Monday, September 23, 2013

Be Warned: Religious Opinion Enclosed.

Remember to tell the kids this......Every once in a while, watch a black and white movie.  They had to act back then....actually put on a show.  There was a really great story....similar to a book on the screen...There's nothing like it.  There are so many special effects today that are really fantastic and enjoyable....because of that, you can get away, for the most part, with having mediocre acting.  It wasn't like that back then.  So every once in a while, watch a black and white movie.  

These are the conversations I find myself having with myself.   Reminding myself to "tell the kids this:".

I'm going to do what no normal person would do publicly....I"m going to talk about my religious/spiritual beliefs.   Then again, I'm not normal.  I have a brain tumor.  I am finding that it can give me the right to do things most normal people would never do...I need to be very careful with this new power. I like to remind myself to use my powers(whatever they may be) for good....always for good.  Always try to choose the "right" thing...the morally good choice.  I'm human so as we all know it's extremely difficult.  That's why we have Saints.....because we can't believe that a human being can be THAT good.  I digress.....

For my whole life, I have believed in God.  It's never been a ? of is there or isn't there.  As a child, I felt an extremely strong pull to do the right thing(and NO, the end of this story is not that I am in any way, shape or form a Saint).  Whenever I did something that felt "wrong", I felt an extreme amount of guilt about it.  Even if it was just a small thing like not speaking up when someone said an unkind word to another person.

 As I got older, I was introduced to the church.  I was Christened Presbyterian.  But eventually, I moved and didn't get a ride to that church and stopped going.  From there, I didn't go to Church for many years.  Now, that doesn't mean that I didn't believe in God by any means.  During that period, I just didn't go to church.  

Then I left my abusive ex-husband.   Once I got settled into my new town, I went to church.  A Presbyterian church,  I remembered all the songs that I had sung in the choir and at church camp.  I remembered the warm feeling of safety and community.  I was so happy to be there again.  And then the pastor spoke.

Logically, I was able to listen to the sermon and understand what the pastor was trying to say.  Objectively, he meant no harm whatsoever.  Emotionally, I was absolutely destroyed.  The pastor was speaking about marriage.  And how the Bible says that the husband should provide for and protect the family while the wife should trust in her husband and listen to what he says.  I heard how the Pastor's words would be twisted and manipulated by an abusive man to keep a woman from believing in her own worth.  I couldn't stay.  I wasn't strong enough yet to speak with the Pastor so that he could learn how to be careful with his wording so as not to support an abusive man's behavior.  I never went back.

Years later, I started going to a Catholic church looking for that sense of safety and community.  I went for about 6 months when I learned just how much the people in the church loved to gossip and spread falsehoods about people for no other reason than they enjoyed the drama.  In short, they weren't behaving very Christian-like.

I know that my opinion on this subject is different than many other people's opinions including my own mother's opinion.  But if you notice the word that I's opinion.  That's all it more and no less.  I can not speak to know who God is, which God is the "right" God or even if God truly exists.  I can only speak to how I feel and no one else.

I do believe that we are all part of God....every single living "creature"...including plants and animals.  I believe that when we die, it is our soul returning to God.  I think "hell" is our own individual realization of what we did here in this life. This is as far as I've thought of it but it feels right.  That's as far as I've ever needed to think of it.

In other words, live your life the best that you can. Do your best to treat every living thing with kindness & respect.  Do your best to minimize the amount of harm that you do in life. Treat other's how you would want to be treated because in the end it doesn't matter what they have done to matters how you reacted to it.  They have their own "judgement day" where they will have to face all the things that they did in this's not my place.

I don't believe that your sexual orientation has anything to do with God or hell or heaven.  No matter who you are in a relationship with, you choose to treat your partner right or treat them poorly....and that's the important part.

God doesn't go around giving out diseases nor does he usually go around taking them away (I can't discount miracles....those are all God..but they are extremely rare).  I don't believe that praying for what we want will get it for us.  I believe that God is too busy helping those who truly need it to waste time doing things we should be doing.  He's not going to give you that new job, you need to go out with a positive attitude and work hard to get it.  He's busy guiding the hand of a doctor of a child in heart surgery to worry about most of our small issues.  It's not that I don't believe that prayer's that I think we need to keep our prayers for the big issues.

I am thankful for this life.  I don't want it to end any time soon.  But I also have come to believe that God has a sense of humor much bigger than any of us can even imagine.  I don't think she's cruel.

But the truth is:
I planned to go to college.....
I planned to get a degree to teach or be a nurse....
I planned to wait to get married until I had my career set......
I planned to then get married and have children and a house with a white picket fence....
I planned to raise my children with my husband & their father.....
I planned to always be healthy.....
I planned to be in love forever.........
I planned to grow old as a beloved teacher and retire ......
I planned to live in happiness & good health until I died in my sleep.....

God had plans of her/his own........
And I've gotten used to just going along for the ride knowing that....
Even when everything isn't alright, it will be in the end.

So, I have a brain tumor and no matter what happens tomorrow....I know everything will be alright.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Since I last wrote, a few things have happened.

I've told basically everyone at this point.

It's hard to capture the feeling of panic that had set in while I was looking for doctors.  I spoke with my main doctor who referred me to a practice that works with the hospital that I was told is the best.  I scheduled an appointment.  The receptionist, who was extremely helpful, told me that I would need to get special permission from my insurance company in order to see them as they are out of network.  I contacted my insurance company....I have no out of network benefits. let's find a doctor that works out of that hospital with the awesome reputation that takes my insurance.....Crap!  There are none....not a one out of the best hospital.

I call my neurologist office, Dr. Monck, and speak with an extremely helpful young lady there.  She refers me to a couple of doctors. I explain to her the best way that I possibly can.....My insurance isn't allowing me to go to the best doctor around.  This isn't like removing a mole.....we are talking about BRAIN SURGERY here!  (I was nice...but I definitely was in a panic when I spoke with her.) She quickly let me know that one of her good friends from high school had gone to see one of the doctors that she was referring me too and she is doing great.   She has a lot of patients that have gone to him and are all doing well.  In other words, she calmed the crazy lady down.

From that point, I did some research....what type of reviews are out there with this doctor(because only one of the 2 doctors were in network)?  Basically....the first doctor had received a 5 star rating out of 5 on healthgrades while the second doctor received 4 and a half.   Ok...that's not too bad.  So I call the office.

Keep in mind that I also have a background in medical & dental insurance and front offices.  I'm trying really hard to stay realistic and positive.  The fact is that at this point, I have hope.  Prior to this diagnosis, I had none.  I was doing the best I could to stay positive and deal with it but I didn't really expect that things were going to get better....what I expected is that I will get used to it.   Now, I have some hope.  It is possible that the fibromyalgia is my body's way of screaming at me that I have a brain tumor.  It's also possible that if they remove it, my fibro just may go away.  ....It also may not and I do acknowledge and respect that ....but there is hope.

So when I called to schedule the appointment with the neurosurgeon and the receptionist(I'm sure she is so much more but obviously I don't have her title.....just have to give a shout out because I've been there) tried to dissuade me from scheduling till after I see Dr. Monck.  I explained to her that we were looking for a possible tumor about a year and a half ago when my symptoms first emerged.  We didn't find it then but we did find it now and my symptoms have progressed.  I would rather schedule for a consultation even if it's just to meet with the doctor and get his opinion than wait and have to wait longer later.

The truth is that even if they decide to watch it.....there is always a chance that things will progress and they may have to quickly move to remove it.  I'd rather have a doctor who has seen me, spoken to me, knows who I am and I have chosen than wait for an emergency and end up with any Tom, Dick or Harry.

So she scheduled me for a few weeks from now. I go to see Dr. Monck tomorrow.

That's where I am at this point with regards to my tumor.  My friend who has known me the longest in my life and who truly is the best in the whole wide world asked me this morning if I have named my tumor yet.....I haven't ...but now I feel compelled to get to know it a little better to give it a good name.  Hopefully, my doctors can help me know more about it ;)  

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I told the children 2 days ago.

They had been guessing what the family meeting was about for days but none of them had guessed brain tumor.

Truth of the matter is this:  I can see myself in my children so very much.  I sat them down. Immediately offered them milk shakes, which their response was to promptly asked me what's going on because it was obvious by then that it was bad news.

It amazes me that after I explained ,that it was a brain tumor and all that went along with that, my oldest son's response was to state" so what you're telling me is that there is a chance that the tumor has been causing your problems and if they take it out you would get better".  How many people can say that when faced with adversity their children find the positive within the situation? So at this point it appears as though everybody's ok. My son who is clinically depressed, is thinking positive!

I told my daughter is that I need to make a list. This list is to contain all the things that I want to do when I'm back to my self. Hiking, walking, swimming, traveling, I'd need to find a new career..... To which my daughter promptly said " don't get carried away. We can't get our hopes that just to be disappointed if it doesn't work". My daughter who suffers from anxiety, is being realistic!

A couple things have been different the last two days. My youngest son has called me a couple times. He asked to go to dinner. He asked to come on a trip with his sister. It seems as though my youngest son, who seems to avoid certain issues, wants to spend some extra time.

I am very proud of my children, words really don't express it. I try to stay positive. Through all of the difficult times that myself and my children have gone through, I refused to give up, to let things drag me or my children down. Which brings me to today, my children learned well!

August 30, 2013

The Big IF

I've decided to tell the children.  They are young adults at this point.  Reality is that I want to give them time to wrap their heads around the fact that I HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR....whoops sorry...that keeps happening but not as often as last week.  So as I said, I want to give them time to adjust and time to realize that everything is going to be ok. I'm working myself up to doing it though. Then IF....see it's a big if....IF the doctor wants to operate, at least they have had time to adjust to it and don't have it thrown right in their lap that btw, your mother has a brain tumor and is going in for brain surgery...Whew...That doesn't feel like the right thing to do ....Hence, I have to tell the children.  I've told 2 out of 3 that we need a family meeting.  We are having our Summer BBQ today while also celebrating my one son's birthday.  I don't want to tell them today.  I'm going to have to get them to figure out their schedules so that I can get all 3 of them in the same location again very soon.

On a similar note, I picked up my CT scan to bring to the neurologist.  While at the hospital, I asked where is known for their neurosurgery in the area.  This led me to the "Brain Tumor Center of NJ"( .  Sounds serious.  I"m going to call them on Monday and get an appointment with a neurosurgeon.  Figure why wait another 3 weeks after seeing the neurologist for an appointment when I know she's going to want me to go for an eval by a neurosurgeon.  Besides, even if they just watch it for now, God forbid something happens later, at least I will already have a doc to call.

Well, off to finish getting ready for our BBQ & shower.....hopefully, I can bend down far enough to shave my legs today...

Long Story Short

How do you tell the people you love that you have a brain tumor without setting them into panic mode?   I've spent the last week walking around thinking....I have a brain tumor...I have a brain tumor....I have a brain tumor.

I try to take everything in my life in little steps.  If you stare at the big picture too long, you get overwhelmed but if you break it down into pieces that you can manage....well, it tends to lessen the overwhelming desire to stand in the middle of Walmart screaming "I HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR"  

I have told a select few...My honey, my mother, my father & step-mom, one friend, two acquaintances and one stranger.  That's it so far.

Here's the long story short:  Research shows that when symptomatic it is recommended to remove the tumor.  The problem is that some of the symptoms are also symptoms related to fibromyalgia fibro fog..  So right now, I don't know if it's from the tumor or the fibro.  Next step, see a neurologist.  I'm scheduled in September and on the waiting list.

I spoke with a friend last night.  She called because she was having some issues that she wanted to talk through.  This is the friend that honestly, I've been resenting because she hasn't "been there" for me since I've been sick.  In the course of the discussion, she revealed something that made me very ashamed of my resentment. It's well known by those that know her that she suffers from anxiety.  She was telling me how the last few days (about 5) she has been overcome with anxiety.  In the course of the discussion, I was trying to help her to understand that we have to fight back by breaking things down into small things and that we also need to embrace the positive and happy things we have in our lives, that way it's easier to handle when something bad comes up.  Here is where she told me that there are certain people in her life that she couldn't handle if something happened to them.  She included me as one of those.  She was very clear that if something bad were to happen she literally would not be able to be there to help support any of these people because she would be a mess.  I never thought about how my fibro was affecting her.

I can't not tell my family. God forbid something happens suddenly(which is often the case with these types of things) and I haven't spoken to them first.  But how....How do I keep their anxiety at bay when I am havinng a tough time holding my own a little at this point. I'm staying positive  but I just keep thinking....

I ......have.......a.........brain..........tumor!  

Like I said when we found Roxie, my dog's, tumor.....keep saying the takes the power away from it.  

I think we need a family meeting.  But holy do I reassure them and make it not a big deal for them?

Let's not forget my mountain that believes that if we don't talk about things they will go away.  He knows......he hasn't really had much to say..  He's listened to me....but what could possibly be going through his mind.

One step at a friends who can handle it....schedule family meeting....then tell friends who can't handle it....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Day After......

An appointment is scheduled by permanent disability in relation to my fibromyalgia for the day after

I can not cancel it

I wake and shower

I put my soft collar on

It hurts

I take my soft collar off

Update my "Instant Me" on

I add colloid cyst to my list of diseases on my profile

Hmmmm....6 other people list this

Fibro=37,013 people

Tuck that info away till after your appointment

Honey please drive me

Fill this out

Are you depressed?

Have you ever been depressed?

Say these words

Spell this word backwards

Count forward

Skip these numbers

Say those words

Are you depressed?

Pick up cat food

Let's go home after this

Getting Sore

Forget daughter has to work

Rush back
Neck hurting
lie on couch
call doc to inform
inform insurance
eat something
rest neck
doc's office says please call back with claim number asap to schedule
"Colloid cysts are non cancerous (benign) congenital brain tumors. These cysts can be problematic because of their location and size. The tumors usually become symptomatic in adult patients ages 20-50 years."

Wait...What?  Does that say brain tumor?  But didn't that er doc specifically tell me that it's NOT a tumor? 

'A colloid cyst is a cyst containing gelatinous material in the brain. It is almost always found just posterior to the foramen of Monro in the anterior aspect of the third ventricle, originating from the roof of the ventricle. Because of its location, it can cause obstructive hydrocephalus and increased intracranial pressure. These cysts account for approximately 1% of all intracranial tumors"  Wikipedia  

There's that word again 

Brain tumor
1 in a million
Usually found accidentally....or post-mortem
Don't panic
Don't tell anyone till you speak with your doc
don't panic
time to sleep 
Sleep....please sleep..... a book

Thursday, August 15, 2013 

The Discovery

Xrays of the neck, the upper spine, the middle spine, the lower spine,
MRI's of the neck, the upper spine, the middle spine, the lower spine, the brain,
physical therapy including chiropractor, TENS unit & massage therapy,
nerve conduction test(yeah this benign test hurts like hell),
spinal specialists, neurologists, rheumatologist. ENT, pain management,
fighting through the pain at work,
being told straight out that it's all in my head,
pulling over to the side of the road crying because it just hurts too much to go one inch further.
fighting through the pain to keep working,
hands spasm,
peripheral neuropathy,
widespread pain throughout mostly my right side,
difficulty with balance,
difficulty standing,
legs hurting,
lower back hurting,
can't communicate properly(can think of what to say but the words won't come out properly),
giving wrong directions (saying left but meaning right and not even realizing it)
can't function well enough to work any longer,
home resting,
can think a little clearer but still have issues communicating at least once a day,
blessed that I have my honey to help me day to day
wish that he would not be so afraid to commit
Missing my old life of friends, karaoke, beverages,
load of dishes, a little laundry, time to nap, exhausted,
taking one step at a time,
adjusting to no longer having a choice as to whether I can work or not,
ex-husband still not paying what court ordered,
son tested for diabetes
dog has tumor on right shoulder
biopsy done on dog
doc's office tells son that he "most likely" has diabetes,
More blood work done
biopsy inconclusive, repeat biopsy,
son doesn't have diabetes! Yipeeeee!
Dog's tumor is nothing but a fatty tumor! Yipeeeeee!
honey's car needs work,
dog gets groomed (thank God she doesn't stink any more)
Drop off dog at home
heading to pick honey up,
sitting at a light waiting for the car 2 cars in front of me to make a left and............................

WHAM! The blonde bytch hits me from behind

Neck hurting more than usual
Ambulance takes me to hospital
Headache....bad...Like tears rolling down face involuntarily bad
too much ice tea....damn I have to pee
No dignity for the broken.....bedpan
Honey arrives right at that moment of course
Doc comes in and says...neck xray needed
waiting for xray.,,,,,,,
Wish I had known that that girl was going to hit me....I wouldn't have had that much ice tea
Bedpan time again
Nice young man takes me for x-ray
back to er cubby  #6 to wait for results
doc arrives and removes the neck brace since x-ray all clear
head still hurting pain level 8
Order CT scan
We wait.
Honey finds "Godfather 2"
time for my meds
watches the whole show
we wait
very nice man takes me for a ct scan
he made me feel as comfortable as you possibly can in a hospital
back to er room #6
pain level is down to about level 6
oh let's get Chinese
honey is getting cranky cuz hungry
go get some chips
wow, it's getting late...I'm sure the results will be ok since the headache has subsided some
go to the there are people out in the halls....
doc comes in...immediately apologizes and then goes on .......................................

and tells me that the CT scan found something unrelated to the's a colloid cyst and it is found in the area of the brain that produces cerebral spinal fluid.  It's usually benign .  I quickly tell the doctor that my brother had a brain tumor that was benign and he had to have surgery.  The doctor quickly tells me that this is a cyst not a tumor.  It's just good to follow up with your primary doctor because he will probably just want to watch it.  No worries.  So that being said, I'm going to get you a brace that I want you to wear unless it causes more pain.  The idea is to let the chin rest on the brace to rest the neck.  But if it hurts, don't wear it.  I'm going to get the brace, I'll be right can get dressed.

And he's gone.........

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 to be posted asap once more info known & as soon as I can let as many people as realistically I can reach.

PS   If I did not reach out to you, please understand that I can't get to everyone I would like to...It's just too much....but it doesn't mean that I don't wish that I had reached you.