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Braces off but teeth still broken. Smiling anyway on my ExerWork desk bike!
Dear Team Nika,
I’m writing to get reconnected, as I come to what I hope will be the final phase of my recovery. It’s been hard for me to follow strict doctors orders, to work less than half time and now up to 30 hours per week. What does one do with the other 89 waking hours when you aren’t allowed to run, bike, skate, climb, kayak or drive?! It’s been difficult living with lower capacity and not having the ability to communicate with you regularly as I am accustomed to and enjoy doing. Like so many things we are all dealing with, it’s been challenging, but I have done it anyway and figured things out as I go.
As you may remember, my October 4th accident resulted in some facial trauma and a serious concussion. That concussion took 6 months to fully heal, and I have ongoing issues that will delay my return to baseline for about 3 months more (says my new Physical Therapist who is excellent). I was also diagnosed with eye conditions, the most serious of which are narrow angle glaucoma and plateau iris. It turns out I’ve had the early glaucoma symptoms for over 10 years and didn’t know it. Something about the head injury seems to have accelerated the symptoms. As a result I’ve had four eye surgeries with mixed results. That’s another part of my health story, along with ongoing tooth work.
Despite all that, in the first months of the session we’ve trained a new aide (Frank Mendoza who replaced Isabel), filed 27 bills, begun working with advocates and colleagues to build legislative support, got new money in the House budget for workforce development with disenfranchised young adults and for high speed internet in public housing developments where individuals and families aren’t getting it, relaunched our initiative bringing together incarcerated activists and correctional officers to train and lead on culture change at the DOC (Department of Correction), been appointed House Chair of the Legislative Commission on Structural Racism in the DOC, begun planning for the $300K summer youth jobs program we secured in last year’s budget, continued to do wellness checks and deliver grocery cards to constituents in need, and restarted regular meetings with our small business Main Streets. With you as the wind at my back, Team Nika, even our lower capacity is producing great work and
new opportunities for building toward justice for all.
I’ll be updating you and about 10,000 of my most active constituents more fully on last session's work via an 8-page Session report that will be arriving in your mailbox soon. Please stay tuned! I’m happy to be at a point in my recovery where I can begin reconnecting with you more regularly.
Your cards, flowers, sweets, meals, tangible support, well wishes, encouraging words, and prayers mean the world to me. Thank you for your grace and patience with me through the ups and downs! Your strength and resilience throughout all you’re doing and going through, yourselves and in community, has inspired me and made me better, despite my present weakness and the long haul of my recovery.
I’ll be in touch.
P.S. I am slowly but surely getting back to older emails and voicemails. I see and hear them all and will respond to each one.