Kevin Neal Life Update, 10/30/2017

Since the end of last month when I sustained my ankle injury, life has been challenging. While I’m very grateful and fortunate because the injury could have been so much more worse, the truth of the matter is that I’m not a very patient person and the disruption to my normal routine has been difficult, to say the least.

I’m very fired up for this upcoming week! Let me start with the highlights first.

I have taken my downtime over the past few days, and weeks, to organize some meetings that I am so much looking forward to this week. Some of these meetings are professional but some are also very personal. I’m looking forward to each of them with equal excitement, yet for extremely different reasons. Most of all I’m so pleased that Brandee will participate in each of them.

Whether by fate, destiny or divine intervention, I have had to lean on Brandee for so many things due to my ankle injury last month. Right now, I cannot do many of the normal things I used to do. Or even if I can do them, it’s at a much slower pace than usual. She just has this uncanny ability to jump right in and get things done without me even asking, or realizing that I needed help in the first place.

In addition to our meetings this week I’ve been doing a lot of educating myself in various disciplines. I’ve always felt that my professional business value, to be very honest, is not that I am necessarily an expert at any one thing in particular.  Rather I have a well-rounded professional background where I can relate to others in a sincere manner. I have professional experience in sales, marketing, customer service, business management, account management, product management, technical and other skills rather than just one particular job responsibility throughout my business career. I have

been very fortunate for this and I’ll never forget some very wise advice Dave Wood gave me many, many years ago. He said, “Kevin, even if you continue working at the same Company, do something different within the company.” I could not agree any more strongly than I could with this great advice from such a terrific person as Dave.

An area of particular focus recently has been digging deep into the setup, configuration and usage of ‘cloud services’. This is a very daunting task as the information is overwhelming, the terminology and services offered are different for each provider and the learning is typically on-your-own instead of some formal classroom style course. This is good and bad. It’s good because you can move at your own pace, which I’m finding really beneficial. However, the learning-curve just to get started is a bit overwhelming. Overall, technology is something I’ve always been interested in so my thirst to learn is genuine and natural.  I’m glad I can apply this to my professional career. This learning I’ve been doing recently should be of great benefit to myself, but most important our partners and clients, in this current era of technology convergence between traditional/on-premise and cloud computing services.

Another thing that has me really fired up is that after several weeks of uncertainty with not knowing about my mobility (or ability to work at all), having to juggle my calendar to re-schedule so many planned activities and having to level-set my personal business strategy; for the first time in weeks, I feel that I have a solid schedule to follow this week. I spent the end of last week, as well as this past weekend, preparing a lot of documentation and discussion materials that should be very useful in our upcoming business meetings this week to have positive and productive outcomes.

Lastly, and most importantly, and I’ll say it once again, I am so grateful for the compassion and kindness of all of you. I have such incredible faith in the decency of humanity. So many of you have been so incredibly supportive of Brandee and I dealing with my injury that we cannot thank you enough. Your kind words, thoughts and prayers are absolutely felt and appreciated. We can only hope to do what little we can to reciprocate for you and your family in some fashion, manner or capacity. At certain times in life you must slow down, reflect, appreciate, regroup and then move-forward, stronger and better than ever.


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Ankle injury – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (September-October 2017)

This is a difficult story for me to tell but in the true spirit of my blog I have personally committed to sharing the good, bad and ugly about my life events. This experience has brought a lot of each emotion for certain.

On the early afternoon of Saturday September 23rd, 2017, four of my good friends and I were enjoying the last full night of cabin-camping at a beautiful spot called Camp Layman. We had already been there a few nights, made friends with many of our fellow cabin-camper neighbors and all of us had just started to gather for the communal nightly campfire. It was a delightful night with crisp, yet comfortable, weather and there was just a really relaxed atmosphere.

This was a camp area of roughly 10 or so cabins within the immediate location of the cabin in which we were staying. As the sun was setting and people began to gather around the campfire, the guys and I started to casually toss a football around as we have done many, many times before on these camping trips. It wasn’t anything unusual.

After about 10 or so minutes, one of the guys threw me a pass that was a little bit high so, naturally, I jumped up to catch the pass. It’s amazing how one little action can forever change the direction of your life; just amazing. Anyhow, as you can likely figure out I landed on my right ankle which went one-direction while the rest of my body twisted 180 degrees in just the opposite direction. I immediately hit the ground and was in instant shock. I clearly heard bones breaking in my leg and while I recall every moment because I never lost conscience it was a weird experience, almost like in slow motion.

I knew immediately my leg was in bad shape because my ankle was dangling loose at a 90-degree angle. I don’t recall any major pain, rather what I do recall was that there was no possible way I could move my foot nor put any weight on it whatsoever. It was a strange feeling not to have any control over a certain part of your body which I had never experienced previously.

Honestly, what I was disappointed with most, is that I was going to ruin my friends last night of camping. They rushed me to a little local urgent care facility which took x-rays and confirmed a fracture but were too small, because we were in the wilderness, to do anything such as reset the dislocation or surgery. The doctors and the nurses were extremely nice and comforting to me and my friends in our time of distress nonetheless so I very much appreciate their help. This urgent care facility splinted and wrapped my ankle and we headed back to the cabin for the last, Saturday, night of our trip. Obviously, the rest of the night was spent inside and the guys had a lot of fun making wise-cracks and joking at my expense. Early the next day, on Sunday morning, we made the 4 ½ hours’ drive home. I’m very grateful and appreciative to have such good friends to take care of me when I needed them most. Thanks guys!


The Good

I’m going to start this story, and summary, with ‘The Good’ in what has happened. I will summarize ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’ below because there is enough of that content for a million lifetimes 😊.

Yes, I sustained a major ankle injury on that afternoon of September 23rd that I will surely remember for the rest of my life but this little inconvenience paled in comparison to so many other much more significant world events. For example, the wildfires in Northern California sweeping through the Napa and Sonoma areas has taken 40+ lives and destroyed 5,000+ structures. Or the awful Hurricanes that have ravaged Houston/Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have an ever-lasting impact on those affected. Or even the terrible shooting incident in Las Vegas that took 58 innocent lives. I cannot even imagine the pain of these people so I have no right to complain in the least. Lastly, one of my good friends passed away during the first few days of my injury and I was unable to attend his service. These are all life-events that could be perceived as Bad, but I choose to look at the Good as I feel a renewed spirit of choosing to do right for others.

The Good is that, although I generally see myself as a compassionate person anyhow, I feel an extra sense of motivation to do whatever I can to assist those in need whether it’s volunteering in some capacity, encouraging people to be kinder to each other paying-it-forward to others based on my personal life experience.

Right now, since I’m fairly immobile and home bound for the next few weeks at least, I’m spending my time doing creative writing that I’m sharing on Facebook, blog or e-mail where I try and share positive thoughts and stories in the hopes of doing something simple to brighten someone’s day. It’s therapeutic for me personally and I sincerely hope that if helps someone, anyone, in the least little bit then it’s well worth the time of my investment.


The Bad

10/2/2017:  Hello everyone, tomorrow morning is surgery to try and fix my badly damaged ankle.

I have so much confidence in the expert skills, as well as compassionate concern of all the care givers we’ve met over this past week.

Also, I would like to thank all of you, my friends and family on Facebook, for all the well wishes. It truly helps healing.

Tomorrow starts a long road to full recovery that I am seriously looking forward to. My ankle, as is now, would never heal and I knew the second I hit the ground (while still catching the football, of course) that surgery would be required.

I’m so grateful to my friends and fellow campers that jumped into immediate action last Saturday after this happened.

Especially, I cannot imagine how I could have ever imagined getting through this first week without my talented home nurse. Who happens to also be my lovely wife . I have many upcoming days, weeks and months where I have to rely on her and it cannot be easy for her.

UPDATE 10/3/17: Surgery went well according to the doctors. It took much longer than the 2 hours they had planned. After 6+ hours they were done and I am now the proud recipient if 13 screws and 3 plates. The doctor said my ankle just fell apart after the initial incision. I am so grateful for their expert skill and compassion. My pain now is a different kind of pain, which is healing and good. Until this surgery it was just about getting ready for surgery by reducing swelling and that was no good.


The Ugly

UPDATE 10/16/2017 from Brandee: Kevin went for his first post-op appointment today. Everything looks great! His swelling is approximately 75% less than it was. His bruising is nothing less than miraculous, the way it has dissipated. His surgeon was very pleased. He has a new full fiberglass ‘short-cast’ with his foot reset at a 90° angle. It’s MUCH lighter and more comfortable for him, than the previous plaster surgical cast. Dan, Kevin’s ‘casting specialist’ , even installed a ‘custom bumper’ so Kevin can use his knee walker more efficiently. These people are amazing!

Kevin has 3 incisions- 38 staples combined, on both the outer and inner ankle. Those will be removed on the 25th. The skin wound he acquired from the dislocation, looks great and is healing. Inside, he has 3 titanium plates, and 14 screws. All of which, are permanent fixtures.

The next 3 months will be focused on healing. He cannot walk on the leg (zero weight bearing), but he has a snazzy knee walker, so everyone, please steer clear. 😀 Month 4-6 will be focused on physical therapy, stretching the tendons, and ligaments to get them back in shape, with the goal of getting his foot back into a regular shoe by month 6.

Kevin and I joke around, because that is just how we choose to meet life’s wrecking balls. However, this is a very serious injury. It’s going to take a lot of patience, commitment and time to get Kevin back to pre-injury condition. We appreciate all the love and support so many of you have bestowed upon us over the past 3 weeks. It’s been invaluable.

We have always lived our life together, and run our business by the same mantra, “Do the next right thing.” This bump in the road will be no different.



Photo Note: The semi-circular shapes you see on the outside of the x-ray, are the incision staples.


My next major milestone is 10/25/2017 when we return to the hospital and hopefully the surgeon will remove the staples in my ankle.


Thanks to everyone for your compassion and kind words.



Brandee and Kevin

Jack, Gracie and Bleu updates, 5/28/2017

The last three weeks have been interesting in the Neal household; to say the least.

Jack, Brandee and I had been leading a relatively normal life just enjoying our freedom. And then we got insane! Yep, we rescued a puppy and kitten from the local animal shelter. Meet Gracie (puppy) and Bleu (kitten).


Jackson Update

First of all, my best boy, Jackson, deserves the most credit for being the greatest older bubby to his sissies. Jack was actually a younger bubby with Bella – and she trained him well. Now that Jack is the elder animal he has been such a caring and terrific brother to his two new sisters. Jack, Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you that you can’t believe it!


Gracie Update

When Brandee and I thought that we want to bring some energy into the Neal household, we got exactly what we wanted with Graciela. She is every bit of what we had hoped and then-some. Gracie loves to play with both Jack and Bleu but in distinctly different fashions which is interesting to observe.

For example, with Bleu (since she is a small 2 lb. kitten), Gracie is very gentle and cuddly when they play together. It’s amazing to watch these two play together especially since they were rescued/adopted from the same animal shelter on the same day.  It’s almost like they have some sense of a kindred-spirit of sisters. However, when Gracie plays with Jack the ruff-ness (pun intended) is intensified to match his strength. Jack and Gracie love to play tug-of-war with various dog-toys we have. It’s so much fun for us humans to watch but also very healthy for them to play nicely for their body and spirit.

Jack has ‘Gracieusly’ (pun intended again) accepted Gracie as his younger sister well. He has been such a good boy that I can’t be prouder of him.


Bleu Update

Our youngest family member, at only seven weeks old, is Miss Bleu Neal. Although she barely weighs 2 pounds and is just a bit larger than the palm of your hand, she is the one person that rules our house for sure.

One of the most heartwarming things to see is when Bleu and Jack play together. You might think this would be an odd-mix with a 100-lb. dog and 2-lb. kitten but they play together so nicely that it’s beautiful.

Bleu is also extremely attached to her sister, Miss Graciela Neal. This is clearly evident in their many cuddle events or the often-playful fake-fighting sessions they enjoy together. It’s very humorous and highly entertaining.


Fish Update

We have no update other than we are alive and ignored 😊. However, seriously, I love to pay some extra special attention to our two goldfish, two catfish and one algae-eater and they appear to be doing just fine in their large habitat.


Thanks for your time reading this notice from the Neal Family Animal Home,

  • The Neal’s


Letter to Pet Heaven for Baby Bella, 5/13/17

May 13th, 2017


Dear Sweet Baby Bella,

We miss you more than ever.  The emptiness of missing you is like a kick to the gut, frankly. Mommy, Daddy and Bubby Love you forever until we see you at Rainbow Bridge again.

My honey-baby, we have rescued two younger siblings for you.  By no means are these two animal-rescue babies meant to be replacements for you. No way!  Brandee and I felt that some younger sibling(s) would be good so, of course, we rescued two babies from the local animal shelter.

Your new younger siblings are named Bleu and Gracie. Bleu is a six-week-old kitten and she’s adorable.  Gracie is a seven-week-old puppy and she’s also a bundle of joy.

Your lovely Aunt Tammye sent Brandee and I a lovely story that was really emotionally sad, yet wonderfully inspirational.  It was a story about some poor rescue animals that, unfortunately, never get saved and go to Rainbow Bridge with you.  These poor animals have no one to cross the Bridge with until The Rescuers come to be with them.  It’s a wonderful feel-good story and I’m so grateful for Tammye to share this with us.

Nearly everything I do to this day is still in your routine. Every morning I go out into the backyard like we used to do together and pray to the lovely sky for peace, happiness and respect. That was my favorite activity of every day with you. I miss that soooooo much and I’m starting this new tradition with Bleu in your great honor. Every morning, noon and night I hope that you can send me a message that you are in peace and comfort.

The outpouring of sentiment for your journey to Rainbow Bridge is amazing and people love you so much.  Everyone has been so supportive of Brandee, Jack and I that we cannot express our gratitude enough. You, our beautiful baby-orange-furr, were a fan favorite of FaceBook for sure.

So, until I write again, your spirit is in-tact, your legacy is strong and you will never be forgotten. Bleu and Gracie are a new generation but you, my sweetness, are the best forever.

Love you forever,


Introducing Graciela “Gracie” Dawn Neal

Brandee wrote this wonderful introduction of our new baby at the Neal home, Gracie Neal.

Hi, folks!

My name is Gracie and I am 6 months old. I am part Dachshund and part Chihuahua. Mom says I am all doxy except for my amazing ears and long legs. A nice lady found me wondering in East San Jose, and called the ASPCA. They picked me up, took me in for a health check and tried to find my people. When no one claimed me, I was taken to the Silicon Valley Humane Society where I was again examined, spayed, had all of my shots and the next day, this crazy lady sat on the floor in front of my cage and said, “You’re the one. I’ll be right back!”

The next thing I knew, I was in her lap giving her kisses and she had all this wet stuff running down her face. I did not care. I liked this lady. She took me up front, signed a bunch of papers and introduced me to this man- she says he’s my Daddy and they are now my parents! Can ya believe it? Just like that! I gots me a new Mom and Dad!

Anyway, I have a big brother now. His name is Jack. I also have a tiny little sister named Bleu. She was in a cage just across the hall from me. Wait until you hear her story. Mom says Dad is sucker for a pretty girl. I don’t know what that means, but I sure love my little sister! I adore my big brother, Jack. He shares his food, bed and toys with me. He is not happy about sharing Mom, but he is coming around. I’ve been here 3 days now, and he is playing with me! PROGRESS!