Cancer…when you hear these words the air leaves the room and the future seems to evaporate. Unfortunately, my husband, John and I have been way too familiar with this terrible disease. All four of our parents have had cancer at least once in their lives. The most recent is my Mother’s diagnosis with Glioblastoma, which is a type of brain cancer. I could write a book about what she has gone through these past 4 1/2 months. But, I’ll give you a somewhat shorter version.
My Mom and me. I love her smile and fun personality. She’s my best friend, next to John and our kids, and such a strong and constant rock in my life. I love her so much!
On May 16, 2016, my Mom had surgery to have a stint put in her right kidney’s ureter, because of kidney pain and frequent UTIs. The operation went horribly wrong. When they opened her up they saw her intestine was wrapped around the ureter. And because my Mom wasn’t prepped for bowl surgery they should’ve called in a colon doctor. But, they didn’t and proceeded to cut the intestine to remove it from around the ureter. Well, the intestinal waste spilled into her body cavity and she ended up with a horrific and near-fatal infection. She honestly could have died several times during her first lengthy hospital stay, but, God had His hand on her life.
We live in the same subdivision and are very close to my parents. We go out with them on Friday nights and we always have fun! Shown here they got their drinks mixed up. My Mom got his sweet tea and my Dad got her lemonade.
Ten days after her surgery the infection caused her wound to burst open. It was horrifying, extremely painful and quite honestly a gross incident. They rushed in and removed her staples and scooped out the infection. All while she was awake and without any pain medication! They changed her wound 3x a day, then put a wound-vac on her wound to keep it clean and help speed up the healing process. She was also put on very strong antibiotics for a few weeks.
My Mom is grandma to 15 children and great-grandma to 19 children, soon to be 20. This picture is with our sweet little granddaughter, Laila that was taken last November. She lovingly calls my Mom “Old Mimi.”
Because of the infection, she was very weak and stayed in a hospital bed for a total of 5 weeks. This caused blood clots in her legs and she needed to be on a blood thinner, Coumadin. After her long hospital stay and several days of rehab, she went home with the wound-vac still attached for a few days.
Here’s my Mom after she recovered in rehab the first time.
Things were starting to look better for my Mom. As a matter of fact, the day she had her first seizure she was swimming in the morning and told John “This is the first time I felt this good in a long time!” That afternoon she and I made her famous Hungarian Goulash, and 2 of her amazing pies; coconut cream pie and silky chocolate cream pie.
My parents got adult tricycles for Christmas and they love them! She was biking 3-4 miles a few times a week before she had her surgery in May. She let us use her small tree for Christmas and came to pick it up one day.
Before we were done in the kitchen she told me her right leg felt weird. Then within a minute or so she said her right arm was tingly. I told her to lay down and rest and thought she probably overdid it. But, when a couple of minutes passed and she said her head felt weird, I said: “Okay, we’re taking you to the emergency.” They ran all kinds of tests and told us that something showed up on the left side of her brain and her recent infection may have traveled to her brain. Gulp…that was earth-shaking!
This is my sister, Sandy. She was here about a month ago, and she’s here again for a couple of weeks, helping us take care of our Mom. You can see the bandage on her arm, that covers the port she had, to give herself antibiotics each day.
My sister, Charlene (left) took good care of my Dad and visiting my Mom each day when she was in the hospital in May. We’re looking forward to her 2-week visit this Saturday. My sister, Darlene (right) has spent countless hours and stayed 19 nights with my Mom at the hospital in May. Our family is so very grateful for both of their help.
Because of her recent infection, she saw an infectious disease doctor and he put her on very strong antibiotics 2-3 times a day for over 5 weeks! She didn’t feel well on the antibiotics, nothing tasted good (which she loves food), she just wasn’t herself. After a couple of weeks they did more tests and said the mass wasn’t shrinking and kept her on the strong antibiotics.
My Mom loves to shop! Here we were shopping with my sister, Charlene’s family, Darlene, John and myself.
John and I went with her to see a neurologist on September 8th and that’s when she got the grimmest news of her life. He told her he was almost certain it was a very serious brain cancer called Glioblastoma and without treatment, she would probably only have about 11 months to live. She told the doctor she wouldn’t take chemotherapy or radiation. And he didn’t recommend a biopsy, because there are serious risks involved like; stroke, paralysis, bleeding and even death.
The three of us left his office with very heavy hearts, I felt like walking out into traffic, literally. We all agreed that she would just live out her life with this mass in her head. Then the next seizure came within just a few days on Monday, September 12th. We took her to emergency again and a different neurologist said he thought he could get a biopsy and she wanted to know exactly what it was.
This was taken the day before her biopsy. They marked her head with “Cheerios” as John called them. She was still smiling and trusting God.
So, on Thursday, September 15th she had a brain biopsy. She was in ICU for 2 days and it affected her right side quite badly. She couldn’t walk, couldn’t move her right arm or hand and worst of all, she couldn’t speak for several days! Why, why, why did that doctor talk her into a brain biopsy? Well, he did and it was my Mom’s decision to sign for it. The next 3 mornings I woke up sobbing and could hardly breathe. We waited 4 1/2 long days to find out the results of her biopsy.
We have the best kids! Both Andy and Chelsea flew in to be here the day of the biopsy. What a blessing to have them here with us. We got away for a short time to go to our favorite Starbucks on the ocean. My Mom loves the ocean, so we said “This one’s for you, Mom.”
On Monday, September 19 at 6:40 pm the neurologist came in and gave us the prognosis that it was indeed Glioblastoma. The doctor left the room and my Mom could hardly talk but she looked at John and said: “Call your Pastor!” John did and he and his father came to the hospital. Pastor Chris spoke life into her and prayed a powerful prayer. She looked at the clock when he was done, both hands were on the 9 (it was 8:45 pm) and she said, “This is when I was healed.” Wow, what faith, what hope she has!
My parents went to Washington state with us. My Dad had back surgery and needed a wheelchair. So, our son-in-law, Kenny, being the great guy that he is, pushed his wheelchair up and down the trails that day!
We are all believing with her for complete healing, even though the doctors are trying to prepare us for the absolute worst. Are we in denial? No, we understand the seriousness of her prognosis. But, Glioblastoma is just a name and Pastor Chris said: “This is just a name and Jesus’ name is above all names, so it must bow to Him.” Our hope is in the Maker of heaven and earth, who created us and wants His perfect will to be done in all of our lives.
This is all us girls (Darlene, Sandy, Mom, Charlene and Me) with our Mom at Sandy’s son, Philip’s wedding. What a beautiful day and it’s always nice when we’re all together.
Since that night my Mom has never been the same. Has her faith wavered? Sure. She’s human and fear comes. But, she told my sister, Darlene the next day, “No more crying with me, remind me of what Pastor Chris prayed and spoke over me.”
This was taken before May. My parents LOVE living in Florida and she misses her home so much right now. My parents have had a wonderful marriage for over 64 yrs and love each other very much. This has been extremely difficult for my Dad these past 4 months. Please keep him in your prayers as well.
She stayed in the hospital about a week after her biopsy and then went to a rehab center. This past Thursday it was 2 weeks since her biopsy. She’s had good days and some very difficult days. But, she’s brave, a fighter and she has loved and served God since she was only 5 years old. Each day she amazes us by how strong she’s getting, her faith in God and how determined she is to get better and be completely healed.
My Mom has supported many of us on our mission trips and even went one time with us to the Dominican Republic. Here she is with her friend, Jan, and John. She looks nice and fresh here. But, she told the Lord after her first hot day, while trying to peel off her sticky clothes in an outdoor bathroom, “Here I am Lord, send my kids.” 🙂 Hey, some go on mission trips and some send others.
This picture was taken today. It’s my Mom with her great-granddaughter, Josie. My brother, Dan and his wife, Judy, along with their daughter, Jamie and her daughter, Josie came to visit for the weekend. My Mom loves all of her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. And she has an amazing gift of making each one of us feel like we are her favorite.
I walked into my parent’s house the other day and found my Dad’s bible open on the table. He loves Psalms 91 and reads this chapter every day since his brother, Moses passed away in January 2014. I’m very blessed to have such wonderful parents.
We’ve had many good times with our family through my Mom’s surgery, the first recovery, her biopsy and now this recovery. Times of crying, times of laughing and times of beautiful worship together as a family.
I’ll keep you posted on her progress and our family would greatly appreciate your prayers. Although my Mom knows she’s being healed daily, there are still times she gets weary of the journey.
This is our daughter, Chelsea and my Mom. Chelsea has always been very close to her grandma and loves to talk to her about the bible and the Lord.
My Mom’s theme song since the morning of the biopsy has been “You’re a good, good Father.” Our daughter, Chelsea and her husband, Kenny are worship leaders (Kenny’s a music Pastor). They recorded this song for her and we hope it brings you hope for whatever you’re going through. Even when we don’t understand the hard times, He’s always faithful, always loving and yes, He’s a good, good Father.