Nov 29, 2007

My Crazy Life

This is going to be a rapid fire, all over the place and long (sorry Steph) post. I'm feeling it today. I'm feeling overwhelmed and freaking out a little bit inside. I got back to Austin last night. Thought I'd be fine and be able to get back to the grind with no problems. I had so much to do last night that I went to sleep really late. But couldn't actually fall asleep. I guess my body got used to sleeping next to my husband. I just could not fall asleep until right before my alarm went off. Then I hit off instead of snooze so I overslept. I don't know how or why I woke up when I did on my own, but I'm glad I woke up at all. I usually get up around 6am and head out by 7am or 7:30am. I woke up at 8:30am! I was gone by 8:50am and arrived at school about 10:45am even after stopping at my favorite kolache bakery in Caldwell. And I didn't even speed too bad, only 4-5 mph over the speed limit where I could. I was starving since I didn't have time for breakfast and really needed some comfort food this morning. I know worldly things won't solve the problem, but it sure felt better as I was eating my favorite kolaches, poppy seed. Yes, that was plural. I had two! It's okay since I've lost 10 pounds this semester, probably from stress.

As I was approaching the parking lot I'm assigned to I could see both buses I can ride driving off. I only had to wait about five minutes for both the #1 Bonfire and #5 Bush School buses to arrive. I jumped on the #5 and arrived on campus with 15 minutes to walk to the building. I got to class on time but didn't have enough time to use the restroom. Thank goodness I didn't have to go too bad, like normal. Sorry. We covered problems people were having with their research paper and got our book reviews back before the professor left so we could do an evaluation. I am not happy with my grade, 79, C+. This is the first C I've made in this class. Of six assignments, I've made 3 A's, 2 B's and now this C. And I thought I did so well on it too. I was actually pretty pissed off about it.

After we finished our evaluations, five of us stayed in the classroom and discussed our disappointment with our grades on the book reviews which led to discussion about our final paper and overall grade in the class. Everyone else is graduating this December so they are freaking out more than me. One girl sat with me and helped me figure out my grade in the class so far. I have an 87.9, B+, which is not bad. I actually had no idea what my grade was because I had not calculated it. So I'm feeling a little better about that since it means if I make an 80 on my final paper, I'll make an 88.1 in the class. If I make a 70 on my final paper, I'll make an 84.8 in the class. AND if I make a 60 on my final paper, I'll make an 81.5 in the class. IF we calculated it all correctly. So I'd have to do really, really bad on my final paper to make below a B in this class. I know I have to make at least a C in the class since it's a class for my major, but I think I only need a C in it to keep my GPA above the minimum for my major.

I'm usually not a person who figures out the minimum I need to make on a test or paper to pass a class, but I do not want to take this class again or pay for it again. My other problem is I'm an overachiever and I care about my grade in this class and what my professor thinks about me. Although I have an "I don't care" attitude, deep, deep, deep down inside, I really do care. I wish I could be like that sometimes, but I can't. I wasn't raised that way. Darn hard-working, respectable parents of mine are to blame for that. SO I made an appointment for tomorrow morning and Sunday afternoon at the University Writing Center for help improving my paper. I'm going to spend tonight fixing all the little problems so I can use all of my 45 minute appointment with a writing expert on the bigger issues.

Once I turn in my final paper for my history class on Tuesday, December 4th by 5:00pm, I will finish reading two weeks worth of assignments for my anthropology class for the final on Wednesday, December 12th. While I was in DC our grades were posted for the third test in that class. I made an 83, B. I'm cool with that. I have an 88 so far in this class and I'm not worried at all about it or my final grade. Plus if I go to the local natural history museum, I can get two bonus points added to my final grade. So you know I'll be going to help my overall grade any way I can.

Now that I got all that off my chest, I feel better. Wow, this blog is good for something. Thanks for reading my ramblings. And thanks for all your prayers. I'll try to post this weekend if I get time about my wonderful time in DC with Roger. It really was a blessing to be with him especially when he received his MEB. I was so happy to be able to be there to see one step of the process and meet so many people that have helped Roger to get to this point and make it through this whole process. It was great to get to celebrate with him. I'll tell you more about it all when I get a chance. Until then...pray for me to make it through this next two weeks and keep praying for Roger to be able to come home to me soon. I love you all and appreciate your love and prayers so much. I hope you all know how much I do. :)

Nov 28, 2007

Me and Owen

I finally got a hold of the picture with me and my buddy Owen hanging out here at Walter Reed. Man, that sure a fun day! We talked about all kinds of stuff... me, him, LA, Austin, Willie. Ahhhh...the memories. They'll last forever. Call me soon Owen - we'll hang out again... for a few minutes. But this time, don't act like you don't know me, even though you really didn't. (Can you tell I'm in a better mood?)

Holly's back in Texas and I go back to my daily grind of Occupational, Physical and Aquatic Physical Therapy tomorrow. And I also get to toss in a bonus SCUBA lesson. Did I tell you I'm taking SCUBA lessons here for free? Yeah... all I'll have to do to get PADI certified is do my four check dives somewhere back home within one year and I'm certified - for life! Tomorrow is my third day in the pool.

Saturday I'm signed up to go to the Army/Navy Football game up in Baltimore. Walter Reed is taking up about one hundred soldiers for the day. It should be a lot of fun. Apparently we're going to get special treatment - whatever that is at a military function where there are 50,000 other people. And we will have to go in our uniforms to represent. I just don't have a whole lot of cold weather gear to go along with my uniform. But I hear we'll get some soon. Oh... my phone's ringing... I think it's Owen... hang on...

Eh - wrong number. Enjoy the nice fall weather! :-)
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Nov 27, 2007

MEB Done... on to the PEB

Well, Holly and I just met with my PEBLO and we were presented with my DA3947, or the finding of the MEB. They agreed with my thinking that there are three things that should be medically unacceptable: cancer, seizures and right-sided weakness. It looked good and I signed it. Now it will go to the PEB tomorrow. I got what I expected, so thank you for your prayers. I'll update you more later on about what's next.

Got The Call

Roger just got the call that his PEBLO wants to see him. We don't know if it's to tell him what the doctors decided or to tell him more paperwork is missing or needed. So please pray for us. We see him at 12:30pm. Please pray that we react in a Godly way no matter what news we receive. Thank you!

Nov 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Good morning beautiful people. And happy thanksgiving. I'm up early this morning getting all dolled up to go see the love of my life. My widget daily Bible scripture today is especially meaningful so I thought I'd share it below. I pray everyone has a wonderful day with family and friends. God bless.


I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—
1 Corinthians 1:4-5 (NIV)

If you're looking for some good Thanksgiving articles to read, this website has many to offer. A couple I really enjoyed were "Who'll Say Grace?" and "Don't Ask the Blessing, Offer One." Some of you need to read this one, "Overflowing with Thankfulness." Come on, you know who you are.

Nov 21, 2007

MEB Addendum Complete! Docs Make Decision on Mon?

After my last post, I continued to sit in the waiting room for about 15 minutes. My Neurologist came out and said he was done. He gave me my file and told me to go down to the medical boards office and ask them to process a particular case number that he wrote on a post-it. I hurried down to the office and told them what the doctor told me to say… and they were quite confused. First it took them a while to realize that I was in the Army. Uh, hello? My uniform says US Army! They then told me that he had indeed done a dictation and that it would not be available until sometime next week. Talk about your hopes being dashed. We called my Neurologist again to make he sure he understood what he was doing, and he said yes. It kinda ticked me off because he gave me the impression that he was going to put it in the computer, but he didn’t… he still dictated it. Well, whatever. I’m used to being run over all the time now, so I gave in, thanked him and filled out the required paperwork to route the finished product to me at WRAMC.

I decided to listen to my stomach and went to the cafeteria to get a bite to eat. As a soldier on medical hold with a meal card, I get to eat free there too. On the way to the cafeteria, I saw my Rad/Onc, Dr. Duelge. His wife and daughter were there too, it was nice to see him and to meet some of his family. After eating, I went back up to wait for the bus, which finally came after a few minutes and I was on my way back to WRAMC. But as the bus was driving off, I got a call on my mobile phone. It was the medical boards office. Somehow, the dictation was completed already! She needed my Neurologist to review and sign it and asked me for his phone number… I gladly gave it to her. She asked me to call her back when I got to WRAMC.

I called her immediately when I got off the bus and she said everything was good to go. I gave her my fax number and the fax number of the PEBLO and headed off to the PEBLO’s office. Upon arriving at the PEBLO’s office, I explained that they should be expecting a fax from NNMC and I wanted to make sure they received it. They told me to take a seat and I did. I was sitting for no more than a minute when my PEBLO came walking out of the office! I told him they were faxing over an addendum and he raced off to fetch it. A few minutes he came back with it in hand and I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew!!

He explained that all the MEB docs were gone but he would pass the paperwork to my MEB doc first thing Monday morning. He said that they should have a determination regarding which conditions are ratable and will go forward to the PEB. I will have 72 hours from the day I receive this form to either concur or nonconcur with the findings. If I agree, my case will move to the PEB and they will say that I am either ‘fit for duty’ or ‘not fit for duty’ and then assign a disability rating. If I agree with them and everything goes smoothly, there is a chance (just a chance) that I could be home for good before Christmas. I just glossed over how the system works. It is a confusing system with all sorts of rules and such. If you’re interested in learning just a little bit more about where we go from here, I suggest you check out this link regarding the Army Physical Disability Evaluation System (PDES).

Let me know if you have any questions by posting a comment or emailing me directly. This is what the last seven months here have been leading up to. This is also what the article in the Washington Post discussed earlier this year. I’m diving head first into all of this. I hope I can keep my head above water! Please pray that everything moves swiftly and easily… I would really like to go home soon.

Confusion Leading to the End?

I am sitting at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda waiting to see my Neurologist. Holly blogged yesterday that I was going to see my Neurosurgeon, but she was slightly off. I saw my Neurologist two weeks ago and at that time he answered all the additional questions that the MEB doctors had. In the past few weeks I have seen all the specialists involved in my care so that they could enter final notes into the system for my MEB. They call these addendums. I thought everything was done and I went to see the PEBLO (Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer), the guy that is the go between the MEB docs and everything else. He went into the system, printed out all the notes and said he would pass them to the MEB docs. I got a call a few hours later from my PEBLO and he said the MEB docs were ready to move forward with the process... Except for one thing. When I saw my Neurologist two weeks ago, he said he was going to dictate a new board. What that means is he would speak into a microphone all the new information and it would have to be transcribed and sent over to Walter Reed. Minimum time? About two to three weeks. So that would stop everything in it's tracks... Again. So, my question is why?

If he already answered all the questions... Why do this again? I already have a board dictated. Okay... Terminology break. When a doc dictates a board, the resulting document is called a Narrative Summary or NARSUM for short. A NARSUM initiates the Medical Evaluation Board process (MEB for short). From there it moves on to the Physical Evaluation Board or PEB. More on that when we get to it.

So, I already have a NARSUM. It was a very poorly written document and it was out of date. I told this to my Case Manager at the time and she said that was fine. That updated information could be added via these addendums. As far as I understand, all the addendums are in. But as I said, my Neurologist wants to dictate a new NARSUM. He asked to bring my old NARSUM, which I did. But I still don't understand why he couldn't ask the doc that did it in the first place since he's in the office next door! Talk about the right hand not talking to the left!

Anyway, I have no idea what's going on. The big question that I have today is, if all the questions the MEB docs were answered in the addendum, why does a new NARSUM have to be dictated?


Okay, he just called me back and said that he is going to enter the new information, whatever it is, into the electronic system - a new addendum. He says he's putting in a new NARSUM. Whatever. I think I better call and see if what he's doing is valid.

I just called my PEBLO and he said he just left me a voicemail! He said that he can enter a new NARSUM into the system and the docs can start on my case as early as Friday!


I will update you later on what exactly takes place the rest of the day. Looks like things might be moving along! :-)

Nov 20, 2007

Holiday Cards to Wounded and Recovering Soldiers

An email has been circulating asking people to send an extra Christmas card to 'Any Wounded Soldier' or 'A Recovering American Soldier' at Walter Reed Army Hospital. I asked Roger about it at the time but he was unaware of any issues or problems with addressing a card in that manner to the hospital. But today he heard something about it and sent me the link so I could let the people who sent it to me know that Walter Reed Army Hospital and the United States Postal Service can not accept mail addressed as such. The notice does give information on how you can support our troops and their families. So check it out by clicking on the link above if you are interested, but don't send an anonymous card to Walter Reed.

I finished my third anthropology test about an hour ago. I don't feel awful about it so I have no idea if I did good or bad. The grades might be out tomorrow. I'm in the library at A&M waiting to register for next semester. If I left and went home as usual after class, I would be half way through my drive when my time came up to register. I didn't want to take any chances getting the class I wanted. So I decided to hang out until it was my turn. A classmate in my anthropology class is an honor student so she gets first dibs and tried to register for a philosophy class on the first day of registration and it was already full. And it completely messed up her entire schedule for next semester. Since this is the only class I have to take for next semester and I really want to take this particular class, I'm not taking any chances of it being full. It would really be nice to take a class I would really enjoy my last semester of college. I also turned in my book review early Monday morning, so I'm done until I return from Thanksgiving holidays. I will be taking the reading assignment for my anthropology class to read on the flight home so I don't get behind. I'll also be dragging the lovely first draft of my research paper with me to review on the flight up. But I'll be bringing my travel Bible and a magazine with me too, just in case my research paper gets too boring and I need other distractions.

Well, we have one more day and a wake up before Roger & I are together again. We can't wait. We're both really excited. We have one adventure planned and not much else except church on Sunday and maybe a dinner with friends. Roger meets with his neurosurgeon tomorrow afternoon regarding his paper work. So please keep that & him in your prayers. Thanks.

Nov 17, 2007

CNN Article Everyone Should Read

I came across this article on, "Wounded warriors face home-front battle with VA." It made me completely mad and sad. Everyone needs to read this article to know exactly what's still happening to our injured soldiers when they return home. It's completely ridiculous. This is the same process Roger is going through so it hits home for me. Guess I'm a little connected to the issue and that's why it pushes me over the edge. I know even if Roger wasn't going through this process, I'd still be pissed off our soldiers are being treated like this. Make sure you watch the videos. They give a lot more insight into what these war heroes go through when they get back and what goes through their minds. It's crap like this that makes you wonder what the hell is going on in this country sometimes.

Nov 16, 2007

No News This Week

You know that saying, no news is good news? When it comes to the military, no news can be scary. Not that I'm surprised, but Roger did not hear anything regarding his case this week. That was a shot in the dark. The military actually do something efficiently? Ha! Anyway, it's being held up because his neurologist, Dr. Miller, wants to see Roger next Wednesday. And of course, he did not tell Roger why or anything else. So it's very strange and I'm wondering what he's up to or what he's doing. I'm sure Roger is wondering that too, but not trying to think about it too much so he doesn't go crazy until then. That's pretty much a weekly tactic for surviving Walter Reed. Dr. Miller is a peculiar bird so we have no idea what's going on. I assume, you know what that leads to, he wants to evaluate Roger against the updated reports and narrative summary which were supposed to have been submitted to the Board earlier this week. Dr. Miller could make or break him coming home sooner than later. So please keep praying for this situation. Thanks. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Nov 15, 2007

First Draft Returned

Well, I got my first draft back today. Although I'm happy with the grade, 84, a B, I still have a lot of work to do. I got some really good feedback from the professor which will help me improve it in order to get a better grade on the final draft. I'm just a little overwhelmed by the work I have left. But I'm not going to start working on it until I get on the plane to DC next Thursday. Yes, I'm flying on Thanksgiving day. It's all I could get. I need to go through it page by page which I can do on the flight. Might as well make good use of my time. I always have my thumb drive with all my documents on it in case I need to work on my paper. And I can use Roger's laptop if I get time to work on it. But I doubt I will. That would actually be a pretty pathetic visit if I had time to work on my paper. I'd rather spend time with Roger and work by butt off when I get back. I can sleep when I die. So until then, I'll be spending this weekend catching up on my anthropology reading and outlining it all in preparation for the test Tuesday and writing my book review that's due on Wednesday. The semester's almost over, the semester's almost over, the semester's almost over...

Nov 13, 2007

Only One Class Left!!

I'm so excited! I met with the Anthropology advisor in between classes today and they are going to allow an anthropology class I took at junior college to substitute for a 200 level anthropology class at A&M which means I only have to take one class next semester to graduate in May. Yeah!! I have to take one 300-400 level anthropology class. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've decided to take Intro to Biblical Archaeology. I can't wait! Now all I have to do is make it through this semester. There are two and a half weeks left in school. I have an anthropology test next Tuesday, a 3 page scholarly book review due next Wednesday, the final draft of my 20 page research paper due Dec 4th and the final in my anthropology class on Dec 12. I only need C's in both of these classes although I am striving for A's. Please pray for God to give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding from the Holy Spirit.

Please also pray for Roger. He found out all his paperwork was submitted to the Board and there is a possibility he could have a decision from them maybe by the end of the week. If he agrees with their findings and is happy with the percentage of disability they offer, he won't have to go through the formal process and would start working on coming home. Which would be a lot sooner than we have been expecting with other events that happened recently. So please keep that in your prayers. I sure would love for him to be home as soon as possible. It's not fun at Walter Reed at all for him either.

Patience, joy and protection from the father of lies would help too. Thanks you guys. Love ya!

Nov 12, 2007

Weekend Update

Wow, time has flown by this weekend. So fast, I meant to blog on Friday but got distracted and forgot completely this weekend. So this is a little late.

I turned in the first draft of my 20 page research paper on Friday. Yeah! So glad to be done with that. We are supposed to get it back on Thursday, Nov 15th with feedback. The final is due Tuesday, Dec 4th. This is also the last day of classes. Praise the Lord! I'm so ready for this semester to be over. This has been a tough semester. When I was in college full time, I didn't have so many distractions so it was a lot easier. Hopefully next semester, my last!, will be a bit easier. I will find out tomorrow when I meet with the Anthropology advisor if I have to take one or two classes next Spring. Of course, I'm hoping for one, but we'll have to see if they'll substitute one of my junior college classes that's not fitting into my minor requirements. But I do know for sure I am going to take Introduction to Biblical Archaeology next semester. I can't wait. I'm really excited about it. I already reviewed the professor and the book we will be using and I'm even more excited about it. Both got great reviews. Finally college classes I will really enjoy.

So I did the Susan G. Komen race for the cure on Sunday. It was awesome. I had such an awesome time. I can't wait for next year. It's already set for November 2, 2008 and I plan to do it again. I woke up a little later than I wanted on Sunday morning. After waiting in line for a shuttle to the race, I didn't arrive until 8:00 a.m. Once I got off the shuttle and approached the race area, I knew I was never going to find my group. It was so crowded, I couldn't get through the crowd to where we were supposed to meet. And it turns out I would have never found them anyway because I couldn't locate the River tent because there wasn't one. So eager me decided to run to the front of the race and see if I saw them and if I didn't I'd go back and try to find them. Yeah, good intention, not a good plan. There were so many people there. By the time I got up to the front and of course, didn't find them and I was almost at the end. So I gave up trying and decided to keep enjoying the race. By then I stopped jogging and starting walking. There were so many groups of people supporting a loved one or friend. Everyone was having a good time. People are so funny and entertaining. There was a live band on the side performing, cheerleaders from local schools cheering all the way along, girl scout groups cheering and chanting "Early detection is the best prevention, I am the cure!" and even a group of dog lovers with their dogs cheering everyone on. It was great. After I finished and got some water and some sun chips and a soyjoy bar, I went back to the end to see if I could see my group come in. Of course, I didn't but I watched for a long time as people crossed the finish line. It was amazing. You could tell crossing the finish line was a big deal for the survivors. Their friends & family would cheer for them and someone would go ahead to take that milestone picture of them right at the line. It was inspiring and made me teary eyed at the same time. I'm telling you, everyone was having a great time. It was like a huge party. I posted my pictures on Flickr. I took a lot of pictures, most were blurry because I was moving. Sometimes I'd be in the moment of what ever was happening and forget to take a picture. And I'd think after, oh darn it, I should have taken a picture. It's hard to experience something though when you're looking through a camera. You miss the whole experience. So I forgot to take pictures going through the starting area. There was just so much going on and the atmosphere was on fire. It was truly unbelievable. So check out my pictures to the right or click on the link above.

Here are the stats from the race:
Race Participants: 21,057
On-line teams: 1063
Donations: $792,454.95
Registration fees and donations: $1,290,455.43

Not bad. I'll bug you all again next year in time for you to join me. It was a lot of fun. But next time, I'm not going to try to meet anyone at the race, but go there together. I did find two team mates right as I was about to leave. I was glad to at least meet two of them, especially Heather White, our fearless team leader. And they gave me the wonderful hat I was supposed to wear during the race. :)

Nov 8, 2007

31Oct MRI Looks Good

Just a quick post to update you on my MRI last week. Basically, it looks stable and possibly even better than the one three months ago. But this one was done in a different machine at a different hospital, so the differences may have contributed to that conclusion. There doesn't appear to be any new growth so things are good. All of my doctors and therapists are currently submitting new and up to date information to the MEB. I have no idea if that will slow things down or speed them up. With the holidays approaching, I get the feeling they will slow down, but who knows? Thanks for the prayers!! :-)

Nov 1, 2007

Free Breast Self-Exam Shower Card, A Video & Farewell

"As part of the three-step breast health approach, Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommends that beginning by age 20, women become familiar with the look and feel of their breasts through monthly breast self-examination (BSE). Komen for the Cure offers a variety of BSE cards in different languages and for specific populations. You can order a free BSE card."

Also, I came across this video online about a 60 mile 3 day walk for breast cancer: Makes 5K look like a walk in the park.

As for the farewell, I'm only saying good bye for one week. I'll return next Friday to post pics from the race and tell you how it went, after I turn in my 20 page research paper for my history class. 1.5 pages down, 18.5 to go! Pray for me!