Family Camping Trip

Originally posted on 8.17.16




My family and I take an annual camping trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan each summer. We have a blended family, my husband Tim and I. We got married in 2006 and that summer was our first camping trip all together.

re you ready for this? You’ll need to concentrate and probably reread these next sentences a few times to get a handle on what and who makes up our family. 

Tim has a step-son, Addison, his now ex-wife’s son from a previous relationship; and two sons, Caleb and Evan, with his now ex-wife. (Not too complicated so far).

I have three daughters. I had my oldest daughter, Madison when I was 19, her dad and I met at our Army Reserve Drill Unit, we never married but are still good friends and coparents to this day, (20 years later).  THEN I had two more daughters, Jade and Paetyn, with my now ex-husband. 

So that made a blended family of SIX!

Now, we also have a Haitian son, Wesley, who is now also married, to Kerry and they have a six month old daughter, Marley. 

Then we have a Spanish son Juan, he comes and stays w us for several weeks the past three summers now. 

And a Spanish son, Ricki, who was an exchange student for the last school year. 

Out of all our ‘adopted-in-to-our-family-kids’ only Juan has been with us on this trip. He went with us last year and is with us this year too!

Addison was a bit older than the other five, 7 years between him and the next oldest, Madison. But then from Madison to our youngest, Paetyn, there are only a total of 5 years. 

Our first camping trip to the U.P. The kids ages were 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10. (Addison would do things with his dad and friends during these weeks). And we all 7 stayed in a small pop up camper. And it worked! For a couple of years at least. 

Now we have a camper we pull behind our SUV. And that is so much better for us now that they’re all teenagers and young adults. It also makes food and meals and packing much, much easier!

This trip is our 10th year going! 

Now, there were a couple of years within the past 10 that we couldn’t make our annual trip. 

Two years ago it was because between all the kids schedules and Juan’s schedule of when he was going back to Spain, we just couldn’t make it work. 

However, the other 2 years we missed were because of guess what? Yup, me and my nasty tag along TN. 

The pain was just too bad for me to make the 7 hour car ride to the middle of no where, in the woods, on the banks of Lake Superior. Basically a piece of Heaven on Earth and a different era where time doesn’t matter and we can just relax and spend time together as a family. 

The other year we had to miss, was because I was hospitalized for pain management. Just trying to make it to my scheduled Micro Vascular Decompression (MVD) surgery.

This year, I just had my last surgical procedure for my tag along TN, one week ago today. In fact as I’m writing this and looking at the time, I was being released from the hospital right about this same time last week. 

This surgical procedure was one I hadn’t had before. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I will explain in detail that whole process and what it entailed and entails in another post. For now, I will summarize it for this post! 

They basically take a very long needle, and using ultrasound and contrast dye, guide the needle from a spot between your chin and lip on the side you need relief on, and start the needle there, and guide that needle up into a pocket of fluid a bit above your ear, on the side of your face. Then they inject, basically poison, into the pocket of fluid that is there; which is where your Trigeminal Nerve enters as one and branches into three inside that fluid filled

pocket. Then each of the three branches continue, to cover the feeling in your face and oral cavity. Your right and left side each have their own Trigeminal Nerves that control the sensations for each respective side.

I guess because this wasn’t a brain surgery, like I’ve had in the past, I was assuming the recovery would be maybe the rest of that day. 

So, I was wrong!

It can take up to 4 weeks for this injection to take effect. So now, not only am I having a constant TN attack, I’ve also got a huge bruise on my left cheek from the needle and it feels like I’ve been punched in the face from the outside and inside. The swelling on that side is going down now though!

However, the difference between this year and the year I couldn’t make it because of the pain is:  

I’ve got a combo of a (very strong) pain med and a relaxant (because if you can relax your muscles instead of holding them all tensed up than it can help the pain med do its job with much less of it). I also have spinal stimulators implanted on my neck vertebrae -18 to be exact that I can turn on and off, up and down to help disperse the intense excruciating pain. It’s much more bearable if the pain is distributed over a larger surface instead in a concentrated spot. 

So! Between all the new tricks I’ve got in my tool belt now than I did have in years past, I am able to ride in a car for 7 hours to get to our little piece of paradise with my family! 

And I will take full advantage of every good minute, or hopefully days that I have to enjoy it with them!

(We will miss Madison this trip, but my adult daughter is living in Nashville, TN and going to cosmetology school right now, following her dreams)!   

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