Book Releases

Close to Heaven: A Colorado High Country Christmas (Colorado High Country #5) —
Rain and Joe's story is out! Head back to Scarlet Springs for a very snowy Christmas story, complete with a look at the history of Scarlet Springs. There are sexy times, as well as a lot of humor. You can grab your copy here: Kindle Nook iBooks Kobo Smashwords Paperback

About Me

My photo
I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

Members

Seductive Musings

Saturday, June 26, 2010

M.A.N. Project

L to R: My brother Bob, my father (also Bob) and my younger son Benjamin

Today was a momentous day! My father, one of my two brothers and my younger son Benjamin spent the day working on various projects outside that required lots of muscle. They started by cleaning the gutters on my house, then progressed to trimming dead branches off my three big trees.

They stand above, like victorious hunters, with one very large branch. The biggest almost crossed the width of my yard and came from my cottonwood tree (which is looking none too healthy, I must say). My honey locust trees are looking worse for the wear, too, so I need to give them some serious TLC. Growing trees anywhere in Colorado except in the mountains is not easy. Too hot. Too cold. Too dry. Too high. But I digress...

Today’s project is the fruition of something Benjamin put together, called the M.A.N. Project. That stands for Men’s Action Network. Being a single mom, I’m not much of a dad. And between writing and my neck troubles, I can’t do a lot of the harder work that he does outside. So he created M.A.N. and drafted my brothers and my dad.

The idea behind M.A.N. is to get together every other weekend or such and go from house to house doing the kinds of projects that men can more easily do. So the next M.A.N. Project will be at Bob’s house.

So now they’re finishing with the trees in the backyard. Benjy’s enjoying the new chainsaw I sent him to buy yesterday. Men and tools. It’s cute, really.

This is a real boon for us. We save the branches and chop them into firewood, which then I burn in our green-burning fireplace to help heat the house in the winter. With all the smaller branches, it looks like I have a beaver dam on the north side of my house. I probably have close to a half cord of wood out there now.

I have to admit that watching them climb around in the tree in my front yard with a chain saw and other saws made me nervous, especially when the wind kicked up. True, my dad and brother are active mountain and rock climbers with lots of experience on stuff that’s a lot hairier than a tree. But we’ve had a few thunderstorms move through this afternoon, dropping a few sprinkles, blowing the branches around and then moving eastward across the plains. And having my kiddo high in the tree when the wind really kicked up...

Let’s just say mommy went inside for a while.

Surgery news: I saw the neurosurgeon yesterday. He did a basic exam and found what I’ve known forever — that I have profound sensory nerve loss in my legs. That’s a strange thing, given how much they hurt. But it’s all phantom nerve pain. He also discovered that my balance is really compromised. I sincerely hope I’m never pulled over and asked to go through roadside sobriety maneuvers because the police will think for sure I’m drunk.

Then the surgeon showed us the MRI of my neck, and it wasn’t pretty. From C4/C5 to C6/C7, my spine is pinched flat. The surgeon’s word for it was “pancaked.” It goes from being round and looking white (indicating lots of spinal fluid) to being almost flat and black (almost no spinal fluid).

So I am having fusion surgery on my cervical spine. Two of the vertebrae will have to be drilled apart because they’ve grown together. The discs and extra bone growth will be removed entirely. Then the doc will use the bone he’s drilled out to set up some bone grafts to hold my vertebrae apart like they’re supposed to be. All of that will be held in place by several titanium plates.

I don’t have a date yet, but I’m guessing it will be mid- to late July. I’ll miss about eight weeks of work, and then hopefully, I’ll be in good shape again.

The doctor said he’s not sure this will make the pain in my legs go away, because the nerves may be too damaged. Even so, I can’t leave it that way. As he said, regardless of what I'm feeling/not feeling, having my spine smashed flat like that is affecting my body from the neck down.

I truly hope this makes my life better because the past two years have been really rough.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

11 comments:

Debbie H said...

You know, that could be a community project that Benjy could use at school. I love to watch men work with power tools. There is just so little a man can do anymore. There are no lands to conquer, etc.

I have two sycamore trees in our backyard. When the wind whips them around lots of limbs fall (some pretty bigs ones came down during a storm. I had my DH gather them up, cut them into usable pieces and the twigs along with what he cut up, are being saved for kindling and firewood.

I've kept you in my prayers and the surgeon will get you back in shape, I just know it. Keep us updated as to the exact date, K?

Hugs!

RitaSV said...

Oh, Pamela! Your poor body! :o( I will keep you in my prayers for a successful surgery and quick healing. It is amazing what they can do these days...wouldn't it be fantastic if some of those nerves to your legs healed, too?

As for those wonderful men working in your yard, well, no wonder you write such fantastic heroes. You've got a bunch of them right in your own family! You tell them from me that they are great hero material. What a blessing! So glad they are getting so much of the big stuff done for you--less for you to fret about, especially before you're laid up from surgery.

Diane W. said...

Men doing yardwork is a wonderful thing!! Bravo to your crew!

I'm happy you're getting the answers you need for your spine. I can't even imagine how painful that must be! I'll be sending you lots of good thoughts and prayers that your surgery goes perfectly and your healing afterwards is quick and complete. Denver has some amazing facilities and doctors. You'll be in good hands!

Diane

Oh yikes! That sounds like a real mess your back is in. But at least now there is light at the end of the tunnel.
And what a great idea - the M.A.N. project *g*. I have the same issues - living in a house with no men. Well, my oldest is back home - but he has a convenient bad back when it comes to things he doesn't want to do.

Pamela, the men in your family rock. I'll be praying that your sugery gives you relief and you'll be back on your feet before you know it.

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Hi, Debbie — I think it's a great idea, actually. He came up with it on his own. And I think if every family or even communities through churches or schools or whatever had their own men's action groups, the world would be a better place.

You're right that there are few traditional activities for me. All that testosterone that used to help a guy survive in the wild or help him run a farm and feed his family now has very little purpose. Men do the same jobs women do, and I think it does something to a man's soul to live a life that isn't physical.

But there are so many things that need to be done and so many people — from single moms to old grannies to disabled veterans — who could USE real help, that a man truly can engage purposefully like that if he chooses.

Your sycamores sound pretty but also scary in storms!

Thanks for your prayers. I'll let you all know when I know.

Hi, Rita — Thanks so much. I really hope and pray that my legs heal at least a little bit. The past two years have been so completely demoralizing for me, and I've had some very dark days and nights. All of this is one reason it took so long to write NAKED EDGE. How can you write if you can't sleep or on pain pills all the time? I want to live life fully again, and it's been a while since I could do that.

I will pass your words along, and I'm sure my brother, father and son will appreciate them.

Hi, Diane — Isn't that the truth!?!? Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I'm stuck going through Kaiser, which is a bummer, but the surgeon seems to be a very good one. He's using a technique that will prevent me from having to donate bone from some other part of my body, which is really fantastic. I'm just anxious now to get it over with.

Hi, Kristie — Sorry to hear about your son's back problems. I'm very lucky in that Benjy is very healthy and also that he feels honor-bound to help around the house as much as he can while he lives here during the summers. Of course, I'd want him here even if he didn't. I can't believe he'll be leaving already in six weeks! As for that light at the end of the tunnel — I hope it's just not a train!

Hi, Jennie — Thank you so much for your prayers. I truly do appreciate them. I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll be at least a little better off with this surgery. I mean, it cannot be a good thing when your spine is squished in a space that's only about 1/4 of what it needs, can it?

Hi, Rachel — Aw, thanks! I think this might be the last MTM until my surgery is over with and I'm recovered. I'm so tired from not sleeping that even doing little things like a blog post can feel overwhelming. And then there's still the day job...

But I'm very lucky that I live during a time when they can do something about this. Even 25 years ago, this would have been a very bad situation to be in.

Don't they look manly?

My son capped off his weekend by climbing Mt. Audubon, a 13,000+ foot mountain. The guidebook said the climb takes eight hours. He and a buddy did it in five. The photos he took of Longs Peak and the surrounding mountains are lovely. I'll post them soon!

Luci said...

I wish all the luck with your surgery Pamela! Will keep you in my prayers!

Cecile said...

I think that is great Pamela!!!!!! Your son is an awesome individual!!! Hugs to you honey!!!!

JennJ said...

Hi Honey I'm late this time don't know how I missed this post but you are in my prayers honey. Bless your heart no wonder you have been in such pain. I am so glad they are getting ready to fix that! Here is hoping that you will be good as new in the next few months!!!!! BIG HUGS

Mary G said...

Oh Pamela
Mu heart goes out to you. I hope this will bring a better quality of life for you. It's going to take patience.

So glad you have the M.A.N. guys - that's adorable.

Post a Comment

Follow Me

Search

Seduction Game

Follow by Email

Blog Archive

Labels

Favorite Writing Quotes


"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

"No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."
—Robert Frost.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope."
—the character of Chaucer in
A Knight's Tale