Monthly Archives

April 2011

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Happy Birthday Mom

One year ago, your birthday was hectic. You were in a waiting room in the ICU while I had my second brain surgery. It was a true emergency and I know you were afraid. What a way to spend your birthday! The timing was horrible. I’m sorry that you have to share your birthday with such a scary anniversary that holds an insane amount of emotion. I hope that in time the brain tumor aspect will fall away to a dull memory and you can just have a happy day. I talk to you every day, and I know that this tumor is incredibly stressful. You’re such a mom, always taking my burdens on your shoulders. Thank you for supporting me, loving me, and protecting me. One of the reasons why I’m able to conquer this diagnosis is because of you. You give me strength. I appreciate you. You’re a mom, a best friend, and an amazing role model. Thank you for working so hard to provide an amazing life. You’re generous, kind, incredibly funny, beautiful, and every day I think about how lucky I am to have you. Happy birthday! I’ll see you soon with your favorite, an angel food cake with lemon filling. I can’t promise that it’ll be any good, but knowing you – even if I mess up the recipe you’ll smile, and tell me it’s the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten. I love you 🙂

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Malt Balls & Red Wine

Some days I just want to be bad. I want to forget about the possibility of my brain tumor growing. I want to live like there’s nothing out of the ordinary regarding my health. I want to drink red wine and eat malt balls. And sometimes, I do it. Sometimes I want to forget my winning ticket in the brain tumor lottery. But, just as some of my friends who are mothers (or fathers) of little children can never forget that they’re responsible for all of the daily things in their child’s life, I can never forget that I’m responsible for the life of my tumor. It’s in everything I do, every food choice, every exercise trying not to push my body so hard that I have a seizure. I’m always assessing my choices, and when I make bad choices (like eating some of the potato wedges at girls night last night & drinking wine), I get disappointed in myself. I wish that all I had to worry about, when eating, was if it would cause me to get fat. Now, I don’t care about getting fat, I just don’t want to feed the tumor. It has become a little gremlin in my brain that taunts me. I often feel overwhelmingly responsible. If I drink wine, it feeds the tumor, if I eat desert, it feeds the tumor. If I eat any carbs like rice or beans, or pasta, or potatoes, the tumor grows. If I don’t burn all of my calories each day, the excess feeds the tumor. Danny recently got a job which is bittersweet. It’s fantastic because it’s a great job, but I’m heartsick to leave the amazing girls whom I cherish so much. Soon, he’ll be moving to Seattle to start training, and we will be…

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1 Year Surgery Anniversary

One year ago today, I was undergoing brain surgery at this time. My skull was wide open, and the surgeons were delicately removing as much brain tumor as possible. I was peacefully sedated, having already participated in the awake portion of the surgery. Wow. Even as I wrote that, it shocked me. For being only 30 years old, I’ve participated in some crazy stuff. I’m lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of this wild brain tumor ride. I’m grateful for the experiences. I’ve come out stronger, and with a depth that I definitely did not have prior. I’m still pretty self absorbed about my health and diagnosis, but I feel like I have to live that way to make sure that I’m paying attention and combating this cancer. This diagnosis, the surgeries, and the long journey of recovery, have forever changed me. Thank you to Danny, my family, my friends, the friends of friends, the anonymous supporters, thank you to everyone for holding my hand through this past year. There is absolutely no way I could have done this alone. Thank you!

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1 Year Surgery Anniversary

One year ago today, I was undergoing brain surgery at this time. My skull was wide open, and the surgeons were delicately removing as much brain tumor as possible. I was peacefully sedated, having already participated in the awake portion of the surgery. Wow. Even as I wrote that, it shocked me. For being only 30 years old, I’ve participated in some crazy stuff. I’m lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of this wild brain tumor ride. I’m grateful for the experiences. I’ve come out stronger, and with a depth that I definitely did not have prior. I’m still pretty self absorbed about my health and diagnosis, but I feel like I have to live that way to make sure that I’m paying attention and combating this cancer. This diagnosis, the surgeries, and the long journey of recovery, have forever changed me. Thank you to Danny, my family, my friends, the friends of friends, the anonymous supporters, thank you to everyone for holding my hand through this past year. There is absolutely no way I could have done this alone. Thank you!

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Speaking Of Scars…

After doing the last post I realized it had been a while since I’d posted pictures of my scar. Below are a few photos. My scar is now my little secret. Strangers would never know what I’m going through just by looking at me. I feel like I’m finally integrated into society. That probably sounds weird. It’s hard to explain….I guess I felt like I wasn’t moving forward. I felt ugly, that’s for sure, and I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t choose my hair, it chose me or maybe it’s that the tumor dictated it. I now feel like I have options. Options are such an important thing in life. Anyway, about the scar, thank you to my parents for providing such thick hair genes, the fluffy hair is the perfect cover up for my little secret!

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New Hair Cut

Here are photos of my new hair cut. It’s the second hair cut I’ve had since the brain surgeries. The boys (my hair colorist & cutter) call it a 1920’s bob. At first I hated it, but now I’m starting to love it! I miss my long hair, but at least now I have a style. You can’t even see the scar! I think the hair is a little sassy 🙂 I’m liking my sassy short new ‘do but I’m still dreaming of long beautiful, blond hair. It’s a great motivator to eat healthy and exercise. The longer I go without radiation, the sooner I’m able to get back to my long blond Baylayaged roots! I’m going to print the following photo and put it on my fridge for inspiration. I do best with goals. It probably sounds like a stupid, self absorbed, goal but at this point I don’t care that much. Whatever gives inspiration to try harder, eat better, exercise more, and sleep, is all that matters. I’m a girl who loves hair. We all have our weaknesses.

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MRI Appointment

Sorry it’s been so long for a post. The MRI itself went well. The results were only “ok” but more on that later. On a side note: I’ve discovered a higher pain threshold for the IV process and that’s pretty fantastic. So here’s a basic rundown at the hospital for each MRI appointment. We arrive at 8:30am and I check in at the front desk (the girl, just a little younger than me, always smiles and says, “I remember you!” which I have to say is completely awesome). I then get escorted by the same gentleman who has some sort of accent which I believe is from an African country (I should ask, it’s just that I don’t want to be rude – it’s none of my business, but I’m very curious). The gentleman who I can never remember his name gives me a key for my things, and a locker. I change into a gown and scrub pants. I’m allowed to wear undies and socks underneath but that’s it. No jewelry, no hair clips, etc. Once I’ve locked all of my goods away, I sit in a chair and the nurse wheels over a tray of medical stuff: syringes, medical swabs, gauze, cotton balls, blue gloves, needles, etc. This time, as the cart was turning the corner I recognized the face of my nemesis. The arm gouger. She is the woman that digs four or five times, searching in vein for my vein, until I can no longer stand it and she calls another nurse (who by the way, always gets the vein on the first try). When I saw the bad nurse, I smiled big and said, “You might not remember me, but I definitely remember you.” I reminded her that she’s supposed to get another nurse for…

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Clean MRI

Clear! I have another three months of easy sailing. There was a lot of “flare” which they said could either be swelling, irritation, or tumor growth. After further review the doctors decided that it’s still swelling and irritation, and they don’t believe that the white area is tumor growth. Wooooo hoooooo!

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MRI

Tomorrow morning, the 15th of April is my next MRI. I’ve been feeling happy and strong (albeit tired). It’s the first MRI where I actually feel like I can handle bad news if it comes. I went ahead and scheduled a hair appointment for tomorrow afternoon, knowing that if the MRI goes poorly I can always cancel. Time to rest. It’s a big day tomorrow.

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Danny took this picture on his way home from work yesterday. He said he could see both ends of the rainbow. Seeing as it was the one year anniversary of the diagnosis, I think both of us took it as a wonderful sign. I’m incredibly grateful for this past year. I’m grateful for every single day.

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