Monday, May 3, 2010

A Whole Lot of Thanks from the Brain Tumor Chick!

For the last six months (can you believe it's been six months) I have been navigating through my very own individual minefield. Map? Oh no that would make it WAY too easy...there is no map, no directions, no guide, just me, my family and this brain tumor world. But ultimately it's my battle, not something that even my family can fight for me. The's unruly and brutal. This is easily the hardest journey of my life. And that may be the understatement of the decade ;) This very well may be 'the' journey of my life as I am constantly reminded that I will battle regrowth and the very likely potential for more tumors for the rest of my life. At this very moment my doctors and I are keeping a close eye on several spots that could be new tumors or tumor cells. Like I said this is by and far the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

I have recently been reminded that while this is a one-woman brain tumor battle I have an army of supporters routing me on. I cannot begin to explain or express the vast amount of sheer appreciation for the 'love' that has been shown on mine and my families behalf. I call it love because that is all that it could be. Anything less and all that has been accomplished wouldn't have been even a possibility.

The craft-fair...WOW! It is the only word that comes to mind. I can't tell you, all of you that participated (whether you bought or made crafts) how much you have helped me and my cause. The expense of a brain tumor is massive. Not only do we have the actual medical bills but the traveling, gas, food, lodging expenses of seeing my doctors as well. It is an ever-growing debt. I return to Jacksonville to the Mayo Clinic every three months to watch (and it seems like wait) for the tumor to return. I have an MRI and blood work done and anything else that needs to be addressed. Not only are there the medical bills but all of the travelling expenses to go along with that. To top all of that off I have more than a 60% chance a growing another brain tumor, which would involve another brain surgery. All of that does not even include the first surgery. It is immense to say the least and it really hasn't even begun. I'm not telling you all these yucky facts to paint a sob story. I tell you all this only because you all have been overwhelmingly generous with both your time and your wallets and I think it's only fair to know where all of that is going. What it is supporting. Thank you seems so meaningless so flighty but it is what I'm saying. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. You may never know how much you have effected me and my family but please know that you have.

They say there is always a silver lining. I'm not so sure that I buy into that idea. I have yet to find the silver lining of a brain tumor, but (I know there's always a but) I have found some things that I am very thankful for. I'm thankful for the reconnection's I have made with old friends that I had lost contact with. Life gets busy and things get lost along the way. You know who you are and I love you all! Looking back I don't know how I ever survived life without you. You have become an essential part of my life and it feels as if we never lost touch. We picked up almost right where we left off and I couldn't be more thankful.

I am so incredibly thankful for my family. My husband who has taken his fair share and continues to pick up the pieces of this ordeal. He never loses faith in me or our little family and I couldn't have custom ordered a better husband and father. My family, specifically my sisters and my Mom and Dad. You've held me up. You have surrounded me, each of you in your own specific ways. You've done all the things that I either could not or simply couldn't bring myself to do. You've slapped me into awareness and consoled more than your fair share. My in laws, uncles, aunts and Nanny. You've stepped in countless times. You've helped with the've kept me've done so much more than your part, so much more than I could have ever asked. My friends who have stood by and not wavered. It's true what they say, wait till the hard times and you will see who your true friends are. I have unfortunately have had some friends that have chosen not to ride this part of the road with me. In all honesty, who can blame them. I might would run from all this brain tumor crap if given the chance. It's an ugly thing, it is so not pretty. It's horrific and terrifying. It's not fun or exciting or even interesting. I now know the definition of a fair weather friend and that's ok too. The cool thing is, is that I now also know who's in it for the long haul with me and let me be the first to say, that is commitment people ;)

Lastly but certainly not least my kids. My rockin' awesome, unbelievable, coolest kids ever. I have spared them the ugliness of all this as much as possible. But let's face it, they have seen so much more than someone their age should. They are troopers. They have been juggled from home to home, scared, had understanding way beyond their years and have been both kind and selfless. All things that you rarely see in a 9yr old and 3yr old. This brain tumor thing is very unfair to me but even more so for them. Their life should only be consumed with kid things but that is not their lot and they have handled it like a champ. My son Bray recently submitted an essay to WJHG TV for Mother's Day and why he felt like his mom is a 'Super Mom'. I had no idea and that's why this morning when I got a call from a friend to tell me I had won I was in complete shock. Me 'Super Mom'?! I feel so far from that. I have had to spend so much time focusing on things other than my kids that this award seems so unlikely. But here it is...the WJHG winning essay for 'Super Mom of the Year'.

My mom is unbelievable. She's a stay-at-home mom and works SO hard. I go to Cherry Street Elementary and my mom is always there. She volunteers for anything they need help with. Whether it's copying office stuff or helping in the classrooms or planning parties she will help with anything! What really makes my mom special this year is that she is recovering from major brain surgery! She'd been having horrible headaches for about 2yrs but mostly hid them so we wouldn't know how bad she felt. When she went to the doctor we found out she had a little bigger than a golf ball size brain tumor. We were all very upset. My mom though, she stayed so positive. The very next day she was sewing Halloween costumes and making the best of things. Soon after we found out about the brain tumor she began having small seizures, she always made sure that we didn't have to see any of the bad stuff. She made a blog for my brother and I to read when we're a little older. It's of her diary entries so that just in case she didn't make it we would one day know how hard she fought to stay with us. I've only read some of it (I'm not old enough yet) and she is so strong. It makes me love her even more. She had surgery November 30th 2009 and has had a hard time recovering but she once again has not let that stop her. She has stayed positive and made sure my brother, myself and my dad haven't gone without. My mom has shown that she is my hero. She constantly shows all of us how much she loves us even through all that she's been through. This year I almost lost my mom but she stuck around for us and showed us how to fight hard with dignity and that's why she is the best mom ever. I love her so much! Her blog with her diary entries is Read it and you will see how wonderful she is!
Thank you
Bray Spann

This kid of mine is the unbelievable one. How awesome is that?! Now since we don't allow Bray to get on the computer alone I know he had a little help (Thanks Robert). I could not have had a better day than to learn this is what my son feels. I will treasure this forever. WJHG gave us a beautiful framed Paul Brent picture, a gift certificate to a local seafood restaurant and a gift certificate to a florist. Again...WOW!

It is safe to say Mother's Day came early for this Brain Tumor Chick!


Tori said...

So well deserved!!! I love you friend <3

Ashley said...

That's so awesome. :c) Love your posts. keep it comming.

Mary Katherine Rish said...

What an Awesome Kid and he got it from his Awesome Mom! Congratulations! You inspire us all!
Mary Rish

The Nielson Family said...

Yeah!!! Congratulations--what a sweet family you have--and I can't think of a better recipient for mother of the year. :)

Elodie said...

It's wonderful when children see the things in us that make us great when we don't usually see them ourselves. Your experience has had a very positive effect on Bray. What a great kid! (and an even "greater" mother!)