Friday, September 05, 2008

I got a little news... AVM
That is a decent link on AVMs...
It is for a meet in Dallas.

now u git youtube...

TERMINATOR 1984 Music Video - Obsolete

Steve Perry - Oh Sherrie

Depeche Mode - 'People Are People' (1984 Music Video) [HQ]

ok got to say by by...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Johnson works for third term ... AVM News

Johnson works for third term, continued recovery

The campaign trail isn’t any longer than it used to be for Tim Johnson. But it’s a slower, more difficult journey as the South Dakota Democrat seeks his third term in the U.S. Senate and works -- with slurred speech and halting, heavy steps -- to overcome impairments left from a cerebral hemorrhage almost 21 months ago.

Johnson’s recovery from that life-threatening brain injury is a personal story of heroics and exceeded expectations. His doctors have expressed amazement at his progress. His wife, Barbara, says she is more likely than her husband to tire of the tough campaign schedule.

“There have been days when I’ve been exhausted, and he just keeps going,” she said. “I don’t know how he does it.”

The 61-year-old veteran of almost 22 years in Congress hasn’t missed a vote since his much-celebrated – among Democratic and Republican colleagues alike -- return to the Senate on Sept. 5, 2007.

And he throws a bigger policy punch with his growing seniority and committee assignments -- particularly his seat on the cash cow called the Senate Appropriations Committee – as well as his sympathetic, respected place in the Democratic majority.

But he’s not the man he was, at least not in speech and mobility. That is clear whenever Johnson makes a public appearance, as he did last week with his first stop at the Rapid City Journal since he fell ill and required emergency brain surgery in December of 2006.

It was a much different senator who struggled stiffly out of the passenger’s seat of an SUV and, with the help of a staffer, methodically shuffled in through an alley door held open by a Journal employee.

From there, Johnson made a 35-foot journey from the alley through a single-stall garage and small kitchen to the newspaper’s main conference room. And it was indeed a journey. A 10-second stroll for others, it required almost five minutes for the senator to get from alley to chair, as he leaned hard on the cane in his left hand, led with the left foot and half raised, half dragged his right leg in short steps toward the conference room door.

“Speed demon,” Johnson said softly, keeping his head down to focus on the onerous movements below.

His limp right arm hung at his side, the hand in a half fist as the senator worked his way, with staff always close by, to a chair at the conference room table.

That’s how it goes for South Dakota’s senior U.S. senator every day, step by step, in a recovery that is 21 months old and has years to go.

“It is very frustrating, and it’s difficult,” Johnson said during the interview. “But I am improving all the time. And, sometime, I will get there.”

By “there” he means back to something close to 100 percent of what he was before a collection of malformed vessels in his brain burst, jeopardizing his life and changing his world forever. He’s clearly not “there” in speech or movement on his right side. But he maintains that he is completely back in the quality that counts most.

“I’m 100 percent in terms of my brain,I'm less so, 80 percent or so, in terms of my speech, uh, less than that in my arm and right leg, but that doesn’t matter as much,” he said. “But I am 100 percent in my mental abilities, my cognition, and I’m just, uh, less than that in my speech … my articulation, and so on.”

During his 50-minute stay at the Journal, Johnson’s speech ranged from clear to almost unintelligible, but most often was slow and slightly slurred. He paused often during and between sentences, punctuating his comments with moments of silence or the often-heard “uh.”

That's not unusual in common speech, even for people who are not recovering from brain injuries. But it seems, to people who have covered Johnson for years, more pronounced in Johnson's speech pattern now than it was before, as he works to construct sentences and enunciate them.

Johnson doctors and speech-rehabilitation specialists say the senator's speech problems are consistent with his brain injury and have nothing to do with his mental process. They also say he is fully capable of serving in the Senate and running for re-election.

Dr. John Eisold, attending physician of Congress, said by e-mail that Johnson is doing well in recovering from the hemorrhage caused by a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in the brain. And on an unrelated health issue, tests indicate the senator is cancer free, after prostate surgery in 2004, he said.

“There are no limitations to his activity at this time,” Eisold said.

Dr. Michael Yochelson, medical director of brain injury programs at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C., called Johnson’s recovery from the AVM rupture “remarkable,” and said he has shown “phenomenal improvement” in language and physical function.

“If you listen to him speak, you will notice that his speech is not as fluid or fast as it used to be,” Yochelson said by e-mail. “Occasionally you will also hear him hesitate, trying to say the right word. These are all problems with language, not cognition. His cognitive function – memory, concentration, processing – fortunately is fine. This fluctuation in speech does not indicate that he is having any difficulty with comprehension.”

Yochelson said the greatest chance of a “re-bleed” following an AVM incident is in the first year. Johnson is nine months past that.

“Sen. Johnson is in excellent health,” Yochelson said.

Johnson has reached the point where he now works just twice a month with his main speech therapist, Paul Rao of the National Rehabilitation Hospital. Rao said “Tim’s thinking and cognitive skills are remarkably robust.”

He said Johnson’s speech problems are typical with such a brain injury but in no way interfere with his ability to perform as a U.S. senator.

“Does he have the intellectual, cognitive and language, voice and speech skills to do his job?” Rao said. “The resounding answer from my perspective is ‘yes.’”

Johnson maintains that his record in the past year has proven that. He’s especially proud of his role in securing millions of dollars for continuing work on the Lewis & Clark and Mni Wiconi water projects and his growing influence on veterans' health care issues as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Johnson also worked hard on the farm bill, including work on requiring country-of-origin labeling for meat products, which has been one of his priorities for years.

The senator points to a busy travel schedule during the August congressional recess that is taking him to 19 communities for a variety of public meetings and events. He said there’s no reason he can’t finish out this term and fulfill the duties of another six-year term in the Senate, as he continues to improve in speech and movement.

There’s no doubt he wants a third term. But he’s hesitant to speculate on a fourth.

“That’s too far in the future to tell,” he said.

Some people wonder whether Johnson would even be likely to finish another six-year term, given his age and the rehabilitation challenges still ahead. Northern State University political science professor Jon Schaff questions whether Johnson will run for a fourth Senate term if he wins a third in November, or even whether he would finish a third term.

“I would not be surprised to see Johnson step down (during the third term) in order to concentrate on his health,” Schaff said. “I certainly don’t think he’ll ever run for office again.”

Jarding is predictably fervent in his disagreement on that point. Johnson intends and expects to serve out a third term if elected, Jarding said. And he said people shouldn’t rule out the possibility of an even longer stay in the Senate for Johnson.

“Tim thinks he’s in a position to do a whole lot of good for South Dakota. I think he sees himself at his peak in seniority and power,” Jarding said. “With all due respect to Jon (Schaff), Tim clearly intends to serve out the full six years and possibly beyond.”

Johnson's Republican challenger, state Rep. Joel Dykstra of Canton, said he hadn't seen enough of Johnson in person to comment on his cognition or chances of serving a full third term. That was both a statement of fact and an assertion of campaign rhetoric.

Dykstra continues to complain about Johnson's decision not to engage in campaign debates. The senator said his speech impairment might give voters a faulty impression of his abilities.Dykstra thinks that's unfair to voters.

"I understand why they would want to protect him from an all-out competitive environment," Dykstra said. "But there are still formats where the two of us could have been together to talk about issues. I think that would be valuable for voters."

Jarding said Johnson's schedule of public appearances, as well as editorial-board interviews at the Journal and Sioux Falls Argus Leader that were video taped and put online, give the public plenty of chance to see Johnson and judge his stage of recovery.

Tim and Barbara Johnson reject speculation that the senator might already have experienced his biggest gains in speech and mobility. They say Johnson’s doctors say the improvement spectrum is open-ended.

“One year isn’t it, and, uh, I can continue to improve,” Johnson said.

Barbara Johnson fully expects that to happen, to a degree that will surprise skeptics. She said her husband’s progress continues at the same slow-but-sure pace she has watched since he began rehabilitation work.

“It’s always been an inch a day. We’ve never had a day when we’ve gone two feet, or less than an inch,” she said. “It’s really, really hard when you make an inch a day to keep going. But he does.”

The Johnsons work together every night on Tim’s physical therapy. That includes stretching and pulling on his right arm and right leg. The senator is now able to lift his foot slightly when he walks and move the leg more independently, and he has begun to get some movement back in the arm.

“The arm is funny,” Barbara Johnson said. “The OTs (occupational therapists) tell me it’s the last thing to come back. But it’s also the one that’s hardest to predict. Last year he could barely move his arm. This year he can pull it down, extend it and pull it across.”

Johnson wears a remote-controlled electronic band under his knee that sends an impulse to his foot. It stimulates the muscles and helps prevent atrophy as Johnson works on his rehabilitation.

“His leg looks normal, just like the other one,” Barbara Johnson said.

Rehab specialist Paul Rao said Johnson has had one of the best recovery curves he has seen in patients with similar injuries.

“Not a little of his remarkable recovery comes form his natural intelligence, his brutally hard work, his penchant for practice and his self-deprecatory and self-demanding manner,” Rao said.

Barbara Johnson said she sees all that, along with a level of determination and patience that makes her marvel. And she is certain that it will continue.

“Honestly, we’ve been married for almost 40 years. You kind of feel like you know somebody. Then you watch him deal with this,” she said. “What I wish people could see is that every day, Tim is stronger today than he was yesterday. And he’s going to be stronger tomorrow.”

Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or

Speaking with Tim Johnson:

Q. What is your relationship with John McCain?

A. "I respect the senator, but his temper is awfully hot. I like the guy but, uh, he's awfully pricklish."

Q. Who are you closest to personally, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or John McCain?

A. "Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are new to the Senate, and John McCain is not new. But he is a Republican. So I would have to say they're all equal."

Q. How would you compare your positions on South Dakota issues to those of your Republican challenger, state Rep. Joel Dykstra?

A. "I'm not very familiar with Mr. Dykstra, position wise. I know nothing about them."

Q. How would you describe your relationship with John Thune?

A. "I am supportive of almost everything he does in terms of South Dakota. Apart from South Dakota I differ with him frequently. But I have come to an agreement that I will not say anything negative about John and he does not say anything negative about me."

Q. Which stop in Rapid City this afternoon were you looking forward to the most -- meeting with the Journal editorial board or meeting with the Canyon Lake All-Stars?

A. "The Canyon Lake All-Stars."

I'd vote for him.


I Died... A friend of mine.

A Friend wrote me this... I though it tell you about it.

I Died

September 2nd marks an ugly anniversary for the friends and family of Tony Kraus. Tony was killed at the precious age of 23 yrs old in a tragic automobile accident on this date 1year ago. I am blogging today for a couple reasons, one I guess it helps to talk about it and two because Tony touched my life and has continued to do so even after his death.

I have learned some valuable lessons from the tragedy and have adjusted accordingly, but no lesson has ever been as important and as valuable as the lesson I learned on July 26, 2008. What you are about to read is true and to the best of my recollection.

You may or may not know, I recently had a significant change in my career status and as a result have had to hit the road again in an effort to retain my customer base and to sell them on a new product line. If you are one of those who knew me around 2000 you know that I was around 100 lbs. less than what I currently weight now. The last 8 years has been hard on my body, drinking mass quantities, eating great food at all hours of the day and night have taken a tremendous toll on my body.

During the months of May, June and July of this year, I lived on the road pretty solid, I returned on July 24 after 90-days of hard work with lots of party thrown in as well, even partying the day after returning home, I met up with some buddies downtown and hit it again, closing up that bar.

The very next day, Friday July 25, 2007, was a tough day. I had been having trouble breathing, I had been really short of breath, I couldn’t walk anywhere without being extremely winded. I kept blaming it on my asthma, and my Doc was on vacation and I couldn’t for the life of me get anyone at his office to call in my inhaler prescription.

As I settled in for bed that night, I believed at the time that I was having an asthma attack, I was really uncomfortable, but I sleep with a CPAP machine (this forces air down your pipe, and keeps you from snoring and from stopping breathing in your sleep), so this gave me some relief, enough where I could fall to sleep.

At some point, and I believe it to be near the end of my night’s sleep, although I can’t say for sure at what time it was, I believe I died in my sleep, that is to say that I believe my heart stopped beating for a period of time. I believe this because I’ve read the books and have seen it on TV; you know what I’m talking about, the “Near Death Experience”. That is exactly what will make this event hard for anyone to believe, because we’ve all heard of it and each of the stories we’ve heard seems to always be the same story we’ve already heard before or read about, so it’s easy to doubt it, I know because I was always one of those doubters. It’s easy to say, well that was just a dream……..

I was suddenly in a black hole and a very narrow tunnel almost immediately began to take shape, my 1st initial feeling was very simple, it was one of just, W O W, this is really cool! At 1st, I thought oh right I’m sleeping so I must be dreaming, but then just saying that I realized this is not a dream, and this is more real than a dream, in fact, this entire experience was more than real, more real than if I were telling you this in person, I know that doesn’t make any since, but it’s the only way I can explain this.

This black hole started with a bright flash of light (more bright than I’ve ever seen) that rushed in from all around me, this light was so brilliant, but it didn’t hurt me to look at it, and then as fast as this light appeared it suddenly became just a pinpoint of light at the far end of what became a tunnel.

I started moving into and up the tunnel toward the brilliant light, and as I moved up the tunnel and toward the light it became brighter, the light gave me an overwhelming feeling of love, the light was a being I thought, it has to be a being because that light loves me, and as soon as I acknowledged that the light loved me it became abundantly clear to me that this light was Jesus, it was the Light Of Jesus Christ, and at that point the race was on, I moved faster and faster toward the light, I wanted to be with the light.

Suddenly, my Mother was with me (my Mom passed away in 2004), and then both my maternal and paternal grandparents as well as my father were all with me (all who have passed away). I have missed my Mother dearly, I used to call my Mom every single day of my life and I miss her and now all of a sudden here she was, I could see her as if you and I were sitting here in a room looking at one another, although it was even different than that, I have to say that it was like there was an added dimension to this “tunnel” and then even that doesn’t explain it good enough, and I know that makes no since, but it’s the best I can come up with with my limited use of the English language.

My Mother looked at me with great concern in her face, they all looked at me with this same look in their faces, my Mother spoke to me, and she was the only one of my family who spoke to me. My Mom said “Oh Rodney, you can’t be here, you’re not supposed to be here, you have to go back”. My Mom’s tone was that of one that I had heard many times before, but it was from a long time ago, from when I was a little boy, that was the tone that I recognized in her voice. I wasn’t doing something bad, it’s just that I felt my Mother was trying to advise me on how to do something and when not to do something and that this was not the time to be moving toward the “Light”, does that make any since?

I did not listen to my Mother, I moved faster and faster to the “Light”, Jesus. I wanted to be with Jesus, I wanted to meet Him, I was not scared, I was excited, I was as excited to meet Him as I was to see my Mom, so I moved faster and faster, all the while my Mother was trying to persuade me not to, and just about the time I was about to ask my Mother why I couldn’t be here, she suddenly moved back, they all moved back.

Tony Kraus was suddenly in front of me, with the same look on his face as everyone else, he was in between me and the “Light”, I wanted to grab him and hug him, but he grabbed me by my hands and I was halted in my quest to get to the “Light”. He was holding my hands and he said to me “Dude no, you can’t be here right now, you’re not supposed to be here right now, you have to go back”!

I awoke and practically jumped from my bed, I took my CPAP mask off without even un-hooking the strap, I set on the edge of my bed and said out loud, “WTF was that”! Within moments, my doorbell was ringing and I had company for coffee, I couldn’t focus on the conversation with my company, all I could do is think about my sleep experience. I knew it was not a dream, this was something more real than a dream, this was something more real than real.

My mind was racing a hundred miles an hour, I wanted to tell my friend Ed Kastelz who was right in front of me now in this world having coffee, I wanted to tell him, but I was afraid he would think I had completely went off the deep end or wonder what it was that I was smoking.

Ed didn’t stay long, one cup and he was out the door, and the minute he left I regretted not telling him. I did tell him the very next day, and he was the first person I told, and I’m very glad I did, he believed me and that gave me strength to tell others, not many, just a few. I’ve told family members and a few close personal friends.

I couldn’t wait to tell Tony’s Mother, but yet on the other hand, for me, Yolanda was the most difficult to tell this too, I wanted to tell her so she would know Tony was safe and Ok, but on the other hand, her heart aches for her son Tony and the last thing I would ever want to do is to add pain unto pain, plus how safe is it to tell someone this, I mean it sounds like Rod has lost his mind doesn’t it?

I have been very careful who I’ve told my story too, for fear of ridicule, but today I was asked by Tony’s Mom whether or not I had written my experience down, this made me realize that today shouldn’t just mark the anniversary of an extremely heart breaking experience for those of us who loved Tony Kraus, this day should also be a day that we tell others why Tony is so missed, what a great kid he was. Tony died, Yolanda lost her son, Chase Anthony lost his Dad, and I’m worried someone won’t believe me or they’ll think I’m nuts? Who cares!

Let me tell you what I believe, I believe my heart stopped beating while I was asleep, and I believe that Tony Kraus started my heart beating again when he grabbed me by my hands, I believe I began a journey in the “tunnel” to another world, I believe Tony was asked by God to stop me from completing the journey, and that’s exactly how I felt when Tony took my hands.

I even reported this to a medical doctor a few weeks after I first started seeing her which was on July 28, 2008 (2-days after I died). She too believed me, this Dr. had informed me the week after I died that my heart was enlarged and really weak, (info gathered from chest x-rays, EKG’s and some other ECG something or another) and that I had a lot of fluid around my heart causing me to be extremely short of breath (not my asthma as I suspected). When I told my Dr that I believed that my heart stopped beating in my sleep, she was not surprised and said, “I believe that, it happens all the time, especially when someone is in the condition you were in when you first walked in here”.

My experience took place in my sleep on a Friday night/Saturday morning. That Monday, I quit smoking and anyone who knows me, knows how hard that should have been for me. Also that Monday, I did my first walk, it was 250 yards round trip and I couldn’t breathe. Wednesday of that week I saw my Doctor at the Born Clinic, this is when she ordered all the testing.

The Born Clinic is a preventative health care clinic, it’s where Muhammad Ali has gone for years for the controversial medical treatment called Chelation, an IV of a cocktail of drugs and peroxide, this cocktail is called EDTA. Chelation was used in the 50’s to cure lead poisoning, and many believe it helps diabetics by improving circulation, it removes plaque from the walls of arteries around the heart thus reversing coronary artery disease and in short many believe it’s like giving the body a tune up or an oil change.

Today, five weeks later and on the anniversary of Tony’s tragic death, I walked my usual 3 mile walk this morning, and tonight I rode my bike 5 miles further than my normal nightly 6 mile trip, I did this by riding to Tony’s grave and back for a round trip total of 11 miles. I rode to Tony’s grave to thank him for saving my life, and for turning me back in the “Tunnel” and making me realize it was not my time that night, I went there to show him that I heard him, and I’m not wasting the opportunity. I have lost 15 lbs. and remain on a great diet, I have not smoked and have my blood sugar under control, and I wanted him to know that I made up my mind once and for all that “I choose Life”.

I share my story not only because I am proud of my accomplishments, but I want people to know the good about Tony Kraus, he wasn’t just a great kid who had struggles with drugs and overcome addiction, he was a person who loved you back, if you loved Tony, he loved you back and would do anything for you, I will never forget the day he told me that he wished he could buy his Mom a spa and that someday he would, he immediately started working me for the best price he could get for his Mom, this still makes me smile. J

If Tony could do something that could help you out he did it, we would set on the deck and he would get up and light my tikki torches and every time he would say, I guess I gotta light these things again, am I the only one who fills these things, it seems like every time I have to light them the dam things are empty”. He would say this every time, LOL, he knew I loved those torches!

Tony helped me out on July 26, 2008, he set me on a course to make changes, I am on a mission to live as long as I can, and my life will be that of a healthy man. I’m not sure why that night was not my time, and maybe tomorrow will be, I just know that night wasn’t and my own Mother couldn’t make me understand that, but Tony Kraus did and I am very thankful for a second chance!!!!

Spread the news, "Even If You Die, You Live"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

News... AVM

AVM News....

Tanner’s legacy

September 3, 2008 by Darren Shimp

The jersey numbers 3 and 15 were always important to Tanner Homminga. But on March 15, around 3:15 p.m., the numbers became cemented in the minds of his friends, family and everyone who were blessed to have Tanner in their presence.

At Spokane Falls Community College for a soccer match in a five-on-five tournament, 14-year-old Tanner began experiencing severe head pains on the walk back to the parking lot from his 30-minute game. He then held his head and fell to the ground.

Tanner was rushed to the hospital, and since there was a parent doctor on the scene, phone calls made it such that there were neurosurgeons ready for surgery upon his arrival.

After thorough examination, it was determined that Tanner had suffered a rupture from a condition known as arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which is the leading cause of stroke in young people, a malady which strikes only one out of every 250,000 people. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) defines AVM as “defects of the circulatory system that are generally believed to arise during embryonic or fetal development or soon after birth.”

The symptoms include severe headaches, seizures or brain hemorrhages – symptoms Tanner had not shown signs of in his 14 years, most of which were dedicated to playing sports, which were his love in life; that, along with friends and family. He was a soccer fanatic, a basketball junkie and a fan of the North Carolina Tar Heel blue and Allen Iverson – hence the jersey number 3.

The condition which was simmering in Tanner’s brain went undiagnosed, to the fault of no one. Either he had headaches which increased his pain tolerance, or the AVM just plain did not show itself until that Saturday in March.

The surgery revealed that the AVM burst left a four-inch blood clot in his brain, which is nearly the height of a can of soda. With the condition nearly inoperable, Tanner was put into a medically-induced coma for 41 days, with minimal activity at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Unfortunately, Tanner’s body did not react well to the inducing, as his blood pressure continually remained high, causing two more strokes in his already fragile state following brain surgery.

There was nothing doctors or anyone else could do to make him lead a normal life again, despite all the kind words, support and prayers the Hommingas had received. An autographed Iverson jersey and armband arrived as a showing of respect for what Tanner had accomplished in youth sports, but even a gift from his idol couldn’t pull Tanner out of his coma.

He was moved into a hospice house for his last week of life, and passed away April 24 at 12:40 a.m.

Months later, with Tanner’s memory still strong in the hearts of family, friends, teammates and coaches, his legacy of being a talent both on and off the field (he was also an honor roll student at East Valley Middle School) continues into the fall months, as he would have begun his high school years this week at East Valley High School.

“He was an amazing kid… always happy,” said Kala Homminga, Tanner’s mother. “He was the kind of kid who saw what he wanted in the future, and did whatever he could to get there.”

She told of a story where Tanner had such a severe case of bronchitis, doctors warned him it would be dangerous to be physically active, in one of the few times he finally let his body rest. He sat on the sidelines with sweatpants on, his uniform underneath.

Not being on the field ate at Tanner on the inside that day, even though he was obviously sick, he felt he was letting his team down by letting his body win.

“He couldn’t stand that,” Kala said. “He had more drive than any kid I know.”

A huge part of Tanner’s life was not only playing sports, but watching them on ESPN as well.

His competitive drive was so intense that if one of his favorite teams, like the Dallas Cowboys, lost on television, he would go into his room, blast his rap music and annihilate whatever team dared to defeat the Cowboys on his PlayStation 3.

Growing up, Tanner would find more joy in a basketball and hoop than any other toy. He had a hoop on his walker as an infant, and was shooting baskets at a mini-hoop at age 2.

Once old enough to play competitively, Tanner was the team’s star, leading his youth squad in scoring nearly every time out, but was still a quintessential team player at the same time.

Coaches and friends were so impressed with Tanner’s skills and passion, they encouraged him to play soccer, a sport he had never really tried before.

That is when the passion multiplied, as soccer was a sport he could be a team leader with and run, run, run.

Tanner’s presence impacted his friends off the field as well, as he and his friends had perennial appearances on honor roll lists.

Months later, as his mates begin their journey through high school, the memory of their fallen friend will never leave them. They wear wristbands donning Tanner’s two jersey numbers: 3 for hoops, 15 for soccer, along with “Tanner Homminga in our prayers.”

The impact a young man with a drive that never stalled left on friends, coaches and his own mother will never be forgotten.

Kala also told the story of a visit to a relative’s house who was “quite well off.”

Surrounded by a nice house, vehicles and belongings, Tanner said to his mother, “This is what I want in life.”

“The money?” Kala responded.

“No, the awards,” Tanner said. The relative was a successful athlete of her own in basketball, and had played on scholarship in Hawaii, and over time had accumulated many trophies and plaques of her own.

Tanner had dreams of playing both basketball and soccer for the University of North Carolina, a combination quite unique for a multi-sport athlete, but Tanner was committed to finding a way to make it happen.

With his memory still fresh on the community’s mind, the outpouring of support for the Hommingas continues.

Dedicated soccer tournaments, spaghetti feeds, tattoos, backboards at Hoopfest, benches at parks, the aforementioned bracelets, necklaces featuring “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)… the list of honors and remembrances do nothing but fill Kala’s heart with more love for her lost son.

“I am more proud of him now, than I thought would ever be possible,” Kala said. “He surrounded himself with such amazing people, and to see how people come together… they have helped me in so many ways.”

The parents continue to call Kala; they go out to lunch, where they laugh, cry and talk about Tanner.

She has no regrets, knowing he passed away doing what he loved most: competing, and being surrounded by friends and family.

For more on his story, or to leave kind messages to his friends and family, please check out a page dedicated to Tanner and everything he stood for,

Story by Darren Shimp. You can reach Darren at

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In AVM News...

I am currently undergoing embolizations with Dr. Wayne Yakes @ the Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, CO every 8 weeks! Seems our lives are either planning a procedure, having a procedure or recovering from a procedure! The trick lately seems to be to keep the "bleeds" under control! We've gotten to be pretty good @ this! When I say "we", of course I mean my husband and caregiver Mark! He has become an expert wound care therapist, not to mention all around bundle of being just exactly what I need to get through the day and this ordeal we call an AVM!

Hi Everyone!

Well, we were are gearing up to celebrate Gregs birthday today! He wants a rhubarb pie instead of a birthday cake, so... his wife Celia and my husband Mark each took on that responsibility! Actually, Mark made 2 pies (with the crust from scratch) - a rhubarb/strawberry pie and a rhubarb/pineapple pie! While Mark had his pies in the oven, I was on the computer ... and I felt an itch right under the top of the tegaderm. (Where my wound dressing is) I scratched it and then I looked @ my finger and saw red. Uh oh, I thought it was maybe a slight bleed, so I got up to look in the bathroom mirror. Nope! The wound area was filling up w/blood. Yikes! I called out to Mark and he ran to get the wound care bag as I got to the kitchen sink! I had a hard time telling where the blood was coming from - I would have to pull off the tegaderm! Mark was waiting w/a piece of surgicel, and when I pulled the tegaderm off, a stream of blood jetted out! Yowza! After putting pressure on the area, we got surgicel on there and had it under control! Before going out to the island, we went to Walgreens to pick up some much needed prescribed ointment that Mark puts on my wound area! We then headed out to join the rest of our family!

Here is a photo of me w/the birthday boy! He and my sister make all our trips to CO possible! They very generously decided they're making sure I get the necessary help in order to beat this avm! Here I am w/Greg and Saba! See the beautiful flower arrangement? Celia got those for Greg and arranged them herself! We ended up having a great evening, having dinner, dessert and playing Farkle! Here is more of my support group - my mom and her husband Vicente! He is a big fan of mine and always reminds mom to check on Cinderella! The other photo of course is my sister Celia and her husband Greg! Celia accompanies me on these Colorado trips sometimes to give my husband Mark a break once in a while! The only good thing about this avm is I think it's brought us even closer as a family! I'm so blessed to have a family full of faith and love and lots of strength! I'm so proud to say how our family came together during this time of crisis to help me get through this! It has certainly brought my husband Mark and I even closer! We had a great marriage already, but now we've come to realize how much we deeply love each other!

Go see there pics... here


Don't ask me why soaps.... I don't know why.

Monday, September 01, 2008

oh boy...

I am really fealing bad tonight... I can tell you there were no avms...
I will talk to you tomorrow...
Until then I bid you a due.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Camellia girl w/ avm!

Just wanted to post a link to a website for Camellia!

Camellia is a beautiful little girl with a facial AVM. Her story has many similarities to mine as a child. However, it sounds like she is having a rougher time than I did at that age. But luckily, she is already being treated by Dr. Yakes and although this treatment is hard for such a little girl, I hope that it means Camellia will grow up healthy, happy, and AVM free!!!

Camellia's mom keeps an online journal detailing their journey and treatments. Please visit her site and sign her guestbook!!!



Sorry to keep you all hanging. I just spent an hour writing a journal entry and it got lost in space. How frustrating, especially since it took me so many days to get the strength to write again. Anyway, I just couldn't find the words on Tuesday to express what I was feeling. After seeing her and the side effects of the treatment, I became numb. Knowing that we need to do this so many times, made me angry. Accepting that is the only way for a cure, is frightening. Trusting that this is the right path we are on is sometimes hard to do.

As we walked through the airport with all the on-lookers, my fierceness as a mother showed up. I wanted to protect her from the stares. She held my hand and walked tall looking back at each and everyone that looked at her.

Today, I saw my little Camellia shine through for the first time since her surgery. She toe tapped and shimmy-ed her hips the way she does when she is dancing and experiencing joy. Seeing this made me know that she is going to be alright.

I want to thank you all for continuing to support us through this journey. You have seen many parts of me. I am angry at times and hopeful at times. I may lose my faith and then bring it back when I feel stronger. Thank you for hearing me.



That's it... a bad day... Post something to her guestbook. PLEASE!!!!