Friday, August 31, 2012


Another great day of progress today for Elaine! She stretched her arm with the dreaded "contraption" three times today - of course she always does that, but today she actually noticed an increased range of motion. That is incredibly positive news.

Today wasn't all about Elaine, though. Diana also made progress by going to see Laura today. Elaine and Diana had a great time today! Check out the pic below for proof!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


No surprise here. Elaine had an incredibly busy day - again. 

It included a tough start in which Fred and Elaine had some trouble finding blood for the INR test. Then, they headed to eye therapy. Elaine showed dramatic improvement from just last week. Elaine, Fred, and the therapist were so impressed with Elaine's effort and progress.

Following therapy, Fred and Elaine stopped by the doctor for the INR test. The results from the INR level led the Doc to slightly increase Elaine's Coumadin level. He also suggested that Elaine drink more water!

In happier news, Diana and Mike are in town for a visit. Elaine and Diana took on Fashion Island for a few hours this afternoon while Fred and Mike caught up at home. Once they reconvened, they all enjoyed a huge feast at home followed by an early night to bed! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Elaine had her best day of shoulder therapy yet! Today, they heard some cracking and popping in her shoulder while they were moving it around. This is the first true indication that the scar tissue is breaking up! It was a welcome sight and sound!!

Elaine then watched the kids this afternoon for an hour and then Elaine had some errands of her own to run. She was excited about the progress and was walking a little faster today. It's wonderful for her to  see her hard work paying off!

Fred and Elaine took Dr. O'Carroll (her neurologist) to dinner at Big Canyon. They had a great dinner and conversation. He has helped Elaine so much and we are so grateful for his care and concern.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Elaine slept well and was up early to do the torture chamber. Yesterday, her arm therapist couldn't believe how much she had improved and is marveling at her dedication. She can't believe that she doesn't ever call and cancel. She also can't believe that Elaine actually does the arm stretcher three times a day for thirty minutes. She said she has never met anyone like her. She is so pleased with her progress in such a short time and adores Elaine.

Staci picked Elaine up for eye therapy this morning. She had a good session. Oddly enough, it appears that her right eye is the one that gives up when she has trouble. Last Thursday, she had a rough session and her eyes weren't working together at all. Today, they worked really well together, until the right eye was tired. When that happens, you literally can watch her eye start wandering, while her left stares straight ahead. She said this could have started before her stroke even, but there is no way of knowing. Elaine continues to go twice a week to build up her endurance in both eyes.

The most exciting part for Staci was to see Little Darlin'. She was pointing at the paper, her arm raised to almost shoulder level. The really neat part was that just her arm moved. Until recently, when you asked her to move Darlin', her whole body would move, trying to get her left arm to move. She would swing her neck left so hard trying to will it to move. Those of you that have played golf with her, and watched her putt, can imagine this since she twists her entire body trying to guide the ball into the hole as its rolling.

After eye therapy it was back home for round two with the arm stretcher and ice. Another exciting thing worth mentioning, the swelling in her arm is almost gone. That means that the scar tissue is starting to break up!

Staci and Elaine went to lunch before her heart doctor appointment. When we walked in the office the whole staff marvels at how well she is doing. The doctor she sees was the one that was called to see her in the hospital and he is so proud of her. He looks at her in admiration, and he calls her kid, which Elaine loves. She doesn't have to go back for 6 months and her heart hasn't been in A-Fib in the last 6 weeks, and only twice, for a very short time, since her stroke. This is also great news!

Elaine was tired this afternoon and was going to relax the rest of the day and get in bed early. She has therapy in the morning and its also blood draw day so they have to get up early to get the stretcher, blood, breakfast, and a shower in before their 9am appointment. Elaine does more during the day than a healthy person, and certainly works harder than anyone I know!

Monday, August 27, 2012


On Monday, it was back to work for Elaine. She had a double dose of therapy today - first with Paul then with her arm therapist. Both sessions were incredibly positive. Elaine can feel the improvement in her arm and is encouraged by her progress. Plus, the arm therapist has concluded that the issues with Little Darlin' are due to the frozen shoulder and not necessarily neurological complications from the stroke. 

Elaine also had a great visit with her neurologist, Dr. O'Carroll, who was very optimistic about Elaine's progress and outlook. 

Keep the positive thoughts coming. Elaine continues to progress down a long and bumpy road made easier by all of the love and support provided by her family and friends. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Even God rested on Sunday. Elaine followed suit after a brutal week of shoulder therapy, pain management, and Fred's birthday.

Fred's golf was cancelled today so they got the day started out right with sleeping in, stretching Elaine's shoulder, and taking it easy. They relaxed at home until Ben and Brian showed up with coffee for Elaine while all of the Francois girls were attending a birthday party. Fred, Ben, and Brian enjoyed a ride a convertible. Then Brian enjoyed tearing apart the Smith house until lunch time - with Elaine making sandwiches.

Hopefully, the day closed out the same way it started - in a reasonably relaxing way. Tomorrow starts another week that will be full of pain and progress! Keep the wonderful thoughts and prayers coming out way! We need them!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Happy Birthday Fred!!! Today was Fred's big day, and it was a wonderful day! Elaine and Fred didn't have a very good night of sleep, but Elaine managed to wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed. She wanted to do her arm stretcher first and then was going to make Fred breakfast. She was saved by a surprise knock at the door by Ben and the kids with coffee and bagels. While Elaine did therapy, Fred met the Francois family at his favorite lunch spot, Five Guys. Fred went back to pick Elaine up for some retail therapy and was happy to hear that she had a really great session with Paul, much to our surprise considering how tired she was combined with her new medications. They headed back to meet us at the mall for a bit before we decided Elaine and Brian needed a nap!

Ben and Fred went to hit some golf balls while the Francois girls decorated the house for Ampa's birthday. They were SO excited to come up with locations for the decorations. They even had a choreographed dance when Ampa arrived. The code was "Ampa Alert" when they saw his car drive up. The highlight was "Ampa" constructed from crate paper written on the wall.

It was a day to celebrate a man who is deserving of celebration, not just today, but everyday. He has always been the man I have most admired, and looked up to. He has always been my hero, for 35 years! The past 8 months he has shown more compassion, patience, love, strength, and dedication than anyone I have ever met, or read about. There is no question that Elaine is working as hard as anyone anywhere in the world, at anything. There is also, no question, she couldn't do it without the love, support, and encouragement she gets hourly from Fred. He never gets the credit he deserves and is constantly deflecting any praise or attention towards Elaine, if he isn't already bragging about her and her amazing progress already. They are an incredible team, and he is an incredible man. He is the type of man I hope my son, Brian Fred,  grows up to be like. Happy Birthday dad! 

Friday, August 24, 2012


Elaine is seeing progress! She went to therapy this morning and her arm therapist could not believe how well she was doing. Her progress in just two days was astonishing. It was a very exciting morning for everyone. The therapist reminded Elaine that it is a long process and will take another 12-18 weeks. We don't care about timelines. We just hope for progress and less pain!

Staci and the kids came to pick up Nammie for her afternoon beauty appointments. Elaine was so excited about her appointment, she even gave the girls a high five with little darlin'. Elaine spent a big chunk of her day at the salon with her friends at Textures. They were so sweet to her and Laura even brought her home after she did her hair. We are so thankful for how well they treat her!

Fred and Elaine had a wonderful dinner with Ron, Michelle, Bob, Cristy, Terry, and Jana, tonight at Big Canyon. Elaine is working so hard and we hope that this progress continues. She certainly deserves it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


The big news of today is that Elaine was almost pain free for the first time since her stroke! That is amazing progress and what we hope is a major step in the right direction to getting her shoulder healed so she continue her progression to full recovery.

We look forward to more relatively pain free days in the weeks and months ahead. Of course, in the meantime, Elaine is not letting any grass grow under her feet. She is still grinding out some kind of therapy almost every day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Elaine slept pretty well last night. Fred and Elaine are continuing to work on the pain management. It is going pretty well. Elaine had another good session with the arm therapist. She said Elaine's shoulder is still very swollen and they need that to subside. She believes they are breaking through the scar tissue though. Its a long process. There is no science or any way to know exactly how long it will take. Today, she told Elaine she thinks it will take 18 weeks. Elaine has a great attitude about it. She said she doesn't care how long at this point, just wants it to get better.

Fred and Elaine met with the head of Neuroscience yesterday. He was the doctor that was called that morning in the ER. He was thrilled and amazed to see Elaine doing so well. He said if you live through the type of stroke Elaine had, most people are very limited with their mobility.  They certainly don't have the dedication, determination, drive, or attitude that Elaine does. She is a model stroke patient (if there there is such a thing). She is an inspiration to all and a story that gives people hope and will be told! He said he has never seen a person so loved. He was really excited to see her progress and he feels she will make a full recovery.

Elaine rested this afternoon. We are so proud of the effort she is making to lay down and relax. She is also, much to her dislike, icing every few hours. Hopefully, this will help the swelling. Elaine surprised Fred tonight by grilling the fish for dinner. As they were finishing up, Staci and the kids stopped by for a quick hello and entertainment. Brian was throwing the arm weights, and the girls were playing baseball in the house. It was a lot of excitement for the Smith house at 7pm! We got out of there quickly so Elaine could get ready for bed and get some rest.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


After a restless night, Elaine started the day off with a surprise, and accidental, wake-up call from Ben when his phone pocket dialed her at 6 AM. Despite the tough start, Elaine had a very positive day of therapy - especially when she was working on her eye. She even performed better than Fred on the eye exercises! 

The Smiths spent the evening with the Swortwoods, who were gracious to drive up from San Diego to have dinner. As always, Fred and Elaine appreciate the thoughts, prayers, and efforts of their friends throughout the country!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Elaine had a better day today. Yesterday was awful. At one point, she was literally in tears. She was able to get some sleep last night. Fred felt so bad for Elaine this morning that he didn't even want to have her do the torture stretcher. Elaine not only reminded Fred it was time to do it, but insisted on doing it. She said, "I have to do it if I want to get better, and I do!"

She had therapy with Paul this morning and then went to see the arm therapist this afternoon. She was so impressed with Elaine! Her range of motion continues to improve. Today she was able to get her arm to 90 degrees and 135 degrees. It is thrilling. Fred and Elaine were able to manage her pain today too and it never reached that point where it was unbearable. Hopefully this trend will continue!

The Smiths came over for dinner tonight and it was such a relief to see Elaine in less pain, and feeling more rested. It has been a rough few days and the trial and error continues. We take the good days when she gets them, and continue to hope and pray that they outnumber the bad days. Her courage, grit, and determination is incredible. We will say the same about Fred!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Elaine woke up this morning very tired after not sleeping hardly at all as her body continues to get fight the pain in her shoulder as well as her new pharmaceutical regimen. But, as usual, she battled through the day with grace and determination.

Freddy, Jr was in town and the Smiths enjoyed his visit. He took a great shot of Fred and Elaine celebrating their new favorite baseball team.  In more San Diego news, our dear friend Christi Ensberg ran and completed the San Diego Marathon in honor of Elaine. Elaine was humbled and honored that Christi would dedicate to her all of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into training for, and finishing, a 26.2 mile running race. Thank you Christi, and thanks again to all of you who offer support and prayers  for Elaine!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Elaine battled through another day of pain. She is on the right track, but it is still a bumpy road. After the girls dropped off coffee this morning, Elaine moved on to therapy with Paul.

There was a minor medical episode today when Fred tried to poke Elaine's finger to test her blood. Well, no blood emerged. Fred got worried and called the doctor. The doctor wondered if Elaine might be dehydrated. Elaine admitted to as much, drank some water, and Fred was able to get an appropriate blood sample.

After the drama, Fred and Elaine headed back to Big Canyon for a great dinner with Larry and Barbara. It has been a long run of friends in town, and Fred and Elaine are so grateful that they have so many caring friends in their lives!

Friday, August 17, 2012


Elaine woke up this morning feeling the best she has in a long time. Her pain was manageable, she slept great and she even surprised Fred and brought him breakfast in bed for a change:)

This morning, Elaine and Fred went to her physical therapist to work on her shoulder. The therapist couldn't believe how much her range of motion had improved. She was so excited, and it made Elaine excited. She continued on with the torture chamber and ice (both things she hates). She was also wearing her evil eye bracelet today. She believes that she has it, and a Greek friend confirmed it. She did a prayer and splashed some water, so hopefully it has been removed. Its a Greek thing for those of you that have no idea what we are talking about! 

Unfortunately, as the day wore on, she didn't take her pain medication fast enough, and the pain got out of control. The Smiths, Francoises, and Brownsteins did have a wonderful dinner on the patio of Big Canyon tonight. Elaine received encouraging words from the Brownstein family, and we were so happy to see Callae doing so well and feeling great (after a fight with brain cancer). They shared some words of wisdom with Elaine, and are so proud of her fight! Elaine has finally conceded to getting some rest during the day and to managing pain! It was an encouraging day! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Elaine and Fred went to the neurologist this morning, hoping to get some guidance. The one thing they came away with is that Elaine has to get control of her pain. He looked at her shoulder again and saw all the swelling and quite frankly doesn't know how she is dealing with the pain. She puts up such a tough front and has a ridiculously high pain tolerance. Our hearts break for her, knowing the pain she is in. The doctor said it is such a painful thing to have, but he is confident they will unfreeze it. The biggest challenge now is pain management. They can't break the scar tissue until she gets her pain to a 3ish and right now its around an 8. He put some more botox in her toe to help them uncross again and also put a little in her arm. He said he wasn't sure it would help but it was worth a try to get her muscles to relax.

Elaine, per doctors orders, spent the rest of the day at home trying to relax and icing. Today was Taylor's birthday, so they came to birthday dinner at Islands! Taylor had both sets of grandparents to share her birthday with. It was a special night! Elaine is incredible and we wish so badly we could do something to help ease her pain. She doesn't complain and still lies when you ask her hows she's doing.  She is as tough as they come!


It was another confusing day the maze that is Elaine's life. This may sound odd to regular readers, but after seeing the pain and inflammation in Elaine's shoulder, the therapist suggested that she lay off the stretching machine for a few days. She also recommended that Elaine use the next couple days to ice her shoulder on regular basis to reduce the swelling. If you are confused, you are not alone. This advice is obviously conflicting with previous advice. As always, it is one day at a time with an eye on the long term goal of complete recovery.

In happier news, Staci and the kids came by the house today so Taylor could open birthday presents (her birthday is Thursday, August 16th). Taylor was so excited to see what she got from Nammie and Ampa!

Elaine has been on a streak of going out. Tonight, the Blackmores drove up from San Diego to spend the evening with Fred and Elaine at Mastro's. Despite a long week, Fred and Elaine are always so happy to spend time with Allen and Maureen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Elaine had a nice day today. Staci picked up Elaine for eye therapy. It was a good hour and seemed like they made some progress and nailed down what is going on. Today, it seemed that her left eye is more of the issue. The best news possible is that all skills and abilities are there, she just needs to increase her stamina in her left eye. In the exercises when both eyes are working, eventually the left eye gets bored, then relaxes, therefore losing vision out of her left eye because it stops working. This is correctable. Elaine was given some exercises to work on this week. This is a picture of Elaine using special glasses with a red lens and a blue lens.

Elaine rested this afternoon, doing her arm stretcher, and trying to relax. Unfortunately, she didn't get any sleep but at least she let her body lay quiet.

Following a long day at the doctor, Fred and Elaine spent another great evening with friends at Big Canyon. It has been a real treat to have so many of their close friends in town this week! They have really enjoyed it and feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful friends!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Elaine had another busy day! She started off with her finger prick as she tries to get her INR level back to where it was before the injection. Fred did it three times and her blood was too thick,  they couldn't get enough out to get a reading. She had therapy with Paul for two hours. She even walked down the stairs twice today without holding on to the rail. It was the first time she has done that. She was nervous, but did it well!

She had a little downtime before her afternoon started. Fred and Elaine went to see the dr so he could test her blood. It was low so they gave her extra coumadin this afternoon and will continue with a higher dose for the next few days. Elaine then went to the physical therapist that works on her shoulder. She wouldn't let Fred watch so he sat in the waiting room. An hour later, Elaine walked out to find Fred sound asleep in a chair! He is as exhausted as she is. Elaine said the shoulder therapy went well. She didn't hurt her and actually said its important that she not to do things that hurt because it causes more swelling. She does have to do her stretcher though!

Tonight the Smith and Francois families went to Mastro's to celebrate Elaine's birthday with the kids. It was a wonderful night filled with steaks and butter cakes. We hope the Smith house is sound asleep, they are both exhausted!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Life is all about the little things. Here is a quick story on one of those little things that made all the difference. There is a song with the line, "It's a great day to be alive." That is a refrain that we have been thinking non-stop about Elaine since the end of January. Today is Elaine's birthday and once again, we were so grateful that she is alive following her ordeal. That is the business as usual part. What was different today was that Elaine, for the first time, said out loud, "I am so happy that I survived!"

She went on to explain that she is so thankful that she is alive and that she will see her grandchildren grow up and get married. She cried tears of joy when Brian told her Happy Birthday this morning, her first birthday that he's been able to do that. She was overcome knowing that she could have missed that. It was big step for Elaine, and it is all part of getting better physically and emotionally.

We celebrated Elaine's big day in style. We started with breakfast on the sand at Crystal Cove and then moved on to beach for few hours while Fred and the kids played in the surf. Elaine got into the action as well, but she thought the water was a little chilly. Following the beach, the whole crew headed back to Fred and Elaine's for presents and cake. Elaine still loves those presents!

This evening, Elaine was the guest of honor at a wonderful birthday honor. There were incredibly nice words about friendship, about Fred, and especially about Elaine. It is widely recognized that she is one of kind and the most special kind of person who possesses unlimited courage in the face of any obstacle. Elaine - you are truly loved and you deserve to be more than anyone!

Happy Birthday!  (now get some rest!!!!)


Elaine had therapy with Paul today. They worked only on her lower body and her hand. He is very impressed with her shoulder mobility in such a short time. Elaine is still in pain, it seems to get worse as the day goes on. She had therapy and rested at home today. She is preparing for her 61st birthday tomorrow (Sunday!).

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Elaine went to meet her new therapist today. She will work with her exclusively on her frozen shoulder, and doesn't want anyone else to work with her upper body. She is very confident that she will be able to help Elaine regain 100% mobility and range of motion. He range of motion is already at 25%, and it was at 0% just over a week ago! It are very excited. Elaine went in terrified after all the horror stories she has heard. The therapist assured her that she won't pin her down and break it up. Its a slow, and delicate process. You have to be gentle or you cause more harm than good. We are all very optimistic! The therapist is so excited to work with Elaine. She said it is so rare that someone comes in there prepared to work hard and that wants to get better. She doesn't know that it will be Elaine pushing her to work her harder, not the other way around. There is no one like her!

When Fred and Elaine returned home from the doctor, Staci and the kids picked Elaine up for a mini celebration lunch at the Counter for burgers and shakes. After lunch, the girls talked Nammie into taking them into a beauty supply store for nail polish. As you can imagine, it didn't take much to talk Elaine into it. Staci and Brian stayed outside so Brian didn't redecorate the store. The three of them certainly took their time shopping! I am not sure who is a worse influence on who! 

It was a fun afternoon. Elaine is feeling better, the torture stretcher is still painful, but its working, which makes the pain more bearable! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Elaine had a great day today! Elaine and Fred went shopping for new golf clothes this morning and had a wonderful time! Elaine was in her element! After the shopping trip, they met Staci for lunch. Fred and Staci played golf while Elaine rode around with them and kept score! Elaine looked so cute today! It was so fun to have her out there with us and looking like herself. Her arm was feeling much better today too. It started getting more sore by the end of the afternoon, but it felt much better than yesterday and her range of motion continues to increase. Shh don't mention it to her, but she was even using her left hand while she was driving today:

We picked the girls up from camp after and we headed to Nammie's for a few minutes. They wanted to see her arm in her stretcher. They weren't quite sure why it hurt Nammie to put her arm in but they believed her. You wouldn't know by the way they were climbing on her though!

A big congratulations to her twin cousins, Elaine and Joanne, who won their golf tournament in Ogden, Utah today. They wore pink in Elaine's honor and sent this great photo!

Elaine's continues to amaze and inspire us!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Elaine had her injection in her arm today. The actual injection was relatively painless and quick. She spent the rest of the day relaxing and icing her arm. It grew increasingly sore as the day wore on. The usual pain in her shoulder was escalated by the pain from the shot. She was quite miserable this afternoon and we are hoping that she will be able to get some sleep tonight. Fred insisted she skip the other two sessions of her arm stretcher today, she was in enough pain for one day! She could continue to feel soreness from the shot for the next few days. It is unknown how quickly she will start to get some pain relief from shot, sometimes its as soon as a three days and sometimes takes weeks. We are hoping/begging for sooner!!! She deserves it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Elaine had a good night of sleep and made it through her three 30-minute arm stretch sessions. This morning, Elaine started her eye therapy. Staci picked her up and they headed to the doctor, not exactly sure what they were getting into. The doctor has named Elaine, "pussy cat." We don't know why but it makes us laugh.

She worked with the therapist today and they did some eye exercises. The good news is, all the parts are there and working. Her brain is awake and understands the messages, and her eyes are both working. The part they are working on is getting it to all work together. There are lots of moving parts, but they are not all in sync. In the first exercise, looking through some special glasses, Elaine held a pen in each hand. She would have two starting points on each side of the paper and would draw the lines until they would connect. The first few seconds were great, they you would see one hand stop working because one of her eyes would stop working, and the other eye would work overtime. She would suppress one eye because of information overload and one eye would shut down, sometimes the right, sometimes the left. The therapist would tap the paper in her line of vision with the eye that quit, and it would wake back up. The fact that she was quickly responsive with the reminder, is a very good sign.

Her up close vision is very good, its just the distance that it seems to be more of a problem. The therapist is very confident that she will be able to fix the problem. She was so impressed with how well Elaine did today. She had to modify her program to make the exercises more challenging. The last thing Elaine did was in front of a large touch screen. The program would run various programs that Elaine would do. The first one shows a bunch of jumbled letters rotating in a circle on the screen. Elaine has to put them in order as quickly as possible. Staci was especially impressed with the speed Elaine did it in while multitasking. What the results showed was that overall she did excellent. The area of concern was the bottom part of the screen. She would have a tougher time hitting the moving letters when they were at the bottom of the screen. If the screen was a clock, she had trouble between 4 and 8. Staci did most of the exercises with Elaine and was so impressed with how well Elaine was doing. It was exciting!

After therapy, Elaine went home for another round with the torture chamber and then rested. Tonight, we all went to the swim team awards banquet. Everyone loved having Fred and Elaine at the swim meets this year!

Tomorrow, Elaine has her injection in her arm. She has to let it rest for 48 hours after the injection, so no therapy for the next few days. Dr. Smith also gets a day off of his inoculation duties, but he'll back at it on Thursday for a few more days. Please keep Elaine in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow. We are very optimistic that this is the beginning of the end! She is already a little ahead, having been using the torture chamber for a week. She is one tough cookie!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Elaine has been sleeping really well the past few nights, and that is really helping her in every way. She started a new sleeping aid and gave up some other medicines and right now, the combo seems to be working. We are so grateful! She started the morning by making Fred some eggs. She walked into the bedroom and said, "I put your eggs on the stove.  Can you give me my shot and then let's do my arm?"

Unfortunately, (and fortunately since that means we are making progress), the intensity was turned up again on her arm splint. She gutted out the painful 30 minutes, the worst part is watching her take her arm out. She grimaces in pain. She did have some comic relief during it though, which make the time pass a little faster. Fred went out to check on his eggs to find that they were in fact in the pot, with the stove one, however, there wasn't any water in the pot! You can tell her mind was on the Little Darlin's new nemesis, not on the eggs!

Elaine had a great therapy session with Paul. Fred, Elaine, and Paul are all really encouraged and excited at the progress in her shoulder and how much her range of motion is increasing. The pain is still very intense and we are so proud of how she keeps her days going and keeps on living. Fred and Elaine were supposed to visit Richie and Julie this week in Montana. They were really looking forward to seeing them and so sad that they had to cancel the trip. Elaine decided she wants to be rid of her arm pain and the only way that is going to happen is to go through all she is doing now. She starts therapy for her frozen shoulder on Friday. We are all encouraged by the progress so far and can't say enough times how proud we are of Elaine, and Fred, for their dedication. Elaine has had a rough few weeks, emotionally. Fred has been the most encouraging support for her, and she is such a strong person. They are an unbeatable duo! They refuse to give up and we know that this will all be worth it. She has worked so hard and come so far!

Fred and Elaine came to the Francois house for dinner. The girls were so excited that they set the dining room table (that NEVER gets used), wine glasses for their water, and picked flowers and put them in a vase on the table. They carefully selected which color napkin everyone should use (from the non disposable napkin collection). It was a fun night, complete with ice cream for dessert.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Operation Brian Sleeps Over was a total success. He couldn't stop saying how much fun he had over there and Fred and Elaine survived the night. 

Everyone went to bed reasonably early last night and were peacefully sleeping when out of nowhere at 7:30 AM, Christi and her friend Lucy rang the doorbell. They had walked up from Big Canyon clubhouse after camping out on the fairway. It was an unexpected but welcome wake-up call, and Christi once again proved that she will go to great effort to see her grandparents. 

After the commotion died down, Elaine spent some time in the shoulder-stretcher. It is a difficult exercise, but she is happy that her shoulder seems to be loosening up. Once it was loose, Fred and Elaine headed over to the driving range for some intense golf practice. Elaine did manage to sneak away to the pool where the Francois and Gibilisco families were spending the day. Kendra and Frank both commented on how wonderful Elaine looks and how impressed they were that she was hitting balls and that she walked all the way to the pool. She truly never ceases to amaze anyone with whom she comes into contact. Kendra echoed the sentiments of so many saying how "inspired she felt" after seeing Elaine. Following some visiting at the pool, Fred came by to say hello. Then, they headed off for a date at pasta night - once again joined at the hip!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


It has been a long day today. Elaine and Fred are both tired from minimal sleep, hard therapy, and ever present pain. Well, their day is about to get longer! They have a special guest tonight. Brian is staying over with Nammie and Ampa while the rest of the Francois family camps out on the first fairway of Big Canyon (we know, it is not exactly roughing it).

Today is just another example of life getting back to normal for Elaine. We are so proud of her! Brian is ecstatic about his sleepover. He has been asking all day, "Nana. Ampa. House. Nana. Ampa. House." We wish them luck chasing the little guy around the house.

As for therapy, it was another step forward for Elaine. Paul commented that he could see a real difference in the flexibility of the shoulder joint after just a short time with her shoulder stretching contraption. She used it again today three times for 20 minutes per session. The pain in her shoulder is equally as intense as it has been - no better but not really worse! Elaine is really fighting through the pain with an eye on the light at the end of this tough tunnel. She continues to impress as she battles through what is unimaginable to the rest of us!


Just call him Dr. Fred! He officially learned how to give a shot today, and he actually gave Elaine her Lovenox injection this morning and is prepared to do so for the next week! Elaine said she didn't feel a thing either. He really does wear many hats these days!

Elaine joined Staci and her kids, and Jaimie and her boys, at the pool for lunch and to watch the kids swim. They had a fun afternoon and Elaine enjoyed catching up with Jaimie.

They then headed over to Elaine's to see her house. The kids were especially excited to raid the lazy susan that Elaine has loaded with goodies. We managed to escape the house without breaking anything or turning the carpet orange from little cheeto hands. Jaimie was so happy to see Elaine and loved seeing how well Elaine was doing. This was the text Staci received this evening from Jaimie. "It was so great to see your mom! It was very therapeutic for me to see her and see how far she has come. I know she had a hard day, but she still got out of bed and faced it. Which is more admirable that she realizes. She still looks stunning too:)"

Fred and Elaine are enjoying a quiet night at home and hopefully Elaine can rest. She did her arm splint for 25 minutes, three times today, and the intensity (stretching her shoulder back) was turned up. She can definitely feel the difference, especially after. She is sore! She continues with Paul tomorrow for more therapy, and a visit from her new, and favorite, doctor,  Fred!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


The day began with more doctors appointments. This morning Fred and Elaine went to see the neurological ophthalmologist. She did another evaluation of her eyes. She said she needed a different type of glasses, so she now has two new pairs. In addition, she signed up to work with a therapist twice a week for the next month. Fred and Elaine aren't sure about this process and think it might just be a racket, but they are going to give it a try.

After they met with the doctor, they went home to meet with the nurse that gave them the splint. It hasn't been fitting properly on Elaine's little elbow and arm. She gave them a new pad and it is fitting better now. Elaine worked up to twenty minutes today, three times. She said she was sore today from it, but a good sore and feels like its already helping! Here is a picture from her session first thing this morning!

Staci and the kids picked up Elaine for lunch and shopping at the mall. The girls conned Elaine into all sorts of trinkets, and ice cream. There is no question that all three of the kids have inherited both grandparents knack for shopping. Here is Christi with her new glasses, Taylor with her snap watch, and even Brian trying on new glasses (which Staci did draw the line, Brian getting teen glasses:). The girls waltzed through the mall, each with Nammie's hand. They were so excited, while Brian was saying, "hold you Nammie, hold you." That means hold me in Brian language. 

Elaine started to taper off the Coumadin today. Tomorrow Elaine and Fred go to the doctor for Fred to learn how to give Elaine blood thinner injections! We have decided its a very good thing Fred is retired!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Elaine had an informative day of therapy today. They made some changes to her session. Fred sat in for all two hours today as his job over the next 6-8 weeks is equally as important as Elaine's. She has to do some new exercises for her frozen shoulder, 2-3 times a day. Most importantly, they have to be done correctly! Additionally, they have decided to add a mental and multi-tasking challenge. She now is going to count her reps. It is also being incorporated into her daily routine, for example, when she is brushing her teeth with her right hand, she is going to hold the toothpaste with her left and hold it in the air. Today, as she was doing it, after about 8 seconds, it falls to the ground. If prompted, as her arm is starting to fall, she remembers to pull it up. Simple things like this will continue to wake up her brain and improve her cognitive skills. She is working so hard and not giving up!

Fred is really committed to helping her through her frozen shoulder. The more we learn about it, the most consistent message we hear is how incredibly painful it is. It has been compared to child birth without medicine, but for weeks and months rather than hours. Unfortunately the worst is ahead. Next week the therapist will begin to literally break the scar tissue. Elaine's toughness is truly unimaginable. At a time when she could sit around saying, "why me? why do these things keep happening? when is enough, enough?" She doesn't! Her attitude is as strong as ever and it does seem there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are in awe of her determination and so proud of her! She truly inspires us every day.

Fred deserves so much credit too. He is by her side every step of the way. He continues to break down doors and push for answers. While he doesn't feel her physical pain, his heart breaks for her and together they are going to overcome this challenge. The love he has for her is displayed so clearly by his actions and words. As they saw all the time, they are attached at the hip! We are reposting this picture because it is Olympic time and its one of our favorites and it always makes us smile. They are proud to be Americans and literally dressed head to toe alike, like they are 8 year old best friends, and they are!