Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Not What I Expected

I had imagined all sorts of things...a horn like a rhino's that the kids could play nerf rings on. An upside-down kiddie pool with a water collection feature in the sagging middle. At least some jagged staples giving me a partial, really-mean looking sneer-shaped facelift. I was really looking for some respect on the playground. Can't you just hear the 5th grade boys someday soon when I come to get my kids from school (God willing)? Mrs. D. is SOOOOOOO cool! Sam, can I come play at your house so I can get a better look at your mom's freakish head? Do you think she is one the characters from the Lightening Thief?

After all, folks, I had BRAIN surgery today. Some impressive evidence of this would be nice.

Well, color me disappointed in this regard. All I have to show for having had a hole the size of a drinking straw drilled into my head and a catheter threaded deep into the recesses of my brain today is a sweet little white piece of gauze delicately edged in blood. BOOOOORRRING!

Well, at least I have a shiny new button for my purse that reads, "I had brain surgery. What's your excuse?". This cheers me greatly in the absence of all the above. Because, after all, brain surgery is a really big deal (if it wasn't, we wouldn't have all those "It doesn't take a brain surgeon..." jokes), right?

Ok, ok....enough joking around about something so very serious. To recap, this week alone I have had my spinal cord punctured, fluid removed and replaced with extremely toxic chemo (no anesthesia whatsoever); an egg beater placed (and turned on, mind you) in my femoral vein, a filter threaded with wire down a vein in my neck and attached somewhere in my abdomen) to catch the pieces of blood clot loosened by the egg beater before they reached my lungs (twilight anesthesia--don't fall for it, there is no such thing); fasted, even from water and ice chips, on a queasy stomach, for two days in a row until 6pm as I waited for my surgery; endured ridiculous tights that deflate and inflate on each leg to prevent more blood clots; had my skull opened up for the express purpose of being able to bathe my brain in more toxic chemicals (though, blessedly, far less toxic than the methotrexate from the spine, since this one is for the long haul), and had a rough breathing tube shoved down my throat when all I want to do is start singing again.

Now, this may seem like a giant complaint (and I admit it kinda' is!). But the truth is that I came dangerously close to death at least several times in this last month...giant undetected blood clot, near starvation/dehydration, measurable new growth, though happily not too much, of the cancer in the brain in just 3 weeks...but scariest of all, the beginnings of my belief that I could not endure any more. I didn't think I could accept feeling so sick for much longer and was losing my will to fight. My family and your prayers are what pulled me through. I felt your love and support in such a tangible way that it got me out of bed for my nightmare-procedure-of-the-day rather than rolling over and drifting back to sleep where nothing hurts. You all reminded me to continue praying for myself, too, and so many of you came to help me do just that. You made sure I saw a priest, was anointed, received the Blessed Sacrament nearly every day I was in the hospital. You continued to bring meals and send cards, my kids' football/cheer organization created and sold "Rebels With a Cause" rubber arm bands and special shirts to benefit our family, and put the boys at every level in pink socks for the whole month. I am so grateful to you all for helping me to keep the faith, literally.

Now here I am, likely going home tomorrow, with every expectation of some extended period of good quality of life. Now, I am a realist. I know my statistics, but I am not a number and intrathecal administration of Herceptin is showing great promise and is still very new. I am on the forefront (again) of what our new medications can do and how they can be used. My particular flavor of cancer HATES Herceptin and I can't wait to send it a message tomorrow: we are not messing around and we are not backing down. (oh, yeah,and we're MAD too!)

Please continue to pray for my healing but also that my faith and will stays strong because to feel that waiver, even a tiny bit, is the scariest thing of all.

With much love, hope and gratitude,


antonia said...

praying for you daily (all day!)

thank you for the updates

I also updated my carmelite nun friend on your health situation and they are all praying for you too.

MUCH love

Stephanie said...

Suzanne, we don't know each other. I somehow stumbled upon your blog a while ago. I will definitely be keeping you, your family, and all of those helping you in prayer. Your strong faith (and sense of humor through all of your trials) is so inspiring. God bless you.

Michelle said...

Praying for you every day!

jeniekelso said...

YOU just made my morning!!!!!! We will never stop praying!


Sarah said...

Praying every minute of everyday!
Sarah McCormick

Anonymous said...

Suzanne - I'm speechless really. So incredibly happy you are getting some relief knowing what you have been through. Love, Maura

nicole said...

Well, having a post from you is a sign that you are still fighting and staying strong. Thanks for taking the time to update. I'm just a stranger in Texas, but I am praying for you and am inspired by your faith (and your honesty when faith is hard) every day.

Lucy said...

WOW! It is so good to read YOU.
May God keep sending all those good blessings, and we'll keep praying for all those intentions. Looking forward to see you at your home.

Tina said...

Very glad to hear that you are going home soon. Watching chick-flicks in a hospital would just not have been the same. Granted, we would be away from the interruption of children. See you in a few weeks. Always on my mind and in my prayers.

Much Love and God Bless,

Anonymous said...

Okay Suzanne praying even harder now!!!! Happy to hear such positive news!!! So glad nausea is gone hey I usually want to die from that sensation alone let alone ALL the other stuff you've been thru!!!!!!!! :-)))) praying praying thinking of you always if I knew you and was close I would be right there too I can't cook but I could clean your house for you or something. Isn't the Communion of Saints such a blessing? So so many people pulling for you! Stay strong!


anna lisa said...

Your blog post made me feel every human emotion on the scale. We are praying constantly, morning noon, and every evening at Mass. Lucas never misses praying for you in his night time prayers. At "All Saints" mass he kept tugging on Ricardo's jacket because he wanted so badly to pray out loud for you at the intentions but didn't know "the procedure".

Oh my good God, have you been put through the paces. We all expected a slam dunk miracle, didn't we? No one could have imagined how startlingly the cross would enter your life, I mean, it was plenty startling enough as it was. And now your skull pierced like Him too...

We are praying for that miracle ferociously.

How He loves you...How He places His confidence in you...

Utter madness for the rest of the world, but breathtaking honor in the true light of God.

Yesterday I had words with one of my boys, saying (for lack of better theological terms) This life is just a freakin' bus stop, so don't screw it up!! I think "vanity of life" is the true theological term for what ails him...

And may I beg for spiritual alms? Max and Christian are in Rome today, praying "with Peter". Please pray for a deeper conversion for both. I know you will. I am so grateful.
Anna Lisa

Liliana said...

You are an inspiration! I am so blessed to know you and your family through your blog. I will continue to pray for you and your family. I know that GOD is with you. May GOD continue to bless you and your family

Charlynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlynn said...

Suzanne, thank you for fighting and keeping faith. YOU are so loved by so many. This temporary world needs you! You've taught me so much, I want to keep learning from you. LOVE and HUGS, Charlynn

Anonymous said...

Suzanne, you are an AMAZING lady, and I feel privilaged to know you! Keep on keeping the faith, and we've got your back with our prayers!

Barb said...

I am soooo glad that you are through all of those awful procedures and that your nausea is gone. I've been praying for that to go away every morning since I read about it. You will continue to be in my daily prayers....I do so hope that you can enjoy some wonderful time at home in the peace of family life.

Martha said...

Hey, sweetie, I've had some of those dark moments lately too, during my recent hospital stay. Nothing as scary and involved as yours, just a boring neutropenic fever. Glad to hear you have so much loving support in your life. Adding mine to the dog pile.

Martha from BCO and Indiana.