Tuesday, March 26, 2013


This is my family.

There was a time in our history when my parents would not have been allowed to marry.

I'm sure glad that changed.

Because of that change, I got to be the big sister to this crazy kid.

Who grew into an amazing, talented, funny, spunky, beautiful young woman.



And now....


She is my sister, and I love her.

I sure do wish equality meant for all...and not just for some.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Trigeminal Neuralgia

This is the machine that is going to save my life. It's called Perfexion.

After 2 1/2 years of hearing things like "we can't see anything wrong", "everything looks great", "you have a perfectly normal looking ear/tooth/neck/face/gum/MRI/CT/X-Ray etc. etc.", "your symptoms are atypical so I am not convinced it's...", "is it possible that this is mental/environmental/stress related/exaggerated etc. etc.", ETC. ETC. I FINALLY have a scan in my hand that shows with 100% certainty that I have Trigeminal Neuralgia. It's there. It has finally showed its face on a scan! The main artery which feeds the brain is pushing on the middle branch of the trigeminal nerve. In essence, strangling it. I can see it. But better yet, the Neurosurgeon can see it! I AM NOT CRAZY!!! There is, and has been for a VERY LONG TIME, something wrong with me!!!! The elation I have at this news is impossible to put into words. This beast has been elusive, sneaky, and manipulative but I am going to beat it!

In the coming weeks I will have Gamma Knife surgery, the least invasive of two surgeries for this disorder. I have an amazing Neurosurgeon who is nationally known as a the leading specialist in this procedure. I swear, if my daughter hadn't been in the room, I would have jumped out of my chair and kissed him all over his face when he told me the news. It's no longer "atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia pending further testing". It's just Trigeminal Neuralgia. And he can fix it!

The risks are minimal, and the procedure is relatively pain free. My biggest risk is from the anestesia, which is not required, but there is no way I can tolerate being strapped in that machine with a box over my head for an hour and a half, so yeah...knock me out. The odds are really in my favor. 3% chance of some facial numbness. 0% chance of paralysisis or deminished movement in my face (my two big concerns). 80% chance the pain will be gone forever. 20% chance that it will return in 3-20 years, most likely on the higher end, at which time my children will be older and we can investigate the more invasive, more painful, riskier, Vascular Decompression, or do this again...the choice is mine. That's IF I'm in the 20%...which I REFUSE TO BE!!!

And he said the magic words..."This is how I would treat my wife." Anything that is good enough for a Neurosurgeon's wife is good enough for me! Sign me up!

So just for fun, let's break it down by the numbers.

2 1/2 years of continual (24/7) pain in the gums, ear, head, neck, shoulder and now elbow. Hearing loss in right ear.

3 crowns, 1 root canal, 2 dentists and 4 endodontists exploring every possible dental reason for the pain.

I have seen a General Practiotioner, ENT, Neurologist, Oral Facil Pain Specialist, 2 Neurosurgeons, 2 Accupuncturists, an Herbalist, a Chiropractor, and even someone who does Reiki. Most of those with multiple visits.

Hundreds of hours at appointments. $1,000's spent in co-pays, out of pocket expenses for second/third/fourth opinions, prescriptions, & parking.

1 Sinus CT, 2 Brain CT's (one with contrast, one with Iodine), a brain MRI, a Cervical MRI.

12 medications, most of them with side effects. Most frustrating being, short term memory loss, apathy, depression, weight gain, fatigue, confusion, inexplicable crying.

I have cancelled many social events due to lack of energy, interest or confidence. But most of them because it's hard to put on a smile when you have chronic pain. I didn't even go to my high school reunion.

I have missed hundreds of hours with my husband and my kids. I have spent many nights crying myself to sleep. I have been irritable, cranky, lethargic, moody, strange, all around pain in the neck to live with. There were months that I spent more money than we make, all on medical bills. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my life. It's time to take it back! Let's do this.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Have Issues

I know they are going to get their dance.
I know he is going to go to her house to ask her father if she can be his date to that dance.
I know that her father will pray for their dance and buy her a corsage.
I know that he will tell her how beautiful she is when he picks her up for the dance.
I know her parents will watch the dance from the fields.
I know every moment of this movie.
Yet I still start crying when he stands up in the Council meeting and says "My name is Ren McCormick...".
And I stop crying when the credits roll.
Every. Single. Time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Best part of 2010
Jon-Changing jobs and getting to spend more time with the family.
Gina-Trapeze flying, finishing grad school and having more family time after Jon’s job change
Dylan-Indian Village and Hawaii
Megan-Getting Squinkies for her birthday

Worst part of 2010
Jon-A few rough days at work
Gina-Stupid back and stupid mouth problems
Dylan-The weather in the summer
Megan-Every time she got yelled at for being naughty

Looking forward to in 2011
Jon-More family time and fitting into skinny jeans again
Gina-New York in June, family vacation in August and getting her stupid back and mouth fixed
Dylan-Starting 5th grade
Megan-Getting more exercise by being successful in her resolution to run in place for 3 minutes a day

Friday, December 31, 2010

Best New Years Ever!

Thirteen years ago at a New Years Eve party my boyfriend looked me in the eyes and said “I don’t think you will ever be a good wife or mother”, thus ending our 2 year relationship. I spent the next two weeks crying my eyes out on the shoulder of my roommate who said things like “you are wonderful”, “you will be an amazing mother”, and “he is crazy to think he’s better off without you”. 2 years later, I married that wise man and have spent the last 11 New Years Eve’s being thankful for another year with him! And every day I work hard to prove him right. I am a good wife. I am a good mother. I would not wish the heartache of that night on my worst enemy. But if you ask me if I am glad it happened to me…my answer would be…ABSOLUTELY!!! Happy New Years honey! I love love love you!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Sing-A-Long

I learned a few things last night.

Even though I cannot sing, I can still have fun at a sing-a-long.

People invite us places for my husband's amazing eggnog. And the look on people's faces when they take their first sip is priceless.

I am going to be an amazing drum player someday! I am currently taking applications for my band!

There are sweet girls Megan's age who snuggle with their moms and don't roll their eyes. Megan will never be one of them.

When I go on Amazing Race, the tag under my name will be "Bookstore Volunteer" because let's face it, "Mom, Wife, Teacher" isn't catchy.

My daughter is a flirt. Complete with the "notice me" way she sits on the couch and the "sing me a song" requests. Sigh.

My son is not a flirt. He walked past the sweet girl snuggling with her mom 87 times without a second glance. Different Sigh.

There are some people that just look good in hats. Any type of hat. I am not one of them.

It's cute when little girls show off their ballet skills. It's embarrassing when my husband shows off his.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Things I Learned in Yucaipa

Don't ask me how we ended up in Yucaipa. It's not relevant. I can tell you, however, that I learned a lot during my short visit.
1. There aren't many mini-vans in Yucaipa. Most people drive big trucks or old mustangs. If you drive a mini-van down Yucaipa Blvd., the people will stare at you like you have landed from another planet.
2. There are a lot of churches in Yucaipa. But the place with the most patrons is the bar.
3. You can see the entire town in 3 1/2 minutes.
4. We like to take a local's recommendation for a good meal spot whenever traveling to a new town. In Yucaipa, this means dinner at a place whose menu includes breakfast, Mexican food, cheese steaks, burgers and fried mushrooms, all prepared on a grill behind the cash only counter. There are plastic benches in their small booths. Their burger special is only $3.25 but if you want any flavor with that, you better make use of the ridiculously hot peppers they leave sitting on the counter all day, or at the very least, half of the salt from the shaker at your table. After dining at this place, you have a 50/50 chance that your icky tummy the next day came from their meat, or the e-coli from the stream water you drank on your hike. Their bathrooms were clean, which was a bonus!
5, In Yucaipa, the entire staff of a restaurant will stop working and sit down to watch the opening ceremonies of the WWE Championships.

I could go on, however my son has informed me that making fun of Yucaipa, and the people that come from there, is not kind hearted. So I will leave you with this, Yucaipa is not a destination location, but if you ever need a good chuckle, take a ride out there. There are plenty of sights to see!