Tag Archives: Chiari Malformation

A Real Vacation

Where have I been?

It’s not that I fell off the face of the earth or anything. It just so happens that I got to have the vacation of my dreams last week. A “real” vacation. One that doesn’t involve still taking care of everyone elses needs. One that isn’t way more work to get ready for and get to, than it is fun to experience. One that required very little effort and virtually no money!

While the two middle boys went to summer camp,  and the youngest boy got to spend a wonderful week with his best friend… I got to go to a cabin in the mountains and be alone. ALONE… for a whole week!!

It was the most glorious week I’ve had in a very long time.

Not everyone enjoys time alone, I understand that, so it may not seem like much of a fun vacation to those folks. But I recharge and regenerate in quiet solitude, so it was just divine for me. I had time to think. To contemplate. To plan. To relax. To READ!

The brother of a good friend of mine, was kind enough to let me stay at his cabin. The place was incredible. Just beautiful.

Thank you SO much Todd.

It was so lovely that I was, at first, afraid to even sit on the sofa!

I soon got over that and settled in.

With no laundry, no house work, no serious cooking, or animals to look after… I had all day, everyday, to do as I wanted.

I took that time to read, paint and work on last years Year Book. I didn’t even leave the cabin for supplies until the fifth day!

I got to read three+ books, painted eleven water colors, and uploaded almost a years worth of photos to Shutterfly (for last years year book).

I ate lite, fresh and minimally. Got seven wonderful nights of sleep, and only missed the family a little bit towards the end of the week.

This whole idea came about when I was very apprehensive about sending Guy (Gear-Bear’s Chiari Journey) off to camp since he may be put in a situation that he would want to attempt an activity that would put him in danger (with regards to his Chiari Malformation). I was nervous to be two hours away from him, in case something did happen, and he needed medical attention. It’s a rare individual, even in the medical field, that knows what Chiari is, let alone what to do with an injured Chiari patient.

So, my friend offered to ask her brother for the use of his cabin… a short distance from the summer camp.

I am happy to say that both boys had a great time in their first ever week of camp, and there were no medical emergencies! It was hard for me to let go,  but I know that I am in the process of letting Guy take over his own life and make the necessary decisions on his own. He is very responsible and has a good head on his shoulders, so I needn’t worry. (It’s just what mothers do!)

JJ was Guy’s body-guard, and Guy looked out for JJ and his low blood sugar. They took care of each other and had a blast in the process. They had a very cool counselor, and a fun bunch of boys in their cabin. It was spiritually and socially a blessing for both of them. A great week! The best news is… they want to go back up there next year. And Guy even said he wants to work up there when he’s old enough. I am SO happy about that, since I worked several summers at a camp in my youth.

Harrison… well, he lived it up! Got to do all the fun stuff he loves so much. I doubt that he missed me one bit! He was with his “other Mom and Dad”, and got to go hunting, fishing, tubing, swimming and all sorts of stuff. He had a ball!

The pets were all still alive when we got home, but a couple of my plants on the back deck didn’t make it. 😦 But better plants than the pets! Thank you Darren and Dave for taking care of things at home.

Peeps was very glad to see me. She ran right up to me and started pecking my toes! She had the nerve to grow a little while I was gone. Funny thing is that the husband became enamored with her during his time taking care of her. It made me laugh out loud to hear him go on and on about what she was doing, and how fun she was.

I am refreshed, revitalised, and ready to start preparing for the new school year. Which is what I’ve been doing everyday this week. As well as a mound of laundry!

I seriously think that this needs to be a yearly thing. I don’t know why it took me all these years to do it. Never knew I needed it so much, or how good it would make me feel. Now that I know… look out. A week alone is on the books for every summer!

Here are some of the paintings I got done while on my “REAL” vacation.







Take care all,




Filed under Art Projects, Things I like, Vacations

I’m Grateful

Thank you for the prayers and comments for Gerrit. I appreciate it so much more than I can say.

He was anointed in our church today, and it was so very special/emotional/wonderful. I was very proud of him for being willing to let us do this. Basically, the pastor and the elders of our church (as well as the rest of his family) gathered around him and put their hands on him, then they all prayed for healing (that the cyst would be reduced in size). The pastor puts some oil on his head (symbolic) and ends it by rededicating him to the Lord. Very sweet and special moment.

We are so grateful for our little church family. They were there for us 12 years ago when we first found out that Gerrit had Chiari – and we had only been to the church maybe 3 times. But they came to us with food, lent us a car, prayed over us, and gave us support like I’ve never experienced before. It was fantastic – and we stayed!

All because of one person. One person made a phone call to me and invited us to church. I seriously had no intentions of actually going on a regular basis… I went the first time to make a little lady happy! Never underestimate what you can do for others. One phone call, one smile, one small gesture can change their life.

Thanks Giselia, and thanks PTC church!

I will try to get a post on here Monday afternoon or evening to let you know what the doctor says about the MRI.

Thanks again for your prayers,




Filed under Chiari Malformation

I’ve Lost my Mind

The plan for today’s post was entirely different from what I am about to write.

I will get to posting the WWII art project, my current art project and school updates soon. But for now I will just tell you a couple little things and then get off to bed to.

First and foremost, I am asking that all of you of the praying sort to keep Gerrit in your prayers this week. He has his annual MRI (for his Chiari Malformation – read his story under Gare Bear’s Chiari Journey) next Monday and we are hoping and praying that the cyst in his spinal column has shrunken since last year. If not, this doctor wants to do exploratory surgery. Of course, we will do that if necessary… but that is not what we are wanting. We are hopeful that the cyst has shrunk enough that it won’t be necessary. And of course we will be getting second and third opinions on it as well. Anyway, Gerrit is a little bit nervous about it (as am I). He is old enough now to know what is going on and what it all means. I have to say, he has been extremely great at taking his vitamins and eating very healthy since last September when we got the report that the cyst was enlarged.

Thank you all in advance for your prayers. I will keep you posted on it.

And the other tidbit for tonight… after a rough day of teaching while fighting my migraine (for the third day), I rushed out the door with the two youngest for their piano lesson. In my fog of pain, I forgot a lot of stuff, but most importantly my cell phone. I muddled through the lessons and then sent the boys into a couple of stores for me, while I stayed in the car propping my head up and keeping my eyes closed! When we got home – Gerrit ran out to the car and announced that I had forgotten my phone! Which, of course, I already had figured out. Then, he proceeded to tell me that Darren had accidentally run over Brutus when he backed out of the driveway to go to work.


Long story short – Brutus is going to be okay. He is banged up and quite traumatized, but no broken bones. Just some scrapes and cuts – but nothing too serious. (As far as I can tell in my haze!) But I will check him out again tomorrow with a good thorough going over.

Darren called on his work break and the poor guy was so upset by it. He had been thinking about Brutus the whole evening and was just sick about it. And poor Gerrit. He had to deal with a bloody and freaked out dog for over an hour all by himself. I hugged him and told him he did real good, and handled the crisis well. He said “yea… I think it was good for me to learn to deal with stuff like this by myself. Now at least I know I can do it!”  He did great and I am so proud of him.

So…  extra dog in the house –  since I think he had a little seizure earlier. It was weird. Not sure what it was, so I want to keep an eye on him.

Of course, Dave is gone again this week! 😦

I’m tired and I want a new head.





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Filed under Chiari Malformation, Critters, In The News

Lean, Mean, Running Machine

(He’s not really mean, but clean just doesn’t sound cool for a teenager!)

Sunday, Gerrit ran in a 5K race that our pastor puts on every year to raise money for our church school. I help out every year, but none of my boys have ever ran in it. Last year Gerrit wanted to, but sprained his ankle a few days before the race.

This year, although he didn’t train real well, he was ready for it.

It was so hot and humid I worried about him the longer he took out there… but he did fine. Came in first for his age group!

I am proud of him. Now I think he’ll actually “train” some for next years!

Do you see him?

Coming on in to the finish.

Nice job! For not training before-hand, I think he did great!

He was a little embarrassed about getting this because there were only three in his age group! But hey… he was first out of those three!

I do hope that he really gets into this running thing… it is something he can do without worry about it affecting his Chiari Malformation and syringomyelia.

He won a prize in the raffle too! A coupon for money off at a restaurant – we’ve never been to. Will have to go now!

I didn’t let Harrison run this time. He needs to work up to three miles. He’s only run a mile so far, so maybe by next year he’ll be ready! He did a lot of running around, playing with his friends during the race anyway and later at home I found him like this:



 JJ and Darren were not mentioned because they were not there. Just feels weird to only talk about two of them!



Filed under Chiari Malformation, The boys

Gare-Bear Update

Please go to the Gare-Bear Update 9-09 page to the right, or click on the photo to read about his recent MRI results.

SeptD 040-b



I can’t make the link work in the photo. So click HERE to read his update.

(dog-on-it. I’ve seen it done. I know it can be done. **heavy sigh** I can’t figure it out.)

Well, alright. I must be having a brain toot.

This time I forgot to add the link to “HERE”!!


Time for bed now!


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Filed under Chiari Malformation

Medical Bracelet

For those of you that have read Gerrit’s Chiari story and where awhile back I decided to get him a medical bracelet, well, I just want you all to know that he is wearing it and truly isn’t apprehensive about wearing something that says “fragile neck“. I had thankfully misread his reaction. He leaves the room when I talk about his Chiari because he can’t stand any talk about the inside of the body! He abhors medical talk. No chance of him being a doctor I guess. bummer.

Anyway, just wanted you to know that he is gladly wearing the bracelet and was sweet as can be about it.

augustdaysB 216-cb

By the way, he has a much overdue MRI coming up on September 21. We have been battling working it out with the insurance company for over a year now. “Our” hospital no longer has a pediatric neurosurgeon, so they want to send us to another hospital in Atlanta, but they don’t take our insurance company. (Even with all this hassle – I still don’t want Government provided health care.)

I’m not worried or nervous about this MRI. He is doing great. But I will admit, it is nice to get the reassurance from a neurosurgeon every couple of years that everything is where it should be!




Filed under Chiari Malformation

Gare-Bear…his journey…

Click here to read Gerrit’s Chiari Journey.

The day before surgery
The day before surgery

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Filed under Chiari Malformation, Real Life on My Planet