41 Comments - Leave a comment!

Saying Good-Bye

Sunday marks eleven years (11 YEARS!!!) since my car accident.

The anniversary always makes me evaluate, and re-evaluate, my life.

Where am I now?

Where was my life eleven years ago before the accident?

Where was I (and my how was my arm) five years ago …?

A year ago?

I’ll be honest and tell you I’m having a very bad week.

Paul Newman, at my last visit, informed me I’m not progressing and haven’t been for awhile.

Add to that a few personal issues, and …

Well, I’ve spent a good deal of this week in tears.

I even had a friend dismiss and minimize my arm-ordeal this week as “no big deal.”

Really?

I’ve spent eleven years of my life going through twelve surgeries,

Twelve recoveries,

Innumerable MRIs, painful injections, and “non-surgical” treatments,

Thousands of physical therapy treatments,

Hundreds of doctors visits.

I lost almost every friend I had 11 years ago.

I lost my entire life, as it was.

I fought like hell and endured horrific pain to build a very successful business doing what I love –

In spite of the fact I was told I’d never hold a camera again.

I’ve also LOST my entire business in the last year and a half due to my three most recent surgeries.

Between down time for surgeries/recoveries and the fact I can’t hold my camera for more than a few minutes –

How could my business survive?

I feel like my arm has taken everything from me … absolutely everything.

I am beyond discouraged and feel totally defeated.

I’ve fought like hell, but I haven’t won.

I believe I’ve reached, eleven years post-accident, the end of my arm journey.

I won’t say I’m “giving up” because I know I still have a few victories ahead of me.

I know, it’s likely I’ll regain a little more strength in my arm over my future years.

At least, I hope I will.

Maybe I’ll eventually be able to carry a cup of coffee?

I really want to be able to do that.

But –

I think, in large part, I’m done.

My arm has come as far as it will, and I’m emotionally worn out from hoping for a happy ending.

I’m grateful (so grateful!!) to be out of the worst of the pain.

The first decade was horrific – it really was.

There are no words to describe how bad it was.

Thank you Dr. Itamura for being the ONLY surgeon who understood what was causing me such teeth-clenching pain.

I’m forever indebted to every single medical professional who helped me along this journey –

Most especially Paul Newman who has made my life livable these past several years.

(I’m sure I’ll continue to see Paul Newman on a part time “maintenance” basis.)

I began blogging about two years after my accident.

I started Twenty Four at Heart on a whim.

It has brought me friends from all over the world.

But, it’s time to close down the blog.

My heart hasn’t been in it over the last year and a half as I’ve struggled through these last three surgeries.

I’m very sad at the thought of losing my connection with many of you.

I hope you’ll stay in touch via email and social media.

I don’t know what comes next for me.

My life has been a series of twists and turns –

And most likely there will be more of those to come.

I hope, at some point, I’ll be able to shoot regularly again.

But, as of right now, even that seems unattainable.

I’m maintaining my twenty four at heart/24 at heart trademarks in case I change my mind,

But I don’t expect to.

I will leave this post up for a few weeks –

Maybe even a month or two to make sure my occasional visitors get an opportunity to read it.

I want to thank each and every single one of you for being a part of the 24 community over these many years.

Your support has meant the world to me and I wish only the best for each of you.

Thank you for everything –

I will forever cherish the many friends this blog has added to my life.

Edited to add:  

Facebook:  Suzanne Haggerty

Twitter:  SuzHaggerty

Instagram:  24atHeart

Please follow me – or I will miss you too much!  

1 Comment - Leave a comment!

July 20, 2017

I wanted to drop a quick note to let you know a few things I forgot to mention in my last post.

1.  Dean Davidson has been kind enough to offer a 20% discount code to my friends.

I’ve mentioned before (several times!), how much I love Dean’s jewelry.

I wear pieces from his various collections at least 3-4 times each week.

The new discount code is:  DDWelcome20

I think you’re supposed to click on the above (blue) link to get the discount?

Happy shopping!

(I’m afraid to even look myself because I have such a weakness for his jewelry!)

2.  I bought a hula hoop yesterday.

(That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!)

My yoga teacher is really into hula hooping dance as a form of exercise.

I’ll be honest and admit I did not realize hula hooping and/or hula hooping dance was a “thing.”

But, I’ve talked with several friends this week who ALL have hula hoops.

Why didn’t any of these people ever mention it until I brought it up?

I guess I’ve been too busy with surgeries and recoveries to keep up with such things.

Anyway, I’m going to take a hula hooping beginners workshop on August 5th if any of my OC friends are interested in joining me.

(Leave me a comment or send me an email if you’re interested in attending and I’ll get back to you with details.)

I’ve heard the workshops are LOTS of fun and filled with laughter.

Once my hoop arrives I’ll begin re-teaching myself how to hula hoop at home.

I don’t think I’ve used a hula hoop since I was about eight years old.

I won’t be able to do the arm hooping stuff, but I should be able to do most of the rest-of-the-body hula hooping.

By the way, if you live in Southern California and would like to go to the workshop you do not have to buy your own hoop first –

Hoops are provided.

Also, hula hooping is a great core workout and can burn approximately 400 calories in a half hour.

Who knew?

3.  The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale begins today/tomorrow – depending on when I get this published.

(The sale begins the 21st!)

I’m a big Nordstrom fan because I absolutely hate to shop and they make it about as easy and painless as it can be.

Normally a department store sale is not something I would even bother to mention.

However, several of you mentioned you’d be interested in Paul Green shoes if only they weren’t so damn expensive.

And they ARE expensive.

Paul Green Nora Water Resistant Bootie in Antelope

I was “invited” to the Nordstrom pre-sale and was made aware some Paul Green shoes will be on sale during the Anniversary Sale.

I just wanted to give you a heads up in case you were one of the people/readers who had put them on your wish list.

Many of the Nordstrom sale items sell out either during the pre-sale or during the first 24 hours of the full/public sale.

If Paul Green shoes are something you REALLY want – you’ve now got a head start on the crowds.

You’re welcome!

I’ll be back next week ….

4 Comments - Leave a comment!

Random Babbling

I’m waiting for an electrician to show up.

This is the summer of costly home repairs?

I thought I’d Random Ramble to you while I’m waiting.

Here goes ….

First, I’m so tired of everyone wearing “cold shoulder” shirts.

This is just stupid?

It is ALL you see in the stores.

It is ALL you see girls/women wearing.

And ….?

I think it’s ridiculous, overdone, and only looks good on girls about the age of 10.

However, if you own dozens of cold shoulder shirts –

  1. I don’t blame you because there’s nothing else available to purchase, and
  2. I’m sure you’re an exception and look wonderful in it.

Second, my arm/injuries/disability is a pre-existing condition.

I’m sure I’ll be dealing with the aftermath of the car accident in some manner or another for the rest of my life.

Just saying …..

Third, Paul Newman has changed up my routine recently.

I’m now with a new, more patient/encouraging/positive tech for strengthening activities.

I’ve also begun working on a pilates reformer for some of my arm/upper body strengthening and I’ll be continuing that in the future.

I think both of these changes are positive things.

It’s hard to feel good about pt when you’re working with someone who clearly doesn’t want to work with you and/or has an attitude of, “You could do this if you actually wanted to.”

(I’ve been on this journey for eleven years – I don’t have time for people with bad attitudes.)

Fourth, I’m loving yoga.

Or pre-yoga as I call it.

Pre is for pretend because there’s very little REAL yoga I can do with my arm.

I love my instructor … she does “therapeutic” yoga and loves working with people who have physical challenges.

I’m currently spending an hour with her each week.

We do exercises/stretches for my entire body but she’s concentrating a lot on strengthening and stabilizing my core and upper body.

In a way, it’s kind of an “extra” physical therapy session each week.

I feel like it’s a huge benefit to me right now as I try to get my body working again.

Fifth,  The electrician just showed up.

He “loves” dogs, but is terrified of Fred and Frank “because they’re as big as bears.”

Frank requesting a walk.

I guess Frank looks like a panda bear, and Fred (quite obviously) most resembles a black bear?

Like most people, the electrician asked if he could take a photo of them because “no one will believe there are dogs as big as these.”

People’s reactions to my very sweet, loving, Fur Faces always makes me laugh.

Frank, on the couch, enjoying watching TV.

Fred did bark once at the electrician just to say hello.

The electrician grabbed his heart and said, “That bark was so big I could FEEL it.”

Hilarious!

Fred currently weighs around 180 pounds and Frank, my puppy, is only 140 – 145.

OK, I’m off to answer electrician questions.

Have a wonderful day!

No Comments - Leave a comment!

The Summer of Heat

My air conditioning is broken again/still/forever.

A repairman is working on it (yet again) today.

It has NOT worked more than it has worked this summer.

It’s a fairly new unit, and supposedly a very good quality unit, so why does it break all the time?

It’s made me into a Hot Woman this summer – which is something I aspired to be frequently when I was younger.

Now?

Not so much.

Keep your fingers crossed it will be working by the end of today …

And, hopefully, keep working this time.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos from my recent trip to Santa Barbara.

I had a great 4th of July – which was also my THIRTIETH wedding anniversary.

Damn, I’m getting old?

Our “big” anniversary celebration will be the trip to Australia in February.

But, a quick trip up the coast was a great way to celebrate the “real” date.

Driving north – through the car window mountains to the right, ocean (not shown) to the left.

Once you get north of L.A., the drive becomes pretty.

Mountains on one side of the road and ocean on the other.

I played “Ventura Highway” by America a few times as I drove north on Ventura Highway.

After a couple hours, I reached Santa Barbara ….

From inside my car:  Entering Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is my forever happy place.

I’ve got a lifetime of memories wrapped up in the town.

My dream would be to return permanently to live and have a small studio there.

Maybe someday?

Mountain view from my hotel’s roof.

I stayed downtown at the Kimpton Canary hotel.

I’ve stayed there before.

It’s convenient because I can park my car and walk everywhere – through the town, to the beach, to most of my favorite restaurants, etc.

(I only used the car once in four days – when I decided to drive north of Santa Barbara to El Capitan State Beach one day.)

The Kimpton also has a pool, bar, fireplace and lounging area on the roof of the hotel.

Ocean view from my hotel’s roof.

One day, as I walked near the ocean, I came across a fisherman just as he caught a small octopus.

He brought it out of the water, and then let it walk around a little for me to watch.

It was very creepy to see a slimey, eight armed creature, “walking” towards me.

I’m pretty sure it was trying to say, “Help meeeeeee!”

After he laughed at my reaction, and posed for a photo, he threw it back in the ocean so it could grow up to be a big octopus.

Fisherman with small octopus – which he released after a few photos.

I’ve got many more photos to go through still.

I haven’t had time and I’ve fallen behind with three trips last month – Nashville, Texas, and Santa Barbara.

I’ll be home (I think?) for a few weeks so I’ll try to share more with you as I get to them.

4 Comments - Leave a comment!

Is This It?

July 30th will mark eleven years (and 12 surgeries) since my car accident.

I’ve been struggling much more than usual with my upcoming “bad” anniversary.

A year and a half, and three surgeries ago, I had resigned myself to living my life with my nonfunctional, very (!!) painful, arm.

Paul Newman convinced me I “didn’t have to live like this” and that I should go through one more surgery.

He didn’t give me much choice.

I had the distinct impression he didn’t feel like he could keep me on/help me anymore if I didn’t attempt another surgery.

Paul Newman has been life changing for me – helping me manage my pain more effectively than anyone or anyTHING I’ve previously tried.

I knew I’d be in terrible pain without his help, so I did as he wished and started gathering surgical opinions.

Fortunately, I eventually found Dr. Itamura – the first and only orthopedic surgeon to “get” my injuries.

(I’d previously had so many docs look at my arm!)

Surgery #10 was a big one.

It took away a LOT of pain and I was very grateful to both Paul Newman and Dr. Itamura.

But, two more surgeries followed.

Two surgeries I hadn’t expected … on the elbow of the same damaged arm.

It has been six months since the last one.

I expected to be back to normal and done with physical therapy by now.

But, instead I’m really struggling.

One of the PT techs scolded me for not being able to lift my arm last week.

Then, the same day, she scolded me for not being able to bear weight on my arm.

She felt I should be able to do these things.

And, I suppose, a normal person who had one or two surgeries WOULD be able to do them.

But, I can’t.

It’s not for lack of trying.

And, after everything I’ve been through, I have a very high pain tolerance – so it’s not from wimping out either.

I left PT feeling totally defeated.

And silently, my brain keeps chanting: “Eleven years, eleven years, eleven years!”

Maybe my arm is as good as it will ever be.

Yes, I’m in less pain now and that is a wonderful, positive, thing.

But no, I do not have much function/use in my dominant arm.

I always said I’d be able to live with my arm if it didn’t work …

If only I could get rid of the worst of the pain.

The pain is not gone, but it is much less than it used to be.

Trying to use my arm, however, DOES result in pain flare-ups.

I imagine I’ll always live with pain … but if it isn’t teeth-clenching pain life will be much better.

This is as good as it gets for me?

I don’t know why my arm won’t work as well as I’d hoped.

Maybe my brain has forgotten how to make it work?

I’ve heard that can happen with long term, disabling, injuries.

Maybe more function will gradually come to me – albeit very slowly?

Maybe it will take me years to regain strength again instead of the few months it takes someone with a normal injury?

I don’t know.

I don’t have answers.

I see my surgeon in a few weeks for a follow-up visit.

I can ask him what he thinks then.

But, I do know he (and many other doctors) have previously told me my final results are unknown.

There just aren’t that many (any?) other people out there who have had a non-functioning arm for 11 years with the injuries/surgeries I have.

No one has ever known how much of a recovery would be possible.

Maybe this is as far as my arm can go.

Maybe this is it …?

On July 30th it will be eleven years ….

Eleven years, eleven years, eleven years ………

1 Comment - Leave a comment!

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

I’m up the coast for a few days – celebrating my wedding anniversary.

I’m sure I’ll post some photos on Spotify and/or Instagram and/or Facebook.

Getting married on the 4th of July was not, perhaps, the best idea.

But, that’s what I did … a long, long, LONG time ago.

Happy Fourth of July from Fred!!

Happy Fourth of July from Frank!

Fred was humiliated when I added flags to his ensemble!

This photo sums up Frank’s personality perfectly!

Fred is a good sport as long as he doesn’t have to wear sunglasses and flags at the same time!

Have a safe holiday.

If you aren’t one of my American readers, I hope you have a fun 4th of July anyway!

4 Comments - Leave a comment!

Real Life …

In case you’re wondering what my week’s been like ….

My kitchen came with a double oven unit.

It hasn’t been working well for ages.

The temperature goes UP and comes DOWN at random intervals leaving the user with no clue as to whether anything is really cooking or not.

I had a repairman out awhile back, and he did his best but the unit completely died about two weeks ago.

I just had a new unit (which consists of two ovens) put in.

The day after the install, my downstairs air conditioning unit broke.

Every summer, one of my two a/c units seems to break.

(My house came with two units – one for downstairs and one for upstairs.)

Of course, the a/c units never break when it is 80 degrees outside …

They only break when temperatures reach 100F or more.

Fred, Frank, and I have been pretty miserable over this last week – enduring quite a heat wave.

Newfies don’t do well in hot weather.

I pulled out fans, put ice cubes in their water bowls, fed them chilled watermelon – which they love.

I did my very best to keep them as cool as possible.

Yesterday, the day the heat wave broke and temperatures returned to the 80’s, a repairman finally showed up to fix my air conditioner.

It has been a very expensive two weeks.

In addition, I had a “skin check” with my dermatologist this week.

Having had melanoma before,  I have to go in for regular skin checks.

He decided to do a shave biopsy on a light spot above my lip.

A shave biopsy is where they scrape off a little skin to look at the pathology of the cells.

It isn’t a big deal – particularly to someone with my medical history.

But, as a result, it looks like I have a smear of dark chocolate (the scraped area) right above my mouth and people keep staring at it.

I’m just waiting for someone to try to wipe my face for me.

Lastly, when I returned from the biopsy, I walked into my house to find both Fred and Frank had “escaped” and wreaked havoc throughout my house.

Newfies shed a LOT and drool a LOT so Fred and Frank are confined to the downstairs portion of my house.

(I have bullet proof brick floors downstairs, and carpet upstairs.)

Frank, however, is a master escape artist and has learned how to circumvent every type of barrier I’ve created to contain him.

Fred finds it very interesting to watch Frank devise escape plans, and sometimes he’ll even join in on the actual escape.

(Not always though – sometimes I find Fred staying, obediently, downstairs while Frank freaks out with joy running all over the house.)

Anyway, I came home to find the Newfies had drank out of all three toilet bowls …. or, at the very least, played in them.

There was water all over the bathroom floors and no water left in the toilets.

Newfies do love water!

I’m pretty sure the very definition of a Water Dog is NEWFIE.

They must have had quite a splash party because even the carpets had gotten a little wet during their toilet water play session.

In addition, one of the two dogs (Frank!) had mistaken my green floor towel stand for a tree and peed on it.

(In fairness, it DOES sort of look like a tree???)

My extra lush, snow-white, NICE bath towels were peed on and there was a conspicuous yellow puddle at the foot of the green towel stand.

Fortunately for me, (can I say the word “fortunate” with the week I’ve had?) my washing machine has an extra heavy duty “sanitize” cycle that runs for two hours with extremely hot water.

I may have washed my towels TWICE on the sanitize cycle.

On a positive note, I had a great yoga session on Wednesday.

My instructor made further adjustments for my arm and I survived in much less pain than last week.

I really enjoyed the session and it renewed a spark of hope in me.

How has your week been?

I’m ready for a weekend.

 

 

 

4 Comments - Leave a comment!

This, That, And The Other Thing

Happy summer!

It’s been VERY hot here in Southern California.

I’ve been trying to hide from the sweltering (!) heat when I can …

I wanted to update you on all sorts of random stuff today.

It looks like I’ll be going to Cuba in October!

Yep, as of right now my trip is ON in spite of recent changes to Cuba travel restrictions.

I’m very excited – I’ve wanted to visit the country for years.

My itinerary for Cuba is jam-packed.

I’m trying to cram in as much as possible while I’m there.

I expect I’ll be thoroughly exhausted by the time I return.

I will also definitely be in Australia in mid February.

The exact dates aren’t set yet, and neither are the exact locations I’ll be visiting.

I do know I’ll be in Sydney, of course.

I’m also trying to spend a day shooting in the Blue Mountains.

I would like to also visit/see:  Melbourne, the great Ocean Road (a must!), Adelaide, Ayres Rock, and the Great Barrier Reef.

I’ve had to take Perth off my list because there won’t be enough time to see it.

Quite honestly, I’ll probably have to take more things off my list too because I don’t think I’ll have enough time and/or money to do everything I want to do.

If you’re one of my Aussie readers, I’d love to hear suggestions and tips.

I’ve got two book suggestions for those of you who are readers.

Most of my reading time ends up being on planes.

Both of today’s suggestions are pretty easy reads – and neither of them are “new.”

First is All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.

This book is an entertaining, plot-twisting, fun, summer read.

I’ve known several people who read this book and all of them seemed to enjoy it.

Second is Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

It was a New York Times Bestseller … and I just recently got around to reading it.

This book/memoir was so achingly REAL, it was hard not to be impacted by it.

During recent trips I also read:

The Woman in Cabin 10

Lilac Girls

A Man Called Ove  (Made me cry – I LOVE old men!!)

Yes, I do read at an unnaturally (!!) fast speed.

I’ve always been like that and it’s a little freaky to most of the people in my life.

If you have any good summer books, I’d love to hear about them.

Yoga Update

I might have spoken too soon with all my yoga enthusiasm.

After my last session, my arm flipped out and also popped off my body.  (Subluxed.)

Paul Newman has been on vacation so I couldn’t see him.

Between his trips and mine, I’ve barely been at PT for weeks.

He returns later this week so, hopefully, he’ll be able to help me.

I did go visit one of his co-workers to try to get a little help in the meantime.

Co-worker tried to push my shoulder back into place and it hurt a lot.

(It hurts a lot when Paul Newman does it also.)

I have yoga again this week and I’m planning to go, but I’ll have to skip most of the arm-related stuff.

Sometimes I think I’m just hitting my head against a wall over, and over,

And over again with this disabled arm of mine.

Someday, I suppose, I’ll accept “this is it” and stop trying to make my damn arm work.

But, for now, my stubborn nature keeps pushing me into trying again and again.

Honestly, I exhaust myself with my own stubbornness.

3 Comments - Leave a comment!

Thursday, June 22nd 2017

I’m back from Texas.

Man, oh man, was it HOT in Texas!

I had a great visit with my youngest son while I was there.

I really missed my animal friends though.

Fred’s giant paw rests on my foot.  This is his affectionate way of “paw holding” with me.

My Texas-Schedule was nonstop and I was exhausted (in a good way) by the time I got on the plane to head back to Orange County.

After returning home, I came down with a *cold* courtesy of the man who sneezed and coughed all over me nonstop on my flight.

Why am I always seated by The Sick Guy on flights?

I’ve been getting caught up from my trip via my laundry room, the grocery store, etc.

I also went to my second private yoga lesson.

I’m not really doing yoga the way other people do yoga.

I guess you’d say I’m doing pre-yoga … sort of like pre-kindergarten, but different.

The very simplest of things are terrifically difficult for me.

For instance, imagine being all fours like a baby about to crawl – simple, right?

Well, no … because my arm can’t bear weight for more than a millisecond.

But, I’m delighted to be making attempts.

I’m thrilled with every single tiny micro-improvement.

I appreciate it all in a way a “normal” person probably never could.

After my lessons, I come home and wrap my arm in ice and keep my fingers crossed my arm doesn’t:

  1.  Fall off
  2.  Become inflamed and angry at my efforts.

So far, my arm has only been sort of angry.

I think the positives – eventually (hopefully!!) gaining some strength and function – outweigh the pain factor.

I force myself to stay focused on all the teeny-tiny positive improvements to prevent me from feeling like a failure for *all the things I cannot do.*

My instructor is perfect for me – knowledgeable about making many needed modifications, and very encouraging.

She said she is “honored” to work with me and finds me inspirational.

(!!!!)

I’m SO grateful she’s willing to help me when others were not.

Isn’t it funny how to some people I’m a complication and not worth the trouble –

And to others, I’m an inspiration and they feel rewarded by helping me along this journey?

A person’s outlook and approach is really everything in life, isn’t it?

Lots of other stuff has been going on, too …

Hopefully, I’ll get a couple posts up next week!

8 Comments - Leave a comment!

Yay! is for YOGA!

Yay!

I finally found someone willing to give me a private (modified for my arm) yoga lesson.

Yoga!

I really enjoyed it.

Also …?

My arm is really sore, but that’s okay.

My instructor did a lot of pre-work (homework?) before we met.

She had modifications for me  –

And MORE modifications … and then, even MORE modifications.

It made me realize there’s absolutely no way I could have gone directly into a class without getting individual help first.

I’m going to meet with her once a week for a few weeks and then, hopefully, I’ll have my modifications down well enough to move into a regular class.

(Private lessons are wonderful, but way too expensive to continue long term.)

I’m really excited about it.

It’s just a baby step, but it’s a beginning and that makes it a very encouraging new adventure in my life.


In other news,

I’ve put a deposit down on a trip BY MYSELF to Cuba.

It *might* be canceled because rumor has it Trump will be rescinding almost everything Obama did regarding Cuba policy changes very soon – possibly as soon as tomorrow when he’s in Miami.

But, I’m hoping any new changes don’t go into effect until January.

We’ll see.

Cuba has been high on my Shoot List, always.

My Cuba trip is currently planned for the end of October – keep your fingers crossed for me!

I’ll be so disappointed if it’s cancelled as a result of the political turmoil in the US right now.

Aussie readers (and I know there are a LOT of you!), I’m also working on my itinerary for an Australia trip in February.

A friend of my family is a travel agent.

Her initial proposal came in as a four week Australia trip costing tens of thousands of dollars.

I wish I had that much time and money, but I don’t ….

So, I’ll be working on possible alternative itineraries for Australia in coming weeks.

Tomorrow/Friday I’m headed to Texas and I won’t be back until Tuesday.

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to post from Texas, but I’ll try!