Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What??? You're Still Here???

Yes, I still check in once in awhile.

Are you doing the same?

Are you interested in occasional updates, such as when Cindy will be able to take her leg home?

If you do have interest in my rekindling the blog, let me know either by leaving a comment or sending me an email. If there is enough interest, I will do so.

Monday, March 22, 2010

...So In Conclusion

Both Cindy and I agree that all good things must come to an end, and so it shall be with "The Adventures of Cindy Lou" blog.

The great news, as you know, is that there is no monumental news to report and the blog updates are becoming a repetition of Cindy's daily activities that will likely continue for some time to come.

She is back to work...progressing through physical therapy...and planning for her/our future, which seems brighter than it has been in more months than I care to count.

To all of you who have been there for us, words cannot possibly capture the gratitude that exists. Your selfless and gracious acts of love, kindness and support nurtured us throughout our journey.

I would love to mention everyone by name but I would be forever haunted with guilt if I left even one name off the list. So with that in mind...to those who were by our side during surgery, visited Cindy at home, provided meals, assisted with correspondences, stayed at the house while I was away, called and emailed to see how we are doing, sent flowers and gifts, provided valuable advice, watched our pets, prayed for Cindy's recovery (it worked!), and for any and everything else that helped us get from the starting line to where we are today, we cannot possibly thank you enough! Cindy and I will never be able to properly repay you. Then again, you also know we will always be there for you if you ever need us for anything.

The journey is far from over, but it is no longer worthy of a blog. At the same time, we want everyone who has read the blog to know you can contact us at any time for updates. I can be reached at Robster03@comcast.net or on Facebook. Cindy can also be reached in the same fashion at LLHOrlando@comcast.net or on Facebook...and of course, as always, we are but a phone call away!

We have much to look forward to...and with that, we thank you again for everything and hope we see and/or speak to you soon.


Rob & Cindy

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday PT

Cindy is getting more and more comfortable with the prosthesis. Today she did four laps around the inside of facility...and with much less effort than during her previous "road trip".

We are only now beginning to learn how lucky we are that this facility is in Orlando. People fly from all over the world to receive treatment here. Tonight we met a couple that lives only a couple of miles from where we lived in Maryland years ago. They are down here for a week to work with Stan and his team. Others are here from California, South America, etc. For us, it's a 12 mile drive!

Today's new goal after Kevin called this afternoon from Afghanistan...Kevin is going to sign us all up for the Disney 5K walk, which takes place the day before the marathon. Just as Kevin and I will be training for the marathon, Cindy will be training for the 5K. Katie and her mom will be joining us...we haven't approched her dad yet, but we will.

If anyone wants to join us in either event, please let us know. It would be great fun to have everyone participate together! If you are interested, we need to sign up soon as they usually sell out quickly.

Email me at Robster03@comcast.net if you would like to register or discuss it.

Have a great week! I will blog again during the week.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Update

Physical therapy went extremely well yesterday morning. I was amazed to see Cindy walk around the building twice using only a cane for balance! We have another session Sunday evening. The camera shall be coming with us.

Our insurance company finally approved the purchase of Cindy's permanent leg, so hopefully it will be ordered soon. Though it will be very costly to us, it is still less than we thought it would be. It is similar to buying a Porsche, but paying for a Cadillac. We can't wait for her to get it. State of the art stuff. The computer chips is supposed to be incredibly sophisiticated.

Today we are off to walk around beautiful downtown Orlando's Lake Eola. The weather today is warm and sunny, so we are going to take full advantage of it!

Tonight is my first training run in preparation for the Jan 6, 2011 Disney Marathon...another crazy idea our oldest son, Kevin signed us up to do when he returns from Afghanistan.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Back to Work!

Cindy is successfully transitioning back to the gainfully employed population...another major leap forward in her mission to return to as normal a lifestyle as possible.

Though it is challenging and takes her longer to get ready in the morning, she is able to do so.

Physical therapy continues to go well, with the hope that she will have a leg to take home by the end of the week (no promises have been made).

When that day occurs, it will be a monumental celebration for all of us...and when I say all of us, I mean every one of you that have followed the blog, offered kindness, support and words of encouragement and especially love & friendship throughout. Without you, it would have made for a much more challenging ordeal.

Though the journey is not over, the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming extremely bright...and exciting!

More good news to come...soon!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Physical Therapy

Tonight was a brief PT session, but extremely productive. Below is the leg...which Cindy successfully attached prior to beginning her exercises.

As you can see below, she is now walking comfortably with one hand on the rail and one hand at her side. It may be hard to spot, but she is walking with the shoe removed from her atificial leg. Notice that the foot they use is shaped very much like a human foot. It even has toes and toe nails.

Some of you that live in the Orlando area may recall a story that was broadcast on the television stations and newspapers about a female high school soccer star who was participating in a car wash to raise money for her soccer team. One of her teammates accidently hit the accelerator of a car she was going to wash and pinned the young girl, Bree, between the car bump and a building. She almost lost her life, was in a coma and  regained consciousness days later. Unfortunately, the accident caused her to have one leg amputated and the other leg in jeopardy of suffering the same fate. She is still trying to save her other leg but is dealing with infections and pain, much as Cindy did prior to her amputation.

I asked the owner (Stan) if she was a patient of his. His response was that she is not only a patient, but she is wheeling into the room as we speak...an incredible coincidence!

Not only was her story carried throughout the U.S. because of the tragedy that befell her, it was also a human interest story because of her spirit and willpower to overcome the tremendous odds against her survival and her proclamation that she plans to dance at her prom.

After we were introduced to Bree, she watched Cindy walk. Within a minute she was conversing with Stan and Cindy's therapist, Roger about Cindy's movements. They agreed with what she observed. Seconds later, she was coaching Cindy on some extremely minute changes she might consider in her gate to walk more efficiently.

She is everything we heard and read about and it was a pleasure to meet her.

Cindy was given Monday off to rest her leg and to allow some adjustments to be made.

The belief is that she will definintely be taking the leg home with her before the week is out.

Tomorrow is Cindy's first day back to work so she is extremely excited to be assimilating back to a normal lifestyle. It's incredible how far she has come in such a short period of time.

I hope (plan) to report more good news as Cindy's big week begins.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Quick Update

Cindy was supposed to advance to walking with a cane today (Friday), however, in typical Cindy fashion, she achieved it earlier than expected...yesterday!

Today, she continued to make progress as she becomes more comfortable with attaching and removing the leg, and, of course, walking on it.

We will return on Sunday evening for another session (more pictures will be included), and a few sessions next week.

With luck, she will be able to take her rent-a-leg home next week, with her upgraded model arriving some time after that.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Beginning of Mobility

Though I was in Miami on business and Cindy had to leave for physical therapy at 9:30 a.m., I was not going to miss her taking her first steps. After a 3:30 a.m. wake-up and 4 a.m. departure, I was able to surprise her by arriving home just before she had to depart for physical therapy. It was SO worth it!

This picture was taken just after they brought out Cindy's "Rent-a-leg". Actually, she is going to borrow this leg until she learns how to walk with an artificial limb. Then she will be fitted with her "keeper" model.

Once she was taught how to attach it, Cindy stood up for the first time.

After some practice and helpful hints from her therapist, Cindy began to walk more quickly and steadily. She had to return in the afternoon after some adjustments were made on the leg and though this picture does not show it, she began to make incredible progress and relied less and less on the handrail.

Cindy will return tomorrow and Friday for more PT. There are two schools of thought amongst the therapists...one is that she will be walking with the assistance of a cane on Friday. The other is that she will be walking by early next week.

It is so encouraging to see that Cindy will soon be out of the wheelchair and moving around like she did prior to her sarcoma and all the surgeries she endured.

Her enthusiasm was infectious. Katie and I were absolutely thrilled to be witness to it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

First Steps Just Days Away...

Today Cindy went to her appointment and received GREAT news! She has made so much progress that they fitted her and created the mold for her prosthesis...and she will begin physical therapy this Wednesday.

In other words, she will take her first steps in less than 48 hours from now!

We'll try to provide an update (hopefully with pics) Wed. evening.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Next Leg In The Journey

No more antibiotics! After six tedious weeks of IV infusions, the pick line has been removed.

Below is Cindy doing her last infusion just before Mark, her nurse, came to remove the pick line for what we hope will be the very last time ever!

Mark arrived soon after this picture was taken and freed Cindy from her plastic tubing-like prison cell.

He is a truly great guy. Yes, Mark is a nurse, but he is studying to be a chef in his spare time, which is why he came to the house in a chef's coat (see below). Last night he baked some incredible bread that he brought for us all to try (Cindy, my parents and me). The good news is that he no longer has to come to the house to assist Cindy with infusions and to draw blood. The bad news is he will no longer be dropping by to care for Cindy. We hope he will transition from nurse to friend and visit often along with his wife (not just because he is a great cook!).

Look again at the picture above. It's easy to forget by her smiling face that Cindy is only standing on one leg, isnt it! Sometimes I forget as well. Life is as normal as it can be...just with a modification or two.

Things are improving every day. Since the infection is gone, her energy level is returning...and she is doing more things without feeling exhausted.

Last night, Cindy returned to cooking. She made one of the most amazing briskets that any of us have ever had. It was incredible!

On Monday, Cindy returns to the Prosthetics and Orthotics Center to see what progress she is making with her liner and some of the pain she is experiencing while wearing it. We are hoping she is another week closer to being fitted for her "starter" prosthesis. One she learns to drive it, she will graduate to the Porsche version of an artificial leg. Hopefully it will brake better than a Toyota (bad joke).

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Infusion Conclusion

Infusing each evening takes between 2 - 3 hours. It is truly a pain to be locked into one spot so long each night.

Well, it all ends this Thursday....hopefully for the last time forever!

Everything is moving along smoothly. Cindy is still getting pains in her leg and phantom pains in her phantom leg, but they seem to be getting a bit better each week.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Flying Solo

Cindy took her first solo trip to the doctor this morning. It was a bit exhausting because she had to use the walker to get from the parking lot to the office (which isn't all that close to the curb), but she did so successfully.

Each day she becomes a bit more independent.