Monday, December 27, 2010

Upon a new year

Well as this year winds down, I am reminded of all that I have been through. We breezed past Darren's one year post leg breakage without any recurrence. I now know why :0) We survived another Christmas and the boys were completely spoiled, so was I. We have plans for the upcoming year that we are looking forward to, and before we know it, they will be upon us. We get to celebrate Kadin's first birthday and my first tumor free birthday. Busy February for us. We hope and pray that I am eating and not food dependent by the end of 2011, so we can take a much needed vacation. We plan to head back to OHSU around March to do some more surgery (Oh, yeah!) and of course we plan to enjoy spring and summer to its fullest.

Recap on last post : trip to OHSU - we were gone for 4 days and while there, did a variety of stuff. I was scoped twice, had a swallow study, did vital stem and biofeedback twice, had a collagen injection through my throat and into my still paralyzed left vocal chord. I am looking at having surgery to permanently midline my left vocal chord and surgery to stretch my esophagus and inject the bar above it with botox. Are you scratching your head with confusion? Don't it isn't that complicated - they think that my esophagus, which the normal person used to swallow down into their stomach is either slow in my case or very tight and this surgery will help to relax it so that I should be able to swallow larger amounts. I also have exercises to strengthen my neck muscles which will aid in my swallow. I JUST WANT TO EAT! Chewing and spitting is gross and frustrates me from time to time. So we press on and pray that this will resolve soon. I am still doing physical therapy and have increased my workouts to double three times a week which has made me stronger and has forced me down to a weight I haven't seen since Jr. High. I need to start eating so my poor body gets something good.

I will share my most positive moment from OHSU per my Mom's request. It rained a lot while we were in Oregon and the morning I was to see Dr. Flint, the swallowing voice Guru, it was no different. As I sat and waited to be seen, the rain ended and a beautiful rainb0w appeared. For those of you who don't know a rainbow stands for God's promise to never flood the earth. I took it as God's promise to me, to never flood me and to give me the desires of my heart, eating and walking better. God is so good - I needed that reaffirmation and He made himself be known.

Happy New Year! May this be an incredible year that you take full advantage of. Blessings to you and your family. Thanks for the love, support, prayers and concern this past year. I appreciate it all. Please keep it up!


Friday, December 10, 2010

A new adventure is upon me...

In a few days, I head to OHSU in Portland, OR to get a second opinion on my swallow and speech. I secretly hope for a quick fix but in reality I know that is really reaching for the stars. I know that I will complete a variety of tests, of which, I hope that I am able to gain some insight. I have an appointment with a swallowing/speech expert and a speech pathologist too. I look forward to gaining knowledge and spending some time with Darren. I will surely miss my boys who we have elected to leave at home with two of their three grandma's. This will be my first time away from them since my hospitalization and that has definitely impacted me and Zach, which is even harder on me. I think it would be easier if it were a pleasure trip but it feels like there is so much weight put on this trip. I right arm is acting up so we are expecting something.

Thank you again for your prayers and love.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Turkey Day

Well I hope you survived Thanksgiving and were able to enjoy your time with family, friends and indulge on yummy food. I figure that next year I will be eating and I am going to have a whole turkey to myself plus the fixins. It has been especially hard not being able to fully enjoy my favorite holiday. But to that I say Happy Thanksgiving! This year I am especially aware of what I am thankful for - life, family, friends, but especially God! Although I may not be able to enjoy the traditional bounty (food) of my favorite holiday, knowing that I am here surrounded by so much family and friends whom I love, the bounty I enjoy is plentiful! Thank you to all of you who have written me, thought of me, and especially prayed for me, it continues to make a difference!
Other news... I head out of state in a few weeks to get a second opinion on my speech and swallowing. Hopefully, my new doctor will be able to provide some new insight into my throat and swallowing. Pray for my Mom and Mother-in-law as they again step up to care for my boys while Darren and I travel. Please pray for me too, that I get some answers and that a simple fix is all that is needed. Oh how I long to eat! My Christmas wish for sure!
I am also having to be tested in Physical Therapy this next week to see if I can accomplish some lofty goals. I pray for balance on this day especially.

Well motherhood beckons me so I must go... both boys are crying :0)


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Time flies when you are having FUN

Well, well, well ... life certainly keeps me busy. Did I tell you all last time that I am driving? Mostly to therapy but on the icy slick snow covered roads that is enough for me. It gives me back so independence that I was longing for. Good timing too because I just started extra long physical therapy sessions last week. I do my regular 45 minute session with my therapist and then she sets me free to do pre-determined exercises for an additional 45 minutes. I do this 3 times a week and I am pooped by the end of it. It is our way of speeding things up so I can finish up faster. My regular speech therapist was on vacation for a month so I had the opportunity to work with Kelly, who has helped me before. Poor her she got a 'I hate TUMOR day!' She handled it well and was a great source of encouragement. It is hard not to get frustrated by my current situation, but I know it is not final. It was nice to see Anne, my speech therapist, when she returned. She noticed changes not only in my voice but in my swallowing sequence too. YEAH! Fun news.... we are looking at heading out of state for a second opinion on my swallow - hopefully they will be able to scope me and have a better idea of what is going on. I REALLY WANT TO EAT! I am trying to stay positive especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in my life and all the fantastic people I have met on this journey, but I love holiday dinners and it seems as if everything is tied to food. Come On People - this is killing me. Nothing less, I will go and see fabulous people and pretend that I am grand with the food around me and countless people shoving their faces. I'll even join the fun of bringing food - ironic, I know. Someone has to contribute on behalf of the male eaters in my family, right? Maybe I could puree some turkey? Wait, it would probably get stuck in my tube and then I would be in big trouble..... UGH! Enough complaining for me.

Thanks again for listening and the continued prayers.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


So the last few days have been interesting to say the least. I have started driving again and although that brings a larger sense of freedom, it is scary too. They keep mentioning the S word (snow) and that makes me apprehensive. I have driven myself to the grocery store a few times and to therapy and thankfully have done well. A whole new step for me. I have had an awesome Speech Pathologist step in to work with me while my primary Speech Therapist gallivants around Madagascar, I hope safely. Kelly is her name and she is awesome. She really gets me and lets me melt down when I am frustrated with my less than pleasing swallow status. We laugh a lot and I think that helps too. She has told me that when this is all over, I should write a book. I would love to do that! Lets see... what else made it remarkable.... I visited my Neurosurgeon and for the first time in 8 months I finally understood that I was "walking dead' when I first met him in February. And I must add I was not walking very well,,, ha ha ha, sorry my weird humor. I left my appointment with him now realizing that the tumor was peeled off of my brain stem not just resting up against it. No wonder I have had such trouble! I think that newly understood knowledge will allow me to stop beating myself up when something doesn't go perfectly.

Another cool thing was a friend asked me to write a synopsis of the last 8 months for our college class letter. What a honor! I love to share all that God has done because He certainly has begun a good work in me, I am just trying to be patient to let Him complete it. Another thing that we are tossing around is going out of state to get a second opinion on my swallow. I have lots of questions and I want to make sure that we go to a great swallowing clinic that will be able to assist me. I am confident that God will again take the reigns and direct this path for me. Please keep this new revelation in your prayers. Thank you!

Happy Halloween to all! Check out the picture I took tonight - Argh! Can you guess what I am?


Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Things

Well my posts have been less frequent as I have gained more Independence in life and allowed to have some of my normal tasks back. My Mother-in-law is stepping back to allow me more time as caregiver. I have survived thus far and the boys have been extra helpful by not napping. Ugh! Some days are longer than others. Last week I reached my clearance to begin driving and yesterday was my first solo trip. I ventured out to Fred Meyers at 7 am to miss most of the other drivers. I did my grocery shopping and then returned home. Today I drove myself to Church as all the boys have a cold. I sure feel more independent. I only wish I could stop by Starbucks and treat myself. It will come. I also attended the Salvation Army Teddy Bear Tea with my Mom. I had 20 bears that we entered this year and we got 1 First Place and 2 Second Place ribbons. Yeah! I came home and with my Mom's help, finished some Snickers cupcakes that Darren will bring into work tomorrow.

What else... sad news.... Today at Church was Communion. This is usually a great time for me where I can refocus on Christ and the gift our heavenly Father gave us. Because of my inability to swallow, I was unable to participate. I still was able to reconnect with God, but this symbol was missing. This really hit me hard, almost like a slap to the face. I am not sure why their is a delay in my swallow returning, but it sure is hard on me. Please pray for me strength and endurance through this. I just want to eat again and I know God can heal this too. I have been so blessed already, but I am begging for this.

Thanks again!


Monday, October 11, 2010


Sorry I haven't written in a while, I have been consumed with life and changes that are taking place. In an attempt to normalize our house we have cut back the number of hours my mother-in-law is here, thereby allowing me to care for my children without help. It is our attempt at seeing how I handle the added stress and such. So far, so good. Now saying that, I am sure my afternoon will be hectic and crazy. Let's hope not. So what else has happened the last few weeks.... I had some miscommunication with my insurance company, advocate, and providers that sure got me nervous. At one point it appeared that I was going to drop to one speech therapy a week - but I am still unable to swallow enough to sustain me and although my speech is getting better, I have a ways to go. Thankfully, it all seems to have resolved. My speech therapist is out of town for a month and I have another awesome therapist working with me. I hope to get swallowing larger amounts and to clean up my speech so that Anne is shocked when she returns from her hiatus.

Prayer request: I am really having a hard time with this no eating thing the last few days. Until you are in my shoes it is hard to understand because it is normally so automatic. Unfortunately, for me, it isn't anymore. Please keep this matter in prayer as it is really starting to weigh on my heart and spirit. I want to go on a date to a restaurant with my husband and share a stack of pancakes with my oldest son. I want to cook a meal that both my little man and I can enjoy. I am just really frustrated with this.

Thankful - Yesterday Kadin was dedicated by our Music Minister at church. I have known Jenny since I was in Jr. High and it was an honor to have her dedicate him. I for the first time since my tumor resection was able to tell why Kadin's birth was a miracle and why I call him my miracle baby. Hopefully everyone understood me - I just give God the glory for His good work so far in me.

In a few days, I will be cleared to drive again. Watch out world! Just kidding... I am going to practice in a parking lot first. Oh I look forward to the freedom, I just wish I were eating so I could run to a deli and grab myself a yummy sandwich. Oh I can't wait. I also celebrate my 8 month mark on the 25th of this month. Most people assume that after 6 months you are done making improvements - HA! Not me! I am still progressing in speech and physical therapy. Praise God!

Thanks again for all your support, prayers, love, and concern.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Subtle Changes

I haven't written in a while because I have had lots going on. I am reminded again that subtle change, no matter how big or small, is change. To that I am so grateful! I have noticed a lot of these lately in my daily walk. I can remember how long it took me to complete certain tasks that now only take a fraction 0f the time they once did. Feeling is starting to return to my right side and I look forward to the weird hot. numb, just woke up feeling that is continually there. My vision appears to be getting better too, in fact, I am hoping this week or next to move down to a 5 prism on my left eye glass lens. Yeah! Praise the Lord! Because it appears that my swallowing is connected to cranial nerve damage, it has been slow to begin returning, which led to a tough weekend for me. On Saturday, my family and I celebrated Zach turning three and as part of that we had a pizza party with Moose's Tooth pizza. Well if you've ever been there, you will understand how desperately I wanted to partake of the yumminess that filled my house. Instead I had to stand around while everyone else took their share of goodness and my house became quiet as people enjoyed what they had. I on the other hand, tried to hold back tears because I was again different from everyone else. My heart hurt because I wasn't all the mom I wanted t0 be. It was tough. I was reminded that not it my time, but God's.
This week, I have been confused, annoyed, angry, unsure and sad in dealing with the issue of therapy and whether my insurance would continue to cover my care. I feel like I am at a road block and the signs have been moved away and I have been given the green light, but this insurance thing stalled my car. Today, I think it has been worked out and my Speech Therapy will continue. Just another hiccup in the road.
Today, I also had a pedicure. Thank you Dad & Shari for helping me to relax for a moment and let myself be pampered.

More to come.....

Until then......


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Been a little absent...

Let's see if I can update you....

Today, is my first day off Keppra, my anti-seizure medication. Saying that is both a relief and worry. I never had seizures before so I hope that they have decided to abandon me. NO MORE SEIZURES PLEASE!

Lets see... what else... I got a 54 out of 56 on my neurology test today in PT :) when I did it in April I got a 47 - now I know what to work on. A neurology test you ask... here is the best way I can explain it: a neurology test is a standardized test that measures your ability to basically control your balance. I would have failed it (no points) before my time in rehab (hospital & out patient). It measures your ability to do basic tasks like to sit up straight without falling over, to standing with your feet together without falling over, and to my favorite balance on one foot for 10 seconds without falling over (repeat this 9 out of 10 tries). I know it sounds easy, but for someone like me, it is quite a challenge. Even more frustrating is I use to be great at balance, holding my leg in the air for minutes without falling. Ugh! If only I could have a sense of humor over this :( I've definitely been discouraged lately about my current status. I want to know the unanswerable, is this as good as it gets? My soul longs to be able to chase my children without the fear of falling or seizures. I want to share a date with my wonderful husband that involves eating out. I want to be able to take a cat nap on a lazy fall weekend without the fear of aspirating. I know this and so much more is a lot to ask, but I have to believe my God is big enough! To those of you out there with 'normal' lives, please relish it, enjoy and take pleasure in the simple things. Don't be frustrated by silly things, it could be so much worse. Trust me, I've got it good compared to others and to that I'm thankful!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yesterday was a hard day. I went to the funeral for my friend and had the blessed pleasure of hugging his remarkable wife. She is incredible! If you don't know her than you are certainly missing out. Not only was she a remarkable wife, but she is an amazing mother and friend. As I held her and hoped I could take away her pain, I was reminded of the love that her and Mason shared. They met in our teen group at Church and I swear it was instant attraction. They dated in the end of high school and into college and were married Jun 2001. I remember the look that Mason had for Angelle and she for him. WOWIE! Talk about fireworks. It was beautiful! That love matured and blossomed into three beautiful children. Now as the big events are done and Angelle is left to pick up the pieces of her life, I wish I could change it. I really don't understand why anyone has to feel like she does now, why a person so young, full of life and love, has to die, unexpectedly. As I reflected on this, I couldn't help but think that my family had much of this to go through just a few months ago. I can't change time in either circumstance, I can't erase the pain that has been felt by all those involved. I can only THANK GOD that He is and was there. As I had my operation, He was with me. He was with my family as they sat in the hospital wondering what and why. He is there with Angelle as she takes every moment as it comes. He was and is with Mason just like he always promised He would be. He is ever faithful!

So now as I sit and wonder what I can do to help make this pain/void a little bit better, I am dumbfounded. I plan to cook meals and kidnap my friend for a pedicure. I plan to do whatever this healing body is capable of doing. I plan to be there t0 support my friend and her boys in whatever life throws at them. I love them so. If you know them or don't please visit to consider helping them. Think about if it were you. When I am posed with that revelation, all I can think was, it almost was (my husband & family). May they never doubt how much I love them.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sad Day

Although I have my own struggles, I am constantly reminded that it could be worse. Today as I rejoiced at the fact I am noticing positive changes in my vision and was able to chew and swallow two Trix today, I was notified that a friend of mine had passed away. I have known this friend since Jr. High, we were in youth group at church together, and have remained connected throughout the years, attending the same college, and having children around the same time. Unfortunately for us, God called Him home. He was an excellent friend, son, husband, and father. Right now it feels surreal and I ache so badly for his wife and children (3 boys, 3 and under). It is sobering to know that while they attempt to sort through this situation that my family was doing similar things about 6 months ago when they were unsure I was going to survive. I am grateful I am alive and I wish I could rewind time for my friend. I just don't understand! I know that God has a plan and that He will be faithful to it and to these families impacted by such a horrible loss, I just don't get it. Today, I will chose to pray for my friend, her babies and that God will reveal to her, His answers. I pray that if she needs me in any way, that I may be there to help. She is such an awesome person - in fact the quote on her facebook was - "O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge." ~ Psalm 62:8, NLT

WOW! Prophetic enough. God will be her refuge during this time! Please pray for them.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

What Keeps Me Busy

Well if you don't count my two little boys, I stay busy with PT, ST, and a lot of arts & crafts kind of things.... I am currently dressing 20 bears for the Salvation Army Teddy Bear Tea, I have my birthday shopping done through the end of the year and am halfway done with Christmas, my Christmas letter is mostly done, I have planned both boys' birthday parties and have hand made the invitations, and I cook constantly although I am not eating yet. Go to keep myself busy.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Good News

I have great news! I heard from my Neurologist office yesterday that my EEG (you should hear me try and say that :) Nope, not gonna happen) results are normal and I can begin to wean off of the anti-sezuire medication. Yeah! Pray for no seziures from here on out. In three weeks, assuming all goes well, I will be done with that med. Then four weeks after that, I can drive again. It has been almost a year that I have driven. This all started on Halloween 2009- vertigo started and so my trips out and about have been with others unless I wasn't going far and I felt fine. I think I actually stopped driving in November for good. Oh, I am so excited for life to return to normalcy. Just gotta kick this swallow thing into gear and ensure I am safe with walking and balance. It's always something. You know it has been so long since I felt NORMAL that I am wondering if I will recognize it. Now my goal is to get over my icky cold (imagine that with no swallow reflex - let's just say I have not slept to well or much the past few days).

Thanks again for listening and please keep praying for me - I appreciate it a ton!


Sunday, August 29, 2010


Today I am making a choice! A choice to be happy and not sad, a choice to be thankful not resentful, a choice to be better not less. I know it probably doesn't sound like anything that profound happened to me, but in terms of me and motherhood, it was an interesting day. As a Mom, you want to be there for every one of your child's first's if possible. The first time they roll, crawl, walk, tooth, word, etc. I have been that Mom for Zach, but due to my elongated recovery, I lost that status today and it has been hard for me. Lets see if I can better explain. Every year the State Fair is going on during this time and honestly I could have taken or left it. It wasn't really my thing. I eat way too much and watch the logger show. Yes, I am my father's daughter. Well, as Zach has grown I have begun to look forward to the fair as my time to be child like with him, get our faces painted and our hair colored and sprayed. Well, this year, my sister and her husband, asked if they could take Zach to the fair. I said yes because I knew he would have a blast, but I couldn't ignore the missing whole in my heart that kept saying, 'you should be doing this with him.' All day long I have pushed that aside, telling myself that I could not physically do it. This lack of inability really frustrates me. I am sick of this and despite all that I have been through, I have no hint of a finish line. I finally came to the realization that I am instead grateful that my sister and her husband like Zach enough to take him most of the day. We always have next year, when he will have to drag me away from the food booths to get our faces painted and our hair sprayed. So today, as I reflect on this, I choose to be grateful and thankful that I still have tomorrow and the next day to show my son how much I love him.


P.s. thanks j&k for taking Zach - he had a blast and I appreciated the quiet time to clean and read the hospital notes you had taken. Wow! Life sure has changed. Thanks for loving us enough to help out, even if I don't always recognize it at first.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yesterday Rocked!

Yesterday was awesome. I swallowed two bites of Raspberry/Strawberry Jello! Okay I know that sounds pathetic but to me it was HUGE! My esophagus doesn't want to open to allow food down it so I am pretty happy about this revelation. I just need continued prayer that my brain will remember how important swallowing is. I also went back to my old stomping grounds at Alaska Regional. I first visited Rehab and it was so great to see one of my favorite nurses and the awesome therapists that helped me so much and the social worker who came to my aid to lay out all that I would need at home. I also got to see the Doctor who discharged me, what a cool guy, he worked really hard to get me off as many medications as possible, as well as apparatuses (i.e. oxygen machine, etc., and set me up with an awesome Internist. Next, I headed to ICU/CCU and another one of my favorite nurses just happened to be working. It was so great to see her and to get a big giant bear hug from her. I can't wait til I am eating and I can go collect my girl scout cookies she promised me while I was under her care in ICU/CCU. What a treasure she is. I was touched by so many awesome people during my stay. I was blessed with excellent nurses, doctors, and therapists. What a lucky girl I have been. Thank you for all of you who have been with me during this journey and for those of you who went the extra mile to take such great care of me. I truly appreciate it, even if it didn't seem so in the minute.


p.s. I left out names for privacy - but you know who you all are! Love to you all!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Each day is precious

Today I reflect on what I was doing 6 months ago. I was out of it, in the ER of the hospital while my family was getting horrific news that I had a brain tumor and hydrocephalus and that emergency surgery would be occurring tomorrow. While I was moved to ICU for the night, they were left there to gather their thoughts. I know from conversations with various family members that they were unsure I would even make through the surgery. My husband didn't know if he was going to have to tell our children that 'Mommy went to Heaven.' My Mom, Step Mom, and Dad had to think about losing their youngest daughter, and my sisters had to think about losing their baby sister. To my understanding, no one really asked what I would be like following the surgery, as their primary concern was getting me through the surgery. They would do whatever needed to be done, and they certainly have. I am so blessed to be loved so much. Every step of the way, they have tried to listen, support, and encourage me, to which I am so lucky. Unfortunately outcomes to my surgery weren't expected and my family knew not of what they would see when I returned. They have had to make some tough decisions on my behalf and I can honestly say - "I'm glad it was them and not me." I have been told many times that I am strong and out of us all, I am the only one who would have made it. I don't think so. I think God did it all. He knew it would happen and He handled the situation as need be. Do I like the outcome? Not particularly, but each and every day, I work hard to make it better. I would not wish this situation on anybody. I have learned a lot about myself and my incredible family. I know people ask me all the time, 'Why did this happen to you?' My response is "Why not me?" I have been to the edge of death and I realized that God is not done with me yet. I am an unfinished peace of work, who has yet to figure out what I am meant to be for His service. Still 6 months later, I don't doubt God's hand in every aspect of this experience. I can see His fingerprints in that day 6 months ago, to the selection of my brain surgeon, to my many awesome nurses, to my incredible therapists. I wonder how people look at my situation and don't see God. He is KING! He is merciful and mighty! He has begun a new work in me and I know He is faithful to complete it. I am attaching a scrap booked page that shows much of my jaunt through brain surgery. My family chose not to take picture of how horrendous I looked the days following surgery, but I look fairly normal now. My arms were covered in bruises, I had a central line (IV w/multiple ports) that came out from the jugular vein in my neck (right side). I was on Oxygen much of the time and had a suction hose nearby me too. Thankfully, I was not Trached (hole in neck for breathing). Of course I still have issues that need to be resolved and continued prayer is always appreciated. Please feel free to email me questions or comment them and I will do my best to get them answered. Thank you to all who have prayed for me. It has been heard and God is in the healing work (just not my speed :0). I am so thankful to be home and to hold those that I love so much.

Prayer Requests:

Seizures - took my EEG on the 16th and should have results soon as to when I can get off the antisezure medication and when I can drive again - It has been since Oct 2009 since I took my lovely car for a spin :0)

Recurrence - the Doctor doesn't expect for my tumor to return as he believes he got it all and it should not regenerate another :0) NO VHL - so the possibilities of additional tumors throughout my body is rare and I didn't pass it onto my boys. Praise God! Follow up MRI will be in October we think and then yearly.

Double vision - went to the eye Doctor the other day and because it appears that my double vision is trying to correct itself, he doesn't feel that surgery should be considered - Yeah - No knives by my eyes, thank you! I will continue to wear a Prism cover on my left eye and that may be adjusted in the near future and potentially weaned away.

Walking - is getting better as I am working on my balance with therapy, exercises, my Wii, and lots of trips around Fred Meyers. We are now trying to also help my endurance as I am so week - walking up stairs still winds me ;0( My plan is to do some 5K's next spring/summer so I need to get myself in gear. From my PT - I should be done with therapy definitely by the end of the year.

Talking - is getting better, my real voice is breaking through and I am able to sing, somewhat, although it is more of an alto or tenor range. My speech therapist is trying hard to get me singing again - my enunciation has improved too, which means that people don't have to try so hard to understand me :0)

Swallowing - what everyone wants to know about - well let's just say it is coming along. I have been working very hard to be able to swallow pizza at Zach's birthday at the end of September. I have yet to go in for another swallow study to confirm our suspicions that I am swallowing. Our question is the amount.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Praise You in This Storm

Ever have one of those days that you wish would end or restart? Today has been that day for me. I am really really really frustrated with not swallowing and not being able to eat. Everything is around food - family dinners, social gatherings, meal times, etc. and I am sick of it. I just want to be able to eat - so instead of complaining any further, I am asking for prayer. Please let God move me out off the way of His plan and heal me according to His will. Thank you so much. The below is lyrics to one of my theme songs.. if you can listen to it on the internet, it is amazing. Listen to the words and really feel it. Thanks again!


Praise You in This Storm - Casting Crowns
words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away


I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Can Hardly Believe

Tomorrow is Darren's and my 7 year Wedding Anniversary! WOW - time flies. It feels like just yesterday we were planning for prom and graduation and yet time has passed us by. We both graduated from college and I got my Masters in Counseling Psych., we are in our second house (hopefully final one for a while), we have an adorable dog, Lucky, have two amazing sons, and have fought a brain tumor together. Feels like it should be longer. I married my best friend and an amazing individual. I keep learning about his strengths as each new day passes. I love him even more today than I did that day in August 2003 when I became his wife. This year it has become even more evident that I have an incredible husband. Often times I think we realize how good we have it, but until you go through a difficult situation, you don't often see what people are made of. My husband has proven this to me this year. His grace, loyalty, courage, strength, and love have been awesome to watch over these past 6 months. I never realized how much he loved me until now. God truly designed us for each other. I don't want to come across as if we have a storybook relationship, but when it comes to the question of who couldn't you live your life without, I always think of him and of course my two boys. What an incredible man, husband and father he is. What a lucky girl I am. I can't wait til I am eating again so I can kidnap him for a weekend for just the two of us.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day of Differences

Well today has been an interesting day. It started by me doing speech therapy and eating a Annie's cheddar bunny and sipping Mango Nectar. Yeah, bit by bit it is coming along. Then I went to physical therapy and worked on correcting my balance and finished with endurance training. Because my balance is getting better, I get to start endurance training to ensure I can keep up with the boys. I am so week and my body aches constantly, but I know with hard work I will overcome it all. I am so blessed to have two awesome therapists who believe in me. I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am. The picture I have included is one I received today of my little friend (my tumor) before it was resected from my brain. The big mass in the middle of the screen about the size of a half dollar is the cyst that accompanied my tumor. The cyst fed off my pregnancy (extra blood & hormones) and created the hydrocephalus I also had. The small pea shaped nodule next to the cyst was my tumor, albeit small, it still created a lot of problems for me because my surgeon had to peel it off of my brain stem. I heard this week that my surgeon had performed surgery on a man about my age just this past week. Although he had a different type of tumor, he still had surgery in the same location. Please pray for him and his family as he is still on a ventilator and tracheotomy. This could have been me. The weekend after my surgery, these interventions were approached in regard to my care. Thankfully, neither was performed. I am soooooo grateful to God for His divine healing.

After physical therapy I went to see my internist, who is in control of my general care and she said she had to do a double take, I didn't look the same. In two months, I have changed greatly. She is so happy with where I am and where I am going that she scheduled no follow up appointments as she didn't deem them necessary. Yeah! I have my follow up EEG scheduled for Monday, my 7th wedding anniversary with Darren. I look forward to celebrating with him once I am eating again :0) I pray that the EEG comes back without any spikes indicating no seizures, once this has been done, I am going to be weaned off of my seizure medication. After I have been off that for a month, I am able to drive. Another step closer to NORMAL!

I have so much to be THANKFUL for. I am very surprised by my MRI pictures, but ultimately I know that God was holding me in the palm of His loving hands, ensuring that I was okay.

Thank you for listening and for your continued prayers, it is appreciated.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Just One of Them Days

So some have said "you just seem so positive, don't you have a bad day?" YES, YES, YES I do have bad days, just like everyone else, I just don't figure people want to hear about my bad days. It is only 1:30 pm and today is already a doozy. It started as a beautiful day, sun shinning, so my husband suggested we get out and get some fresh air. Originally, I suggested a park, then I said the zoo. Bad idea! You see, this is Zach's favorite place on the planet and as I shortly discovered, it isn't made for handicapped people. I guess if someone was pushing you in a wheelchair you would be fine but if you are learning to walk, it is impossible. Every slant was a challenge. Before I became pregnant with Kadin, Zach and I would come here weekly or bi-monthly to check on the animals. Now, every nook and cranny was a struggle for me. The highs and lows of the rock pathway were a challenge the whole way and we didn't even see half the zoo. I tried my hardest to charge through the pain to make sure Zach was able to see his favorites, the bald eagles. To understand how it was for me, imagine a tough climb for you and pretend you are trying to scale that with a 100 lb pack on your back. I am really not pretending. I feel like I am trapped in the body of a 90 year old and it is sooooooooo frustrating. I am not sure what to do but it makes me feel horrible. What kind of mother can't take her kids to the zoo? What kind of wife can't go out to dinner with her husband? ME! Ugh! Well there you have it, a bad day in the life of me. I know ultimately it will get better, but right now I feel cruddy.
Thanks for listening.


Friday, August 06, 2010

Rules from God for 2010

I received this the other day and I am reminded again and again to K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid). I need to remember that there are miracles every day and just because it isn't the particular one that I want, I still need to rejoice and be thankful... so enjoy the reminder :0)

Rules from God for 2010

1. Wake Up !! Decide to have a good day. "Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" Psalms 118:24

2. Dress Up !! The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance; but the Lord looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7

3 . Shut Up!! Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking. "He who guards his lips guards his soul." Proverbs 13:3

4. Stand Up!!..... For what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.. "Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as w e have opportunity, let us do good..."Galatians 6:9-10

5. Look Up !!.. To the Lord. "I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

6. Reach Up !!... For something higher. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6

7. Lift Up !!.. Your Prayers. "Do not worry about anything;Instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING." Philippians 4:6


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Coming Up Fast

I can hardly believe that my little man is 6 months old today. WOW! Time has sure flown and I have sure changed. My 6 months will be the 25th of this month. It is hard to believe some days. My journey continues but I am so thankful that I am on it. Today, I went and saw my Neurosurgeon. I couldn't remember his name at the beginning of my hospital stay so I called him Santa... now that you have seen the picture you will understand, especially if you have seen him in the local Providence ads. Anyways, I had a good check up where we watched me walk, had me talk, asked about swallowing and my eyes and verified that I was doing good. He seemed rather pleased with my progress. I brought him a gift I made especially for him. For quite a few years I have dressed bears for the Salvation Army and since this was fresh on my brain I thought of a great present for Dr. Kralick. I gave him a build a bear dressed in scrubs with its own medical bag. On its chest it proudly displayed a button that stated Brain: All you need is lobe. He thought it was so cool. He showed it off to his staff like a proud papa. I was able to see his PA whom I also adore. What a gift. He has a talent and is using it to save lives. Yeah! I hope when I go back in two months to be walking even better and swallowing even more. What a blessing this has been. Thanks again to everyone for their prayers.


p.s. I look horrible because I had PT (physical therapy) before this :0)

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Today, I am thankful. I just finished reading a blog by someone whose husband has VHL and all the complications he has had. WOW. I am yet again reminded that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. Although, I often wonder what that looks like as I have been through a lot. Overall, I am so thankful to be alive and on the road to recovery. God is good all the time.

Thank you for your continued prayers, I certainly appreciate it.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Heavy Heart but Rejoicing None the Less

Yesterday was a tough day! I had a I HATE TUMORS day and it seemed as if nothing but venting to my mom helped. Thankfully, it is out of my system today. I did receive some bad news today about a lady who has been on my heart. A few weeks ago she suffered two brain aneurysm's and unfortunately those where too much for her body to handle. God called her home last night and she was obedient. In moments like this, I rejoice in the fact that she knew Him and He couldn't wait to hold her in His loving arms once she got passed those pearly gates. I do morn with her family that now has to come to gripes with such a loss. I can't even begin to imagine. Having someone go through similar experiences as me and not survive has made my situation even more real to me. That could have been me. WOW. I praise God that I am still here and working hard daily to get better. Please remember to pray for Mary's family as they figure out what to do now. I know that I will and that God will use this experience as a means of declaring Himself to others. What a great new beautiful angel He has.

I also convinced my sister to take me to the store after physical therapy today. My mission was to buy some bright, beautiful flowers for a friend whose father is on his death bed with two brain tumors. It is funny how God works in your life. I had a plan to do this this morning but I kept pushing it aside saying I wasn't ready to see my former co-workers. God, on the other hand, knew better. He kept reintroducing this idea to me throughout the morning and when I finally asked if it was my plan or God's, I knew it was His and I had to do it. Unfortunately, my friend was not there, but another told me she would drop off the flowers to my friends house after work. What a doll she is. So while I was there, I visited with my former co-workers who had not seen me since before my scare and operation. Many tears were shed and hugs given. I was able to remind them that God had done it all and to confirm to them that He was responsible for my recovery. It was great to see them all, though being in the spot light was a little overwhelming for me. I know that many of these people have and continue to pray for me. I am so thankful for that.

So despite yuckiness in the world, there is also good. Sometime we just have to change our focus. Thank you to everyone who has taught me this. May this be a reminder to you to tell those that you love, you love them, as we never know when it will be too late. So instead of grumbling and complaining, I am choosing to sing "Oh Happy Day."


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just wishin and hopin and prayin and doin

Okay, so I quoted a song from a chick flick... can anyone guess??? Apparently, I still have my cognitive abilities. Today, I went to see my Neurologist and she is sure that the seizures I suffered in the ER and during the MRI, were related to my tumor indirectly, but were directly related to the hydrocephalus I had as a result from the growth of my tumor. That is what I thought too. Now, I have to have a follow up EEG and assuming all is well there (pray for no spikes), I will be weaned off the Keppra (anti-seizure) medication. Assuming I have no seizures from that process, I will be cleared to drive :0) Gotta get these darn eyes fixed too. I am praying that God will realign them on His own - NO MORE SURGERIES, pretty please with a cherry on top. I go in next week to see my Neurosurgeon to schedule my follow up MRI and to ensure nothing else is growing. I don't need any more little uninvited friends in my head. My physical therapist and speech therapists rock! They both are super positive and through some more hard work, we hope to be wrapping up physical therapy in the next few months and swallowing with no more feeding tube. Please continue your prayers for this. This week I was able to swallow multiple times in a row of a warmed soup, yeah for me! I am really excited. I am not allowing myself to get too far ahead, but I am super ready for this. God has been an awesome provider and healer through this entire process. It is amazing to look back at pictures of me the day of surgery, in ICU, Rehab, and now. Boy have I changed. I am certainly not the same me. In fact, I am relearning what it is like to be the new me and I believe I have surprised a few people. Thank you again for all the prayers, I know they have been heard. Please continue your prayers too. I am including a picture that it totally me BT (before tumor) and I apparently haven't lost it (my need to do it all in ONE trip). Maybe I will outgrow that? Yeah, right! I am sure I was corralling Zach too, he just probably ran out of the picture. But there it is, me with my arms loaded with groceries and doing it all in ONE trip :0)


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Grandpa's 95th Shindig

We just returned from a weekend on the river. We celebrated my Grandpa's 95th birthday. Wowie! Just a few months ago we were welcoming Kadin into this world. then I was fighting for life, and we reached full circle and celebrated Grandpa's birthday. He is simply incredible and as my Uncle puts it, he is responsible for this all, meaning the four generations of my family that were represented. We missed a lot of family, but overall had an excellent time. Grandpa as always enjoyed his chocolate cake and icing, which I had the honor of baking. As I hear, it was yummy! Thank you Pillsbury! It is amazing to think of all that my Grandpa has done and what he has been through. During times like these it makes me miss my Grandma, his love of 60+ years. I do think that she was sitting up in Heaven gazing down on the day, just whispering sweet nothings into his ear as he dozed off in his chair. My sister and I shared camera duties and got some great pictures of those that were there. My sister got an awesome picture of my Grandpa with his cake proudly displaying the numbers 95! What an accomplishment. He is certainly an excellent man of God who has created a beautiful legacy to which I am so proud to be part of.

Side note: I am including the picture of my Grandpa with his cake in my blog, but I had to proudly display my new favorite piece of clothing given to me by my sister in my screen picture. It states "a brain tumor messed with the wrong chick." Gotta love it. Yes, that tumor did pick the wrong chick, but hey better me than someone else :0)


Thursday, July 22, 2010


Ever have one of those days where you feel as if all you have is unanswered questions churning around in your head? I have felt that way for the past almost 5 months. The biggest question I remember asking my husband, Darren, after this all transpired was "when will this bad dream end?" I remember answering that for myself a few days later when I kept waking up to the same reality, knowing that I could never really dream that vividly. But life as it seems, continues to generate more and more questions that I am unable to answer. It seems that everyone wants to know "why me?" If I had a great answer to that, I would happily share, but although I don't know the right answer, I am confident that God is and will use it for His purpose. Maybe it all happened to bring my family closer, maybe it happened so I would realize that I am truly blessed with a remarkable husband, children, family and friends. I have a lot of maybes but no certainties. Maybe I am not to know!

Other questions that seem to fill my mind are: is my recovery normal? When will I be better? What does better look like? Has this changed who I am? What do people with my type of tumor lose (i.e. walking, talking, swallowing)? What did my tumor look like? Will it come back? Will anyone else I know suffer this too? Is this the end?

I don't know the answers to these questions either, but I remain faithful to God stating that He will never leave me or forsake me. I find confidence in the fact that He is experiencing this with me.

I look back often at the pictures that were taken in the hospital and I wish there was one of me right after surgery. I want to see what I looked like, how swollen everything was, how I appeared. I remember moments during that time and it all seemed hopeless. Thankfully, I was surrounded by amazing family, nurses, and doctors who refused to let me accept defeat no matter how loudly I proclaimed it... and man did I sure ask for it. I know this is the toughest thing I have ever gone through, but overall, I am thankful for the opportunity to touch uncertain death and to fight my way back to life.

Update on therapy: Some of you know that I finished OT (occupational therapy) last week. In PT (physical therapy), I am running, jumping, walking, hoping, pushing and such. I have even ridden a bike! Because of this, I am the only adult I know with a righteous tricycle. You may laugh, but I have made huge strides. In ST (speech therapy), I continue to work on swallowing. Today, I swallowed a dime size of pistachio gelato. Yummy... the reason for the small amount is because to learn to swallow you first have to practice it and right now my esophagus is not opening wide enough for larger items.

Thank you for listening. Remember if you have questions, please feel free to let me know and I would be happy to answer them for you.

To those who wonder if I crave food b/c of my NPO (not eating by mouth) status, the answer is "yes, I do." I am able to chew things up and spit them out. Sorry to gross anyone out, but that gives my mouth and tongue exercise and helps me to learn where foods are in my mouth and throat.

Thanks again for all the encouragement and well wishes.

P.s. Kara - my cravings are definitely normal stuff - pizza, salad, anything

P.s. Mollers - I would love cupcakes as soon as I am up for them


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


To be perfectly honest, I am a foodie. Whenever I am hugry, bored, emotional, etc I eat. It doesn't have to be sweet or salty, it just has to be good. In fact, I would probably make a nutrionist pass out by just hearing some of the things I have consumed. Not only am I a foodie, but I am also an emotional eater. When I am sad. I eat. When I am happy, I eat. When I am bored, I eat. I never need an excuse to chow down. You'd probably think I was rather large, but in fact I am perfectly average. I love healthy food just as much as the processed crap out there. I remember what I last ate... okay not trying to pull anything past you. You are probaably saying, so do I smarter, that was my lunch an hour ago. But for me, my last time eating was February 24,2010. I had a can of Dr. Pepper and two advil to tame the headache that would not go away. I have been eating through a tube since about February 28,2010 when one was shoved down my nose and into my intestines. Apparently, I didn't like that too much or I knew another fate was coming and I ripped that out during a dream in the middle of the night. I remember it all too! Ouch! It hurt going in but it was worse coming out. Then a day or so later, a PEG tube was put through my stomach. I won't gross you out with all the details of how it got there, but I will tell you that I remember that too. The pain was excruciating and I can honestly say I never want to go through that again.

So hear I am, almost 5 months later and 15 pounds lighter than my admit weight, eating Jevity, liquid nourishment, through a tube in my tummy. Speech Therapy is progressing and swallowing is coming along, it just takes a while. I am now starting to crave things, which hadn't happened before. I hope this is a sign from my brain that eating is just around the corner. HOPE HOPE HOPE HOPE HOPE

As you may have noticed my backdrop to my blog is a cheeseburger :0) In fact, my graduation gift from therapy is a trip to In-N-Out in California, where I can enjoy a yummy cheeseburger, fries, and shake while enjoying the sun. Let's pray it is sooner than later. You see, swallowing is a complex function that we did in the womb and never had to learn, it just came natural. Except for me - now. I try lots of new foods with my speech pathologist and have swallowed small bites (eraser size) of hot fudge, pringles, cheese puffs, jello, soda, etc. We try different textures all in an attempt to get my mouth to work together as my tongue is still sluggish. I have come a long way in this regard too. I told my Speech Pathologist that I would be having pizza at Zach's 3rd birthday party, which is this September, and she liked my goal.

So back to food - as a foodie before, I have become rather obsessed with food. I am constantly looking for receipes to prepare and cooking tons of food without taste, just by sight and smell. According to my husband, he wouldn't cook for us if he were in this position, but he certainly has enjoyed the fruits of my labor. My Motheer-in-law didn't know I could cook until I came home and started trying new things. I wore out my crock pot and have purchased at least a dozen new cook books.

I look forward to the day I can finally enjoy a meal and get rid of this PEG tube. I crave the funniest thing from day to day. As soon as I reach my journey, I will be sure to share it with you.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Little Ones

I am still amazed that I am a mother of two boys. They have grown so quickly while I am left here scratching my head, wondering what I missed. Today, Kadin rolled over for the first time. He did it for his Gappy Luann, but I can't help but be a little sad to have missed it. I was doing speech therapy, which is good too, but I am a little selfish about those things. I know I missed his first smile and laugh too while I was in the hospital recovering. I am reminded by many that there is plenty of time to enjoy all that he has yet to discover. While he works on bodily movements, my oldest Zach, is working on mental movements. He will actually carry on a conversation with you, and it makes sense. When did this happen? They are growing so fast and I love being here to witness it all. This reminds me that God is in control of our future. This weekend much of my family will gather together to celebrate the patriarch of the family (my Grandpa's) 95th birthday. What a treasure he certainly is and an excellent example he has set before us. I can't wait!

URGH! I am not sure how to put this... so here goes.... I haven't seen many people since I have been home from the hospital for many reasons, but primarily it is due to the stress that it has on me/my body. I am however always amazed at how people look at me. It feels as if they think I should be in a wheel chair drooling on myself. It seems as if everyone is so amazed that I look normal. Although at times I feel far from that, by appearance I still look the same. I am attaching a current picture so that everyone can see what I really look like. I have pictures of myself in the hospital but I am not ready to share those yet.

Thanks for the continued prayers! I really do appreciate them.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

First Time

Okay, so I know my title is a little lacking, but when you experience something for the FIRST TIME, you tend to remember it. Well, kind of. I don't remember my first bite, first step, first laugh, first sneeze, first yawn and such of childhood. But, after surviving a brain tumor in which I am encountering these firsts again, I am profoundly grateful. You see when I came out of surgery, I couldn't walk, talk, or eat. Now I am walking (sans walker), albeit a little wobbly (just picture how a drunk person staggers = me). I remember the first time I stood up in ICU and was assisted by LeeAnne and CeCe to a chair close by. Man were those first steps scary and agonizing. I know I had done that action before, but my mind just wouldn't do what my brain said. I remember my first time trying to communicate, I couldn't speak so I used the next best thing I could do, sign language. Unfortunately, the only person who semi-understood me was my sister. Thankfully, she was in the waiting room. I think I really stretched her that day, remembering back into our childhood. I know I will remember the first time I get to drink and eat as my miniature swallows are quite torture some. I WANT THE REAL FOOD! I remember my first sneeze (two actually). My Dad was in my room when they happened in Rehab and he looked at me and I said to him, "I just sneezed for the first time" I remember my first burp - my Brain Surgeon found out that I had a love for Dr. Pepper and he gave my nurses an order for some in my peg tube (stomach tube). It made me burp up Dr. Pepper instead of my nasty food Jevity. I still use Coca Cola to clean out my tube and unclog it. Works like a charm :0)

Today, I finally had my first yawn! Some of you are probably rolling your eyes and saying "so what?" It is a big WHAT! This means that my brain is still at work healing itself. What an awesome God, that He allows me to experience these tiny accomplishments. I have come a long way. Yesterday, I heard a message that I left on my Mom's voicemail, while I was in Rehab. I am astonished by how different I sound. It is really hard when I find an old recording of me talking or singing - talk about a direct punch to the gut. In working on my voice, I can again sing a whole octave and can sing parts of songs. I am in awe of this whole process. I am getting better and it is only by God's faithful and awesome grace. Our Pastor talked today about commitment verses vowing. Anyone can vow to do something, but making and following through a commitment is where you see reward. Thank you Romans 12: 1-2 (1) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. (2)Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Thank you for listening!

Prayer Request: Please pray - On Thursday a friend of a friend (in her 50's or 60's) suffered two aneurysms, one they inserted a coil, to stabilize it, and the other had already burst, so they repaired and are draining blood and fluid from her brain. She is in induced paralysis for at lest 2 days for healing, and prevention of further damage. Long term effects are of course not predicted yet. She has had one of my former favorite nurses in ICU and so I know she is in good hands medically. Overall, I know that she is in the best hands possible, God's. Please pray as she begins this new journey - I ache for her, her husband, and the close friends that told me about her. I remember what it was like and I pray that she wakes up renewed, re-energenized and responsive with an awesome testimony.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Angel Baby, Miracle Baby

Over the past 30 years I have acquired quite a few nicknames. Some I have kept and some fell by the way side. Since I became a parent, I thought it only right that my children learn this tradition from me. I call both my boys Bubba, I think I got it from my friend, but as soon as I used it on my children, it just felt right. They have also acquired recent nicknames from me. Zach my almost 3 year old is my Angel baby, while Kadin, my 5 month old is my Miracle baby. The story behind these names ultimately makes sense. Don't get me wrong. all children are miracles, some just earn the name doing great things or being great. Both of my children received these names from me when I remembered in ICU. I remember February 24, 2010 just as if it was yesterday. I don't want to go back and live through the past few months again, but i do have that day permanently embedded into my brain. Hence the names! You see that day started like any other. I fed Zach his breakfast, gobbled something down with a Dr. Pepper and some advil for my splitting headache. They boys and I sat down on the couch so that I could feed Kadin. About an hour and a half after feeding Kadin, I tried to move but a horrible pain shot up my back and I was unable to unfold my legs. I thought it was a fluke and that I must have been sitting wrong. As time passed on, the pain got worse and I set Kadin down on the couch while I climbed onto the floor. Before I knew it, pain shot all over my body and my head throbbed. I couldn't move at all. I had never been so scared in my life. With tears running down my face I asked my son Zach to go to my diaper bag, which was hanging in the mudroom. and grab my cell phone. He was so diligent and courageous as he tried his hardest to find what I was asking for. Because he couldn't find it, he instead drug his brother's car seat over asking where we were going. In the midst of my agony all I could do was hug my little boy and tell him "it's gonna be okay." Unfortunately, I didn't know if it was or not. I asked him to try again to get my cell phone. About this time Kadin started crying as it was time to eat. It took all my strength to crawl to the couch and lift him to me (remember he only weighed about 8 lbs now). I desperately tried to nurse him while Zach dug through my bag. I was unable to get Kadin to successfully feed so he began crying. I laid him down next to me an apologized to him. Zach saw the fear in my eyes and heard his brother crying and got the pacifier for him. He stood over the baby and said, "it's gonna be okay baby." The ever steady stream of tears came down ever faster and harder than before. I knew that I needed to call Darren so I drug myself across the floor and over to the counter in the kitchen. I slowly reached up the cabinets and felt for the phone. I called Darren and before he could finish his greeting, I uttered, "you need to come home now and you need to call your mom to watch the boys, something isn't right." After hanging up with him, I desperately tried my mom at work, no answer. After the third attempt without any luck, I tried my sister at work. By God's grace she had just moments earlier walked into her office. She answered the phone and heard me sob. "something's not right, call Mom and tell her we are going to the ER." She hung up and immediately called my Mom and Dad. Darren arrived home and then his mother followed right behind him. She quickly scooped up the babies while I quickly told her that Kadin would need to eat. Darren asked if he could drive me to the ER and asked me to stand. My legs wouldn't work at all. I said, "no, call 9-1-1." He did and moments later they were there hoovering over me. My blood pressure was off the roof and they decided that I needed to go in. They helped me try and stand and helped me walk out to the awaiting ambulance. Because I didn't seem incredibly sick, I got no sirens or lights (if they had only known :0). The EMT in the back of the ambulance had been there a few weeks earlier taking care of Darren when he broke his leg during a men's hockey game. We chatted about this and I felt normal. I even apologized for waisting their time by having to come get me. I think I thought that the ER was going to agree with me that I had migraines, put me on a stronger medication, not let me breastfeed for a few days, and then I would be fine. Well we all know now, that isn't what happened. We arrived at the ER shortly before noon and the EMT's escorted me to the room I would be in. The last thing I remember is one of the EMT's saying to me, "how do you feel?' to which I replied, "i don't feel so good." Then I apparently had my first grand mal seizure. They rushed me to a CAT scan where they noticed a mass inside my head. Due to this discovery, a MRI was ordered. I had another seizure during the MRI. They also confirmed that I had a tumor inside my brain right onto of the brain stem. Meanwhile, my family sat in the waiting room of the ER, huddled together. My oldest sister, Wendy, is an OBGYN in town and she cut through the ER to get my status and was told of the seizures, as the mass hadn't been discovered yet. She came out to the waiting room and tried to console my husband and family stating that it was probably preeccamplsia from my pregnancy with Kadin and relatively easy to treat. Once the tumor was discovered, all bets were off. I was moved to ICU and an operation was scheduled for the next day due to the extreme hydrocephalus. Dr. Kralick, an amazing brain surgeon, performed the resection. It is now clear to me how much God held onto that situation to make sure that I was gonna be okay. I don't remember those first few days well, but I do remember a lot from ICU/CCU, all of my time in PCU, and all my time in Rehab. You see Zach was my angel that day. If it wasn't for him and God, I may have seized on the floor and no one would have known. The ironic thing was that I had an MRI scheduled from my neurologist for the very next day because of my headings, unsteady gait (walk), and constant vertigo. They certainly would have found the tumor but the likely hood that Dr. Kralick would have operated on me in certainly unknown. I just continually praise God for His awesome power and grace that day. I am LUCKY to be alive, and I am not just saying that for show. Many of you do not clearly understand how close I really was to dying, not just that day, but some that followed. Thank you to many of you who kept me in constant prayer, it is because your willingness to ask the Lord that He granted my healing. Don't get me wrong, I have a long way to go to heal, but as many have stated to me, I am a WALKING MIRACLE. Praise God!

So now that you know why I call Zach my Angel baby, I call Kadin my Miracle baby because that is what he truly is. Doctors are still unsure of how long I had the tumor, but they can tell me that it fed off of my pregnancy, the extra blood, allowed it to grow strong and healthy. Because of my pregnancy, I also got vertigo (since October 2009) because of the hydrocephalus. He is a miracle because I made it through delivery. The day I delivered Kadin, I had another horrible headache and as I pushed him out the pain grew more intense. I was told that the pressure of pushing him out could have killed me because of the additional pressure on the brain. Praise God Again. I am alive and I have a super cute kid to prove it.

Hopefully, this shed a little light into my son's newest nicknames. I feel they are quite fitting. My only wish is that I will always remember God's hand in this situation instead of the fear that I felt and saw on my children's faces. Plus as Zach says it, "it was cool that Mommy got to ride in an Ambby Car (ambulance)."


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

“We do not remember days, we remember moments." - Cesare Pavese

“We do not remember days, we remember moments." - Cesare Pavese
This is one of my favorite quotes and this is one of my favorite days. Lets see, where to start, let's go easy first...Today was my final day of OT (occupational therapy). I have made enough improvements to move on and with all the work I do at home as a Mom, I stay busy enough to keep up OT -like behaviors. The funny thing about this situation is that when I first met my OT, I felt that she was really abrupt and I misconstrued her words, which devastated me. So I thought, why not let her get to know the 'real' me. Each session, three times a week, for months, I showed up to therapy ready to work hard with a smile on my face. She commented to me often that my positive attitude was odd to her and then I laid the big guns down... I told her I thought there was a reason for everything. She asked what the reason for my brain tumor had been, and I simply replied, I don't know, but I do know that God is in charge of it all and I have already learned so much. She seemed astonished by my answer and often asked in later sessions if I was always 'so happy.' At one point hinting that I might be delirious. I would just respond with 'why ask, why me... why not ask, why not me?' I have so much to live for and am grateful for so much. There are many lessons for me along this path and I know God is using it for His purpose. Although we developed a good relationship, I am glad to check that off my list.
Swallowing still goes well... people often ask.... "well, are you swallowing?" It depends, what is your definition? If you mean, 'can I just sit down and eat a burger and fries,' then the answer is no. If you mean 'you are not swallowing at all,' the answer is no. You see, swallowing is a complex process that we are born with. You hopefully will never have to learn it. Each time you put something into your mouth it can go two ways - once to the esophagus (where food goes) or to the lungs (where you breathe). In order for this complex system to work the food/drink must work appropriately in your mouth, travel down your throat and into your esophagus, a tiny tube that expands for the amount of food/drink you have sent down. You have to have your soft palate rise, your vocal chords close, your epiglottis flap... it all takes seconds to ensure you do not aspirate (what we call - having it go down the wrong pipe) or choke. Because of my inability to swallow, I aspirate daily or multiple times daily. After my surgery, my left vocal chord was paralyzed too and my soft palate would not rise. Although I desperately need all of this to work to swallow, I also need it for speaking. So back to swallowing, when I am monitored by my ST (speech therapist), I attempt to swallow items the size of a pea. You start small then work your way us. Yes, I have successfully swallowed some stuff to include hot fudge, pringles, carbonated beverages (i.e. soda), soup, and much more. Sure it is while before I get to enjoy a yummy meal, but for now I am making progress and will not accept not swallowing as a defeat.
The final thing and the SUPER PRAISE GOD is - I do not have VHL. Yeah! I am so excited. VHL is a genetic gene that carries tumors through your body. A hemangioblastoma (my tumor type) is one of the predictors, along with tumors of the eyes, spine, and kidneys. It is called Von-Hippel Lindau Syndrome. Because I did not test positive, I did not pass this gene onto my children, my biggest concern. At my 6 month mark (next month) I have follow up MRI (head) and EEG (seizures). I also visit the eye doctor again for my double vision and to see whether or not I need eye surgery, which if you know me well, I hate to have people near my eyes. I have given it all to God to resolve in His manner and I am grateful that He is willing to take the reigns.
For now I continue in PT (physical therapy) and ST (speech therapy), thankful for all that God has done for me and I hope through me.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I am so THANKFUL for so many things...
I am going to start naming them all...
  • God's grace
  • My Husband
  • My Kiddos
  • My Family
  • My Friends
  • FOOD - b/c I am NPO status (not able to eat via mouth)
  • Good books
  • Laughter
  • Making things for other people
  • Scrap booking
  • Cooking & Baking
  • My amazing life
  • ETC.

Have you done this for yourself?

It really reminds you how truly THANKFUL we should be.

Blessings Today to You!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Yesterday I found out that next Tuesday is my final OT (occupational therapy) session. WOWIE! I must be getting better, huh? I am excited and scared at the same time. I am glad to have that off my plate since I do so much OT type work at home, but I am scared this is as good as it gets. I don't want to accept that! I want to be close to 'normal' again. It is funny when 'normal' people say I am 'normal', if they only knew what I felt and experienced on a daily basis, they wouldn't feel 'normal' either. I feel far from what the world says is 'normal' and I guess I may feel this way for a while. I do know that I am grateful to have come this far and I will continue to work on the rest of my therapies to become better. Thanks for listening - I may vent from time to time.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


I am exhausted. No one told me that having a major operation would still continue to wipe me out months later. I shouldn't complain because I have less problems than many of the people I see at therapy. I am just grateful to be ALIVE! I was thinking about that today and how blessed my family and I are because I am here. Sorry for the morbid talk, it's just things like that hit you every once in a while, and they are better to confront than not. I am so glad that my parents didn't have to pull together a funeral service, that my boys didn't have to whisper goodbye to me one final time, and that my husband didn't have to imagine life without me. I of course am grateful for my second chance at life and I intend to use it for good. I started this blog so that I could share my thoughts and feelings with those that I care about and invite them to respond back how my experience in turn made them feel. I have been beyond blessed to have my family and friends around me during this time and for their constant love, support, encouragement, and prayers. I will never forget what I felt in that hospital and how desperately I wanted to come home and be with my family. I look forward to family dinners and events where I can finally feel 'normal' again. Toodles for now, I have to make some of my own creation chicken enchiladas. Some day I will explain the food obsession... but for now - God Bless!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Well here is my first posting on my blog. Yes, I do have a blog. Funny, I know! I started this so that family and friends could catch up on my recent status without waiting for an email from my mom or sister. Hopefully it will clearly convey what I am currently up to and what to expect in the future. For now, I would love suggestions of what I should include. Thanks for all your continued support, encouragement, love, and prayers. Keep it coming as it has been a giant blessing to me.