Nov 23, 2009

Life is going to be a gush of non stop busyness starting Wednesday, until we can catch our breath--hopefully by January life will take up its normal flow. My in-laws are arriving Wednesday from Minnesota, and will stay on with the girls until we arrive home from Cleveland. The girls are crazy excited to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa. I know that they will have a great time just hanging out and eating Grandma's good German cooking. We all are also so looking forward to Thanksgiving, and spending it at the Fernando home with so many special friends...and I am ever so grateful that I didn't have the surgery before hand, so I could totally enjoy the blessing of being back in the States with these amazing people and their culinary gifts!!!

We broke our contract for the new house, as on further research and with help from the energy company, we learned that the EMF levels were ridiculously high by the pond, and around the walking trail. High, consistent, EMF levels, have been found to be possibly correlated to childhood leukemia, and adult brain tumors--since we already have one of those in the family, we decided we really didn't want to risk any more! So, we are back to square one...should we build, or buy? I thought house shopping was supposed to be fun???

I want to thank you again for all of your support. I receive way to many compliments from you all on my strength. I know that the faith of my friends and family, is what keeps me strong when the road ahead of me looks bleak--it is your faith and your prayers that carry me farther than you can imagine. Thank you.

"Do you believe that I am able to do this?" Matthew 9:28

Nov 19, 2009

My surgery is scheduled for December 3rd, two weeks from today. We will leave here the Sunday or Monday before that Thursday. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. I apologize for any folks that I have not written a proper note of thanks to, but please know I am so grateful for the prayers, e-mails, cards, calls, etc. The best part of this crazy tumor has been the out pouring of love, prayers, and support! :)

My scripture verse thought for today: "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again." (Psalm 71:10)

When I feel the cold, I can say "He sends it,"
And His winds blow blessing, I surely know;
For I've never a need but that He will meet it;
And my heart beats warm, though the winds may blow.

L.B. Cowman

Nov 15, 2009

"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." Emily Dickinson

It's been a busy week, filled with great things...

First of all, we met with my neurosurgeon, on Tuesday, and we went over my latest MRI. We were testing to see if the edema could be MS, an infection, and to see if there were any changes/growth etc.. The test showed that the probability of MS is very low, and the "tumor" has not grown--praise God. It still looks to be a low-grade glioma in my frontal lobe. For having an in-brain tumor, it's a good thing. My doctor--said again--that it is only by God's grace that I am walking, talking, and laughing due to the sheer size of the tumor. The fact that it is large and I am functioning fine, also points to the idea that it is very slow growing, and has most likely been there for years. He feels that since I am now symptomatic, I really should get it out before it breaks through my system's threshold, and I start developing more negative effects from it than I currently am. He also gave me much hope in having a long, normal life span, as he believes that there is a 99.9 percent chance that it will not grow back. God is in control, and He holds all of our days in His hands.

We have two surgery dates booked. One is for December 3rd, and the other is for December 10th. I will know tomorrow which one will be the one. (We are waiting on the radiology department). I will be arriving 3 days prior to surgery for tests and prep work, and then after the surgery we will be at the hospital for about 5 - 6 days, and then a day or so in a local hotel to monitor things, and then, we will be headed home with the tumor removed, and 6 weeks of recovery, before our return trip to Cleveland for a check-up. There is a possibility that I could temporarily lose speech and movement in my right leg, but I am super optimistic, that I will have little to no complications!!!

The other great news we have, is that we actually found the land/house we have been looking for. We've been watching all of the real estate sites for the past 8 months or so as we really wanted to get out of the work of building on our land, and we really didn't want to remodel anything either (our current house has been a big enough project for us). So, we've been looking for that "perfect" ready to move into property. On Monday night, a new listing appeared with 11 acres, and a 3 acre pond,, we e-mailed the owner that night, he responded that same night,we looked at it Tuesday, made an offer Wednesday, and signed the preliminary papers Thursday. The closing date is December 15th. We have looked at so many properties, and this is the only one that we both fell in love with simultaneously. The Minnesotan in me is so in love with the pond, and the country boy in Andrew, loves the space, the large detached garage, and the John Deere tractor that we will have to buy for mowing and snow removal. :) I have so missed swimming, jet skiing, and ice skating--all of those great things that were available on practically every corner of my growing up years in Minnesota, and now my girls can have that too!!! The back side of the house is all windows overlooking the water, and there is a one mile walking trail around the property--great for P.E. classes!!! To say the least, we are so grateful, and I look forward to recovering from surgery in my little Minnesotan oasis in Illinois.

Love and hugs to all from us!!!

Nov 4, 2009

Written Wednesday November, 4th 2009

  • I had my second MRI today. We are looking to see what is happening with my uninvited guest upstairs, and to rule out some other potential options that the edema could be or could be caused by.

  • The MRI was at 8:30 this morning, so the girls toted their school books along to the office. On the way home at 10:15, I decided I better stop by the mall at one of those drop in salons, "no appointments necessary," to have my highlights touched up. Due to the risk of more seizures, I am not allowed to drive until spring, so finding time, and opportunities for frivolous but important things like getting my hair done, have been hard to squeeze in. Plus by the evening my body is shot, and by that time I really don't care if my hair is blue or pink (blue is the best though, right Margaret?) So, since it was morning, and I still had my energy, my vanity won and Andrew dropped the girls and me off at the mall with their books in tow, and he headed back to Deere.

  • Upon entering the salon, 5 beauticians sat in the back of the shop chatting away. They looked like a friendly bunch, so I greeted them, and asked if they could fit me into their schedule that morning. Before answering one of them rudely accosted the girls with, "why aren't you guys in school?" I deflected her accusatory tone from my girls who have enough to think about right now and told her that, "I have a brain tumor that induces seizures, and am not allowed to drive, so when I have an opportunity to get out and have my hair done, I take it, and I take my kids who are home schooled with me." Silence. I hope they are nicer to the next person that comes in to their little shop. There are 2 main things I have learned from this experience...the first is, don't judge a person--period--we have no idea what they are carrying, and the second is, people are generally wonderful, generous, and overall extremely amazing loving beings.

  • Besides for the all encompassing fatigue that hits me like a freight train throughout the day, I feel great. I am using my time and my energy, purely for my little family right now. E-mails, phone calls, and visits, are difficult to accomplish by the end of the day. But, I once again need to thank you all for your kindness and support. I received a gorgeous lavender prayer quilt from a group of folks that I don't even know if I know from Brainerd, MN. I have it on my lap as I type. Whenever, I need to lie down, recharge, and let the peace of God consume me, I reach for this precious blanket and my Kari Jobe CD (thanks Jen), and remember all of the prayers that have been prayed on my behalf. THANK YOU!

  • It is now Friday, November 6th...We ate out at our favorite Indian Restaurant for lunch, and were thoroughly enjoying forgetting that life is anything but normal, when my neurologist and neurosurgeon walked in. They are both wonderful kind and compassionate men, but I didn't want the reminder right then as I was so enjoying "normalcy." There were no vacant tables at the restaurant, so they asked if they could sit with us...(LOL)! I guess God doesn't want me to forget, but to just look this challenge straight in the face. It looks like we will be having the surgery in Cleveland a week or so before Thanksgiving. We're hoping to be home, and to celebrate our annual Thanksgiving feast with the Fernando's and all our good friends there. And, Eleanor and Izzy, if I do make it, could you please sing at least one song with reversed parts? :)

Love, hugs, and prayers to you all from the four of us!!!