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One year ago today….
I took a 14 hour nap. I woke up (sort of woke up) with a bandage around my head in exchange for the removal of a tumor & a startled brainstem (meaning my control centers for my voice, swallowing, balance & L arm strength). Two more surgeries & 365 days later, I am well.

I just want to praise The Lord for another year of life.
Another chance to learn.
To love & be loved.
To give & receive grace.
To teach my babies. To hug them.
For this I am undeserving & humbly grateful.

For I know the plans I have for you declares The Lord. Plans to prosper you, plans not to harm you, plans to give you a hope & a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

{As a side story… In conversation with Will last week as he is trying to get me to recall some obscure detail about a time we went to the park 2 years ago-that I cannot recall.
Will “Mom, remember when they took that ball out of your head?”
Me, “Yeah Will, I remember that.”
Will, “Well, I think they may have taken out some of your remembering with it.”
Awesome. Thanks love. ;)}

Dr P (my neurosurgeon at OSU) called me Friday. He said he had received the report from the radiologist in TN where I had my MRI on 12/12/12 & the cd with the copies of all the MRI images that I mailed him. He said that the report said there was some residual tumor, but he said when he looked at the images that it didn’t look that way to him. He said it often looks that way after surgery due to the way the nerve & vein are/look. He said everything looks great to him & that I would need to have another MRI to monitor it in 2 years. Said to call him if I need anything or have any problems.

Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!

I feel like I have permission now to think ahead. To consider adoption again. To consider where God has the rest of our family’s children. Would you join our family in praying over this?

Well. It’s over. And I’m glad. 🙂
It all was fine. Not terribly long. Did take 4 sticks though to get the IV in for the contrast. That part was a lil icky, but I survived. They have me cd copies of the images. I looked. Can’t tell much. No more big white shiny golf balls in there though so I guess that’s good. (Though this type of tumor is very slow growing so any re-growth is guess would be quite small.) So now we hang out & wait to hear from somebody about how it looks.
2 things-
1-my head looks funny shaped on MRI because of where the plate was put in, surgery, etc
2-I’d love prayers for it to be a “clean” report. We have hoped for a while now to be able to adopt children into our family. A clean bill of health would be a great step in the right direction for this.
Thanks for your prayers! Hope to have more to come on adoption.
Sweet dreams!

So tomorrow night I am scheduled to have a follow up MRI of my head to check on things. It has been almost 6 months since my initial surgery to remove my acoustic neuroma. I have only had one other “conscious” MRI ever & that was the diagnostic one that I had in May of this year. I guess I had one at the OSU hospital after surgery, but I don’t remember it. Anywho…the one in May is not necessarily a fond memory. It went well, I just didn’t like it. I was surprised because I really didn’t anticipate that it would bother me. So I’m trying to “keep my cool” about the one tomorrow night. My mother would say “be proactive not reactive.”

Thought I’d share with you a couple photos. This one is of my left index finger/fingernail. If you look closely you can see a small ripple in the nail. It’s gone now, but this picture showed it right before it grew out. It was a physical reminder of the time that had passed since the initial surgery, July 2nd. The pulse ox machine that was taped to my finger must’ve been a lil tight. 😉 Crimped my nail bed, then grew out to show a ripple. My finger was actually numb for quite some time, but feels “normal” now. I am grateful for God’s grace to me. Reminded by a lil ripple.

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This is supposed to be a picture showing my hair re-growth. You can see some pieces sticking out below/to the side of my pony tail. This was taken by Nick after an early morning run. So thankful for my running girls. 5:45 sure comes early, but I’m always glad when we are done. We ran 6 miles last Friday & that is the farthest I believe I have ever run. Those girls are crazy! Love them! 😉💗

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I would really love any prayers for the MRI to go well tomorrow night. (Wed 8:15 pm) And that the MRI report would be “good” & “clear” of any re-growth, etc.

Will share any news/reports as I receive it.

Wow. Two months ago today I had my first big surgery on my melon. Prior to that my only surgical experiences had been 1 C-section & the extraction of my wisdom teeth.

On Tuesday, my six weeks of precautions will be over. That means six weeks after the last (third) surgery. (Third time’s a charm?…)

I’m amazed how a person can be “healthy,” and suddenly be very ill. I was running 3 miles, 3 days a week. I had no other health concerns or illnesses. I was not the most healthy eater you ever met, but I did try to put mostly good foods in my body to provide nourishment. Then…boom. One day. Reduced. Thank you Lord. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Less of me, more of you Lord.

I wish I could say I was delighted to be in that state-so dependent on others, on those being the hands & feet of Jesus to me. The truth is though that I am glad to be done with “that.” There will be other trials. We are sure of that. We are so thankful though for the many lessons we have learned & the many people who have prayed.

Only by the grace of God was I able to run 1 mile 2 different days last week. Thank you Lord! Progress!!

Hooray!!!! 🙂

We are on our way back from Ohio. Both appointments went really well. The first was with the neurotologist who performed all 3 surgeries. He was pleased with my recovery thus far. No signs of leaks. Incision & ear look good. He sorta cleaned & trimmed inside my left ear where the the sutures/surgery was done. The best part is he released me! He’s a very nice man & if I needed to, I’d go back & see him, but I don’t have to! 🙂

The second appointment was with the swallowing & voice guy. He was immediately & visibly pleased by my voice. He did look in my throat a little with what looked like a little dental mirror & said my left vocal chord is now moving-which is good because previously it was not. He had me schedule another appointment with him in November, but said if I’m “normal” by then that I can call & cancel that appointment.

I did not see the other surgeon today (the neurosurgeon) as they were unable to schedule all 3 in one day. I have checked in with him via phone & text though. I have a follow up appointment with him in January.

So from here I technically have “restrictions” for lifting, etc for 2.5 weeks (til 6 wks total after last surgery) But-Dr W did say today that I could start some light jogging now even. He said in everything just be careful (wise) & don’t increase my intracranial pressure. (don’t strain) I’ll have to have follow up MRIs for a long time. Maybe for life. There’s some discrepancy as to when to start this & how often, so we’ll have to continue to think it through & decide who to follow up with/who’s plan to follow. (ENT vs neurosurgeon vs radiation oncologist)

I have been blessed by many of you through gifts, cards, kind words, etc. I’ve received so many cards that I thought it would be fun to have a contest to guess the closest number received. So, if you’d like to participate, just leave your guess in a comment & the closest guess wins! I’ll send the winner(s) a key chain wristlet that I made pre-surgery. 🙂

“…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Would love your continued prayers for my complete healing, parenting wisdom, my dad’s healing. Praise the Lord with us!! For He is GOOD & He is God!!!

This begins our first week without any in-house helpers (aka grandmas.)  We are excited & scared… Excited that we are this far out & away from surgery & “able” to do it all alone, but also a little nervous about some of the details.  Thank the Lord that He is even Lord over the small details. 

We continue to work through our roles of being parents/children in our household.  Discipline, obedience, love.  All hard lessons.  I’m still learning & so are they.  Poor Fritz has been with so many family members for so many weeks he’s rather confused.  Sometimes he calls me “mommy” & sometimes he’ll say “I wuv you mamaw.” (how he says grandma)  I’m glad that so many love him & he feels that love from the many that have helped care for him in the past weeks. 

People have asked “how are you?”  Well, mostly good.  I feel like I get around OK.  If I turn quickly or turn my head quickly-I feel a little off balance for a split second.  I still get tired easily.  I managed to only take 2 naps (I think) this past week & they were short naps.  There have been several nights that I haven’t slept very well.  I’m not entirely sure why.  I feel like I am tired enough to sleep well, but probably every other night or so I toss & turn & can’t fall asleep for a long time it seems.  My horrid bed sore on my left heel has finally come off/healed.  The pink new skin under feels a little tender, but not at all limiting to function.  I can eat pretty much anything I want, but have to be careful.  As long as I chase food with drink, it all goes down well & easily.  I did choke twice this past week-once on a Chick Fil-A sandwich (which I took too big a bite-it was yummy!) & once on a piece of hamburger (I think I was trying to talk at the same time & not paying enough attention.) Liquids/soft foods are pretty easy.  Its the bulky or dry foods that I have to be extra careful with.  Hearing.  So I have no hearing in the left ear.  I don’t really feel upset about that.  It is harder to catch conversations-especially in crowds & I have to remind the kids to go to my right ear when they want to whisper something.  I still hear the ringing in the left ear & I’m told that I may always.  The doctor said that it is “cerebrally” produced (outer portion of brain) so its not so much affected by the surgeries.  My voice is much better, but not “normal.”  My left arm is a little funny.  Not sure what all to say about it, but I think some of the nerves to it were affected by the surgeries.  I can make it function, but it fatigues very easily & gets sore easy.  I know it is not how it used to be. 

We travel to Ohio on Thursday for my follow up appointments.  We are thankful that we were able to secure 2 very wonderful & sweet young women to help us watch the children while we are gone that day as well as some friends to help us get Will to & from school.  We would love your prayers for travel mercies that day, for good doctor visits, for the kids to be of good spirit & things to go smoothly/easily for the babysitters as it will be a very long day (Nick & I will leave at 6am & return maybe at 10pm or later). 

I would also treasure your prayers for Nick as he works extra hard in these coming weeks.  Not only will he “go to work,” but also the extra things I’ll need him to do around the house, with the children, errands, etc.  Please pray for his stamina, endurance, good rest & a joyful spirit.  I am so blessed to have this wonderful man as my husband.  Praise the Lord!

Also, if you wouldn’t mind including my dad in your prayers.  He had a procedure this past Friday & had a small complication over the weekend.  Prayers for healing, comfort, good rest for he & mom.  Thank you friends!

We are officially 2 weeks out from the last surgery! Hooray!! No CSF leaks! (I think-at least not based on previous experiences!!) I hate to say it, but I feel cautiously optimistic. I guess having to do surgery 3 times in a month leads a person to feel like you just may have to go back to surgery tomorrow. I don’t want to be that way. An area I need to pray about. We go to OSU for my follow up appointment with the surgeons next Thursday, 8/16.

Want to share with you the picture I took of Clara with her new “scarf.” I don’t really know how to knit, but my sweet friend/neighbor/running partner/personal physical therapist brought supplies to make a lil scarf one day shortly after we came home from the hospital the first time because she thought I needed a lil occupational therapy to do while I sat [a lot] recovering. So here is the finished product:

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I am so thankful to have my wonderful mother-in-law & grandmother-in-law here with us this week. They are a joy! It’s been a great couple of days thus far with terrific help, some nice outings & a good beginning transition to a little more independence/function on my part-which I think is good. 🙂

Will starts first grade tomorrow. They will have a half day only tomorrow. His school was supposed to start Monday, but our city experienced a very big rain storm Sunday evening where I believe we received 4 inches of rain in one hour. This led to flooding in the low places between the mountains. Some of the school buildings had damage, but I believe the largest problem was that the garage where the fleet of school buses is kept was flooded out. I’m told it’s located in the “old downtown” part of town that floods more readily than some parts of the city. The newspaper said some areas in that part of the city had nearly 4 feet of water for a while. So, we haven’t had school the first two days because the buses couldn’t go get kids. Tomorrow is it-the first day of school & Will is excited! Please be in prayer for the people in this area as many had damage to their homes & businesses.

As for prayer requests-please pray for continued healing, no future leaks, wisdom in recovery & choices & wisdom in parenting as we continue to mold our children (asking specifically that they would grow to know, love & serve our Lord, Jesus Christ).

So thankful that YOU have taken the time to walk this road with us & covered us in prayer.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
Psalm 100:4

Thought we’d best do a little update. I had my stitches out Friday. It went well. I don’t think it hurt even a little bit this time. 🙂 Must’ve been the great job Doc Z did removing them. 🙂

Will had his 7th birthday. I can’t believe my first baby is 7. He starts first grade on Monday. I think he had a good birthday. A sweet friend made him a transformer cake.

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Fritzy really enjoyed the cake.

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Also a first…Will got to read to a sweet dog at at our local library this morning through a program they have there.

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I am so thankful for the time my mom has been able to be here to help us. She goes home tomorrow. I am forever indebted to her & many other family & friends. Nick’s mom is coming tomorrow as my mom passes the torch. So many with servant hearts. Being the hands & feet of Christ to us.

I want to say thanks to my friends in Frankfort & family members who have taken care of my dad while mom has been here with us. I know it has not been easy for him while she has been away.

As far as how I’m doing…pretty good. No drips do far! Would love continued prayers for no CSF leaks. Think I may be getting a cold. Some scratchy throat, some snots, but different than CSF for sure & not dripping. Still get tired easy. Still taking some naps-not everyday, but most. I’ve been transitioning to less/and OTC medications which is good. I struggle with feeling sort of worthless as I can’t do a whole lot yet-partly because of doctor’s restrictions. It’s a fine line. I want to do what I’m supposed to do & not do what I’m not supposed to do, but it’s not always clear to me & it’s hard to feel so lazy. The kids are doing pretty well. We are all trying to re-adjust to our rolls as parent & child. 😉 We’ll get there, but would love prayers as well for wisdom in parenting.

As we work towards increased independence as a family we treasure your continued prayers & support!

Just a quick update…We are officially one week out from the last surgery. The doctor said 2 weeks out without a CSF leak would put us 95% in the clear to not have another one. This is my prayer for now. When I look back at the last month I am in awe of all that has taken place. All that God has done. All that He has taught us.
Thank you Lord!
(This verse is becoming one of my faves)
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.”
2 Samuel 22:33
For those that are interested in the (maybe yucky) details… Here is a picture of what my head looks like right now. Will get these sutures out on Friday.

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Luckily, you can’t see that very much because my other hair covers it. So it usually looks like this.

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Thanks for your continued prayers dear friends!

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