When I had my appointment with my neurosurgeon, Dr. F, it was advised that I drive to Colorado instead of flying because I was having a really difficult time being upright. Driving to Colorado would give me the ability to recline my seat back, and prop with pillows. July 18, 2016 was the day my mom, nieces, and I set off on our adventure. That night we stopped on the west end of Iowa, and the girls had a fun time swimming in the hotel pool. That's one of the downfalls with the halo. You're not allowed to go swimming, take a shower, or do any activity too close to water that will potentially get the lining of your halo wet. If the lining gets really wet then it might have to be changed because it can get smelly, moldy, and irritate your skin. This never happened to me but I would imagine it is not a pleasant situation; especially since it's hard to scratch under it as it is.
July 19, 2016 It was day two of our drive. That night we would be at the west end of Nebraska. On our way we stopped at an attraction in North Platte that goes over the highway. This historical audio attraction that Disney painted inside discusses how the settlers in their Conestoga wagons made their way west to Colorado. It also discusses how the railroad and train changed access across the country.
|The attraction literally goes across the highway!|
|This is Lake Mcconaughy. It's in Ogallala, Nebraska. It's a huge lake, and from what you can see, it's also very pretty.|
July 20, 2016 by this day I couldn't wait to arrive to our final destination. My body had enough of being in the car and I was hurting. Even though I was hurting I made sure not to let it on. This was the day we had all been waiting for. We were going to finally arrive in Colorado! It's tradition for my mom and I to take our picture by the "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign, and this time we had my nieces. It's also tradition to stop at a restaurant called Lucy's.
July 21, 2016 we finally made it to our final destination and we couldn't be happier. That first view of the mountain range when you're on the highway is breathtaking.
|A beautiful day to drive into the mountains!|
|Say, "Cheese" in front of Dillon Lake|
July 27, 2016 I went on a pedal boat with my niece Lizzy while my niece Emily was on a paddle board. I make a huge effort to try to find activities that I can participate in. Despite pain, it's important to find things that give enjoyment. It's also a good distraction from the pain you're experiencing. The pedal boat was something I could do since there was no arm involvement, and it was like riding a bike on water. The only down side was the sun was incredibly hot that day, and I was baking in my halo.
|My nieces and I|
July 31, 2016 My sister was in town so we went to Rifle Falls State Park. I LOVE it there. It is so pretty, and they have a nice trail that isn't too difficult to do. On this trail you get some beautiful views of the waterfalls, as well as the mountains.
|My sister, mom, and I|
|While on our hike there was this beautiful butterfly that kept landing on me. It stayed on me for a good 5 minutes.|
|Taking the gondola up to the top of the mountain|
|Picture at the top of the mountain over 10,000 ft.|
August 2, 2016 in 2013, my mom and I were walking on this trail that leads to a golf course. On the walk there is a bridge. Back in 2013, my mom was being goofy and pretended to be a ballerina. Since that day, we have dubbed it, "Ballerina Bridge". My sister's trip wouldn't be complete if she didn't get to experience it. My niece's saw this the year prior.
|This is the closest thing to a ballerina that I'm going to get haha|
|Various views from the monument|
|Just a little spoiled; I had my own personal umbrella holder to keep me in the shade. I was getting so overheated. The weight of the umbrella was too heavy for me, so fortunately my niece did a fantastic job of trying to keep me cool!!!|
|Not the sunniest of days but it didn't damper on our parade.|
August 8, 2016 Everyone can use a little pet therapy every now and then. We decided to go to 4 Eagle Ranch. It's a ranch that has a ton of horses, some goats, llamas, chickens, turkeys, and bulls amongst other things. It wasn't crowded at all. We had the place to ourselves.
|Sweet baby horse|
|Making friends with the goat|
|Just having some fun|
|Attractive individuals, right?|
August 14, 2016 it was a quiet day. My nieces flew back to Illinois the day before. I went and sat at one of the tables with an umbrella by the pool, and worked on drawing one of the tigers that I had started.
|Beginning stages of drawing one of my tigers. Unfortunately this is still as far as I am due to my R shoulder/scapula not wanting to cooperate.|
August 22, 2016 It was another day of having to get creative. I had to get my hair washed before my appointment with Dr. E the next day. Cleaning hair while in a halo, in a hotel, is a whole new level of difficulty. It was also a funny experience. Ultimately, we ended up dragging two metal end tables, draping them in towels, and getting me on the tables without falling off. It was quite interesting but it ended up working out well.
|Mission accomplished! I have clean hair.|
|Now this is look! As if the halo didn't attract enough attention, throw on this shoulder brace. Everybody assumes I was in an accident (I don't blame them).|
My hope with this post is that it shows that you can still enjoy moments of your day despite being in a lot of pain, being in various bracing, or being self conscious. Chronic pain is a balancing act.