Friday, March 29, 2013

F.U.!! (Is that a good acronym for "Friday Update"?)

It's been an exciting week! Rebel turned 13 (here's my post about it) and Snakebyte lost his first tooth!
Kinda love these  guys                                            

 Speeches & press & another article oh my! Twitter has been fun this week! There has been a request not to call it my "broken neck," but something better. "Healing neck," "better than new neck," "knitting neck," "neckofsteel," "neckwreck," "neck nouveau," heck I even got called "Moneck" ;) Ya'll got anything? My only request, it must be a grammar gimmick! Big thanks to @PitchingtheWoo & the fabulous Rev Ev!

MONDAY I was given the opportunity by Matt Massey to speak with the Tri-Cajuns about my struggle, and it was an incredibly emotional time for me. NOT because of the broken-neck thing, but because I was personally able to thank people for the incredible support, and some of it I didn't even know or remember. The sweetness of people never stops amazing me, I never get used to the feeling. I had *heard* about a triathlete that stayed with Eric and me the whole time (Koby, I got to meet him!,) and I didn't know about what Ashley Delaune went through to find me and to make sure someone was there to take care of the kid and was sooo heartwarming, I had only known her a small time before. She is the proud new owner of the Smoothie Factory in Laffy off of Johnston...if you ever go there you are supporting really loving people! One of my best friends in Laffy Town (Annette) came to the meeting to watch my talk too, I don't know if I'd have made it through without her. Also speaking was Dr. Keith Terro, a chiropractor & triathlete, about stretching for runners, and John Hebert, the Tri-Cajuns president, about the work his rotary club has done for cycling signage.

TUESDAY BikeLafayette is an organization I'm getting involved in that advocates building a bicycling community as part of Lafayette's growth. I joined them at the Lafayette Consolidated Government to hear the City-parish Council (as the Metropolitan Planning Organization) proclaim April as Bike Month, and then supported them to vote to use 10% of annual Urban Systems funding for Bike/Pedestrian improvements in the greater Lafayette area. Through a misunderstanding I was called up to speak at the vote, which seemed to turn out fine, as it was supported by a unanimous decision!

WEDNESDAY Yesterday's speaking mishap landed us on the front page of The Advertiser with me all up in it (here: Cyclists encourage sharing the road) which is awesome because I love being part of this group. Also, I had my first session with the world-renowned chiropractor Keith A. Terro II, D.C., C.C.S.P.! Well, Lafayette-renowned at the very least! After we spoke for the Tri-Cajuns Monday, I asked him if he had any ideas about the co-contraction of my right quads/hams. We all remember there is nothing proven to fix this, but he's got a few methods to try! Also there are some things to improve my proprioception. Today, we utrasounded my quads and hamstrings, and then he massaged my quads. I don't know what You'r experience has been, but mine is that there are NO comfortable massages in therapy, sheesh!! It was incredibly worth it. I have kinesio tape on my quads and hams now. I'll keep you updated!
Kinesio taping! Or, my version of the Facebook "=" ;)

THURSDAY I'm going to mention another business run by good-hearted people, T-Coon's. Today I needed to go to therapy and T-Coon himself brought me. I have so much more to say about the family that owns this place, but I'll save it for another day! Wulf was out this week, but his used-to-be partner Kristen was there, and we practiced walking with a cane quite a bit this week. Also tons of exercise for my hip. I did a lot of back strengthening this week too! I'm incredibly thankful that I can start building muscle again instead of just struggling to even stand! I've started walking wrong, compensating, which I can't do if I'm going to get back to normal, so I had to break all  these bad habits, which makes me walk tons slower. Dang!

FRIDAY Today! Seems like it should go pretty well considering the rest of the week. I'm sad because Liam won't be here due too visitation, and we have a fun weekend planned - the Holi Festival for one! Plus it's been stressful on the pick-up/drop-off,  and then there's everything else with this situation....too much to think about. This is MY situation where I have to remember not to stress abut what I cannot control!

Happiness is this right here

Have A Fantastic Weekend My Friends!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Note to My Dog On His 13th Birthday

Most of my awesome pics are inaccessible right now! Oh, well.

Well Reb, what a long, strange road it's been! I remember my last year of undergrad, scouring the Books-A-Million in Baton Rouge, writing tons of notes to figure out what would be the best dog breed for me. I picked Border Collies because not only were they picked as the smartest breed, but they were full of exuberance. What a good match for me! Then I read every dog training book I could get my hands on. settling on Richard Wolters. He's the best out there To This Day. Finally I was on he hunt for breeders and I was recommended Terbo Kennels in Kentucky by an old and dear friend, the (in)famous amazing dog trainer Dick Russell.
Dick's passed away now and the world lost a great man. Heard of Caesar Milan? Dick knew him. We went 3x/week training with Dick, and he's the very main reason our relationship is as awesome as it is. Bruce's now-wife Dani & I went to his house and he'd cook lamb chops he raised himself and we'd drink wine on his porch. Ain't nothing better. We were living with Loey & her dog Amber back then. Amber died recently too. I cried.
We moved in with Holly Lamarche & her cats (Levi had cancer a couple of years ago, I euthanized him at Holly's house, so sad) and our great times continued. You had a job chasing geese off a golf course, and you  made more money than me doing that! I had 2 jobs: at the horse farm you ran & played & knew everyone & every horse; at Perkins Road Veterinary Clinic you would get through THREE doors starting outside on a regular basis to get into the examining room I was working in! You still never leave my side for long.
It was my last year of college, and you went to every party, every bar with me, always a socialite! I miss those days...
National Star!

Your name? Terbo Oran Rebel. Terbo for the kennel you were born in. Oran means "music" in Gaelic, which is where your breed is from, and Rebel was the name of my parents' dog when I was a kid. As a final play on words, "Rebel Music" is a nod to Bob Marley, as I knew we were headed to the Caribbean.

THEN St. Kitts! You & me all alone on this great adventure. You tore up my Millers' Anatomy book in one of my first weeks of vet school, not to mention spreading dirt all over the table and my roommate's bed, sheesh! Not used to me studying all the time instead of playing with you, I suppose.
Rebel & Java, with colleague Cindy Thomas Reher, on St. Kitts!

The agility training had to stop, we didn't have facilities there, but you were the king of the beach! I'd just keep my car windows open, and when it was time to go you'd jump through to the passenger seat. We'd go everywhere together. You'd swim on the surface and follow my bubbles around when I was diving. We went to the St. Christopher Children's Home every week to play with the kids.You even had your own social life. People would approach me and say, "OH, You're Rebel's owner!" We'd go snorkeling around Frigate Bay, limin' with X at the Shiggidy Shack. Not to mention hashing! You'd run up ahead and laugh at me climbing bluffs and such! The kids would argue over who could walk you. And hiking up Liamuiga, the dormant volcano that had something to do with my future son's name!
Overlooking North and South Friars, Nevis in  the background
My favorite pic!

Remember when that guy tried to break into my bedroom and you chased him out? You saved my life!
Me getting hit by Crucial Vibes was a set-back, but we handled it. Living on top of Bird Rock was amazing. Life was so so good.

The move to Mizzou was a good change, but me starting my clinical year did make me stay away from home even longer. Playing in the snow was great though! Caving and trails and acres of dog parks with ponds to swim in...I miss Missouri. South Carolina sucked for both of us. Then we moved to Lafayette and here we are...
Laffy Mardi Gras, 2012

Lake Martin
Photo Credit to Katie and Drew Shawver

Your birthday pic, last year

And life is different. We went through a scary time, then it was just you & me & the kid for years. I guess it's been just you & me for most of your life! You always made me safe and were a constant companion. Now you're deaf, which makes communication difficult, and I'm struggling to walk again. The 2 months that I was in the hospital was the longest we've ever been apart. That was hard for me. You snooze a lot, and we're both so much slower right now. But still, you're awesome with kids, always by my side, well-behaved and sweet. Happy Birthday, Rebel! I love you so much!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


It was coming ya'll. A post just about the black-n-white felines in my house. I can't help it, I'm a veterinarian. And they're adorable. Constant entertainment!
Boxes are for kittens with white Hershey-kiss noses!

Jumbie sportin' the St. Kitts & Nevis colors
(scarf by Nic!)

Jumbie is a 9-year-old "Kittyitian." This is slang for "a cat born on St. Kitts Island." You see, people born on St. Kitts are called "Kittitians," so it only goes to follow. The Caribbean doesn't have ghosts, but "jumbies," and cats are considered jumbies! It even goes so far as some people believe that cats will take away your manhood so men won't enter a household with a cat.
Jumbie was a stray that my colleague was fostering, and who can resist a white Caribbean kitty with a black brush tail? He was smaller than a TV remote control when I got him. Nobody knows his heritage, I would say definitely inbred especially since he has a kink in his tail. There was also rumor of a Hairless getting loose on the island and he definitely has some Sphinx features! He wouldn't want me to tell you this, but he only had one testicle descended, so one of my class's first surgeries was removing the other one. This is very rare in cats!

Jumbie moved back to the States with me. He was champion Centipede Killer on St. Kitts! Now, Rebel will chase him through the house, then he would chase Rebel back through the house, then ride him like Zorro or something. Jumbie also has to snuggle tight tight tight next to you!

********SCHRÖË ********
Nic & I went to see our very talented friends Josh and Julia Allen play with "Freddie Pate's Jamboree" in the tiny tiny town of Jennings buried in Cajun country. The Jamboree was held every month in the historic Strand Theater on Main Street, surrounded by old and many abandoned buildings (and not even one bar!) Freddie Pate was very close to his fan base and Nic and I were the youngest people there, with the exception of people dragging their grandkids along. Ol' Freddie did a lot of announcements after the show, including a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and some people from Hawaii that was spending their last night before heading home.
After the show, the Hawaiian people were worriedly searching under a car for something going, "meow meow MEOW!!!" They said they couldn't leave because of this and I was thinking oh man, they need to get going to the airport & there's a kitten under their car! So I said something to the equivalent of, "Stand back, we're professionals at cat wranglin'!" being that I'm a vet & Nic's an SL Zaunbrecher sibling, and sure enough, Nic came out holding the kitten. The people then left, it wasn't even their car, sheesh! I was all worried about them missing their flight and they just couldn't bear the thought of a stray kitten under a car! Sigh. And now Nic's holding this adorable black kitten with white highlights & HE can't bear the thought of putting it down. I even found a home for it but he had already gotten attached to it, and he wasn't even living in Louisiana at the time so it made it even more challenging...but here we are!
She was named after Schrödinger's Cat because he was reading this book by the way!

So they are the yin and yang of the household, and they're pretty much inseparable. Sure, they ACT like they're not, but every once in a while you can sneak up on them and find them sleeping together! BEWARE, I'm sure there are more kitty updates to come!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Month of Friday Updates

WoW, it's been a whole month now! Well, there's been some real improvement this week. And some realizations. And some not so great things.
Original drawing. Hey I'm a scientist not a graphic designer! At least it's in the correct rainbow order!

I can now bend my knee ever so slightly when walking, enough to where if I take the time to relax my hip, I can make my right foot heelstrike instead of sliding it. I can *almost* even consistently get it to do it when I'm walking up stairs. I think it's due to a combination of my hamstrings getting stronger and my quads not over-firing quite as much. The downside to this is that my quads are still super weak, which has been masked by the muscle firing all the time, so it wears out quicker!  But dang I don't care I'm just glad it's getting better.

My hands are the worse right now. Of course they need to be functional. But I hate strengthening them.  I can strengthen the flexors. The extensors are not improving.. Not sure if that nerve will heal. Flexing the wrist helps function. This habit is called "tendonesis." My fingers are struggling hard.  All this makes my hands look bad. It is my look's defining factor. No matter how much I do for the rest of my body it severely jars the way I look.

I have this brace now that I wear at night to keep my fingers extended, and Simonne my OT also taped my fingers in the extended position to facilitate them to stay extended. The hope is the muscles stay stretched enough that they don't become permanently curled. I've got to pretend right now this is the case.

ANHIDROSIS is becoming the bane of my existence. My feet getting a little sweaty isn't enough to keep me cool in this south Louisiana heat, and I overheat really quickly. I still haven't found any trustworthy information on how to handle it soooo we'll see, guess I'll figure it out! Sucks, because the cold makes my muscles not work and the heat makes them get  too hot. Nic suggested we move to Hawaii where it's always temperate, ha!
I also was going to do this mile walk for Autism tomorrow, but the cut-off is 45 min/or so, and I couldn't even do half that in 50 min, so I guess it'll have to wait. But yeah yeah I walkered about 0.5 miles so that's a new accomplishment! And I timed Snakebyte running a mile while I was doing it - 11:32! And not even winded ;)

Random view over my house

In other news, I'm going to start swimming again! There's a free program here in Laffy that the Paratriathlon people found that helps people get in the pool. I guess mainly older people with arthritis are the ones that take the most advantage of it but I'll take what I can get! I'm having 2nd thoughts about Paratriathlon; for one there's no trainers it seems here after all and that's really what I was hoping for, and for two I don't seem to fit clearly in any of their categories. So we'll see.

Oh, I practiced driving & it went pretty great, woohoo! My right ankle's not quite strong enough yet, but driving with my left foot is just fine.

Lastly, I have been given the opportunity to give a talk at the Tri-Cajuns meeting on Monday, so I'm totally stoked about that! Luckily I'm dating a public speaking professor ;)

Check out paragraph 3's haikuish 5/7/5. Have an awesome Friday!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sports Should Not Promote Harming Your Body

This is my obligatory Lance Armstrong post. I'm so against doping. I race because I want to be the fittest I can be and then prove that my drive and determination just might get me there faster than you. Doping does not promote better training or a healthier body or mindset, it just gives you constant risk of severely hurting yourself to win, as well as kicking off a downward psychological spiral. I love myself way more than I love the idea of showing off to you.

This is Macca, not LA.

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's Friday, It's Friday! - Is that how that song goes?

Wheelchair ain't getting much use from me lately  But don't feel sorry for it, I think it's met it's higher purpose & is WAY happier:

Picture is coming! You'll have to wait, so sorry!

My knee of course is still not bending which is severely limiting my walking. One of my new exercises is lying on my back in bed with my knees draped over the side. I then kick my legs out, then allowing them passively to come back to rest against the side of the bed. I KNOW this sounds easy, & it is, but since my rectus is constantly firing (I'll introduce you to another word, "hypertonicitty" - too much tone in that muscle) my right leg doesn't drop down as it should. So I do it a lot a lot a lot, again a way to get my brain to override what's happening in the spinal cord (mind over matter so to speak, ha!) It IS getting better, but Wulf says at the rate it's going it will  be 2 years before I can run again and that's just not acceptable, so we'll keep trying different things. This is why I like Helping Hands; they're focused on helping me meet MY goals, which are way more than just being able to get out of the wheelchair.

I'm playing around with a cane now, but only inside the house while Nic is close by. I had this incredibly irrational fear of falling since I started becoming mobile,, even in the wheelchair! Nic would hit a bump or something and I would Freak Out. I guess because I wasn't even strong enough to catch myself. Now that's gone which I guess is good, except I'm prone to take too many chances. I'm having to rein myself in, but I just *feel* like I can walk now, so I constantly forget to hold onto things,. But whatevs, just have to make sure I keep myself safe! No changes in my hand, which is actually the main reason I have to hold back; my reflexes to grab something or catch myself are not working as they need  to be.

Random shot of Reb & Finn
Photo credit: Drew Shawver!

I visited my job yesterday & we're all ready for me to come back to work, hooray! This is amazingly fantastic news; I haven't lost my job & they're going to work with me! They've been Awesome about staying up to date with me & assuring me that I'm not going to get discharged if at all possible. I still have an incredible amount of bills etc but this is a big worry off my mind. I actually need to stress this more HOLY CRAP I NEED MONEY! But it's one more step towards my life becoming normal again. I'm NOT looking forward to the long drive every day & I'm sure I'll be exhausted, but this is way better than not being able to go back.  Maybe the first week of April, or maybe a bit after depending on if social security kicks in. And I'm definitely going to still be in therapy!

Oh, and my left foot started sweating, hooray! *Maybe* my right one too, we'll see. I don't know if I'll ever be able to sweat enough to thermoregulate, but I'm hopeful.
So with this spinal cord injury (and probably everything in life) there's the good, the bad, and  the ugly. And  though I'm fortunate because my good has been Really good lately, I'd be remiss not to tell you about the bad and the ugly. For it's part of me and everything I'm going through. Yet I don't want to, it's hard and embarrassing to admit. but it wouldn't be fair to make this a fairy-tale story for other people going through this Nor would it be fair for me personally to ignore it; life sucks. BUT I'll save it for next time. Or maybe even the time after. ;)

In case you didn't notice, I started every sentence in that last paragraph using Every Single Coordinating Conjunction. Have an awesome day!

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Cycling Partner

Eric McClanahan is my neighbor. He's a fantastic neighbor, you should wish he was yours! He took care of us for the last couple of years by feeding us, watching the pets while we were away, and helping out when my sink broke & other household problems. Eric and I started cycling together & he was with me when I was hit. The driver says that he saw Eric but not me, but honestly if we were riding side by side (which is one of the things I was ticketed for, and it isn't even illegal!) he legally should have moved into the other lane to pass him. There's a huge lack of cycling education here in Acadiana! But I digress.

Eric is an incredible musician. He plays everything. He's played in several bands. He's also a dedicated engineer, but I don't have a picture of him working, ha!

I don't remember being hit, but Eric told me that I broke the guy's windshield. The driver wanted to move me but Eric wouldn't let him, which GO ERIC because he might have more severely injured my spinal cord if he did! I thanked Eric for saving my life or even just the quality of my life, but he said to thank the lady that stopped, poured Holy Water over me, and left. He also said there was quite the collection of people around me, & also the first responders and ambulance people were very professional & good at what they do. WELL, I guess I have a lot of people to thank!

Eric is well-educated as well as being extremely smart, very responsible, a great cook, and supportive friend.  He's an engineer & while I don't *quite* get what t hat entails, I understand he's very good at it. And math. He's also avidly works out, loves to hike, camp, and mountain bike and is a cliff diver. Yep. Well I never said there wasn't a crazy side to him!

Kaiser is Eric's dog. She Loves Eric. She does NOT love me. I try not  to take it personally.She'll be friendly to me, but her first love is Eric. She's incredibly silly; for example she Loves to chase cats, but will sit tolerantly while my cat grooms her! And even though she's a teenager she gets rompish when she wants to play.


Now that I've been smashed up Eric's been even more amazing, if that's possible! He's been coming by when I need help, visited and called me in the hospital a million times, took care of various pets while I was in the hospital, comes over once a week to hang out with me so I won't be alone... I'm sure I'm missing things but there's no way I can keep track of it all. He DID buy me a stationary pedaling thing and attached sandals to it so that I could start pedaling before I could get on a bike. THEN when I improved he loaned me his bike & trainer so that I could start practicing my form again.

I'm trying to think of a downside to this guy to round him out & make him seem more real, but I can't just now. He's been a major reason why I don't stress everyday in my life. I'm sure his friends will laugh at how sappy this is, so good luck putting up with all  that Eric!! :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Update Friday!!

I had an appointment with my neurosurgeon Dr. Jason Cormier yesterday; my spine is healed, yay! He's the only one that actually saw my spinal cord and even though he can't know for sure how much damage was done, he's the one that can give the most accurate prognosis. HE says I'll definitely be racing again; I'm not going to jump up and down for joy just yet but it's good news!

I'm 99% out of the wheelchair and mainly using a walker. Wulf gave me a cane to start practicing with. I'm visiting with my job next week so we'll see if I can get back to work!

BUT my hand still has a way to go. Also, my quads still overpower my hamstrings so I still can't bend my right knee trying to walk. I can make it bend at other times, but my quads don't stop firing when I'm weight-bearing. It's getting better but very very slowly. This is because there are inhibition neurons in the spinal cord that shuts the opposing muscle (quads) off when the muscle your trying to get to work (hamstrings) is on. Since I have damage to my spinal cord this is not working properly and unfortunately there is no real "fix." It may heal.

Rectus femoris, THE muscle giving me all the issues!

One thing I'm trying is to overcome it cognitively; getting my brain to convince my nerves to bypass the problem and function correctly. I'm dong this by challenging my brain by pushing my body's limits. For example, I stand on my right leg, try to balance, and only catch myself after I begin falling. Nic has to be here at all times to catch me. It's scary! I don't have proprioception (knowing where your limb is in space) in my right ankle so balancing is not working. But I keep trying!

Balancing, balancing, balancing...
This is such a bad picture of me! Oh well, get used to bad pics :)

Another thing I'm trying is this machine that hooks up electrodes to my quads & hamstrings to help them fire at the right times. Wulf says if it works I need to buy the machine, which will be thousands of dollars. Ugh. He says he knows it's going to be expensive but it might be what finally allows me to actively bend my leg. If it doesn't work, he's going to recommend me to a place that has a special machine. It supports your body weight in a harness while you walk on a treadmill, and I will need to do 5x/week for 2-3 weeks. He's Determined for this knee to bend! I'm skeptical, but hopeful.

In other news in my life, well it always seems to be something, ha! This time there was a glitch about me getting paid, and though my awesome employer is fixing it I have all kinds of overdraft fees! Dang. Also the legal visitation case continues with my ex...sigh. Have a good weekend my friends!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


If you don't know +aileen bennett  you should! She's an amazing writer and a gifted motivational speaker. There's no escaping her English accent and quirky ways but despite of that, or even because of it, she's a key part of Acadiana.
And this article starring me ;) PROVES this, because she wanted to do this before the race, heck even before I got smacked by a car! Now That's good taste, HA! So here am I pre-media hype, in the awesome BE YOU column!

PS I'm SO dry, sheesh!! I find myself quite uninteresting. But that's cool, love you guys!
PPS This ends the media hype, at least what I know about. Great way to end it! Click on the BE YOU link!

You can find Aileen Bennett here:
Creating Clever
That Speaker

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I Love Hashing. This may not mean what you think it means.

Rebel a'hashin' on St. Kitts!

Hashing is an outdoor event that takes place world-wide which involves walking/running, finding trails, and socializing. Drinking and general debauchery will usually ensue. There are close to 2000 "kennels" worldwide, and most meet weekly to monthly. "Drinkers with a running problem" is their motto.

Hashing was started in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  and based is off the British"paper chase." The "hare" or "hares" set a trail that usually begins where it ends. The trail periodically has a "checkpoint" where the hare might have set false trails, dead ends, back checks,or splits. The "harriers" (named for a beagle type of dog) must work together to find where it begins again. When the correct trail is found, the person yells "ON-ON!" and everyone heads in that direction. Everyone works together and there are no "winners" in a hash. After it's done, the "grandmaster" will conduct a ceremony, which involves naming members, stating upcoming events, and whimsically "punishing" people for misbehaving on the trail, as well as recognizing the hares and other people important that day. These all usually include "down-downs" in which the selected people must drink an entire bottle of something, usually beer, while the rest of the group sings a song. Whatever is not finished by the time the song is over gets poured on the person's head. They sometimes have special events such a the "Red Dress Run," which New Orleans brags to have the largest! Hashes tend to raise money for good causes. To find out more, you can visit this Wikipedia page.

I started hashing when I lived on St. Kitts Island. It was a great way to explore the island and meet wonderful people at the same time! This is where I was given my hash name MOUTH ORGAN. Those guys are still at it; if you ever make it to St. Kitts you should totally hash with them! I have so much good stuff to say, and they inspired me to start a kennel in Lafayette.

The Kennel I Co-Started!! Come hash with us!

SO I've been yearning to hash again ever since I left St. Kitts. I was settled in Lafayette for a few years hoping to get a kennel started, and finally the opportunity came about! Yours Truly, "Just Heidi  & "Just Mike" (now Multiple Oceans & Ready To Blow respectively,) along with Tidy Bowl Man from Voodoo Hash House Harriers in New Orleans, started the CoonASS Hash House Harriers with tons of support from the other local hashes, including The New Orleans H3.

First Run of CASSH3, the Hares! We started the kennel! From left to right:
Just Mike (now Ready To Blow,) Tidy Bowl Man, Mouth Organ, and Just Heidi (now Multiple Oceans) Of note: Born Like This is in this pic too! But she was not a founder ;)

WE ROCK. If you're ever in Lafayette, come hashing! Here's our Facebook Page. These guys raised a ton of money for me when I was in the hospital, I owe them so much. On top of that, hashers just tend to be great people! ON-ON!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paratriathlon...the Beginning

I'm not happy about this. I want to be, I'm trying, but I'm still pretty newly "disabled" and there's something to being called a "paratriathlete" that I'm not ready to label myself with yet. I really feel that I won't be in that category forever, or even for a long time. I'm INCREDIBLY lucky, I've met so many great people who have way worse injuries than me that might not have the support and opportunities I do. But I can't focus on them and they can't focus on me. We're All at different points at our lives, what good does comparing ourselves do?

I contacted Paralympics NOT to train, but only to get information. Spinal cord injuries can manifest a multitude of problems, and one of them is "anhidrosis," which is an inability to sweat. My skin can't sweat or produce oil below the level of my lesion (neck.) Also, I might not be able to get my heart rate up enough to do cardio. This may all heal, but it may not. I couldn't find good information on how to work with this, so I contacted them for resources.

When USA Paratriathlon contacted me back, I deleted the message, only to days later recover it and file it away.  Then after this mess with the half marathon craziness I decided to contact them back. I mean, this could be a good stepping stone to get back to triathlon training, right? Plus, it would be cool to have a coach; I never had one.

I talked to them today. They were excited to share that paratriathlon will debut in the Paralympics in Rio 2016. They're going to try to set me up with some local parathlete coaches, who will work closely with my therapists and doctor. I need to find a place to start swimming again, and I'm going start being more active with cycling on the trainer - I've been on it but my body's still so messed up! I don't know where all this is going to take me and I'm hella scared to see what my limitations are. But I have no choice; basically either go for my goals or not! I wouldn't know how to define myself if I didn't try. No matter how hard the struggle is I still have things I have to accomplish, and worrying about how painful the journey will be is a complete waste of time.

IN OTHER NEWS! Filming for the local channel KATC was incredibly fun! Here's Nic & Me: VIDEO

Monday, March 4, 2013


FaithPets came about when I was looking for a way to use my profession to give back to the community.  It is estimated that 50% of women won't leave an abusive situation if they have to leave their pets behind. Often the abuser will threaten the pets to gain control over the victim. I wanted to find a way that their pets wouldn't be left behind.

I contacted Faith House of Acadiana, a crisis shelter for survivors of domestic violence, and met the amazing Sara Dore. She's incredibly Cajun, but more than that she's a child and pet advocate for Faith House, and she and I work together to help the furry, four-legged victims of domestic violence! We provide food, shelter, and basic veterinary preventative care. Many crisis shelters cannot accept pets, and we are happy to be able to keep these families together and safe.

We started out with a grant from Banfield Charitable Trust, but now we continue our program through donations. If yo'd like to help, please visit the Faith House of Acadiana website and indicate it's for FaithPets!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Bit About Nic(k)

I get to write this now because Nic's still sleeping! ;) Pretty safe to say it'll take him a while to see it because he tends to shy away from social media!

Can't mention Nic without mentioning these guys! Check them out!

First I have to start with me. I already had my checklist out on what requirements the next man in my life had to fulfill: gentle, interesting, smart, hopefully artistic (I'm not at all; pure scientist!,) good family, likes kids and animals. I had been through enough with an abusive ex-husband and I wasn't going through all that again. I got my priorities straight by realizing where I had gone wrong and getting it right - most of all I had to learn that I was kind of awesome! I accomplished this mainly with book recommendations from yogi and therapist friends. Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie, The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, and Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach are all good ones.

Nic Loves kittens! This is Tesla.

I met Nic when a mutual friend purposely introduced us at his brother Matt's house during the weekly Poker Night. Nic was living out of state at the time so we talked on the phone a lot. I think this was incredibly key to our relationship starting out right! He visited Lafayette several times a year because he has family here. We also met up with each other in several different places, so when he moved back to Lafayette we already had a good base.

Heart & Horseshoe in Asheville, North Carolina

Hiking a mountain in upstate New York

Widener Library, Harvard

Nic has 4 incredible siblings, a big loving family, and sweet wonderful friends. He avidly climbs mountains and has been a pronounced canoe racer. Nic's finishing his PhD in Communication & works as a professor teaching public speaking. After completing his Bachelors in Philosophy and English at UL of Lafayette on scholarship and with Honors, he hitchhiked around the country for a couple of years. He decided to do a dissertation in Improvising (he acts, but his love is improvising) and contacted universities until he found one that let him choose his own path, SIU Carbondale.

NIC LOVES IMPROVISING. He's great at almost everything he does, but he's really this big-time "improvier" & his dissertation is in improvising in the real world. Or something like that, I don't really understand it. A big reason why I love him! He started out in Cult of the Stage Monkey  ("COSM") which is an improvisational group that can be found at several universities now (look for them! here's their Facebook page.) He does work here with The Stage Monkeys of Lafayette, a professional troupe born from COSM, and he hopes to bring improvising to universities around the country.

Nic & his troupe

Nic is a natural runner like the rest of his family. He had not even trained for this race before we did it, and he still finished 13.1 in 2:49, pushing a wheelchair at that! Crazy. He stays busy making sure Snakebyte gets to school and I get to therapy, but he still manages to stay awesome. There's so much more I want to brag about on him, but I'm out of time!

I told you he has a fast an awesome family!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Anyone happen to have video?

We're looking for video During the race, if anyone happens to have it! Have an awesome day! the corners of my mind...

Bleh day today, not feeling to well. It happens. Ya'll got anything funny? Any good riddles or jokes? How about meme'ing this pic? I'm looking for something Completely out of place for this pic, nothing serious. Maybe an alternate reality - we're not crossing the finish line here; what ARE we doing? Who are we? OMG IS HE GRABBING MY BOOB?

Friday, March 1, 2013


HA, Fridays don't mean as much to me right now, since I'm not working! But, they DO mean I have therapy at Helping Hands here in Laffy. I love going because I see improvements that I don't necessarily see at home.

I can now grip a 3# weight with my right hand and a 6#er with my left - woohoo! ;) Plus, my PT is an incredibly sarcastic German named Wulf that tends to rub off on the other workers and patients, which makes it a fun place to go to. He's quite good at pinpointing exactly my problem - my worst one is that my right rectus femoris (quads) won't stop firing, making it hard for my weak hamstrings to overcome to bend my knee. This is caused by the spinal cord injury, as the rectus keeps trying to talk to my brain via my spinal cord, but the message gets all garbled due to the injury. Therefore he has me skateboarding for at least an hour a day! Well, I sit at the computer or read a book or whatever, and put the skateboard under my right foot, and roll it back and forth and back and forth. This repetitive motion helps my hamstrings gain strength and eventually overcome the quads some.

My OT Simonne focuses on my upper body, so basically my shoulders and arms. Seems that I'm going to get out of here with a better posture than I had before! My shoulders get a lot of knots in them from a similar process as my quads, but I can stretch them out. My triceps and pecs are tight which is typical for the location of my injury. My hands are incredibly weak and my flexors are getting stronger than my extensors, which gives me "claw hands" that are also typical of para (tetra) palegics. My left extensors are getting strong enough to overcome that, so that hand's still weak but healing at a good rate. This is not true of my right though, so we're doing electrical stimulation on that one to help it out. I also wear a brace on it to keep the fingers extended, and stretch all the extensors in my arm out to help. Until that nerve heals though, I may never get it back to normal.

We're interviewing tentatively with a local tv station after that, and Snakebyte has his first soccer practice of the year, hooray! First game tomorrow.