One week from today I’ll be rolled in to an operating room where a surgical team will save my life.
Writing that just stopped me in my tracks.
If I hadn’t pursued the bothersome pain in my ear a year ago, if my recurring sinus infections hadn’t annoyed me to the point where I sought treatment from an ENT, if I hadn’t stopped to take the time to take care of myself, if I hadn’t finally had an MRI done, I still may not know why the right side of my inner ear hurts, or why things just don’t quite feel right.
If left untreated, this tumor could cause significant side-effects, including death. It’s hard to believe that something so slow-growing can do such damage to a person.
Shecklet #3 has been having a particularly difficult time with the idea of Jake and me leaving for two weeks. I get it. I don’t want to leave my kids either. But I remind her (and in doing so, remind myself) that I’m leaving because I need to. I need to have this stupid brain tumor removed so I have can have the opportunity to be there for my husband and kids in the future. I know I’ve got a long road ahead of me. I’ve heard recovery sucks. But if going through all of this means I get to live, then let’s go. Norman has overstayed his welcome. (Actually he was never welcome in the first place!)
I had a change in perspective today. A while back I wrote about the “lasts” that I would be experiencing between then and my surgery. Today I realized that while yes, that’s true, after surgery there will be a plethora of “firsts” as well. And even though I’ll be experiencing sound in a dramatically different way, those are things I to look forward to.
I spoke with Kris at UCSD a little while ago. She shared that the surgical coordinator spoke with my insurance company yesterday and it’s official, surgery is a go for 1/23. The exact time may change from what I was told several weeks ago, but only by a few hours. I will know the definite time when I have my pre-op meeting with the surgeons on 1/22.
Jake asked me how I feel now that I have this news. Honestly, I think I’ve reached the point in the process where I’ve accepted what is in front of me and I’m ready. I know there are still many unknowns (e.g. How will I handle anesthesia? Will they be able to remove the entire tumor? What will the impact on my facial nerve be? How quickly will I regain my balance? How will the adjustment to SSD go?) but I will face each one as I’ve faced my initial diagnosis and I know I’ll get through them. I’m not anticipating any of it will be easy, but I know I’m not alone. I have the love and support of my husband and kids and so many others who have stepped forward to walk through this alongside me.
Now my focus can shift to prepping things for the Shecklets and my in-laws for the two weeks we’ll be gone.
T minus 2 weeks.
I love seeing the artwork that the kids create at school. Shecklet #3 brought this home today. One of her favorite things to work with are oil pastels.
She also did a recap of her Christmas break.
We found out back in November that our insurance would be changing 1/1/18. Nothing like adding more excitement to the Norman situation! However, Jake’s employer was kind enough to give us the heads up so we could check to see if my doctors and the hospital would still be in-network after the change. Thankfully, they are, but the 1/1 change meant that I’d have to wait another several weeks before requesting “official” approval from insurance that I can have surgery on 1/23. (I’ve only been “penciled in” all this time.) I called UCSD today to provide them with my updated information and let the patient navigator know that the university should be able to contact my insurance to request the approval.
More waiting, but we keep moving forward. Plane tickets are purchased, I have all kinds of pre and post-op appointments scheduled, and once I know the date is “official,” we plan to book a VRBO property for the time we’ll be in CA.
T minus 20 days…
Spent the afternoon and evening with this great bunch!
The Shecklets went on a scavenger hunt for their Christmas presents this year. Numbers 1, 2, & 3 found kayaks and #4 found a scooter! Summer is going to be a lot of fun this year!
After eating French toast for breakfast, we gathered in the living room to open presents. The kids opened their “need” and “read” gifts first and then their “shared” gift. Last came their “want” gift. I think they we’re all pleasantly surprised by what they unwrapped.
The day was spent with just the 6 of us this year. It was really nice to not have to load everyone up, go out in the cold, and venture back home after bedtime. Movies, tasty dinner & relaxing at home. Couldn’t have asked for a nicer day 😊
When we visited my aunt and uncle in Duluth this past fall, the kids saw that they had a happy pill that giggles when you squeeze it. Apparently Shecklet #3 talked to Jake after that trip and decided that she wanted to give me one for Christmas to take to San Diego. (She thought I needed to have something to cheer me up when I’m recovering.) They ordered one from Amazon and she did a great job at keeping her present a surprise. Love this kid’s big heart and thoughtfulness ❤️
After mass this evening, Shecklet #3 asked if she and her siblings could have their picture taken in front of the manger scene at church. Then we had Shecklet #2 take a photo of Jake and me. Love these people so much ❤️
I had a tearful realization this afternoon that carried over to mass this evening. I’m one month from my surgery date. The flood of emotions was overwhelming and unfortunately, I didn’t bring enough tissues with me to church. The girls were so sweet and tried to comfort me.
On day 1 of Christmas vacation we assembled the houses.
Then on day 2, the kids decorated them. Can you locate the gingerbread under all of the frosting and sprinkles?