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.