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|Koko will now share some of his success stories with you from his
This was my first week working with Lisa at an elementary school providing therapy to
young children. I met about ten kids this week. One boy stood out for me. He was
struggling with going to the bathroom in his pants at school. This was very embarrassing
for him because he was in the second grade. Lisa told him that I also used to have
accidents and go the potty where I wasn't supposed to go. The boy got very excited and
did not feel alone. We continue by reading books and talking about ways to help him
with his problem. He was willing to talk and share his sad feeling. After several weeks
he was no longer having accidents at school!
Lisa and I went to visit her sisters classroom. She was a elementary teacher and worked
with children who had special needs. They have been practicing frisbee throwing for PE.
So they asked if I wanted to come in to catch for them. We first talked to them about
what services and therapy dogs do. They all got to pet me and I showed them some of
my fun tricks. We then went outside and they each got to throw a frisbee and I ran super
fast to catch it. They were all smiling and laughing. This was a fun visit!
Lisa and I have been visiting a lot of hospitals, schools, and elderly homes with a group
called hug-a-pet. Today we were visiting an elderly home and one lady in a wheelchair
appeared very sad an quite. As I approached her she began to lean forward to pet me.
After about a minute she spoke in a soft voice and told me all about her childhood dog
named Susie. The nurse behind her was shocked because this was the first time she
had spoken since arriving a week earlier. I guess I brought back some good memories
which gave her the motivation to talk.
Today was a difficult day. About 15 minutes after Lisa and I got up she had a very bad
seizure. We were upstairs by ourselves when she fell. I heard a very loud bang as her
head hit the metal bar of the bed. I was now trained to run and get her mom or dad, so I
ran super fast. As soon as her mom saw the look on my face she new Lisa needed help.
Her mom made sure she was breathing and held her till she was able to sit up. I licked
her face and she whispered "good boy". I then knew she was going to be OK.
Lisa came home from the hospital today. I was so excited to see her! She began to cry
when see saw me because she had also missed me very much. Lisa was now bald but I
didn't care what see looked like, I was just happy she was back! She quietly rested on
the couch softly petting my head. I stayed very close to her because I could tell that this
made her feel better.
Lisa and I were visiting a friend in Santa Cruz when we met a little girl named Beth who
was five years old. She had recently been "attacked" by another dog and had begun to
develop a phobia of dogs. Lisa and Beth's mom thought I could help with this. When I
first met her she was screaming and crying, refusing the leave the safety of her mom's
car. After 45 minutes of talking, tricks, and other children playing with me she slowly
began to come out of the car and approach. She would only pet me if my face was away
from her. She smiled when I did not turn to attach. She learned that not all dogs are
mean and fear can sometimes distort thoughts!
Lisa shares some very private and
personal entries from her journal.
Today was one of the best days of my life. I finally found a great dog to adopt and train as a working dog.
Tricia went with me and temperament tested him, she will be our first trainer. She has trained service and
guide dogs before. My new companion is about 9 months old and his name is Koko. Koko and his brother were
living with a family who could not handle them and did not spend much time with them. Due to this he is very
over weight! Koko is extremely friendly and hyper. I guess I have my hands full. I can't wait to get to know
him.......I have big plans for this pooch! He will help me tremendously.....I wish he could write my Masters
This was a day which will change the world forever. I woke up late, after several nudges from Koko. Still very
sleepy from my seizure medications. I went to call UCDavis because I am scheduled for an MRI tomorrow,
hoping this will shed some light on my worsening condition. So I called my Neurologist's assistant was the one
who told me to turn on the TV. I was mortified! Destruction was on every channel! I felt an immediate shift in
my thoughts and feelings around my current medical condition. It all of a sudden didn't seem as important or
pressing. The entire country is suffering and mourning due to this deadly act of terrorism .........I am very tired
and spent most of the day in bed, horrified yet not able to turn off the news.
I was released from the hospital today. I am very tired from having to stay awake for so long. UCDavis was
able to record and track some of my seizure activity but are still not sure exactly what is causing them. The
fact that they are talking about possibly implanting the vagus nerve stimulator or even performing brain surgery
is very overwhelming! No way am I letting them shave my head!!!!
Both of my parents escorted me to UCLA for another MRI, this made me feel a little more relaxed. I am still
having a hard time accepting that I may have to have brain surgery! I took a zanex because I get a bit
claustrophobic in that small and very loud machine. This one only took about 45 minutes. I felt very sad when
we got home. I keep thinking about Jason and cant believe that after 6 years he decided he could no longer
"deal" with my disability. I try to tell myself that God has some great overall plan which I am not aware of.
When I close my eyes I wish it would just go away. At least I have Koko. Thank God for Koko!!!!!
I had another tonic clonic (grad mal) seizure today, this is the second day in a row. My Mom says they are
definitely getting worse. I am falling more often and my whole body is now tightening and convulsing and they
are lasting longer. I am so tired, like I was hit by a truck. I still have not heard from UCLA about a surgery date.
I feel like my whole life is on hold, I am not safe to be only, and I fell like crap!
The count down is finally here, I now have less than a week till surgery! I have a checklist of things that need
to be done and people who I need to call. We have bee hearing from a lot of friends and family. My mom took
Koko and I to church so I could go to confession and be blessed. Everything is a bit fuzzy, almost like I'm numb.
Today is the day before surgery. Since I know that they will be shaving my head tomorrow, we put my hair into
two pig tails and cut it all off. This was very difficult for me, I cried as I put over 13 inches of beautiful brunet
hair in a bag which was addressed to locks of love. It makes me feel better knowing that not one inch will be
wasted. Koko and I didn't sleep much tonight. He laid with me, looking at my packed suitcase very aware that
something big was happening. He helping through this difficult night.
Today is my 28th birthday. I have now been home for one month and still seizure free!! My mom took Koko
and I to Walmart to get our picture take. I wore a scarf to cover my bald head and many stitches. This journey
was a big one for me, I still feel really week and tired. The first month down which gives me hope that maybe
the surgery worked.
I finally got my drivers license back today. After proving that I have been seizure free for 6 months and taking
both the written and driving test, I finally get my freedom back. It has been well over a year and I will never take
the privilege of driving for granted again!!!
I'm still tired from my medication. I have to stay on it for one more year. I am also still having memory
problems. There are large chunks of my life that I do not remember. The word searching and trouble
explaining things appears to be getting better. I now see a memory specialist once a week.
Today is my 2 year anniversary from surgery! I am still seizure free and UCLA says I can start coming off my
medications. This is very good news. They want me to come in to take some skull x-rays to make sure the
small plates and screws are still in place. This will be very interesting to see. I am definitely ready to move on
with my life and start living again. The 2 year mark is here!!!!!
Photo by Mark Langton
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