Monthly Archives: September 2009

Progess – Slow But Steady = A Carepage Post

Posted Sep 18, 2009 2:15pm

Hey there, family and friends!

I apologize for the lack of updates and email notifications. CarePages has been having issues with the emails. Even if you don’t receive a notification, please feel free to visit the site and leave messages for Rosario.

We’ve reached a ‘slow and steady’ point on Rosario’s road to recovery. This has been good and bad. The ups and downs are not as volitle, but her day-to-day improvement isn’t as noticable, which can trick us into thinking there is no improvement. (This is when Rose needs your wonderful notes of encouragement and prayer to keep her spirits up.)

There isn’t too much to report. Rosario has had some busy weekends visiting family, going to a friend’s wedding, being part of our cheering section at performances, etc. She even got to see the Celebration on the Grand fireworks last week! (We weren’t sure how Rosario would do with the sound of the fireworks, but she was ok.)

The weekdays are tough since most of Rose’s family and friends are at work. There isn’t much she can do yet, which makes for long, boring days. Please pray that we can find something productive for Rosario to do as she continues her recovery.

Also, be sure to check out the photo gallery. We’ve uploaded some more picutres. It is important to realize that even though Rose looks like her amazingly fabulous self, she is still in a lot of pain.

Please keep the prayers and messages coming!

Posted by Cecilia

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Significant Moments – A Carepage Update

Posted Sep 2, 2009 1:24pm

Hello, friends of Rosario!

Sorry for the lack of updates. We’ve been pretty busy just enjoying Rosario’s company. I can’t tell you how grateful we are to have her home!! Plus, she has gotten off the recovery roller coaster, which means her progress has been pretty steady. That’s not to say there haven’t been significant moments: Rosario’s life has become a constant stream of significant moments! Still, it has been a relief for her to forego the dramatic ups and downs of recovery.

Rosario has improved drastically since her arrival home. It’s not that we are doing a better job than her LA family – they were fantastic and Rose misses them dearly; she is just at a point in her recovery where there is obvious progress to be made. There seems to be a never-ending supply of ‘firsts’:

– The first time Rosario was able to walk without the support of someone’s arm.
– The first time she went up and down stairs on her own.
– The first time she got all dressed up and painted the town pink!
– The first time she wore heels! They were little one inch wedges, but it was still exciting!
– The first time she put on her make-up standing up.
– The first time she danced! She did a little cumbia last week! In her own words: “I busted a move… a very small move, but I still busted a move!”
– The first time she opened a door by herself! We were leaving the mall. Rose said, “I’ll get my own door, thank you!” and pushed the handicap button.

There have been many other significant moments for Rosario, some of which get a little emotional, which is not surprising considering all she has been through. Rose has a fresh outlook on life and a renewed appreciation for simple pleasures.

Rosario does her best to keep her spirits up, but it isn’t easy. She was never one to sit around, so she has been getting rather bored. She still doesn’t have the strength to hold a book for a long time or to respond to emails and whatnot, which means she gets rather restless. The boredom has its benefits: it has been a great motivator. Rosario knows she can’t push herself too far too fast, but the added determination has been helpful. Walking has been her physical activity of choice. She tries to walk every day. The rain from last week made taking walks difficult, but Rose made up for that on Monday when she and Mom walked two miles. Yes, you read that right: TWO MILES!! It was a slow two miles and Rosario was a bit tired after, but she was satisfied with her accomplishment.

Her recovery at home hasn’t been a breeze – she had and still has many more hurdles to overcome. Rosario is still in need of your prayers! Her upper body is in constant pain from the incision where the doctors cut the muscle to gain access to her lungs and other organs. Her right arm is very weak, which is why she isn’t able to hold a book. She is still at risk for complications with her esophagus (I never would have thought I’d become an expert at spelling ‘esophagus’!). And, of course, there is the continued healing of the emotional and psychological trauma.

Thank you again and again for your support!

For those in Grand Rapids or Michigan who would like to visit Rose, please contact me at ceciliamschwartz[at]gmail[dot]com.

Posted by Cecilia

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Rejoicing In Prayer and Comfort – A Carepage Post

Posted Aug 20, 2009 8:43am

Hello, family and friends of Rosario!

It has been one week since Rosario and Danny flew across the country to surprise the family. I can’t tell you how good it is to be near her. I wish I could be by her side all day, but simply knowing she is about eight minutes away from me is very comforting.

The change of location has not been without its struggles. At Danny’s, Rosario was spoiled. At Mom and Dad’s, she’s entered ‘recovery boot camp’. For example, Rose had the option of taking the stairs or the elevator at Danny’s; Mom and Dad have stairs – two sets! There have been a few other challenges, but Rose has taken them in stride.

Keep the prayers coming! There is still a threat of complications with the esophagus and she is still in a lot of pain where the doctors cut through the muscle and separated her ribs.

While you are remembering Rosario in your prayers, we would ask that you also remember three people we have been asked to pray for:

Stacy (cousin of our cousin, Ron) was hit by a car as she crossed the street. She has multiple fractures at the lower back of the skull. She has a concussion, but it is yet to be known the extent of the brain injury and how it might affect her.

Leopoldo (brother of a woman in our dance group) was very ill from either pneumonia or bronchitis or something similar. He was in ICU for several days.

Gilbert (brother-in-law of a family friend) had a stroke last week and was experiencing paralysis on his left side. They aren’t sure if the paralysis is permanent.

We know firsthand how powerful prayer is! Just look at the miracle that is Rosario. So to be specific, we know how powerful YOUR prayers are! Please continue praying for Rose’s recovery and for these others who are also in need of intercession.

I can’t thank you enough, dear CarePage family! I don’t know how we would have made this far without each one of you! Thank you for continuing to walk with Rosario on this journey!

Posted by Cecilia

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State of Change – Change of State – A Carepage Post

Posted Aug 17, 2009 10:13am

Sounds like a movie title. Maybe it will be. As related before, Rosario went to the doctor a week ago Thursday and her sutures were pronounced healed by the surgeon. She was given the go ahead to travel, which we expected she would do when she felt strong enough in a couple – three weeks.

This past Thursday night, Mom receives a phone call. I’m in the back room of the house checking for updates on CarePages and am only half listening to the one half of the conversation I can hear. It is a call from Danny. “Did you receive the package we sent you?” Sounds odd. We’re always the ones sending packages which take up precious scarce room in Danny’s small apartment. “Did you receive the package?” Felipa says “No, I didn’t see any package.” “We told them to leave it on the front porch, if you weren’t home.” Felipa goes to the front porch and screams, “Oh Rose!”

For a moment, my heart skipped a beat and I thought, “Oh no, not again.” going back to when we got the first call. But then I heard laughter. I ran from the back room through the dining room and living room to the front door. There was Rose and Danny standing there with their cell phone in hand, and Felipa’s cell phone in hers. Talk about surprised! It was pure joy. We couldn’t hug her, but we gave Rose lot’s of kisses, and gave Danny some hugs.

Cecilia and Charles were there, as well, co-conspirators in this California to Michigan journey. They had picked Rose and Danny up from Midway in Chicago and drove them to Grand Rapids. They kept their secrets well; we had no inkling of what was happening.

And so we have been all together as a family again along with our adopted son, Danny, at least for a weekend. Rosario even went to our parish festival and saw many of our fellow parishioners and watched her sisters perform traditional Mexican dancing: baile folklorico. Father José, during a break between the music and dancing, proudly presented Rose’s brother Charles, the seminarian, one of six, diocesan and religious, we claim from our parish, and then recounted to the crowd the miracle of Rosario, el milagro de Rosario. Father described the path of the bullet as the hand God guiding it around her heart and other organs. He also witnessed that Rosario had forgiven the persons who did this and prayed for their conversion. As women wept openly and grown men blinked back tears, Father gave the microphone to Rose. She thanked everyone for their prayers and support without which she would not have healed so fast. Many people came to hold her hand and wish her well. We stayed a while longer in the 90° heat. Rose even ate full taco.

Rosario will be staying with us for about two months to continue healing and get stronger. She still has pain from where the ribs were spread apart for the surgery and where the muscle was removed to patch up and support her esophagus. The prognosis? The doctors say that it will take about a year. Of course, they said she would be two months in the hospital – it was only two weeks. In response to a question about her esophagus healing, the doctors were unable to give an educated answer. They told her that she is the first person they know of to survive such a wound. She will be their test case.

Rosario also needs to get physically strong. I told her she wasn’t going to have it easy any more with Danny waiting on her hand and foot. She was going to “summer boot camp” just like we used to have when they were teenagers with chores and lot’s of physical activity.

So, Danny has successfully handed Rosario off to the family for the next phase. We owe Danny and the other caregivers in L.A. a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. We will attempt to with our prayers for them. Danny, especially, was Rose’s patient advocate: researching the medications and figuring out what and why and how they were affecting her symptoms and coming up with care strategies that have paid off.

I drove Danny to Detroit, where he will be visiting his family for awhile, and was able to meet his mom and dad, who are delightful people. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and Danny comes from good stock.

Please continue to pray. We have seen miracle after miracle for which we are grateful. Yet, there will be challenges. Stay tuned for more miracles ahead.

Posted by Dad

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Normal…?? – A Carepage Post

Posted Aug 10, 2009 7:21pm

Hi Everyone… it’s Danny..

Sorry i haven’t posted in a while…

The past week or so has been an amazing journey. As you may have read in a previous post, Rosario had quite a battle with the pain meds and then coming off of them and all the side effects that involves. BUT the decision to get off the pain meds has proven very fruitful… Sunday night/Monday was the peak of the withdrawal symptoms… it was really hard… lot’s of nausea/vomiting/insomnia/mood swings/fear/ and other things… we had felt that after the peak, things would level off in a couple days… it’s difficult to tell because everyone’s reaction is different. But that IS how it worked out… here is the timeline…

(While on the Hydrocodon,e Rose was experiencing the following side effects.. nausea, difficulty urinating, grogginess, constipation, muscle stiffness, loss of appetite, dry mouth. )

Aug. 1st, Saturday-evening… Rose decides to go off the hydrocodone pain meds and switch to straight liquid Tylenol (acetaminophen).

Aug. 2nd Sunday morning. Rose feels pretty good. She has her first normal bowel movement. Wooo Hooo!

Aug. 2nd Sunday Evening… Rose begins to feel the withdrawal effects listed above …heavy mood swings, nausea, vomiting, etc…
she cannot hold any food down. nor can she hold down the tylenol. OH… and not much sleep!

Aug 3rd. Monday.. more nausea, vomiting and the added bonus of diarrhea. Can’t eat much, and doesn’t even attempt to take the tylenol.

Aug. 4th. Tuesday.. More of the same BUT the symptoms seem to be waning. We are taking her temperature several times a day to make sure that she doesn’t have an infection. Her urination is returning to normal!! She is eating a bit more but not much at all. Still no pain meds at all. She is surprised that she is still able to move fairly well…. and even though she is in more pain in some ways, she is in less pain in other ways… strange. She can wash her own hair and needs very little assistance in the shower (Melissa helps with that). She is much more alert today and she likes this! Did well most of the day but got sick Tuesday evening. 😦

Aug 5th. Wednesday… Today is the first day that she doesn’t vomit. After talking to her Dad, who told her not to be afraid to eat… or to throw up… (he said if you throw up you throw up but you have to eat… ) Rose began to eat… and hold it down! She is sleeping better each night, Normal urination, diminished nausea. In fact she is really starting to feel good. And because she is more alert and feeling better, she is getting anxious to get out of my tiny apartment… OK fine… So we went out to dinner (a first) and to a movie (another first) she was out of the house almost four hours!!!! She got emotional about it at dinner… “I’m alive!… and I’m eating at a restaurant!!!” *tears*

Aug. 6th. Thursday… I had to work all day, so Melissa S. and Maggie took Rose to her Doctor appointment and got her back home and showered up. So I call home to make sure everything went well at the appointment and Rose is not home! Where is she ? With Maggie hanging out at the Grove / Farmers Market! She apparently had a taste for crepes and enchiladas! Easy there, speedy!” Also she had a couple of visitors who brought yet more movies over! Still feeling good no vomiting. We all really feel like she’s really over the hump!! Especially since the doctors said that they don’t need to do any more follow ups !!!! Thursday night, Rose and I immediately began planning a trip back to Michigan! We can’t wait to blow this town!

Aug 7th. Friday… another great day ..feeling better and better! We make a trip to the bank and in the evening Tiff and Theresa came over for a girls night… I went out to eat by myself… had a lovely piece of salmon- oh sorry this isn’t about me- I forget.

Aug. 8th Saturday… Rose and I went to her apartment and packed up all her stuff. We had to get it out of there because the apartment is being vacated. In the evening, the school at which Rose used to work, Act One, was having a dinner for the end of the term. They asked Rosario to come by and to bring me along… Well it happened to be at a restaurant which is literally 75 yards from where we are staying. It also happens to be right across the street from the exact spot where the original incident happened. Act One did not know this when they booked the space.. this is a big city and we are no where near Act One… weird? Maybe not.

Now, Rose had not been by the scene of the crime yet. I had been feeling, for some reason, that it was important for Rose to go by there, and I think she did too. I figured the longer she waited the more opportunity there was for fear to grow. It occurred to me, since many of her best prayer warrior friends & supporters from Act One would be right there, that maybe she could go there with the support and prayers of the staff of Act One and myself right there for her. She said that she could do it! We asked Gary, his wife, Vicki & her husband, Melissa & her husband, Terrence, Genevieve and a couple others to walk with us across the street to the scene of the crime with us. They agreed. Rosario was able to stand right on the corner where it happened. We all surrounded her and prayed. Gary started out the prayer and everyone contributed their own verses. We prayed for Rose, for her strength and continued healing, we thanked God for all that He had done for her thus far. We prayed for the person who actually committed the crime and those who were accomplices. Needless to say, it was a very emotional moment for Rosario and all of us as well. Rose felt it was good and felt a lot of peace about confronting the crime scene this way.

Many thanks to all who were there for her both physically and spiritually!!

Sunday was incredibly normal! Which is what Rose craves most these days. We relaxed and went to church in the evening. Then we visited friends at the “after mass”. After that went went out to eat… again! Rose had her first couple of sips of wine! Another first… and I was determined to get her to eat one of her favorite foods.. ice cream. So we got home, put on a movie, “Return to Me”… one of her favorites… and I went out and picked up some ice cream… success… got her with the old Haagen Daaz caramel cone ice cream! She didn’t eat as much as me … she never does… but still she ate some! Pretty normal, Rose!

SO… even though things are getting better… Rosario still needs your prayers!! She will have to face many more battles physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually… so PLEASE keep the prayers coming… they are working so well!

God Bless You all!

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Last Week’s Appointment – A Carepage Post

Posted Aug 10, 2009 12:30pm

Rosario had another doctor appointment last Thursday. They told her not to come back. Hurray! Her incision and chest wounds are healed, and Rosario has been doing really well off the pain meds. She is allowed to take over the counter meds, drink wine and eat whatever she wants! You can imagine how excited Rosario was to get that news!

She still has a long road of recovery ahead, and unfortunately, the doctors weren’t able to give her much of a time line for her recovery. They said most people who experienced similar trauma to the esophagus did not survive, and Rosario is now their case study. This is again proof of the miracle that is Rosario.

They did caution her about long term care and being aware of acid reflux and any injury to the esophagus that may cause complications. They also told Rosario to take care not to get pneumonia, as it too could cause complications.

Here is an excerpt from an email I received from Rosario’s friend, Melissa:
“This week without medication Rosario has been to dinner, a movie and shopping. She is regaining her independence but still has muscle soreness probably due to the muscle tissue taken to reinforce the esophagus. Continue to cover her in prayer for the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects. Specifically for the esophagus and fear.”

Thank you again for your continued prayer! Be assured that your prayer, individual and collective, make a profound impact on Rosario’s recovery.

Posted by Cecilia

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Reality of the Journey – A Carepage Post

Posted Aug 5, 2009 10:58am

Rosario has had some difficult days recently. Some of the side effects from the pain medication had become major road blocks. The decision was made Saturday night, after consulting a pharmacist, a few nurses and Rose’s doctor, to switch to liquid Tylenol for managing her pain.

Coming off the original prescription, hydrocodone, is not without complications. It was a very strong and addictive drug, and her body is now going through withdrawals. Rosario did not know this would happen, which made it all the more frustrating.

Rose has been doing so well up to this point that many of us were beginning to think she was out of the woods, but that is not the case. She is still at risk for complications from the surgery, and on top of that the mental, emotional and spiritual trials are starting to surface.

There is still a lot of healing that needs to take place in all those areas. Every day brings victories and obstacles. Your prayers at this time are more important than ever. Rose relies on them for strength and comfort. Your messages of encouragement are also a HUGE source of comfort. I realize that as time passes, the fervor with which we first prayed begins to fade, but the road to recovery is long, tedious and exhausting. Rosario and her caretakers need your prayers and support as much now, if not more, than before.

So pray, dear friends. Pray with energy, fervor and vigor! Storm heaven with your prayers for Rosario like never before! Continue to ask others to join our ranks.

Rose has said she would not have survived without your prayers. May God answer our prayers that she not only survive these current trials but that she might thrive.

Posted by Cecilia

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