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Friday, January 29, 2010

Reciprocating Gait Orthosis

Here are a few pics of me in my RGOs. I've been up in them three times now and yesterday was much more successful than I had anticipated. Once I'm a little more comfortable I won't need a walker while walking around in the braces - pretty crazy. They are a little terrifying right now because they basically lock my body in a straight position. So if I fell, it would be a very ugly picture. I'd just timber over like a tree - ouch!! In these pics I'm at the UW with my PT Whitney.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Never Give Up

It can certainly be frustrating as weeks and months go on and I feel like I'm seeing no significant progress. There have been little things, but those don't really directly relate to me walking again so it's hard for me to "count" them.

The last couple of sessions at PB I've been practicing standing in the parallel bars. It's pretty amazing, but I can actually stand in the bars without touching the bars or anyone holding on to me. I'm able to balance myself on my legs to stand straight which feels great. I like standing without braces all over my body or someone holding me up. My legs still spasm, so I have to be ready to grab the bars at any moment, because when they do spasm they'll just kick out from under me.

When I went to the U today to practice using my RGO's I mentioned to my PT that I'd been standing. She was shocked, and said that I must have more function back than they realize but my spasms are hiding it. My muscle spasms are very strong, and it's often hard to tell if I'm creating the movement or if it's involuntary.

I also love seeing myself standing for pure vanity. It's hard to remember how thin I am in this wheelchair, because I barely fit through most doors. That and the fact that I had a c-section and since then my ab muscles are paralyzed making them all saggy - makes for a great self image!

The standing is quite exciting and I'm looking forward to discovering more "hidden" function that I have. I just know I'll be up and walking any day now and I am excited! So full of hope for the future that is to come. I can only imagine that everything in life will seem easy after this nightmare - can't imagine much that would be worse!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Anthony trying to steal Luke's lunch.

Goodbye Jeremiah Johnson

and welcome back Jared Anardi. The beard is officially gone and I am very happy about that! My husband looks ten years younger - I was shocked when he came out of the bathroom yesterday with no beard. He hadn't even mentioned he was thinking about shaving it. But no complaints from me - it's a good change. 2010 is already giving me great things!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This Week

Jared took Anthony for a walk around the yard and showed him where they would build a fort in the trees in the backyard.

Anthony decided to take down the gate that was keeping him from Midas, Kim & Lynda's dog. Anthony likes to torture poor Midas.
Here he's decided to help himself to his snacks in the pantry - he keeps me so busy now that he is into everything!

Anthony is using Midas to pull himself to stand. Midas just stands there and tolerates it like the good dog that he is.
I tried a fabulous new recipes this week, coconut chicken chili courtesy of BHG magazine - it was delicious and is one of our new favorites! Very easy and definitely worth a try. I've been trying to do more cooking lately which has been fun. I love cooking and am really looking forward to getting back into it again.
It's been a fabulous and busy week at our house. Primroses are starting to bloom and we are seeing the first signs of a spring that is to come!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

College Friends

This weekend we went out to the canal with my best friends from college and their families. We had a great time visiting with everyone, and Jared continued to hone his beer pong skills. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends. Not often do you find a group of girls (there are 5 of us) who get along so well, have similar interests, and aren't "gossipy" if that's a word. My friends are all amazing women, they have fabulous husbands, fun kids, and I'm looking forward to getting together with them for many years to come. Only wish we all lived a little closer so that we could get together more often. Love you girls - get a blog!!

Kari, Laura, Steph, Erinn, Me

Sean and Ella kissing. We were all standing around clapping and giggling, so they probably kissed ten times because it made us so happy. I suppose at some point we'll want to stop encouraging that....but for now it is so sweet!

All of us!
Packy and Kari's daughter Ella, Anthony, Jim & Laura's son Sean, Johnny and Erinn's kids JT and Elise

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm in love....

with my husband and son, of course. But my newest love is the the Bird collection from Pottery Barn. Could it be any more fabulous? Though my birthday is months and months away, you can bet this will be on my list. Hopefully they don't sell out before then because this is one beautiful collection!

I love it so much that I think I'll incorporate it for everyday use. As a side note, Jared doesn't like it. But he likes things like carhartts and craftsman tools, so I'm not too concerned about his preference when it comes to dishes.

Back to PT

Well I stared back at the UW for PT this week. I really like my PT, Whitney, she is great, and she has a ton of experience with SCI. But for the most part PT seems like a waste of time. Because of the new year, that means new insurance available to use on PT, so I'm going. Trying to be as active as I possibly can be. But often the advice I'm given just isn't realistic.

For example, I always pick Anthony up with my right arm, and they are recommending I start using my left arm as my right is obviously stronger. I do not feel comfortable picking up a 22 lb baby with my left arm; however I completely understand the recommendation, but I think the safety of the baby supercedes that recommendation. I am not going to risk dropping A so that my left arm can get stronger. Thanks for the idea though.

Of course we also discussed my use (or lack thereof) of prescription meds. I am currently on no prescriptions and I'd like to keep it that way. Most people with similar injuries are on several - for pain, spasticity, etc. My legs are highly spastic, which basically means they do what they want when they want. I can't control them right now and it is super annoying. If I kick you I'm sorry - I swear it wasn't on purpose...;) In fact when I met with Dr. Reyes right before Christmas she said "it's really hard to do a physical exam when your legs are so spastic." To which I replied I was not interested in any medication. Jared later mentioned that next time I go in I should "let that doctor know that it's really hard to walk when I'm in a wheelchair" (I edited out the explitives there...). It's amazing to me how I am just expected to accept the fact that I'll be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life and not hope* for anything more. So my conversation with Whitney ended in her telling me that in fact it really is better if I can go all natural and not be on any meds - really? Why didn't I think of that?

Though it may not sound like it from the last paragraph I am grateful for all of the fantastic doctors, therapists and trainers that I am working with. I feel like I am getting the best care available right now - it's just every once in awhile there are funny moments that arise.

Next week I'll start working with my PT with my new RGOs - I'll have to post pics later because those are certainly quite a sight to see! Talk about a lot of frustration and hard work....

*Hope: Not in the sense of optimistic outlook or wishful thinking without any foundation, but in the sense of confident expectation based on solid certainty.

Branden Horn

Branden is a wonderful man who I knew growing up - we went to church together. He was in a horrible accident on Christmas Eve and is now at Harborview on life support (here is a link to the article). The doctors are saying that he is paralyzed. Not sure how I am going to handle this situation. Though I haven't spoken to Branden in years, the last thing I want to see is a friend of mine going through something like I've been through (and far worse due to the level of injuries). I'd like to go see him at some point, but don't think now is the right time.

Please, please keep him in your prayers. He has a wife, three children, and another on the way.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

We had a great time at the canal last week over new year's. It was nice to have the family time since J has been gone a lot lately. We did a lot of relaxing, eating, reading, playing games, and enjoying each other's company. Looking forward to many more getaways at the canal as A gets older. Many great memories were made, including the fact that we apparently now drink beer out of a can. Lynda (who doesn't drink beer) bought us canned beer at the store instead of bottles - maybe it was her way of hinting that we should actually be brining our own beer! Ha! We also played scattegories for the first time (old game I believe so the rest of you are probably over it) and it was super fun. Anthony started pulling himself up to his feet this weekend which was entertaining for all of us to watch - before that he'd only been pulling up to his knees. Now he is really all over the place - hard to keep an eye on this kid! We are headed to the canal again this weekend to spend time with all of my girlfriends from college (and their families) and I can't wait! Nine adults and 5 kids (plus 2 on the way) should make for a fun weekend! It was pretty foggy/rainy while we were at the canal -
great weather for a fire and hot cocoa inside!
Anthony loved the fire in the fireplace.

It's always fun for me when I can actually get down on the ground and play with Anthony -
love getting out of the chair!
Anthony showing off his standing skills for Grandpa.
First time wearing the carhartt overalls - dad was proud!
Anthony will crawl over anything if he is trying to get from point A to point B. As evidenced by this photo where he is crawling right over Midas, the poor dog. Our dogs are so good with the babies!
Jared made us homemade ravioli again - delicious!
Look how professional this looks - I am so impressed with my husband!

The handsome Luke man who is doing awesome at sitting up by himself now!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010



Anthony Vito Anardi is our delightful little man, born March 19, 2009. Jared and I can't imagine life without Anthony. He is a happy, fun little guy who really enjoys exploring the house and checking out new places. One of Anthony's favorite things to do is sleep, so we are quite well rested in this house. We don't understand what it's like when people say new parents are always tired!

Anthony is walking now and just discovering playing outside. He loves to watch other kids and will hopefully be able to play with them soon. Anthony loves his dad more than anyone it seems, and always greets Jared with giggles and smiles when he gets home from work. We love to spend time with Anthony and introduce him to this new world around him.


I am married to the love of my life, Jared. We were married in 2008 and have been together since 2005. Without Jared this situation would be unbearable. Jared is an amazing husband and father and has stepped up to all of the challenges this new life has thrown at us. I seriously could not ask for a better partner in this journey. And in addition to all of this, he is handsome and absolutely hilarious! He is my superman! Jared works as an analyst for Accenture so that I can stay home and have fun with Anthony.


The doctors sent me home from the hospital and expected me to learn how to live the rest of my life in a wheelchair. It was a hopeless situation. After I continued to press my doctor for other treatment options available, she mentioned Pushing Boundaries. I immediately contacted Pushing Boundaries and scheduled a tour. As Jared and I toured the facility we were filled with hope. I started going to Pushing Boundaries in June of 2009, about three months after my injury, and finished my training there in April of 2010.

Before my injury I was an active person, running several days out of the week. It's hard to go from being active to a new life of sitting all the time. I now have an intense at home training schedule that includes an hour each day of mat work (out of the wheelchair), including stretching, hips, core, arms, and abs. I also stand in my RGOs or use electrical stimulation on my legs every day. My muscles are in great shape (better than before I was pregnant) and as soon as the nerve connections in my body are rebuilt I'll be up and walking again!

My Recovery Team

Jesus Christ

Countless family and friends

University of Washington Rehab Medicine Dept

Dr. Maria Reyes, UW

Cathy Warms, UW

Whitney Thomas, UW PT

Pushing Boundaries

Dr. Peter Balousek, Washington Neuroscience Institute

About Me

It's been over a year since my injury and I am still working hard to regain function. I try my best to keep a positive attitude at all times. It's not always easy, but I have a strong faith to rely on. I believe that when Jesus Christ died for my sins he also redeemed me from all sickness and disease. I believe that I will walk again in this life time. And I hope that it's really, really soon.

On March 18, 2009 I walked into the hospital to give birth to my first son. I haven't walked again since that day. After Anthony was born on March 19th I couldn't feel or move my legs. Over the next 24 hours I went through many different tests (x-rays, EMG, MRI, evoked potential, etc.) and the doctors found a tumor pressing up against my spinal cord. It had likely been growing for 5-7 years. The day after my son was born I went through emergency surgery to remove the tumor, and I spent the next month in the hospital recovering from surgery and learning how to live in a wheelchair. It was certainly not how I imagined the first month as a new mom would go. I was able to see Anthony every day when my husband, Jared, would bring him in to visit me in the evenings.