Monthly Archives: September 2017

Celebrating Alyssa & Dan

Celebrating Alyssa & Dan

Our family friend, Alyssa, married her longtime love last weekend in Seattle. Tonight we had the privilege of celebrating with them. The event was held at Paikka and they had food trucks serving sandwiches & salad, ice cream, and hot dogs (if you were still hungry after sandwiches.) It was fun catching up with the Cowger clan (who we consider family.)

Comfort

Comfort

My dad asked to meet me yesterday afternoon so we settled on Hy-Vee for lunch (which is roughly in between us.) When I arrived, he handed me an envelope along with a beautiful quilt. In the envelope was a note he wrote explaining the gift I was now holding. Tears came to my eyes as I read his words and the words of his friend who made the quilt. I am so blessed to be supported by so many people – some whom I haven’t even had the privilege of meeting yet.

A punch to the gut

A punch to the gut

I’m 20 days out from a day I will never forget.  It’s also the day before two days of appointments that will hopefully provide more information regarding my next steps.

This is a version of an email I sent to family and friends after I was referred to doctors at the U of M after having an MRI back in August.

Stay tuned for more on the things God has already taught me this past month.

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I had some shocking news hit me on 9/5 and am writing to humbly ask for your prayers.

First, a little history just for context.  I’ve been struggling with hearing loss coupled with pain/pressure in my right ear for almost a year and have been seen by several different health professionals since last December.  This past spring, the ENT PA-C that I saw recommended having an MRI to rule in/out something called an acoustic neuroma.  At the time I didn’t see the need for something like that because they are relatively rare and my symptoms didn’t seem “that” bad.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I was fighting another sinus infection and the same pain/pressure in my right ear.  I decided to make the appointment for the MRI and added a CT scan as well (because of the sinus problem.)

The results came back the same day (8/21) – substantial sinus infection (which we treated with antibiotics) and the appearance of an acoustic neuroma.  (They did not tell me the size over the phone and I didn’t think to ask.)  The PA referred me to a specialist at the University of Minnesota and I was able to get an appointment scheduled on 9/5.  My MRI scan results were not good. I could see the acoustic neuroma right away when the doctor pulled up the image and emotions instantly overwhelmed me.  The acoustic neuroma is about 25mm, which is on the border of what they consider medium/large. We have no idea how long it has been growing, though the average growth rate is 1-2mm/year.  I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I have a tumor in my head. (Silver lining is that it’s not cancerous and “usually” slow growing.  Though care needs to be taken because as it grows, it pushes on the brain and eventually brain stem and can cause additional issues.)

Surgery is the recommended treatment due to my “young” age, good health, and the size of the tumor.  There are side effects of the surgery that brought me to tears a second time and continue to do so – complete hearing loss in my right ear is absolute if one surgical approach is taken and 2/3 likely if a different one is used.  The impact on the facial nerve is unknown until surgery is completed, though I’m told the surgeon at the U is meticulous and does everything he can to provide the “best outcome possible.” Time in the hospital can range from 3-7 days after the initial 24 hours or so in ICU.  Then it’s recovery at home – at least 6 weeks without lifting heaving items (including kids) so as to not cause cerebral spinal fluid leaks, exercises and an occasional check-in appointment, and I won’t be able to drive until my balance stabilizes (timeline for that is unknown.)  Needless to say, it was an extremely overwhelming afternoon. Thankfully, Jake was there.

As the news is still fresh and there is more information to gather, we have not made a decision on the treatment direction or timeline.  The doctor suggested we go home, talk, and call for a follow-up appointment with her and the neurosurgeon.  That second appointment at the U is now scheduled for 9/26 and I have an appointment at Mayo Clinic on 9/27 to get a second opinion on treatment recommendations.  Taking in and processing all of this information is extremely overwhelming, so I’m asking for prayers for clarity, for the right decision to be made, and for a sense of peace & courage.  I’ve also worked up the courage to pray for a miracle – complete healing without surgical intervention.

We have not shared any of this information with our kids and don’t plan to do so until we have a clear idea of treatment.  I am very open to talking about it though, please feel free to ask questions or check in.

 

Thank you in advance for your prayers!

 

Veronica

 

P.S.  If you want to know more about what an acoustic neuroma is, you can check www.anausa.org or http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acoustic-neuroma/home/ovc-20339659

 

Wedding date out

Wedding date out

Jake’s cousin, Emily, and her fiancé, Blake, got hitched today! Jake rented a Volvo XC90 and we rode up to Brainerd and back in comfort. (There was actually enough headroom for Jake, which is a rare thing in vehicles.)

My parents watched the Shecklets and we came home to banana bread and 26 pounds of apples made into sauce!

Jesus, I trust in You

Jesus, I trust in You

I came home from picking up Shecklet #4 from preschool and someone had hung a red bag on the front door handle. (Going off a hunch, I did figure out who left me the thoughtful gift. She’s a sneaky one!)  Inside the bag was a little box containing the Divine Mercy image. I have been repeating the phrase, “Jesus, I trust in You,” these past two weeks when my nerves or mind are spinning out of control. Now I also have the visual of Jesus’ mercy on my kitchen window sill. I am grateful for the way I have been able to see God’s comfort and consoling during this time of waiting and pray it continues.

Sunday in Duluth

Sunday in Duluth

We took a day trip to Duluth to visit my Aunt Deb and Uncle Steve. We stopped at their townhouse and got a tour of their new place before heading the Bulldog Pizza for lunch. After filling up, we headed to the aquarium. We also took a walk down the pier – it was a beautiful blue-skied day!

When we returned to Deb and Steve’s house, we were treated to cookies and milk before heading for home. We were also loaded up with pasties and beef burgundy – dinner for the week!

Split on Saturday

Split on Saturday

My parents were given 4 tickets to Grease at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater and asked us to join them. The show was great and I loved having a chance to do something fun with just the four of us. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I love when we can all be together, but a chance to go out with just the adults was a nice change of pace.

Meanwhile, the Shecklets were at the lake with Grandma and Grandpa.