Last updated: August 23. 2013 1:56AM - 34 Views

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By Linda Nicholson

Age: 68

Residence: Lima

In years past, when gathered around the Thanksgiving table and people asked the question, "What are you thankful for?" it usually took me a few seconds to come up with something special that would really add meaning to the occasion.

This year there will be no pause or delay in answering. In September of this year, my daughter who lives in Alexandria, Va., was diagnosed with Chiari II Malformation, something I had never heard of before. Basically your skull is too small for your brain, resulting in the brain being pushed down and back, which restricts the flow of spinal fluid up and down the spine. If not corrected, it can result in eventual paralysis.

She was fortunate enough to get into a five-year study of this condition at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md., the largest clinical research hospital in the world. The doctors there are the best in the world, and on the 15th of October she underwent surgery to remove part of the skull to allow the brain more room. She came through the five-hour operation in flying colors and will be back to work in a few weeks. I stayed with her until she was home from the hospital and on the mend.

About 100 miles from her house on my way back to Lima, she called and told me my other daughter had been in a motorcycle accident in Florida and was in ICU with head injuries. I drove back to the D.C. area, dropped off my dog, packed a different bag and caught a flight to Tampa and was at my other daughter's bedside by 6 that evening.

She had suffered a skull fracture and concussion. I stayed with her until she was released from the hospital. She too is on the mend and already back at work.

Things could have turned out so much differently but thanks to God and all the prayers that were offered up on their behalf by relatives and friends, both are doing fine.

Without a doubt, this Thanksgiving will be the most special one I have ever enjoyed.

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