Wednesday, January 25, 2012

laying it all out there

I think making yourself vulnerable is sometimes necessary for change, so here goes...

It's easy to update everyone on my physical recovery to this brain tumor, but recovery goes so much deeper.

You change! What you've been through & what's to come, changes the person you use to be. I've always tended to be quiet about sharing 'heart matters' cause I've been burned so many times. In reality, who hasn't? I'm sure we've all had times that we've made ourselves vulnerable only to have someone we least expected tarnish that moment. Instead of limping away as a hurt dog, I'm going to take a leap of faith and share with y'all a vulnerable issue I have. Please tread carefully on this information, I share it with hesitation.

From the furthest memory I have, I've always wanted to be a Mom. At times, I am in awe of my children at other times, I'm scratching my head, left wondering what happened. I've had a lot of these scratching head moments lately and at times I'm brought to tears. I just don't understand the behaviors that seemingly inhabit my children from time to time. Before I had children, I heard about the 'terrible two's ' and then some friends said, 'just wait til they're three'... Well one son is four and it hasn't passed and the other is almost two and we're upon it again. I hope I don't seem as if I'm complaining, I'm just hoping to normalize toddler behaviors.

Despite those tough moments, I have incredibly wonderful ones too. It's those moments that get me through the head scratching moments. Just today, I had one of those moments with each boy. After dropping Zach off at Preschool, Kadin & I went to visit Daddy at work. It was the first time we went for a visit & didn't need Darren's help. It was so liberating & fulfilling for me. It was fun to see the excitement Kadin had for visiting his Daddy at work without his brother. A year ago, I wasn't sure this was possible, The other moment occurred when Kadin & I arrived to pick Zach up from school. He usually runs over to me and hugs my legs, but today was different. His snow hat was on his head crooked covering a tear stained face. I kneeled down to find out what was wrong. He continued to cry and say that no one wanted to play with him. I asked about whether or not his best friend, Quinn, was there today and he nodded that he was there. He kept crying and Miss Shawna, his teacher, came over & explained what had happened. Apparently Zach was throwing snow up in the air & some of it went into Quinn's coat, causing him to cry. Another teacher took Quinn inside to clean out the snow and calm him down. It was heartbreaking to hear Zach's distress. You never want your children to suffer so this was horrible, but I was so glad to be there to comfort him. I drug Zach over to Quinn & his Mom to apologize. We tried to mend fences, but only time will tell. I hope that the I'm sorry card were sending Quinn will help Zach move forward and realize his best friend really likes him.

It was good to watch my little men in action. They amaze me daily and I know we will get through the tough times and come through it even stronger.

Thanks for listening!


Monday, January 16, 2012


This past week our house has been filled with sickies. Zach had his first real cold, I spent the early morning hours in the ER because I woke up at midnight Thursday with uncontrollable shakes, chills, and I couldn't catch my breath. Last time I had symptoms like this my internist sent me directly to the ER for treatment, so I knew what I was in for & wanted to nip it in the bud. I was right! Luckily, I had the same wonderful doctor as last April when this happened. He remembered me and we chit chatted before he checked me out. I was given an IV of fluids, a nebulizer treatment, chest x- ray & influenza test. I didn't have Pneumonia or the flu thankfully, but if I had ignored it, it could have turned into q worse situation. I left with a prescription for an antibiotic, an inhaler & instructions to get my fever under control. Because of my brain surgery and the resulting breathing & swallowing issues, I seem more susceptible to Pneumonia. I sure hope this doesn't become a yearly occurrence.

Thanks Mom for taking me in the wee hours to be checked out. I appreciate that we could leave Darren at home in case Zach woke up & couldn't find Mom. Thanks also for sacrificing sleep on a work night. I so appreciate all the scarifies you've made for me through this.

Thank you to Luann, my Mother-in-law, who so graciously filled in my volunteering responsibilities at NHPS even without Zach there. I appreciate you doing that even though it was probably uncomfortable. You are so helpful and so willing, THANK YOU!

Now were are just trying to get Zach & I healthy without having Darren & Kadin end up too sick.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Since my surgery & resulting deficits, we (my family and I) have asked the same question of all my Doctors, will I ever be 100%?

I have many thoughts on this... So here goes...

Will I ever be 100% - my answer is probably not, but what percentage will the end be and what does it look like? I was asked today to evaluate what percentage I thought I was, and my answer was 85%. I factored in my vision, balance/walking, speech, and my new voice. Can I get to 100%? To that I say, with God anything is possible! (Matthew 19:26 - Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”NIV). Do I think that will happen? I don't know but it will if only it fits into God's plan.

I have not interviewed my Doctors, Nurses, or Therapists to find out where they'd thought I'd be now, I wish I had, but judging from their reactions, I'm doing better than what they expected. For that I say, Praise God! I'm made new because He's restoring me.

Am I the same? Heavens No! Ask family especially and they'll be quick to point out those not so subtle ways I've changed. Is it all for the better? I'd say, most of it is, but I wish my 'quick to anger' button hadn't been re-wired. I guess that gives God another opportunity to teach me to be 'slow to anger' just as scripture says in James 1:19 - My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,. But on a side note, I feel that I am more genuine and real with people now. I'm not afraid of stating exactly how I feel.

The big question? If you could go back to 100% of what you were before anything happened and not experience any of the changes that have happened since, would you?

Nope! Don't get me wrong, I thought I was a fairly decent person before everything, but this experience has taught me so much about who I am & has given me insight into who I want to be. If all that comes with a gimp, different voice & drawn out meals, I'll take it. I feel like I'm experiencing life from a whole new perspective. Is it tough having these deficits? Yes, it is, but it's doable. I'm not asking for easy, I'm asking for possible (borrowed from Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer). Life's too short - fight for what you want. Believe in yourself, your ability, and the gifts you have to offer. Keep pushing! I'm discovering almost weekly things that are getting better. I'm so fortunate to be blessed with a strong personality. I'm determined, focused, independent, opinionated, strong willed, and stubborn.

There's no way I'm going to let a brain tumor get me down!


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Results are in....

Top: February 24, 2010 MRI - Showing Brain Tumor & Cyst
Middle: Approximately 1 year Post Op - River Nile thru my head
Bottom: Almost 2 years Post Op- Closing the gap - PRAISE GOD!

Today was a BIG day! A few weeks ago I mentioned I had to get my annual MRI, but I had to wait until after the New Year to get the results. Yes, I snuck a peek, looking for noticeable abnormalities, but honestly I don't know what I'm looking at. Today was the day I finally was able to get my Neurosurgeon's opinion. I'm putting the three MRI's here for comparison. The first is from February 2010 when the tumor & cyst were discovered. The next day I had emergency surgery to resection it. The second picture shows the path the Neurosurgeon took to the tumor & cyst. 'The river Nile' was left. I was under the impression from my last years appointment that this path/whole would ALWAYS be there. The final picture is last months scan which shows my current state and according to Dr. Kralick, it's filling in & my brain is moving back to where it was. He says I'll always have a whole, but it's getting better. Yeah! Praise God! It's great to have confirmation that I'm still healing. I look forward to what it looks like next year!

As tradition, I brought a brain treat into Dr. Kralick. I brought a 'jar o brains' I found on the Internet. It's edible and according to Dr. Kralick, yum! He had already dove into one before I checked out. Imagine: it's a slice through the skull (grey), blood (red), and into brain (pink). I must give credit to Living Locurto for this idea -

Darren & I grabbed a celebration Starbucks on the way home! We've been through an interesting journey and I'm excited to see what God has in store for us. Side note: Even though Starbucks in a secular company and I'm sure that the figure on the cup is doing something else, I like to think the figure has its hand raised,praising God. ;0)

Thank you for the continued prayers, support, love, and encouragement.


Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year

Well we rang in the New Year with New York. Actually, it was probably with Bolivia. We cracked a bottle of Sparkling Apple Cider and toasted to 2012. Darren asked Zachary what he was thankful for and he said "for my Mommy & Daddy." How sweet! Not only did we toast, but we had a dance party to ring in the new year. That's right, you read DANCE PARTY! Over the past few weeks, I've been able to manage my balance enough to dance. It's fun to crank up the music and dance with my boys. I remember before Zach walked, I use to pick him up and dance around the kitchen with him. What great memories! I'm now able to pick up my big boy Kadin and do the same. It is fabulous! It's a good reminder that I'm still healing. What a great way to ring in 2012!

I'm reminded of my favorite verse as we embark on this next year :

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

May you seize this year fully! May you allow God to use you as He sees fit!
Here's to adventures, big & small. (Picture: 2011 adventure for Darren & I - Maui, Hawaii - Sugarcane Trail 4x4ing)