Wednesday, August 30, 2006

So Much Sadness

There is so much sadness in the news. The accident of Flight 5191 in Lexington, KY killed 49 victims and left one survivor struggling for his life. One couple that died in the crash was just married the evening before in a fairy tale wedding celebration. Another man in the crash had a heart of gold for Habitat for Humanity. Every life extinguished in that broken and burning plane was special to someone.

The news also has been documenting the yearlong struggle for the Gulf of Mexico region to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Bible Baptist Church in Gulfport recently celebrated their new building, but many homes and businesses remain in ruins. One young man rescued from the Louisiana nightmare was deposited by bus in Houston, later to be shot and killed on the street.

For the past two weeks, the greater Cincinnati area (my "backyard") has been looking for Marcus Fiesel, a three year old special needs child. The foster mother claimed something happened to him while she had a fainting episode at a local park due to a heart condition. When she came to, the three other children were present, but Marcus was missing. Churches and communities as far as 60 miles away showed an outpouring of concern as they prayed and helped in the search.

Authorities soon realized that little Marcus had never been in the park. Now the truth is out: the foster parents had routinely restrained Marcus and left him at home. Days before the park incident, Marcus had his arms pinned behind his back and was wrapped in a blanket and packing tape like a mummy. With only his head exposed, he cried out in fear, so the couple placed him in a closet with a fan turned on to block the screams.

Marcus was abandoned for 36 hours, and found dead when they returned home. To cover up the death, the foster dad burned the body several times in an abandoned chimney out in the country, and then allegedly dumped the remains in the Ohio River.

During times like these, we need a Savior. Not just a one-time Savior who saves us from our sinful nature to be claimed for an eternity with Him, but also a day-by-day Savior who indwells believers and comforts us with a peace that passes all human understanding.

What have you done with your sadness lately? Have you found yourself floundering under the dark clouds or reaching out to each other and to our Heavenly Father?

...In Times Like These, We Need A Savior...

Friday, August 25, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: Violet Dawn

by: Kathy Carlton Willis

Title: Violet Dawn (Kanner Lake Series)

Author: Brandilyn Collins

Publisher: Zondervan

ISBN: 0-310-25223-7

Genre: Inspirational/Mystery/Suspense

Paige Williams runs from her twenty-five year past by transplanting herself to the resort town of Kanner Lake, Idaho. She works as a sales clerk and lives a quiet life on the outskirts of town.

The book opens with Paige soothing her insomnia in a hot tub. She dips under the water, seeking the solace of solitude only to be greeted by the touch of human flesh. Did I mention there was a dead body in the hot tub? Paige determines her past would be revealed if she calls the police, so she decides to hide the body and move forward with her life of secrecy.

This sleepy town is all atwitter with the excitement of new gossip-local celebrity, Edna San, antiquated movie legend, is missing from her estate. The downtown coffee shop (Java Joint) owned by Christian Bailey Truitt is buzzing with the news.

Author Brandilyn Collins sets the stage with these opening scenes for a full-fledged suspense thriller. She switches point of view with each short chapter. Action and emotions drive the story as we see Paige come face to face with her past-evil so lethal one could easily suspect the author is writing about the devil himself.

Readers who devour this tasty psychological thriller will want to read the author's previous works: Brink of Death, Stain of Guilt, Dead of Night, Web of Lies, Eyes of Elisha, and others. Be on the lookout for future novels in the Kanner Lake Series.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Neurosurgeon Says...

Today I went for my first visit with the neurosurgeon who will do my spinal cord stimulator surgery (my Physical Medicine and Rehab doc did the trial run of the SCS). We arrived at the office at 9:00 a.m. for a 9:30 a.m. appointment, and the doctor came in my exam room around 11:20 a.m. He was delayed due to emergency surgery. Once he entered the room, the frustrations from waiting disappeared. First he took my history and of note were:

#1-He believes I had cauda equina syndrome along with the herniated disc I had back in 1993 that started all this, based on my description of the symptoms as well as the timetable for surgery and recovery.

Definition of cauda equina syndrome:
Cauda equina syndrome (CES) occurs when the nerve roots of the cauda equina are compressed and disrupt motor and sensory function to the lower extremities and bladder. Patients with this syndrome are often admitted to the hospital as a medical emergency. CES can lead to incontinence and even permanent paralysis.

The collection of nerves at the end of the spinal cord is known as the cauda equina, due to its resemblance to a horse's tail. The spinal cord ends at the upper portion of the lumbar (lower back) spine. The individual nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord that provide motor and sensory function to the legs and the bladder continue along in the spinal canal. The cauda equina is the continuation of these nerve roots in the lumbar region. These nerves send and receive messages to and from the lower limbs and pelvic organs.

#2-He is concerned with my history of frequent infections and especially my recent abscess. Of special note are the recurrent proteus bacterial infections. He plans to give me stronger IV antibiotics and oral antibiotics because of this. He said the risk of infection is the biggest risk we will face with this SCS surgery.

#3-He said the glucose intolerance also makes me at a higher risk for infection.

#4-He plans to keep me overnight since I'm at a higher risk for complications. This will allow him to keep me on IV antibiotics longer. Also they can monitor my lungs because he said I might not breath as deeply due to the pain and this could cause my lungs to have a problem. Also, since I have restrictive lung disease, even though it is doing well now, he said the trauma of the surgery might cause it to flare. This is a relief because many SCS patients have the surgery as an OUTPATIENT!

And here is the good news:
He will be using glue to close my incisions rather than sutures, so I will get to take showers after two days rather than two weeks. How cool is that?! Not only will I feel clean, but the warm showers will feel good if I'm stiff and sore from the surgery. Also, I'm hoping this means I won't need to wear dressings as long as I would have had to do with stitches (if at all). If I can avoid tape, my skin will thank me.

I will have about a 2-3 inch incision around my bra-strap line-at the T-11 location-where they will do a laminotomy to get into the epidural area, and then they will install the electrical lead wire. Since they are doing a laminotomy, this will be much like back surgery. During a discectomy, they also do a laminotomy to gain access to the area.

A laminotomy means they remove a piece of the lamina (the bony part of the spine). Here is a graphic of a laminotomy used during a lumbar discectomy. My incision will be similar to this, only higher on the back, and the laminotomy will look like this-then they will proceed with the implantation of the spinal cord stimulator.

They will make a 3-4 inch incision in my right abdomen, below my waistband, where they will install the device that contains the battery. There will be a special tubing between the lead wire and the pocket for the battery, going from the front side to the middle of the back.

One last bit of news: the surgery has been rescheduled for September 12th. I was going to have it on September 14th but the doctor has a craniotomy scheduled for all day that day. Nice to know my doctor does such technical surgeries. He does quite a bit of these SCS surgeries. The worst part is that the surgery isn't until 3:00 p.m., or later if he gets delayed like today.

He is also ordering an AFO (ankle foot orthotic) for my left leg, to help with my foot drop (my foot sometimes drags and then I stumble). He said I can't afford to be jarred or to fall once I have the SCC in place. Any sudden movement could damage the equipment or dislocate the lead wire. I don't have to wear the AFO all the time, but he recommends it any time I will be up on my feet for long, or when I notice more muscle fatigue. He also recommended good support shoes, or even high top athletic shoes.

Photo of AFO:

Tha-tha-tha-that's all folks!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Zoo Photos

We went to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens for our 25th Wedding Anniversary on August 21st. Here are some photos:

This is a vampire bat. Russ and I were intrigued by these bats in the nocturnal house because there were tubs of red liquid in the cage with the bats. We read the sign, and sure enough, it was real blood, the only food vampire bats consume. Amazing!

This is Muke, the Zoo’s 24-year-old western lowland gorilla and her newborn baby boy. The four-pound male baby gorilla was born on Sunday, August 13. We got to see him on one of his first days out. I've heard mama never lets go of him. It was very sweet to see!

The polar bear exhibit was one of my favorite. You could watch the bear above ground or go underneath the surface to see him play beneath the water's surface. His antics were fun to watch!

25th Anniversary Date

For Russ's birthday, I poured an entire bowl of steaming hot miso soup all over my front at a hip new Japanese restaurant. Since it came before the meal, I had to sit there the remainder of the meal with red skin under soaked clothing. Not to be outdone, I managed to provide an even more outlandish stunt for our 25th wedding anniversary this week.

For our evening meal we decided to have a once in a lifetime dining experience at a fancy-smancy restaurant boat on the Ohio River owned by Jeff Ruby. We dressed up a little bit for the occasion. I confess I had to have Russ help zip up my pants, not because they were tight, but because the top clasp was broken and I had to hold the waistband together while he yanked the zipper up. It was a nice pantsuit, so I really wanted to wear it for our special night out.

Valet parked our mini van, making Russ regret that we didn't bring our Monte Carlo SS. We nearly pranced into the restaurant, soaking up all the ambiance and indulgent wait-staff. Our table was situated on the window side of the restaurant, with a view of the river and the beautiful Cincinnati skyline. We splurged and ordered surf and turf (a petite lobster tail and specialty steak, aged to perfection). Four waiters/servers were assigned to our table, to assist our every need.

Before the main course, my diuretic kicked in, and I was escorted to the powder room. All was well until I tried to zip up. The zipper was stuck. I tried every trick, but the zipper would not budge. I thought I needed a different angle, so I took off the slacks and tried again. Nothing. I tried tucking the waistband into the top of my white granny underwear, but it didn't work. I racked my brain and could not think of any Macgyver type trick to fix the dilemma. I considered my options. Stay in the bathroom the rest of the night until Russ retrieved me, or go back to my seat, hoisting up my pants with my "discreet" hands, and make the best of the situation. I decided to face the world bravely, and out the door I went. I held my head high, hoping not to draw attention to my awkward walk. I looked like the man on Boston Legal who has Asperger's Syndrome.

Russ knew right away what had happened. I tried to assure him that it would not keep me from having a good time. I enjoyed the company, the view, the service, and the food. It was a fabulous experience, and having a sense of humor helped me make the best of a terrible situation.

I had to make yet another trip to the powder room thanks to that tardy-acting diuretic. This time, I tried to remove a safety pin Russ had put on the back of my bra to gather my straps together in the middle, but it was nearly impossible to squirm out of the garment unassisted. I used brut force and the explosion of energy broke off the head of the safety pin, releasing just the pin part for me to use to fix my pants. I poked the pin through the material on each side of the zipper and bent the metal until I made a makeshift closure. The pointy end went directly into my skin. So, not to be jabbed any worse, once again I walked like a duck back to the table.

It could have been one of Alexander's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. But I decided to focus on the positive and make the most of my evening. This is one of those times that the Joy of Jesus supersedes the negative events we go through in life. In the full scheme of things, it wasn't going to matter if my pants fell down, but it did matter that I showed my dear husband the appreciation of twenty-five good years.

We walked out arm in arm, and maybe, just maybe we took my secret with us and no one else was the wiser!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Vacation Day

Yesterday Russ and I had a vacation day to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary together. There is so much to report that it will take a day or two to write it all down. Needless to say, it was not just a fabulous day, but because I'm an imperfect example of a wife, it was a hilarious day. Leave it to me to find a way to botch up our special night out. But it will make for a night I will never forget, for sure! I'll whet your whistle by telling you it trumped the time I poured piping hot miso soup all over my front on Russ's birthday this February. I wasn't expecting an encore performance of "duncehood" but I delivered!

So, come back in a day or two to see what I've done to journal our special day. It will have lots of photos so I can also use this entry as a virtual scrapbook.

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


My 9 month old Boston Terrier, Jazzy, worships me. Maybe worship is too strong of a word, but I don't think so. She follows me from room to room just to be by my side. She'll rest at my feet or beg to lie in my lap. When I take a nap, she jumps up in bed and pressed the small of her back against the small of my back. She covers me with her kisses and looks up at me with an expression of adoration on her face. She trusts me to provide for all of her needs and many of her wishes. When I come in the door, she can't wait to greet me. Jazzy is content just being with me.

I have to admit that it feels good to have a creature love me with this kind of love. Adoration, worship, trust—all qualities hard to come by in 2006. Unconditional love, no strings attached, is unheard of. Some might wonder why I want to be tied down with the responsibilities of a pet, but nurturing Jazzy and taking care of her is my privilege considering all the benefits I get in return.

When God created mankind, he designed us for this kind of fellowship. But it seems the very things He wants from us are the things we never find time to do. If I took an inventory of my relationship with God based on how Jazzy treats me, I must admit I come woefully short.

•Do I just want to be with Him, 24/7?
•Do I follow Him wherever He goes, rather than expecting Him to follow me?
•Do I rest at His feet?
•Do I adore and worship Him?
•Do I trust Him to meet my needs and even some of my wants?

I pray that Jazzy will be my reminder to love God with all my heart, soul, and might. And worship is never too strong of a word to describe my love for the One who made me, saved me and now abides in me.

Kathy Carlton Willis
Living Out Loud Communications

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


When I went to the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Doctor regarding the Spinal Cord Stimulator, he said that he would put in the trial version, and then refer me to a neurosurgeon for the permanent version to be implanted. We asked about the timing of all this because we needed to plan for our busy Fall schedule. He told me that normally the "big" surgery is 2-3 weeks after the trial. So we planned accordingly (meals, help, postponement of big events on the schedule until later in the year, etc). His office also told me the surgery usually is scheduled in that time period, and even the Medtronics nurse, who has done this for 17 years and worked with these doctors-said the same thing. So we figured we could count on it.

Well, my trial device was taken out on August 1st, and I called the same day to make the appointment with the neurosurgeon. Their first available, at any of their 5 locations, was August 18th. You can imagine my frustration, knowing the surgery would be even later. Well, it gets worse! They called back a few days later and asked if I could go to a different location to see the surgeon, but on the same day. It is further away. But, because I want this over with, I said "SURE." They called today to confirm my appointment for the 18th, but then, just 2 hours later, they called back to say the surgeon can't see me until September!

I explained my frustrations (nicely-I know the receptionist can't help it). I told her what the PM&R office had led me to believe about surgery schedule. Also, I had already had my pre-surgery physical exam and EKG, and now they might need to do it over again closer to time(they had ordered a chest x-ray and labwork, but I had waited to do that-now I will wait even longer!).

So, now my neuro appointment is August 24th (she found an opening sooner than the September date) and because she felt sorry for my situation, she went ahead and scheduled my surgery even though the doc hasn't seen me yet, for September 14th. This is a full month later than when we had expected it to be scheduled. She did say she will call back if there are any cancellations.

Even though I'm disappointed in the delay, I'm trying to see the good in this. So, my reasoning for all this, is that maybe it is better this way so that my abscess can heal well, and we can be sure the infection is completely gone. By looking for a positive, it helps blow away the dark clouds!

Friday, August 11, 2006


Thanks to those who have been following my journey toward spinal cord stimulator surgery. Just wanted to give you an update on the progress. I went to the doctor's office yesterday (Friday) for my presurgery physical. They also looked at my wound from the incision and drainage procedure on Wednesday and removed the wicking. It is looking "clean" so that is good. Now I just keep it dry (no more antibiotic ointment) and wear a dressing over it until the wound heals shut. They didn't put stitches in it so that it would heal from the inside out and not fill up with any sort of fluid. They did an EKG, which was normal (no reason to think it wouldn't be). My blood pressure was down to 138/90, so that is much improved from what it was before. And I go for a chest x-ray and blood-work next week, in preparation for my neurosurgeon presurgery appointment next Friday. From there-we set the date and move forward! It should be in 2-3 weeks from now, we are guessing.

You have asked what I've been up to, so just wanted to share that my Jazzy dog is doing a great job of entertaining me (will have to write an article about her). And I've taken up rubber-stamping. I did this YEARS ago, but never had any "formal training." Now I have a friend (Thanks Betty!) helping me figure out how to dress the cards up a bit more. It's all in the supplies! My goal is to make all the thank-you cards I will need, and also all my Christmas cards. That should keep me busy for the 2 months I'll be recuperating. Also, we are going to dream up a neat craft project to do for favors for our Fall Friendship Tea at church (to be held in November).

Also, I have a new book idea, and have been writing the skeleton for it, so I can have a good foundation upon which to build. It's pretty exciting. I'll get a brainstorm at the oddest times, and so I keep pen and paper handy no matter where I am!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's Out of Here!

I went to the internal medicine office today. My internist is away on maternity leave, so I got another doctor. Russ and I both liked her a great deal. She went over my medical history, with the various infections and cysts and the chronology for this current abscess. She did an exam and said the abscess had to be surgically opened, drained, scraped out, the wall of the abscess removed, and then saline rinsed. So she did that and left a wick to drain any further infection, then a dressing. I'm to go back on Friday for a checkup. The incision is about 1 cm in size-so not real big-but she did use forceps to open it more, and went in fairly deep to make sure she got it all.

I appreciated the fact that she was thorough, that she gave me a "play-by-play" as she did the procedure, and she didn't hurt me! Russ stood at my head and he said he watched my face to make sure I wasn't saying "I'm fine" if I was hurting. So he didn't actually watch the procedure-said it would gross him out. But the doc even checked on him to make sure he was doing okay while she was doing the procedure, so I thought that was really sweet. I'm sure she didn't want him to pass out!

Also she said that my lymph nodes in my groin are swollen from this infection. I have 3 more days of levaquin, so we will wait it out and see if this improves, since I haven't had a real fever after being on this latest antibiotic.

And she addressed the blood pressure problem I've had for the past two months. She checked it twice will I was there and it was high, and she noted how high it was when I went to urgent care, and how high it has been at home. She changed my medication and wants it rechecked when I come in on Friday. And will have me come in next week as well. She said they can't clear me for surgery until the blood pressure is under control or I could stroke out on the table.

She is hopeful that both the abscess and the hypertension will be okay so that I could have surgery in 3 weeks time.

She did say if the abscess doesn't clear it up, I'll have to have a "bigger" surgery with a surgeon, and also will have to see an infectious disease doctor. She also said with my history of infection, and with being on a low-dose chemotherapy (Methotrexate), that I should probably see an infectious disease doc anyway-he might want to do something to help prevent future infections.

She wrote on the bill that it was an incision and drainage of an abnormal wall abscess. And she prescribed 30 Vicodin to take for pain as I recover from this little surgical procedure. I thought that was sweet of her considering I had no pain medication at all after the trial of the spinal cord stimulator! I doubt I'll need 30, but they are nice to have on hand!


"Try XYX Wrinkle Release Spray--it works!" The announcer goes on to tout the benefits of using the spray on all of our wrinkles. Then I realize he isn't talking about clothing, but SKIN!

In my dreams. There are concoctions and creams and scrubs and masks and even botox. When human beings willingly have botulism injected into their skin to erase wrinkles, we know wrinkle removal is a BIG DEAL. Youthful looks seem to make a difference in how a person gets ahead in life. It is so important that companies have invested in all manner of youth serums-it is BIG BUSINESS.

You say you are comfortable in your skin. A good test of this is when you get an invitation to your 25th high school reunion. Mine is this year, and it certainly has been a reality check for me!

I have to confess what sparked my mind to think about wrinkle removal. It all started with an e-mail for a recipe for homemade wrinkle release spray for clothing. It's basically fabric softener and water in a spray bottle. We also make homemade remedies to treat our skin from items we find in our kitchen: mayonnaise, egg whites, oatmeal, and more.

Ephesians 5:27 says, "That he [Christ] might present it [the church] to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

I'm guessing being wrinkle-free is important to Jesus too. Not our facial wrinkles or our wrinkled clothing, but our hearts. He desires His church to be chaste and without moral flaw. Just as Old Testament priests sacrificed only animals without spot or wrinkle, our Savior presented Himself as a sacrifice on our behalf, without flaw. He is now at work in us, making us more like Him. My job in the process is to be yielded to His wrinkle releasing powers.

I may not be successful in avoiding facial wrinkles in my lifetime, but I do pray I eradicate heart wrinkles with the spray of Jesus' love.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

School Dress Codes-Looking Back

On one of the e-mail lists, we are discussing dress codes when we were in school. Here are some of my memories. If you were in my school, or my town, and remember more about the details, please do feel free to comment or write me off list. I'd love to know more!

When I started school in 1968, I was the first class of kindergarten in our school district. Before that, school started with first grade and some attended a private kindergarten if they wished. I didn't have a dress code in the elementary school, but while I was in elementary school, the older girls (junior high and high school) had a dress code. These older girls said they couldn't wear pants to school. And then when slacks were allowed, they could not be jeans.

BUT-when I started junior high I had to wear a uniform for gym class. It was a one piece shorts jumpsuit with a zipper, blue bottom part and blue and white striped upper part. Seems like it was sleeveless. That same year, they changed the rules so we were allowed to wear regular street clothes in gym class. We stuffed our gym lockers with T-shirts and shorts and deodorant, of course! The cool girls took their clothes home every Friday to launder, but the "skags" (not nice, I know now) often let their clothes ripen before they took them home. Oh---the memories!

I'm not sure why the dress code seemed to always change just as I was emerging on the scene, but I love hearing about dress codes.

I remember a page of rules for the dress code when I entered high school. Girls were not allowed to go bra-less or wear spaghetti strap tops to school, and no one could wear shorts. If the temperatures got into the 90s, sometimes they would bend the rules.

From what I notice of times today, school dress code rules are extremely different (or nonexistent) unless the school has required uniforms.

Interesting to observe the changing of the times!

Boil Watch

For those of you who are wondering, I'm still treating the abscessed boil at home with antibiotics, hot compresses, and draining it twice a day. It hasn't really changed much in size or color for the better or worse. I'll get my culture and sensitivity testing back on Monday. The combination of the infection and the antibiotic is making me SICK (that is ICK with an ssss in front of it!).

But our friend Tom has it soooo much worse. He had what he thought was a pimple or ingrown hair on his face. Yesterday he woke up and the side of his face was swollen and infected. Today he is in SURGERY.

The hospital says this sort of thing is really going around, so BE CAREFUL. Practice LOTS of handwashing!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Crazy Boil Has Surfaced!

I went to Urgent Care this morning about a boil that has popped up on my abdomen. There's no way to be delicate with words-so I'll just say it-it was oozing pus. The doctor confirmed it was a boil-a skin abscess. He expressed some of the pus and sent it off for culture and sensitivity testing. He then expressed as much of the pus as he could from the pocket.

He is concerned that since I have been on antibiotics since Friday, was on IV antibiotic at the hospital on Friday-and the very fact that I was-AT THE HOSPITAL on Friday bothered him. (I'm assuming this means he thinks I picked this up there). He is afraid it could be MRSA-antibiotic resistant staph infection. We will know in 3-4 days if that is the case.

In the meantime, he switched me to Levaquin rather than the other antibiotic I was on, as well as a type of antibiotic that is in gel form to rub into my nose because he said this type of infection tends to colonize in the nose for some reason. It hasn't yet, but he wants to be proactive.

I am to do hot compresses twice daily to express whatever I can from the sore. Also to observe it because if it gets bigger and isn't draining on its own he will need to open it up to drain it.

I didn't have a fever at the office today, but my blood pressure was 168/120. It did go down to 159/104 before I left, from sitting there for two hours with no stimulus. I'm to mention the hypertension when I go to my doc next Friday.

But for now the biggest thing on the agenda is to keep this infection from going to my bloodstream.

I appreciate your concern and prayers!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I've been looking for Grace for the past several years. Grace is something that fascinates me. The more I learn about grace, the more I realize how woefully lacking I am. Not that I lack God's grace because I have found His grace is sufficient. What I am short of is BEING gracious. I am learning how to humble myself and surrender my needs through Life's lessons. There's no such thing as a Christian having certain rights; I don't deserve anything at all. This year is half over and I still hope to make progress when it comes to BEING gracious. I am drawn to people of grace. They don't even realize they are exuding grace, it just flows naturally out of them.

Here's the key. I can't fake being gracious. I can't work up true humility. I can't work at being virtuous. I can have a long list of do's and don'ts but that won't make me gracious. I can look real good like shining brass but tarnish will show up over time-often when I'm tested. And when I'm tested,
what is on the inside is going to come out. The key is much like the truth Dorothy learned during her trip to Oz. I found grace inside of me. It was there all along. And I will see my graciousness grow as my relationship with my Heavenly Father grows.

I hope to have the fruit of Grace as I grow. Grace bears many types of fruit. Fruit like: joyfulness, sincerity, peacefulness, contentedness, humility. A woman of grace has a beautiful countenance that reflects the glow of Jesus. She has a simple elegance that draws others to her. Her virtues are respected throughout the land. She lacks bitterness because she doesn't hold a grudge. Her positive outlook keeps her focus where it needs to be. Her mouth and attitudes are in check, disciplined by the principles found in God's Word. She is a woman of prayer to a God she is intimately familiar with. What a lovely woman!

Of course, men can also seek to have more grace in their lives. I know it is tough to be both macho and gracious, but here is a reality check for you, “Real men DO eat quiche!” In other words, no matter how tough the exterior, men and women both can have a heart full of grace as they allow God to work in their lives.

Romans 12:10 says “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” To me, that is what grace is all about.

Still growing as a human being, not a human doing.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's Out (For Now)

I am WHOOPED! The trial is over and the lead wire is out of my back. I was having a hard time letting my fears and doubts and feelings affect my decision about how well the device was working, so I typed up an evaluation sheet (which you saw on an earlier entry). When I took it to the doc and the Medtronics nurse, they said it was a slam dunk! Their goal is only 50% improvement to be considered a success (because it is unrealistic to totally block pain). So when they saw some of my numbers at the 75% range, they were happy-happy!

It hurt like crazy when they pulled the lead wire with the electrodes on it out of my spine, but the doc was very careful, and very caring to narrate what he was doing when. He said I was a trooper. I just tried to grin and bear it and quote "this too shall pass." And it did!

I have a larger Band-Aid on, and can't get that part of my body wet for 24 hours. But they let me take a shower on my "front" and I could bend my head forward to wash my hair. So that felt good!

I called the neurosurgeon's office, and they made my presurgery consultation for August 18th. While I'm waiting, they want me to call my internist to do a surgery clearance (EKG, Chest X-ray, bloodwork and clearance of all my health problems before surgery).

My Survey of the Stimulator

Where Do I Have Pain, And Does SCS Help?
==> Low Back 50%
==> Buttocks 70%
==> Legs 75%

When Do I Have Pain, And Does SCS Help?
==> In Bed 50-60%
==> In Church 65%
==> In the Car 65%
==> Sitting 65%
==> Standing 75%
==> Walking 75%
==> At Computer 50%
==> Shopping 65%

When Do I Not Like SCS As Strong?
==> Mental tasks (hard to focus)
==> On toilet
==> In bed
==> Walking

What Kinds of Pain, And Does SCS Help?
Constant dull pain
==> Back, 50%
==> Butt, 70%
==> Legs, 75%

Sharp stabbing pain
==> Back, 50%
==> Buttocks, 80%
==> Legs, 65%

Neuropathic Pain, No it does not help, seems similar

Muscle cramps/spasms
==> Back, 65%
==> Buttocks, 75%
==> Legs, 75%

Sacral area, in hospital it helped 80%, at home, down to 65%