Monday, November 18, 2013

Brain surgery #4, here we go again...

So you'd think I'd be an old pro at this by now, but I'm not at that level yet and hope to never be!!

As we went with a different doctor and hospital this time, things were different.
I had an MRI the night before where they placed "markers" on my head as seen in these picture. This is the first time I've had this done before as well as having to wash my body for the 3 days before the surgery with a special antimicrobial soap from head to toe.
I was told to keep the markers on during the night and not to wash them off, so they stayed on all night and I went into surgery with them on.
The morning of surgery, I had to go into a waiting area and get ready, then my family was allowed to come in and say their prayers and whatever they had to say before I was wheeled out.

I don't even remember being wheeled out this time as I do from the past surgeries. I think they put some good drugs into my IV before and I must have been out of it. I wasn't worried before, I know where I'm going if and when I die, so no fear there. It's always hard saying goodbye though, but this time I don't even remember that. I clearly remember the looks on every ones faces from my 3rd surgery and wanting so badly to see them to ease their concern after the surgery, but I had none of that this time!
And, I'm off! I don't even remember taking all of these pictures, but I love the blue hair still!!
And while in surgery, I guess my family waited in the cafeteria and Sean snapped some pictures, lol!
if they let him...
And after 4 hours, the surgery was over, 
but my pupils weren't dilating and the nurse was very concerned, even calling to surgeon to come out.
And while my family watched me in recovery, the nurses and doctor made sure I was ok, which I was. But I did (as always) get very sick coming out of the anesthesiology, as you can see I have my blue cup next to me in the bed. I love how they wrapped my head up in a turban with a little of my blue hair poking out the top!! But that thing was so tight and I couldn't wait to get it off!
I was then moved to my own room and this time did not have to go straight to the ICU, I went to a step down ICU on the brain floor, which made me feel much better, like I was safe and they weren't too concerned about me.
I slept much of the time in there and felt really sick, holding onto my blue cup much of the time. I did receive a liquid meal the night of the surgery, but had no desire for anything in my stomach, so I skipped it. I couldn't even keep water down. I had the dry heaves all night and even in the middle of the night when I was taken away for an MRI, I had the dry heaves, movement was really bad for me at that time.

Sean was able to stay both nights in a roll away bed  in my room, he slept well and it was so nice having him there with me the entire time.
The day after the surgery, Dr. Black, came in to check on me and gave me some much needed release in pressure by taking the bandages off my head.

 After all of these surgeries, I've learned that the sooner you're up and walking...the sooner you'll be released from the hospital. I wanted so badly to be released on day 3, the soonest they would release me, so I walked the halls and did the stairs with a physical therapist.
I also had to do many breathing exercises which are much harder than you would think, this one was simply breathing in and trying to get at least 2 balls in the air at a time, the third ball was just about impossible for me to get up and it seemed to take so much just to breathe in!

And then I was released on the 3rd day and stayed overnight at my inlaws' house up in LA, making our way home on day 4.
Once home and all bandages removed, I was told that on Sunday I could wash my hair. Not having the strength to stand in a shower yet, but wanting the bloody clumps washed out of my hair, my husband and mother-in-law washed it in my kitchen sink. The swelling was huge and all the way down to my eyes, yikes!!
A better look at my incision sight, not too bad...the doctor did a great job on the sutures, from what I was told!!
I'm still very swollen in these pictures and just so happy to finally get my hair washed! And someone put a little braid into my hair, which you can see in the front!
It really is the little things in life that truly make a huge difference! (BTW, there was still a lone "marker" stuck in my hair)!!
So much to be scrubbed out. The doctor shaves a patch, but leaves the hair in place which gets bloody and dries to my head, leaving very messy tangled hair, so it was a huge chore to wash out. 
Finally feeling semi normal since the for the road to recovery!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I went Over the Edge for Brain Cancer

When given the opportunity to do anything concerning cancer, especially brain cancer, I'm not going to pass it up! A mentioned before I was given the opportunity to repel down the tallest waterfront building in San Diego, the Manchester Grand Hyatt Resort and I wasn't going to pass it up even though it wasn't on my bucketlist!

We drove up the morning of November 3rd to the Hyatt and I looked up and took this picture of where I would soon be repelling, wow that's high...but I had no fear, I was a week and a half away from my 4th brain cancer surgery, there is nothing I can't do!!!!

 My friends and family from near and far started gathering for me, it was great seeing them all!
Above pictured with my very supportive Uncle Charlie and below with my wonderful mom, Diane.
 Then it was off to registering and getting fitted into my repel equipment and of course since I rocked the blue (pre-surgery) hair, I had to have a matching tutu and leg warmers to complete the outfit!
 My friend and fellow brain cancer survivor, Nicole showed up to cheer me on.

 Trying to figure out how to keep the tutu on during my repel, we HAD to make it happen!!

 But at first it would have to come off to get my gear on...
 And it did
 Sean capturing every possible image of me, even tightening my straps!
 I had a double camera on my helmet to capture everything!
 Ready for the tutu again!!
 And it works!
 All ready to go...
 Being in several cancer support groups I have seen many friends pass away to cancer,
 so, I wore three pictures on my back for them to have the best view!!
 Testing out my gloves by roaring at my hubby!
 A few media pics before the test wall!
 Showing off the friends I carried on my back! The day before my repel I attended the funeral of one!

My "care person" leading me up to the top!!
 Many of my supporters watching me get started. I was told by several people that I had the largest support group there watching me! I know that several of my supporters have made the decision to raise awareness/money and repel next year!
 I'm looking forward to a "blue" team next year (maybe all with tutus)!!
 Photo announcing the start of my repel!
 My blue tutu blowing over the edge!
 Renee (whose husband's funeral I attended the day before) cheering me on as I start my descent!
 Making my way down...
 to the bottom!
 And I'm down!
 YES!! I went over the edge for Brain Cancer!!
 Picture time!
 Trying to round up my group for a big group picture
 And here we are!!

 Sean and I with Renee and Chuck, whose funeral we attended the day before
 With Max, the CEO of ABC2 (Accelerate a Brain Cancer Cure)
 With My friend Monika another brain cancer survivor
 And other survivor friends from my
"Stupid Cancer" San Diego area group
 My friend and huge supporter, Stacy, whom I used to work with before having 4 kiddos!
 My oldest baby, Faith, supporting me all the way....
 and now trying to talk me into jumping out of an airplane with her...
 which I think will be next!
 Rockin' our "stupid cancer" shirts
 My survivor friend Kristen, daughter Faith and I!
 My matching family picture before leaving for the day
 possibly a Christmas card picture
if only we all looked good in each pic!

When given this opportunity to go over the edge and fund-raise, I never knew if I'd be scared going down 365 feet! In the end I had absolutely no fear, it was unbelievable...I must say fighting cancer is much more challenging than repelling, but I'm so happy I was able to take a part of it!
There is still some time to help me reach my "goal" if you'd like to donate here!! And I will be sure to post this again next year when I register to do it as a team with my fellow supporters!!!