June, in the South Bay until I am "ready" to live completely alone, when I plan to restart my search for a house. We flew back to Sacramento and drove to San Rafael to my grandmother's house. Our Easter celebration was great but a bit small this year (only about 19 people!). Tonight, I unpacked all my stuff, which is not like me since my injury, and I'm trying to catch up on phone calls, emails, etc. Have a great week!

April 6

I'm really enjoying my bed. Try to imagine being without your bed for that long. I am so in heaven! I was a little worried about the transfers but it's the same height as my wheelchair so I'm good to go! Another piece of big news is that I'm starting to get good at wheelies (finally) so I can go over bumps. Christy helped me figure it out. Haven't tried curbs yet, but one step at a time! In therapy, I can hold a wheelie for about a minute. I had a FREED meeting on Monday and it was just women so it was kind of fun! Tuesday, I went to Starbucks again and had some hot apple cider while my parents went to the gym. It was raining like crazy so my transfers were really hard because my muscles were so cold! On Wednesday morning, I got to sleep in because I was tired. I got up at 8:00 which was so nice! I usually swim on Wednesdays, but I was so tired so I skipped it this week. I also saw Emily. Today, I had therapy--just occupational because I have speech on Tuesdays only and my physical therapist was gone for Easter. I also had an X-Ray done on my left foot because while transferring to my chair from my bed to pee at 6am, I missed my target and fell on the ground! We haven't gotten the results yet but I hope it's not broken! My brother tonight said I should mess with people if I get a cast and say that I was walking and it just broke. Ha! I was upset, but that made me laugh! I went to therapy today and I ended up getting a parafin dip for my right wrist and hand and an X-ray. My cousin's bachloret party is this weekend in Sacramento, so I'm sure I'll have a lot to talk about next time! Have a great week!

April 2

I know I usually do updates every Thursday, but I've had a few really good days that I'd like to talk about. Dan came for the weekend and it was so great to see him, as usual. Yesterday, Dad and Dan got my double bed out of storage. Now, I haven't slept on it for almost 2 years! It was so great to sleep on! (So, no more silly hospital bed for me.) And I got to use my warm feather down comforter which I've missed. My family was amazed that I am actually warm today! I joked and said that now I won't ever want to leave! Yesterday, our family went to Roseville to buy a BBQ for my Dad (his birthday is on April 9) and then we went out to dinner at Beppo's, an Italian restaurant that is so good! I went there once when I was in the hospital because I requested it. I'll post more on Thursday this week. Just wanted to tell you about the big news.

March 30
9:08 pm

It's been raining at my house like crazy. I went to SPD with my dad last Friday and we did the grocery shopping for mom. (She usually does it for the family.) We had fun but we realized how much she does and what it takes besides the time to do it. On our way out, a girl named Jennifer, who I didn't know, handed me a note with an inspirational bible passage on it. It was Jeremiah 29:11. Being not a religious person, I had to look up what it was: "I know the plans I have in mind for you. It is Yahweh who speaks, plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you." It took my breath away; it was so sweet! I also talked to Francine at Casa Colina to see if my rehab doctor faxed over my medical records. I asked if she got the book fax of all my medical records! He faxed it all over to her. I'm very excited to see the house in which I might be living this summer. We're planning to stop by when we're down in Southern California over Easter break. My aunt Jan came to hang out Friday night. Saturday morning, I showered then got myself totally dressed in the chair. I even transferred from the shower bench to my wheelchair after I was done. I did my lower body dressing in the chair. It's gotten down to 15 minutes, so slow progress, but progress anyway. Jan and I went to lunch at Main Street Cafe; and got a present for Heidi and Matt's child's birthday which I mailed today. On Sunday, Mom and I went to a CAbi party (clothes) at our friend Karen's house. Tonight I was working on putting my slippers on before dinner and my swelling/heterotrophic ossification in my right leg is really hindering me! I got very frustrated with it: but it's something I need to figure out! On Wednesday, I gave my drunk driving presentation to a local junior high school (about 60 students) and it went very well. The students asked great questions. I just love giving my presentation! Wednesday evening, I went to my mom's school where she councils and had a spaghetti dinner. My fourth grade teacher was there and it was great to see her!

March 23
12:27 pm

My brother just sent me a great forward called Cat Antics. I had to put my wheelchair brakes on it was so funny! If you want to see it, you can write my website and I can send it to you. But because it's such a big file, I would appreciate it if you wrote to me before 6pm next Thursday (next week) so I can send it to everyone at once! Last weekend, I took the Widget chair along the Folsom Lake bike trail and I pushed for over an hour. It was a beautiful day out. For about a week, I've been getting out of bed on my own to go pee in the bathroom, whereas I used to use a urinal so I'm being able to do more on my own. Last weekend, I was able to get out of bed, pee, then go back to bed and cover myself up so my parents let me sleep in because they were so excited about my accomplishment! I swam Monday, had therapy Tuesday, and counseling yesterday, and I also got to sleep in until like 7:30 Wednesday morning because my brain just hasn't been working well lately. Yesterday, it worked a lot better, so I decided I was just tired. The thing with Casa Colina is good; my doctor is faxing all of the information to them most likely today so I'm crossing my fingers that I get in this summer! As far as lower body dressing (pants, underwear), I am doing it in about 20 minutes, so my time has come down a ton. I think I finally got it; it took me a while because I would forget the best/fastest way to do it! That's a brain injury for you. Have a great week.

March 16
9:30 pm

Hello all! I hope this update finds you well. Because of my brain injury, when I do these updates, I have to reference my Palm to remember what I did for a week! I guess it's good for my brain. Last weekend, my parents and I met my brother and Melanie in Davis at my aunt's house-my dad's sister-to see my cousin Brian. He's home from Iraq (on a brief break) so it was great to see him! It's been snowing like crazy here, so my parents didn't have school on Tuesday. You should see the driveway! It's piled high with snow. I saw Dr. Jensen on Wednesday and he seemed pleased with my progress. One thing we talked about is me typing (like I am right now) with my right hand to improve its dexterity. He also said that he referenced my story in a meeting he was at, saying that my perseverance and up beat attitude have really served me well. That was fun to hear! My parents and I went out to eat on Wednesday night at a fish and chips place near SPD in Grass Valley called London's Best. As far as my lower body dressing, I can do it all these days except for my right shoe because of the swelling! I tried to transfer to bed and do it this weekend, but in the chair is much more streamlined! I have my time down to 30 minutes; it used to be an hour so I've cut the time in half.

March 10
6:33 pm

I was supposed to do an update last night, but I was giving my PowerPoint presentation about drunk driving to the Lion's Club in Grass Valley. It was for about 20 people and it went very well. Even though they are not the particular audience I am directing my message to, I think it's very important to tell everyone about the dangers of drinking and driving! Today, I gave my presentation to our family friend's two classes at Lyman Gilmore, a junior high school. My second presentation was the better presentation for me out of the two classes; I just felt more comfortable giving it overall. On Monday, I had another SCI group meeting at FREED. I was able to swim Monday and Wednesday this week and I'm getting better at putting my face in again! So about skiing at Alpine Meadows: I had such a fun time! They put me on a Mono ski because they thought my trunk support was strong enough to be able to balance on it. The hardest part was transferring on and off the lift, I had to have a lot of help from my therapist Dave for that! But I was able to do some turns by pointing the outriggers (poles with ski blades on them so you have three bases of support) the way I wanted to go. I didn't even fall that much until the last run because I was tired from skiing for only half a day! It felt kind of strange to be tired from skiing for only that long! That night, my parents and I went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Incline Village at Tahoe where we met my friend Kina from Hawaii! It was so fun to see her. She was skiing with some friends from her master's program at Cal so we hooked up for dinner. Also, the article Beth wrote for the Santa Clara University magazine will come out soon. I will have my brother post it as soon as I get the final draft. Have a great week!

March 2

My mom was gone earlier in the week so Dad and I watched Thomas Crown Affair and got pizza for dinner. I really realized how much she does for us! She's definitely the most responsible one! (Sorry Dad, but I think you know that as well!) On Monday, I swam then had lunch with Caitlyn who I used to baby sit when I lived at home. We went to Sergios Café in downtown Grass Valley. Tuesday, I tried to do a double day with swimming and therapy but I got to the pool late and then the roof was leaking because of all the rain so I didn't get to swim! I've been finalizing the invitations for my cousin's bridal shower and bachloret parties. The photos I got from her family are great! The bachloret invitations are printed and the shower ones are done today so I'm picking them up. My parents are both home today because it was a snow day here. We only have about 6 inches but it was enough to make the roads too slippery for the buses. I talked to my friend Veronica today and it was great talking to her. I told her I am seeing our friends Sarah and Kina in the mountains on Saturday so I'm very excited! I'm a little nervous because I am going to try skiing so I'll write about that next time.

February 25

This week has been stressful for me because of my brain injury--again. I've been forgetting things a lot. My mom and I went down to Roseville for a shopping day together last weekend. We returned my first cell phone because the extra features on it didn't give me better reception at home, got some clothes, shoes, and had dinner together at a Mexican place. We chatted a lot about my future and how this has affected many parts about it. I've been sadder than normal and it's hard to know what to do because before my injury, if I was sad, (which wasn't very often) I would just go running! I'm not saying that I'm clinically depressed, but as my mind comes back, I'm getting more aware of my deficits and that's bothering me because I used to be on top of it all! At therapy this week, Carin (my occupational therapist) has been doing the Paraffin dip for my right hand and wrist. This is a hot wax dip that eases some of the tone. What's wrong with it is there is excess tone from my brain injury so it's numb all the time. (My doctors in the SCVMC hospital used to say when I could flip my dad off with my right hand, it would be getting better!) My PowerPoint presentation for my old high school English teacher went well. The students really received it very well and asked some great questions. It was my first paid presentation so that was good. I usually hand out note cards for students to use for questions, but I didn't need them at all. Last night, my dad and I went to a party at a guy's house who my dad works with. We played games and had a great time. My brother surprised us this morning and showed up at our house! It's fun to see him. I finished the bachloret invitations to take to the printer today. My original artwork had a photo that wasn't high enough resolution. I also spoke to my friend Kina, who lives in Hawaii, on the phone.

February 16

This last weekend, I went to stay with my aunt and uncle Paula and Bill who live in San Rafael. My parents went on their annual trip with their friends to Calistoga. Friday night, I went to my cousin's improvisational event with her acting buddies. I got to meet a lot of her friends and see her perform, which was cool. We then got home and watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Saturday, I went with Paula to a gymnastics meet to watch one of my cousins, Ashley, compete and we sat with my aunt Sue and uncle Brian (Ashley's parents), my uncle Mark, cousin Sydney, and Grammy. Daniel hooked up with us afterwards and he, Paula, and I had lunch together at Noah's Bagels. The three of us then went on this paved trail in sunny Corte Madera where I did some pushing; (I'm getting faster!) That night, Dan and I drove to San Francisco to have dinner at this great Italian restaurant with Melanie, Danh, and Erin. We chatted for a while in Dan's new place that he’s renting on Nob Hill. It's very spacious, with all hard wood floors. On Sunday morning, Dan got up to drive to a bike race and Paula and I went to a Verizon store to get a new cell phone for me; but I kept the same number. We then met my parents and Daniel in Santa Rosa at a cute Italian restaurant where we had lunch. Monday, my brain was being very crazy; it really annoyed me! I would forget simple things that I normally remember and repeat myself a ton. It's so hard to have a brain injury! Yesterday, I saw Emily and last night did the pulley for an hour to strengthen my arms. Today, I had therapy with Katie only at like 1:00. We worked on me rolling over without grabbing the edge of the mat. This requires lots of tummy strength. I give my PowerPoint tomorrow for my high school English teacher's class and I'm very excited about it! Have a great weekend!

February 9

On Saturday, my two aunts came here to visit for a night. One lives in Davis and one lives in Annapolis, Maryland; they are my dad's two sisters. We went down the road with my Widget chair, showing my aunts how it works. That night, I gave them my PowerPoint presentation about drunk driving and they gave me some very good advice. On Sunday, they left and Trina Denton, a friend from high school, was up here visiting her family so she came by to see me for a while. I had another spinal cord injury group meeting and I really felt like I talked more. Since this thing happened, I've been trying to get used to it all. And I decided that my head injury is really slowing things down because I forget the best ways to do things in a chair. On Tuesday, I had my hair cut by Therese so it's shorter now! It's almost to my shoulders and close to all one length. I'll try to have my brother post photos online so you can see it. This weekend, I'm going to San Rafael so I'll tell you about that next time!

February 2

Last weekend, my parents and I went to Reno to see my cousin Becky Stone compete in a pole vault summit. We had a great time watching her jump. On the way up, it was snowing and they had chain controls but we have 4-wheel drive, so we were fine. My family (except Dan), the Stones, and the Youngs all gathered for it. I love seeing them and they've been so great through this whole thing! We went to dinner the first night at a place called Johnny Rockets, which was fun. The second night, we went to a nice Italian restaurant also in the casino. As you know, casino restaurants are good! On Monday, I went to my dentist to get my teeth cleaned. Apparently, I have good teeth as usual. I also had an ultrasound for my right leg because it's pretty swollen all the time. I have tried getting my right leg up on my knee a few times by pulling it with my arms but it's very bossy! What I have is called heterotrophic ossification. (Try saying that five times fast!) It is from the brain injury where your body tries to repair itself and just builds extra bone. Have a great weekend!

January 27

It seems my updates will be once a week now, as I predicted last time! On Saturday night, our neighbors Terry and Susie, friends Ashlyn, Taylor, Barry, and Karen came over for a dinner party. Sunday, I worked out for a while on the ball on the floor again to strengthen my arms. Monday was another FREED meeting and it was great to see everyone. I talked more about giving my presentation and they said they want me to give it there as well. I had therapy on Tuesday and I'm getting much stronger at using my arms to roll myself over on the mat. Union Hill (a junior high school) Club Live group also had me do a presentation (mine about drunk driving) to them. They were a good audience and gave me some useful feedback. Today, I called Casa Colina www.casacolina.org in Southern California about learning how to independently live because I need some pointers from the pros. If you haven't heard of it, Casa Colina is a center that helps spinal cord patients reintegrate after a spinal cord injury. Today I again worked out on the ball on the floor. This exercise is getting better for me because I actually get sore muscles from doing it! Tonight, I chatted with Dan about his grad school class name at Stanford: Continuum Mechanics. Each time he has a new class, it is my duty to remember the name to help improve my brain!

January 19

This last weekend, my brother came for a few days. I used the Widget rolling up the road where there is a hill and my arms were tired! I also had dinner at P.F. Changs in Sacramento with my friends Veronica and Sarah. It was great to see them and I really felt like I talked more and had more to contribute to the conversation. I've felt better mentally lately and that is a good sign of my progress. Some of my mom's friends/coworkers from the Toastmasters came over Monday night to help me with my presentation so I made the changes they suggested. I think what they had to say will help it a lot. I've been working out with the ball on the floor to strengthen my arms. Tuesday, I gave the PowerPoint presentation to the hospital: nurses, EMTs, and my therapists. I think it went pretty well. I still feel very strongly about teaching kids the dangers of drunk driving. Afterwards, Christy and I went to Lyons for soup and salad for lunch. Yesterday, I saw Emily (my counselor) and Dr. Jensen. Both appointments were good because it seems like they both think I am doing pretty well. Sorry for the lengthy silence; I guess being busy is a good thing and more like my life used to be! I'm thinking about only doing an update once a week but haven't quite decided.

January 11

Today, I gave my first PowerPoint presentation about drunk driving to the students at 3Rs School in Grass Valley. It seemed to be really well received and they had some great questions. My friend Holly Snider contacted me about presenting there and it went so great! The students had some very intuitive questions for me. Christy was there and she was impressed too. She said she was introduced to the old Jill meaning more inflection in my voice and more facial expressions. That felt good. Last weekend, Mom, Dad and I went to Roseville and went to Macy's and to dinner at Macaroni Grill. I also went walking with my power chair down the road. On Monday, I had a FREED meeting and they want to see my presentation as well. They were asking me all about the Wiget and I was saying how great it is because it makes me faster. I love it because my right hand is impaired from my brain injury. (It doesn't always let go fast from the regular wheel.) I got to sleep in today (which was huge for me!) until 7:30! I know that's not my usual sleeping in, but things take me so much longer now. I'm going to go talk to my brother on the phone now.

January 5

Happy new year! On New Year's Eve, my parents and I went to our friends'/neighbors' house for several hours. My biggest New Year's resolution is to move back to the South Bay area by June 2006. This depends mainly on my ability to move myself around better because I do everything else (except drive yet) on my own. And I still really like it when Christy does my hair! On Sunday, Mom, Dad, and I went to Flower Garden and had some tea/coffee/soup. Lately, I've been working on my PowerPoint presentation about drunk driving to give in schools. Over the holidays, I forgot to say that I practiced my presentation twice in front of my family in San Rafael (which includes school teachers, nurses, and executives.) They gave me some great feedback. My cousins (many who are of the age of kids I want to present to) also seemed to really like it and think that it would be beneficial for their classmates. On Tuesday, I set up my time to give my presentation at the hospital January 17 at noon. I swam today and then Christy and I had our packed lunch at the Nevada City park outside by the creek. It finally stopped raining and was a beautiful day!

December 30

Well. The holidays were great for me this year. I really felt like my brain was better at dealing with all the stuff. My family and I went to Aunt Jan's house in Davis and saw lots of my cousins. We then met Grammy at church in San Rafael that night. On Christmas, I got to see my mom's whole family (all 9 kids and their kids) and I got some cool gifts including an electric toothbrush from my God parents, cool clothes from my grandmother, perfume from my brother, jeans and two long sleeve shirts from my cousin Valerie, a heavy coat and Palm Pilot cover from my parents. The cousins all sat at a table together and I did a toast (like the oldest cousin should). Barry (Alan's dad) came by and it was great to see him. Alan's mom Rita came by the day after Christmas and we had a good visit too. The next day, Dan and I followed my parents in the car down to Monterey. We went to a great dinner with Susie's dad and went on the pathway along the ocean. There were many surfers taking advantage of the big waves. Dad got to play Spyglass and we had a wonderful lunch at a seaside cafe-- of grilled artichokes! Today we're home in Grass Valley and it's raining like crazy.

December 23

Once again, sorry for the silence! I guess that is a good thing because I am doing more on my own and things take longer now! Monday, I swam with my dad for the first time in a while and both he and my mom thought I had improved a lot in the water. I also finished all of my holiday card letters to my friends. On Tuesday, I got the new Wijet in therapy. It makes pushing my chair much easier because they are long bars that connect to the wheels. And with my right hand not as "cooperative" as my left hand, it is much easier to grab. If you are interested in what the heck this thing is, you can go to http://www.superquad.com. Thanks to those of you who responded about my question last time. The responses really helped me. It's good to know that I can expect bad and good days. On Tuesday, my parents and I went to see White Christmas, the play in Nevada City. We had dinner at Cirinos beforehand, and we think that my old volleyball coach, Ms. Sale, took care of our check! On Wednesday, Christy and Dylan came over for dinner and we had a great time; we exchanged Christmas presents and just chatted. Yesterday, my dad and I went to an open house at FREED, the center for independent living, in town. My aunt Janet and cousin Cory came over to help my mom with wrapping presents and we had lunch together. Last night, our friends and neighbors the Bringolfs, Goods, and Blakemores, came over for a little holiday get together. Today, my brother, cousin Matthew, Dad and some others are moving my stuff that used to be in my apartment to a storage place in town. My uncle Bill was storing it at his company's warehouse since July 2004 which was so nice of him to do for me! Well, I probably won't do another update until after the holiday because I'll be away, so have a great Christmas!

December 15

Sorry for the brief silence for a while! I've been busy these days. Yesterday, I went to the clinic at UC Davis and they seemed impressed with my progress. My mom's suggestion (she will be happy I know she said it and not the doctors) was that it's okay for me to move out by summer if I don't have a car yet because I can just use public transportation in the South Bay. Last weekend, my parents and I went to our friends' house, the Bringolfs, for dinner and I really felt like my brain was "listening." I sent all the Christmas presents to my girlfriends in New Zealand, Santa Cruz, Hawaii, Sacramento, and Santa Clara. Lately, I've been working on my PowerPoint presentation to teach kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. I've also been working on designing my cousin's bachloret invitations. I was wondering if any of you have experienced a loss of a loved one in your life and how you've dealt with it. Lately, I've been missing Alan more; my family and friends have had a lot longer to deal with the loss of him. If I was upset before, (which wasn't very often) I would just go running to burn off some steam.

December 8

This week has flown by. I think it's so weird that they go so fast because I don't have a job yet! I've been doing "double days" a lot where I have therapy and then swim. I like being busy--always have! I'm just busy with different stuff now. I've made my own lunch a few times this week, using the pull-out cutting board as a counter to cut tomatoes, tear the lettuce, put mayo on the bread, slice the cheese, and cut the turkey. At the pool, I've been swimming a different way from normal: going lengthwise instead of the width after everyone gets out. In therapy and a little at home, I've been working on getting my legs up on the mat/bed with the gate belt. I've also tried to sing a little bit. Nobody is allowed to hear yet, but I'm working on my breath control. My transfers into and out of the car from and to the chair have gotten much faster and Christy has even stopped standing next to me so I'm more dependant on my own strength. My transfers out of bed are un-spotted as well so I'm getting super strong in my arms. It's a bit scary but I actually feel like I'm getting used to being in a chair finally.

December 1
6:31 pm

Hello everyone! So I've been pretty busy these last few days. The biggest news is that I went to my old company's (Lowney Associates) holiday party. The Power Point slide show that my friend Erin and I did went over very well at the party. My brother Dan came to the party with me and it was good for him to be there because they all got to meet him when I was in the hospital. And it was so cool because the company bought me an IPOD which, if you are not familiar with them, you can download hundreds of songs and listen to them like a walkman! That was so great for them to do that; I was just excited to do the side show with Erin. On my way down, my parents and Daniel and I stopped for lunch in Davis at a great restaurant. Dan and I stayed the night at the hotel the night of the party. This year, I really noticed a difference with my "mental functioning" at the party. I was just more out going this year, so more like myself. We convinced Erin to stay the night in our room. Before we all went to bed though, we chowed on some strawberries! This morning, Dan, Danh, Tyler, Kara, Aunt Carr, Uncle Bill, and I went to breakfast together right off Highway 680. Then, we said our goodbyes and Dan and I met mom and dad in Davis at a gas station off 80. Tonight, I am downloading all of the photos we took at the party with our digital camera.

December 1

I was having a little trouble with my Web hosting company, so I apologize if anyone was not able to get on. This week, I did something huge in the water. I swam freestyle for the first time. It's a little tough for me because my neck is a bit stiff from when I was in the hospital, but it felt great. I also did a double day on Tuesday: swimming in the morning and therapy in the afternoon. I was gone from home from about 10:30 in the morning until 5:00: so more like a "normal" busy day for me. It's raining here like crazy today. For exercise, I rolled around on the ball to strengthen my arms. I also went to UC Davis on Monday with my Dad to meet with the people for my bladder. Apparently, increasing the dosage of the medication will help. I'm lucky enough not to have leg spasms like some people do in wheelchairs but I do have bladder spasms. I've been practicing my presentation each night and it's getting more fluid as my memory of what I have to say gets better. This weekend, my brother is coming with me to my old company's holiday party so I can't wait to write about that next week!

November 27

Hello all. I've had a great Thanksgiving weekend. It's been very long and fun! On Wednesday afternoon, we drove to my aunt Jan's house and had a great time there. We got to hang with many people from my dad's side of the family. Jane Ann made a really good soup for us. We arrived at my mom's mother's house (Grammy) that evening. On Thanksgiving, people started arriving around 2. We ate all the good horsd'oeuvres and chatted for hours. At dinner, Grammy made her typical toast to the family and we sat at the table for about 2 hours! After everyone left, my parents, Dan, and I watched Dave Matthews who was playing at Red Rocks in Colorado. He's definitely one of my favorite singers. On Friday, we went hiking at Muir Woods even though it was a little rainy. It's a trail that is fairly flat so I could be pushed on it. That night, we had another Thanksgiving (like we usually do) for some people who were at in-laws' houses for Thanksgiving. Like old times, the girl cousins and I made a hair chain through the living room where we play with each other's hair. My brother just tipped my wheelchair so a cousin could reach my hair! On Saturday, we drove back to Grass Valley. And last night, we went to another party at our friends' house, Greg and Katie. Two pieces of good news were the reason for the party: Lindy is getting married to Dewey and Greg and Katie are pregnant!

November 22

I'm doing this update a few days early because I will be gone for Thanksgiving. We are going to my grandmother's house in San Rafael for a few nights and we are leaving tomorrow after I see Emily (my counselor). Yesterday, I swam in the afternoon because there was a TBI group meeting at the hospital about Palm Pilots. Mine from my brother has helped me a ton with remembering stuff. I was very annoyed with myself in the pool because I was scared to put my face in the water without plugging my nose. The article about me in The Union also came out. It was pretty accurate; I was happy with it. I'll have my brother post it online ASAP- probably after Thanksgiving. Today, I'm a bit sad about this whole thing. I wrote a letter to Alan to express some of my feelings and I'm really glad I'm seeing Emily tomorrow.

November 20

On Friday, I swam and am getting more comfortable at putting my face in these days. I'm also doing the weights with the floats on the ends to strengthen my arms. The way I do it is pull them down in the water with many repetitions. Friday night, Daniel came for the weekend. He "tortured" me that night by making me get into bed completely alone with no help from him with my legs or anything. I did it, but it took me about an hour to face the right way! I forgave him though because it's something I need to learn how to do if I ever want to live on my own! On Saturday, Dan and I went to Sacramento and did some holiday shopping together at the Galleria Mall. That evening, Daniel and I met my friends Jeff, Sarah, Sarah, Veronica, John, Heidi, Thomas, and Bill for dinner in Old Town Sacramento. Dan and I had a great time before dinner. We got beers and sat on the deck outside the restaurant together above the Sacramento River. Today, I gave my slideshow about drunk driving to my parents and brother and they gave me some advice so I think it's about ready now.

November 17

This week has been pretty good all around. I have been getting out of bed and the car with no spotter so my arms are getting really strong. I also finished interviewing with Dave from The Union about my story. It was very responsible of him to call me to make sure he had all the facts and quotes right. When it comes out, I will have my brother post it online for you to read. Christy and I also went and ate a lunch we packed at Memorial Park in Nevada City. It was a beautiful day so we really enjoyed it. I also mailed the CD of the slideshow to Erin at Lowney because for some reason, the first one didn't work right. Today, I got to sleep in to 7:30 and it was so nice! I know that's not my usual sleeping in (9 or 10) but these days, it's huge for me because I usually get woken up at 6:00. With Emily this week (my counselor) we reviewed what I've said since I've gone to her at my request because with a brain injury, I often forget some of the stuff we chat about. My presentation to present at high schools is pretty much done so I just need to practice it with Christy and my parents. In therapy, I've been working on transferring to the mat from my chair without the board.

November 13

Yes, Brian brought the racing chair to therapy on Thursday. It's called a Widget and makes pushing so much easier because as you are going uphill, it keeps you from rolling backwards. Also, there are straight bars on the wheels so pushing it is faster. On Friday, I got my hair cut and highlighted by Therese. She even blow dried it straight so it looked more like it used to. My mom and I also did some errands in town including going to Longs, SPD (the grocery store), and getting lunch at the local coffee shop. Friday night, we had a girls' night because dad was in Southern California for work. We rented a pretty bad movie that looked like a good chick flick called The Upside of Anger. Sorry if any of you liked it but we were not impressed. Last night, my friends Erin and Jeff came to stay for a night. Erin and I worked on the Lowney slide show for a few hours after dinner and then this morning as well. She did a good job collecting pictures for it. We had a big breakfast to get our energy going. This evening, mom, dad, and I are taking it pretty easy.

November 10

A few days ago, I read some of my old postings that Dan wrote for me when I was really out of it. Turns out I was not eating solid food on my birthday (July 9) 2004 which shocked the hell out of me! I was amazed (just like the doctors at UC Davis) at how much I've been through. This week, I've been working on my old company's sideshow and it's great to see the faces of people I used to work with. I also worked on putting my face in the water again. Lately, I've been really focusing on the dumbbells in the water but if I ever want to swim again; I have to become more comfortable with it. I also had a rehab conference at therapy with my speech, occupational, and physical therapists and my parents. They all think I am doing pretty well which was good to hear. Last night, I put my sweat pants on all by myself which is a huge feat for me. I was lying down in bed and used the reacher to do it. Therapy called today and said a guy is going to bring a racing chair today so I am excited to see it! I have one that my cousin and her fiance gave to me but this sounds a bit different.

November 7

I RSVP'd today for my old company's holiday party. My brother Dan is coming with me so it will be so fun! I am so excited to go! I'm working on the slideshow with my friend Erin. My brother also told me that I have used that same quote about breaths of air about nineteen times in my updates. Okay, sorry! Not sure if you realized, but I did bump my head pretty hard and things like this tend to happen. This weekend, my mom and I went to the movies with our friends Natalie and her mom Holly. We saw the movie Prime together. On Saturday night, I went to my friends' party in Dutch Flat to celebrate some birthdays. It was wonderful talking to everyone at the party including some kids I went to high school with! They had it at the hotel in town. Some of the wives even did belly dancing that they have been learning so that was great to see. Today I swam and had a meeting at FREED with other friends in wheelchairs. When we got home, the reporter from The Union newspaper came again and finished interviewing me for a special edition they are doing. They also took some pictures of me in my standing frame, rolling around on a ball, working on my presentation, and doing the pulley at the front door.

November 3

Hi all. This week, I've been doing much better with my transfers. I saw Emily on Wednesday and we had a good talk. I really think she's helping a lot. Christy and I went to SPD for their deli sandwiches yesterday. We got a great tip from Emily that you should ask for the SPD Turkey because it's much better than the "normal" stuff. Before it started raining, I got 54 seconds on my time trial up the driveway. I also rolled up the ramp in the garage with no spotter for the first time. I freaked my dad out because he came into the garage and I was on the top of the ramp ready to go inside. Lately, I've been really missing Alan. I think as my mind comes back, things get harder emotionally. A quote comes to mind: something I think really applies to my case: "The quality of your life is not the number of breaths you take, but the number of moments that take your breath away."

October 31

Happy Halloween! Friday, Christy and I went to pizza in Sacramento with my brother. The place we went (I think it was called Steve's) was very good for people in wheelchairs and we didn't know that before we met there! The salad bar was low, the stuff in the bathroom was low, and the counter had a cut out place so I could see the cashier! That night, Daniel and I met my cousins Jessica and Cory, Jess' fiance Josh, and Arman at the Oakland Coliseum for a concert. We saw the Foo Fighters and Wheezer. They were very good, but my favorite was Wheezer. We also got to see my cousin Melissa who was also at the concert with her friends. That night, Dan and I stayed at our Aunt and Uncle's house in San Rafael: Paula and Bill. We got there about midnight and Paula was still up watching TV. Saturday, we all had breakfast together then left Marin for Davis to meet our parents at Aunt Jan's house. We had dinner there and got to see Suzanne and Chris and the kids. Sunday, Mom, Dad, and I went on a walk with my power chair; it was a beautiful day outside. Today, Christy and I swam at about 10:30 and I used the floaty dumbbells in the water then we had lunch at home. Then I did the pulley on the front door. My brother asked me what he should be for Halloween and I said, so intuitively, a piece of grass!

October 27

This week has been good. I feel like I'm in a good mood a lot of the time. I finished checking all of my e-mails from the site last night so I apologize if I took longer to respond to some of your messages. In those messages, I received some good advice: to put my goals on the website for what I want to accomplish now. I need to get more comfortable with sitting down all the time. I don't know if that will ever happen, but it's a goal. I do everything on my own except move myself around which means my arms need to get really strong! Another goal is to move back down to the South Bay by June 2006. I have really enjoyed being here to recover but it seems there are more opportunities for stuff in the South Bay. I'm going to need to get a car, one with hand controls, before I move out too. I transfer (move myself from one surface to another) by myself but with a spotter so getting rid of that "spotter" would be great.

October 23

These days, I'm feeling pretty good about stuff. Last night was my ten year high school reunion at the Alta Sierra Country Club. It was great to see everyone. I went with Callie, Jason, Sydney, Kim, Jessie and Zack, and we met up with some other people there. I hosted an horsd'oeuvres party at my house with them before we left. It felt great to see everyone and let them know that "Hey, I'm still me!" We ate food and gabbed the whole time with everyone there. I was super tired when I got home from it around midnight. We pretty much shut the place down! I was a little nervous about going because of the whole wheelchair thing but I was lucky that the Evite helped to "warn" people so they didn't freak out when they saw me roll up.

October 21

On Wednesday, I went swimming with my dad and showed him all of the stuff I do in the water. My mom even got to watch. They said I've improved a lot in the water. We went to Lake Tahoe (South shore) for two nights because my parents had the week off. We went to a beachside park, went to dinner at a sports bar, sat in the hot tub, and basically just relaxed and had fun. We also went to dinner at the place on South shore where I went with Alan and his dad on New Year's Eve 2003. It is a very nice restaurant called Evan's. It was a different restaurant when we were there with his Dad but just being in the same place was cool. I wheeled around the casino also and my wheeling is getting faster! Today, when we got home, I beat my time trial up the driveway. I clocked a 54 second split which is 5 seconds faster than the old one! Today, I've been worrying a little about money. I've decided it's expensive to be paralyzed!

October 17
1:30 pm

On Thursday night, Dad and I went to Round Table Pizza for dinner and had a nice time there. We saw our neighbor Andrew in the pizza place and had a good time chatting with him. This weekend, my brother Daniel came and we had a great time. On Friday, I went swimming and Daniel came too. He got to meet Christy and Dylan and see me in the water. We watched three college football games together which was my idea (they were being played simultaneously), took the power chair on a walk, and went to dinner in Nevada City with our friends Karen, Katie, and Greg. He was excited that it was actually my idea to watch the games! We also worked on my presentation to give at schools and he gave me some great tips for it. Mom and Dad had a good time on the house boat with their friends and I'm sure enjoyed the free time too!

October 13
12:48 pm

Well, I'm getting more of my sass back because I've been more vocal about stuff lately! I think the whole thing is finally starting to feel okay with me. Things are getting easier like moving around, transfers, etc. I've also been figuring out how to do stuff on my own and it feels good to be able to! I saw Emily yesterday and Christy came with me in the room to help me remember stuff that I typically say. On Tuesday, I showed Katie (my physical therapist) and Cindy (my speech therapist) my presentation to give at schools about drunk driving. I have a few more edits to make but they seemed to like it. I wanted to thank my parents for all that they do for me. It's hard on me to be living at home again but I really don't know what I would do without them! I'm very excited because Daniel is coming tonight to stay for the weekend.

October 10
5:00 pm

This weekend, I took the power chair on a walk with mom and dad. We went all the way to the top of the hill towards the end. We also watched a movie last night called Sister Act with Whoopie Goldberg. I've seen it before but it's a good movie. I also went to dinner in Dutch Flat at a really good restaurant called The Monte Vista. Today, I swam and did the exercise with the dumb bells to strengthen my arms. I also had a meeting at FREED today and got to see Anna. FREED is the local chapter of a center for independent living. Dad and I watched the golf and looked for my cousin Mike and uncle Jack but didn't see them on TV in South San Francisco.

October 6
1:25 pm

Today, I RSVP'd for my 10 year high school reunion. I hope it's fun to see everyone! I've been swimming in the mornings and it's so much nicer because then I have the afternoon free! I found a new exercise with floatie dumb bells in the water. It's going to really help my arm strength. I also saw Emily (my counselor) this week and she asked me if I did my homework which was to relax! I said I actually made time to do nothing. We got the packet about the surgery for my bladder and it's a little scary because I'd be in the hospital for about a week. Aren't you all glad my brother updated the photos? I saw Dr. Jenson yesterday and he seemed impressed with my progress so far. This was good to hear because I feel like I am doing better but it is so hard for me to see sometimes.

October 3
4:12 pm

I had a good weekend. Saturday, Christy and Dylan came over and we went on a walk with my power chair down the road. Christy and I sat on the deck and chatted while Dylan played in the forrest. It was so nice outside! We also went to Friar Tucks for dinner on Saturday night. We looked at the horse and carriage for a while, that was parked outside the restaurant, and talked to the jockey. Yesterday, mom and dad came home and we watched football together. I did a few time trials on the driveway and I'm getting consistently faster at them. Overall, it was a pretty good weekend. One thing I've been trying to do is update the photos on this website but it's really hard with only a dial up connection because it's so slow.

September 30
3:18 pm

My brother just e-mailed me and said that I forgot to tell about "the big freakin' laser" in my last update. At least I have an excuse! We got to go to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and see what he works on everyday. We also got to meet one of his bosses. This was the first year they allowed siblings to attend the open house so I was very excited. We also stayed at my aunt and uncle's house in Danville (the night before the lab) and had a great time there. My dad didn't fall off a ladder and get stitches this time! He he.

September 29, 2005
12:31 pm

This week, I've been swimming in the mornings and I love it because then I have the rest of the day to do stuff. I'm really good at putting my face in without plugging my nose these days and it's so nice! I found out why it scared me to put my face in and why I would suck in water-- because going down to under the water scared me so now I just get closer to the water surface before I go under. Yesterday, Christy and I went and had our packed lunch at Condon Park. It was a beautiful day outside. I've spent more time on the floor lately and it's nice to sit on a different surface! I went to bed early and read (at like 9:30) on Tuesday night because I was so tired and it felt great! I also saw my counselor Emily yesterday and one of my homework assignments is to take some "me" time because I have very little of that these days because I'm always working out or doing other stuff. And it takes me longer to do the simplest things! I've been sad lately because I miss Alan a lot.

September 26, 2005
7:04 pm

This weekend, Mom, Dad, and I drove to San Francisco and stayed two nights down there. I had so much fun! We stayed at my cousins' and aunt and uncle's place in Danville and had a good time with everyone. Their mom (my aunt) is in New Orleans helping out in the hospital (she's a nurse). On Saturday, Erin (my good friend) and I worked on the Lowney slideshow together. I used to be in charge of it when I worked there so it was great to work on it again. Then, Nicole, Erin, my parents, and I went to dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery in Campbell. Sunday, we drove to my friend Jeff's parents'; house in San Francisco and had a BBQ. Kina flew out from Hawaii and we had such a fun time there. Steve Tarantino (Jeff's dad) was so sweet to have us all invade his home! Today was great too. I swam at 11:00 for about an hour and I'm getting much better at putting my face in without plugging my nose. I did a lot of laps under water today. See Alan? I can do it now! For lunch, Christy and I went to a great restaurant in Chicago Park called Happy Apple Kitchen and we got to eat outside. When we got home, I rolled on the floor on top of a ball to strengthen my abdominals and arms.

September 22, 2005
6:39 pm

This week, I worked out on the floor a lot. I also had therapy both days as usual and my time trials on the driveway are getting faster. My best time is 1:02 from 1:07, which I did both this week. I also transferred without a spotter in therapy on Tuesday which is really good for me. My right hand is really listening to me these days which makes me so glad! Another thing that happened this week is that I started peeing without a mirror, so I can be more portable now. I'm still trying to decide whether I'll go to my 10 year high school reunion or not. Crazy that it has been that long! Today, Christy and I went down the road about a mile (I was in my power chair) because it was a beautiful day here.

September 19, 2005
4:51 pm

I had a good weekend. Our friends the Bringolfs, Callie, Taylor and Ashlyn Thomas, Karen and Barry, and Karen Reeves came over for dinner last night at it was great to see everyone. I also went to the movies with my friend Natalie yesterday to see “The Brothers Grimm.” We were late of course! Today I worked out a lot on the floor; it’s getting more comfortable for me. My transfers are still improving as I’m getting more comfortable moving myself around. On Saturday, Mom and I went clothes shopping in Auburn and got lots of clothes for me! I also found some great shoes. I talked to my friend Danh on the phone last night and he is good. Today was Alan’s birthday so it’s been a little strange for me because of everything. I really missed him today.

September 14, 2005

Well, I've decided to drop the class at Sierra College because it's taking me too much time to do stuff for it. I used to be able to write a paper in one or two nights but my brain injury makes it so I can't remember what I just read! I am doing a lot though: this website, making the invitations for my cousin's bachloret party, doing the slide show for my old company's holiday party, my drunken driving presentation to give at schools, and generally figuring out how to move myself around. I'm still annoyed about my brain injury because I used to be as sharp as a tack! My friend Sarah came to visit on Friday night and it was great to see her. My parents and I also went to see a movie about drug companies and Africa called The Constant Gardener. It was pretty good. These days, I'm getting stronger and I can tell because I went to a FREED meeting this week and they said my transfers look much better. It was hopeful that they said I could still see improvements years after my injury.

September 9, 2005

I spoke with my friend Sarah this morning about her visit tonight. We are having white fish for dinner. I can't wait to see her! Last weekend, my family and I went to Chico to my cousins' parents' house for an engagement party. We played Bacci ball (I watched) and had a great time with all the people there. Dan and I stayed at the Fords'; house late and had a game called beer pong on the ping pong table. We tried to go out, but the taxis were going to take at least an hour to get to us. This week, I had my class again and I need to write a paper for it so I'll be working on that today. I got my results from UC Davis about my brain test and they made me mad! They made me think, 'Being paralyzed is a little better than my brain injury!' Driving and living alone are still a question which was hard to hear. But I guess all I can do is keep plugging away and hope for the best results.

September 5, 2005

This is the first HTML I've done so I hope it works! Well, I decided not to go to Utah to my friend Rich's wedding. The main reason is that weddings have had a tendency to make me a bit sad. I know that normally I would be fine with going and seeing Rich and meeting Kim. But I really appreciated the invitation to me. I started my writing class at Sierra College on Wednesday and I think it will be good for me. I could really tell how great my education at Santa Clara was. Even with my brain injury, I could follow a lot of the lecture. I'm getting a lot stronger these days which is good. I'm thinking, 'Finally!' I've started doing time trials on the driveway every day because I need to beat my time! My physical therapist Katie thought it would be a good idea to do that. Another thing that has happened is that my hair is coming back curly! Weird huh? Also, my 10 year high school reunion is this year and I'm not sure if I will go or not. It's hard because I don't know how many people have heard about my injury and loss.

Aug 25, 2005

"My Dad and I went to UC Davis in Sacramento for a study of my bladder yesterday. We got the day wrong but luckily their other patient cancelled so it ended up working very well for us! We went out to dinner at TGI Fridays in Sacramento which was very fun! This weekend, we went to the local fair and saw lots of animals and some art. We ate dinner there and had the famous cinnamon rolls as we talked to our friends Jessie and Zack. I also worked out on the deck for a while to get my arms stronger. I talked to my friend Sarah about our Utah plans for our friend Rich's wedding in October. I think my brother will come too. My friend Christy will come as well because I can't quite move myself around yet so I need her strenth! And, I can't quite get all the way dressed on my own. Otherwise, though, I can do everything on my own."

Aug 17, 2005

"The end of last week was okay. I'm feeling more with it (mentally) these days which makes things a little harder. On the up side though, I feel like I am getting stronger in my arms and my brain is definitely coming back. So these are both good things! Christy and I drove to Auburn to get Dylan and pick up some uniforms for him for school next year. We also went to lunch and all got sandwiches. I skipped therapy on Thursday because I was having trouble peeing and it would have made me really late. I only missed one therapy though, so I didn't miss out on too much. I balanced my checkbook this morning so that was good because I never did it before [the accident]. One thing I always say is that my injury didn't make me any better at math! On another note, please send your feedback to the webmaster e-mail. I'll get it and try to address some stuff you'd like to hear about in my future updates."

Aug 12, 2005

"This week, we went to the South Bay. We saw my brother Dan and went out to dinner in the city [SF]. We also went to the hospital and I got to see a lot of my therapists and nurses. We went to an A's game (because the Giants were out of town) and had a great time there. They lost but the A's started coming back towards the end. I also saw a doctor at UC Davis about my bladder and he said everything looks good. We went out to lunch with my friends Danh, Mariska, and Tyler by the lab and Dan came too. Tyler is so cute! He is running around just like dad! Apparently, he swims just like Dad too!"

Aug 6, 2005

"Today, my parents and I went to Lake Tahoe with my grandmother and had a great lunch outside at a nice restaurant on the North Shore. We also watched a boat show that was going on after lunch. Last night, my brother, the Bringolfs, Goods, and Blakemores (our neighbors) came over for horsd'oeuvres and we sat around and talked for a few hours. My brain injury was not as prevelant last night, which was one of the firsts. So I felt like I could keep up with the conversation more easily. To explain how it feels sometimes, it's like my head is in a thick fog and what is being said is almost not understandable to me. This happens sometimes and it makes me sad/mad because I used to be so sharp! So last night was much better. The next day, my friend Natalie was visiting from the Bay Area so we hung out and talked and looked at old pictures together. My transfers out of the car are getting much better. I think I am just getting stronger and it's becoming more like a habit."

Aug 4, 2005

"This week, I've gotten a bit stronger with my transfers again. It's weird how my strength comes and goes. I also saw my dentist and have no cavaties, of course. My cousin Jessica and her fiance Josh came to visit this weekend and brought me a racing wheelchair so I need to get much better/faster at my transfers to the chair. Tomorrow, the physical therapist Katie, and Rehab Manager Sue are doing a home visit to see my stuff around the house and how I move myself around here. We also went to our friends the Petersons for dinner with two of their kids and the Bringolf adults. Lately, it's all been a little harder emotionally for me and I don't know why. I think as my mind comes back, I'm realizing all the things I miss."

July 29, 2005

"Today was good at therapy. I got to walk in the parallel bars with braces on my legs again. I didn't wear the brace around my waist which is huge for me. My transfers in and out of the car are getting much better these days and I don't know why. My guess is that I am just getting stronger. An e-mail of mine was printed in the Stanford magazine about being parapalegic and being willing to do any study for them. [attached below] I've been eating almost my whole meal (all three) with my right hand which is really improving the coordination of it. So it's starting to listen to my brain finally!"

Here's the email that was published last spring:

Your article on Joe Kay really applies to my situation (“Boy, Interrupted,” January/February). I am a 27-year-old woman who had a spinal cord injury about nine months ago. I was bicycling with my boyfriend near Santa Rosa when we were hit by a drunk driver. My boyfriend was killed instantly. My injuries were extensive: a T-12 spinal injury and brain injury. I have a bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree from San Jose State, but my memory is so bad now.

Being in a wheelchair is so different from the active life I used to lead. I know it can be good still, but I feel that I have lost so much. Because I am all about research, I would be willing to try out anything. Thank you for publishing that article.

Jill Mason
Grass Valley, California

July 25, 2005

"This week we went to Newport Beach where my aunt Carol and her three sons were there. We stayed in a house right on the beach (Cathy and Jim own it) and got a beach wheelchair for me. It was great to see my cousins and my brother! We also had a wonderful dinner out at Mama Gina's the night Dan flew out. Prior to the vacaction to Newport Beach, we went to my aunt and uncle's house in Danville and had a good dinner together outside. My dad fell off a ladder and had to go to the emergency room in the hospital the day we left for Newport (he got 22 stitches on it) so we had to miss Dan's bike race in which he placed 3rd! I also got to see my friend Danh briefly which was great! Last night, my friend Natalie came over to visit because she was in town for the weekend. We chatted and watched The Aviator together. Today, my friends Heidi and Matt and their new baby Thomas came for lunch. It was great to see them! I also talked to Cary and Dan about my idea to speak to junior high or high school kids about drunk driving. I want this injury to teach something to people. My speech therapist Cindy, wants to help me with it so I think it's a good goal. If I can keep one kid from getting into a car when the driver is drunk then it will be worth it."

July 14, 2005

"This weekend was my 28th birthday and we went to my friend Veronica's house for a dinner with a lot of my friends and their parents. I even got to meet Thomas Sharrenberg--Heidi and Matt's baby. Before the party, just my family and I went to Old Town Sacramento and had lunch and got ice cream. I can't believe I am so old now! For my birthday, Dr. Craig and some other friends from my master's degree program got me an IPOD and it's so fun to play with. Dr. Craig came up to visit and dropped it off for me."

"Lately I've been having kind of a hard time emotionally. I wonder a lot about what I ever did to deserve this? Then I come up with the realization that it's not what I did or didn't do-- it's just that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. So things have been a bit harder for me as my mind comes back, which I am sure a lot of people can see! I still try to remain as positive as I can because I've been blessed with a second life and I am happy that I have that chance. My friend Christy always says: "You're living for both of you now." She's right. I feel like I have a purpose now that is very important for both of us."

July 6, 2005

"Fourth of July was great for us. My family and lots of our relatives went camping at Lake Shasta. Things have been sort of hard emotionally lately. I'm realizing all the things I lost and it makes me sad to think about sometimes. I not only lost a friend but my independence and the ability to walk, run, feel the sand on my toes, etc. I keep waiting for something good to come of this because I feel like after all I've been through, something good must happen!"

June 21, 2005

"This weekend was great. Dan and I stayed with our aunt and uncle Paula and Bill while my parents were in Bodega Bay. Dan and I went to Bodega on Saturday and met up with them there. Paula and I went shopping together on Friday afternoon and then went to dinner in North Beach with Dan and Bill. Things lately have been harder emotionally for me. As my brain is coming back, I'm realizing all the things I lost. I'm also realizing that this has been super hard for my family too. My parents started their summer vacation this week so it's good to have them home. I'm trying really hard to get stronger as fast as I can but sometimes it's too slow for me. And sometimes, my right hand doesn't listen to my brain. My only option is to keep plugging along, though. I feel like I need to make Alan happy because I'm living for both of us now."

June 17, 2005

"Well I made up my mind to stay here until next June because I think I need a liitle more time to recover. This sort of makes me mad because my body just isn't cooperating but I think it will make more sense in the long run. Lately, I've been transferring again with the board into the car because now that I don't have to transfer into bed to go pee, I've lost practice! This weekend, we are going to San Rafael to stay with my aunt and uncle Paula and Bill. My brother and I are then going to Bodega Bay to meet Mom and Dad."

June 6, 2005

"Lately I've been doing pretty well. This weekend, I was a bit sad because of this whole thing but I am feeling a little better today. We did the Race for the Cure at the fairgrounds this weekend. We saw lots of people we knew there. It involved me wheeling around the fairgrounds three times--about a mile. Recently, I went to a dinner thing at Freed in town-- the center for independant living-- and I met a lot of great people there. I am going swimming today and I've been putting my head in the water a lot which is huge for me. Things are going ok these days-- there are some minor frustrations but I think they just go with the whole thing."

May 25, 2005

"This last weekend, my friends Troy, Robin, baby Soares, Jamie, and Sherwick, from the swim team came to visit and it was great to see them. They were up for a triathlon and they said it was hard because they had to do two runs because the lake was too murky for the swim. On Sunday, my friends from work, Laura and Brina came for lunch. We sat and talked on the deck and it was so nice outside! I also swam and put my head under water many times which is huge for me because I don't have control of my legs. It has been hard to get my confidence back in the water since the accident."

May 20, 2005

I (finally) posted some more photos tonight. Sorry for lagging. They first two are from last weekend, the one from May 1st is of a dinner with my cousin Mike who came to visit from Seattle, the March 12th photo is of a walk that Jill went on with my parents and aunt Carol from Maryland before we went to Brian (cousin) and Crystal's wedding.


May 17, 2005

"Last week I got to walk on these stilt things which was so good. I took about 15 steps in them, using my hip flexors to swing my legs forward. This weekend, my friends Kina, Becky, Veronica, and Sarah came to visit for brunch. We had a great time together. The day before, my friend Greg got married to Katie at a HS teacher of mine's ranch. It was a beautiful wedding. Also, Saturday night, my brother and I stayed up late watching a movie and talking. I was a little upset too because I really miss Alan and my old life. I try to stay positive, though, but sometimes the effects are just too much."


May 11, 2005

"This week has been pretty good. I've been transferring more and more without the board which is huge for me! I also got my hair done again by Therese-- trimmed and highlighted. A great thing happened to me: I got referred to UC Davis for the summer for speech, occupational, and physical therapies. UC Davis is where a lot of the research is taking place for people with spinal cord injuries so it will be a great place to be!"


May 2, 2005

"This weekend has been great. I finally worked up a sweat on the trail above the Yuba River! Sounds weird but that is something I really miss! I've asked some people about how to get a good workout from a wheelchair, but this was the first time I actually felt like I got a workout! My cousin Mike Murphy is coming tonight so it will be super fun to see him! My brother did Wildflower this weekend and he did well-- he finished in 2:36. I'm sure he did the best on the bike! I sure miss triathlons!"


April 28, 2005

"This week, I've had a cold--my first sickness in a year! One great thing that has happened (that only a few will know about) is that I can actually go pee in the toilet! This is huge for me because it always felt weird to have to go to bed to go potty. I still have to use a catheter, but it's so nice to actually go pee in the bathroom! Sorry if I embarassed anyone but this is huge for me. You know me: a pretty private person but I had to share that! Another thing that happened is that I can now get down the ramp into the living room by myself. This means my arms are getting stronger too."


April 26, 2005

"This weekend, my cousins and aunt and uncle came to visit. Janet, Jeff, Jess, and Cory were here most of the day and we played cards and went for a walk together. We also talked about Jessica's wedding too. It will be so fun! On Sunday, my friend Sarah (Dr. Ginn) came for brunch and it was great to see her! Steve Sherman and his son also came that afternoon. I really miss my old life today for some reason. Everyone says it has gotten way better but it's so hard for me to see."


April 17, 2005

"Christie and I went shopping and we went out to lunch on Friday so it was great to get out. Tonight we're going to our neighbors' house for a birthday dinner for Terry. My doctor referred me to UC Davis for the summer so that should help me with my spinal cord injury. The article came out on the year anniversary of my accident. The author, Chris Coursey, did a good job of reflecting all the stuff I've had to go through this past year [I’ll post it online soon]. My friend Veronica came to visit me last night and it was great to see her. It makes me realize how lucky I am to have such close friends and family through this whole thing."


April 13, 2005

From Jill (sorry...I posted this a few days after she emailed it to me):
"This week, the biggest news is that I feel a little bit more like myself again! It's weird to explain but I feel like I am finally coming back. Last weekend, we went to my cousins' soccer games at Cherry Island (Alicia, Amanda, and Mike). It was also my dad's birthday so we went out to breakfast together on Sunday morning. Though I'm not that much of a religious person, we went to church on Sunday morning because I was a bit upset on Saturday night. I think everything is hitting me all at once: Alan, not being in the Bay Area with my friends and career, and the loss of the use of my legs. We went to our neighbors' house on Sunday night for Diane's 60th birthday and it was great to see everyone."

"I guess that's pretty obvious to all. I lost a ton of stuff, including a friend. It just makes me think how lucky I am to have the network of support that I do. Thanks to all who have been so supportive through this whole thing. One good thing that happened is that Heidi had a baby boy on April 11! So this day will be special for a much better reason. Thanks to all who have helped us during this past year. I appreciate it and I know it helps my parents and brother a lot too."