Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Next Step

Throughout this journey along the road of recovery, there have been plenty of next steps. Some of those steps may have seemed small and others have seemed quite large. The next step is quite large.

A few months ago I began pondering and praying about a possible move. Well, a decision regarding a move has been made: I will be moving back to my home state of Washington. Though this is a big move, I am at peace about it and looking forward to being near my family again.

There were a couple of reasons to go in this direction and it was the right direction to take. I will miss living in El Dorado Hills. I have been here nearly 6 years and have wonderful friends, incredible doctors and rehab therapists, I am attending a tremendous church, and I have had some great volunteering opportunities.

My scheduled date of departure is January 27. In the meantime, I am finishing up my volunteering, going through my things: packing, repacking, and donating some items, visiting friends, and I have a things to do before I leave CA list started.

Friends will be making the trip with me, which I am incredibly grateful for.

I will try to keep this blog as updated as possible, as progress to making this next step takes place. Though it feels good to leave, it will also be hard to leave. Living and working here has been a tremendous time in my life. Thanks to all who have been a part of my life here, you have been awesome!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


The recovery journey I have been on continues to have it's various challenges, but things are definitely much better. At times it is hard for me to comprehend how far things have come. I have limited memories of when things were quite challenging, and really no memories of when things were at their worst.

There are many things that I am thankful for and encouraged by, they include:
The progress I am able to see in problem solving and decision making. I feel I still have a way to go in this part of recovery, but I have seen progress. I don't get quite as overwhelmed with some decisions to be made or things to figure out, but I keep pressing on.

I have been learning a lot about the waiting process. None of us like to wait, but I am seeing how God is teaching me a lot and transforming me through the waiting. I recognize that not all waiting has to do with me, but there are just some other things that may need to get into place.

I recognize that I do not need to have all the answers, nor to know what is next. There are some answers and some next step things that I am waiting on. That is okay: answers will most likely come (but not necessarily) and when I need to take a next step, I will know what that is and where it is to.

I am thankful for the friends God has given me. This is an area where I have been blessed beyond measure. My friends have been so caring, generous, loving, supportive. grace-filled, and more.

I am also very thankful for my family, but this blog entry is too long, they will get my next entry.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Progress is very important, though sometimes we can miss it.

There was a time that progress in my recovery was very evident, as the injuries were so severe. My healing has been miraculous and I praise God for the Healer that He is. Healing and recovery are still coming my way, but sometimes it is not as evident, even to me.

Yesterday at church was a lovely reminder. There are songs that I sing in church where I love to close my eyes so that I can meditate even more so on the words that I am singing. Three years ago I could not close my eyes if I wanted to sing the songs, because I could not remember the words to the songs that I knew I knew.

As I was singing yesterday the remembrance of that reality came to me and it made me smile, because I was singing songs with my eyes closed. Yesterday was not the first time I remembered this reality in my recovery, but it is the first time (I think) that I shared it.

Progress sometimes has come in small steps, but they have come in steps that are headed in the right direction. I want to keep my focus on the progress, no matter how big or small the steps. My therapist Dodie reminded me early on in recovery to celebrate the little things. Actually, the little things are much bigger then they may appear to us.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Wisdom of Friends

I experienced something very cool this week. I really believe that I had an opportunity to experience God's love, concern, and His watching over me. God used people in my life to demonstrate those things to me.

I am riding in an 'organized ride' with one of my cycling teams, Team Revolutions, tomorrow. The entire ride is 72 miles from El Dorado Hills (where I live) to a place in Sacramento. I have heard great things about this ride and all that is connected with it. I really wanted to ride this ride. It would be the longest I have ridden in over a year.

A couple of my friends had concerns about the distance, I wasn't riding with a specific person, the potential of riding in the bike lanes on the road, and just not quite being there emotionally about my riding again. These are legit concerns, but I wanted to ride the ride.

As I stopped by Team Revs headquarters I spoke with a friend, Dian, who works there. She was encouraged about my desire and willingness to ride. After I left, she shared with Mike about me going. Mike called me and he shared some of his concerns with me about the distance and some other aspects. Again, very legit and wise words.

After speaking with Mike, I called Dian. I shared with her the things that Mike shared with me, including asking Dian to ride with me. Dian agreed. We made adjustments to the ride from Mike's suggestions and we're scheduled to ride together tomorrow.

I believe that God helped to orchestrate these conversations, as well to give each of my friends the courage to share their concerns and love for me. Their input, which all lined up with one another, was why I changed my mind.

I am grateful that my friends shared their concerns with me and their graciousness to me. I experienced wonderful love and care through them. I am excited about riding with Dian and seeing all the other Team Revs riders on the trail. As well, we won't ride the complete 72 miles, but I am grateful that I can ride a bike again.

I am grateful for God's love and concern for me. He helped to guide my steps to a wise conclusion. I did not feel pressured in any way, but felt people's love for me. Good thing I woke up to the reality to a wise decision to make.

Thanks Friends!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Recovery Journey

Life can feel crazy at times, can't it? For me, pre-injury-wise, life would periodically feel crazy; that was usually out of my own choosing. Post-injury-wise, life has often felt crazy. Some things I just cannot do the same, at this point in time. I am slower mentally, in decision making, and physically.

There are some things that take me longer to comprehend and understand. There are some things I am just not getting at this point in my recovery.

I don't say those things for people to feel sorry for me, but because they're reality. I don't say them because there has not been incredible healing and progress: because THERE HAS BEEN those things.

God has been very gracious to me. The capacity in which I am able to function is miraculous. The reality though is that recovery continues and it can be discouraging and difficult. It may not look difficult to others, as many people face some of the same sort of challenges i do and move forward with them.

I am seeing now that the deficits that remain slow me down a bit and make some things, that seem to me should be much easier, more difficult.

The recovery process is a journey. I am grateful to be on this journey. And I am grateful I do not walk this journey alone: my Faith in God, my Family, and my Friends keep walking with me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

3 Years and Counting

June 18 of this year marked the 3 year anniversary of when my friend Kathy and I were hit by a car whose driver was under the influence of alcohol. Our lives were significantly impacted, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually -- in a number of ways. My life has not been the same since.

I am grateful to God for the healing, recovery, and the hope He has given me throughout this time. I really was not expected to survive and if I did, the question remained in regards to what my condition would be like.

My life has made a miraculous recovery! I am doing well physically, though I still have some challenges, aches, and pains. Mentally I am doing well, though there are some behavioral challenges that I need to focus on and work through. My memory and problem solving have gotten a lot better, though they can have their hiccups. Stamina-wise I have gotten better, but that can be a challenge too. I still need to build rest into my schedule. Work-wise I do not have a job, but I am working on some writing that I am doing, seeking to tell the story of this journey I have been on.

On the 18th my friend Kathy and I, as well as a number of other friends on bicycles and on foot, joined us on El Dorado Hills Blvd along the site where Kathy and I were hit. Also, the paramedics/firefighters who helped us, were there.

On my new bicycle, and for my first time since the crash in 2008, we rode the route along EDH Blvd. It was my first time to ride a bike along this route since I have been hit. It felt good to be on the bike again and it felt good to be able to ride the EDH Blvd. hill that I needed to ride.

It was an incredible time. It far exceeded the expectations I had for the ride.

This site is no longer just a crash site, but it is now a celebration site! We had an incredible celebration of the hope, healing, and recovery that has and is taking place.

What lies ahead in the "...and counting"? I don't know, but I know that God does know. I am in good hands.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Community of Brothers

One of the important things in my schedule is to meet with a support group of people who have sustained a TBI. We meet every two weeks. Our group has changed a bit since I have begun attending. Currently there are four of us, besides our neuro-psychologist, who meets with us. I am the only woman with three guys (four guys counting our psychologist.) Though sometimes Lynda, our physical therapist, leads our time. She does a great job too.

I am in good community.

We all have different backgrounds. We each have sustained our injuries in different ways, though one man was also hit by a car while riding his bicycle.

Each of us has sustained horrendous injuries; we each were in a coma for some extent of time; we've been having to learn to adapt and adjust to our new lives; we're all happy to be alive -- it is miraculous that each of us is alive.

I enjoy these men and find them a great encouragement to me. We are all a great encouragement to one another. We can relate to what one another struggles with, as well as the areas that we have been able to celebrate in our lives. Their community, their friendship, is important to me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Celebration Site, Not Crash Site

Over the past couple of years, there has been incredible progress on the bicycling front for me. Just over a year ago I rode on a tandem bike with my physical therapist Tom in a 65 mile ride. It was incredible.

Tom was wise in getting me on a tandem bike to relearn what I needed to relearn about cycling. It built confidence, trust, and the feel to be on a bike again. i have also ridden on a bike solo, but not too much. It was great to be on a bike again.

Recently for my birthday, my sister and brother-in-law bought me a new bike. I can't wait to get out on it. One of the first goals for my new bike is to ride on El Dorado Hills Blvd. along the path where I was hit. That is the last time I rode on EDH Blvd. I am looking forward to transforming that route.

For me, the site will now be a celebration site: celebrating the healing, recovery, and hope that God has given me.

Want to join us (Kathy and a few other friends will be joining us.)
Here is the info:
DATE: Saturday, June 18 (the anniversary of the crash);
TIME: 11:30 am
LOCATION: Meet at the intersection of EDH Blvd and Serrano Pkwy.
LENGTH: only a mile up an incline.
WHAT ELSE: We will celebrate a toast at the painted rocks on EDH Blvd., then whoever is interested will gather for lunch (Buy your own lunch) at Bistro 33.

Join us if you can. I am planning on being there rain or shine, but hopefully it will be sunny.

Thanks to all who have been a part of my recovery and helping to make this ride possible, Kathi

3 Years and Counting

It is hard to believe that on June 18 will be the 3 year anniversary when a friend and I were hit by a car driven by a drunk driver. Both of our lives have been impacted significantly, yet we continue on.

My brain injury still is influencing my life. I can struggle with my memory, retaining new information, and get tired fairly easily. Physically, my leg still has it's challenges and my arm and shoulder can still bother me a bit.

Though my life has been turned upside down in many ways, I am very grateful for the healing, recovery, the opportunities, the provision, and so much else that God has provided. He has loved me, cared for me, provided for me, extended His grace, mercy and forgiveness toward me. He has directed my next steps. He has walked with me each step of the way.

These 3 years seem to have gone fairly quickly. I do have hope as I move into the future, because of the way God has been there with me and for me these past three years. There have been other times in my life when I walked through some incredible times and God was with me then too. When we trust Him for certain things, then we can trust Him for the next things.

I am not sure what the "and counting" days/years will hold, but I have never known that in the past. But as I have experienced God being God, I know He will be with me wherever that is and whatever He has us doing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Words That Hurt, Words That Heal

I am grateful for the recovery and healing that has been a part of my life these past three years. Physically I still wrestle with some aches and pains. My balance has gotten extremely better. Problem-solving has improved a lot too. Memory-wise I still have some short term challenges. Loud noises don't bother my ears as much. I still can get overwhelmed and frustrated at times. When I am with quite a few people, and there are multiple conversations going on, that challenges me and wears me out.

Recently I was talking to a dear friend, who I had asked to share with me about areas she saw that I still needed to be aware of and focus on.

My intention was to listen and take her words to heart. Unfortunately that is not what happened. She began sharing some things I was not aware of and I responded with anger. I was mad and upset. I yelled at my friend and swore at her. I was totally an idiot and out of place.

Here she was given the permission to share with me, but I reacted totally inappropriately. I broke her trust and her friendship. I apologized and she accepted my apology, but I still hurt my friend. I think that is the hardest part of what I have to live with.

My initial feelings were that I wasn't doing as well as I thought. That is wrong, because God has brought me a long way, but He also showed me that day of areas in my life that need continued healing and transformation.

My friend's words hurt, but they were truth. I am thankful for what she shared with me, as it has enabled me to be aware of things i need to be aware of. Also, it enables me to adapt and adjust in these areas. Change takes focusing on areas of our lives and begin to make the necessary adjustments.

It also takes accountability. I have asked a couple of close friends to help me in these areas. I have also shared it with my counselor, so that she can help me work through these too.

Am I doing well? Yes I am. I also know that continued transformation is necessary and is happening. Some of the things we have to work on, aren't necessarily the areas we personally see. But God places people in our lives, like my friend, who share the hard things that help lead to continued healing, recovery, and transformation.

Thank you my friend, I love and appreciate you!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wonderful Reminders

The brain injury I sustained impacted my ability to remember some things. My memory has healed remarkably, but I still have challenges with it...that too could be because I turned 50 last year. We all struggle with our memory at one time or another, don't we.

I have been using tools and strategies to help me remember certain things. It's funny, because I realize now that for my entire life, without realizing it, I have used "tools" to help me remember. I'm not necessarily doing anything new, but I realize I need these things to help me remember: wonderful reminders.

As a follower of Jesus, I am thankful for the reminders that I get to participate in that help me to remember Jesus and his death and resurrection on my behalf.

Each month, as a church, we celebrate communion. We focus on the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. Jesus did that for me and for you, in order that we can have a relationship with God. Sometimes life is busy and hectic, distractions come from here and there, and I allow the Truth of what Jesus did be put away. Then the first weekend of the month, I get to refocus things. It is great for the perspective. A wonderful reminder.

Easter is this weekend and it is a tremendous opportunity to reflect on, meditate upon, focus, and remember the horrific act that Jesus chose to go through, so that all of humanity can enter into a relationship with God. His death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven allow our sins to be forgiven and to enter into an incredible relationship with God.

An Incredibly Wonderful Reminder. HAPPY EASTER!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Next Steps

When I sustained a brain injury three years ago, little did I know how upside down it would turn my life. Even to this day, I am learning about the severity of my injuries and walking the road of recovery.

A few weeks ago, someone familiar with my injuries and the changes to my life, asked me what I was up to. That was not a new question, and I believe my answer was about the same as the other times I had answered people: "oh not much, I am volunteering in a couple of places, but not much more then that."

For whatever reason, this particular time I was asked, I could not get the question out of my mind: what was I doing? I know my schedule seemed a little busy, but it wasn't like I was going off to the office every day. It rather seemed like an activity here and there, as well as some time with a friend now and then. Nothing much more then that.

I came to the point where I realized I needed to get a focus and handle on things. I had been walking through a miraculous healing and I believed God had kept me here for a reason. I pondered and I prayed and this is what I began realizing more clearly: God does have me here for a reason and I will begin focusing more intently on the areas He is leading me in.

Number One: As some of you know, I have been 'toying around' with writing a book, telling my story, of the past few years. One of the challenges for me was that I did not see myself as a writer, therefore I allowed that to be a hurdle for me, a roadblock. But what if God wants to make me a writer, that He wants me to tell this story? If God wants that, I know that He can enable me to do that. Therefore, I came to recognize that I have a new job: I am writing a book. That is where I will be spending concentrated time and putting my time and energy.

Number Two: The Ride for Hope is a charity bicycle ride that some friends and I are organizing for brain injury survivors and caregivers. The ride is tentatively scheduled for July 28, 2012 in the Sacramento area. We hope to provide resources, awareness, hope and encouragement to brain injured people. I am very excited about this ride and it has been cool to see some aspects already coming together. God has blessed me with a wonderful project coordinator and tremendous people to be on the team.

Number Three: It piggy backs number two, as I am focusing on the area of brain injured survivors. I am part of the HTSP (Head Trauma Support Project), I have begun a support group at my church. I also attend a TBI support group and took part in the recent Walk for Thought that took place in Sacramento. This area is an incredible area of need for support, resources, and hope. I am very passionate about serving in this area.

Number Four: Volunteering. I continue to volunteer at the Acute Rehab Dept. at Mercy General Sacramento (where I was a patient); I help with P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) and I also speak occasionally for MADD at a Victim Impact Panel, where I share my story with men and women who have received a D.U.I.

Number Five: This is the etc. number, as there are some other things I am involved with like talking care of my apartment and my cat Spike; I'm in a book group; I am bicycling (occasionally at this point in time); I meet with friends of mine; as well I am continuing my journey of recovery and rehabilitation: a lifelong journey I get to take.

That is quite a bit, isn't it? There is a nice grid here, as it enables me to say 'yes' to the areas that I have listed, as well as to say 'no' to the things that do not. In fact, just the other day I said yes to a request that fit into my grid. It felt great to be able to answer the question with confidence and not by guilt.

Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. The journey has been incredible in many ways, yet very hard and challenging in a number of ways. I am grateful for God's grace, healing, love, care and direction. I thank Him for using so many of you in my life.

Blessings and Love!
~ Kathi

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Problem Solving

One evening I was sitting at Safeway w/a rehab specialist I had while at Mercy. She lives in EDH too, so we got together for a cup of coffee.

I needed to purchase something, as I did at the self-checkout counter, I ran into a couple of hinderances. The woman working at the site where I was, verbally walked me through what I needed to do.

As i went to sit down, my friend made some encouraging comments about what she saw that I did problem solving wise. I was incredibly encouraged by her observations. I don't think I would have put the same thoughts down.

When my friend was observing me, she was watching me through a rehab specialists eyes. She was seeing things that I may not normally catch.

Problem solving has been a slow come back during this recovery journey, but I am seeing it more and more. This morning, I was able to solve a problem at my apartment. I was very excited and was pleased that I also saw it for what it was: a problem solved.

Recovery is a slow process. It involves patience and perseverance. It involves getting excited about what others may take for granted. It involves pushing on. It involves celebrating the "little things" -- which aren't so little in a brain injured survivors world.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


We are hearing more about Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) in the news these days. The situations are unfortunate, but the awareness of TBIs is beginning to get out there more. That makes me very happy.

Whether it was a Congresswoman who was shot, a participant on American Idol whose fiance sustained a TBI, or the woman I spoke at the grocery store the other evening whose son has a TBI, or even the seven members of my extended family (including myself) who have sustained a TBI or an ABI (Acquired Brain Injury.)

Brain Injuries are very much a part of our culture. The needs are great and I am encouraged to be a part of trying to bring more exposure and resources to this important need.

As I have been walking through my recovery, I am grateful for how God has healed and sustained me. And though my recovery is not complete, I am also thankful that I am having the opportunity to help a little. It does seem so small and I wonder sometimes how significant my help can really be with such a tremendous need.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Love God

As I have had the opportunity to walk this road of recovery from injuries I sustained two years ago, I think I am more in love with God today then I was before I sustained my injuries.

God is a loving God who is faithful, caring, compassionate, forgiving, merciful. He has watched over my life in incredible ways. He has given me opportunities I wasn't sure I would have again.

Today I had the opportunity to speak at Lakeside Church's women's Bible Study Stepping Stone. It was a terrific opportunity to share about our loving, hope giving, faithful God. The Promiser keeps His promises.

Praise You God!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recovery Progress

I had another moment where I realized I am continuing to make recovery progress.

I was at church Saturday evening and my friend sitting next to me made a statement about the loudness of the music. The sound level was bothering her, but it wasn't bothering me.

I say that because due to my brain injury, louder noises have bothered my ears. There were times at church when I would wear ear plugs. I don't know how loud the music really is, as I am not a good gauge due to my injury.

The cool thing this weekend was that the noise level was not bothering my ears! That is progress. There are some loud noises that still bother me, but progress has been made. I am very grateful for that.

I have also been encouraged by the reports of progress that Congresswoman Giffords has been making since suffering her brain injury from the gunshot. Her recovery too will be a day-by-day recovery. Please pray for her and her family. It is a long road they have ahead of themselves.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thank You Sometimes Doesn't Seem Enough

When someone does something for us our natural response is to say thank you. Most of us learned that pretty early on from our parents.

Thank you is a very good thing to say, though sometimes it seems too small of a word to say. Is there a better word?

I am not sure if there is or not, but lately as I have been pondering the incredible road for recovery of my injuries, saying Thank You to God doesn't seem enough. I know I don't take it lightly and I don't want to communicate it lightly back to Him. He knows my heart, so I recognize that He understands.

I was thinking today that even though the word can sometimes feel insignificant, I can seek to live a life that reflects my thanksgiving.

With my life, it is not seeking to earn or deserve what God has chosen to do, but it would be responding to what He has done. That I seek to live my life with love, gratitude, compassion, hope, thanksgiving, and more. To respond to the gifts that God has bestowed on my life.


Monday, January 3, 2011

The Only Thing Consistent is...

As we are now fully into year 2011 I suppose we can be confident in one of the consistencies of life: change will come.

Change is all around us; it doesn't just happen to me or to you. It happens to all of us. When change occurs, especially something that is very familiar to us, it can seem that change is wrong or bad. But is it?

Watching college football games on New Year's Day, I realized that concept has changed a lot. It is different, it was okay.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team has entered the New Year with a change: they are no longer undefeated (they did have a record 90 game winning streak), but they lost to Stanford on Dec. 30. I know it happened, as I was able to be an eyewitness to the event, as I attended the game.

The sports changes are minor, compared to the changes that we face in our personal lives and families. But there are changes that we will face this year.

There have been a ton of changes in my life the past 2-1/2 years. Some of the changes I did not want to happen, but as time has gone by, I see the good that has come out of the change. It has required me to adapt and adjust; it has required me to adapt my focus from what was, to what is; as well on Whom I focus.

Do I miss the things that have changed? Yes, at times I do, but my focus is not just on the thing, but on God who has allowed change to take place. He is faithful. He is good. He loves me. He desires what is best for me. He has a plan for my life. He is in control. I can TRUST HIM with the changes.

Change is usually not one of our favorite things in life, but God who is in control is One we can trust because HE NEVER CHANGES! The God who was faithful in the familiar and comfortable, will continue to be faithful in what we do not know or understand.