Monday, November 22, 2010

A spinal cord injury

In April, while visiting customers in New Mexico, I suffered a spinal cord injury. It is classified as being between a C3 and a C4. This level of injury is also known as "room for improvement".

As a result, I was in intensive care for around 4 months and spent another month to a month in a half in rehabilitation. Currently, I am still going through intensive physical therapy and am showing improvements daily. I am wheel-chair bound and getting function in all parts of my body with the exception of my hands. I can't tell you how frustrating it is that I can't design or bead.

A spinal cord injury is unique and different to each individual. Thanks to organizations like the Christopher Reeve's Foundation, a tremendous amount of money and time has been dedicated to better understanding this type of injury. And, I've been able to receive the very best care using the latest medical advancements.

On this blog, feel free to leave me comments and Sara will keep you updated with my progress.

-Mike

64 comments:

  1. As a beader and customer also a acquaintance of Sara, I was saddened to read about your health challenge. I sincerely hope you will fully recover. I know it isn't the same thing but WAY back in the late 1940's my Dad was paralyzed (couldn't walk and hands were frozen into fists) It took a long time and lots of rehab (and they didn't know then what they have learned since) but he pretty much fully recovered (including hands). Prayers for continuing recovery.

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  2. You are in my thoughts, Mike.

    I hope every new day is better than the one before.

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  3. Mike,
    So glad to hear that you are improving daily. I will keep you in my thoughts!

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  4. Mr. Flex, I have always thought you and Scott were quality guys with a fierce product. I am sending all the positive vibes and well wishes I can muster.
    We need to see you back to beading!! Get well soon and we will see you both in Hawaii!

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  5. Oh my gosh, Mike. I am so, so sorry to hear of your injury. It sounds like you're in the best of hands. Wishing you a full recovery, and back to beading asap.

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  6. Shirley Cook on facebook: What? OMGosh... I am blown away and so very sorry to hear this.

    Mike, I'm sending you the most positive vibes I can find in the universe - you have to keep getting better so you can "get on the bus"! :-)
    Hugs to you, and my very best wishes for your continued improvement.

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  7. These days many people are afraid to say they are sending prayers so they send "healing thoughts." I however have never been a person who is afraid of much so I am sending you prayers, lots of them!
    Shannon C
    -a very happy customer

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  8. Oh, Mike, I am so sorry to hear this! Just know that there are lots and lots of people around the world pulling for you. I'm sending love and healing thoughts your way...

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  9. Mike,
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, your booth will be missing you as will we!
    Big hugs & blessings!
    Kristal Wick

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  10. I'm so very sorry to hear about your accident. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

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  11. Mike,
    I'm thinking about you and look forward to hearing about your continued progress. Wishing you all the very best, Lauri Copeland

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  12. Fay Katherine on facebook: Wow. I had no idea and am very sorry to hear of this news!!

    Sending Mike many positive and healing thoughts!!
    Big (((hugs))) to you Mike!! Best wishes for a speedy recovery!!

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  13. Nikki Blanchard on facebook: So sorry to hear Mike. Sending love and prayers.

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  14. Hi Mike!!!
    I was SO surprised to hear of your spinal cord injury and send loving thoughts your way. The shows and beads are waiting for you. And... you know I will sneak a photo of you when you least expect it next time I see you. (big smile)

    Speedy recovery, get well soon, Happy Thanksgiving and we all look forward to seeing your smiling face soon.
    Lisa Kan

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  15. From the SoftFlexGirl blog:

    Mike,

    We have not officially met,so I would like to introduce myself now. My name is Genea. Glad to meet you.

    I am sorry to hear about your injury :( I will keep you in my prayers. Wishing you rest and healing daily.

    Much love,

    Genea

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  16. Mike! Life can be so unfair. You have always been on my short list of favorite people. I love you, brother. Fight hard, the beads are waiting for your creative spirit and so are all of us who love you. Paula

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  17. Mike,

    Thinking about you, and wishing a speedy recovery.

    Greg Fuchs

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  18. On facebook Diana Jex-Weese said: So sorry to hear this. Sending my best wishes and thoughts for a quick recovery.

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  19. I'm so sorry to hear about this. Wishing you a quick and full recovery.

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  20. Mike, Kelly and I wish you a speedy and complete recovery. We have always admired your jewelry designing ability.
    I remember that you broke your hand shortly before you were to take a glass bead making class from Lauren Stump a few years back.
    Our prayers go out to you and Scott and all the great folks at Soft Flex.
    We have confidence that you will make a complete recovery and be back in the saddle soon.
    Your beady buds=Peter Wiley/Kelly Ladas www.sanfranciscoartscrafts.com

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  21. You're in my thoughts and prayers! Hopefully each day brings you closer to recovery! The bead world needs you!!!! Get well soon!

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  22. So sorry to hear of your injury, Mike! I've only met you in passing at various shows, but you always had such a great presence, look forward to having you back on the show floor 100% ASAP!

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  23. Hi Mike - just waving at you from "the bus". :-)

    Sending more healing thoughts your way - keep up the good fight!

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  24. Dang! SO sorry to hear that but am sending healing energy and lots of prayers to you! Keep smiling and trying hard! I look forward to hearing of your improvements.

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  25. You have tons of love coming to you from every direction - especially this direction.

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  26. we love you mike - bowers, pilgrim, o'grady, kuenzler....all of us love you

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  27. Oh, Mike, I am so sorry to hear of your injury. I am glad to hear you are improving, so I will just send everything your way - good thoughts, vibes, prayers, best wishes and throw in a few lighted candles.

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  28. Hi Mike!

    I was shocked to learn of your injury. I'm a long-time customer and fan. Sending you my best wishes for a good recovery. Try to be good and listen to your therapists. I know they seem like bullies at times, but they honestly do know how to help you work magic. Hugs to you and your family!

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  29. Thinking of you and praying for a speedy and full recovery!

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  30. My thoughts and prayers are with you for a speedy recovery! You are missed.

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  31. Mike, I hope you continue to improve. I am about to have spine surgery number 7, drunk driver is the cause of my initial injury.I lost my career as a glassblower, which was the toughest part. But oddly enough 15 years later I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. Coming to acceptance is a long road. but you can get there. My life is not what I had plannned...thank god, because what I have now is better in so many ways, even with limitations.

    Hang in there, from someone who totally understands.
    Candice

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  32. Oh, Mike, I didn't know! Best wishes for a speedy total recovery from both Wilbur and me. We hope to see you in Hawaii. (yes, we have already made our reservations, but aren't going to do the show - too much stuff to schlep) Cheers,

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  33. I'm so very sorry to hear this! I am recuperating from multi-level fusion & it's taking a LONG time so can only imagine what you must be going thru.

    Sending positive thoughts your way for a speedy recovery.

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  34. From Mr. Flex, to all my old and new friends listed above, thank you very much for your good wishes and your prayers. I'll keep you posted on my progress as time goes along. My best wishes to all of you for a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy time with your families.

    -Mike

    PS - Thanks for typing this in for me, Sara! :)

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  35. i hope you feel better very sun ... sinserly

    IRMA COLIN

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  36. Hey Mike- give us a call when you get a chance....we are missing your "wit" and humor....

    Get Better Buddy....


    Daniel John
    John Bead Team

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  37. Mike, Matt and myself were so sorry to hear of your accident. We want you to know that you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. We love you guys so much...you have been so good to us. I am so happy that Sarah and the gang have started this so that we can keep up with your progress; please give us a call some time.
    Love ya, DEE and Matt

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  38. Mike, you are in our thoughts and prayers. Wishing you a quick recovery.
    -Lori Schneider

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  39. Mike, just stopping by to say I think of you often and hope each day is a little brighter. All my love xoxoxo, Kristen

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  40. mike, we are given challanges and have no idea why or what we are to learn from them. i am sending prayers for you, and love to you for being a friend for over, what, almost 15 years. dang. embellishment, sac was that long ago. you and scott have been so supportive of me, say the word, tell me, what i can do for you. new phone number, i'll forward it to sara via messages on facebook.

    in 2010, jon passed away in march, i made it past 5 ecoli's but dang, what happened to you shook me. you are a constant. so, work on it silly!!! said with much love pat moses-caudel

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  41. Hi Mike,

    So sorry to hear about your incident! Our thoughts are with you, and hoping for a successful speedy recovery.

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  42. Shawn & Beki HaleyDecember 11, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Hi Sweetie, I hope each day continues to bring you closer and closer to a full recovery. Shawn and I, and the kids and staff, will keep you in our thoughts. Please let us know if there is anything you or Scott need that we can help with.
    With much love,
    Shawn, Beki & family.

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  43. I want to offer my sincere appreciation to those that have posted their prayers and well wishes. Anyone who knows my Dad, knows how amazing he is. He is brilliant, and funny, and one of the most generous people I have ever known. I love him very much and believe that he will recover from this injury and be back to his beloved beads in no time. Please continue to send your love and support, I know it means the world to him.

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  44. Looking for an update...... hoping things are improving steadily. Take care my friend.

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  45. Mike-

    I was so very sad to hear your news. I'm sending you healing thoughts and the best wishes for patience, all wrapped up in a big warm hug.

    Much love-

    Jean

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  46. Hey man. This is Scott and Susan from Pudgy Beads. When I read about your injury in the email from Sara today, I thought about how all of us independent, small businesses are working extra hard to counter the negative effects of this economy which is why you were even in New Mexico in the first place. Then I thought, the real story is you were reaching for that box of Kryspy Kreme doughnuts and tripped and made up this whole story so Scott would't be upset. Seriously, all of us hit the show road about the same time and became close like family. So your injury is our injury. If you work extra hard and get those nerve endings connected again, I'll personally bring a box of Krispy Kreme to Sonoma myself. Get well dude. Later. Scott& Susan/Pudgy Beads

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  47. Hello Mike,
    Mr. Flex, the news saddened me. But I know you are a fighter and will soon be back to beading and designing those beautiful creations. No one but you can make me drool over the stones you tempt me with in Tucson each February. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Scott. And I am sending a huge hug across the Colorado mountains. Take care my friend.
    Marilyn Koponen

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  48. I hope that the holidays find you with those you love - enjoy!!! Look forward to seeing you in the spring if possible.

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  49. Hey Mike and Scott!
    I am happy to see a place where I can get the occasional update on your recovery. Have thought of you often over the past months...each time I pick up soft flex to make a new pretty. :) I was struck by a particular comment in your Post (I can't tell you how frustrating it is that I can't design or bead.) Mike, the part of you that designs is still fully functional. How many people would love to apprentice under your instruction....you have so much to give!!!!!
    Deborah Bassett
    Sacramento

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  50. From Dena Forte:

    Mike,
    I was shocked to hear of your injury. Life does throw us curves and I know it must be difficult. I have a friend who was hit by a car on his way to school. He too injured his spinal cord and has been in a wheel chair every since. He is the strongest person I know as he looks at things as not what he can't do but what he can. He married a few years ago and has a little girl, I'm so happy for him and it's his outlook on life that has provided him with a full life. You too are a strong person and I know you will get over come the new challenges before you.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Dena

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  51. Holy crap, Mike! I just heard about this. The best to you. I have always found that when one door closes another one opens. May that door hold some cool stuff.

    Considering moving to the town you live in and thought of you and Scott,
    Nancy Goodenough

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  52. Mike, Happy New Year, this year has GOT to be better than last...hang in there with p.t. it's miserable but necessary, mine told me he didn't think ladies of my age knew words like that. I told him i was an advanced learner from the olden days. is it possible for you to describe a design to someone who can translate it to paper for you, or to the computer screen? i was thinking of graph paper. quit laughing, it could work. just because i know nothing of regular beading... you are so talented, i can see you being able to decribe into work pictures. just a thought. have used some of your wire, 28 ga amber is wonderful! i used some pearls in assorted sizes and shapes and colors, and did some freeform pieces that are lovely.
    more later as i work with more wire...

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  53. Mike, you are so very missed by many here in Tucson. It's not the same without you and Scott. But this mornings drive to the show it was 18 degrees outside and 3 degrees with the wind factor...geeeeez. So, it's not the normal Tucson at all. But more because you aren't here. my thoughts for you are that I'm optimistic we will see you at a bead show in the not to distant future. When you are able to make it to a show it will be the best show ever, you have been one of the icons in the beading world these last couple decades. I still remember a small booth in San Francisco where this guy was working all by himself at the Dickens fair selling some items. Great glass pieces and this incredible beading wire. :). And oh yea working on a deal to use the wire possibly with extreme fishing nets. What a cool concept. Well that man at that show in i think 1994 was you Mike. The passion, excitement, energy, creativity, sharing wisdom, will always be a part of you. That's just who you are. I look forward when we can have your smile and wit back with us at the shows! You are so missed. Get well. Love n hugggggs
    Denise Sanders - Dema Designs
    P.s. Need any beads for the Secret Drawers Drawer? Smile. Hugs to you Mike

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  54. Mike, I hope you are improving daily. I met Sara last summer at CHA and she is enchanting. I read the blog first posted and really don't know how you are doing. I might only suggest that as you progress, you MIGHT consider looking into Prolotherapy by Dr. Ross Hauser from Caring Medical in Oak Park, IL. He has done amazing things with sports injuries and even for old folks like me and my wonky knee.

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  55. Thanks everyone! I can't count how many people have swung by our booth to leave Mike messages, cards, beads, etc. It is really nice to see just how much everyone cares about both Mike and Scott. Knowing them as well as I do, I know just how much they deserve a lot of love and support.

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  56. Oh my goodness, this is just terrible. I appreciated your personal visit to our shop, and am just sickened by the fact that perhaps some locals did a foul deed that caused the injury. Regardless of the cause, I'm glad to hear you are recovering and will be praying for the function of your hands to return. Hopefully this will not keep you away from New Mexico from here on out. (I wouldn't blame you if you never returned.)

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  57. Mike & Scott, just wanted to say how much you are missed. Being in our booth at CHA and then visiting the crew in Tucson I kept thinking you were going to be there. Mike, I hear that your are progressing steadily and am so happy to hear that. Lots of love and hugs to both of you from me and the family.

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  58. Wow! how horrible to think that someone did this to you. I too had a spinal cord injury 8 yrs ago i fell back off a chair and fracture c7 i was told it was a stable fracure & sent on my way with a neck brace on. My body told me other wise.i had severe tinging in my arms. i saw another spec.in London Ont. & my mri told a scary story i was mm away from a severed spinal cord with emerg surg the doc was able to fuce c7 to t1 & i was good as new i know this must b a scary time for you i will say a prayer for you and hope for a full recovery keep remaining possitive & good things will come your way!

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  59. Hi Mike,
    We just heard the news and all of us at TierraCast want to send you our best wishes for a full recovery. We have missed you both at the shows and hope to see you back this year. It is not the same without you! All our best to you always!!

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  60. Mark... I was sorry to hear of your accident, and know of the intensity towards you recovery. I have been on the Board of Directors of an organization called InSpirit, that supports paralytics in really intense times. Aneice Taylor, the founder of this had a house fall on her in 1982. At the time her attendant care was minimum, and many of us rallied around her to help supplement money.. She was able to create a non-profit to continue this effort for others.
    She's an incredable resource of information of who and where to go..call her after 12:00 at her office.... 415 488-0477.. tell her Marty sent you. Keep up the good fight...and know that you have a large community supporting you. Just let us know of your needs. Ms Marty Meade 'Arroyo Road Bead Collective' mmeade9778@comcast.net

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  61. Mike, I'm so sorry to hear of your injury. I hope you continue to make good progress toward a complete recovery. Your beading community stands behind you 100%. Jeri

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  62. Steve and Juana JelenMarch 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    Hey Mike, just to let you know that we miss you and are thinking of you. We wish you all the very best for the future and a real recovery, your friends, Steve and Juana at Pacific Silverworks

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  63. Mike,
    I occassionally think of my time at Soft Flex and visit the site to see what you are all up to. I have the fondest memories of you and Scott. I was really surprised when I read about your injury. I am so sorry to hear that happened to you and wish you a speedy recovery. You will be in my thoughts!
    Sincerely,
    Nikki

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  64. hi mike just me saying hi and hope this finds you in high spirits and in a positive frame of mind. i know how hard that can be at times, keeping your brain active is so important...so i wanted to tell you about a program i found, to speak into a headseat and dictate into the computer what you would have typed, spelled correctly and everything. for me this was a biggie. it's by Dragon, and it may be something for you to look into. think about it anyway, you can get your design ideas or thoughts or swearing out on paper thru the priner... i think of you and scott all the time you guys gave me such a break with wire, and letting me crochet some some designs..like iN THE WOODS that pretty necklace i had no intention of selling till you asked the price....and supported me when i got stuck in hospice, thou kicked out. i wasn't dyin fast enough....... i'll stop rambling now, but i love you take care pat

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