Wednesday, September 13, 2017

On The Move

It all started with a dream. Three nights ago in my sleep, I saw myself walking without crutches, a brace or pain. That was the beginning of my inspiration to get moving again. Unfortunately, my doctor is less progressive than my desires are.  Next week I see Dr Burt for my 6 week Post Op appointment and plan to be armed with solid research to back up my need for Physical therapy earlier than 3 months PO. And if I am wrong, I pray God shows me the door shut tight and that I listen.

Last night a switch was flipped and I decided to get moving. We are the second house on the block, my goal is to walk (with crutches) to the corner and back, 200 steps, at least 2 times a day. I don't have to climb a mountain to feel an accomplishment, I just have to start. At 8:30am I am already at 900+ steps for the day. To put that into perspective, in the last month I have been lucky to even get 1000 steps in 24 hours. This is good progress! I promise to listen to my body, God gave us pain so that we know it's time to rest. Going back to the OR is not an option.

Here are the key components to my recovery so far:
Rest . Ice . Hydration . Nutrition . Positive Attitude . Hard Work

I have been laying on the couch recuperating for nearly 5 weeks. I don't cook. I don't clean. I don't do laundry. I don't drive. And I just started working last week which can all be done with my laptop on the couch. Even the "rest" can feel like hard work, I don't want to do it.

Thank you Tracy Wimmer for the BREG Polar Cube. Twice daily we fill it with water and froze ice bottles. I am able to continuously ice my incision, ham, knee and whatever else ails me.

We keep my favorite cup filled with water all day long. Do you realize your muscles are about 70% water? When they become just 3-4% dehydrated the function is compromised. So by the time you "feel thirsty" you are already way beyond that 3-4%. Drink up!

Food is our friend. Food is our fuel. A body can be healed or destroyed by what we consume. I'm not overboard here as I have very little control over what people bring us for dinner. We are doing our best to eat well. On top of that I am consuming the same supplements that I gave Chris and Emma after their surgeries. Both healed quicker than expected. I would recommend anyone who is highly active or recovering from any injury to take Young Living's BLM and Sulfurzyme. Healthy bones, ligaments and muscles make the whole body happy! 

My mom always blamed a negative attitude on the chronic poor health both her mother and sister-in-law. Irony anyone? I chose to be happy and I chose to heal. What's the worst that can happen?
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." --JOHN 14:27

Today "hard work" consists of getting my right quadriceps to fire. As I get released to do more I will take on each challenge until I get back to where I was pre-injury. Maybe I will exceed PI status. There will be frustrations and mountains I don't want to climb so remind me to keep working hard. The prize of an active healthy life is well worth the sweat and tears.

Peace to each of you and remember to pray for each other.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Happier Hammy

Have I said it recently? I love this man!
It would be remiss of me if I didn't brag on my hubby a bit. This amazing man of mine leaves the house by 6:30am and doesn't return until between 7:30-10:00pm. Thanks to my injury, it doesn't usually end there. He gets me ice, helps me shower, even shaved my legs...what a guy! I am so blessed to have a life partner who takes his role of provider and protector seriously. Thanks babe!

Chris and I snuck out for a quick date night before surgery...what I wouldn't do to get out of the house now for a date night. To be honest, if I could just walk to the mailbox I would be pretty darn excited. August 10th was the last time I did my hair, put on make-up or was even able to put on my own underwear. My take away from this ordeal is to be thankful for the little stuff. I am weary of always asking for help, waiting to shower until it's convenient for someone else and the drain of trying to get comfortable. Will I complain about cleaning my house ever again, probably but right now I wish I could scrub the sinks, vacuum the floors and clean out my van.

This post will consist of pictures, random surgery thoughts, tips and maybe a little bit of complaining.

The surgical timeframe was heavy on Dr Burt's mind, in fact delaying it only 5 days in order to take Emma to college, was not an option. I got squeezed into his schedule which means I got the last slot of the day. On one hand that's not so bad, I had plenty of time to do last minute chores. On the other hand you are so stinkin' thirsty by the time you finally get wheeled back to the OR. It wasn't the hunger, no fluids from midnight until 3pm was downright cruel!

Let's start with Life on Medication:
I have always been very sensitive to medications. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Am I sensitive because I seldom dumped that crap into my system or did we avoid taking OTC drugs because it was too hard on my system? Really, who cares. All I know is my body overreacts to all kinds of toxic chemicals. 
-As a teenager I took No-Doz when I was driving to a near by university for flute lessons. My instructor and mom both accused me of being on drugs. (FYI: never did drugs)
-As a teenager waking up from knee surgery the recovery nurses had a difficult time keeping me calm.
-As a brand new mom getting my first Percocet I lost my vision, threw up and never took another pain killer.
Pre-surgery I was full of trepidation that I would struggle more with the necessary drugs of surgery than the actual pain of the cutting, tugging and drilling. But with all things, I researched and prayed. My first few days weren't too bad. I remember thinking my mind was pretty clear but since then I have realized that I can't remember conversations and events in those first days post-op. It wasn't until about day 4 that the hydrocodone took my mind and body hostage. I had horrific anxiety attacks. Just that word makes me feel uncomfortable, I remember exactly how I felt each time. By day 6 I was off all meds and praying my body would detox quickly. Ironically, the very people prescribing these meds did not even know the half-life or the likelihood of more ugly side effects. Inexcusable! Since then I have taken lots of fish oil, used essential oils and prayed. I thank God I made it through those dark days.

I am a firm believer that no one has ever gotten sick because of a lack of pharmaceuticals in their body. As a result, we strive to keep our family out of the "lab rat" culture and we are healthier for it!

Life Post-OP:
My surgery was a little shorter than they planned because only two of the three muscles were torn off my pelvis. That's great and should speed along my recovery. Instead of being totally non-weight bearing doc said I could "do a little". What the heck does that exactly mean? I have found that I can put some weight on my right leg as long as I'm not actively using/moving the leg. That does make taking a shower much easier. This girl is a great on one leg but only for so long.

THE BRACE: is terrible. One week in T.E.D. hose drove me nuts too.
GOING TO THE BATHROOM: is challenging. Best tip: get a toilet seat riser and flushable wipes
THE STAIRS: I am able to go up and down stairs. It is slow and exhausting process. Remember up with the good and down with the bad.
GETTING IN/OUT OF BED: is frustrating.
LAYING ON THE COUCH: all day is not fun. 
Flowers thanks to Emma and Dr Niki
SITTING: impossible because of both the pain and the range of motion block on my brace. I am over 3 weeks post-op and would really like to go somewhere. The problem is once I get there I have to ask, will they have a couch to lay on? Most restaurants, churches and stores do not.
THE CRUTCHES: my arms, shoulders, wrists and hands are sore which reminds me I need to rest.

 As a stay-at-home mom who seldom stays home, being mostly confined to the house is not ideal. I don't even get to attend church. Thank you internet for being invented so I can worship online.

Thanks Marianne
MEALS: The Meal Train sign-up been a God-Send. I am so thankful for all the meals that have been provided by friends and family.
Homemade Meals . Carry Out Meals . Gift Cards
It's going to be a challenge when the meals end next week. 

Life Emotionally Speaking:
Each day is a work in process, keeping my spirits up and staying positive. Here are a few tips: Drink water, get the body moving in whatever way possible, don't watch the news and invite friends over. This may not seem related but one of my biggest emotional stresses has been caring for my family. Do you have a village? You know, a circle of people who are willing to step in when needed. 
Jill and Kim drive to soccer
Nana drives to music lessons
Kim drives to high school
Liz walks or drives to middle school
Lindsey, Tracy and Lindsay have cleaned
Susan, Linda, Linda, Shirley, Mary, Jill, Laurie babysat when I couldn't be alone.
Patty has picked up slack at work
Chris' co-workers have covered his classroom
Tami and Kimberly have helped Emma
Jay, Leo and Josh have mowed
(I shouldn't have started listing names, surely I left out some big contributors)
Without our village we couldn't do life as we knew it before. These people keep my spirits up.

 I do believe my hamstring is happier now that it is not bunched up behind my knee. One day the rest of my body will catch up with my hamstring and be happy too.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Craziness

If you have turned on the news, looked at social media or picked up a newspaper (yes, they still exist) in the last month you know about the solar eclipse that is happening across the United States today. I remember the last one that took place in the midwest, it must have been 1979, I was in kindergarten. Abbey Grey's dad picked me up from school that day and since eclipse glasses did not exist then, we watched the eclipse in the car looking at her dad's cigarette wrapper.

There has been so much hype I guess I was expecting more. Omaha was in the 96% range which I guess 4% of the sun was enough to keep the sky pretty bright, possibly cloud cover didn't help. Emma was in Kearney in the 100% eclipse area and thought it was pretty cool. We'll see what Reagan and Olivia have to say after school. 

The next we will hear reviews of stupidity. Don't call this being a pessimist, just a realist. I can't even begin to imagine what people will do.

My picture below of the cripple making it outside for 10 minutes of eclipse happiness! 

Happy Monday!

Next post will be a surgery update.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Are Hamstrings Important?

Hitting the neighborhood streets late Friday night after sitting at my desk working on soccer registration all day long. Let me add that I had been walking and running almost every day for the last 3 weeks. I was really feeling good! That last step before I even hit the ground my hamstring was in horrific pain. As I sat there crying and moaning in the grass made me thankful it was 10:30 pm so no one was outside to see the show. In order to get home I had to call Chris. My hero aka prince found me and carried me to his truck (or insert white stallion here). Getting in the house was rough, it is doubtful my kids have ever seen me in so much agony!

My assumption was Saturday I would wake to some kind of relief, no such luck. We were off to Ortho Nebraska's Urgent Care. When you are married to a guy like Chris plan on him knowing people no matter where you go. The doctor knew Chris through the Millard community coaching circuit, I almost had to remind them why we were there. Good news: the X-ray showed no broken or chipped bones. Dr V ordered a MRI.

Really, who knows if they are truly claustrophobic until they are shoved into an enclosed tube while in pain, weighted down, feet taped together and surrounded by loud noise. This was a learning experience, now I know I need drugs to survive a situation like that. It was on the second trip of the day that I made it through the diagnostic testing but only because there are drugs that take all your cares away. I remember nearly nothing. So friends, please do your loved ones a favor and take away their phone if they are taking said meds. Apparently I really took to the phone and snapchat during my moments in La-La Land.

NOW WAIT and WAIT some more!

Finally I hear the news that my hamstring and tendon were ripped off my pelvis or site of injury was at the ischial tuberosity.

The phrase, "I'm seeing a hip specialist" should come from a 70 year old, not a 44 year old. By the time I got in to see Dr Burt I was walking without crutches and feeling pretty good most of the time. How fortunate I was to be able to get in with Dr Charlie Burt. This guy has done more of these rare surgeries than anyone else in the region. He gave me options but the only sensible one was to have surgery. More than 90% of his patients with this ailment have full recovery but it's long, pain full and will be a real life pain in the butt!

NOW WAIT some more
The timing of my surgery is terrible. What a stupid statement. Who ever said, this is a great time to have surgery? August 10th keeps us in the 4 week window since the injury but it causes me to miss some pretty important events.
Emma moves into her dorm 3 days later
Reagan has a college soccer visit to Minnesota 1 day post op
Olivia has her first day of middle school 4 days post op
AND Chris goes back to school and starts his new coaching job 3 day pre op.
The girls will be fine, that's a no brainer. We have raised strong daughters who would love to have mom there but can handle it without. BUT WILL I BE OK??? Seriously! Obviously the toughest part here is not seeing Emma's dorm room. Oh crud, I'm tearing up and can't see the screen. 

Please pray for our family over the next several months as I am unable to do the stuff I normally do. I understand the healing process but I also plan to beat the odds. I will follow the rules but also do not plan to "rise" to meet mediocrity. I know growth comes at times when life is difficult. I know there is always a silver lining even if it takes time to recognize it. And I know God loves me.

Side note: if you are counting, this makes the 3rd surgery for our family in 5.5 months.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Emma's Broken Finger


Less than 24 hours after a trip of a lifetime, Emma found herself in the Emergency Room (ER) with her bone sticking out of her finger. My poor baby girl was so sleep deprived that she could hardly hold herself together. As if it wasn't bad enough to slam her finger in a car door but then to be riddled with uncontrollable sleeplessness, the emotions really took it to the next level.
Waiting Room
This picture doesn't adequately show the deformity of Emma's fingertip. Let's just say it was gross. The tip was pointed down and the bone was sticking out of the finger behind the finger nail.

4 Hours in the ER
Emma and Reagan were headed to Midtown Crossing for Tea when Em's seat belt got stuck in the door. Without a video it's hard to describe how she managed to shut her own finger in her car door but it happened. Before her brain told her how much pain she was in, she turned to Reagan and said, "Ouch look at my finger." Reagan looked at her in horror and ran in the house to get us. The poor thing couldn't even put a sentence together.
She has always has been a girl of few words. ;)

Right away I knew we were going to the ER. FYI: Sunday at 8pm isn't that bad of a time slot. No crazy drunks and the traffic wasn't bad at all. We got into triage fairly quickly. Over the span of four hours she was asked multiple times if how the accident happened and if she felt safe at home. She saw three different docs, had x-rays three times, had a minor surgery right there and the worst of it all for Emma was the IV antibiotic that they started at 11:15pm. This girl really doesn't like needles. It doesn't matter how old your baby gets, it's so hard to see them cry.

Here's the process in layman's terms for the Seymore Fracture. Click HERE for details.
1. clean it
2. deaden it
3. cut out the finger nail (the metal thing shoved under the nail made me pretty queasy)
4. separate the broke bone to clean tissue out
5. push it back together
6. sew the fingernail back on to keep the area open for a new nail to grow out.
7. last x-ray
AND Emma watched it all!
Sewing the fingernail back on

It was after this last x-ray that the ortho resident said we would need a pin because the bone did not line back up perfectly, as you can see in the picture below. Even though we didn't leave the ER until 12:30am I would say we had great care at Omaha's Children's Hospital.
X-ray AFTER repair shows a pin is needed.
We actually had surgery in Iowa just to get it done one day sooner. The location didn't matter as long as we had our hand surgeon, Dr Gaddie is pretty amazing. Interesting note about Iowa, Emma could sign her own forms there since she is an adult at 18 but in Nebraska she isn't an adult until 19 years old.
Surgery Prep
My tough girl didn't have a general or even go into twilight sleep for surgery, nope she had a local, made a playlist and listened to music along with the surgical team during the procedure. Her comment afterwards was, "it sure is bright in the OR, on Grey's Anatomy it's always so dark in the OR." Oh finding out life isn't the same as how TV depicts it.
Two weeks Post Op
Here she is two week post surgery and Dr Gaddie says it looks great. YUCK! She has a new splint and can finally get it wet in the shower. Two more weeks and the pin comes out.  Emma is back to work at the nursing home and nannying for two little boys five days a week. This finger thing slowed her down for a few days and has kept her out of the pool but certainly hasn't stopped her. Proud of you Em!
Exciting times at the Raabe's but praising God for the perfect timing of this injury.
-After the Europe trip
-7 weeks before college
-mom and dad were home
-the HIGH deductible has been met
There's always a silver lining.

Happy July!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Elite at Region II Championships

Why am I constantly amazed that God works things out even before I know to ask for His help? This is Reagan's third consecutive year qualifying for the Region 2 Championship Tournament.  We've been to Wisconsin and Indiana but this year it was in Sioux Falls, SD only a 3 hour drive. Our schedule is one that some would call crazy but we love. We work hard and we play hard. Within a matter of a couple days I had signing day for part of the soccer club, Chris had a softball tournament, Reagan had this soccer tournament & Emma was flying in from her Europe trip. Because Regionals was in Sioux Falls, I was able to do it all. 

There's really no reason for excuses, you win or you don't. However sometimes I can see what made a game more or less challenging. This year the "random" draw of the brackets was not in our favor at all. We lost in the first round to the team who will probably win the National Title for the 3rd year. Bummer to have them in our bracket! However, playing teams better than your own only makes you better. The girls battled three nationally ranked teams, I couldn't have been prouder of their effort! ***Warning Proud Mama Statement: Reagan played well in the first two games but game #3 blew me away. No one worked harder, no one wanted it more...Reagan was like the Energizer Bunny! Great job kiddo! Oh!! And she made her Papa Raabe proud too, Reagan got her first ever yellow card. 

We didn't get our typical team picture in front of the Regional and Nebraska State banners but here's a cute picture of the girls supporting other Elite Girls Academy teams playing at the Region II championship games. Note the blankets! It was so cold. We left a humid 90+ degree Nebraska for a very windy cloudy 63 degree South Dakota.

This week in soccer we hit the restart button. Tryouts, signing day, one week off and then it's time to get back to work! Reagan loves her soccer life, soccer friends, soccer stresses and soccer successes!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Nebraska Ambassadors of Music

Back in 2013 Emma learned about a music trip to 7 European countries where she could play her cello and sing in the choir. At the time, it sounded impossible to me but never did Emma entertain the thought of impossibility, she knew she was going! Four years later we found ourselves leaving Emma at the three day Fremont camp to rehearse and prepare for her trip of a lifetime. To say we are proud of Em would be too simplistic. She made a plan to raise over $6000 and even though there were stumbling blocks (like a $1200 car repair) along the way she did it. Sweetheart, not only will this trip help shape the young woman you will become but the financial accomplishment will forever remind you that "IT IS POSSIBLE!" This is where Emma spent 16 days this summer...
United Kingdom 3 days
France 3 days
Switzerland 3 days
Liechtenstein 2 hours
Austria 3 days
Italy 1 day
Germany 3 days

***Disclaimer: Below you will find a bunch of SnapChat screenshots or quick photos that Emma text to me. Most of the good pictures are on her camera.

Pre-Trip Performance
I believe the choir was made up of about 130 singers. There was a chamber orchestra and a HUGE band. After the Thursday night concert, Emma was up at 3am June 9th for a 7:50am flight from Nebraska to Georgia. It wasn't until 7:28am June 10th London Time (1:28am CST) that the group landed. And then they were off to a full day of sight-seeing and no sitting. Sitting may result in sleeping. ;)

Kensington Palace...Oh my! I am in love with the Royals. This is most certainly a bucket list item for me! Obviously Emma has better pictures, these are just the photos I took screenshots of in SnapChat. The GeoFilters are fun but after leaving London Emma had a hard time getting service until they were back at the hotel. And then all that Global Roaming on our phone service started causing some problems for those of us at home. Calls, text and emails didn't always go through. My phone froze often. You know, first world problems!

The building tours during the entire trip did not disappoint. 

She's ready for another day of travel, this day it's a 3 hour bus ride to the ferry then to Paris, France. Emma wanted to complain a little that they weren't taking the Chunnel (underground tunnel below the English Channel) but she knew we weren't going to feel sorry for her. Paris is one of Emma's bucket list items. I have heard some say they weren't actually that impressed with the Eiffel Tower in person. Not Emma, she was thrilled!
The tour hit the big cities of London and Paris which were wonderful, busy and offered a lot of "touristy" opportunities.
The Eiffel Tower area opens at 9am, this picture was taken at 9:10am, hence the empty green space. Em said by the time they left it was packed with people.

On June 15th as she was about to go to bed I got a FaceTime call from Em. Actually seeing her face and hearing her voice thrilled my heart! Oh how I missed my girl! Look at that smile...she was having a ball!

In Switzerland and Austria the speed of life slowed. The people in the big cities really didn't care if there was a group from Nebraska, USA touring but in small cities and villages the people we ready and waiting for their visitors. Special food, t-shirts, ornaments, discounts and festivals were part of the welcoming nature of these people.

I just love her thoughts on the mountain

Two hours of shopping at the famous Champs-élysée was not enough time for this crew and five hours was too much time at Notre-Dame.

One day in Venice doesn't do it justice but another thing has been checked off the bucket list, the city on water.


The final country, Germany did not disappoint, beauty, history and cheap Birkenstock sandals.
The tour of Dachau concentration camp



I prayed every day for these kids and the fantastic adults traveling through Europe. Obviously, I prayed for health and safety but more importantly I knew Emma was with kids who loved the Lord as well as those who don't know Christ as their personal savior. Em is so real, so loving and non-judgmental that she can talk about her faith and her friends know it is real. I love that! My prayers were for her to impact someone for the Glory of the Kingdom. I don't know if that happened but God does. God doesn't need us but He graciously invites us into His plan.

Seeing Emma walk up the ramp at Epply Airport calmed this mama's heart and sent a surge of endorphines throughout my body that kept me awake longer than I had planned. Em, I love your stories and your desire to go back again. Welcome home Sweet Emma!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


*******I started this post a couple weeks ago and just now I am getting back to it******

Tonight I was scrolling though some of those YAHOO stories and came across one I found to be quite troubling. An article titled "DANGEROUS TEXTING SLANG ALL PARENTS SHOULD KNOW" certainly piqued my interest. To sum it up, the list was dated and the article was a bit negative however the comments were most disturbing. Everyone commented on how terrible the kids are "these days" and it's mostly the fault of cell phones. I disagree!

I have pretty strong opinions about parenting so I tend to lean more to blaming the adults than the children and their devices. I know a bunch of really great kids and they ALL have cell phones. I also knew a bunch of naughty teens when I was in high school (spoiler: I was one of them) and not one of us had a cell phone. I could go into a long soapbox explanation of how and why parents should be more present in the lives of their youth, how they should say "no",  how they should make their kids go to church etc. Instead I'm going to say, encourage a teenager to show love. That message will do more than telling them that they are lazy, disrespectful or entitled.

Believe me, I can go right down that same road of negativity, it take intentional parenting to be the adult in the relationship. Recently, a dear friend of mine reminded me to be thankful for the frustrations I sometimes focus on when it comes to my own teenagers. Can they be messy? Can they be disrespectful? Can they ignore my requests to help around the house? Yes, Yes and Yes!! That's really not all that bad. Thank you God for giving my girls a loving heart and a desire to serve you.

I have a fun video to share. Reagan and some of her soccer friends have a new found love...Creekin'. Not far from our house there's two little man made ponds which lead to a creek that runs for miles. I have heard stories but not until tonight have I had any real visuals. Reags and Grace took 7 girls two miles through the creek. You will see they had a blast. Click HERE to see the creekin' video. I post this video to show that kids still really do want to go out and just be kids. High school girls acting like 5th grade boys in the mud and simply enjoying life! Great job girls and thanks for the laugh.

Some moms were a little concerned. Honestly, I don't know if it's ok but what I do know is this... there are high school girls out drinking, smoking and treating their bodies with a lack of respect. My daughter is having good clean (actually pretty dirty) fun playing in the mud. Hearing their stories and giggles gave me a wonderful sense of who they are. They are beautifully created in His image. Thank you girls for putting a huge smile on my face tonight!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

National Best Friend's Day

Two big holidays today...




So here's to my best friend and love of my life!

The Big Day

We love our Huskers!

Date Night

15th (ish) Anniversary Date

Serving at the shelter

Date Night 2011

Annual July 4th party

We love the Huskers even in the cold!


Wedding Date

Golden Gate Bridge Date

Nappa Valley Date

20th Anniversary

1st year of marriage

If it weren't for the "selfie" type picture apparently we would have very few pictures of just us two.

Today was a crazy busy day which left little time for us to celebrate. Trust me, this isn't a complaint. Our life is full with all kinds of activities that we love. Today we had sleepovers, last minute shopping, HS softball practice, college soccer ID camp, softball tournament in Illinois, final concert out of town and the Europe Trip send off. In the midst of all that 4/5 of the family ate a nice home cooked lunch together. Making the most of each moment is important. We look forward to all being together again in July.