Wednesday, March 29, 2006



I'm writing early today because I will be spending the night at my home this evening and I currently don't have an internet connection there. I don't have a lot to report this week. There is one bit of exciting news but I'll save that little tidbit for later. After all, I have to keep you salivating or else you won't read all of my words! While we're on that subject, how is it that I get 29 responses on a picture and only 9 responses on words a week later?! Come on folks, throw me a bone, I enjoy hearing from you. It would be especially helpful if you would let me know what you want to hear about. Then, when it's a slow week, I won't have to spend so much time racking my brain for ideas.

So, since it's been a slow week, I've spent the better part of the afternoon thinking about what I could say this week. Those of you who know me know that I have a habit of procrastinating and should be amazed that I've given this so much thought! And I've decided to share with you how it feels to stand on one leg. I know, all of you have the ability to do this but, keep in mind that I no longer have any muscles from slightly above the knee down. So, take a moment and stand on one leg. Now, don't use your other leg to help you balance, this will be fairly difficult but give it a try. Next, relax the muscles beneath your knee, this includes all of those ankle and foot muscles that we never think about. If you were successful with the instructions above (which is not easy because certain muscles tend to work automatically and are hard to isolate) you should now pick yourself up off the floor.

Now, with all of that in mind I'm not sure why my therapist keeps telling me to try to balance with no hands! One hand I can do but no hands just seems too high an expectation! For the record, just standing up feels fantastic but I'm not all that mobile yet. To keep my back from hurting too much I have to use my abs and my gluts (butt muscles) to stand and relieve pressure from my lower back. I also have to flex my gluts (butt muscles) to move my hip forward and mimic walking. The result is that since I only have my right leg my right gluts (right butt cheek) is now bigger than the left. I'm lopsided! However, my therapist says this is only temporary and it's really not that noticeable. Alright, this paragraph began with me talking about balancing with no hands and that's how it's going to end. Today my therapist had me stand between the parallel bars and balance with no hands. This was achieved by placing the remainder of my left leg on a box and a phone book. I stood with nothing but my legs supporting me and it felt great!

Now, are you ready for that little tidbit that I promised at the beginning? The point of this story of balance and how great it felt to stand without using my upper body strength is this. Yesterday they fitted me for my left leg! Thanks to today's exercise I now am comforted by the knowledge that I'll be able to stand with the new leg. Hopefully by the end of next week I'll be standing on my own two "feet". Even though they will be made of rubber I will own my feet and the legs they are attached to! Stay tuned for more next week, can't wait to read your comments!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I am taller...

but not by request or by design. In fact, we're not sure what happened. Originally, the doctors had said that they could make me as tall as I wanted. I thought about this for a while and decided it would be best for me to stay the same height. After all, my medical expenses are going to be astronomical and I really don't need to spend money on new pants!

So, getting back to the point, the day I was fit I was told that, while I could be as tall as I wanted, it would probably be best for me to be a little bit shorter than I was. This would be helpful for balance purposes. With me sitting in the wheelchair they measured the distance from the end of my leg to the floor. The point being that they want my knee to be at a 90 degree angle when I sit down. They told me the length of the measurement and when I got home I added it to the measurement from the end of my leg to the top of my head. The result was that I would be a little under 5'8" with the prosthetic. When I stood up for the first time everyone in the room was shocked. The prosthetist double checked the measurements and everything came out right.

My heighth is now 5'11". In my sisters words I am "freaky tall". For now I'm going to remain with my head in the clouds until I'm standing on both legs. If this extra heighth causes a balance issue then I will have them shortened. In regards to dancing, we're no where near that yet, but my dance card is filling up. The first dance was promised to a close friend at New Years. After that I intend to dance the night away when the time comes. I promise I'll let you all know.

There have been a few more strides forward this week. With the help of a walker I am able to get around in a vertical position. I don't really call it walking, because it's more of a hop, but I'm covering more and more distance each day. Several of my cousins installed a wood laminate floor at my house to make it easier for me to get around. My friend Mark visited from Minnesota this week and helped us get my house a lot closer to being finished and we even spent one night there. On Sunday our friend Kevin finished all of his hard work on the bathroom and I was finally able to spend a night at home by myself on Monday! Thus begins a new road on my journey.

Sorry this was so late. Lost was on so I was a bit distracted. Hope all is going well. I'll be in touch with more news next week!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006



Monday, March 13, 2006


March 13, 2006 -- A Special Day!

Hope you have a great birthday, cousin! I love you!!

Please join me in wishing Jeremy a happy birthday!

-- Colleen

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Update on Prosthetic

It didn't fit. We'll try again next week.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


The next step forward

I've actually taken a couple of steps forward this week. Figuratively, not physically. A return visit to the Walden Inn yesterday was the biggest of those steps. While it was tiring, telling me that I'm not quite ready to return to work, it was wonderful to spend some time with my co-workers again and to sit at my General Managers right hand once more. My hopes are high that I will be able to start working again some time soon. The doctors have yet to give me that approval but they are sounding more optimistic.

Another huge step forward is the improvement in the condition of my left leg. The power of prayer continues to amaze me as, within the last week, my leg has almost completely healed. On March 28th I will see the doctors again and should get the prescription for my left prosthetic.

Speaking of prosthetics, the leg that I mentioned last week will arrive tomorrow. Please keep that positive energy flowing as I make the biggest step this far. Obviously I won't really be able to walk with only one leg but I will be able to stand and move around a little bit with the assistance of a walker. Yes, I am becoming more and more like my Grandfather every day.

Tomorrow we'll only make certain that the leg fits and they may work with me a little at the prosthetisits office. The real training will begin on Friday afternoon at physical therapy. I also won't have the walker until Friday so Mom and Dad will have to double for that so I can practice on Thursday night.

I realize that it won't be easy right away. Many people have cautioned me not to get frustrated. That may happen, but the most important thing to me is that tomorrow I get to stand up! So, stay tuned for more info on how this new path on the road to recovery turns out.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


The prayers were answered!

Just not exactly the way we hoped for. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. As you all know yesterday was a big day for me. At 8:00am I found myself sitting in a room at the Orthopedics clinic at Wishard hospital. From 8:00 till about 9:30 a couple residents came in to talk to me and the therapists stopped by on a search for the two doctors I was waiting to see. Picture me losing my patience while my mother tries to calm me down with candy from her purse while Madeline draws pictures and plays with her magnadoodle. The candy worked and when the doctors appeared at 9:45 I was very happy to see them.

They both looked at my left leg and said (as I expected) that it was not ready to be fit for a prosthetic. I have seen a great amount of healing in the leg over the past week but the job just isn't finished yet. Please continue to pray for that leg as I do feel the prayers are helping. And don't lose hope, in the next few paragraphs I will explain my opening statement.

After informing me that the left leg couldn't be fitted the Orthopedic doctor then told me that the x-rays taken last month showed a large mass of new bone at the end of my left leg. (no, unfortunately that doesn't mean that my leg is trying to grow back) What this means is that the bone growth could cause a problem with a prosthetic and the Orthopedic doctor felt that I would need another surgery to remove it. Now picture me seething, my mother looking for a dish towel (she likes to throw them when she's angry), and Madeline is now playing with a small balloon on a stick. Luckily the Physiatrist came to my rescue.

As soon as the Orthopedic doctor said surgery the Physiatrist jumped in and started squeezing the end of my leg and asking me if anything she did hurt. Being a doctor I'm sure she wanted to cause pain but she didn't. Nothing hurt so she asked the Orthopedic doctor if we could wait until I had tried a prosthetic on my left leg before we did any surgery. This way, if the bone growth doesn't cause a problem I don't have to go back under the knife. The Orthopedic doctor agreed and I have been given a temporary reprieve from more surgery. Yeah!

Then, the words that I had refused to allow myself to hope for escaped the Physiatrists mouth. "The right leg looks like it's ready, lets move forward." Then the Orthopedic doctor says "these grafts have matured nicely, I think we can get it fit." Now picture me trying not to cry, my mother trying not to cry, and Madeline is still playing with a small balloon on a stick.

So, a few hours later, I was lying on a table at the Prosthetists office getting fit for a leg. By the end of next week I'll be standing up for the first time in four and a half months! Hopefully at the end of March I'll be able to get fitted on the left. My point in all of this is that our prayers were answered, just not in the way we were expecting. My left leg is healing and the right leg has been fitted for a prosthetic. God has a sense of humor.

Thanks for the support and I'll talk to all of you next week.

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