Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tomorrow is a HUGE Day

We go to Duke for the follow-up appointment/consultation with the Brain Tumor Center. This will go into detail about the path results and the options for treatment. All in all, my mom has been doing great. She has a positive attitude and that is over half the battle. I'm sure there are dark moments as there have been for all of us. I have realized that it seems to be harder on the loved ones more so than the person themselves. It sounds strange, but I guess it is anticipatory grief. I'm asking all of you to pray and pray hard. Forward this to all of your friends and families as well. We need them really bad right now.

- My mom is recovering physically.
- She still has a somewhat positive outlook
- It is bringing the family closer than we have ever been

Prayer needs
- I'm asking for the Lord's healing hands on my mom
- For the rest of us to be strong enough to get her through this
- For the tumor to have not grown back in the two weeks since surgery
- that my daughter will be able to have real memories of my mom
- I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that my mom will spend eternity in Heaven with me and the Eternal Father

Pray hard!!! Love to all.... Will update either tomorrow or Saturday

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

does it ever get easier

My mom has had quite a few good days in the past few. She has an amazingly positive outlook. Most of her phrases have been "I need to do this now because when I start treatment". We got the path report back last week and it is bad. She has stage IV glioblastoma (the same form of brain tumor Ted Kennedy had) and in fact they have the same surgeon at Duke. However, Sunday she asked me her life expectancy. I didn't hear her at first so I asked her again what she had said and she responded with "how long do they think I have before I die". What is the right response to that? I answered her by telling her that we wouldn't know anything until her follow-up appointment at Duke Friday. I still can't believe this is my life.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WW - a day late

My mom and my daughter. Her namesake. It never entered my mind that my daughter wouldn't know my mom. Please continue to pray. My heart is breaking

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Life can change in an instant - What happened - very long post

Last Tuesday I had a dr appt with my pain clinic. My stomach had been really bothering me for a few days so I decided to go home and go to bed afterward. I decided to call my mom before laying down to see if they could bring my DD to my house instead of theirs that afternoon. She asked me to come over because she had something to tell me. I, of course, asked what was wrong. She simply stated that she would tell me when I got there.

I was at her house in 8 minutes. The blinds were closed, only one lamp was on and the alarm was set. I immediately thought my dad had left. Crazy, but I couldn't think of what else it could be. I asked her if I needed to sit down and she asked me if I meant would I be shocked and she responded with "I sure as hell was". Which once again in my mind meant my dad must have left.

I sat down on the coffee table in front of her sitting on the couch and she told me that she had a dr appt scheduled for the next day with my brother's next door neighbor, but that she was convinced she had Alzheimer's. We have a strong family history of this awful disease. Immediately, tears came to my eyes. I had noticed some memory problems with her over the prior month. Little things that at the time I excused. Don't we always? I mean come one, she is 63. I figured at that age we would all forget somethings at some point. She then proceeded to tell me that she had gotten lost while driving the day before. Ma, my grandmother, started telling me that it was terrifying. She had taken Ma and another older friend out and got completely lost. She ran a red light and then stopped in the middle of the road. Ma (who's vision is horrible due to last year's diagnosis of Melanoma) became the navigator and got them where they needed to be. She then started telling me about some completely strange phobias and paranoia she had been having. My dad had to put duct tape around all of the windows in the house because she was convinced someone was looking in through the 1/2" opening around the blinds. She had blankets over the windows because she was afraid people were looking in. For anyone who knows her IRL, this is not my mother.

She then asked me if I would drive her to take her dog to the vet as she had dropped her a few days prior. Ma decided to go with us and off we went. When we got inside, there was a nice man who asked my mom what type of dog Rhine was. I turned my head to glance back and noticed that the left side of her face was drooping when she was talking. I was trying not to freak out and in all honesty, I was trying to convince myself that it wasn't happening. I just kept watching to see if I noticed anything else or if it got worse. The tech came out and called us so I stood up. My mom just sat there. I said, "Mama, are you coming back?" and she said "yeah, I'm coming", but she just sat there. I asked her again and once again she said yes and sat there. I went back over and grabbed her arm and pulled her up and she walked back following me. She didn't seem exactly stable in her balance. The vet came in and asked what was going on. My mom was sitting down at this point and could answer some of the questions, but it almost looked like she wasn't there. Her expression was just very vacant. No expression, no color, nothing. I told the vet that we would take the pills for the dislocated knee, and bilateral torn ACLs (yes, it was a horrible day for all) and bring her back later.

I called my brother's next door neighbor to see if I could bring her in since she was refusing to go to the ER. He, of course, said no, take her to the ER. She once again refused. Since his office is literally 10 ft from the ER, I told her that I would drive to his office so he could see her. I got there, walked in and told them why I was there. He came out from the back and threw up his hands. I told hiim that she wouldn't go to the ER without him seeing her. He responded, "well, I see you and now go to the ER" He got his nurse to bring the wheelchair out and pushed her over to the ER. At this point, I didn't think it was a stroke, but I also knew it wasn't just Alzheimer's. A good portion of my job is reading medical records, and I had a horrible feeling that this was something much more serious.

Unfortunately, I was right about this. A few hours later my worst fears were confirmed: My mom has a brain tumor. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I truly feel like I am watching a slow motion horror movie and then I realize: Oh CRAP, this is real and it is my life

She was transferred to Duke that night and by the next night we were talking to the leading expert. She has the same surgeon that operated on Ted Kennedy. He walked in and said that the MRI looked really bad. He recommended taking out as much as possible and very soon. He thought it looked malignant by the films. He did the surgery on Friday and it is a primary malignant brain tumor. We won't know the exact type until we get the path report back.

I just ask for your thoughts and prayers. Please pray and pray HARD. I am just in shock. I truly can't believe this is happening.

Friday, July 15, 2011

7/15/11 Update - Prayer requests

The swelling seems to be down a little. She is finally not in as much pain as before. She is aware of everything happening, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Surgery is scheduled for 2:30, but as all of you know, that doesn't exactly mean anything. Please keep us in your prayers today as we will need each and every one of them.

Specific prayer requests:

Pray that her mental status continues to improve.
Pray that she finds comfort in knowing Him.
Pray for the surgeon today.
Pray for a good outcome on the surgery.
Pray for us and that no matter what the outcome, we remember that He has the ultimate plan.
Pray for me to remember #2 myself.

Love to all!!!

Here is me and my mom at my wedding 12 years ago:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

URGENT - prayers needed

I don't want to get into a lot of detail and that is mainly because I don't know anything specific yet, but I need prayers for my mom. I happened to be out of work yesterday and she called. I got there around 9:30 and she appeared somewhat nml w/ the exception of some memory problems, but by 10:15 I noticed her face was drooping on one side. I finally got her to the ER and by 3:00, my worst fears were confirmed. She has a large mass in her brain. I don't know what the next steps are going to be or any specifics, but I need prayers. I ask you guys to add her to your prayers lists. I don't know how often I'll be able to update, but I'll try. Just pray. Please pray that it isn't as bad as I expect, that her mental status will stabilize, that she won't be in pain much longer and pray for us. It is going to be so very hard.

I now understand my mother

For my entire life my mother has talked about how much she hated the movie Savannah Smiles because I watched it over and over and over and over (get the picture) again. My DD will be 22 months next week and she is addicted to Annie. It is my own fault because I bought it for her as it was another favorite childhood movie. If we ask Cecelia what she wants to watch, her first answer is always Annie. And not just in a mildly happy way, but demanding as in "it is the best thing ever". She LOVES it. She will get in her swing, which we just brought down from the attic again and sit still for a very long time. It wouldn't be bad if it were a once a week or a few times a month, but I have watched Annie probably 10 times in the past week. I still like the movie, but that could change in a very short period of time. LOL!!! I'll think twice before buying her another one of my favorite movies. Ha!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

movie critique for Christians

John and I used to watch new movies all the time. And then we had a child. We still buy movies when we can find them for $5, but sometimes they sit there for a long time unwatched. Such was the case with The Invention of Lying. Now during the time that it was sitting here unopened, I heard that the star Ricky Gervais was an atheist. It makes me sad when I hear such things, but we decided we would watch the movie last night since John's parents kept Celia for our anniversary. It cracked me up in the beginning and I mean laugh out loud funny, but about 45 - 50 minutes my stomach started turning. I quickly began to realized the direction the movie was taking.

The premise of the movie is that humans as a society did not lie. Everyone said every thing that came to their mind at the exact moment until Ricky Gervais' character told the first lie. It quickly turned to let's laugh at all of the little Christian (stupid) people who believe that there actually is a God. He wrote the "commandments" on the back of pizza boxes and described the afterlife when someone dies as a big happy man in the sky and all of us live in mansions with all of our friends and family no matter what we did. Only the really bad guys go somewhere else that is horrible and scary. And he was laughing at the fact that the little idiots believe this.

I had to turn the movie off at this point. I know it doesn't make a huge deal in these actor's life, but I can assure you that I will never watch another one of his movies unless I have no choice. And I ask the believers who read this to do the same. If we refuse to take a stand, how can we expect others to?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!!

My DH and I are celebrating our 12th anniversary today. John's parents kept Cecelia last night for us. We went to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, shopped at Crabtree, and saw Larry Crown. We had a great time. He is truly the love of my life and I thank God every single day that we are still in love and together. Obviously, things aren't as easy and carefree as they once were, but he is my rock and together we will make it through anything.

Our wedding in 1999

Maternity shot in 2009