Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kiss My Ass, Death.

Yesterday was a big, BIG red letter day in little ole Land o’ Cora. You see, yesterday was my five year anniversary of defying Death.


I won’t retell the whole lonnnnngggggggg tale here today. I did that last year. (You can catch it HERE if you’re so inclined.) But the gist of it is that I survived a freak, rare, bizarre Neurological emergency in the form of a golf-ball-sized blood clot in my spinal cord which should have either killed me or left me paralyzed. But I walked away from it.

True, I walked away from it with the assistance of a metal walker….

But, still, I walked away.

I eventually ditched the walker for a cane….

And then I ditched even that.

I’m the luckiest person I know. My Neurologist still shakes his head in amazement every time we cross paths.

“Do you know how lucky you are?” he says.

”Absolutely,” I grin back.

”No, really. Do you know how INSANELY LUCKY you are?!” he marvels, gesturing wildly, kinda reminding me of Tigger. *snicker*

”I know,” I breathe, shaking my head too.

”This never happens. NEVER!!” he’ll exclaim, slapping my chart down on the counter top, “I mean, WOW!!”

He once introduced a medical student to me. He introduced me as “a miracle” and told her she’ll never see anyone with my condition – EVER. I’m one of a kind.

Last time I went to the Neurologist he was running behind schedule by about an hour. His assistant told me I’d have to wait. But when my Neurologist heard I was in the office, he immediately took me back and told his assistant, “Cora doesn’t have to wait – she’s famous! In fact, she made ME famous!” and he told us how his saving my life made his career. And because of that I’ll never have to wait. Never.

So, wanna see it? Want to see my blood clot?


Here it is. This is the MRI picture taken five years ago….

See the dark spot in my spine there? That’s blood. The blood clot had burst and was leaking in my spinal cord, preventing my brain and body from communicating with each other. I couldn’t control my legs. I had absolutely no balance; I would fall over while sitting or while on my hands and knees. By the time I went into the OR, I couldn’t even lift my legs. I couldn’t roll over. I had no feeling in most of my body from my armpits down. And it took three people to carry me onto the table because my body was violently shaking and I couldn’t stop it.

If you look closely to the right of the dark streak in my spine you can see the blood clot there, like a dark oval. Scary, huh?

Five years ago today I was in the ICU, having survived the surgery on my spine without paralysis. I could wiggle my toes. True, it took all the concentration I could muster to wiggle the toes on my right foot. But, still, I could do it. And the doctors were THRILLED.

I could feel it when they poked me with sharp objects too. True, even sharp jabs with safety pins on my right foot and leg felt like blunt, soft touches with a sponge. But, still, I could feel something. And the doctors were ECSTATIC.

Word spread throughout the hospital of what had happened and I had dozens of doctors and nurses coming in to see if it was true. They were constantly clustered at the foot of my bed asking me to wiggle my toes, then gasping when I did. I was told a hundred times over that I was the luckiest person they’d ever met.

Wow, huh?

Every November 18th since, I celebrate my day. I call it my anniversary and I take the day off work and do whatever the hell I want to. The first anniversary was the day Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was released in the theater, so I kept my daughter out of school and we went and saw it. Twice.

The second anniversary of it was more emotional, oddly, and I spent the day crying my eyes out remembering how small and scared it felt to be in that hospital before the surgery when they didn’t think they could do anything to save me, and how terrified I was of what would become of my daughter if I died.

Each anniversary has been different. But especially this one. Why? Because I forgot all about it this year. I didn’t remember it until the night before when I was walking on my treadmill and it suddenly hit me. It was too late to ask for the day off, and, honestly, I’ve missed so much work lately due to my tonsillectomy and romping with Scope (wheeeeeee!!) that I wouldn’t have asked for the day off even if I had remembered it. But I honestly can’t believe I forgot about it! I didn’t think it was something I would ever forget – or only remember at the last freaking minute!


But anyway, as typically ends up happening at some point every November 18th over the last five years, in honor of my medical miracle, let’s mock Death, shall we?!

Yes! Let’s!….

Ahhh, that was fun. Okay, now let's learn about Neurology with Schoolhouse Rock!


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© Love Letters By Cora


Scope said...

I am also glad that you aren't dead or crippled. And I love that out of respect, your little brother is making bunny ears behind you when you had the walker.

Scope said...

And what I want to know is, "Who else reading this has a replica spine at their disposal to take a picture like this?"

No one?

That's my girl. :-)

Cora said...

That's how Craig and I roll, Scope.

Actually, no. It was raining and he was holding an umbrella over my head. :-)

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

After five years, you can tell us: Just where are you keeping those horcruxes?

I'm glad you defied death. The blogosphere would be a colder, less-red-head-oriented place without you.

JenJen said...



Poindexter said...

Wow - just amazing. I'm thrilled for you and grateful for the excellent medical attention you received. Happy 5Y! -Diane

Wings said...

Wow - Congrats on the anniversary!!!

Tami G said...

That's TOTALLY amazing!!
you are even MORE special than I realized :)
When things like that happen - and you live through it - it means God isn't finished with you yet!
THAT is a great feeling :)

Tami G

Morgan the Muse said...

Congratulations on the anniversary! Kind of bizarre, but that is Cora! Here's to another... oh... 80 more? That would put you at... 95 years of age, right? :D

LegalMist said...

Yay for you!

And your neurologist. :)

The blog world would be a little colder and drearier without your blog, so I am selfishly glad the surgery was a resounding success.

It's cool that you are so completely fine that you are able to forget and to take life for granted sometimes.

And thanks for reminding us all that life is fragile and we shouldn't take it for granted!

Jane226 said...

Such an amazing story. And happy anniversary!

SkylersDad said...

This is a great story. I know why you almost forgot it this year, it's that Scope guy that has come into your world!

Isn't it? Huh? Huh? Come on you can tell us! :^)

Anonymous said...

Well, every time I hear about your miracle it scares and impresses me. I'm delighted you told death to kiss your ass. I bet ARNIE or JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME wouldn't have the guts to tell death to suck it. I bet you made Adam Corolla cry real tears (if you don't watch Family Guy that made no sense). Here's to November, the best month ever. Can you tell what month I was born? I think you can.

Congrats, on five years of blissful LIFE!

Joshua said...

That is truly an amazing story. 100% original crazy. Glad you made it through. (and glad I linked over from Scope's today).


Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I am with you. Death can kiss my ass. It weird to think of how the world would be less interesting if you were no longer in it. It sounds cliche but you ARE an inspiration. The way you talk about the people you love, this whole 'thing' with Scope and the fact that you WERE and still ARE a miracle fills me with a hope for myself like nothing I have seen or heard in a long time.

J.J. in L.A. said...

Congratulations, sweetie!!!!!

I was in the ER one month ago today. Woo Hoo!

Not. lol!

Gwen said...

I'm super happy you didn't die. And it pleases me to no end that our tiny little ball of joy (that's you, silly) kicked death in the bojangles.


Cora said...

All: Thank you so very much for your kind words. I'm really touched! *sniffle*

Scope: Did I ever tell you what that spine replica is? It's a candle holder from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. HP and a spine all rolled into one! I had to have it!! I hope you won't mind it in your beautiful home, because it is so coming with me. ;-)

Mjenks: Pfffft! Like I'd tell you where my Horcruxes are! Ha!

Tami: Exactly. That's how I felt - like God wasn't done with me yet. And it felt FANTASTIC!!

Morgan: Yes, 95. Absolutely. Well, according to the True Age quiz I took on facebook anyway.

LegalMist: Exactly - we shouldn't take a single day for granted. You never know what's around the corner.

SkyDad: Totally. But Scope is forgiven. ;-)

Cal: Oh my goodness! You had me on the brink of tears there, Cal! Thank you. That really means a lot. :-)

JJ: It's nice being free from the hospital, isn't it? The day they let me out I laughed so much my face was sore. Everything was extra funny! Hospitals are great for saving your life, but not for living it. When you're there for a long period of time it's quite depressing. :-(

Gwen: Death had it coming. I wasn't ready to go yet. I knew my daughter still needed me. :-)

words...words...words... said...

I don't know what else to say except that this is full of awesome :)