9/22/10 I walked into pre-op. I emerged from surgery just able to wiggle my toes and most of the tumor still in me. Subsequent radiation killed the tumor with no more damage.
Lynn's love, your support, rehab experts and gallons of my sweat have made great progress. Retired in June 2011 from my 40+ years of school leadership, I concentrate on rehab.
This site invites you to share the journey with us. You can find explanatory captions with the photos. Sorry they are in kind of random order.
Please enjoy the wonderful guestbook messages and add your own. Lynn & Stacy
- early '10 odd spots of leg numbness - July '10 left leg numb; right foot numb. MRI brain clear / no multiple sclerosis - Aug '10 Tumor discovered at T-11 inside spinal cord. We move from Trabuco Canyon to Mission Viejo. Stacy goes back to school. Lynn renovates entire new house - Sep '10 Surgery at Cedars Sinai. Tumor only partially removed. Crippling neurological damage - 32 nights in hospital, mostly on rehab unit. Lynn: commutes to Cedars daily, finds right outpatient rehab, makes new home handicap accessible. - Nov '10 Stacy home. 5 radiation treatments kill remaining tumor. 3 day/ week outpatient rehab begins - Dec '10 Stacy returns to work, loads wheelchair independently in car & starts hand control driving. - Jan '11 Application for disability retirement. Transition to 3 days work / week. - Feb '11 First steps without walker or other support - Mar '11 Ankle fracture in bathroom fall - Apr '11 Ankle cast 4 weeks/ walking boot 4 more weeks. Lynn directs rehab during injury holiday from PT - May '11 Rehab with PTs resumes - Jun '11 Stacy retires. First air travel since surgery - Jul '11 Visit in MA with Graham, Jean, Megan & Lauren. Kayaking, climbing stairs, Red Sox game & whale watching. 5 radiation sessions to zap second tumor. - Aug '11 Stacy rear ended on 405. Car totaled. - Sep '11 Weekend trip to Temecula - Oct '11 walk without assistance over ground, in water & on elliptical machine. - Mar '12 trip to Red Sox spring training in Florida. - Road trips to Jim & Dana's in Redwood City and Merrilee's is Tucson. - May '12 played Juror #9 in 12 Angry Men at The Attic Theater. - MRI shows tumors unchanged. No longer growing. - Jun '12 transition to 2/week rehab sessions form 3/week. - Jul '12 start acupuncture. - Oct '12 directed Pirates of Penzance at Attic Theater - Nov '12 urinary system fails. 24/7 catheter for a month+ - Dec '12 TURP (transurethral resectioning of prostate) surgery successful. Catheter gone. - Dec '12 10 meter unassisted walk in 28 seconds. 7 minute walk on treadmill at 1.3 mph. 6 minute walk on crutches at 1.3 miles. 45 minutes longest endurance walk on crutches. - April '13 visited Graham & Jean, Lily & Tim in Boston, Joe and Ken DeVoid in NH. Managed Jet Blue and rental hand control car. Great seats at Fenway. In Boston area when the marathon bombing occurred. - June '13 played Grandpa in You Can't Take It With You at The Attic. - June '13 New rehab doctor Suzy Kim at UCI. - July '13 Cut back to rehab once a week. 24 Hour Fitness on my own 2-4 times / week. All strength machines, walking in pool, on treadmill and unassisted next to the dance barre in the group exercise room. - August '13 Directed HMS Pinafore. - October '13 played Judge in Inherit the Wind. - November '13 cane or nothing to get around the house. Took out the ramps inside the house. Took out the chair in the shower. Road trip to visit Merrilee, Gail and Ed in Tuscon. - December '13 10 meter unassisted walk 23 seconds (5 seconds better than last year). With crutches 8 seconds. 6 minute crutch walk 908 feet. Go in stores using just the shopping cart for support. Doing rehab and acupuncture once / week. 24 hour fitness 2/ week. Half mile crutch walk in neighborhood 2/ week. - March '14 USC Prof Fisher visits Precision Rehab and makes dramatic changes in my gait. First half mile on crutches in under 20 minutes. Walking unassisted around the house all the time. - March '14 - Directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at The Attic Community Theater. - June '14 - Dr. Emily Holmes, DVM, begins her first job as veterinarian at animal hospital in Sacramento. We enjoy a great move-in weekend her and Steve's new apartment. - Aug '14 - Ziad Dahdul, my PT for 3 years leaves Precision Rehab. I cut back PT to once every other week. Rehab on my own includes 2 walking days and 2 strength days at 24 Fitness weekly. With daily stretches, mat work and neighborhood walks at home on the day between gym workouts. - November '14 - added hand controls to the Jeep, so we took the more comfortable car to see Emily and Steve at their apartment in Sacramento, Jim and Dana and Kit on their houseboat in SF and Ian in San Luis Obispo. - December '14 - stopped using cane in the house. First walk to the corner and back just holding Lynn's hand. - December '14 - directing The Mikado at The Attic Theater. Show goes on for 4 weekends in March. - Tapering off baclofen and trying out gavapentin to deal with cramps and spasms. Trying to find a place to get a set dose of marijuana (pill?) to try. Very encouraging results lately with MS patients and very young epilepsy patients using a marijuana pill. - January '15 - first half mile walk on cane at Murray Center. - Lynn stage manages the Mikado. First show we have done together. Looking forward to directing Guys and Dolls in June - Aug for performances in September. - June 2015. Stopped going to Precision Rehab, my rehab spot since November 2010. Also stopped acupuncture since it was in the same facility. - Changed to Complete Balance Solutions in Mission Viejo, saving half an hour on the trip to rehab each way with no freeway driving at all. Focus shifts to balance from gait training. DPT Mary uses kinesio tape to calm spastic muscles. My skin doesn't mind it for many days at a time. - Lynn and I hold auditions for Guys and Dolls and get a huge turnout. Nice comments from the theater people on my improved mobility. - Found the high CBD/ low THC marijuana that has helped seizure patients and MS patients. Seems to give me a little more proprioception but not much relief from cramps and seizures. Depresses my libido. Decided to discontinue it for now. Still waiting for the silver bullet on cramps and spasms. - July 2015 trip to visit Graham & Jean and family splitting a vacation rental house on the coast of Maine. Kayaking. Lobster. - July 2015 changed rehab to Complete Balance Solutions. New DPT Mary Pangotti is amazing. New focus on balance brings some fresh approaches to my rehab. Back to twice a week. Still doing 24 Hour Fitness on my own twice a week as well. - Off baclofen. Using only gabapentin. Then off gabapentin and back on baclofen. Nothing directly treats the spasticity. Meds just ease some of the discomfort. - July-Sept 2015 Lynn and I directed "Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at the Attic. - October- November 2015 lots of heavy yard work as we complete a turf removal water saving project in the front and back yard. - Thanksgiving 2015 with newly engaged Emily and Steve at their home in Sacramento with Steve's parents also there. - 2016 will be "The Year of the Left Leg". A lot of rehab focus on getting my left leg to bend and swing straight forward instead of whipping the leg with almost no knee bend in a semi circle to take the next step. Still recovering sensation, control and strength in my butt, so that my gluts do more of the work they are supposed to when I walk. - 2016 I have added AFOs (leg braces). Different from the braces I had in 2010-2011, these help my left leg swing straight forward and keep my right ankle from rolling as much. - 2016 I directed Oliver! at The Attic. - Traveled to Seattle to see a Red Sox game and visit with Chip and Jill. - Published book through Amazon.
I get around on my cane for stores, offices and restaurants. Starting to use just the cane at the gym and pool. Power scooter at malls, schools, airports and amphitheaters. Hope my cane work is good enough to use while acting in community theater. Trying to increase my pace, keep my eyes up and weight off my hands. I use trek sticks instead of crutches at rehab. When there is a shopping cart near my parking spot, I can leave the crutches in the car and make my way using the cart as my support.
We continue to work with the Los Ninos de la Calle con Wendy Foundation, share many wonderful times with Zach & Thavy and our nearby grandchildren, and enjoy visits with Emily and Steve. Look forward to visits from family / friends far away. (Come on out. Weather is great out here -- always!) We road trip and occasionally fly to visit as well.
I had planned to work to age 70. The life change of spinal cord injury still reverberates in my life and Lynn's daily. Grateful I hiked with Dad, kids, grandkids and friends when I could. Had my best job last and wouldn't want to have skipped any of the jobs I did in 40+ years of public education.
Still discovering retirement. Piano lessons. More writing and theater to come. Loving more time with Lynn, grandkids and friends.