Merry “Almost” Christmas Everyone!
I am sorry that it has been awhile since I have posted. Everything has been really crazy since mom has been out of the hospital, but she has made a lot of progress.
The surgery was two weeks ago today, and mom has been out of the hospital for 11 days! A few days out of the hospital mom’s appetite started returning, and now she is eating more than a nibble here or there. She has been craving fruit a lot lately (which is new for her as she’s been a “greens” head for so long. haha). We are so grateful that the nausea has gone away and that she is now able to stomach food, which is helping her rebuild her strength.
Vicki has also been getting a lot of sleep and is getting better about letting us help her and do things for her. For about a week out of the hospital we were with her 24/7 because she needed around the clock assistance, but the past few days she has been able to get out of bed and walk around a bit without our help but still using the walker.
On Monday we had a followup appointment with Dr. Maughan to remove the stitches. Everything went well and the doctor seemed very pleased with her progress. He told her to keep smiling because the majority of his clients would come back unable to control their facial functions…we are all relieved that mom has been healing so nicely and still has her functions. She is still having trouble with her eyesight and hearing in her right ear. She is still seeing double vision (but only double: before, she could see 8 of me!). What this means is that each eye works fine independently when the other is covered, but together they are having a hard time focusing and working together. The NP told us at the appointment that she would have to retrain her eyes to work correctly. Luckily her eyesight is fine, meaning she can still see clearly, but on the MRI the ocular nerves connected to the right eye were shoved and stretched almost beyond recognition for so long that it will take time and training for them to understand how they were and are supposed to function. The same goes with the hearing: if the nerves for the hearing are damaged from the tumor being there for so long, then it is unlikely that she will have full-hearing in her right ear. However, the past four days she has been experiencing immense pain in the right ear, so we will just have to hold out and see if the pain will lead to more movement of the nerves and improvement for her hearing.
Mom has said that she can feel the nerves moving in her head. It’s like the feeling that there is a hair on your face (or in her case a lot of hairs). In that place it feels numb for while then in feels like tugging, and then the sensations move to another location on her face… I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that must be!
So besides the eyes and the ear, she is on the road to a full recovery!! Although, I feel that with time and like the doctor said, retraining of her eyes, mom will make a full recovery and feel better than she did before! I said in an earlier post that Dr. Maughan believes that she has had the tumor for many years, so we are all anxious to see how much better she feels after a few months when she has recovered from the surgery and the effects of the tumor on her body.
Even though this ordeal has been the hardest thing we have been through, as a family we have been able to grow closer than I think we have ever been. It has put the entire world in a new perspective, for me especially. I have realized that there is more to life than just “getting by”, more than school and more than a job. It has given me a lot of time to ponder about what I really want to experience while I am here because life is so short! My siblings and I have spent the past few days reminiscing with my mom-talking about things we did a few years ago up to events from earlier this year. It was hard to realize that those memories almost were the last ones that we had with our mom. Especially during this time of year, we are so grateful to have each other and be able to spend precious moments we have changed how we look at traditions, presents, etc…All that matters is that we have each other and we love, we let love in, and we continually move forward…
Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Growing up in this family, everything has been a miracle, beginning with my mom being the only survivor when she was 19 years old, and continuing beyond this surgery. We have been through a lot, and most of it has been hard…but the good news is that we have had a lot of beautiful moments that have taken our breath away. These moments are so easily forgotten and wrapped up in all the trials of life that it sometimes takes a trial to remember life outside of a trial; and instead of waiting for the trial to end, this time we have chosen to have those breathtaking moments now…there is never a better time to start living then the present…a gift that I am so grateful to have this Christmas Season.
Our gratitude is endless for each and every one of you…thank you for the gift of you…