Hi Everyone,

It’s been a roller-coaster kind of week.

Corey’s fall not only affected her physically, it also affected US emotionally. The last two weeks have thrown us back to the early days. We’ve felt defeated, overwhelmed by the all too familiar challenges we worked so hard to overcome and advance. She’s lost 70% of the physical function she gained this year. I spent the week working with Bryn Mawr on approvals for her therapy evals and MRI.

The MRI was finally confirmed as of 4:30 today. Corey will have a closed MRI with and without contrast tomorrow at 10:15. Because of the VP shunt, she will have an X-ray first to check the setting. After the MRI, she will have a 2nd X-ray to double check the magnet did not re-adjust the setting for the shunt. If the MRI does change the setting, Dr. Yalamanchili’s office is on stand-by for us to come in to reset the shunt.

Good News on the therapy Eval front:
Today we had an OT eval with Anne. Monday, Corey will meet with Natalie for a PT eval and we will follow up with Dr. Long directly following to review the therapists recommendations as well as the results of tomorrows MRI.

So the clinical details are set and have been worked out; now what do we do about our emotional set-back? Well…when the going gets tough, the TOUGH go to the kitchen!

For those of you following Corey’s story, you will remember our trip to Vegas this past August. We met Gordon Ramsay’s #1 Executive Chef, Christiana Wilson, at his Pub & Grille. Chef Christina and Corey bonded not only over their culinary interest but also because Christina is from the Philadelphia area. The ladies have stayed in touch (given Christina’s busy schedule). Tuesday, Chef Christina was visiting the Atlantic City Pub & Grille. The last Wednesday of every month, the Hell’s Kitchen alumni contestants (winners or not) come together to prepare a six course dinner for the public (aka fans). Chef Christina invited us to join her as her dinner guests and asked if she could introduce Corey to some of the HK alum. Needless to say, we accepted!

What a night! We met in the lounge catching up on what the ladies have been working on. Corey told Chef she’s been working on a cookbook inspired by several of my mother’s recipes. Corey surprised Christina with copies of her personal favorites. Christina was so moved she cried when Corey gave it to her. As we sat reviewing the recipes, Christina’s phone rang and guess who was calling? Chef Gordon Ramsay himself! Christina excused herself to take the call but did share she was meeting with a future Chef that might work for him someday. We moved to a private area to join Christina and the Hell’s Kitchen Chef’s and guests for dinner. Each Chef (representing several different seasons) prepared a course. Incredible does not accurately describe our experience. Corey was beaming as she posed for pictures. She enjoyed each course except the seafood; which Christina did not judge her for.

When I asked Corey how she would describe the night and what it meant to her, she said, “It was a lot of fun and invigorating”. “Being with Chef was just what I needed”. “It made me happy again because I was talking about food and I was in a restaurant, which I love, and I was surrounded by people that also love it.” “I’m motivated again because being with the Chef reminded me that this is what I want and I’m going to get back what I lost so I can have it”.

Life changes in a second. It doesn’t have to be a TBI. It can be a job loss, a health issue, a failed relationship or any expectation that is not met regardless of the effort invested. Set backs happen. The easiest part of our day is to think of the negatives. The hardest part of our day is to get out of bed anyway. Every moment AFTER our feet hit the floor is why Corey’s getting stronger. My mother’s mantra holds true…It’s not the challenge you face but how you face the challenge…fight for the positive thoughts, fight through doing the same tedious task, fight for the creativity to do it differently, fight to look forward even if you feel life has reversed your focus. Some days it’s easier said than done but then there’s that one invitation that makes your fight worth it. As Corey said, “…being with the Chef reminded me that this is what I want and I’m going to get back what I lost so I can have it”…Never Give Up and Never Give In, xoxo