Monday, November 1, 2010

The Upcoming Wallis Ride November 13, 2010

Rodney will be riding in this event on his 47th Birthday...4 years after being seriously wounded in a mortar attack in Iraq.This will be Rodney's second ride and he should be getting his own bike presented to him by AMBUCS very soon!

The best part is that we are able to take Connor with us so he can interact with other wounded warriors and hopefully ride alongside his dad while I cheer them on!

This is a trip at no expense to us thanks to the Independence Fund!
Trying to Keep Imagining!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blog family: Good & Bad

Three years ago I discovered and jumped into the world of Blogging.

I wanted a way to share what my life and the lives of my family had changed since my husband, a soldier was wounded in combat on October 12, 2006. I wanted to connect possibly with others like me who were going down the same crazy road help them and possibly in turn help me, since being the wife/caregiver of a wounded warrior was a foreign place with no map.I was so lost! I wroted about all the challenges and walls we were having to climb, I spoke about my feelings, I shared my children and I tried to make sense of a life that was confusing, and to be honest literally making me a very sad and angry person. I believe my blog helped save my sanity and was there at any hour of the day. BUT....the most amazing thing I found were people to walk the journey with me.....

I found much more than i could have ever expected out there in cyberspace....I found a blog family. They live all over the country and most don't or didn't have any real military connection, but they were always there. They have cried with me, given me advice, prayed with me and for my family, made me laugh and most of all made feel like I mattered and I wasn't crazy...LOL!
Thank you to all of know who you are...we have followed each other onto facebook, and I have even had the pleasure of meeting one of my blog friends :)this last spring.

I have followed your lives and tried to reciprocate by being there when you need prayers and strength. That's the part that makes us a family...sharing the good and the bad. i hope you didn't feel as I deserted you when I stopped writing daily, then weekly, then monthly and then hardly ever...

I have not been a participating blog writer....I have several reasons for that...all of them aren't good enough for me to give up writing and sharing our journey. Definitely not good enough to not keep in touch by reading the blogs of my "Blog Family".
As tomorrow is Rodney's 4th "Alive Day"...the day he was wounded, the day he survived. I plan on sharing more often...because I want to, need to and have so much to tell you all..good and bad!

Trying to Keep Imagining!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Home |

Very Moving and so kind of them to care about this generation of soldiers, especially since they didn't have the resources that we have today.
Home |

Trying to Keep Imagining!Tracy

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Aubrey's Surprise Wedding Song - Davis/Virgin Wedding - August 8th, 2009

This is my special niece's wedding from last August to her Prince Charming, Chris. They have been together for a long time and did the wedding thing all out. Aubrey had a surprise from Chris...very ingenious since she was into every aspect of her wedding planning. He had planned that the entire wedding party perform a song and Aubrey's face while they are getting ready and moving around the stage is priceless! I wanted to share this as it makes me smile...this kid who used to follow me around when I came home from college, this beautiful little girl who will be 29 this year who taught me so much about children before I had children....IS GOING TO HAVE A BABY OF HER VERY OWN THIS WINTER! I love you both and wish you nothing but the best!

Trying to Keep Imagining!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Improving Health Care for Veterans

Through joyful tears I watched the signing of a piece of paper by President Obama that is hopefully going to change so many lives. As the wife/caregiver of a wouned warrior this is a day I thought I would never see....mostly I am happy that my families and families like mine are being recognized for our sacrifices. I cried knowing that that horrible day over 3 years ago wasn't in vain....that all I have fought for and continue to fight for is worth it.

God Bless America and all those who have served and are still serving, and mostly to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice! It's a start....I have hope!

Trying to Keep

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I am Allergic to Bureauracy!

If you have read any of my blog over the last couple years about us and our journey... you have probably already figured that out,I can be very vocal about the craziness of life that we live...due to Rodney being wounded in combat in 2006. There have been many blessings and as well as challenges. We have learned to dance steps to a dance we didn't know and play a game we didn't know the rules to. Dealing with all the processes and powers that be has been the most frustrating situations I could ever have imagined. So from now on in my life I am diagnosing myself allergic to bureaucracy! Which could be interesting since I am going to be a social worker, believe me I am going to try and not be part of the problem.
I thought I would update as to where we are as of today. Since I haven't done that in here we go!

1. Rodney has still not finished the med-board process & yes it has been over 3 years since he was wounded. In fact he has another med-board appt. tomorrow at Ft. Riley, for behavior health.Hopefully this is the very last one but we are prepared for the possibility it isn't. This means he is still formally in the Kansas National Guard...limbo actually since he is not able to participate in drill. They extended his time in the military by another year...since the process in still in motion. the worst part is not having ANY communication about what is happening, say for instance a case manager who calls us once a way, we call, we call and they don't call back.We have come to expect that as horrible as that is! We do have a FRC (Federal Recovery Coordinator) now, but she is clear in Georgia. I have been doing this for so long now, I sometimes feel I know at least as much as she does, and probably more consider I live it every day.
2.Physically & emotionally Rodney is worse off than he was when he first came home. He is 46, not one of the younger soldiers. He is now wearing a knee brace and uses a cane most of the time. He will need to have a knee replacement at some point (VA likes to wait until age 50.His pain level depends on the day. He had an appt. recently with his primary. Rodney is on about 15-20 meds a day from psysh drugs to blood pressure to high cholesterol to pain. We keep the list on the fridge so we can grab it in an emergency. I know Rod struggles emotionally with his TBI & PTSD as well as not feeling as capable as he was before. I wish I could say him going to the hospital as an in-patient has helped, but I would be lying. His memory, his ability to follow through and his impulsiveness seem to get a little better then go the other direction. I am so defeated some days. Honestly there is so much and it is so difficult on our relationship and his relationships with the kids.
3. The decision from Social Security has been made but we don't know what it is yet...we have to wait for it to come in the mail! We are of course hoping for the positive and that we will get some financial support since Rodney cannot work. So we should know soon...I will let you know!!!!
4. I received my letter that I am good to receive Chapter 35 education benefits. This means that I will receive a stipin to help pay for grad school according to the hours I am taking. So since I am going part-time I should get around $400 a month and they are paying in arrears to when I started school last this is good news!
5. We are now on Champ-VA medical insurance, so no more paying $600 for health insurance like we have been doing since Rodney lost his job in June. This is going to be a huge savings for us. I am not sure about the coverage yet but we will figure it out.
I am done for now, it is late and after writing I realize how far we have come but it may not lead us where we had all planned. We are still waiting to see where we will end up...same as we have for years now. It is exhausting! I look forward to the day we feel more in charge of our own lives!

Send good thoughts that Rod's appt. goes well tomorrow.

Trying to Keep Imagining!

Spring Break in Florida 2010

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Trying to

Keep Imagining!

Monday, April 5, 2010

One month to go......Stop the Procrastination!

I am on the downhill slide to finish my 2nd semester of Grad school. May 5th I will be one year into a three year program. I should be feeling good about where I am standing at this point, I mean I have proven I can do it. Why do I feel like I could just let it all go and screw it up? I have learned so much and really enjoy the interaction with the instructors and the other students. I start my practicum next fall, which means This is my ticket to so many changes in my life and to prove I am still capable to accomplish what I need to, even other parts of life stay stressful.

I have two classes-Research & Behavior Theory. I am doing ok in both, but better in the Theory class. I have missed the Research class so many times, and attendance doesn't count towards our grade. I am having a harder time grasping this class and add not going to class for being ill or whatever is not helping. I know this, I really do..and I have a project due that I am supposed to do with a group, some of my friends. I am letting them down as well as myself.I may end up doing a project and presentation by myself, I wouldn't blame them. I don't know if I can do a project on a subject I don't really understand...but I have to try. I don't want to get by I want to do my be proud of myself and for my kids to be proud. I have to finish and do well enough to is all I really have. Why am I sabotaging myself?I feel like I cannot move, like I am even afraid to try. Procrastination is an understatement! I need to get up tomorrow and overcome whatever is holding me my homework, face up to my group and figure out what I am doing for this project for April 19th. I need to be stubborn and do whatever it takes to get the work done for both classes. Ok...that is my confession for today...hopefully I can move forward and look back at this and know I fixed it!I know my depression is kicking in and physically I have had some stomach issues again as well as headaches. It is all tied to everything....I can't let this be the end of my dream.

Trying to Keep Imagining!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One step Foward-10 step back

last week was stress and emotional time..many parts of the equation which includes get med boarded out, getting Social Security straightened out on the fact he is a 100 percent disable veteran according to the dealing with our own frustrations of a system that doesn't care or most likely in my opinion just not functional. Believe me...I call out all the contacts I have and start bombarding them with our case. It takes it's toll on on everyday life, our own sanity and the ability to trust what other's tell us...we need it in writing, verbal isn't good enough anymore. I am worn down and tired but cannot give up...really thinking hard about the media but the state of Kansas has a way of turning it around that it is somehow our incompetence. UggHHHHHH! The fight continues but what i am finding out is that i know more now than many people in paid positions...kinds make you go HMMMMMM!

Trying to Keep Imagining!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Back in the Swing of School

Hi all-
Just a short post to let you know I am doing well, just busy with school along with our crazy life. This is my 2nd semester at KU in the Master's in Social Welfare program. It is challenging and at times I wonder is it worth it but I always quickly come to the conclusion that all things worth doing are work! My classes this semester are "Human Behavior Theory" and "Research". Sound pretty boring and dry huh? I have 2 really great instructors so hopefully that will help. That is one thing about this program..the instructors really do care! I have class this afternoon so I better get my homework done...always the procrastinator! Wish there was a cure for that..LOL!
Trying to Keep Imagining!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Connection ...Army Spouse to Army Spouse.

I wanted to share an email I received after a reader found my blog and read it. She then contacted me through email. It was awesome! The reasons I started this blog in October 2007 were many, but the main one being to connect with others in our situation. I was so desperate back then to share information and to gain knowledge.

I have really not been a faithful blogger for some time now. Couple I felt like I was being censored by people who felt I was sharing too much, so I guess I gave in.Also I developed a trigger to my secondary PTSD, which was using the computer. I think that happened...sorry I analyze everything...since every since Rodney was deployed the Internet was my lifeline to what was happening over in Iraq as well as when he returned home after being was my way of searching, and locating information. I became obsessed and would have anxiety attacks on a normal basis. I had to back away a Facebook became my means of contact with my blogger friends. Ok I am way off subject...

Below is the email letter I received and then responded to. Now I remember why I Blog!

Dear Tracy,

I enjoyed reading your Blog, I found you as a follower of the "Wife of a Wounded Soldier" Blog.

A few days ago I felt compelled to start my own Blog. As the spouse of a combat veteran suffering from PTSD and TBI I realized the unique challenges I face on a daily basis.

I would be honored if you would read my new Blog “The Combat Veteran Spouse - Living in the Shadow of PTSD” I would love to know your thoughts.

The war in Iraq is churning out thousands of young men and women who are returning home changed forever. For those that live with them, the transformation in their loved one can be overwhelming. There is no handbook accompanying the returning veteran, and if there was it would read “Dear spouse……you are now the proud recipient of returning veteran whose mind, body and soul have been changed forever. Forget what you knew about them before they were deployed….oh, and good luck finding a support group near you that deals exclusively in the trials and challenges you are about to face!”

Thank you so much for your time....and please feel free to share this link with others.

Warmest Regards,

My response:
Dear D,
I appreciate you contacting as well as reading my blog. I do not keep it as updated as much as I feel I should, but I am thankful it is there when I need it. It was a lifesaver when I needed one within the vast sea of the unknown and craziness of dealing with our "new" normal. I made many great blog friends over the last 2 plus years, who I still keep in touch with through facebook and email. I hope your blog is as therapeutic to you as mine has been to me.

I did go to your blog and read your latest entry. It hit me hard, as I read about the different medications your spouse takes. (We have our list on the fridge just in case we have to grab it for a trip to the ER.) Then I read about the self-medicating with alcohol. That is where I went into my own secondary PTSD mode and most likely why I don't read blogs like I used to. Your situation though is so familiar. You see my husband spent almost 3 months inpatient at the VA for substance abuse, coping and all the other stuff he needed to deal with emotionally. He was diagnosed as bi-polar. He came home a week prior to Christmas and it has been different, I guess I can even say better. It took a long time to get him to this point. Over the last year that was the 2nd time for treatment.. I am hopeful but not stupid. The thing is now I can truly see the extent of the TBI and PTSD which was being masked by the alcohol and over use of his prescription drugs. If he could have controlled the alcohol I wouldn't have been opposed to him using it-he has been through hell. The deal is that due to the alcohol on top of everything else he had gotten 2 DUI's, lost his license, lost his job of 13 years (he is national guard),had major court costs we couldn't afford, was constantly lying, had started acting out and having inappropriate behavior at our son's sporting activities. There was also the anger issues and chaos within our home. So as you can see your post hit me hard.

This was stuff that happened over time but it got to the point I couldn't deal anymore. I am grateful for our time apart and for his recovery. We have a relationship where I am his wife, friend as well as caregiver but I respect him and understand him more now. I don't feel bitter or look for ways to get out of the craziness of the marriage. I had an attitude 180, for that I am thankful.

Thanks for letting me share-I probably should have blogged something like that..LOL. Maybe I will use it. It took strength to reach out to me and I am here if you need an ear.

As you said the military doesn't tell us how to do what we do. The way I have found to find the resources and information is to search like crazy, ask a lot of questions and develop relationships with other wife's with wounded warriors. The Wounded Warrior project and the site has been to of the best organizations I have found. So I guess what I am saying sharing information and our stories is what we CAN do!

I will follow your blog and feel free to comment or email anytime. As far as your blog goes there is not right or wrong, just write what feels right. Readers will find you. Use the tags at the bottom of each blog entry. Comment on other's blogs. Best of Luck!

So I hope you all check out D's blog and keep coming back to mine, your support is so appreciated.
Trying to Keep Imagining!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It’s your job to educate civilians on military life

It’s your job to educate civilians on military life

It is my job...I hope you take the time to read a contemplate, even if your don't think it affects you. 5 years ago I believed that to. Remember those that served in Vietnam, Korea. WWII and WWI...they fought and came home damaged we just didn't understand it. Now we can!

Trying to Keep Imagining!

Monday, January 11, 2010