Sunday, December 29, 2013

Memories Mixed with Drama

Well, lots of things have happened since my last post!

  • I had a new nephew who came into the world November 14, 2013 weighing a whopping nine pounds with a head FULL of black hair! He seriously looks like a little baby doll.

  • I turned 24! Here are a few memories from that night:
When Eli and I blew out the candles on the cookie cake, Mason said, "Turn it back on!" He hasn't understood that candles are lit, but it was so cute.

Before we ate, Mason went from 0 to 60 when his best friend and cousin, Keller, came in our Memaw's house. He ran down the hallway and back, and I would try to catch him. If I did, I said, "I got you!" and he would excitedly run back to do it all over again. If I missed him, he said, "I got me!" and touched his back with those pudgy little toddler fingers.

Later, he found a quarter underneath the table. "I found mondey(money)! My mom asked him what he was going to buy with it, and without a moment's hesitation, he said, "An airplane!" I said, "Good, Aun-ie will need an airplane for you to take her lots of places!"

Mom always includes some little gift in with our present. This year it was sparkling apple cider. My brother was showing Mason his when he said, "I want to drank-ed it. Let me drank-ed it!" We got him a straw, and he sat on the couch like a big boy drinking his cider. My newest little nephew slept throughout the birthday dinner, but he is as sweet as ever!

To end the night, I wanted a hug from Mason. Using reverse psychology, Mom always says, "Don't you give Aun-ie a bear hug!"(Because everyone knows if you want a kid to do something, they won't because at two-and-a-half, it's all about asserting their independence  ) After a few seconds, he wraps those little arms around me and gives me the biggest hug EVER! For a moment, it seems as if time stands still as I hug him right back, savoring the moment that he has given me pure, unconditional love. I can honestly say my heart can't possibly be any fuller than it is right now or it might explode! Look around you, friends, and learn to appreciate the simple things. This birthday was priceless in SO many ways!
  • I got my boot off and was cleared by my doctor to start putting weight on my foot! I was planning on posting a picture of my scar because it looks AWESOME! It doesn't even look like a scar. I am beyond pleased. But, much to my dismay, after coming home tonight from a short trip, I discovered blood on my foot. I said, "Mama, can you please come in here?" All I could see was a sore, and it hurt. When Mama came in her, she discovered my crocs, which are very roomy and just slip on, had made blister and the blister had burst! I was so mad I wanted to cry! 
My next post will be about a new brace that I got, this post is longer than I expected. Stay tuned for that drama!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Six Weeks Surgery Update

It's been six weeks since my surgery. I didn't feel like writing, but I want to remember each phase. Weeks four and five were a little rough as I had some muscle cramps in my foot. Muscle relaxers solved that problem, though.

I now have the cast off. I was able to take a shower for the first time in six weeks! I wasn't sure how to feel! I have traded in the cast for a walking boot. Yes, that means Dr. Brosky cleared me to start putting some weight on it. I was tired after walking to and from my shower. It was only about ten steps, but my muscles haven't been used to putting any weight on that foot since the foot issues first began.

I am doing good. I am able to go back to church for the entire service now. I just have to remember to take my muscle relaxers and that it is okay to take pain meds! I only take medicine if absolutely needed.

I wasn't expecting the muscle in my left leg that was transferred to help my knee bend better (by Dr. Griffin in 2004) to start tingling one night. I guess it is ready to start working! That is exciting! I also wasn't expecting to bruise so easily from my leg rubbing against the other one and transferring from the bed to the wheelchair. My right leg is now wrapped to help prevent more bruises.

I have six weeks in the boot and go back for my last set of x-rays on December 18th. I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving! The days seem to fly by!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Three Weeks Post-Op

Today I am three weeks post-op. I am honestly happy that I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday so I can get out of the house. I tried to go to church on Sunday night, making sure to elevate my leg in the car and in the service. It was hard to restrain myself during the worship. My wheelchair was rocking - literally. Even though the brakes were on. I was so happy to be back for a service! I had to say to myself, "Madison, you have GOT to calm down." So, clapping in a restrained manner would have to suffice for the evening. Everything went well until about 5:30 a.m. My left leg was throbbing and the medication was taken to no avail. I woke my mom up and iced it for a little over forty minutes.

Finally, sweet relief. But, this was coupled with frustration and disappointment that I wasn't quite ready to be doing much...even if that something was just a little something in the grand scheme of things. Couple these feelings with an overdose of Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" and TLC's "Four Weddings,""Say Yes to the Dress," and the bittersweet wrap-up of "What Not to Wear", and I have been a little stir crazy in the house. My hips have been kind of hurting me at night, and I know why now. Transferring from the bed to the wheelchair at least five times a day and more to the lift chair if my nephew is visiting is tiring. 

But, every time I sit in my lift chair in the living room, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all of the people who played a part in helping me get that. It really has helped me during this recovery. I love each and everyone of you for your small acts of kindness and words of encouragement.

I will get through this. Three weeks have passed. I know some people who have it tremendously worse than me. Deaths, sickness, and kidnaps, and injustices abound. It is then that I sit here typing on my laptop writing, being, living, recovering. Some don't get that chance, and for that I am truly grateful. Every day I get a little bit stronger, really. That's not just a catchy saying. 

I know I will look back on this post and laugh eventually. :) 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Raw Footage

It's been two weeks since my surgery, and I'm doing good. My doctor is pleased so I am very happy that things are healing well and there are no signs of infection. I have four more weeks of no weight bearing on my left foot. 

I thought I would share some pictures my mom took on my doctor's appointment on Wednesday. WARNING: If you have a squeamish stomach, you will probably want to stop reading now. 

I'm sharing these images in the hopes of showing every side of my recovery. It's raw, real, and unedited. The yellow color on my feet and toes is the cleaning solution used on my wounds when I go to the doctor. I am limited to sponge baths right now because the cast can't get wet.

big toe fusion, incision, steri strips, post-op scar

heel cord incision, steri strips, foot surgery

This last picture shows two small incisions on my heel where the Achilles tendon was lengthened. 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Out of Commission Due to Surgery #6

Well, it's been eight days since I've had a fusion of the metatarsal joint of my left big toe and lengthening of my Achilles tendon. It was done on September 27, 2013. This is my sixth major surgery, not including a biopsy I had done. You can find out more about my surgeries here. I've had lots of surgeries, just never any on my feet. This is uncharted territory for me, but I am up for the challenge because I want to be able to walk again and not have to use the wheelchair as I've said in previous posts.

I'm doing pretty well. I just can't put any weight on my left foot for six weeks. The first two nights home were rough because I am used to transferring from my bed to my wheelchair with no help. Since my left leg must be elevated, my mom has had to help me more. That has been an adjustment. :) The first post-op visit with my doctor showed that my foot looked great. I usually have never taken many pictures before or after my surgeries as I have gotten older, but I thought it would be good for people to see and know what I am going through.

Here are some pictures: (click to enlarge)

foot surgery, unstable foot, toe problems, toes crossing

My left foot is the one with the big toe entirely under my second toe. This was making me very unstable. It was just hard to move around in general and put clothes on, even with my walker right in front of me.

foot surgery, cast, post op picture

post op pain, foot recovery

These next two pictures were taken right after I was brought back into my room from recovery to see my mom. I was kind of emotional as you can see. The one good thing about this surgery is I haven't experienced any of the intense vomiting that I have had with other surgeries. I also got to sleep in my on bed that night because this was an outpatient surgery - a first for me!

I will give another update next week when x-rays are taken.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oh, Comcast Corporation

Dear Comcast,

This is yet another time I am having to email you about a particular situation that has yet to be addressed. EVERY single time it rains, our Internet goes out. I have emailed and contacted twice this year Farrah Lively from your corporate office in New York who has promised to get someone to my road to fix this ongoing problem. I've also emailed someone from Augusta, GA that works for Comcast who took my information, but nothing happened. 

Our Internet went out again today. A man who works for you by the name of Leonard was nice enough to come out and fix the problem yet again. As we suspected the amp up the road just poured water when he opened it up. He said he knows this is will be the second time he has asked the maintenance techs at the Hartwell, GA location to fix it and they won't. He said, "I'll ask 'till I'm blue in the face, but I can't make them fix it." After emailing various people and getting foreign people WHEN they actually answer the phone on customer service hasn't worked. So maybe this message will get someone's attention. We have been customers for almost eight years and just want this problem fixed. No more empty promises or excuses, please! If someone from Comcast will message me, I will be more than happy to give you our address.


Madison Sanders

Saturday, August 03, 2013


Spinning, spinning, spinning

Mind is going in so many directions, trying to find somewhere to land
Do this, do that
In the midst, I seem to lose myself in the busyness
The busyness of living...of doing

How do I adjust to the quietness?
The seemingly monotonous routine
I realize in a moment that I have never really learned to rest
Rest my mind, my body
Turn off the switch that so often screams for me to do

It's okay to just take time to rest
Reenergize my thoughts
Fire up those creative pistons that have laid dormant, squashed by things

Now, I sit in the quiet, praying
Talking with my Father
Taking time to listen, really listen
Not rushed by the clock and impending sunrise

Now I wake up, look around my room and give myself a chance to wake up
After eating breakfast, I assume my usual position in my comfy lift chair and sometimes a good book
Sitting, savoring, being

Although I've entered a new phase void of papers and tests,
My life is my newest project
Madison: Unscripted
Liberating, Exciting, Limitless
And the next chapter is looking pretty good!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Honest Feelings

Okay, I'm going to be really honest. If you read this, that's wonderful. I'm writing this more for myself so I don't forget how far I've come. I've had a tough, tough few days. I walked twice last week, and my feet have given me fits since then. They are better this morning, but it has been hard.

I've had to take more of my pain medication than I would like. That bothers me. But, I refuse to let pain get the best of me. Last week, I was able to get up a play with my nephew, yesterday I had to play with him from my bed. What I love about my nephew is he comes and finds me if I'm not in the living room. Just hearing the pitter patter of those little feet brightens my day.

For a few weeks, I allowed myself to get consumed about future plans for my magazine, and I felt like I really wasn't accomplishing anything during the day. Those negative thoughts from the enemy began to creep in and really affect me. I even told my mom that even though I was doing some things, they weren't finished yet. I felt like there was no point in even getting out of bed, but I did it anyway. After talking with her, I realized it didn't matter to her when I got them done, she was just happy I was making progress! I will admit that I beat myself up about things that really aren't that big of a deal. I am going to do better about that.

During the end of last week, I just burst into tears when my doctor's office called and said we'd have to reschedule. I just knew I would have to wait another week or two. To my surprise, my appointment was bumped up a day earlier. I got all upset for nothing! Isn't that how it usually is? As a result, I have been confessing God's word and the promises that are in it. I am so glad He has never left me or forsaken me.

Now, I am not so concerned about my magazine. Everything will work out in His time. I am just doing small tasks during the day, and if I hurt, I take my medicine and take a nap. I would rather be sleeping than miserable to myself and everyone around me. 

Right now, I am happy that I will be able to walk this afternoon. I have taken my pain meds so I am not putting unnecessary stress on my body. That way I can say that I've accomplished two things by nighttime: writing a blog post and walking!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Life As of Now

Image credit: Injection Needle Macro 2 © Michaela Kobyakov

I haven't forgotten about my blog! I've just been busy going to doctor's appointments. I know I'm going to have to have surgery on my foot that's been giving me problems, I'm just not sure what kind or when. I go back to the doctor on July 31st to set up a game plan.

My doctor did give me a cortisone shot in my toe joint to help with swelling on June 24th. It's helped some. I was able to find a pair of red shoes that actually fit my feet AND Dr. Brosky, who is excellent and I can't say enough good things about him, released me to start walking again with my walker as I can. YAY!!!! I'm taking it slow, but it's going well.

I have been relaxing but also exploring my options when it comes to printing my magazine. Right now, it seems like the best bet might be to buy a commercial printer and assemble my own. We'll see.

I also have plans to make FOCUS magazine available digitally for small fee, so stay tuned for that!

Still adjusting to life after college. It's hard to reset your brain to not think about homework, classes, etc because I've done it for so long. I still find myself thinking, "Now I would be in Sociology or Health and Wellness at this time." 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Graduation is Near!

Hey, everyone! Now that finals and the big presentation of my senior project (FOCUS Magazine) is over, I finally have a chance to blog. I graduate tomorrow!!! Wow. It's kind of surreal. I remember the first two years being very hard physically and emotionally. With God's help and a supportive family who were willing to rearrange their schedules to take me to school, I made it!

I'm graduating fourth in my class with a 3.97 GPA! Lots of blood, sweat, and tears went into this degree. The feedback I have gotten from my magazine has been absolutely AMAZING! People are already wanting to order more copies! If anyone of my blog friends would like a copy, just email me. They will be about $7-8 each, depending on how many are ordered. It's 12 pages of inspirational stories of men and women who have refused to let a disability stop them! I couldn't be more proud of the final product.

After all of that work, I'm going to take a break. I have an upcoming surgery on my foot, but not sure exactly when yet. I'm going to check into pursuing my magazine and can't wait to see where this road leads. Yes, it's bittersweet leaving the place I have known for five years. I've learned a lot. I'm not quite sure how I'll feel in a few weeks, but this new chapter in my life is exciting!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I will!

Friday, March 08, 2013

I'm Blessed

You know sometimes you come across a story that just knocks you flat and puts things in perspective.

That happened to me a few weeks ago when I came across Summer's Story. I went back on her blog last night and to read about what she is dealing with, how she's often in so much pain she can't even walk, hard to access ports, and dumbfounding the medical community while raising a beautiful daughter, all I can say is wow!

 Then again this week after my mom shared Katie Dama Jaskolski's story. Please take time to watch the video about her life. It is nothing short of AMAZING! 

I have to be honest and say for the past few weeks I have been focusing more than normal on the pain in my foot. When I should have been praising God and not focusing on what I felt like, I was doing the opposite. After reading these stories, I went to bed last night saying, "I'm blessed!" Yes, I have to deal with pain and not able to do everything I want to right now. But, through it all, I'm blessed.

I don't have so much pain that I can't walk, I don't have a rare disease, my bones and joints are healthy in spite of what some may say. I'm not in the hospital. So, I'm grateful today! I make a choice to focus on the good things. What about you? 

Philippians 4:8 says, 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Living In spite of Everything

Well, I've not been absent from life. I've just been dealing with it. L.I.F.E. Living In spite oF Everything. Yep, I just made that up!  Each day as I get up, I remind myself that I will not quit. I will not give up. God's grace has gotten me too far to turn back now.

But, every day isn't easy. This past week was hard, exhilarating, exhausting, and challenging all in one. I'm done with the necessary interviews for my disability magazine. I'm going to do at least one more story, though for good measure. This has been one of the most rewarding things I've done so far, and I can't wait to share it with you!

I had to deal with sinuses and foot issues and even had to cut one of my classes short and come home, which I hated to have to do, but it was necessary. 

What I haven't shared publicly is that I am going to have to have a surgery in June, right after my college graduation because my left big toe is going up under my foot making me really unstable when standing. An internationally known surgeon is going to perform a spinal fusion on my toe to set the bones where they should be. I've had to resort to wearing tennis shoes that are 1 1/2 sizes bigger than normal to accommodate the swelling in my foot. I'm dealing with things each day, knowing that I couldn't possibly get out of bed with God's strength. I'm SO thankful for Him!

Today has been a good day! I've managed to get my school work done and slept pretty well last night. Considering some of the nights I've had recently, that is HUGE!

If you are struggling, whatever you do, don't quit. Just dig your heels in a little deeper and keep going. Things will get better. I'm going to get better! I know this for a fact. As soon as possible, I'm going to start an aggressive stretching program with a personal trainer. I'm not where I was a few years ago, and I'm certainly not where I'm going to be!

P.S. You have 9 days to enter my giveaway

Monday, February 04, 2013

Custom Graphic Design Giveaway!

PrintingRay is a USA based online company that provides cheap custom stickers printing and folder printing of best quality. They were gracious enough to offer one person the chance to win a custom design of their choice!

You can choose from the following things:

  •  Free Facebook Cover and Display Picture
  •  Twitter Background
  •  Free Picture and logo for your blog... or for anything else you can think of!
Just leave me a comment telling me something interesting about you along with your email address so I can contact the winner! This is mandatory.

This giveaway will run until March 5, 2013! After you are contacted, PrintingRay will have your design ready within 3 to 4 days and send it via email.

All other entries are optional like following PrintingRay on Facebook, tweeting about the giveway, following me on Facebook or my blog. Have fun and share this with your friends!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tigger: Memoirs of a Cosmopolitan Cat

I have now completed my internship with Tannenbaum Publishing Company, which was nothing short of AMAZING!

I am excited to announce that a manuscript I have been working with is now a published ebook on Amazon! 

Tigger, Tigger the cat, memoir, cosmopolitan cat, Australia, adventure

Tigger - Memoirs of a Cosmopolitan Cat is the fictional autobiography of a cat and his human family. Based on a true story, it takes the reader from Perth in Western Australia, Tigger’s birthplace where he joins his family, to Maryland in the United States of America. We are all familiar with human responses to change; but what about the animal's perspective? What are the challenges for a cat in a new and unfamiliar environment? What matters to him, and how does he adjust? Tigger lets the reader follow him as he explores nameless flora and fauna, mysterious smells and undreamt-of hunting opportunities. He meets neighbourhood pets, escapes from sticky situations and copes with the surprises of a first snowfall. In the background of the story, the humans have their own struggle to settle in new surroundings. The occasional glimpse through Tigger's amber eyes lets the reader guess at what goes on in their world, but it really isn't that important. Tigger's experience is what really counts. 

Click here to view or purchase!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Review: Off Balanced by Zachary Fenell

Several months ago - and I mean several - Zachary asked me if I'd like to review his book. I enthusiastically said yes, and then life got in the way. Zachary, thank you for your patience!

Off-Balanced is a biography of Zachary Fennell's  life as a teenager with CP. That's cerebral palsy for those who don't know. It tells of his struggles with girls, friends,driving, and life with a well-meaning but overprotective mother and a hard-working father he rarely sees.

Staying home on Friday nights was the norm because he didn't have the greatest self-esteem like some who can joke about their disability. Zach lives life in somewhat of a shell...until meeting Chase and Randy. Even then, he let his disability overpower him and shrank back from conversations. This caused people not to ask him much of anything. If asked how he was doing by a classmate, "Okay" was his standard, unenthusiastic reply.

As time passes, he begins to lighten up and form friendships with Sami and Rob. I started really getting into the book when Zach entered Notre Dame college. Zach found his niche when joining the Notre Dame News! It was like the words he struggled to say found their way on the printed page and - wonder of wonders - people LIKED it! 

This was the next to the last chapter, and I really felt like the book should have been longer or at least followed by a sequel because Zach's story was really getting good. The first half of the book was hard for me to get into because I'm not person who does self-pity. I'm more of a glass half-full type of girl. I also couldn't relate to the social awkwardness that Zach felt (nor the fact that he was never bullied or teased). Yes, I was made fun of, but I've always been a talker! I enjoyed Zach's story because it allowed me to see things from a male perspective. Males and females are so different!

I could relate to learning InDesign, though and really respected his dedication to the newspaper. I cringed at some of the VERY late night deadlines! The book ended with a very powerful scene that was a turning point in Zach's life. 

If a sequel is ever done, I would love to know about Zach's life after college. How does he cope as an adult? Does he keep his new found confidence? Do Rob and Sami keep in touch? What is he doing now? 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.