Big Changes…" />

Big Changes…

I’ve had BIG CHANGES in my life during the last year since I had the last reconstruction surgery on my leg in early July 2012. It was 6 months before I was out of the full leg brace and back allowed back to physical therapy. It wasn’t until the end of 2012 when I had enough ROM (range of motion) for sitting in a chair as it takes a minimum of 90 degrees for what is called “functional sitting” and well over 100 degrees to be able to sit comfortably in the driver’s seat of a car. The taller one is the less the amount of degrees needed to sit in the driver’s seat and the shorter one is the more degrees it takes. And until I was in the situation I was, I would NEVER have thought of it before. Even climbing stairs “normally” takes a minimum of 105 degrees!

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In May and June 2012, my younger sister and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend several TV tapings. It all started when I received an email about attending the Dancing with the Stars Season 14 LIVE finale with Kelly Clarkson as the special guest who preformed her (at the time new song) Stronger. I was quick enough to be able to get tickets, so a week later we went to the CBS Studio in L.A. and had a fabulous time. After that, I looked online for what else we could see before my surgery since I knew I wouldn’t be able to physically sit at a taping for at least 4 months. We were able to attend two tapings of CBS’s talk show, The Talk and TVLand’s sitcom The Exes. We had a blast at all three tapings and knew we wanted to attend more once I was mobile enough.

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The first opportunity we had wasn’t until mid-January 2013 when we began again with The Talk, by this time we’ve begun to recognize several of the employees at the studio where both The Talk and The Exes tape, also a CBS studio. A week later we tried to see a taping of Hot in Cleveland, but were turned away as too many VIPs showed up, at least we were able to see another taping, ABC Family’s Baby Daddy. Up until this time, we’d be given a few very small parting gifts at The Talk’s tapings, but never anything like we’d heard about from others we’d talk with while waiting.

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All that changed when we attended a double taping the week of Valentine’s Day. I had so hoped that there would be a better chance at us receiving goodies at a double taping the week of a holiday. Well, I was right! The day before, I decided to check who the guest would be for the live taping since there would be no way to find who the second taping guest would be. I was stunned when I saw who it was. See, until then, the guest had always been someone we weren’t very familiar with.

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But this time it not only was someone I knew of, but it was who I would choose if I was asked. She is my favorite actress, ever, and I met her in 2008 at the Festival of Books when, Home: A Memoir of My Early Years was released. I could not believe that none other than the incredible JULIE ANDREWS would be on the next day and that I would be there!!! I burnt through three VHS copies of The Sound of Music when I was little, watched Mary Poppins more times than I could count and loved the sound of Dame Julie Andrews voice. I still think she has the most soothing voice I’ve ever heard and she looked just as beautiful (and not a day older) as the last time I had seen her. My 30th birthday was exactly one week after our taping, so I figured this would count as an early birthday gift. And it sure did in spades!

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I had a feeling that we’d at the very least we’d receive a copy of the new children’s book that Julie Andrews-Edwards and her daughter had recently released. And actually, I’ve read The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles several years ago after coming across it at a library used book sale and really loved it! Aside from her amazing acting, singing, and speaking skills, she is always a great writer.

Well, that wasn’t all that we (my sister, I, and the rest of the studio audience) received that day. In addition to the adorable glitter covered Valentine’s Day themed, A Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart, has an ARV of $12, we all received the following list of gifts all with a Valentine’s day in mind. [ARV means approximate retail value]

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• Set of 4 Lenox Crystal Tuscany Grand Bordeaux Wine Glasses and matching Lenox Crystal Tuscany Decanter. The original ARV of both the wine glasses and the decanter is $54, with both currently on sale for $39.95.

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• A Michael Aram silver photo frame and a silver flower topped candle (there were several designs of frames and scents of candles so my sister and I ended up with different ones) the candle’s ARV is $60 and the frame’s ARV is $80

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• A $100 gift certificate for Sabatino Tartufi (they sell truffle oils, olive oils, and other related products) ARV is $100

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• A $100 gift certificate for Parisa (undergarments) ARV is $100

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• A $155 gift certificate for Arhaus Jewels (jewelry, handbags, and other accessories) ARV is $155

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Then after all of these fabulous items, one of the co-hosts says that no Valentine’s Day would be complete without a trip at which point they break for commercial. Longest two and half minutes ever! When the break is finally over we find out that we will each be receiving a two night stay at The Mirage in Las Vegas complete with two tickets to the Beatles’ LOVE Cirque du Soliel show. All I could say was WOW! I’ve written about part of my Las Vegas adventure a few months ago and I do plan to post about the second part of my trip in the not too distant future too.

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But that wasn’t all we received. We still had the second taping to attend. Jenny McCarthy was the guest host and at one point during her dialogue she started sounding like a rehearsed infomercial which gave me a good feeling that we’d all receive whatever it was she was marketing. As it turns out she was promoting the first FDA approved for home use hair removal laser system. I’d been waiting to check with my orthopedic surgeon to make sure this would be okay to use on my leg, so I haven’t actually opened the box yet.

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We were given none other than the Tria laser device. This device is ONLY safe for fair to medium skin tones with brown to dark brown hair, unfortunately anything outside this limited range is quite dangerous because of the melanin in the skin or the lack of melanin in the hair. Darker skin could be seriously burned since the device will have trouble dicifering the difference between skin and hair. SImilar goes for those with red, blonde, gray, etc hair, that the device won’t be able to tell what part needs to be targeted. From what I’ve read online, it appears that this Tria device DOES reduce hair (in the targeted regions only) anywhere from 70-90% after the directed treatment coarse. I am planning to begin using the Tria system to see if it truly does work and then I will post at least one follow up review. The Tria system’s ARV is $450. WOW! The total ARV for all the gifts (not including the Vegas stay nor show tickets) is an incredible $

After having such an amazing time in Vegas, I then attended my best friend’s (the same one who I went to Vegas with) graduation from medical school in San Francisco in May. I stayed with one of my aunt, uncle, and cousin’s. I had such an amazing time. Because of how ill and un-mobile I had been for nearly 5 years, I hadn’t even had to opportunity to even THINK about traveling before now. Traveling was just an ever hopeful wish, a pipe dream until I was lucky (and I do truly mean lucky) enough to find my current surgeon who basically was able to put ‘humpty dumpty’s’ leg back together again.

Without this surgeon, I truly do not believe I would (likely) have my leg today, and certainly not a leg that will (eventually) be essentially ‘normal’. I am and will always be forever grateful to this absolutely incredible orthopedic surgeon and the PA (physician assistant) that he had worked so closely with. They gave me my leg and my life back. I am also eternally grateful to the young woman and her family that I received a new tendon and patella (kneecap) from. My doctor said he’d never seen a donor patella matching in size and shape as well as this one did. Because of her (and her families) generous gift, I will (eventually) be able to walk normally as well as being able to skip, jump, dance, bike ride, swim (which I did for the first time in over 5 years in Vegas), and do basically every other physical task I choose.

Five years ago, I almost died, then I recovered only to find out that the virus that almost took my life, was killing my legs. I remember being told that I would HAVE to be wheelchair bound for a minimum of 6 months to all my legs to heal. But then complication after complication with the infection only getting worse, 6 months turned into 1 year, then into 2 years, 5 surgeons, 2 hospitals, the final tally nearly 5 years after this whole mess began came to over a dozen surgeons scatter over 100+ miles, 3 hospitals, 12+ surgeons, hundreds of stitches & staples, dozens of aspiration biopsies, 11 surgeries, and being told that my only or best option is amputation half a dozen times. But I am here, I’ve been completely free of this monster infection for over 2 years and I’m trying to get my life back on track. So I’m doing something that I haven’t even tried to attempt since the fall of 2008, I enrolled in a class at a local community college.

I didn’t want to say anything earlier as the last four times I’ve tried going to school, I’ve ended up in the hospital. But I’m half way through week 5 and I’m hopefully that this time I will be able to complete the term. Like I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve been making big changes in the last year, I’ve gotten to do a little traveling (to Las Vegas, San Francisco twice, and San Diego) and now I’m taking a college class.

I’d really love to hear about any sort of changes have you made in the last year?

~Jaclyn~

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5 Responses to “

Big Changes…”

  • Ruthie says:

    An hour of sustained applause! We have been privileged to witness your miracles and hard work. Love always

    • Jaclyn says:

      Ruthie,
      I will always be grateful for countless hours you spent taking me to doctors appointments and waiting with us before and during my surgeries.
      With love,
      ~Jaclyn~

  • Maryann says:

    Hi

    I am Ruthie’s friend. Although I have not kept in touch with you personally, you and your family have always been in my prayers. Ruthie has kept me posted on your progress I know that God is working thru you and for you. Keep up the GOOD
    work.

  • ruthie says:

    I am so happy for you and so proud of everything you have accomplished. You are amazing!

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