Thursday, October 16, 2008

Here are two.... AVMs

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends!


(It has many photos.... well worth the time)

Greetings to all this evening!

How is everyone? Well, I've had quite a day I thought I would share! I still can't believe what happened myself! So, it all started this morning right after I got to work! My co-worker Kathy had been out last week, just as I had, and wasn't in yet this morning - and our Supervisor Mr. Jay Rios was about to leave for a meeting @ the main office - so I needed to go down the hall and leave the phones @ my desk while I did what I needed to. I was rushing, so I could get back, when I tripped over my own shoes, just for being in a hurry! I fell forward and kept hoping I could catch myself before doing too much damage! No such luck! I'm guessing when I fell forward or from the stumble, my right big toe jammed to the end of my shoe and is now hurting! I ended up bumping into the wall, then falling backwards where I hit my knee and then landed on my behind and then on my back! Luckily, @ this time of the morning, many of my co-workers were going about their morning routines and saw what had happened to me! I know there was a man down the hall that asked if I was ok, and I remember saying, "I don't know"! and moaning in pain (and shock)! The next person I remember seeing was Connie Morgan from the IT department! I know she had a very concerned look on her face and ran to grab a handful of paper towels after telling me I was bleeding! I had a feeling that would be happening! From the impact of the fall, I started bleeding from the wound on my face. For those of you new to my blog - I have an AVM (arterial venous malformation)that I have to constantly be looking after! PLEASE VISIT MY FRIEND SHALON WHITGOBS WEB SITE FOR LOTS OF GREAT MEDICAL INFORMATION ON AVMS! YOU CAN GET TO HER SITE FROM MINE, OR GO TO: I remember my co-worker Roland asking whether I needed help getting up off the floor. People were asking me what they could do to help - I said to no one in particular, that I needed my medical bag that was in my desk area. Immediately, my co-worker Gina McMillan ran to my desk and got my 2 totebags. I got up, took the totebags and told everyone I would be ok - I just needed to get the bleeding under control by putting pressure on the wound site. I met Martha Sanchez from Risk Management that is a sweetheart! She told me not to be concerned @ all about the bloody mess on the floor - she was calling housekeeping or someone to come clean up! I want to make sure you know that the bleeding came from the impact of my fall, but not because I actually hit the area of my face or anything. I knew when I hit the floor that hard, that I would probably have a bleed from the wound area.

My co-worker Ray Rodela was very concerned and kept asking what he could do to help. He's always told me if I ever need him to cover the phones while I need to go down the hall, he is more than willing to help! Another co-worker, Kim Escamilla came to the bathroom to check on me, and make sure I didn't need any help getting the bleeding stopped. Grace Garcia, my co-worker kept asking whether I was dizzy or needed to go home. Even the tall, young man that works down the hall came to the bathroom door to ask if I was ok! Gina took over answering the phones until I could get back to my desk, thanks so much! We have a great team of people @ Court Services Supervised by Mr. Jay Rios!

I just wanted to take this time to thank all of you for being so great in my time of need! I know now that I have nothing to worry about should this have been an actual emergency! I think it was Connie Morgan that asked if I needed her to call 911. She came in to my department later in the day to check on me. Martha Sanchez really made me feel better talking to me about some of the things going on in her life medical wise. Of course I filled out a workmans comp. form for my protection - but I think I'll be fine! Thank you so much everyone on the 3rd floor that came to my rescue - I am very impressed with how everyone came together to help!!! Normally when I have a "bleed" @ work, my friend and co-worker Diana Arredondo helps me redress the area, but she was @ the main office @ a meeting, so I was on my own this morning. I probably could have put something together from my wound care bag to cover the area, but I called my husband Mark to come help! After that darned fall, I really needed some TLC and the best one for that job is my amazing husband! He was over right away and got my wound area redressed! After a couple great hugs, I was good to go! I usually keep an extra t-shirt in the bag which I needed to change into after bleeding all over what I was wearing earlier!

A few years back I fell down @ work while I was working @ the main office, and I still have one of those walking casts (boots) - I'm wearing it now and think I'll wear it a while! At least it will slow me down some! Wish I had a photo to include of my co-workers, but I'll see what I can post for now! Thanks again everyone!

Oh! I happened to have taken Rulon w/me to work today, but already I'm being asked where Saba is! For those of you who don't know - Saba is my Therapy Build a Bear! She is named after one of the techs @ the Swedish Medical Center where I have my procedures for my avm! The real Saba is from Eastern Ethiopia and a doll!

Cyndi Schuman

P.S. The photo I've included, was taken outside the Whole Foods Mart in Englewood, CO! My sister Celia and I had gone for one of my treatments around this time last year and it was snowing!


Day 3 Prayer Focus - My Face

At this point, the right side of my face is still frozen. When I smile, only the left side of my mouth turns up. My right eyebrow and forehead remain still while my left eyebrow arches and the left side of my forehead wrinkles. Again, during the surgery, the choice to partially cut important nerves had to be made to remove the AVM and save my life. The intracranial nerves that control my facial movements, from my forehead to my chin, including my lips, tongue, and soft palate, are damaged to a degree where there is no real response at all, unlike some of the other damaged areas. There has been some tingling and even stinging a few times on the right side of my face, especially during the electrical stimulation therapy (electrodes are put on my face, as well as my throat during swallowing therapy), as well as some sensation returning to my soft palate. Apparently, the right side of my face has less droop than it used to, but that is hard for me to notice. Also, the inside of my right cheek is numb, like after a dentist appointment where novacaine was invovled, so it feels like I have a large chunk of chewing gum lodged there.

The hard thing about having a face messed up is that everyone knows that there is something wrong with me. If it were not for my face, then it would be difficult to tell what had happened to me. Also, the issues with my face and the affected nerves create major problems with my right eye and mouth, which greatly impairs my sight and my speech (see Days 4 and 5). Please pray that the right side of my face would wake up again.

Day 2 Prayer for SWALLOWING Follow-up:
Today during swallowing therapy, I gagged multiple times in response to the cold lemon swab rubbing the back of my throat, more times than I usually do (though there was still no response on the majority of right side rubs, while the left side almost always automatically gags). This is progress because it shows increased sensation in my throat with a corresponding reflex, both very important for swallowing. My next swallowing test will likely be next week on October 21 (6 months exactly since my AVM rupture), so please pray for more signs of progress!

Day 1 Prayer for WALKING Follow-up to the Follow-up:
Today in physical therapy, I walked the length of the breezeway 4 times (totaling over 100 yards)! Again, I had a good deal of assistance, with Jay in the front and a therapist in the back to steady me when I needed it and to give me verbal cues, but nonetheless, it was great progress. (see the picture on Caringbridge) This is also a great indicator of the strength and endurance I have gained since I have been here. Praise God!

Katherine, Jay, and James

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18


...and that's it...
It seems unreal the feed-back that some people get. Good for you, I say.
Today I go to work. We'll see how I do.
Wish me well!
No youtube today... I got things do due!
(Ha ha ha)

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