Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 14 Recovery:

myspace graphic at Gickr

Check it out! I can move my neck! Range of motion is really great to the left. To the rights a bit weird but way better than it was pre-surgery. I don't think I've moved this far in a long time. I noticed it today while driving. I turned to look before moving over and WOW! I could almost see behind me. So that's the way it works! Up is a bit tight around the incision once I go up too much. Down is good. Further than pre-surgery but still a bit strange at a certain point. Still some swelling at the wound.

The voice. No voice. It's becoming a reality more and more everyday that I need to do things really different. I know it'll come back at some point, but I can't just sit around and wait for that to happen. I run a business alone and well....there you go. I've read your comments and emails offering help. Thanks so much. I'm considering how it'll all work and I'll be in touch. Of course it'll be an email.

Please email or text me if you are trying to reach me. You can leave a message but please leave a way for me to return your call electronically if you do. I cannot talk on the phone. It's a terrible strain. I don't think straining helps.

I'm having Kristie call my Dr's tomorrow. I was supposed to hear from them but have not yet. I'd like to at least get the ball rolling on some therapy ASAP. I have a feeling I'm going to be prescribed total silence for a few weeks. I'm trying to gear up for that by only talking when a complete necessity. It takes a lot out of me because I have to use such much wind to get my words out.

If any of you have any ideas please share. I just bought a small dry erase board to carry around. Trying to order food at loud places is pretty a no go. On a funny note I forgot and pulled up to a drive thru the other day. They asked if they could help and I spoke...if that's what you call it. After an attempt with no luck I drove away and went inside. No more drive through for some time.

I get tired fast. My doctor told me the thyroid hormone will take a few weeks for me to feel. Today I felt like a watch with no battery. I'm going to take the rest of the week to rest. I have two weddings this weekend. I'm a bit concerned. My breathing is off so my chest gets heavy by mid day. I do have a fill in voice for this weekend. Thanks Chris for offering.

I'm in NJ with Dad so he can help me out a bit. I'll be heading back to MD Thursday evening I think.

Again thanks everybody. As I get my head around this I'll be in touch to let you know where you can chip in.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

DAY 8 Recovery:




Had my follow-up with the surgeon on Friday. The stitches are out! Cool huh? Looks like a big smiley face on my neck. This will remind me for the rest of my life to smile. The areas around the incision are a bit sensitive. My energy comes in bursts but I've always been used to that. Once my thyroid hormone kicks in I'll be zinging like I'm 14 again! The soreness is letting off. I can sleep on my side now. Man did I miss that. Sleeping on my back made me feel like I'm in my own funeral for some reason. Yeah I'm weird like that. Oh yeah the follow-up.

I'm a lucky man. There was a small percentage of a chance that my vocal chords would be affected in this surgery. Of course with the way doctors make you feel like, it's just a small chance you have nothing to worry about, you forget there IS a chance.

Well it has happened to me. After yet another scope yesterday it is confirmed. The right side vocal chord is stuck open. Not moving. Paralyzed. What does this mean?

It means my voice will not return for some time. It means I have to see an ear,nose and throat doctor to see how bad it is and it means i'll have to start speech therapy to get it back to some sort of normal and hopefully pretty darn close to back to normal. I may sound just like this for quite a bit. I was told up to 6 months yesterday.

It's been hard not talking for more than a few minutes at a time this week. I like to talk. I like to laugh. Laughing is weird too. I like to sing, Definitely can't do that. I can whistle though! I like to make funny voices. I have one but that's the only one I'll be doing for a while. Everything is very "windy". Since my vocal chord is open it's the opposite of normal speaking. When you speak your throat is closed and your vocal chords vibrate. I still get vibration from the left side but the right side allows much air down my throat. I laugh with wind going in, Weird huh?

Sooooo. I need to think creatively. My business requires a large amount of talking. I'm thankful to God that I mostly make a living with with my eyes and hands. Those still work really well. At this point in my life, when I was just about tired of email and texting I'm going to count those as blessings as well.


I'll need to consider some sort of a sales person or office assistant that can speak for me on the phone or during consultations when needed. I also need to consider an assistant voice on location when shooting. My style requires direction, often speaking loudly or coaching from afar. I've reached out to my friends in business and in my personal life to get me through these next few weeks. I've got weddings 8/2, 8/2, 8/8 and 8/10. I've got those covered to have an assistant voice. I can talk to you if your near me. Come to think of it I sort of sound like Batman. Growling under my breath sort of. "YOU DON'T WANT TO DO THAT!"

That sounds cool.

I have to adjust my diet which I've been wanting to do anyway. I have to eat slowly and carefully. I've acquired some pretty harsh acid reflux since my throat is always open now. I'm on pills for it, but it's quite heavy at times. I can't clear my throat so well so it's super-exciting when it happens. I just need to remember to stay calm, swallow when I can and breath through my nose. It helps. I need to consider foods that are calm on my stomach and easy to chew and digest. Amongst things of no-no status are, chocolate, gum, hard candy, fatty or fried foods, whole milk, animal or vegetable oils, creamed foods, fast food, cold cuts, sausage, bacon, ice cream, orange juice, citrus, tomato sauces and spicy food. WOW! Am I going to be a blast at parties or what? I hope cliff bars still work. I rely on those at weddings.

Oh yeah.....COFFEE and TEA!!!! Hmmm. I have a problem here. I mean a challenge and opportunity. :)

I also need to sleep with my head slightly elevated. I pretty much am a two pillow type of guy anyway. I think I'm well enough covered there.


Anyway. I'm OK. It will be OK. I'm an extremely optimistic person and I've suffered quite a few hardships. I've learned to face challenges always open minded. With each challenge comes opportunity.

I'm back home by myself now. I'm taking some time to rest, reflect and get some office tasks done. New pricing catalog and best of slideshow are coming soon!

Thanks again everyone. Your thoughts, prayer and kind words have been essential in my recovery. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thanks, thanks and thanks.

If anyone knows of someone looking to learn a bit about the business or has some free time on their hands to help out please let me know.

Yours in temporary silence,

Michael

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tim and Kim said I do!


Tim and Kim said I DO! at the adorable Dorsey Chapel, Glenn Dale MD. The entire day was so unique and intimate, the chapel was PERFECT! Kim's dress was a vintage dress she ordered on-line from Australia (I think) The detail in the lace was unbelievable. We had some on and off rain but that didn't get us down! We headed down to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore for some fun shots, with and without umbrella.

After spending some two on one time we headed over to the Brass Elephant for a wonderful reception style dinner amongst Tim & Kim's closest friends and family. What a gorgeous place.

Tim & Kim, you two were so much fun. I had a great time and look forward to seeing you both again in the future.


Click here to see their wedding slideshow.

We did a last minute engagement session a few days before the wedding that I'll be posting soon.

DAY 6 (recovery):





Tomorrow will be a week. My live-in nurse had to go home on Sunday so I had my Dad come and get me and bring me to PA so I would be around some people in case I need anything. I still can't talk (barely), drive or lift. Funny how many things involve one of those. My flexibility in my neck and shoulders is coming back although by mid-day I'm about spent. Tylenol to the rescue after that. I'm still reminding myself that I had a pretty major surgery less then a week ago and be patient with my recovery. Watching movies, catching up on some office-ish tasks, reading and relaxing. My next wedding in not until 8/1/08 so I'm planning on being in full swing by then.

I have my 1st follow-up visit on Friday at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore with Dr Zeiger. Dad will be playing chauffeur for that one as well. Dad is rocking with helping me out. He likes to talk a lot though. Did I mention he likes to talk A LOT? Well if not, my Dad likes to TALK A-LOOOOOOOTTTTT! I hope he's getting used to me not answering. I owe him big time after this. I offered him free wedding photography if he ever decides to marry again. I think this is generous of me don't you?

Funny story....as I'm walking into the operating room one of the Doctors said "So, you're a wedding photographer?"
"Yes I am!" I said while climbing onto the strange cross-like surgery table.
"Well I'm engaged to be married!" he said as I lie back and someone slips the very lovely hair net/bonnet over my head.
"Congratulations!" I said, " I'd offer you a card, but I'm well.....naked! I couldn't find a place to put them that wouldn't feel strange"
We all laughed as they strapped me down and readied the first dose of anesthesia. I told him to google me. He said he would. That would be a pretty cool thing to shoot the wedding of one of my surgeons. I look forward to hearing from him.

Nothing like laughing real good before you fall asleep.

PROPS: I need to thank Kristie for doing such an amazing job. Your strength both beforehand and afterwards was never unnoticed. You are an amazingly kind and caring women and I love you for it.

Dad...you don't even know how to use the internet, but I'll thank you here anyway. I appreciate you being there/here for me. You rock.

To all of you..for your continued outpourings of prayer,support and well wishes. Thanks! Seriously. I've never felt so thought about.

To the team of Doctors and nurses at Johns Hopkins that got me through. THANK YOU! I have never met a more kind group of medical professionals. Everyone I came in contact with was wonderful. And the room.....WOW! The Marburg Pavilion was amazing. They must have known of my hospitality background because this place is pretty much a fine medical hotel. Concierge and all. They really do make you feel like you are the only person there.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm ALIVE!




I'm back home after being in the hospital overnight after surgery. They did a total thyroidectomy. I'm REALLY stiff, tired and have a heck of a sore throat but other that that I'm feeling OK. My Dr. told me they had a difficult time getting the breathing tube in. That makes sense since they told me the goiter on my thyroid was the size of a baseball and went all they way down past my collar bone and was apparently squashing everything. That is amazing to me. My scar is going to be something to talk about! We all love stories right? I've decided to tell people I got a head transplant.

Thank you all for the kind wishes. I got tons of facebook messages, texts and emails. I feel blessed to have so many people caring about me. I hope to talk to you ASAP. Right now I sound a bit like grover so I'm going to rest my voice.

Thanks again. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Total Thyroidectomy:


WED 7/16/08 is the day. Although it is benign, I'm having a total thyroidectomy per my Doctor's recommendation. I'm having it done at John Hopkins in Baltimore, which is one of the best in the nation, so I'm sure I'm in good hands. I'll have a cool new scar and I'll be on thyroid hormone for the rest of my life but I look forward to feeling better. REAL energy perhaps? I may be hyper soon guys. Let me know if I'm annoying. (more than usual)
I'll be in the hospital overnight. Should be home by Thursday before lunch.

I'll update you all ASAP.

With that being said, I'll be offline and out of commission for a bit. Once I'm feeling better I'll answer all of your emails and phone messages. I really don't want to conduct business while I'm looped on pain meds, so please be patient. You'll hear from me as soon as I'm able.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Love you all...mean it!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Michelle's Belly!


My good friend's Michelle and Kevin are expecting. Kevin didn't want in the photos but Simba the cat did. MIchelle you look wonderful! I'm so excited for you both. Keep me posted!!

Click here to see her slideshow.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

I'm happy to be relaxing on this Holiday. I'm catching up on some things I had hanging. I have a craving for hotdogs and hamburgers though. I may go hit up the neighbors! Have a wonderful and safe holiday. Eat a hotdog for me! (relish and mustard please, ah heck through on some raw onion I'm not kissing anyone today)

Cheers!

Jill and Alex tie the knot!




Jill and Alex started off the weekend's festivities with an amazing mountain top gathering at the former home-site of Alex's parents. Literally! The house is no longer there so they gathered on the house pad that still is, chimney and all. Such an amazing view and a GORGEOUS night.

Saturday the theme continued in the view dept. Jill and Alex chose Symmes Chapel aka Pretty Place to tie the knot. This place couldn't have been a more perfect place for them. Jill and Alex met as camp counselors at Camp Greenville, the campground Pretty Place is located on. How cool is that? The chapel sits on the mountain top just over the NC border in SC. The view is totally spectacular. Breathtaking. Wow.

After the I do's we snapped some quick family portraits then headed out to various locations around camp before heading along Highway 280 for some cool shots! Jill and Alex planned plenty of time in between since they wanted to do so many fun things and we were able to get to just about all of them. First stop, Dolly's Ice Cream. This was a must stop for Jill and I'm glad we did. Not only was it a totally cool place for some great shots, but the ice cream was to die for. I wish i could live off ice cream. Oh yeah, we met Dolly's mother who was enjoying a cone on the porch while we were shooting. She was so sweet and shared some kind words with the couple.

From there we headed down 280 into the Pisgah Forest a bit. We were met with a rainstorm but we managed to snap a few fun shots hanging off of signs and frolicking in the woods.

Once the rain came we headed over to their reception at Echo Mountain Inn. What a nice set-up. Guests and family stayed at the Inn so they had some time to swim, play shuffle board and freshen up before getting their party on. The food...WOW! Country comfort food to the MAX. I'm such a sucker for mac & cheese and that may have been the best I've had ever. Sorry Mom. Let's say you have the best mac & cheese in NJ. Am I off the hook now?

The reception was close and intimate and continued the feel of the entire event. The personality in this classy, southern affair was top notch! I felt like a close friend by the end of the night.

Congratulations Jill and Alex. You were so much fun. A photographers dream to work with. (Can I just be your official photographer from now on?) I look forward to keeping in touch. I will continue to be jealous of your travels. Thanks so much for having me!

Click here to see their slideshow.