I hate to do this late at night, I wanted to be inspirational and uplifting, but I am exhausted and the house is quiet - and so I write.
I have had a really bad headache for the past few weeks. I experienced a similar headache in September but just thought that I was over-reacting to life. I didn't want to say anything to Ken or anyone else because I didn't want them to worry or freak out... we have done absolutely enough of that this year.
I have also felt that I have been loosing my balance here and there, and it was progressively getting worse. I felt like I wasn't really inside my head and I felt a little foggy. My periods stopped... again and I was getting hot flashes. Ya, menopause twice! I am banking on, "third times a charm".
Finally on Sunday I caved and told Ken how I was feeling. Monday morning we got in to see our GP. And we set things up for a full head, chest and abdomen CT in January... we didn't want to know anything before Christmas anyways.
Monday my headache took a turn for the worse. It was so much more than anything that I had ever experienced before. Then I started grilling anyone I knew about migraines. It had to be migraines and STRESS!!!! But the dizziness didn't really fit anywhere into the equation. Whenever I bent over, pardon me, but, yelled (I am sure you do it too once in a while!!) or did a few other things it literally felt like the base of my skull was going to snap in half or else my head was going to explode out of my forehead. It was awful. But to sit up straight and do my daily tasks, no pain at all.
This morning when I woke up, hopeful that it was getting better, I realized it wasn't so Ken and I decided to head to the hospital. We brought C with us - he never wants to be away from me and that is fine. That was the gift I got from being away from him for 6 weeks last year, he became super attached. Don't get me wrong, but it is not an ideal situation for a pap or "C" talk.... well, quite a few things actually.
But we did have to have a "C" talk with our little guy there. The Dr said it was totally up to us if we wanted the exam done or not. He said the only good part of having it done and knowing if it wasn't so great was that he could give me drugs to help me feel better. "Light Bulb"! Have you seen Despicable Me? One of MY faves!! Ya, I was in. Ken said, "Well babe, as far as you are concerned it is already there anyways so lets just find out."
I asked Ken after to take C and drop him off somewhere. I didn't want him anywhere near us when we got the results. While Ken was out, there was a Code Red (what is that BTW??) to the Psych ward and literally the whole building was on lock down.
I was laying in the bed, looking up at the netting on the top of the sheet wall - whatever it's called - and thinking, (ready for my silver lining) "I am so blessed to not have to be alone." Yes, at that exact moment I was physically by myself, but I knew my husband was just on the other side of the wall, waiting for me. I thought of all "those" people who wait in beds like this, for results like mine, and don't have anyone there with them to hold their hand or tell them, "It's going to be ok. We'll get through this together." I was also very thank for an experience that I had the day before with my little man.
He wanted to play a computer game and I set it up for him. I never really understood what, but something in it scared him. We had to run out to do some last minute Christmas shopping so I had asked him to go and get into the car. He did but then he came back in, said he was scared, and then said, "Well actually Mommy, I justh needed you to do up my jacket." As I was zipping up his coat, I touched my finger to his little nose and said, "Buddy, it ok if you are afraid. I am your Mommy and I am here to keep you safe and let you know that it is going to be ok." He was fine with that answer and we hugged and got into the SUV together.
HOWEVER, promptly after I said this, the same feeling came over me. I felt my Heavenly Father say to me, "Geneva, I know you are afraid. But it's ok. I am your Father and I am here to keep you safe and let you know that it's going to be ok." I can't tell you all of the experiences that I have had over the past few years, but I can tell you that I know that He lives! I know that He loves me, and you! I know He knows me better than I know myself and I know He is here for me when I am afraid. And when I am living my life aligned with the way that God would want for me, I literally do not have fear! I know that might be hard to understand, but it's true!
Ok... back to the thickening part... I also thought of this situation as I was lying on this bed waiting for Ken to be able to come back in. I felt peace though, knowing that I was cared for.
One of the nurses came and took me in for my CT. Again, waiting alone, like I have so many, many other times before. This time however, I was making everyone around me laugh... I was being Debbie D. Whaaa, waaaaaa. Sorry guys, you just GOTTA laugh sometimes.
After the CT was over, I went back to my "room" let's say, and my husband was trying to have a nap on my bed. Well, I kicked Goldie-not-so-locks out and then we played Monopoly on the iPad. Best time waster ever.
Then Dr parted the sheet and I knew the exact moment I saw his face, what he was about to deliver. "Geneva. I am really sorry. It's not good news. You have a mass at the base of your cerebellum that it 1.5-2.0cm's in size. That is what is causing the pressure, pain and dizziness." And just like that, our world changed, yet again, in an instant.
He was very positive, reassuring us that he is NOT a specialist, but that there are a few things that we will most likely be able to do. Surgery - well, maybe not. He said it is kind of at a tricky spot so if they did do surgery then I have some permanent damage there and even blindness.
Chemo - yes, likely chemo would be an option.
Radiation - well, they would most likely do a trial run with it and see if the tumor would respond to it. There is absolutely no point in doing it if I am going to be puking my guts out for weeks to not have Arnold (ya, the name Ken gave it, you know, "It's not a tumor..." And yes, I did freakin' laugh!) shrink any.
But, our shiny, bright new year will be full of visits with specialists and such so we will have more information by then.
I told Ken that I still believe in Reno with all my heart. Dr. F and his team, are some of the most amazing people I have ever known. And, who doesn't love an oncologist who's been in the buiz for 40 years. I think the man knows what he is doing. I feel amazing doing this treatment, and I have the whole time. Part of the problem is the cost of doing alternative treatments (PLEASE KNOW I DIDN'T SAY THIS FROM A PITTY PARTY STAND POINT! You have all done so much for us, it is just that we really need to reasses our situation. Sadly, we don't have all the money in the world and we are young so we do have to be careful. We have already spent so much. If we weren't able to continue with this treatment, it would not be because I don't think it works.) So I said to Ken, "Before we make any decisions, I want every body's cards on the table. Dr. Oncologist from Kelowna, Cranbrook Dr in charge of the unit here, Dr. F and his team, and Dr. Radiatino Oncologist from Kelowna. I want to know what everyone thinks I should be doing and then.... we pray."
I would like to mention here quickly that I have no regrets. I don't want to hear anyone or have anyone give me the "I told you so" look cause I will smack it off your face so quickly you won't know where it came from. O.u.r decision to do treatments from the States did not come lightly. There was much fasting and prayer that went into that decision. I did express this concern to my Mommy who said, "Honey, if nothing else, Dr. F's treatments built your body back up healthy and strong, so whatever you choose to do next, you will be ready for." Love that woman!!!!
I also want to mention that when Ken and I were talking to our GP, said GP said... you got that?? "You guys might not like me that much at times, but I will be honest with you. If you are going to do hardcore treatments for 3 months and it might give you 3 months, then I would encourage you to keep doing what you are doing and feel good for the remaining time you have left. If you are going to do treatments for 3 months and it will give you a year, I would strongly recommend you do it. AND if at anytime you are doing treatments to get the "year" or whatever it is and it is not looking so good, I will tell you at that time." She also pointed out, this we already knew, that I could be healthy and strong while doing this, but I could get pneumonia and that could kill me over the chemo. It happens often. And we already know that my white count is fragile so we need to be careful in what we choose to do. So there will be much more thought and prayer that goes into this decision as well.
To help with the swelling which is causing part of the pain, I was given Dexamethasone... again. This fiery little ball of crap helped me to gain 18 pounds in like 6 weeks last year... Oh, did I forget to mention that I have finally lost 65 pounds, so of course the first comment I made was, "This is going to make me fat again." ER Dr laughed. I am on a low-ish dose for now, if it isn't really helping then I will up it. I guess at least this time I might only go from 129.2lbs (ya, it was a huge feat for me so it's important right now ok! Think I am vain, whatever.) to 149.2lbs. That is better than 173-193lbs like last time!
This part is VERY important. Again, we are not telling the kids until we have made some decisions. And we are most certainly not going to dwell on the dying part. Yes, we are going to talk about it a little now, and more when the time draws closer... and for those of you who may not have figured it out yet, I am not throwing in the towel. I still believe in miracles big or small. I have had many in my life I believe. But we can't tell the kids now when we don't really have all that much info to give them and that isn't fair. I think Ken didn't really want to say anything until I was close to passing gas, I mean, away, but I said, "If we do things a little more aggressively again my hair is probably going to fall out. I am going to be sick again. Those sorts of things you can't hide from your kids."
And, as hard and sad as it is going to be (well, we are all going to die eventually, right? So we are going to have to bring it up one day, hopefully in the distant future), I need to know that we have prepared them well. I need them to believe in the Plan of Salvation. That I am their Mommy for now, and for all eternity! And that I will still be here for them. In the big moments, and small. And that God will comfort them when their little hearts are breaking, whether Himself, or by those of you who love us and love them. And that hopefully I will be able to comfort them and they will feel it from me. K, that, was totally depressing, but today has been some of our lowest lows I think. But we are still hanging on!
Now that we have pooped a little on your Christmas, I hope you will forgive us. I hope you will remember why we celebrate Christmas. I hope you will melt in the joy of your child's eyes this season. That you will find comfort in the peace that has always been available to us all. I hope you will love your families a little bit more and worry a whole lot less.
I love you. We love you! We need you and your prayers and again, we thank you for every moment you think of us and pray for us and love us from where ever you are! We need you. I need you.
May our Father in Heaven bless you this season and in the year to come!