Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Wedding Celebration

One of the good things about life is it does go on and there are lots of things in life to celebrate. Just because you may be under hard circumstances does not mean you are stuck there forever. You have to stay positive and hopeful that you will get through it. Family and friends are there to help you, but you can't expect them to stop living their life to revolve around yours. You need to dig deep and learn to deal with things on your own. Every single person that is dealing with hard circumstances has the option to decide how they will deal with their issue even though it can and usually is extremely hard. I think it helps to accept the circumstances that you have and know what your limitations are. In my case, I deal with hard situations by staying busy; go to school, draw, go for a walk or go on an exercise bike, plan stuff even if it something small like going to a movie on a certain day, be involved in your family's life or just have fun. I know for a fact the rest of my family and myself would not have gotten through the past 7 years if we didn't incorporate fun. Laughter is a great thing. On long car rides to doctor appointments, we get creative to keep ourselves entertained. To this day, I think staying busy and active makes the hard days a lot easier to deal with. Even with the crazy limited motion I have now, I still find things to make me stay productive within what my body is capable of doing.

After I had the second scapular surgery during my first semester of college in 2008, I was embarrassed to go back to school in a sense. I had already missed 4 weeks out 16 weeks. I was starting off at a new school so nobody knew me or knew what my history was. I had just gotten out of the shoulder brace on my right side and I walked into class a few weeks later with a big, bulky shoulder brace on my left side. There were a lot of stares and questioning looks on faces, but nobody ever asked, "What happened?" I would prefer people ask me questions rather than stare at me or give me strange looks. It's not like I'm going to bite. Every day for the next month, there were stares and it would drive me nuts. Regardless, I couldn't let those stares get in my way of getting my stuff done. I had a lot of work ahead of me to make sure I had all of my assignments turned in on time, and making sure I was ready to take all of my finals. I knew if I could just dig deep and get through the next 4 weeks, I could relax afterwards and it would all be worth it. That semester ended in the middle of May; I ended up with 3 A's and 1 B. I was so happy and relieved to have gotten good grades considering I had 2 surgeries, felt awful, and missed quite a bit of class. It was now time to get ready to fly to Las Vegas at the end of May because my brother Brian was getting married!!!

May 2008

I was a bridesmaid for my brother's wedding and was really looking forward to getting away for something non-medical! However, I still had a lot of concerns. I was still wearing the shoulder brace on my left side and didn't want to wear my shoulder brace for the wedding ceremony and pictures. There was a little fear in the back of my mind that somebody would grab that arm not thinking and something would happen. I was also concerned being that far away from home in the event that something was to happen to my right side. It was shifting out of the joint again and I had something popping out of place about even with your axillary (armpit) crease. My parents were putting my right shoulder back in place because it was happening quite frequently and ER doctors didn't want to touch me because I had surgery on it. One of my biggest concerns though was a mental one. The bridesmaid dresses chosen for the wedding were strapless and cut in back below the shoulder blades. I was nervous about walking down the aisle because everyone was going to see the incisions over my shoulder blades from the scapular surgeries. If my sister-in-law reads this blog, she is going to be surprised because I never said a word to her about this. I didn't want my concerns to interfere with her special day. Therefore, I wore the dress (which is beautiful) , walked down the aisle, and got over my fear of people seeing my scars. I call them my battle wounds; I have earned every one.

Me, Sister-in-law Lynn, Mom Karen

My brother Brian & Me

On May 27, 2008 I got a new sister-in-law; her name is Lynn. My brother Brian and Lynn had their wedding and reception held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas! There were about 65 people that flew out to celebrate. Two of the most special people that went to the wedding were my Grandpa King and Grandpa John (who still lives with us). They were both 85 years old at this time; it was very special to have them both there to join us in the celebration. After a wonderful evening of dining and dancing (I stood on the side and watched everyone dance), the night was topped off with an Elvis impersonator that they hired. What a riot; that dude definitely had a lot of plastic surgery but he did look like Elvis.

My dad Joe, Brian, Lynn, Karen

Me & My sister Kelly

My Grandpa John & Brian

Me & my Grandpa King. He passed away in 2011. I still miss him a ton.

Now what kind of blog would this be without something crazy happening? Did you really think I would write one that didn't involve some sort of medical issue?? Haha funny; there is no escape. So here it goes. The day after the wedding we had some fun in the sun and went to Freemont Street in the evening. As I mentioned earlier, my right shoulder had been subluxating frequently and my parents were putting it back in place. While we were at Freemont Street, my right shoulder shifted out of place and also (what I now know to be) my biceps tendon was subluxating out of the bicipital groove (basically a track that the tendon sits in).

It wasn't funny at the time, but now we laugh at how the night played out. My mom and I tried to find somewhere private on Freemont Street (no such thing) so she could try to get everything back into place without an audience. We found a little courtyard connected to Freemont so we decided that was a good spot; even though we were standing just a couple feet in the courtyard it was still rather dark and creepy but we didn't go roaming or anything. While my mom is pushing/pulling/twisting my arm there was this creepy guy that stood there and watched us. We must have made quite a sight between me crying and my mom pulling on my arm. We like to think he was an undercover policeman that was making sure I wasn't being attacked, but in all reality we really don't think so. The creep factor kicked in stronger and we decided to just go back to the hotel to try to get it back in place. Nothing worked there either; this thing was stuck. So what do most tourists do at 10:00pm in Vegas? Well most people gamble or look at all the lights and take in the sites. Not my family; we go to the local ER.

So off in the taxi cab my parents and I go. The ER we were taken to was grungy and scary. We were put in an ER bay to wait for the doctor. It was a sheet on a bed; no blanket, no pillow, no chairs, nothing. My mom asked for at least a pillow to prop my arm with but it never came. So, as I have said before, my mom takes things into her own hands. She saw a supply cart at the end of the hallway so down she marched past the nurses' station with all of them staring at her as she grabbed a pillow and a blanket. She walked past the nurses' station again and nobody said a thing. When the doctor came in to see me, he ordered an X-Ray. When the doctor came back with the results, he tried to push my shoulder back in place manually but it didn't budge. The doctor wanted to give me sedation medication to make it easier to put my shoulder back in but I refused. I don't like having sedation because with having both shoulder joint and shoulder blade issues, I can't afford to have the doctor pull too hard and re-damage them. The doctor left the room. I was getting aggravated so I looked at my mom and said, "Come here and push this back in place." She climbed up on the bed and started maneuvering my arm around. POP! It went back in. When the doctor reappeared to try to further talk me into sedation, I looked at him and said, "It's back in place." He then asked, "Well how did that happen?" I then replied, "My mom fixed it." Too bad she didn't get paid.

So the moral of the story is, wherever you go, your problems will follow you; or as we refer to it in our house, you can run, but you can't hide. The good thing though, is you get to decide how you are going to handle the challenges life throws at you. You have the choice to go out, live your life, and face your challenges head on, or you can choose not to. I had every reason under the sun not to travel to Nevada with these precarious shoulders. However, I'm so glad I chose to go. I wouldn't have missed that wedding for the world. Don't deny yourself all the good experiences that life has to offer because there are a lot of good ones out there to gain.

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