Anxiety – what if?

What if someone doesn’t like what I’ve done?

What if I’m not perfect?

What if I try this and fail?


It’s thoughts like these that can keep me up at night.  What if I could just let go of my anxiety, wouldn’t life be grand?

But I am afraid these thoughts have plagued a good part of my youth…

Thanks to therapy, I’ve mostly gone through these thoughts fairly quickly – I’ve grown to accept the idea that nothing will change the past, and the choices made, even if they weren’t the best, have shaped who I am – and who I am is actually pretty cool.

This has taken a lot of therapy.

And the what ifs of the future – they still get me.

What if my sons aren’t able to care for themselves when they get older?

What if they find life mates I don’t get along with?

What if they don’t want to spend as much time with me as I do with them?

What if I lose one of them or my spouse?

And to all these thoughts, all I can say is they are an argument to live fully presently.

Live with my family as they are now – enjoy them, even when they drive me crazy – and appreciate all the times we have.

And, as my daily life is to teal with my clinical anxiety and depression – those what if’s will always be around.  But, so long as I continue to work through them and maintain therapy, I’m hopeful they will not cripple me as they once did!


Up all night…with anxiety

Anxiety posting continues…

Last night, I had such a hard time falling asleep.

I couldn’t quiet down my brain.

I was so tired I could hardly move or talk…

And yet, my brain refused to quiet.

I was running all the comments on Facebook – had I offended someone?  If I had, did I need to worry about it – or was it their problem?

That conversation I had with a coworker today – did they know I was kidding?

The class of 9th graders I lead – did I do a good job, or did I really miss the mark?


The answer I would give to any other is – “It’s totally their problem, yes they knew you were kidding, and of course you did a good job.  Try not to stress!”


And yet, for myself, I could not offer these kind words.  At least not in the moment.

After getting some rest, I am able to find peace.  Some exercise has helped – and reaching out to friends has offered more comfort than I can ever be able to thank them for sufficiently.

Anxiety will not have the last word.  Stefanie will.  Even if she continues to struggle with Anxiety until she’s old and feeble – Stefanie will have the last word.  (With the help of God, of course!)

Thoughts on Anxiety…

anxiety-talk-bigstI’ve decided to blog my struggle with anxiety and depression.

Because too often, I feel alone…and if I do, I’m sure others do.

We are NOT alone.

And it CAN get better – connecting with others is one way to do it!

My anxious thought for today:

Why is it that I can think any hateful thing said about another person is something that should not define them – but when I hear hurtful things, I feel very much defined by them?  If the same thing was said in the same circumstances to someone else, my reaction would be reassurance, messages of peace and love.  For myself, I go immediately to anxiety – what I have done to deserve whatever words have hurt me.

I not only wish I could be stronger for myself, I happen to judge myself for my inability to let things roll off me.  A thing I will need to work on.  With prayer, with journaling, with a professional therapist.  I will always be insecure and sensitive, my work will be to love myself through it.

Does this resonate?  What is your anxious thought for today?  How are you helping yourself cope?

Healing Process

Last year, I went from having chronic neck pain, to having neck pain and a numb hand – being told all different manner of things were wrong, then I went to those things PLUS shoulder pain, ending with removal of a herniated disc between C5 and C6, and all the things that go along with that healing.

Doctor's Office Illustrations...

Doctor’s Office Illustrations…

Looking back, almost a year later, I have a “top ten” of what I WISH I had known about chronic pain and healing from surgery.

10.  Pain is not always located in the source (i.e. numb hand caused by neck issue)

Try not to resist when the doctors look in other places for causes.

9.  MRI’s are terrifying.  Your fat may jiggle, it’s freaking noisy, claustrophobia-inducing

– it’s all good, and over quickly enough to let you relax…

8.  It’s important to get rest.

But don’t rest too much – get up and move, even if you’re achy – you’ll kick yourself for not moving enough later.

7.  You will have ALL the emotions.  Do your best to communicate to others that you’re healing, and it heightens  everything – good people won’t care, and people who care will at least leave you alone.10420098_10100396581635186_7304592368400618984_n

6.  Ask for further clarification.


I heard things that were so often corrected later that would have saved me a lot of trouble…

5.  Pain meds are delightful – but doctors are not careful about how much they give you.

You may have an addictive chemistry.

Quitting these drugs may make you nuts.  (Shaky, sweaty, paranoid.)

Doctors may or may not understand/be able to support.

Try not to take any more than you need – ask for help if this is a concern.

DO NOT feel too embarrassed to get help.

4.  You will take longer to heal than you’d like.

I’m sorry – I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t wish they could be done healing just a little bit sooner.

Even once you are “healed” there will be latent pain – achey-ness that is normal – it will get better, keep moving!

3.  If your procedure requires you to wear some sort of equipment to support the injured area, i.e. a neck brace, you will have to worry about explaining it.  To everyone.  Strangers in the McDonald’s drive thru, people in the store, everyone where you work – you will be completely unable to escape your surgery if you are out in public.

Hard to be inconspicuous in that thing...

Hard to be inconspicuous in that thing…

I think they mean well, but I must say it was infuriating at points…

2.  Find a doctor you can trust.  This person will be responsible for how your healing goes!

(I happened to have one fall into my lap and found out after surgery he was THE BEST I could have possibly had…should probably have done research before, I lucked out!)

1.  Some people will fall out of the woodwork to help.

Others might need to be asked – they don’t want to bother you.

Remember that no matter how people act, they care.

Some people worry about being in your hair, some can’t seem to leave you alone – nobody’s perfect.

It’s hard to find forgiveness when YOU are the patient, but do your best.

All this to say, you will heal.  There may always be a hint of your surgery – a scar, other treatment, other equipment – but in the end, this is a step towards fixing something that wasn’t working in your body – and I’m grateful there was that help!

And in my case, I’ll treasure the scar, and the awesome hardware in my neck – I feel tough, and will set off old fashioned metal detectors EVERYWHERE I go, like a really tough person…because without them, I’d not be able to use my dominant hand, and be in pain on a regular basis – not a great way to feel.

Check out that hardware!

Check out that hardware!


When we moved to Colorado, my contacts quit working for me.

I mean, my eyes were so dry they hurt, thanks to a new dryer climate, it became evident soon after moving, I couldn’t do contacts anymore – unless I wanted to look like I was crying all the time…

So, all this year, I’ve been FORCED to wear my glasses – and I have a few cute pairs, but they just aren’t convenient – you can’t see as much as you can with contacts, and your ears and nose get sore from wearing them, if a young child wants to head butt you (yes, it happens at our house) it hurts much worse with glasses on, you can’t run or play sports the same – they just aren’t fun.  11146583_10100496490701616_4971471899792477095_o

But, to be honest, the real reason I’m frustrated with having to wear glasses is that I don’t like how they make me look.  I feel like they hide my eyes – the one thing on my face that hasn’t changed or gained weight…

Everyone compliments my glasses and how cute they are – but the second they are off, without realizing the ONLY difference is I am not wearing glasses, people compliment me on my appearance.

It’s pure vanity.

Today, a new eye doctor is having me try some new contacts – and they feel a lot better and more “cooperative with dry, Colorado air,” than my last pair…but a whole new vanity issue has arisen.

I can’t see things close up.

This isn’t a problem without my contacts.  It’s not a problem in glasses.  With contacts, however, I cannot see close up very well at all.  The reason?  My eyes are getting old.  Most people don’t have this problem until they are in their forties, but lucky me, I am starting early.

A conundrum in my extremely privileged life, I know.

But this wasn’t a problem when I was younger.

I must continue to remind myself that with the gift of age comes special circumstances.  Circumstances that some will never be able to experience.  Even bad eyes are a gift – that they open and can see at all is a miracle I too often take for granted.

I am resolved to stop worrying about how I look with or without glasses – and do what I can to see the best in order to work and play and be with my family – even if it means putting contacts in while I play, and glasses on to work – and I’ll do my best to remember that God has blessed me with the ability to do so.

Single Dad

Recently, while binge watching a favorite show on Hulu, I’ve seen a Mass Mutual commercial run at least twice each show – which in a day adds up to me having seen this thing a bazillion times.  A bad thing, since I HATE what this commercial is saying about gender roles.

  Click here to see commercial
The dad talks about how knows so much about “girl” things because he’s raising two girls on his own.  Now, let me say, that when you’ve lost a spouse for whatever reason, and are raising your kids alone, it is sad.  It is difficult to watch your kids grow without your partner – I am not trying to say it isn’t.   What frustrates me about this commercial isn’t how sad he is – but what he’s sad about.

He seems to be sad about being an expert in softball, tea parties, and princesses.  He knows so much about this because the “appropriate” parent, their mother, is not present.  Because if she WAS present, he’d be off doing his solitary “man” activities like he should be – or taking these girls hunting, or to a more man-friendly sport, like football.  Or, because if he had boys, it wouldn’t be sad at all that the mother was gone.  COME ON!

There are many dads with living partners who know about tea parties.  There are many daughters who like to play in the dirt, and care more about superheros than princesses.  This commercial affirms so many gender stereotypes I’m trying so hard to push against – a task I had NO idea I’d be working on at this point in time.  Not only does it purport some old-school gender roles, it completely ignores the many same-gendered parents – is it sad that two moms must figure out how to “properly” raise a boy?

Can’t we find a way to get our media to represent a more progressive world?  A world where men and women   can behave in whatever manner feels right, rather than what the dominant culture dictates?  A world where persons of color star in commercials more than caucasians?  

I truly had no clue when I was growing up that issues of equality would still need fighting or still be so real and in the forefront of our lives – or that a COMMERCIAL would set me on a rant about such things…

To be a Nomad

I’m not sure I was ever a homebody…but I know I always dreamed of living somewhere exciting or fun when I was growing up.

I remember visiting Uptown Minneapolis every year, visiting my aunt and uncle and cousins – their house was beautiful, and the neighborhood was glamorous – everything I felt that my home in small-town, eastern South Dakota was not.

When I decided to get up the courage to move – it was tough.  I left a job I’d known all through college for the romantic ideal of the “big city.”  I was fortunate to have the support of my sister, and my best friend from high school with me – and we adjusted rather well, even though I was ridiculously homesick for my parents – especially at first.

My parents both live within a two hour drive of their parents, and I saw my extended family on a regular basis.  It was hard – at first – to be SO FAR AWAY, and yet, we acclimated to the longer drive, and my parents came to visit on a fairly regular basis – especially once my children showed up.

And then the itch started again.  We had purchased a home in the suburbs – and I couldn’t believe I was going to live somewhere FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE – it felt so stifling, I couldn’t explain why.   Stability in a home is such a value ingrained into my being – and yet, I was ready to go.

Well, we tried to sell the house, and were a victim of the housing bubble of the time.  Our house was worth much less than we paid, and we ended up in forclosure.  A blow to my husband’s and my ego, but nonetheless, an opportunity to start over.

We lived on campus while I finished my classes for my seminary degree, and I loved it.  I loved that we were closer to my sister, I loved that I could walk everywhere I went, and I loved the community that campus housing offers.

The experience  was a bit jarring – I had a few night terrors at first, wondering if I had made the wrong move in giving up on the house – even though we did all we could to make right with the bank – but I adjusted with fairly little issue.  

We then spent the summer living between couches in our friends houses and my parents house in South Dakota – in preparation for our move to Denver, for my internship with a beautiful ELCA congregation out here.  I felt so delighted to be so nomadic – and I couldn’t wait for the next adventure to begin.

I had done so well, I stopped taking my anti-anxiety medication, and was feeling better about life than I ever had before!

Then we arrived in Denver.  The drive was excruciating, and the altitude almost killed my lungs.  I knew I would miss my friends and family, and I was instantly homesick.  Add to that a nagging pain and numbness in my dominant arm, and you can imagine, it was just a rough start.

It took a long time to adjust – thanks to surgery, and a merry-go-round of supervisors – but I eventually settled in. I still missed my family and my many friends back east, but I started to fall in love with my congregation, and find a few local comforts to make my new neighborhood feel like home.

And now, it’s almost time to go back.  I was reminded of the crazy feelings of homesickness in a recent visit from my home congregation, and now I’m in the weird position – ready to head home, and not ready to leave.

I’m not likely to struggle as much to adjust to be back in a familiar place, but in anticipation of leaving this place, my church family and friends, my actual family that’s out here, I’m feeling weepy – and I’m beginning to worry that adventure isn’t for me.  It’s painful to leave – but a Pastor’s job is to enter and love fully, and then remove oneself fully – even if we never move, this will be a reality for me.

If this is to be my future, luckily for me, so far I’ve been sent to places filled with wonderful and loving people – it’s better to miss people than the alternative – but it means I’ll have the occasionally tear-jearking dream that wakes me up to cry a little…and when I’m gone, I’ll be able to rest in the comfort that God will be with us all until we meet again!

Holy Agitation…A sermon for Mark 1:29-39

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD..  Isaiah 55:8

This Bible verse never TRULY made sense to me until this year.  Before then, it struck me as annoying.  Yes, I don’t know as much as God, but I thought for sure I was doing Gods will.  I’m finally following this call to ministry, behaving, learning, growing, and trusting deeply in the grace that I knew I needed for every time I inevitably mess up.

I had given up my messy history, I had stopped running from what the Holy Spirit was calling me towards, and I thought my struggles and doubts were over. I mean, I am following God’s plan, aren’t I?

But that’s not the end of learning and growing, is it?  I know the Christian culture of the United States today wants you to feel like your life will be perfect once you “find Jesus” but for those of us lifelong believers, we know it isn’t quite like that.  Life might be better, we may have peace knowing we are saved, forgiven, and be happy with the community, but life isn’t perfect just because you have faith.

I had grown up thinking at some point I would be fully grown up, fully faithful, and settled. I had even hoped maybe God might be more willing to give me a break now that I am pursuing ordained ministry.

I have been sorely disappointed.

As you well know, even beginning the fourth year, this year, of a life newly devoted to Gods will, I have struggled. “Think of the growing you will do,” others keep saying to me, reassuringly.   I know it isn’t charitable, but all I can think is, I HATE THAT I DON’T KNOW IT ALL YET!  I don’t want to grow anymore.  I want to KNOW something already.  Haven’t I been faithful enough? Working enough?

Apparently not.

Had I known all that would change and challenge me in this year here at Bethany, I don’t think I would have come.  I wouldn’t have been brave enough.  I could have gone somewhere safe and familiar, lived out the tasks of internship, checked yet another task off my list, and I would probably   just as good of a pastor.  (Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not – that’s my cynical voice, but want you to hear it in case that’s the voice that speaks to you.  You are not alone!)

But God had plans for me that were not of this world, but Gods kingdom.  Plans that involved pain, sorrow, loss.

You know. You’ve had a similar story as I did.  We all lost pastoral leaders.  Some of you didn’t have surgery, but the pain and reality of this world and its brokenness was present.  There were deaths. Problems with money, or fights in the family. Someone you hold dear may have had medical issues. You don’t have to be the one having surgery to feel the effects.  Just ask my mom, who spent an inordinate amount on a flight to support my family when I had surgery, or my sister who was here when I got the news I would have surgery, or my father at home wishing he had more time to help alongside my mother, or my wonderful husband, working early hours, and caring for his cranky, impatiently healing wife and two small children, who are lovely, but don’t care that he was tired and had JUST cleaned the kitchen comf Spirit to make us powerugh it.t the church changing, losing members, changing tradit…

This story isn’t meant to discourage you, rather to own the reality we live in.  Jesus promised salvation and eternal life, not sunshine and rainbows every waking moment.

And there WILL be sunshine and rainbows.  Just not perpetually.

In the gospel for today we hear a lot of hope. Jesus is a healing machine.  Goodbye sickness. So long demons. Jesus is here to stay!

But the next morning, Jesus wasn’t to be found.  When they found him and asked him to do more, he said, let’s move on and proclaim the message to more, for that is what I came to do.

At this point, you could say, ouch, Jesus.  Don’t you care about all the sick here?

The answer is yes, of course he did.  But now that these people knew him, they could be the ones passing on the message.  Doing the healing.  Casting out the demons and continuing to proclaim the Gospel.

Does it sound familiar?  We see leaders leave all the time. It feels personally devastating to some of us, anxiety producing to others.  Do they not care about us?  Of course they do.  They are just following a call from a voice that we are all trying to listen to.  Sometimes the voice is loud and clear and easy to follow.  Sometimes the voice is quiet, and takes years to effect change – I know, because it took over 10 years for me to finally listen to the voice encouraging me to become a pastor!

Jesus was moving to the will of God, willing to be molded and shaped into the place and time he was called.  Our leaders are doing the same, being open to the new experiences of life, risking the difficult or uncomfortable to grow, to follow the Holy Spirit.

This life we life does not have a specific date of full actualization.  There’s no time we are fully “grown up”.  I thought as a teenager, that by the time I was 30 I would have my life figured out.  I’d know ALL the things.  I could say those smart phrases my mother said, “Because I’m the grown up and I say so.”  And life would be figured out!

The reality is that now, at 30, my husband and I, though we be the “grown-ups” are continuing to reassess the life we have – continuing to learn, grow, be shaped and molded.  Learning new things about running our household, about raising our children.  In fact, the other day, my husband asked if we should allow ourselves to be punished by our children when WE do something wrong.  “It just doesn’t seem fair, that they have to stand in a corner, and we don’t,” he said.  It was beautiful – his willingness to be vulnerable, grow, and learn alongside his children is just one of the many things that make him an amazing dad – though I did tell him there should be SOMETHING that comes from having a few more years behind you, like only having to say you are sorry if you do something wrong, and not letting your four year old punish you by putting you in the corner.  I’m interested to hear what the boys think of this idea when they are teenagers…

I’m learning – slowly – that it’s not a bad thing that I’m not done growing.  The Holy Spirit is still working in me, molding me like a lump of clay, and I’ll be learning until the day I die – and who knows, maybe even in the hereafter!

I spent a few days this past week in a seminar hearing about the church changing, losing members, changing tradition, and even though I do not believe God causes the mess or the suffering, I think God is moving and working through it.  Does it make us nervous?  Yes.  Does it sometimes hurt to go through this change?  My goodness, yes.  Can we still have a positive outcome?  It can, if we remember to invite the Holy Spirit into our process, even if only to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, as Jesus did in his suffering on the cross.  God is a God who understands our suffering, and is there.

God isn’t sending the Holy Spirit to make us powerful and comfortable and at some point, perfect.  There isn’t a date when the timer goes “ding” and we are done.  We will always be growing and changing in life, in our faith, and hopefully, even in the parts that are messy and painful, we can remain open to what God is doing in this, for us.

I return to the text from Isaiah – but with a new translation.  Rather than feeling like our plans are not good enough, as the first version made me feel, this new translation gives hope in the promise that God is bigger than what we could imagine, and has plans for us that we will prosper, if only we can wait out the mess.  The new living translation says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”  Isn’t that better?  One step further – we know that there’s something new and beautiful coming out of this.  We do not need to cling to what we KNEW as the best, because different and new, that growth is new life, from God.  Isaiah 43:18-19:  Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.  I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”  One of the many promises of God, to help us forge a way, even in the hopeless, even in the times we think it will never be as good as it once was.  It might have been easier in the past, but there is always hope in the future!

Remember when I said I am not sure I would have come to Bethany had I known how difficult this year would have been for me? Rather than cling to the past that was so comfortable, or the “easy” internship I may have had elsewhere, I am grateful God was working in this place.

I can’t imagine having missed out on this community.  You, members of Bethany, have been so supportive and loving – and I would have missed ALL of that if I wouldn’t have been here.  There’s a reason I didn’t know things would be tough before I came, God had plans for me to learn here, in this time, to know YOU, to be loved by YOU, and I thank God for that.

Those voices saying, “think of how much you’ll grow” were right!  I didn’t have to like it – but there was the Holy Spirit, molding me into something new, to continue to be in this place, living out the mission of God.

So remember, in those moments where you feel God has forsaken you, agitated by what lies before you, that indeed God is right beside you, thanks to the Holy Spirit gifted to you in baptism through the death and resurrection in Christ.  This agitation is not merely an instrument to frustrate you, rather, a stirring of the Holy Spirit in your life to refresh you, and help you learn and grow.

You are a loved child of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, but certainly not done growing and being renewed, thanks be to God.

Week after surgery

As you may have seen from my prior post, the first few days after surgery were not the easiest.  It’s still not easy, but I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel that gives me hope for the near future.  “All I want for Christmas is to not wear a neck brace…”

I’ve been in the office this week, mostly half days, but it’s been wonderful to be out of the house and seeing people – always gives me energy!  I’m still taking it very easy, and I’m lucky Marty is willing to do so much with the boys and around the house, because I’m not supposed to lift, and with the collar, I can’t even turn to look and see if a kid is safe with the right timing.  Argh!

I learned Wednesday that I had been misinformed in the hospital – I don’t need to wear the collar at night.  I had been wearing it 24/7 – stiff, uncomfortable, and very paranoid if it wasn’t just right, what could I be doing to negatively affect my healing.  The provider reassured me the collar is there to keep me from going wild, but that I was allowed to move my head slowly, and indeed do not have to sleep in it.  Last night was the first night I didn’t sleep in it, and let me tell you what, I haven’t felt better than this morning in a long time!  The pain I experience now is almost exclusively in my shoulders, and it’s from wearing the collar.  It’s goofy that the incision doesn’t hurt the most, but I suppose it’s not seeing too much action thanks to the collar.

I’ve allowed myself to take it off to eat my lunch and to talk in a meeting earlier.  I figure if I’m seated and stable, I won’t do anything “Crazy” as they mentioned in that phone call.

Tossed aside my brace for lunch in my office.  Admire the smiley faces in the background...:)

Tossed aside my brace for lunch in my office. Admire the smiley faces in the background…:)

If I get out of a chair, it’s back on – I am dedicated to keeping my new neck hardware stable in case of impact, but I must say it’s relieving to know it’s stable enough to hold my head up without the brace.  Maybe I was naive or stupid, but I was convinced my head being upright was based on that thing…terrifying.  Incidentally, it will always be on when the boys are around – at 2 and 4, they just aren’t able to remember that mom’s neck is hurt, and hitting her or bumping her might be catastrophic…too much pressure, best to just wear at all times around them.  And I’m willing, thanks to the break I get when I sleep.

My voice sounds mostly normal in regular speech -but my upper register is still missing, as well as any kind of volume – I notice that the most with my children or if I try to sing.  I’m hopeful this will be better, too, soon enough, but for now I’m relegated to hearing music sung for me, and doing my best to wait for quiet moments to speak, so I can be heard.

I’ve been grateful for the care and kindness I have received from everyone – near and far – during this time of recovery, and I hope it continues to trend upward in these coming weeks and to be back to normal, and caring for others.  I’m also amazed at what the medical field is capable of, and immensely grateful that my arms are starting to feel their age again!  It has been worth the pain and frustration if only for that improvement.

Thanks for your care, words of comfort and actions of love.  I feel more blessed than I can say.

Post surgical thoughts…(Warning, vomit is mentioned.)

I just had surgery on a herniated disc in my neck (Between c5 and c6 for those of you who know what it means) and I’m home, healing, with strict instructions not to move my neck at all.  That’s hard, considering a few things happening at my house…

1. I don’t have an adjustable hospital bed, or a tv at the right height that keeps me from needing to bend my head to see it.

2.  Pain meds make me vomit, apparently.  I’m guessing I didn’t hold my head still during that escapade.  PS, when the last thing you have eaten was tomato sauce, it’s scary to throw up, because, you know, it’s red – OH MY GOSH is that BLOOD?  Nothing like examining your own puke a little closer…

3.  Am I wearing this brace right?  I mean, I’m holding my neck still as much as I can, but is this the right way?  I don’t want to heal with my neck crooked – and I really don’t want more surgery to fix something I didn’t realize was wrong… STRESS!

4.  In this house, bouncing children exist.  Sometimes they climb on the couch behind me, and extremities fly in directions that even they can’t control…telling them to get away form mommy seems mean, so she hasn’t done it yet…

5. A neck brace for the shower doesn’t mean it will be easier to clean yourself with it.  In fact, it will be harder.  I’m not sure I’ll have fully clean hair or neck for the four weeks I’m required to wear this thing.  Good thing my job requires me to hide in an office and never see people…oh wait.

6.  This neck brace is itchy.  Apparently my neck skin is used to breathing and would like to continue to do so.  My doctor said it’s not a rash, so I’m stuck being itchy.

7.  This neck brace looks terrible.  I can’t talk well in it, and when people see me – EVEN strangers – they automatically put on a pity face and ask if I’m ok, and sometimes a slough of personal medical questions – “How long do you have to wear that thing?”  I have wanted to offer caring to strangers in my past.  I’m done.

8.  They pushed my esophagus and throat aside to operate.  It hurts to swallow and cough, things that happen without thought…boo.  Makes me wish I was a biological scientist and was able to find a way to get this procedure done without needing to make any incisions or moving anything aside…yargh.

9.  My arms are no longer numb.  It’s insane.  I’m not sure how well they are doing as I’m not supposed to lift more than 5 pounds, but still!  It’s amazing – they could  go into my neck while monitoring nerves in all my extremeties, and remove a herniated disk – it’s got a job, but they can just take it out, and upon finding additional disk apart from the original piece, realize it was indeed serious enough to get rid of this way, and put in some titanium, that was sized in the OR WHILE I was open, and then SCREW it into my bones, sew me back up, and all I have to do for four weeks is wear a brace.  Kind of amazing, even though I’m sore and salty – this will be over soon enough, and I’ll have a fairly functional neck and fully functional arms.  Amazing!

Ok, I’ll be fine.  I will continue to bored blog, 1108141021be warned…