One down

 

Yesterday I played Lanier Golf Club up by Lake Lanier, about 40 minutes north of Atlanta. I got there early and decided to hit some range balls to kill some time. As I was finishing up my bucket it started pouring rain. I ran up to the shop they have by the range and sat inside to wait it out. As I waited I talked about the course with the man who managed the range. We had some time, so he walked me through the course hole by hole and told me what to expect, where the best place was to put the ball on holes where that mattered, when to take an extra club hitting into certain deceptive greens, etc. For those of you who play golf, you know how important that type of information is, and it is usually the type of information you only learn after playing the course a number of times, so needless to say, I was eager to listen!

Right from the start my game was much better than it had been on Tuesday. My ball striking was on and everything just felt like it was clicking. With the exception of my driver, all of my clubs were very consistent and my short game was the best it has been since I have been back out. I worked a lot on it the last time I was at the range, so I was glad to see that the extra attention paid off on the course!

I almost chipped in on both 6 and 7. I practically lipped the ball out on both holes, and was consistently getting my up and downs from 40 yards and in. If my driver had been consistent I would have been scoring incredibly well, but as it turned out, I shot a 46 on the front.

The back 9 starts off with a par 3. I hit a 3 iron pin high, just off the green to the right. The pin was on the left edge of a wide green. True to form, I put my chip to within 2 feet and sunk my par putt. The next holes were a mixture of double bogeys and pars, in line with exactly how well my drive was. If I topped it or pulled it left, I generally added 2 strokes to my score, but if I had a good drive I usually parred out.

Sixteen was a short par 4. I hit a decent drive and had about 140 left. I stuck it to about 15 feet and 2 putted for my par. Seventeen was a long par 5. I hit a nice drive, followed by a great 3-iron and a 9-iron into the green. Two putt for a par. As I lined up to hit my drive on 18 I said a little prayer. I just had 2 good drives in a row and with how inconsistent my driver had been all day, I really didn’t want to botch it on the final hole! The prayer must have helped because I hit a good drive, right down the center of the fairway. Unfortunately I left my 7-iron about 10 yards short of the green. Since my short game had been pretty good all day, I felt rather confident that I could get my up and down to save par. I went up, checked out the green and took my shot. I hit it perfectly, exactly where I wanted to land it, and watched as it tracked back toward the hole, going a little bit faster than I would have liked, but then “TINK!” — it hits the pin and drops! A chip-in birdie to end the round!!!

After giving a nice celebratory yell, I went back to the cart and added up my score for the back 9. 43. I counted it again. 43. Add that to the 46 on the front, and that chip-in on 18 allowed me to break 90 on the golf course for the first time since my amputation!!!

Needless to say, I am beyond excited, because I expected that to take a good bit longer to accomplish. My driver still needs a lot of work, but thankfully my short game was able to carry me through this time!

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Hope Lodge Atlanta

Last night Ashley’s company, Ogilvy, prepared dinner for the patients at the Hope Lodge here in Atlanta. When she told me of their plan I had her sign me up as well. When I was in the Hope Lodge in NYC we had a group come in on Thanksgiving and prepare a big Thanksgiving dinner for us. It was incredibly generous of them and something that I was glad of the opportunity to be able to repay. Ogilvy did a great job, preparing an italian meal for the residents, with several pasta dishes, salads, soups and a variety of deserts.

While we were there I took the time to speak with some of the patients. When they heard that I had just completed cancer treatments myself, they all had some different questions that I was glad I could answer. Simple things like, “How long will it take for my hair to come back?” (about 2 months), and “Did everything taste like cardboard when you were on chemo too?” (yes!). It was nice to be able to reassure the people I spoke with and encourage them to keep on pushing because it will all be done soon!

I am glad that Ogilvy decided to do this wonderful event and that I was able to take part in it. I think I might need to start organizing some things like this as well.

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Obviously you’re not a golfer

Today Ashley, Jack and I went out to the driving range. It was the first time I have swung a club with my new leg and we had a blast! It was actually a little harder than I had thought it would be, but I guess that stands to reason. Golf is hard enough as it is, even without the addition of a metal leg! Ashley shot a video of me taking a few swings. Luckily she took the video right when I put together three good shots in a row! Haha.

When I originally met with my prosthetist and my doctor in charge of physical therapy, one of my first questions was, “How long will it be until I can start playing golf again?” They kind of hummed and hawed and said that you never can tell and there were a lot of things that we needed to do first and so on. Well we now have the answer. Eight and a half weeks. It took just over 8 weeks to get out and start swinging again. Not too bad!

As I said, we had a great time out there and I can’t wait to get back out and try it again. We also stopped and bought a softball on our way home so that we can start throwing tomorrow. It is so nice to be able to play outside and enjoy this beautiful weather!

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Driving Evaluation

This morning I went to the Shepherd Center for my driving evaluation. Since we amputated my right leg I had to be evaluated by a professional in order to legally drive again. Before that I was just driving illegally, but as of this morning I am no longer breaking the law, which is always nice!

We had thought that I was going to either get a left foot accelerator or else have hand controls installed in my car, but after doing the initial evaluation and talking about my options, we decided that I should just drive an unaltered car by using my left foot. I have actually been driving to and from work like this for the past few days and it is surprisingly easy. The left foot accelerator is dangerous to the point that a lot of vendors have stopped installing them in cars, and the hand controls cost over $2,000 with no help from insurance.

For the evaluation I basically just drove around Buckhead for a while with the Occupational Therapist in charge of the program. We practiced getting on and off highways and making left and right turns, etc. I passed with flying colors and he has signed off on me driving using my left foot, so I am now legal! Before this evaluation I would have been liable even if someone else had hit me, so it is good to have that over and done with.

One more hurdle cleared in the return to normalcy!

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Pushing forward

Taken from the bar at the top of the Bohemian Hotel in Savannah

A lot has happened since my last post. We have stayed extremely busy over the past two weekends. Two weeks ago Ashley took me to Savannah for an early 30th birthday celebration. We had a great time in Savannah, and I started walking around a lot without crutches for the first time. This was also the first time I really pushed myself on difficult terrain (with or without a crutch), and we were both pleasantly surprised at how well it went!

The most difficult thing was walking the steep hills that were made of cobble stones leading down to River Street. The dirt parking lot outside of the Crab Shack was difficult too, but not nearly as hard as the cobble stones. It was fun to push myself though. I enjoy taking on new challenges like that. I think my favorite meal was at the Crab Shack, but Ashley got the shrimp and grits at Vics on the River and she says they were the best grits she has ever tasted!

This past weekend we all went up to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, to celebrate the 4th of July. It was great getting up to the beach before starting work and it also answered a lot of questions I had about exactly how we would do things at the beach! We had a lot of fun and I think LeeAnne summed it up best when we returned home from a boat ride on our final day. After we had jumped off the boat she said, “You know, it’s really cool that we were able to do everything we did on this trip. There wasn’t a single thing that we would normally do that we couldn’t do with you, even with your missing leg!” We had an incredible time; riding around on the boat, swimming, walking on the beach, watching Joan and Ashley sprint and dive in the water to escape bees, etc!

I mainly used my crutches at the beach because if any salt or sand got in the liner of my prosthesis it would have caused skin breakdown and irritation. But the crutches actually worked surprisingly well on the sand and in the shallow water along the shore. When the water got deeper I would just hop through it (which I have become an expert at) and swimming was easy and fun as well! It is a little bit nerve racking getting on and off the boat when the waves are rocking the dock, but there weren’t any issues this time around!

I started work on Wednesday and have now spent two full days at the office. It has gone very smoothly so far. I am really looking forward to getting a better socket though! By the end of the work day this one is absolutely killing me, but I am handling it ok so far. Today I actually played 4 games of ping pong with a guy too! I enjoyed the challenge of using my leg in a new way. It was definitely difficult to move quickly and keep my balance while returning shots, but then again I like ping pong, so I played as much as I could handle before my leg was telling me it was time to stop!

I think the key to acclimating quickly to a new prosthesis is to constantly push yourself to do new things that probably seem uncomfortable at first. I was far from certain I could handle those cobble stone hills in Savannah, but it turned out I could! Same thing with ping pong. I definitely didn’t think I was ready to be able to do that, so I gave it a shot and actually won one of our games! I like pushing myself and taking on new challenges, and now that I have this new leg there are challenges around each and every corner. It is fun to break new ground and keep moving forward. I think Ashley and I are going to go out to the driving range and hit some golf balls this weekend. I am anxious to get back out on the course and hope that I can get my swing back quickly!

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Buford Highway Farmers Market

Boy is it good to be home! I feel like I keep saying this, but it is truly great to be back and getting back to normal again. Things have continued to be very busy here in Atlanta. I have been wearing the leg more and more, trying to get ready for work where I will be wearing it all day long.

This weekend Ashley and I went to the Buford Highway Farmers Market. If you are in Atlanta and haven’t been there, it is definitely worth checking out! They have an unbelievable produce section, with more exotic vegetables than you can imagine. We bought some ridiculously large potatoes and had one later that day. Probably the best potato I have ever had. I don’t know why it was so good, but Ashley and I both independently decided that it was one of the best potatoes we had ever tasted. On top of the vegetables they also had an incredible sea food market, with live blue crabs, crawfish and even frogs! Here are a few more shots I took of the exotic selections available there (click the picture for the full size version):

We also watched Rory McIlroy dominate the US Open this weekend. He seems like such a great kid, and is definitely coming along at the right time. After Tiger’s fall from grace golf is in need of another hero, and I think Rory just might fit the bill. Hopefully he doesn’t let it all go to his head like Tiger did!

As I said, I have been wearing the leg a lot and am getting used to having it on for long periods of time. Unfortunately, because of the size fluctuations that are still occurring in my leg, the socket tends to be rather uncomfortable and painful at times. I have pain pills for the resulting discomfort, but am hoping that my leg stops fluctuating soon so that I can get a socket made that wont require me to take pain pills to wear it.

I have continued to schedule appointments and get things ready for my return to work. I am seeing another prosthetist tomorrow morning and have various other appointments next week. My parents are still in New York and have movers coming to pack up the apartment tomorrow. Hopefully everything will go smoothly with their departure!

This weekend Ashley is taking me to Savannah for an early birthday celebration. Neither of us have been to Savannah and we are both looking forward to the experience. Unfortunately the weather report says it is going to be raining the whole time we are there, but I have no doubt we will have a great time anyway! We have heard that we need to check out the Crab Shack on Tybee Island, but if anyone has any other recommendations of fun things to do while we are there, we would love to hear them!

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Atlanta

Bulkhead seating

I’m finally back in Atlanta, and I must say it is good to be home! The trip back was pretty uneventful. I had nice seats on the flight due to my new handicapped status, of which I plan on taking full advantage! Haha. This was the first time I’d flown with the new leg, and the first time I’d been on my own for a long time wearing it. It all went smoothly, although it did hurt during the flight. I don’t know if it was because of the pressure or just the position my leg was in, but it didn’t stop hurting until I was up and moving again after we landed. Ashley picked me up at the airport and my bags were the first ones off the plane, so as I said, it couldn’t have gone more smoothly!

The first night back we had steaks on the grill at Mema’s house and then on Sunday Ashley, Jack and I watched the Mavs win the championship. What a great game! It was great seeing them follow through this year, and was even sweeter because of the 2006 series. I also enjoyed watching them shut down LeBron like they did. His post game comments just showed how immature he still is. In case you missed them, here is the clip.

Comments like that have to make you glad that the guy didn’t get his ring yet. He will go on to win plenty of championships in his career, but he clearly doesn’t need the ego boost that a ring would have brought him right now. The Mavs have worked extremely hard to build this team and it was great seeing them come through after all this time. I also thought it was cool of Cuban to bring up Donald Carter, the original owner of the team, to accept the championship trophy.

I spent most of the day on Monday on the phone talking with insurance and various government institutions to figure out what needs to happen in order for me to drive. There seem to be a number of options, so now I just have to figure out which option is the safest and go from there. Today I met with a prosthetist at Georgia Prosthetics to start establishing a relationship there. He took a look at my leg and made some alignment adjustments and a few other changes. I think the changes made a difference and the leg feels much more comfortable now. After the appointment I went grocery shopping with Mema and Joan and was able to go around the store without a crutch and without any difficulty. He seems like he is not going to be nearly as hands on as Ryan was, in that he said to just let him know if I have any problems, but otherwise he’d see me again in a month or so. I guess that is how it goes after you get into a decent socket, but if my leg drops in size any more I think I am going to need a new socket much sooner than he seems to be saying! I guess we’ll just see how it goes. He seemed like a good guy and like he knew what he was talking about, but I might set up some appointments with a few more prosthetists around town just to see who else is out there.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my PCP, Emilio Lacayo who I talked about in an earlier post. Things are still very busy, but it is great to finally be back in Atlanta!

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Home

Today is my last day in New York City.

It has been an incredible ride since we arrived here in November, and it is hard to imagine that it is coming to an end. It seems like everything wrapped up so quickly, and yet it always seemed to be going so slowly at the time. I think that pretty much sums up life though. You have to enjoy each moment because when you look back it all seems to have slipped by so fast.

I was talking to someone a few weeks ago about our time here in New York and I said, “Oh, we’ve had a great time! We’ve had a great living situation, seen several plays, been to some great restaurants and have really enjoyed everyone we’ve met up here!” They kind of looked at me like I was crazy. That’s when I realized how it sounded to be talking about how much fun we have had since we have been up here for cancer treatment and an amputation. I said, “Oh, well yeah… besides all of that other stuff.”

Sometimes I forget how all of this looks to people from the outside. I don’t view this as a tragic occurrence, but rather the next step in me becoming the man I am supposed to be. And I don’t think any of what I have done is particularly special, it is just what you do when you face something like this. You keep on going. And now I am going home!

As I said, we have had some great times here in New York, despite the circumstances that brought us here. The reason we have had those great times is because of the family that I am blessed to be a part of and the support we have received from everyone around us. Having such incredible support through all of this is more than I could have ever asked for and I am fortunate beyond all words to have had such amazing people enter my life. Everyone I have been blessed to have come into contact with throughout this entire experience has turned what could have been a horrible ordeal into a time I look back on with fond memories.

So to everyone who reads this and everyone who has written us notes of encouragement or just said a silent prayer on our behalf, thank you. Thank you all so much. Your involvement has truly made a huge difference and we are all very appreciative!

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Mediport Free!

Yesterday I went into NYU and had my mediport removed. It was installed on the 3rd day of November, 2010, and I just went back and read my blog post from that day. It seems like so long ago!

The mediport is a device that is implanted into your chest and allows drugs to be administered without having to put in a new IV line every time. It sits just under the skin and your nurse accesses the port by using a little needle that kind of looks like a thumb tack. It’s somewhat disconcerting the first time they access it because rather than coming towards your skin at an oblique angle, you see the needle coming straight at your chest! It sounds worse than it is though. It became my favorite way to give blood or do anything. If they ever said they needed to put in an IV, I always urged them to just use the port. It was great… All things considered.

One other thing you should look into if you are getting a mediport is getting a double port. When I got my mediport I was unaware that I was getting a double port and was later told that they aren’t that common, but you should definitely request one! The great thing about a double port is that you can have chemo and fluids administered at the same time. With a single port, if you need fluids administered while you are getting chemo, you have to have an additional IV installed in your arm. However, if you have a double port you can have them both running at once into your chest. It is much more convenient than it sounds! So if you have to get a mediport definitely tell them to make it a double!

Having the mediport removed is a big day. It is the sign that your oncologist feels confident that your cancer treatment is complete. It shows that he thinks that you will not need any more chemo in the foreseeable future. It is a big day. After getting out of the surgery (which just used local anesthetic… I had a nice conversation with my doctor throughout the entire procedure) I had a message from a guy that I had met at the Cancer Center. He was up on the 16th floor for some chemo. We swung by later in the day and said hello. We talked about various things, but he told me that his port had been put in over 4 years ago and he was sitting there using it as we spoke. It really puts things in perspective when you talk to people who have been dealing with this type of thing for so long. Hopefully my cancer treatments will be done for good with this step and I can concentrate on pushing myself to continue getting better on my new leg!

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Memorial Day

Yesterday was Memorial Day, and we could not have asked for a more beautiful day to commemorate those who have served our country. As my dad said at dinner last night, Memorial Day really is a cool holiday. People spend time with family, eating good food and celebrating the freedoms that people have fought so hard to protect.

We started our activities by going to Shake Shack around noon. Memorial Day is one of the few days of the year that the Upper West Side location serves corn dogs. We’d heard about these corn dogs from people and also seen them on a Food Network show so we figured we would try them out since we were up here on a day they were available. They fit in where most of the Shake Shack offerings are with me… they were ok. I don’t really get the craze that surrounds Shake Shack. It is good, but not great. With the lines the way they are, you expect it to be out of this world, and like I said, it is good… I just don’t think I would stand in a long line for it again, unless it was a beautiful day and I just felt like standing outside in a park.

After Shake Shack we walked to the 72nd and Broadway entrance to the 1, 2, 3 Subway line. Since my prosthesis socket has gotten to be way too large for my rapidly shrinking leg I just went around on crutches yesterday. We got on the express line heading down to the Financial District. We decided to go see some of the parks along the water down there since it was such a beautiful day. The subway car was very crowded when we got on and there wasn’t anywhere to sit, so I grabbed onto one of the bars, used a crutch for support on the other side and held on… It was a lot harder than I expected! Every decent sized jolt made it feel like I was going to lose my balance. LeeAnne grabbed onto my shoulder which helped and we made it to the next stop where people got off and we were able to grab a seat.

We got off the Subway at Chambers Street and walked about a half mile west, over to the parks that line the Hudson. Along the way we stopped for a minute and watched a half inning of a little league baseball game. It definitely brought back some memories! As we watched, a man walked by the park, walking his 3-legged dog. The dog had his back leg squared underneath his body and was still able to move pretty well, if not a little bit slower. It just seemed happy to be out on such a beautiful day, as were we all!

We continued on to the park after that. It was a hot day and those shade-covered benches and the cool breeze coming off the water were life savers! If you ever want a great upper body workout, making your way around the city on forearm crutches can definitely fit the bill. The hardest part is the pressure that you put on your hands. My pinky and ring fingers on both hands are still numb today because of the way the handles press into the nerves. We sat on the benches for a while, next to a duck pond, watching the boats out on the river. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.

After relaxing for a bit we got up and started making our way down towards the World Financial Center Plaza. There is a harbor there with some enormous yachts. The plaza is also very cool. There are bars and restaurants with big seating areas outside. It was jammed yesterday too. As we were walking over there I stopped and took a video of this guy roller blading down by the water. Pretty impressive throwback to the 90’s!

We (and by “we” I mean “I”) were pretty exhausted by this point, so we grabbed a cab back to the apartment. We went up to the roof and read some books and got some sun for a little bit before coming back down and showering to get ready for our delicious Memorial Day dinner! We, along with the rest of America, had ribs that were prepared in the oven this year, using a new recipe. Being in NYC and not having access to a grill has forced my dad to adapt his cooking methods, but he has done pretty well with the adjustment!

That pretty much wrapped up our Memorial Day! I hope that everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day as thoroughly as we did, and are having a great start to the short week!

(Tomorrow I have a minor outpatient surgery to have my mediport removed at 9am and will hopefully be getting my new prosthesis socket by the end of the week!)

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Kids

Ever since my amputation I have found it very interesting to see the reactions that it elicits from others. As we all know, when you see someone missing a limb or wearing a prosthesis, your immediate reaction is to stare. We are innately curious about what could have caused this situation, but we have all been taught that it is impolite to stare at someone in a wheelchair or with a missing a limb, etc. I find it interesting to see who comes out and asks what happened and who just quietly cuts their eyes over when they don’t think you will notice. I honestly don’t care if people look (I mean, I still do it too!) but I am sure everyone has different feelings about that.

My favorite reactions are those of kids. They are so innocently curious, and when they see that my leg is missing each of them handles it a little bit differently. Some of them slowly examine the rest of me to see if everything else appears to be normal. Others just stare at where my leg should be like they are expecting it to reappear at any moment! Sometimes kids will be walking, holding hands with their nanny and will literally turn around and walk backwards because they just can’t look long enough! It is actually really cute.

The other day my mom and I were leaving my outpatient rehab and walking over to Ryan’s office for another fitting of the new socket we are making. We stopped at the light where a little boy was standing, holding hands with his nanny. When he saw my C-Leg he did the full body check and then just fixated on the leg. His nanny looked to see what he was so fascinated with and then whispered to him, “Don’t stare!” I laughed and said “It’s ok if he looks, he’s just checking out my new robot leg!” The light changed and she laughed as we all began crossing the street.

He couldn’t see enough and kept changing speeds to see around his nanny as we walked. When we got to the other side of the street I asked him if he wanted to see how it worked. He looked up at his nanny and then back at me and nodded. I explained how we use a computer to change the settings of the leg and showed how you can get the knee to bend by putting pressure on the toe, etc. After the demonstration his nanny asked him if he thought that was cool and with wide eyes he looked up at her and nodded and said “Yeah!!!”

I thought that it was interesting that this whole situation began with his nanny telling him not to stare though. I think that we teach our kids that it is impolite to look at people who are different and as a result end up creating a stigma around them. I think that as long as the “Don’t stare!” idea is hammered into kids when they are young, then they will be the ones who would never break the ice and ask what happened, but rather just silently cut their eyes when they don’t think you are looking.

Obviously we’ll all cut our eyes and look when we are passing someone who is missing a limb, and it doesn’t always make sense to ask what happened, but even if we are just standing at a stop light and someone asks, I am never offended by the question. I think that instead of telling kids not to stare, we should teach them to say “Hi.” I think that it would eliminate the stigma that sticks with them throughout their lives and would teach them to be more open to asking questions when they are older.

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Now Entering the 21st Century

Recently I have been getting back into my regular habit of reading about emerging technologies and trends, and have also been working on a few side projects to get my mind sharp and ready to return to work. Reading about emerging technologies always gets me excited and spurs me to start messing around with some projects of my own that are aimed at sharpening my skills and learning as much as I can. This time it has also led me to make a few little updates to my blog to finally bring it into the 21st century!

These are just a couple of minor updates, but I figured I would point them out anyway. The first is that I have set up automatic email alerts that will notify you when I have added a new post. If you go up to the link in the header bar, there is now a tab that says “Email Alerts.” If you enter your email information there then you will be automatically alerted whenever there is a new post. I don’t know if anyone has the desire to actually know how often I post, but just in case you do, there is now that option! Haha.

The second addition that I have made is that there are now buttons at the bottom of each post that allow you to email blog posts to friends or share them on Facebook and Twitter. I honestly just added this because I wanted to know how you set something like that up, but again, if anyone ever has the desire to utilize that feature, it is now there!

On Saturday I met some people that I went to grad school with at The Stag’s Head for dinner and a few beers. I mentioned that my family had stopped in at The Stag’s Head for a beer before dinner in my last post and I was eager to try it again. I was really hoping to get the same Ithaca Nut Brown beer that I had last Saturday and figured I would have a good shot since it was only a week ago, but as advertised they truly do keep a revolving craft beer selection on tap and the Ithaca Nut Brown was no longer available. Forced variety is not necessarily a bad thing, and I had a good Lager and Irish Red this time around. I still think the Ithaca Nut Brown might have been the best of the bunch though!

On Sunday we went to 5th Avenue Presbyterian and heard a good sermon discussing all the speculation around the Rapture that Harold E. Camping had been predicting was supposed to occur on Saturday. It was a good sermon and I like Scott’s blog post explaining the background of this rapture prediction. If you want to check it out, just click on this link. As always, Scott was very warm when we spoke to him after the sermon. I’m pretty sure my mom had tears in her eyes when we walked out after speaking to him.

We met up with some of my parent’s friends from college and their 3 daughters for dinner on Sunday night. We went to a great Greek restaurant in Midtown called Milos and had a lot of fun and a great dinner. Everyone got the Sea Bass, so I broke the trend and ordered the lamb chops. They were out of this world! The restaurant was excellent and was well designed. It was a fun way to end a nice Sunday, even if the weather is still rainy and nasty.

We met with Ryan yesterday about my new socket, and seem to be making progress despite the fact that my leg is still changing size so much. It is literally like trying to hit a moving target. We take measurements one day and the next day those measurements are rendered useless because my leg is now 2 inches skinnier. It is frustrating, but it is the nature of dealing with a leg shortly after amputation, so I’m just rolling with it and hoping we can get a decent enough fit so that I can get back to Atlanta and start working on it for a bit before needing another one!

I am scheduled to get my mediport removed from my chest on June 1, and will try to head back to Georgia as soon as that is done. I have some things to take care of there before I start work again, like getting a car outfitted with a left foot accelerator, beginning outpatient rehab, and establishing a relationship with a prosthetist in Atlanta, etc, etc. So I need to get back there and get things moving so that I can get all of that out of the way and get back to work! I am hoping to be back in the office before the start of July, but we’ll see how everything goes once I get back to Atlanta. I think that seems like a realistic goal though!

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Out and About Patient

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

My final day as an inpatient at Rusk was last Friday. I had a week and a half of practice on the new leg in a controlled environment, and it was finally time to cut loose! Also, my brother Jack arrived Friday night so I asked to be let out Friday morning so I could spend the few days he was in town at the apartment rather than cooped up in the hospital!

Jack’s arrival was greeted with a rainy Friday afternoon. The entire week prior had been absolutely beautiful spring weather; a little crisp to the air and lots of sun! He didn’t get to see any of that though, it rained throughout his entire trip. It was still great having him here though and I’m glad that he got to visit before we left the city!

On Saturday morning we got up and I worked on some stairs. We have reduced the friction in my knee a lot so I am able to go down them much faster now (I might even have Ryan loosen it up some more). Here is a video we took on Saturday morning of me going down the stairs. I get better at this every day, so this is already out dated, but as you can see, it is exponentially better than the day 5 video!

We started messing around with the idea of going up the stairs, step over step. The leg isn’t designed to do this, as I have since been told by some Otto Bock (the manufacturer of the C-Leg) representatives, but it is possible. They said that the people that I have seen doing it on YouTube have obviously been on their legs for years and years to which I replied, “Yeah, so how much cooler would it be if I could figure it out in just a few weeks??” They laughed and we changed subjects

Henry VIII Armor

After we worked on going up the stairs (which is pretty hard and quite a workout) we all showered and went to the MET for the day. What an incredible museum! The socket on my prosthesis isn’t fitting perfectly yet due to the fact that we are still so close to my surgery and my leg rapidly fluctuates in size, so I went out on the crutches and used a wheelchair at the museum. We had a great time and saw some incredible art work. And I’ve got to say, getting to kick back and be pushed around in a chair wasn’t a bad way to see it either! Whenever we wanted to do something where the chair wouldn’t work I would just hop up and use my crutches, so we weren’t limited at all, and I didn’t kill myself trying to go around that massive museum all day on foot.

After the museum we went out for some Indian food at Amma, one of my parents favorite Indian restaurants that they have been to up here. We arrived early for our reservation so we went into a bar next door called The Stag’s Head which turned out to be a great stop.

The Stag’s Head is a bar on 51st and 2nd Ave that specializes in craft beers. They only have American craft beers on tap and also specialize in canned beers. It was a pretty cool spot and one that I’d like to hit up again before I leave town. We all had a beer and then went next door for a delicious dinner. The Indian food was absolutely incredible, even if LeeAnne momentarily blacked out from how spicy one of the lamb dishes was! We had a good time and it was nice having the entire family together.

The next day we went and saw Catch Me If You Can on Broadway. They did a good job converting it into a musical and it was a lot of fun. We had seats in the balcony, but were the only ones in our little section of the row (there were six seats, but no one bought the single) so I didn’t have to worry about climbing over anyone while using my crutches. I had to go up some pretty steep stairs, and they were the longest flight of stairs I have been on, but it wasn’t a problem.

After the play we decided to walk back to the apartment. It was kind of a messy day, drizzling off and on, but the crisp air felt good and I just wanted to see if I could do it. The walk was just under a mile and a half, by far the furthest I have gone on the crutches. It was a pretty good workout!

On Monday I had a preliminary evaluation for my outpatient physical therapy which I began this week. I am going Tuesdays and Thursdays while I am still up here, and will do it until I head back to Atlanta. We are working on balance exercises, proper gait techniques, weight bearing on the prosthesis, etc.

On Monday night we went out for yakitori at a restaurant named Tori Shin, in between 64th and 65th on 1st Ave. Yakitori is something that we all fell in love with when my parents lived in Tokyo. It is basically grilled skewers of food, mainly chicken. We did the chef’s tasting menu, and it did not disappoint. It reminded us all of Japan too, which is always a good thing!
Jack left Tuesday night and I have just been doing outpatient physical therapy since then. Tuesday afternoon before he left we went to Lombardi’s pizza at Spring and Mott, and it was probably the best pizza we have had since we have been up here. It claims to be the first pizzeria, and whether that is true or not, their pizza is definitely worth trying. It is right around the corner from Peasant, the restaurant we went to for Mothers Day. Peasant is a traditional country Italian restaurant where everything is prepared in brick ovens. If you go, get the suckling pig. It is amazing.

OK! There is my 2011 restaurant review of New York City! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Time to go work out some more! Haha.

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My Mom

This is my belated Mothers Day post. The reason it is belated is because I have been reflecting on how to best put into words how fortunate I am to have the mother that I have been blessed with.

I truly do not know how I would have begun to handle all of what I have been going through without my mom being here to help me with it all. She literally dropped everything and began taking care of me full time. When all of this started I had no idea what we were facing. I figured we’d come up to New York, do a little chemo, catch a show or two, cut out the lump in my calf and head on home. Needless to say, it turned out to be slightly more involved than that.

I’ve always heard chemo was tough, but you truly don’t understand it until you have been put through it. Especially chemo administered by Dr. Rosen! Haha. He really knows how to knock you down a notch or two! I was an outpatient with chemo being administered 24/7 through a backpack for 16 days at a time, but we spent every day down in the Cancer Center. My mom literally took me down to the hospital every day. She sat by my side as the poison pumping through my system made me sick and even crazy at times (we call it chemo brain). She brought me lunch, made sure I wasn’t cold, managed my insurance claims (a ridiculous task all by itself!) and just generally did everything she could ever think of to try to ease the struggle of going through this ordeal.

And she succeeded.

I am ridiculously fortunate to have a mom who is so unbelievably giving. Her positive attitude and strong faith are inspirational and she has been a great example of what it means to be there for your family. Do you know what a hassle it is to come visit someone at the hospital every day? Fill prescriptions for crazy medicines that are only available in one drug store in the city? Carry everything because the person you are with is on crutches and doesn’t have a free hand? She does all of this and more without a single word of complaint or request for recognition. She is an incredible woman. I am only scratching the surface of how amazing she is and has been throughout this entire process, but the point is, she is a great woman, wife, mother and person. I am truly lucky beyond belief to have her in my life.

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Extension

We decided to extend my stay at Rusk a little bit longer. I am now going to be released Friday morning rather than today. The reason we pushed the date back is because there is still some fine tuning that I would like to make to my leg and being here seems to be the best way to get that done very quickly and efficiently.

I have made incredible progress over the past few days and am continually excited as I get more comfortable on the new leg. The technology that goes into this leg is amazing and it is fun to learn how to use it. It’s like having a cool new toy to play around with! Here is a video that my dad took of me walking down a flight of stairs on the 5th day I was here.

The way this works is that we actually go in with a computer program and set the friction level for the knee. When I step down, I put my foot halfway off the front of the step and then put my weight onto it. The friction slowly lowers me down to the next step. Right now it is set a little bit tight and lowers me down pretty slowly, but I like the friction setting that way for when I am walking, so it is a bit of a trade off.

Yesterday Matt, my occupational therapist, took me out to a nearby park to shoot some hoops. It is a bit of an adjustment not being able to jump off of my right foot, but it was a lot of fun being out there and being active. At one point I tried to run up to the rim for a layup, but that attempt ended about as fast as it started. I am definitely not to the point that I can do that yet, but figured it was worth a try. How cool would it have been if I could have just busted that out!? Oh well. I still beat Matt in a game of PIG, so at least I have that. Haha

My therapists have been amazing here, and between them and the nursing staff, my stay has been very pleasant. NYU obviously does a great job of picking their staff because the nurses here at Rusk, the nurses on the 16th floor of NYU and the nurses in the NYU Cancer Center have all been incredible. I can’t say the same for the Hospital for Joint Disease, but at least my surgeon was great!

Jack is coming up to visit on Friday. Since I check out of here Friday morning I should hopefully be ready to walk around with the family while he is here. I am going to try to get back down to Georgia before the end of the month and start getting everything lined up and organized there so that I can get back to work pretty soon after that! I am excited about the prospect of getting back to normal life with my new robot leg (as I have begun calling it). Every day brings more advancements and a greater familiarity with it. Soon I won’t even have to think about it anymore. We live in an amazing world!

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Rehabbing

I have just finished up my third day at The Rusk Institute, the rehab facility associated with NYU hospital. We have been making a lot of tweaks to my prosthesis and my socket, trying to get everything perfectly tuned so that I can walk as naturally and as painlessly as possible. Below is a video that my dad took this morning, showing me walking around without my crutches.

I’m obviously still working on perfecting my gait. The snapping sound you hear at the beginning of the video is my PT trying to help me get a good rhythm as I walk. Her name is Cyndi and she has been great. The whole team has really been a lot of fun to work with. We work hard, but we joke around and have a good time too. The end of my amputated leg is still somewhat tender and bruised from back when I fell on it (or maybe just from the amputation itself), so it is kind of difficult for me to load my weight properly onto the prosthesis, but I am working on it!

I think the biggest hurdle that we are trying to overcome at this point is the fact that my leg size is fluctuating so rapidly. In a matter of minutes my leg can go from fitting perfectly in the socket to being so small that the socket is practically falling off! It can be rather frustrating, because when it starts changing sizes and getting unpredictable it pretty much brings everything to a screeching halt. That being said, we have made tremendous progress in a short amount of time. As Ryan (my prosthetist) said to me today, some people work for months or even years to start walking like I am right now, so the fact that our big issue is fluctuating leg size is nothing. That will settle down over the coming year, and is a natural occurrence for new amputees.

Today in occupational therapy I actually went outside and walked to a local grocery store, bought some ingredients and then cooked a meal in their kitchen. It was a good exercise because I got to see how I functioned in real world environments like navigating the tight walkways in New York City grocery stores, walking on uneven sidewalks, crossing streets, carrying groceries, etc. Once we got in the kitchen I had to work without using crutches because I needed both hands to prepare the meal while I moved around the kitchen grabbing the various ingredients and getting everything together.

I was expecting to be in here for 2 weeks, but was told yesterday (my second day here) that the team of doctors and therapists overseeing my progress had already met and set my discharge date for this coming Tuesday. They made it clear that I should continue working on my prosthetic skills as an outpatient, but they think that I will be sufficiently prepared to leave the inpatient program by that point. So while it seems that this is going to be a shorter process than we had geared up for, I am happy with the progress that we are making and I am going to keep pushing hard to try and walk out of here without any crutches by next Tuesday!

I also want to send out a big congratulations to our troops! Bin Laden being hunted down is a big accomplishment brought about by the efforts of so many people. Surely those that have spent time overseas have to feel a lot of pride over this. Taking down the man who masterminded the original attack on the World Trade Center, and then the second attack on 9/11, on top of so many other attacks on the US, is a big step forward in combatting the Islamic Jihadists. Being here in NYC for the past six months, I have heard several first hand accounts of people who were working on Wall Street and witnessed the planes crashing into the buildings with their own eyes. Watching in horror as people jumped from the buildings rather than burn to death… All of the horrific events that came along with that day just seem even worse when heard from the mouth of someone who watched these events unfold with their own eyes, not just on TV. This is a big accomplishment by our military and it will be interesting to see what happens next in our war against the terrorists of the world.

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Just say no to chemo

My last post was the day before Easter and a lot has happened in the following week! On Easter Sunday we went to church at 5th Avenue Presbyterian which had a full house this week. Usually they have the balcony seating closed down, but they had it packed the whole way around for Easter. I don’t get the logic of attending church just on Easter and Christmas. Those are the most crowded days to be there. If anything those are the days to avoid, but maybe it is a family tradition or something. Anyway. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that day and they had closed down 5th Avenue for a parade, so after church we wandered around the street a little bit and enjoyed the beautiful weather. To the left is a picture Ashley took of the family.

On monday we went in to get my blood work done and my platelets were STILL too low to start chemo. This is actually what I had secretly been hoping for because they had mentioned that if this was the case we might have to call it quits. The reason for this is because once your body starts slowing down in its regeneration of these cells then it is pretty much a sign that we have beaten it into submission. With each additional round of chemo your body regenerates these necessary cells slower and slower until it doesn’t regenerate them at all. Obviously that is not a good thing! So after we got the news that my platelets were still too low, Dr Rosen and Adrienne came down to talk with us, explained the situation and then very unceremoniously announced that I was done!

Despite my expectations, confetti did not drop from the ceiling and a marching band did not magically appear to commemorate the moment, although that pretty much sums up what happened in my head! Needless to say I was extremely excited about the pronouncement. We were 2 rounds of chemo short of the goal, but the logic is that if your body can’t regenerate then neither can any potentially remaining cancer cells. So now we will do CT scans of my chest, watch my lungs every couple of months, pray that there aren’t any more cancer cells in my body and get on with life!

While the chemo is done, that is just the signal that the rest of my recovery can actually get started now. As I mentioned in my previous post, it is kind of a weird time, because while the cancer stuff is coming to a close, dealing with the fact that I am left with one leg is just getting started. That being said, we have already made tremendous strides (oh so punny!) in this process and are about to make even more advancements since I can now buckle down and focus on this rather than spending my days laid up in bed on chemo!

On Tuesday Ashley and I went down to Madison Square Park and waited in the longest line I have ever seen for some Shake Shack burgers. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and despite the 45 minute wait for a burger, we had a good time. While waiting in line we spotted two guys who are characters in the TV Show My Boys (see creepy stalker picture here), and one guy who looked like a taller version of a friend of ours from Ad School named Ali (see creepy stalker picture #2 here). We were able to get a table without any trouble and enjoyed lunch in the park. After lunch we walked across the park to a place where they were installing a big art structure that looked like the artist had taken an image of a face, stretched it, and then recreated that image with some kind of heavy plaster. We grabbed a spot on a bench and spent a leisurely afternoon watching them slowly assemble the giant pieces of the installment with a crane (see pic here). Not a bad way to spend an afternoon in the city!

Wednesday was Ashley’s last day here and unfortunately she had to leave at the same time we went down to the Rusk Rehab Center for another prosthesis fitting. We had a great visit though, and it was nice that she could get back up here one last time! The socket fit was better than ever and I spent about 2 hours walking around on my new leg, trying to get used to shifting my weight back and forth from my prosthetic leg to my real leg and was able to walk some decent distances without the use of my crutches. I think the weight shift thing is the trick to walking normally and this was the first time I was able to really start getting a feel for that. I have also spent the past 2 months with my left leg balanced squarely underneath me, and so I have to relearn how to keep my left leg out to the side at shoulder width. Things have been progressing very quickly already, but it will still take a good amount of work to get completely back to normal on the new leg.

After talking with the rehab doctor and my prosthetist, I have decided to check into Rusk and do a week or two of physical therapy there. Apparently if you do the physical therapy as an outpatient you can only do about 30 minutes of physical therapy, 3 times a week. As an inpatient though, I get 3 hours of physical therapy a day and work up to wearing my new leg for 14 hours a day. We also work hard to make sure that the prosthesis fits perfectly and that I can walk independently by the time I leave. It sounds like this is the fastest way to get back to living independently and walking on my own, so I told them to sign me up. All the insurance approvals finally cleared late Friday afternoon, so hopefully I will be admitted first thing on Monday and can get everything rolling.

The doctors have been calling me a rock star for how quickly I am taking to the new leg, and I want to be able to walk independently in my apartment and around the office by the time I am out of here in a week or two. Apparently it is good to have a cane at first when you are walking outside, in case you hit an elevation change on the sidewalk or anything that causes you to stumble, but eventually that wont be necessary either. We’ll see how everything goes, but I think I will be able to take to this more quickly than they are expecting, or at least that is my goal! After I learn to walk again then I can get everything else going, like getting a new, non stick shift car and outfitting it with a left foot accelerator so that I can drive it despite missing my right leg, etc., and then getting back to work! Hopefully I will be able to have everything taken care of and be back at work around the beginning of June, but we’ll see how it all goes.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support as we have faced each step in this process. It means more than you know!

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Get low

Well… No chemo yet! My counts have been pretty low all week. In my last post I said that we might be starting chemo on Monday, but after being tested on both Monday and Thursday, my platelets have not recovered enough to get back on chemo. Basically my body is just worn out. I like to say that we have beaten it into submission. Nothing is so low that it causes concern, but everything is still too low to start another round of chemo. So basically we have just been in limbo and are going back in on Monday for another check. If my counts are still low after this next check then we are going to sit down with Dr. Rosen and Adrienne and discuss what they think we should do next.

On Monday we also had my first fitting for my prosthesis! My prosthetist, Ryan, made a hard plastic mold as a test size for my future socket, and I took the first few steps that I have taken since February 24th! The mold needed some serious adjustments, so it was hard to walk comfortably, but it was exciting to get the process started. Ryan took measurements and notes on where the mold needed to be altered to get a better fit and we went back in on Wednesday to try a new mold with his changes. It still wasn’t perfect, but it was MUCH better and I was able to actually take some decent steps on it! I walked up and down the hall for a while and we figured out where there needed to be some more adjustments to the mold and how the leg and foot should be positioned, etc.

Walking on a prosthetic leg is kind of a weird thing to get used to, but I am so excited to get up and moving that I find it to be a lot of fun! With the C-Leg you create a setting that measures the pressure you exert as you push off of the toe to take a step. When the right amount of pressure is exerted on the toe, the knee releases and swings through to take a step forward. You have to kind of lift your hip as this happens or the toe of your shoe catches the ground and stops. That’s when you are happy you haven’t gotten rid of the crutches quite yet! Haha. I still definitely have a lot to get used to with regards to walking correctly, but Ryan said that my progress over our first two sessions has been incredible. I asked how long it generally takes to get up and walking well on a new prosthesis and he said that it really depends on the person, but that where I was at the end of my second day is where a lot of his clients are after a month or two of physical therapy and training. He said that with a lot of people he answers my question in a discussion of months, but with how it looks like I’m progressing it might be more of a discussion of hours!

We have another appointment with Ryan this coming Monday, when I will actually get my first socket rather than the hard plastic molds we have used during our first two appointments. For anyone who might not know how this works (as I certainly did not before a week ago!), here is a brief rundown on how the prosthetic attaches to your leg.

First I take a “liner” that has a gel-like plastic interior and an exterior that has a texture like a heavy duty ace bandage. I flip it inside out and then kind of roll it up my leg. It is extremely tight so that it doesn’t slip or shift when it is on. You screw a velcro strap onto the bottom of the liner. Next you pull that strap through a small hole in the bottom of the “socket” that I have been talking about. It is actually a plastic mold that also fits tightly over your leg. You pull the strap up and through a ring on the outside of the socket and then velcro it back to itself. This keeps you strapped into the socket and pulled down tight to the bottom of the socket, ensuring a good fit. The C-Leg is attached to the bottom of the socket, so once the socket is strapped to the liner you are ready to stand up and go!

It’s a pretty quick and easy process, but ensuring the good socket fit is the tricky part. Your leg will change size as you gain and lose weight and this can affect a good fit. You want your leg to fit into the socket as perfectly as possible so that when you make a small move your prosthesis responds without any wasted movement. Walking with a prosthesis already requires more energy than normal, so you don’t want to waste more energy than necessary trying to move the leg with a bad socket fit. There are different ways to attach a socket, but this is the only way I know about so far. I’m sure I’ll learn about the others in time.

Ashley came up on Tuesday, so she went with us to the Wednesday fitting and got to see me really start to walk for the first time. Her visit has actually worked out perfectly with the chemo delays and the prosthesis advancements! She will be up here through Wednesday, so she will get to see the actual socket when we get it on Monday and the arrival of my C-Leg as well! (The one in the pictures is an older model leg used for fitting purposes). This visit will probably be her last trip up here because I think we’ll probably be heading home before too long! Everything relating to the cancer is starting to wind down, but at the same time it feels like things are just getting started too. It’s an interesting time to say the least!

I’ll post another update after the prosthesis fitting on Monday. I’m not sure about how the process works exactly, but hopefully I’ll get to bring my leg home soon and really get to work mastering that thing!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

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And the Winner is…

After my surgery on February 24th, I was laid up for a little while and decided that it would be funny to alter the header image on the blog. I decided that I wouldn’t mention it and just wait and see who the first person to notice and say something would be. The only people who knew were my immediate family, Ashley, Joan and Mema. Well now, almost 2 months later we finally have a winner!!! I honestly wasn’t sure anyone would ever pick up on it, since it was such a subtle change, but the winner is my Cousin Peggy! Peggy has been an art director for a long time and I was really happy that she was the one to notice the change. How fitting that another art director would be the one to finally call it out! Haha. As you can see in the image to the right, I actually altered the superhero image so that his right leg was removed above the knee to mirror my surgery. At the time I thought it was hilarious. Maybe that was due to all the pain killers I was on. Haha. Either way, Peggy is the winner of the most observant award! Go Art Director Go!

I was supposed to start my sixth round of chemo today, but my platelets were still too low when I went in and had blood work done this morning. I need my platelets to be at 120 and they were at 74. We’re going to try again on Monday and hopefully they will be high enough that we can get this round going! There isn’t anything I can do to get them to rise at this point other than rest. They are too high for a transfusion, but too low to start chemo. Unfortunately we just have to wait until my body is ready. Hopefully it will be soon!

I also might be going in for the initial fitting of my new leg on Monday. We will see how the chemo stuff goes and then try to get in to see my prosthetist if possible, because they called today and were trying to get us on the schedule. I feel like that is something that most people don’t understand about dealing with all of this, and something that I truly did not understand until actually living through this process. Your schedule literally fluctuates on an hourly basis and you have no idea what is going to come up or what you can commit to more than a day out. Usually you can’t even commit to something the following day. You literally have to make your plans once you figure out how things are looking each morning. It is kind of a crazy way to live and hard to explain to people who want to put you on their schedule or make a plan to visit, but that’s the reality of dealing with something like this. It all just depends on your blood counts and how your body is reacting to everything you are putting it through!

Now for a few things devoid of any and all seriousness:

This is a funny video that LeeAnne sent me, showing Anderson Cooper ranting about the ridiculousness of what people pay Snooki, the girl from Jersey Shore. I had no idea she made so much money!

When discussing the benefits of chemo for rapid weight loss with my friend Rachel yesterday, she showed me this comic, which I found really funny!

And on a final note, I was messing around on Adobe Illustrator the other day and decided I wanted to teach myself how to make 8bit images. So I found an image of Papa Smurf and recreated it in the 8bit style. I thought the result was pretty cool. Hope you enjoy!

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The Next Step

A lot has happened since my last post. We finished my fifth round of chemo at the 10 day mark, on Thursday, March 31st. After that my blood counts had pretty much tanked and I developed a neutropenic fever that put me in the hospital on Saturday, April 2nd. I was put back on the 16th floor of the NYU Hospital, which is my favorite place to be if I have to go to the hospital because I think the nurses there do a great job, but that is still a small consolation for being cooped up in the hospital for several days! Luckily they were able to snag the big TV for me again so we had a decent TV to watch the final game of the NCAA Tournament on… Even if it wasn’t much of a game.

I think the worst part about being in the hospital is the food. At times it is manageable, but usually it is barely edible. I really don’t understand why that has to be the case. It doesn’t cost much to make something edible, just a decent recipe. Obviously they put a lot of money into the food that they supply, why can’t they put a few dollars more into the salary of someone who can actually do a decent job in the kitchen!?? Having to be in the hospital obviously means that things aren’t going great right then, but it would seem to me that having some decent food available could be a small pick-me-up for guests that have an extended stay and could be one of those little things that help set a hospital apart from the rest. But I’ll let that rest. Haha.

My stay on the 16th floor was good and my nurses took good care of me. I was basically just there while my white counts were bottomed out, getting antibiotics until my fever went away and my body could defend itself. I got out on Tuesday, April 5th. During this time and over the next few days I read all 3 of the Stieg Larsson books that are so popular right now, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. It took me a while to get into the first one, but after that they were basically one long story and pretty quick reads. I thought they were pretty good.

I have been meeting with a prosthetist since shortly after my surgery and have been wrapping my leg in ace bandages to shrink it and push out the fluids in preparation for getting a temporary prosthesis. On Friday (April 8th) we had a meeting with him and a rehab doctor and they were both very pleased with the size of my leg, saying that I had actually shrunk it much more than they had anticipated! I was asking a lot of questions about getting running legs and how long it would take before I could start swinging a golf club and getting my game back together and the rehab doctor laughed and said to maybe slow down a little bit because, “We have to literally teach you how to walk before you can run.” I thought that was pretty funny. And while I do recognize that that is the case, I think I’m going to pick it up faster than he is anticipating!

Yesterday we met with my prosthetist one more time for final leg measurements that he will now send off in order to have my first socket made. He also gave us some exciting news! He said that he didn’t see any point in doing the whole temporary prosthesis thing with me and is going to go ahead and put me on a C-Leg, which will be my first leg! It’s not a temporary prosthesis, we’re jumping straight into the real deal, which I am really excited about! I never saw the point in wasting time with a temporary, and I am happy that he is on board with that mindset! The C-Leg is pretty awesome. It is a microprocessor leg that is programmed to match a natural gait and protect against stumbling, etc. Here is a link to more info on it if you feel like checking it out: C-LEG INFO.

What a great Masters this year! My dad brought back a bunch of shirts and hats and said they had a great time. I also had him look around the course and confirm what I thought I had noticed in previous years… At certain spots around the course there are handicap seating areas in prime locations next to greens and tee boxes, etc. I plan on absolutely making use of those spots next year! No more fighting for a good seat for me! Combine that with my handicap parking sticker, and I am already seeing some sweet benefits to all of this! Haha.

My Aunt Joan is having surgery today (April 12), so please keep her in your prayers. Her surgery is at 1:00 at Piedmont Hospital.

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