Please Help

A fund has been set up through Paypal for Mark, Scarlet and the girls.

Go to Login to your Paypal account, or just click on the send money tab. You don't have to have a Paypal account to donate.

Email account required to donate:

If you have any questions or don't want to donate by Paypal, please email us at

Thank you so much for love, concern and prayers on their behalf.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Power of Prayer

Things have been crazy busy. I've been busy with work and the family has been busy with multiple things, which means I've been CRAZY BUSY!

After our experience with the support group, Mark was feeling better about things. It really seemed to make a difference. I took care of another wedding and we met with vocational rehab. Mark struggles with them because it's such a slow process. He really wants to open his business back up, but I'm absolutely terrified of it. I don't know if I can deal with the stress of it again. It was overwhelming. Anyway, she gave us some tasks to do and we're going to meet back with her in a few weeks.

Since the girls were out of school on the 20th & 21st for Fall break, we decided to take advantage of it. My mom has some neighbors that own a cabin in Mt. Pleasant and they offered it to us. So we loaded up after work on Thursday evening and headed out. We got there about 8:30, just in time to get a fire built, get the girls beds put together and get them to bed. Mark had been struggling with things that week and was kind of an emotional mess. He didn't really want to talk about it because he said it was the same thing it always We're convinced that the adversary is really working him over. He vulnerable not only from the brain injury, but because of the general state of things. Our lives have completely changed and it's difficult to deal with at times. As we tried to get comfortable to go to sleep, Mark had a severe anxiety attack. He couldn't sit down, couldn't get comfortable anywhere, was pacing the floor, couldn't breathe and his heart was racing. I had taken something to help me sleep, and I was tired anyway, so I wasn't being so compassionate. But when he said the we needed to go home I realized he was in bad shape. So at 12:45 we loaded everything back in the car, gathered the girls out of their warm beds and headed home. As soon as we got on the road...Mark crashed. He was out. Needless to say I wasn't too happy about that. I don't want him to be miserable, by any means, but asleep? We hadn't even come off the mountain into town and he was GONE! Since I had a car full of sleeping people, I had to chew on a straw and on some gum to keep myself awake. We got home at 2:00 a.m. and Grandma looked at us as if we were crazy. But one of the girls had told her that Mark wasn't feeling well, so just like me, she took it in stride. Mark's had these episodes before, we just haven't ever been able to figure out what they were. On Friday he still couldn't get comfortable in his skin. His heart was still racing. When he would finally fall asleep from exhaustion, the left side of his body would twitch. So he would wake up, try to get comfortable again, and start it all over again. Friday night was a long night. Finally, Saturday night he was able to get a little sleep after about 1:00 a.m. It wasn't much. He'd had so little sleep in the last 3 nights that he was considering skipping his talk in church. But he figured it was the adversary trying to keep him from it, so he said he wasn't going to let him win and we all went to church Sunday morning.

My mom was the first to speak. Our topic was "The Power of Prayer". She did a great job setting the scene for me to talk about our lives. I've given a lot of talks in church in my life, but none have been quite like this one. I went to the pulpit armed with only my scriptures and my testimony. I do believe it was the BEST talk I've ever given. No notes. No outline. No fancy stories or quotes. Just one scripture (Mosiah 29:20) and my testimony of prayer. And a few tears. I even kept it short enough for Mark to do more than just bare his testimony. He was worried that he wouldn't be able to find the words he needed, so I went and sat behind him on the stand. I want you to know that Mark stood up there and spoke as if he had no brain injury. He bore powerful testimony, shared experiences, and only missed one word. As I sat behind him I think I witnessed a tender mercy. Those of you that know Mark well know that he has a tendency to talk ALOT! He went over, but there wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was powerful, powerful, powerful. And we're glad it's over! Although, the Stake President lives in our ward and there was a member of his presidency sitting on the stand. He came over and shook our hands and thanked us for baring such a strong witness and drawing the Spirit into the meeting. I hope we're not getting roped into a future speaking engagement. Sacrament meeting is one thing.....Stake Conference is a whole other ball game!

As Mark prepared his talk, he received some powerful revelation and inspiration from his Father in Heaven. We feel as if it was personal manna from Heaven reserved just for us. He enjoyed so much being able to stand before the congregation and share some of that. Most of it we feel is too sacred to share publicly. But what a blessing it's been to our spirits!

I fear I have run on and on. We're headed into the Halloween weekend and what fun it's going to be. We wish you and yours well and thank you for all of your love and support. We surely would not be where we are today without it.

Blessing of the Week: friends and family

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Strength In Numbers

Last week we tried out the TBI support group again. Our first experience left something to be desired, but I got an email that said the speaker was going to be a recovering TBI patient. I figured we could use a little education from the source.

The lady that was speaking suffered a brain injury from a 30 foot fall off a cliff when she was 14 years old. She's now 41. Along with hitting her head, she broke her pelvis and 5 vertebrae. The medical staff were more concerned with treating her broken bones, than dealing with a head injury. A lot of that had to do with the fact that they didn't do MRI's back then, and they still weren't as educated and knowledgeable as to the effects of severe brain injuries. She has suffered a lot in her life. She's been diagnosed as being bipolar, skitzophrenic, manic depressive, and just plain crazy. She didn't understand for a lot of those years what was happening. Recently she had an MRI and they discovered that she in fact suffered quite a brain injury from her fall and all of the things she'd been experiencing over the last 27 years were the result of this injury. They could now diagnose her correctly and get her the medications she needs. She still suffers from the effects, but she's at least moving forward in the right direction.

After she finished speaking, the floor was open for a discussion. Mark is not a social butterfly and usually doesn't like to speak in groups until he's comfortable with them. I think he understood that he has something very much in common with these people and he began to talk about his injury and all that goes along with it. He was emotional, raw and open. We were able to ask questions and get some answers as most of the people in the room had been dealing with their injuries for many years. We are relatively "new" as we're not even a year out from the initial injury. So it was very helpful to Mark to hear their experiences and gain some understanding. It was good for me to speak with the family members that are the help and support of their families. It was overall a very good experience. And we look forward to attending again. I would never wish this kind of injury on anyone....but it's comforting to know that we're not alone.

We attended the baptism of the son of some of our best friends. We almost feel as if we're a part of their family. Same family that I did the wedding cake for. It was interesting to hear some of them talk about Mark. Some hadn't seen him for a few months and they were astounded at how well he's doing. For me it's kind of like watching your children grow. Because I'm with him all the time, I don't really notice it. But if they haven't seen him for a while, they get the full picture of how quick his recovery has been. It's wonderful to hear. It's a wonderful reminder for me to stop and pay attention.

Mark saw the neurologist on Monday and has his driving privileges restored. He couldn't be happier about that. He's been driving a little hear and there. He's just legal now. Barring any other issues, we don't have to see him for six months. That's good news to me!

We visited with the new doctor yesterday. He wanted to speak to us about the upcoming "anniversary" of the injury. It's been on my mind as to how to handle it and what we should do to get through it. He wanted to prepare us for what may be a very hard time. He said it usually affects people in ways they never dreamed it would. I suspected it was going to be hard. But it's going to come whether I want it to or not. We're just going to deal with it as best we can.

He ran Mark though a quick test that he'd given him in the Spring. Though Mark still struggled a little bit, he did much better. He is improving. It's just very slow. The doctor described like this. If we wanted to go to Salt Lake, the quickest direct route would be I-15. But when there's traffic delays such as construction, weather or an accident, we can still get to Salt Lake, we just have to go up Provo Canyon to Heber and get on I-80. The end result is the same, it just takes a little longer. That's what Mark's brain is doing. He can't go up I-15 anymore. It's not there. He has to go up through Provo Canyon to Heber. The neuropathways are being reconstructed, so expect delays.

We talked about Mark being ambidextrous. Because of Mark's missing pectoral muscles, his brain has already created neuropathways on the right side of his brain that affect language and reading. They are just being awakened and put to use. I tried to compare his situation to me, and the doctor said that female brains are wired differently. Female brains bilateral and their recovery from brain injury is usually quicker and more complete. The male brain is unilateral, so it can take a little longer for the neuropathways to find their way. Hmmm....very interesting. But his missing pectoral muscles are now a blessing to him. Who would have ever thought.

I've set up an appointment with vocational rehab. We received notice that we qualify for their services. I'm hoping that Mark can find work in another field. I hope he can get training and find something that will fill a large void in his life. I hope he can regain his self confidence and purpose in life, as he helps to take care of his family. I hope he can gain some peace. I hope he can be happy again.

Blessing of the Week: experience

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Been There...Done That

Flashbacks. Have you ever had one? For some reason I've been having them a lot. It mostly happens in the evening as Mark and I are lying in the bed. His favorite thing to do is put head in my lap and have me rub his back and run my fingers through his hair. Lately as I am performing this ritual, I have focused on the concave curvature of the left side of his head. I watch as his pulse beats in the spot that has no bone to protect his brain. And I cry. I'm taken back to that ugly, dark night and the many dark days that followed. I can see his swollen head and face, the staples covering each side of head, the sweat that is pooling on his face, neck and chest, the drains that are coming out his head filled with blood and spinal fluid, the respirator keeping him alive. I can smell the "cerebral odor" that comes with brain injuries, the alcohol from the many injections he gets. I can feel the chill of the room trying to keep his body temperature down. I can hear the beep of the monitors as he pulls off his pulse oximeter and the leads come off of his chest from all of the sweat. It's as if I'm right there in the ICU again. And it's horrible. It's overwhelming. It's heartbreaking. And I cry.

Last night as I held him close to me, my heart ached for him. He's so discouraged, unhappy, depressed and lost. And there's nothing I can do for him. There's no way for me to help him. "I love you" only goes so far. He feels helpless from all that has happened to him and our family. I feel helpless that I can't do anything about it. It's been 10 months and I'm not sure we're any better off than we were 8 months ago. It's all just too much sometimes. I'm ready for the roller coaster to stop. I need to get off.

Blessing of the Week: eternal companions