Since my last update quite a few things have happened! I was so thrilled to be taken off my steroids; unfortunately, I was only off of them for one full day. I immediately got sick as a dog. Luckily, the next day I had a doctors appointment at the Cleveland Clinic with my new doctor. On the way to Cleveland, I literally became the sickest I have ever felt. I had the WORST headache of my life, my speech was messing up, and both of my arms were going numb. When we got to my appointment, they immediately took me back and gave me a steroid as well as other pain medications. Next, I was admitted into the hospital for an overnight stay. During my visit I got an EEG and another MRI, which both were normal. YEAH! I went home the next day feeling much better!
To say the least.... I am back on steroids until the end of May (still having all the side effects). They have put me on a plan to "ween" me off of steroids, so I don't get so sick again. I have gained 20lbs and I am still nothing like "Maggie". Can't wait to be myself again!
I went last week and got to meet with Carla again ( Dr. Vogelbaums nurse). She is so amazing! Carla answered all my questions and comforted me so much. Today is one month since my surgery! I can't believe it! I get more freedom in what I can do! I will be able to start taking pictures again! I will be able to push myself more; however, I have to rest when I get tired. I still feel 80 years old when walking up and down stairs!!! A 9 hour awake craniotomy sure is something!!!! My scar is healing nicely! I go back on July 30th ( My Daddy's birthday) for my MRI to make sure I am still tumor free (which I will be!!!). If the tumor shows signs of growing again, then they will have a treatment plan for me. It sounds like a very tolerable treatment. No sickness, hair-loss, etc.... Things sound good and I know GREAT THINGS ARE TO COME!!!!! :-)
This is a piece of Art all the Deans contributed to during our journey. This gift means more to me than anything I have ever received. It is so beautiful, inspiring, and so special to me. I will cherish it for the rest of my entire life! I LOVE THE DEANS!!!!!!!!! Each Dean contributed their own aspect to this piece of Art.
On March 7th, I went in for a checkup while I was visiting Tupelo. I had not been to a doctor in quite some time. I am going to attempt to make this story as short as I can.... bare with me! Long story short... After everything Dr. Mary Pace and I discussed during my visit, she sent me right over to have CT scans done on my head. I believe she saved my life! We found out immediately that I had a brain tumor. After discussing the different places for surgery, we carefully decided on the Cleveland Clinic.
I must start by saying the Cleveland Clinic is the most amazing place! We all are still completely blown away by this hospital... from every doctor, nurse, aide, and person that we came in contact with. They are so eager to help and go above and beyond their call of duty! This place is just unbelievable! Next: Dr. Michael Vogelbaum. My Doctor (voted best doctor in 2006, 2007)! Not only was I placed in the BEST facility but with the BEST doctor! This man is the smartest man in the world! I have complete confidence/faith in him and with everyone in the Cleveland Clinic! It has been such a great feeling! I could go on and on.....
My tumor was a very large tumor that has been slow growing for a long time. It was on the left frontal lobe of my brain, near the areas that controlled my speech and motor skills for the right side of my body. This was a very delicate area! So, my surgery was an "awake craniotomy". It was about 9 hours and they woke me up during part of it. I had to look through a tunnel sort of thing while a man asked me questions. I had to repeat numbers, months, etc... It was crazy! I could hear Dr. Vogelbaum talking and I can only remember parts of being awake. Dr. Jose Valerio-Pascua was another one of my favorite doctors that was in surgery with me. Love him!!!
I have been on Steroids and other meds for the past 6 weeks! I am so happy to say that on Monday I will be OFF steroids!!!! Unfortunately I have had every side-effect possible. Let me just put it this way... I have not been myself... physically and mentally! I look nothing like "Maggie!" but I must say I am so thankful for all of the medicine I am on!
Now, onto great news that I received yesterday! Got my staples out (which go from the top of my head all the way down to my left ear). Got a good report. Dr. Vogelbaum (THE BOMB!) is so pleased! Dr. Valerio-Pascua said that he has been doing this for twenty years and this was one of the most challenging cases he has ever worked on. He also said that I was one of the reasons why he woke up every morning to be thankful he was in medicine! I am so thankful he is in medicine as well as Dr. Vogelbaum. I look up to them so much! My great report: I have a grade 2 Glioma, which is a low grade tumor. We are still waiting on one more piece of info. They will follow me with an MRI every 3 months. If my tumor starts to grow again, then I will be treated with mild chemo and/or radiation. I meet with another doctor next week and we will take it from there! I feel so so so great about everything! :-)
I have truly, truly, truly been blessed more than I can even begin to express. God has shown me more beauty than I could ever imagine in my entire life. I am so thankful for each and everyone of you who have shown me so much love, care, wisdom, faith, kindness, and prayer. I thank God for my sweet, loving, caring, gentle-kind husband. He is such a perfect man in every-way. And my unbelievable family.... words cannot express the love I have for my family. Words just cannot describe how AMAZING my family is!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you all for your kindness and love. You have no idea how grateful I am for every single one of you!