To Family, Friends, Punks, Arch-Enemies, and everyone else crazy enough to read this letter,
First off, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Hospital-days!!! Yes...that does read Happy Hospital Days. One might ask, “Why would we wish for Happy Hospital-days?” Well, the answer is simple. Since our last Christmas letter 2 years ago, our family has had ten operations and one oral surgery with three surgeries happening this past December. Whew! It has been crazy. Don’t invest in our health insurance company. That is my word of advice to you. J. While we have been blessed by the trials and tribulations, we certainly wouldn’t wish them on anyone.
Dad, Jeff, Papa Bear or whatever you want to call him, is still getting work from the Federal and County Public Defenders offices. We love it when he gets calls from an attorney saying “Hey Jeff, I heard about you from so-and-so. Can you help me?” He loves taking on new cases and helping to prove what the defendant actually did and not what the allegations are. (The two are usually very different.) If you are lucky, he might just be helping to defend you someday J. Due to the Hospital-Days season, this past December, he spent six nights in two different hospitals for three separate surgeries. He.Is.Amazing!!! Also, he and Mom are member of the board for a Homeschool basketball league and Dad continues to be active as a deacon in our church.
Ann is still suffering from her car accident 3 ½ years ago which damaged her spine, arms, and mental capacity. She is in constant pain from her accident and over the past two years, she has had 4 surgeries on her wrists and elbows. After many diagnostic procedures to determine what discs had been damaged, she had her first neck surgery in December. (Dad spent two nights at the hospital with her). We are praying that this surgery on her neck will relieve some of the constant pain that she is in and that it will allow the doctors to diagnose other areas that could use some work too. In January of 20012, she also spent 5 days at a hospital for an EEG to diagnose seizures stemming from her accident. She has been getting help for her seizures from a Functional Neurologist. She gets the prize for the most amount of time spent in the hospital *think fireworks going off* “I now present you with the grand hospital-days award!!!” Given the fact that she is always in some sort of pain, I am constantly astounded that she is able to operate with the grace that she continually exhibits. She loves the 11 puff-ball ducks that she has (What do you call a mathematical duck? A Quack-ulator) and her laying chickens. She has a little Bantam hen (her name is Marguerite) that sleeps in a rhododendron bush by the front door with her 4 not-so-little-anymore-chicks.
Sara got into the surgery craze in late 2011, when her gallbladder stopped working and had to be removed. With Mom’s injuries, Sara has taken over homeschooling Daniel and Jacob and took over management of the farm last summer. She has expanded the farm by first buying some cows and back in July, she got 4 not-so-little-any-more pigs. She is looking forwards to turning them into bacon and ham in February. She is a huge blessing to Mom and gets to drive Mom to most of her medical appointments
Scott was also part of the surgery mania when his body built a lump in his knee last year that had to be removed. Then a disc in his neck was injured through a series of unfortunate events. He was in constant, major pain for nine months before it was fused in early May. He is doing much better now and ready for a new change in his life. So, the wonderful news for him this year…. drumroll……Scott is getting Married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is marrying an absolutely lovely young lady by the name of Juliana Payne (We say that he is leaving one pain for another Payne J ) and they are tying the knot in March. We are all super excited for him and his girl. Back in the winter of 2010, Scott was offered a job as a Manufacturing Engineer at Schimadzu USA, a scientific instrument company. In January, he went to Japan to get trained on a new product and got to spend two weeks there.
I (Tyler) am now a junior in the Mechanical Engineering program at Portland State University and I love what I am learning. I got on the surgery band wagon when I had oral surgery in March to remove my wisdom teeth (awwww shucks. I now have the IQ of a badger). Bcaesue of tihs, I can’t wtire any mroe and erevy thnig was gniog dwon hlil for me. But then I joined Toastmasters during the summer and my IQ has vastly improved. J At the end of the summer I left my job at the Produce Stand after 2 ¼ years of working there and I started working at our church. I am really looking forwards to being Scott’s best man for his wedding and then graduating in 2014. (Too far away.....I am going to die!)
Andrew (18) is now full time at Clackamas Community College, ultimately working towards a veterinarian degree. To help accomplish this goal, he started volunteering at a Veterinary clinic down in Molalla and observing all the going ons. He started working at a Gymnastics gym as an instructor a year and a half ago and has to tell his boss that he can’t work all the hours they want him to. He, along with Daniel, Jacob and some other friends created S. P. C. Freerunning (www.facebook.com/spcfreerunning The S.P.C stands for Speed, Power and Control. They create videos of themselves doing parkour and freerunning. Both of which involve flipping, jumping around, and overall tricking. You can check out their videos on their Facebook page.
Daniel (almost 16) got his permit earlier this year. Sara is really excited that he is able to help drive Mom to her appointments so she can have more time at home. He was recently offered a job as a teacher at the Gymnastics Gym. In the winter months, he, Jacob, and Andrew played in the homeschool basketball league.
Jacob (11) had a big year. In 2011, we found an abandoned kitten in our garage which Jacob called Topaz. She sleeps on his bed every night and she is His cat. But for the big news, we found out in early December of that he had a 2 inch long cyst inside his spinal column. It was removed and he got to spend three nights in the hospital recovering (A children’s hospital is an awesome place to stay). Recovering was going well until Christmas day when we noticed that he had signs of an infection under the incision. He went up to the emergency room at the hospital on Christmas day and it was determined that he would need surgery to clean out the incision sight. So, back the next day for another surgery and he and Dad got to spend another night in the hospital.
Given the Christmas season and the Happy Hospital-Days we have been on a wild roller coaster as of late. But God is in control and that is what we take our comfort in and we have been ruly blessed these past two year. Now I would like to wish you a belated Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and of course, Happy Hospital-Days!!!
Tyler Cone for the Cone Family.