The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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X Marks The Spot

X marks the spot. On my wrist, my forearm, my ulnar nerve. The spots the neurologist marked during the nerve conduction study yesterday that began the evaluation of my condition to ascertain if the loss of leg function and weakness in my limbs is due to a neurological disorder or auto-immune disease. The symptomology is indicating a condition that may have less to do with my surgeries, and more to do with a deeper challenge I would never have thought was possible. I already have Hashimoto's Disease. An autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland. It's a condition women usually uncover when they are unable to conceive. Three miscarriages led me to blood work uncovering the reasons for our loss. If left untreated Hashimoto's can lead to a coma or death. So taking a small pill each day for twenty years has been a walk in the park. I gave birth to a disease. Now we need to discover if it has a sibling.

The nerve conduction study today was on my arms. We now know my upper peripheral nerves are not damaged due to a mechanical disruption in my spine such as spinal stenosis or a damaged nerve. I may have a pinched nerve at C8-T-1. The artificial disc in my lower spine seems seated properly. Yet my right hand is clinically a 'claw hand.' Perhaps this is why I love lobster. Oh I could die for a good lobster right now. The cracking of the claw. The medical reference of claw refers to when the pinky and ring finger fold in when at rest. I debated whether to even use this term on my blog. It's not exactly sexy. "Hey honey! Can I pinch your butt?" Perhaps dainty paws would be more pleasant to visualize.

Next week is an Electromyogram of my legs. A survey of my drop foot. Or dangling digits of delight. I could make it famous. Call it My Left Foot. Have Daniel Day Lewis sign it. That guy's in everything. Even my foot.

Nothing about this is very pretty. But it is pretty fascinating. The Electromyogram nerve studies include electric currents attached to the skin with needles conducting feedback to the computer and resulting in a lifeline like you see on a heart monitor in the movies. Part of me wishes the line would crash, so we could have something we can fix.

My father was with me, sitting in the chair while I shrieked. He's used to the shrieking. His silver head down with eyeglasses balanced on the tip of his nose. He buried his mind in Reader's Digest, reading aloud humorous quotes to help take my mind off the spots. Then I tweeted a mid-shock-tweet only Reader's Digest could invite "@MicaelaBensko: $592,527 of government funds goes to studying in part what feces throwing amongst chimps reveals about communication skills.#seriously"

So I learned a lot.

The learning curve is steepening. But my heartbeat has leveled. The fear that used to fester in me has retreated to a silent awe of what medicine can, and may not be able to do. There is a long road ahead so I can't stop now. Even if the road less traveled might be holding a parking place just for me.

So X marks the spot. Of where I am at this moment. No treasure yet. But plenty of jewels of wisdom I am so desperately trying to squirrel away in the hole inside my chest. Somehow knowing a diagnosis could be something larger than myself takes a weight off my shoulders. As though its enormity may actually carry me through this next phase. Until then I shall dream of lobster. And the sweet taste of dripping butter falling down my chin. Instead of tears. And know it will fall where fate intends. On an X that I planted before I was born on a life that God has designed.

The testing complete, the doctor lays his hand on my arm. His candor is kind. He leaves the room. My father looks up over his glasses and helps me to the chair that's not me. And I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

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