Monday, May 28, 2012

From Ann

The following is a Facebook comment from a lady named Ann. Ann came to visit us a few times during our inpatient stay, without even knowing us. We have a mutual friend. She even brought us cupcakes one time. Her son's name is Jake. He spent several months in the brain injury unit at Shepherd after suffering from a stroke at the age of 19.

Her comment was too good for just Facebook.

"For once I am speechless which does me no good in trying to communicate with you regarding the news segment on the journey that you and Jimmy have been on TOGETHER. Oh great, now I am losing it again trying to write you but Jaimie, they are tears of respect, admiration, some understanding, joy, and hope of a great life for the two of you. The challenges are a given ... But Jaimie, within those challenges, I still see you as a couple who will experience a great love story and continue impact and help others with your story. P.S. just returned from Chicago ... May be spending more time in Atl in the near future. Will explain later but look forward to seeing the two of you!"

-- Ann Nicolopulos

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blogger to Blogger

Our dear friend Brian wrote a blog about us recently after a local TV news station did a story on Jimmy and I.

Brian lives in Illinois now, but we go way back from our South Carolina TV news days.

Him and Jimmy go even further (farther?) back.

He was part of our TV family. But now, he's just family.

Always encouraging. Always supportive.

And now I talk his ear off (via text) about what ever new thing is happening with my tennis. He used to play as well.

We both blog now.   When I first made the decision to start writing about what was happening with Jimmy, he was my biggest supporter.

He said its very therapeutic. He was so right.

Brian always will be a better writer than I, but I constantly learn from him. Always have. Even back when we worked the crappy overnight shift together. He was such a good mentor.

Fast forward about 7 years...

I'll never forget the day we got moved from the Shepherd Center ICU to the rehab floor. Brian got in a car, drove from IL and surprised us... just casually walking into our room.

His hair was still red, and so were his eyes! He looked so tired.

A dear, dear friend.

We both love our Brian. 
He wrote these sweet words on his blog.

From Brian's blog:

"This story has a personal connection and for those of you out there who aren’t familiar with what that is from previous posts, I’ll explain right after you take a look:

http://www.11alive.com/news/article/241175/40/News-photographer-captures-new-meaning-of-life

Those are two dear friends of mine in that video. I’ve known Jimmy for a decade and Jaimie for nearly that long. Both are wonderful human beings. Full of life and as the video shows, full of love for each other.

As is mentioned in the video, their one year anniversary is coming up. I was at their wedding, less than two months before the day that changed their lives, but not the love they share.

Their smiles through the difficult times that neither of them ever thought they would have to endure are powerful reminders to me that no matter what happens in life, there is always room for joy.

Their positive attitudes are, for lack of a better word, awesome and I just thought I’d share their story with you today. Perhaps it will inspire you as much as it continues to inspire me.

Keep smiling, you two. Miss you guys and hope to see you soon!"

Weekend Trip

Jimmy and I took our first road trip in our new van. It was to Columbia, SC.

We saw some of my dearest friends there, that have also become dear friend of Jimmy's.

It was a lot of driving in one day... but well worth it.

This picture was taken in between the ones where we actually posed.

Lots of laughs.  I just love the shit out of this picture.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tennis Dave

I recently had to say goodbye to my very first tennis instructor.

His name is Dave.

He looks like Chris Martin and Derek Hough and Ian Ziering -- combined. So you have a face to put with this blog.

Although, that could equal a disturbing image in your brain, I'm sure.

I got really attached to Dave, in part, because what I think he represented.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I started playing tennis because Dear Friend Jamie asked me to.

It was her New Year's Resolution. Also, she could probably see that I needed it.

That was January. This is May and now I'm quite addicted.

In fact, I wanted to play today and couldn't. It's the infuriating part of playing a sport in which you need two people.

I guess I could've hit against a wall (that's what Tennis Dave would've said to do).

Not really what I was wanting today.

What I wanted was human tennis contact.

When Jamie and I went for our very first lesson, we were the only ones who came to the novice clinic on that chilly winter night.

Thank goodness, because we got lots of attention that absolute beginners truly need.

When fresh beginners come to our clinics now, I wish for them what Jamie and I had. Time to learn the basics and not to be intimidated by others.

Jamie and I continued our Monday clinics and eventually picked up a Saturday lesson, also coached by Tennis Dave.

Tennis became a part of my life right when I needed it the most.

When I went to tennis, I was treated as an individual. I was critiqued and commended by someone who knew nothing about what I was going through.

I needed that and really still do.

I'm sure I'll never be fabulous at tennis, but for now it gives me something to work on and focus on a few times a week.

Jimmy used to play tennis.

So when I come home to tell him what I learned or worked on for the day -- he gets it.

I'm jealous of the speed I know he had.

I told Jimmy how I noticed how tennis players are light and airy... tall and thin.

They are fast.

I am none of those things.

Jimmy's no bullshit answer: You don't have to be fast, you just have to be quick.

Fair enough.

Maybe starting when I'm 30: not the greatest idea.

Past sports injuries are coming back to haunt me.

Oh, well.

Tennis Dave left never knowing about Jimmy or what I go home to after his lessons.

And that's okay.

He left knowing I was a girl who took up tennis and continued to come back every week.

Tennis Dave is a Midwesterner, but the intructors that have replaced him make for some interesting lessons.

One is English, maybe sounds like Russell Brand, and has bright-colored wardrobe tendancies.

Another is female, is Australian and talks insanely fast... making our brains work overtime.

She also reminds me of a high school coach. Hard core... yelling "Go! GO! GO!"

I would like to tell her my knee or left leg doesn't bend that way anymore... I feel if I do, she'll make me run laps or do pushups.

So, I'll continue tennis. I've even asked for a new racquet for my birthday.

Thanks Jamie for making me go to tennis, and thanks Tennis Dave for helping me stay with this thing I guess I'm starting to love.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Her Stolen Colon

I am inspired.

A former newsie co-worker is having surgery tomorrow.

She's having her colon removed.

You see, she has Crohn's disease. Crohn's is a form of an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

For many, many years, Stephanie has been dealing with many painful symptoms which have resulted in several hospitalizations. At one point, Stephanie dropped down to 50 pounds.

After a recent hospital stint, and a lot of time pouring over her options, she's made a major decision.

Tomorrow morning, at a hosptial in Chapel Hill, NC, she'll be getting a colostomy.

Her most recent blog post shows her "little blue dot."

It shows where her stoma (surgically-created opening) will be. I think the 'blue dot' concept is to get her used it, and also so they could pick exactly where her stoma will go.

That opening in her stomach is where her waste will leave her body and empty into a bag, that she'll then have to empty herself.

(Jimmy has a stoma. But his stoma is where his trach is.)

This is a serious life-changing surgery.

Having gone through everything Jimmy and I have, maybe I'm so much more sensitive to medical, life-altering events.

I truly feel for her, as many people do for me and Jimmy. And I'm happy her husband remains a strong, shoulder to lean on. She'll need him through this.

I admire her strength and courage to talk about this procedure openly in a blog.

Her blog is StolenColon.com

Her name is Stephanie.

I'll be thinking of her tomorrow.

Fabric Memories

While I was junk-cleaning my life last week, I came across a few bridesmaid dresses I had hanging in the back of my closet.

Doesn't everyone want to keep them after '27 Dresses' came out incase the opportunity for a musical montage presents itself?

I think I have been in 12-15 weddings.

These are a few dresses left from over the years.

I was able to fill three garbage bags full of other clothes, but it's not so easy to donate these guys.

But I did. I had to.

It was time.

I love weddings.

I had some great times in these dresses.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

HERO

Love this shit.

Sleep Space

Some nights I don't need to be next to Jimmy. Sometimes I do. That part of our relationship hasn't changed.

Tonight, I really wish Jimmy was in a bigger bed.

He was starting to fall asleep, and I put my head on his pillow. My face facing his. I put his blanket over my shoulder.

It was like I was laying in bed with him. Except I was standing. Is it possible to sleep while standing up?

I could feel his chest rising and falling from the ventilator and then eventually starting to hear a faint snore.

I put his bed rail up and walked in my bedroom to go to sleep.

Now for some Golden Girls...