Sunday, July 22, 2012


Perhaps this is not the best time for me to be writing a blog.

I was overwhelmed with emotions, though, and couldn't help it.

I feel our friends slipping away, and I hate that. I hate *almost* everything that has happened to us in the past year. No one wishes to go through this, no one wishes to know what it's like. Well, most people don't anyway.

Do I want everyone to bow down, feel sorry, and invite us to every event ever? No. But, do I feel offended and like its because of his injury that we're (or he's) not invited some places? Yes.

I'm not quite sure how to remedy this other than to just get over it and grow up.

I know he feels it. He just doesn't put it out there like I do.

Maybe one day we'll be completely accepted wherever we end up, and I can't wait for that day.

Remember almost a year ago when I was staying how I couldn't wait until we were out of the hospital; well now I'm saying I can't wait until we're accepted by society as normal again.

Here I sit, on the verge of tears, while he's upstairs asleep, not knowing (or caring) the difference. Maybe I'm just crazy. Or maybe he's just not telling me everything. I just know I'd be in full fledge tears if I saw my closest friends doing something obviously planned without me in mind. (Take me back to high school, Stephanie!) I know, that's what it seems like. The more I read what I'm writing, the more I know I shouldn't even be posting this at all. Hey, whatever, it will make for entertaining reading tomorrow right?!

For as many emotions as I am feeling, I certainly seemed to sum it up in those few paragraphs! Shocking.

Thank you to those who have always treated us as if we were normal. Because we are.

What is normal anyway?!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jason - Month 11

I think I missed month 10 because it fell on my birthday, and well, frankly, I was pouting on my birthday. We'll leave it at that :)

Hard to believe next month will be the year mark. Never EVER thought we'd be here. I remember it like it was yesterday. Where I was when I got the news, how I sat at the kitchen table and scribbled questions on random pieces of junk mail as they came to mind. I remember all those days sitting in the hospital in the most uncomfortable chairs wondering what the end of all this would feel like. And now we're here. Not really at the end, but far from where we began.

Sadly, we've already had to feel some negative effects of all this. Besides the obvious life changing events, there are the things that no one really ever thinks of in situations like this. I'm not quite sure how to put it without jumping on the gossip train either, so I'll try my best.

Jason said to me the other day, "Sometimes I think we should've just stayed at Walter Reed." His point being, we were so hoping to come back here and return to normal, except that we're far from normal anymore. I know I've written that before, and probably in exactly those same words, but now reality is setting in, and we're living it. At Walter Reed, we were normal. We got to go on special outings, and he probably would've been selected for many different awards, and received all kinds of extra attention. Walter Reed is one of the biggest military hospitals, and it's right outside of DC. It's where famous people go for their 'good deed checklist' - ok I made that up, but that's what it felt like sometimes. That's neither here nor there, the real point of this whole paragraph is this: No one there would ever judge us for getting special treatment. 

Unfortunately, we've encountered that here. Jason relates it to the HBO series The Pacific. If you've seen it, you know the main guy (I don't know it well enough) gets the medal of honor, and gets brought home from deployment to go around and be a spokesperson I guess (I could be way off here, sorry). So his friends get upset that he's at home getting all this attention while they're still there doing the dirty work and not getting any recognition at all. Same story applies to us. Jason has said that from the get go; he's always been afraid his friends would get mad at him for getting to do cool things, or getting nice benefits because they were the ones who were deployed the whole year, away from their family and friends. Honestly, he would even get upset when I'd post pictures to Facebook of the different things we were doing. He was so afraid he'd upset his friends who were still in Afghanistan. I empathized, but honestly never thought we'd have to deal with that personally. I always reminded him that yes, they were all deployed for a year, and yes it is insanely difficult, but after that year is over, the deployment is over. After this year is over, you will still have no leg. This is something you will have to deal with for the rest of your life, and no one will ever know what that's like, not even your closest friends. Unless they've gone through it too.

I still don't think people fully recognize the agony that is an amputation. All his friends are back now, and they're (mostly) all treating him like they normally would. I think part of this has to do with the fact that Jason acts just like he used to, and doesn't let his leg affect him. He's not a complainer, so they don't see that side of him either. He's still dealing with the mysterious itching, he sleeps in long pants and cotton gloves every night. Anyone who knows him knows his core temperature is about 400 degrees, so sleeping in long pants and gloves isn't exactly awesome. He's still taking medication to help him sleep because of the itching. He is struggling daily with motivation to get back to the gym, because at the WTU, PT is a joke. It seems like each time he goes back to the doctor, he's got a new infection of some sort, so he's constantly on antibiotics. His immune system is terrible. He's struggling even more with figuring out where this new path in his life is going to take him, and it's taking a toll on our marriage all at the same time. It's not all fun and games to go and get your leg blown off, kids.


On a positive note, I'm back at work PRN, which is absolutely fabulous. I've been working 3-4 shifts in a two week period and I love it. I'm not there long enough to dread going back, so every time I go to work, I feel like I have a great attitude (which for anyone who knows me, knows this is a huge thing)!

Cooper is in daycare only when I work or have to run errands without him. Jason is usually able to pick him up early so he's never there the full day, and has never been 5 days a week since he started.

Sadie is adjusting, although probably not as well. Her grandfather was much more attentive to her, and so she misses that, I'm sure. We take her to the dog park when we can, and we've been boarding her when we are gone for long periods during the weekend so she'll get to play with other dogs more. She seems to love that, so that's good.

We're planning our big BBQ to have as celebration when his one year marks comes around. Some people call it an "alive day", but we're calling it "One Year with One Leg". We're going to hike up the Incline to show everyone just how far he's come in his recovery, and then have a typical Army style BBQ with beer pong and corn hole at our house that night. I'm excited; we've been dying to have people over since we got back but everyone always beats us to the punch.

All in all, life is good. We're trying to consciously remember that each day. Even though it sucks, it could be even worse. So we're practicing being grateful for the gifts we have been given.

Cooper - Month 6

A week late, but that doesn't mean I don't love you my dear.

I was just upstairs nursing and rocking you as we do every night before bed, and I realized I hadn't written to you this month.

Boy oh boy have you grown! You can sit up by yourself for a few seconds, but then you either lean so far forward you're doing a V sit and reach, or you look like a tripod, or you just fall over to the side and give me that big gummy smile that melts my heart. You love to lay on your belly and flail your arms and kick your legs real hard like you're going to get somewhere, then you push up on your arms and examine your surroundings. It's so funny; you think you've gotten somewhere, and you're trying to figure out what's new around you, and then you go down and repeat the whole process again.

Your smile lights up rooms, and makes strangers come up to us and tell us what a cute baby we have. Even when Mommy is at her grumpiest, she can't help but smile back as big as she can.

You are babbling more and more every day, and the 'da da' sound is still your go-to favorite. You turn at the sound of your name, and your feet finally touch the floor from your bouncer. You love to bounce in it.

You have had your first solid foods now, and so far your favorite is sweet potatoes. You've had avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas, and oatmeal. Tomorrow we will try squash! You've even had your own food to try to eat on your own, but it freaks mommy out so bad she'll only let you do it for a few minutes because she's so terrified of you choking. You've tried avocado, banana, and a baby mum mum rice cake thing. You love sitting in your big boy high chair and eating, and drinking water from a sippy cup.

Your mother might be a little over protective, and take you to the doctors prematurely. She took you the other morning for what she was convinced was the start of pink eye. Well, it never turned in to pink eye. Turns out you were just getting a virus, and apparently when you are congested, you also get crazy eye boogers. Your first cold :( Mommy is heartbroken. It's from daycare, no doubt, and I feel terrible. I know it's good for your immune system, but it just kills me to hear your stuffy little nose, and cough. Even though you smile your way through it. Mommy is sure she's traumatizing you with the bulb syringe, but there's just so much snot up in that tiny little nose of yours!

You are still an angel baby, and are sleeping through the night (with the exception of last night when you woke up twice...we're not really sure why, it could be a number of things these days). You entertain yourself for as long as we need you to, if you get tired of entertaining yourself, you just put your head down and go to sleep!  Your father and I often wonder if we're terrible parents for keeping you out late. But you power through it, and either go to sleep in the middle of it all, or cheerfuly keep watch on everything going on around you.

You are still toothless, and I'm ok with that. Everyone always asks if you have any teeth, and they always attribute any symptoms you may have, to cutting teeth. I'm quite ok with no teeth yet. When they do start coming, I'm going to wonder where my baby boy went, and where this grown up little boy came from.

I'm trying so hard to freeze time, but it's just impossible. You're so big now, you have such a wonderful personality. Your father and I could not have asked for a more perfect child, and we cannot wait to see how much more joy you will continue to bring us. We love you Coop a loop!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

This is the first July 4th we've spent together since we met almost 5 years ago. And there will be no fireworks anywhere close. Bummer. 

But we have our family, and we will celebrate that. We are together, and free, and healthy, and alive. That's a lot to celebrate these days as there seems to be so much negative happening around us. 

Happy Independence Day from a family who knows first hand the sacrifice made for our freedom.


Whenever we tell our story (which is often now that we're back in Colorado), people usually hang their mouths open, and say "Wow, you guys are amazing. You've been through so much." But here's the thing; it's only just begun.

The physical recovery was step one. Now we're on to the mental recovery, and that includes me. We had a lot of life changing events happen within one year, enough to make any young newlywed couple question their marriage. But now that we're trying to get back in to life again, I'm finding it harder and harder.

When we were at Walter Reed, I had a lot of control. A lot. And I liked it. No, I loved it. I got to go with him to all of his appointments, and be the annoying wife asking a billion questions while he got more and more irritated with me. But at least I was able to hear everything the doctors were saying myself. Now, we're back to the regular Army in that he goes to 'work' in the morning, and meets with his Nurse Case Manager or Social Worker or whatever the flavor of the day may be, and I stay home and take care of Cooper or go to work myself. Now I have no control over what he does or doesn't do during the day. I realize that sounds terrible, like I'm mothering him way too much. I know I am. But you have to understand I just spent the last 8 months being at this mans beck and call, and making sure he did everything necessary to get back to Colorado when he wanted to, and making sure he covered all his medical bases while we were in Bethesda. I'm a woman. I like control.

So our days go like this:

If wife works all day, her phone is in her locker due to the horrible new scrub situation at work, and the phone falls out of her pocket all the time, so she just decided to forego the phone in pocket deal, and leave it in her locker for fear of it falling in a toilet or something. Therefore, the wife doesn't get to nag the husband all day long.

When the wife gets home, the husband is usually cooking her dinner which is absolutely divine even though she doesn't recognize it at the time. The wife proceeds to nail him with question after question about whether or not he asked about his leave paperwork, if the WTU has tickets to this event or that event, are there any events we can sign up for and get involved in, what about the warrior open, how the placement test taking is going, when he thinks he will register for classes, does he know infant CPR and what to do in case baby chokes, etc.

(I'm serious.)

The husband is then thoroughly annoyed that the wife did not appreciate his cooking dinner for her, and is even more irritated that she's interrupting his movie watching (even though he's seen it 45 times), and the attitudes flare, and it all goes downhill.

Our days end separately now; either with him playing video games until really late and with me going to bed first, or vice versa (except I sure as hell don't play video games. I Facebook.) It's sad, but it's the only way we can make it to the next day without staying mad at one another.

This is hard. 

We are both so sensitive, no matter what the other person says, it is taken the wrong way. When will we grow out of that? We admire so many other marriages where they tell each other like it is, and instead of taking offense, a good laugh is had, and an honest effort is made to fix the problem and move on. No looking back, no resentment.

We're trying. It's just so hard, not to mention the hormonal adjustments I'm feeling after Cooper. I'm sure that doesn't help. 

No matter what, I'll stand by him, I may be negative, but I've never been much of a quitter.