Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Outings and my SCI Recovery

I'm so grateful for the time that AJ has put into this relationship and how much love he shows me through his patience and encouragement.  He has been a key player in this whole healing process.  He visits every single day and updates me on the outside world.  He is very enthusiastic...a great story teller.  He's also very comforting during times of sadness.  He makes me smile :) He is in a tap class and is learning some pretty cool moves.

AJ and I have set aside "date nights" for Friday's, where we put a sign on the door so visitors don't come in for a few hours and we just watch a movie.  I think I fall asleep for most of them.  He tries to stay for as long as possible to make sure I'm really asleep.  I always hate it when he has to leave though because I have to be in a room filled with machines, feeling empty and all by myself. Sadness seeps in because I feel confined to my bed and my freedom is withheld for the time being. Without help, I cannot leave.

But we had a special date this last week. We went to the Draper Temple Open House.  I was really nervous about leaving because it seems so foreign, but my doctors are trying to help me get assimilated with real life again, so we will be doing more "outings."  It was windy and cold.  But the temple was awesome.  We were one of the last visitors and got to go through different entrances. Our tour guide was so kind in showing us the interior with great detail and humor. He led us to one of the coolest spots - it was a grand picture of Christ in his heavenly resurrected state, with his eyes so soft and arms spread out ready to embrace us - me - and saying, "Come unto me." It brought so much solace to look into his peaceful eyes and feel the warmth of his arms, calling me to come unto him.  He really is real. That was an amazing experience, which I'll never forget.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Grateful for Friends

"But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine." -Thomas Jefferson

I'm so very grateful for friends who come to visit and are so willing to listen, talk, and cheer me up. They have been instrumental in my healing process. They keep the days from blending in together in boredom. They really do brighten up my day and bring great stories to share. I really do love them!

Angelica has been coming over every morning at about seven o'clock.  She tries to be very quiet when she comes in, but I know she's here.  She's so funny.  She comes to study here, work on my loom hat, acts as a scribe for my journals, talks with me, and helps me however she can. Her scribing has helped out so much because I get so tired and dizzy when I try to read or write, so I don't do a lot of it.  I'm so thankful she is willing as it helps me to think my way through my experiences thus far before really writing it down as well as reflect on what's going on.

Ryan brought over the movie, "Emma," and watched it with Angelica and me.  I thought it was funny when he asked for us three to hold hands.  I shared dinner with them because I was not feeling well or hungry, which happens a lot lately.  It was a sweet movie.  I think I fell asleep. The drugs make me so tired. Sometimes, I don't even remember what happened the day before, but I try super hard to remember when people come to visit because it makes me happy :)

Other friends from the ward like Stephanie and Sarah have been stopping by to visit and keep me company. One friend, Greg brings in a group on Sunday's to sing to me.  Bishop brings some of the guys over to visit too.  They are so funny and so sweet.  He even brought his family, even his son, Christian to play his guitar, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz.  It was so awesome.  He makes playing the guitar look like so much fun. They have been such blessings to me.

On Sundays, my nurses and sometimes Mom help me get dressed in Sunday clothes and Dad takes me to the chapel on the ground floor to listen to the gospel message and partake of the sacrament.  I have felt peace in listening to the talks and thinking of my Savior Jesus Christ who has been exactly where I'm at and completely understands how I'm feeling. He provides me with so much strength. Although, sometimes I get so tired that I fall asleep (not much has It's a bit uncomfortable to have my little IV/feeding tube rack with me at all times, tough. blah. It's also comforting to see that there are others that are going through some of the same things as me, and to know we're all in this together. I'm glad that there is so much support from friends and family.  I'm grateful for the relationships that were created before and are strengthened now from this experience.  I'm also grateful for those new ones as well. I can feel the love and I feel so grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed me with such great friends. He sent angels to watch over me and cheer me up. He really does have a plan and he placed them here for me to help me get through this.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Daily Universe Article about Martina

A reporter from the school newspaper, the Daily Universe interviewed me about my accident, while I am in rehab. She said so many wonderful things about me. Just check out the title, "Student looks for a miracle in life despite multiple hardships." Here is the article.  I hope you can read it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I haven't been able to keep down ANY of the food I'm eating, despite lots of encouragement and bribes to eat more.  Honestly, nothing sounds remotely good, not even my favorite foods like they normally do like OJ, Special K berry cereal, yogurt, or even steak, rice, and veggies!!!  Everything I eat comes up… making everything less appetizing, even to think about it. It's so very frustrating and I feel miserable all over when it gets icky. It's even worst when it happens in front of my friends. I feel bad that they have to witness that stuff, but I'm sure they must be feeling bad for me. It's just not a pretty sight, is it? Here we have this 80 lb. girl, bags under her eyes, messy hair, with my boyfriend's baggy pi's on, barfing up a storm. blah! I don't feel like a vivacious, energetic Martina anymore. It's pretty rough.

Test after test, doctors finally determined that I have Pancreatis, where my pancreas is inflamed from the extreme trauma it has experienced along with the rest of my body. I looked it up on PubMed, which is just as confusing as when my doctor was explaining to me, but here it is, "The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach. It releases the hormones insulin and glucagon, as well as digestive enzymes that help you digest and absorb food."It turns out that the pancreas does a lot more than being the little lump in my body as I once thought it was.

So do you know what all of this talk about pancreatitis means? Yes, you guessed it...nose feeding. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? It's where a tube in stuck through my nose and goes past my pancreas to my stomach, which will give my poor baby pancreas some much needed rest. I am being fed a yellow liquid from a pouch that is hooked up to something like an IV stand. It sits right next to my bed. I am hooked up to it all day everyday.  It even goes to physical therapy together, and because we endure that hardship together, I think we're developing a bond. However, it irritates me at times like when it runs out and makes a really, really loud beeping noise until a nurse comes into switch it out, which may take a really, really long time. Hardships build up relationships, right?

Overall, pancreatitis has been really rough. Just when I was really feeling better and just looking forward to leaving my dull, grey hospital room for home, I get to stay indefinitely longer.  I REALLY want to get better soon...I'm having trouble keeping my faith up because of this roadblock, but I'm trying. I feel so utterly miserable. I'm so ready to leave all of these monitors, tubes, blood samples, shots, blah, blah, blah behind and get some fresh air. Yes, fresh air is long over due. I need to move one already and go do things with my life. I know I'm complaining way too much, but I really can't wait to get better. Each day, I lay in bed feeling week, throat hurting, stomach pained, and spirits low. I don't see a point in this part of the process. I wonder if my Heavenly Father planned for this pancreatitis along with the accident or if it's something that comes with the territory? If so, why? It's really unnecessary. Not only am I feeling terrible, but I don't know when it's going to end and that causes extra stress because it's also incurring tons more hospital debt each day that I really can't pay for. Uh…let's not go into the hospital bills. It's way above my head and giving me a headache just thinking about it. Nonetheless, I have faith that He has a plan for me and that all of this will be over soon. Grey skies will turn to rainbows soon enough, I hope. In the meantime, I'm thankful for the family and friends who still continue to visit me even though each visit is so spontaneous and they never know what's going to happen with me. Sorry and thanks, guys.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Life is full of Bittersweetness.
There comes in life, many bitter moments, hardships, trials, things that seem unbearable. However, we must always remember that there must be a balance. Remember to look for the sweet moments as well and hold on to them for as long as possible.  Embrace all that you experience.  Learn from it.  Hold on to those you love and live by what you know is right.  Stay strong and positive.

Rehab is a reality check. The first few days were miserable. First, each day was a reminder of how much I needed my legs because I'm being trained to do everything with as little help as possible; I couldn't even put on my own pants! Oh the frustration, especially with this turtle shell on (and another six months to go).

Second of all: physical therapy. All the activities we did would have been 10x easier if I could just use my legs. Who would've thought scooting could be so hard; yes, without your legs scooting your butt is one of the most complicated activities ever! The only thing I had to rely on were my arms and my physical therapist's support so I wouldn't fall flat on my face.  And if I wasn't careful, there would be random moments of passing gas... how embarrassing! I just kept apologizing to my therapist...Sorry Dario!

But... I know I'm going to get through it. It's just so frustrating. I wish I use my legs again. Hope. Something that I need to hang on to, right? Well, at least that's what everyone has been reminding me since.
My doctors have been so supportive of me. Sometimes the ones from the O.R. would just come in and ask how I'm doing, and even hang out with me (some even discuss their day skiing...oh you guys make me jealous!!). My nurses and CNA's have been so kind as to help me as much as possible and talk to me and tell not to give up, because miracles do happen. The best part throughout all of this is having my boyfriend, family, and friends along the way. I feel like I need and appreciate them so much more. Thanks guys :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our Story Begins with a little life changing Accident

The WORST Pain of My Life!
It was a bright Thursday afternoon when she got out of my car. Thursday meant snowboarding class for Martina and she was as excited as ever to go. With the same enthusiasm of a little kid getting to go on a much anticipated field trip, Martina waved goodbye and headed to the bus. Neither of us knew that that day, our lives were going to change.
It was several hours later when the first glimpse of tragedy struck.
My phone rang. Glancing at the caller ID I saw it was Martina. I answered expecting to hear her sweet voice, but instead was greeted by a stern manly voice. Confused I asked,
"Hello?" What came next broke my heart: softly Martina cried, "Hon, I fell on my back and it hurts really bad!" If ever anybody felt powerless to help the one they loved, it was me.
Rushing to the hospital I arrived just in time to see them taking her off the helicopter. I ran inside to be with her, but I was stopped by a sentinel guarding the entrance. Captured, she escorted me to my cell where I waited until another came to question me. After her questions she left me, and I was left to my thoughts. I was restless like the way you get when waiting for the results of a test you don't think you did well on. I glared at the door waiting for my release; it was almost an hour before it came.
As I entered the room Martina was in, I felt like I was walking onto the set of a t.v. show. Doctors and nurses rushed around her in ordered chaos. She lay in the middle of the room, smothered in blankets; above her there hung a giant heater that looked like a fry warmer. I crossed the room and lightly caressed her face, it was ice cold despite the attempts to keep her warm. She looked at me and smiled. But it quickly disappeared. Tears began to pool in her eyes as she told me how much pain she was in.
She looked into my eyes, now glistening from tears, and told me, "Hon, I'm scared." I was speechless. All I managed to say was that everything was going to be alright. The words didn't seem like they were enough; not for me and not for her. Words cannot describe what either of us felt at that time.
It wasn't long before my father came and together we administered a blessing to her. This was probably the best thing we could have done at this time. It brought the peace that can only be felt when people place their trust in their God and align their will with His. Shortly after we had given the blessing, the doctors told us they were taking her for immediate surgery.
They took her and we watched helplessly as she was wheeled down the hall for her surgery. For her the next six hours were spent lying on her face, unconscious, while the doctors operated to save what they could of her spine. The surgery resulted in steel rods and several screws placed in her lower back. While for me, the time was spent calling her friends and family to console and comfort them.
After her surgery we had a little time to visit with her, but those of us who were there didn't stay long. We knew she needed rest to regain her strength for the challenges that lay ahead. By now it was 3 a.m. the next day. The visit was bittersweet; though she was able to talk with us, tears swelled in her eyes. She was still in pain and the doctors did not yet know how much damage her spinal cord had experienced, but the outlook was bleak: she would probably never walk again. We gave her another blessing and then we left. All of us much more sober and grateful to God for the tender mercies in our lives that made it possible to bear this experience and the hardships to come.