Meningioma Tumor/Healing

Meningioma: 17 Days Post Op

Overall I am feeling really good! I am getting some energy back and sleeping better at night which makes me feel better during the day.

I had my post op with Doctor Florman, my surgeon today. He was a little concerned that there is still fluid on top of my skull as this poses a greater risk of infection. As he described the surgery: they removed the tumor which was attached to part of my brain membrane. The membrane keeps the fluid inside the skull. They covered the hole in the membrane, but it is impossible to sew up all the tiny leaks, so it may always leak a little. If the fluid builds up too much it could be uncomfortable and need to be drained which they can do but they don’t like to do this as the hole from the needle can be a port for infection. I have been told to stay upright as much as possible and maybe even sleep on an incline again to prevent the fluid from building up. I don’t really want to sleep on an incline as I don’t sleep well that way so I will try to stay vertical during the day as much as possible.

He also said it is very likely the tumor will grow back because it is impossible to know if every single cell was removed, and it probably wasn’t, during surgery. I will be getting MRI’s at regular intervals, more frequently at first, then if there is minimal to no growth less frequently. My first one will be in two months.

He said I really shouldn’t be getting sweaty or lifting or bending over still because of the fluid build up, so I am still on “light duty”.

My mother left today to head back to Virginia. I don’t know what we would have done without her. She took the boys out every afternoon so I could have some quiet rest time. I think this time really aided in my recovery.

I am thrilled to report that I haven’t had a headache since the surgery. My eyes are improved a little, but they have regressed from the amazingness that was my eyesight right after surgery. I don’t know if that is because of the fluid build up or my eyes just going back to normal. I am still wearing my glasses which is a little disappointing.

I will leave you with the following quote:

“When you arise in the morning,

think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive –

to breath, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Marcus Aurelius


I am certainly grateful to be alive, to watch my children grow and laugh, to hug my family and my friends a little tighter, to eat wonderful food prepared with love by friends and family, to feel the sun on my face and the crispness of the winter air – to breath, to think, to enjoy, to love…

Maple Syrup

Moving Forward: Spring Approaches!

As we move towards the spring, River is preparing to collect sap. In the past we have tapped trees in January. This year there is no way we are going to be prepared for that! With my recent surgery and much needed rest for healing, River has been taking on some of my duties and has not had as much time to prepare yet!

We have big plans for Maine Maple Sunday! We have an entire pig to smoke in the freezer which we will be serving with Maple barbecue sauce which will be available first come, first serve. There will be pork from the freezer and possibly a few roasting chickens. This year we will be collaborating with Wildfours Gluten Free bakery to make some special maple goodies for the weekend as well as the usual maple treats, maple nuts and maple sugar candy.

We had so much fun last year with Matt Loosigian singing and he has said he will join us this year as well!

Snow is coming this weekend, lots of it! In the meantime River has been running sap lines and scouting new areas to collect sap. We can’t wait for sap season!

Meningioma Tumor/Healing

12 Days Post Op

I feel amazing! Two hundred times better then I felt before surgery!

I want to clean the house from top to bottom!

I want to finish all the projects that I wasn’t capable of finishing before!

I want to cook amazing meals! (My cooking had deteriorated dramatically – it was horrible!)

I want to hike and skate and play!


I feel like I should be able to do all of those things and tackle them in one fell swoop as I have not had any post op pain. Yet here I sit at 3am unable to sleep. I just finished my steroid treatments about 36 hours ago and I was hoping my sleep would start back into a regular pattern shortly. Apparently it is going to take longer then I would like.

My days have consisted of waking up in the middle of the night, usually around 2am, lying in the dark for an hour or so before I figure out I am not going to fall back to sleep right now, turning on the light, reading for quite some time and around 5am turning the light off again to rest my brain. Our little people have been waking up around 6 and coming to snuggle with me, they miss our evening snuggles and I am happy to cozy up with them until around 7 or so if they aren’t too restless.

We get up, have breakfast, I like to do school with #2 if I am up for it and the boys get dressed. Somedays I have enough energy to take a shower and change, somedays by 10am I just want to lie quietly on the couch and close my eyes.

#2 had a doctors appointment the other day, so we stopped at Target on the way home – wow – the visual over stimulation. I may not be visiting stores for awhile! I find any sort of fast movement or too much color, pattern, etc to make me very tired and confuse my eyes at the moment. This means that when the children start jumping about, making fast movements with their arms or body parts or any toys it wears me out. Poor kiddos. I feel badly about it.

My mother has been wonderful! I am grateful that she is so spry, capable and willing to help. She takes the children out somewhere everyday so I have time to rest and the boys can get some energy out. She will be here for another week – what will I do without her? What an amazing gift.

River and my mom have been keeping the kitchen clean and the laundry done. It has been so nice to hear them say, your job is to rest and heal right now, as I have been having a little trouble giving myself permission to let go of all the little things that I feel I should be doing.

Our community has been providing food for us everyday and that has been such a blessing. We haven’t had to worry about a meal plan or shopping. Thank you to everyone that has or is planning to contribute to meals – It has definitely aided in my healing process and given myself and the people taking care of me one less thing to worry about on a daily basis.



Before the tumor took over – we went on VACATION! What a concept – it was great! We went to Quebec, to the old city area, it is only 5 hours from our house but it felt like we were in Europe.

I wanted to go ice skating on the groomed trails – I have always loved skating and have not gotten to do it enough in recent years.

We bought LL Beans comfort skates all around, except for a pair of Trace’s old skates that fit Arden, and buckled in! Even Soren was skating – it was amazing! We had so much fun – we went on two different trails near the city and would like to go back sometime to try out trails farther from the city that are longer for some night skating. There are skating rinks all over the place and it seemed to me that instead of getting together to walk, people got together to skate! Good idea here as the old city was very icy!

We went on a toboggan run in the old city as well. The boys loved it and wanted to do it again as soon as we got to the bottom. River and I looked at each other and thought – oh my goodness we could have all been killed – so we didn’t do it again. It was fun (I screamed the whole way down) but so fast and furious! I was good with one run!

We stayed at an Airbnb and cooked most of our meals there which was perfect, we saved a lot of money that way. We had decided that we would eat out once a day – this was perfect. I couldn’t try all the things I wanted to eat like the poutine, because it was not gluten free in most places so my menu was limited which was a little disappointing. We did have some excellent meals in the old city.

We also visited and Iroquois museum with replicas of the long houses and other interesting buildings. We had been reading the Indian in the Cupboard series By: Lynne Reid Banks one of the main characters is an Iroquois Indian so the boys were very interested in seeing all the details at the museum. This is an outside museum and it was a very cold day when we were there, but it was still very interesting!

We also visited the Museum of Civilization right in the city. They had a large Native display that they boys loved and a large children’s area with dress up that was fun as well as a robotics, electronics area which Trace and Arden found exciting. Trace even taught the guide in the electronics area something about programing for a certain kind of robot.

Walking around the old city, seeing the old buildings still decked out for the holidays was pretty too! So many hills, my calves were on fire, I definitely need more hills in my life!

If you are looking for a family adventure, I would highly recommend a trip to Quebec. We plan to go back!

Meningioma Tumor/Healing

Rest: A Conundrum

There is a conundrum in this struggle for rest and healing with young children. How do I balance my need to heal, with the emotional needs of my little people. Our youngest two just want to stay home, too much out and about etc. and they are tired and the behavior is beginning to tell the tale. I need them to leave the house for a bit for some quiet time for me everyday so I can rest and not have any background noise, and they just want to be home, but are having trouble being quiet enough when they are home, even for a short time – coupled with them being sick before I went in the hospital, so a lack of outdoor time, (the freezing cold and ice is not a fun place to play with out snow) and being stuck in our small house is causing a bit of a wild rumpus at times!

I am having an overwhelming response to background noise etc. It is like sounds have gotten louder in my head since the operation. This is both good and bad. I thought I had some hearing loss in my right ear, but it appears it may have been partly a symptom of the tumor, I am hearing much better now. Good for me, bad for my little people.

My mother is here helping with the children so I can rest, the children are becoming a bit surely and a little rude to both of us as they struggle with the want to stay home with Mama and not understanding my need to rest so I can heal and be an even better version of myself when the healing is done. I feel badly that I can’t give them what they need so badly right now, a mama on call helping them navigate this time. We are having lots of good snuggles and reading time, but they are calling for a little bit more which seems to be beyond me at the moment.

There have been several positive sensory side effects to the tumors removal:

  1. I can see soooooo much better. I can stand at the bottom of the stairs and read the clock on the stove in the kitchen. This is huge, I was having to walk right up to it in order to see it without my glasses on. I can read small print and my phone without glasses too – so amazing!
  2. I can smell better – again both good and bath – perhaps when I am back to cooking this will be awesome. My cooking had really gone downhill, whether it was the lack of smell, or the muddled-ness of my brain I don’t know, but my cooking skills had taken a serious dive recently!
  3. I can hear better! This is good – but also a little hard to handle in my head. There is still extra fluid floating around in my head right now which I’m sure makes the background noises harder to deal with.

It has been a week since the tumor was removed and I am feeling good and pain free, but I tire very easily and any disagreements with the children are exhausting. I am trying to figure out a plan in my head for dealing with this in a better manner.


A Blip in the Picture

Hello lovely members of the community, I thought I would give you a little more information on what has been happening here. We are so grateful for all the community support, kind words and prayers as we navigate this life changing event.

By definition I had a Meningioma, also known as meningeal tumor, is typically a slow-growing tumor that forms from the meninges, the membranous layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms depend on the location and occur as a result of the tumor pressing on nearby tissue.

Here is how it all played out:

I have been having painful headaches off and on for about 2 years, they were diagnosed as tension headaches which seemed reasonable given some of the stresses we were going through at the time. As time went on I had more frequent headaches and neck stiffness and I just carried on because a Mama makes the household function (you all know how that works!). During this time I turned 40 and my eyes changed, I could no longer read small print or my phone without glasses, I thought this was a normal life progression and did not think to question it. I also had the occasional blurry vision when standing etc which I was attributing to low iron and not taking my supplements (silly me). In the last 6 months to a year my brain became cloudy, I had trouble making decisions and felt very overwhelmed, I knew what needed to be done, but could not follow through in a tangible way. For instance since we have had up the green house I have had rotating crops in there and had quite a good success rate with it, last fall I couldn’t even make a plan and the greenhouse stood fallow for much of the fall, winter, spring and summer with only a few heat loving plants in it this summer. It was so disappointing to know what I should be doing and be unable to follow through. If I had taken all these factors and presented them to a doctor perhaps we would not have had an emergency situation.

By Sunday evening, the 6th of January, 2019, I had had a headache for 36 hours that was causing me to throw up every half hour or so. I compared it to one very long, unending contraction because there was no relief at all. I was drinking as much water as I could to try to stay hydrated, but it wasn’t working. I began to worry about meningitis as my neck was so painful. River and I decided to head to the ER. As we were getting ready to leave, I became unable to stand up and he had to carry/dance me out to the car. It was icy so this was tricky. We brought our youngest with us as he was awake and left our older two home, my brother lives right down the road and he was aware we would be gone and could come if he was needed, we were trying to keep him from getting sick as 3 out of 4 of the boys had had fevers for a few days.

At the ER they started an IV and gave me some drugs for pain – which did NOT work. When the drugs didn’t work they gave me a CT scan which showed a large mass on my brain that they believed to be a meningioma tumor, a benign growth that is on top of the brains membrane and under the skull. I was told they could remove it the next day. I was ELATED by this news as there was a cause for the pain and I was also on morphine at this point. River on the other hand looked terrified. He called my brother and took our youngest home so he could come to Maine Medical Center with me.

They were able to remove a mass that was 6 x 4.7 x 4.5cm from my skull, what they believe to be at least 99% of the tumor with no more noticeable cells, this was excellent news. I awoke from the surgery feeling no pain in my head for possibly the first time in 2 years (the pain had become so constant, it barely registered at this point). I was very happy with the outcome and looking forward to a fuller, pain free life in the future.

I am sure everyone’s reaction would be different in this situation, but looking back, I am glad I didn’t have a long time to prepare, because I didn’t have time to be scared about the possible outcomes and be sad about possibly missing my children’s futures. As I mentioned above I was elated that something could be done and I immediately felt that the outcome would be good and life would move forward in a joyous way. Yeah for being positive! This my be a factor in my healing process, which so far, has been remarkably pain free with just aspirin. I am also on a steroid taper to help with swelling and of my own accord started taking Arnica homeopathic in the hospital, I carry it in my purse for when the children get head bumps or possible bruising and as soon as I started taking it the swelling started to go down. The doctor had mentioned that I could end up with a swollen eye, but that did not happen.

Arnica Montana Homeopathic pellets – I get them in the Natural Food Stores in the area

  • Homeopathic Medicine
  • Muscle Pain and Stiffness, Swelling from Injuries, Discoloration from Bruising

I think everyone should carry these in there purse for emergency situations!

Celebrate LIFE people and hug the ones you love!

Farming, Life

Busy Season?

Oh, this is supposed to be the slow season? I feel this every year, we should be relaxing into winter, cozying up and spending time together. Instead, we are busy, busy, busy. For us this year it means, still cutting firewood and building a WWOOFER cabin. WWOOFER’s are people that work on your farm in exchange for food and shelter. This was our first year having wwoofers and one thing that was lacking was somewhere warm for people to stay during our winter season, otherwise known as preparing for sap season.


River has been working on the cabin and it is coming along just fine. a composting toilet, bunk beds, desk area, wood stove, and an area for a comfy love seat is coming together very nicely. The electrical is complete and the insulation is in. The wood stove is in and the doors and windows are ready to go up. Once the door is on, the mudding and taping can commence. I am going for white as the paint color in here, it is a small space.

The boys are excited that they will have a tiny home to stay in if they want when workers aren’t there.

Where the bunks will be
The bathroom area


This is all very exciting and time consuming, I can’t wait for it to be done!

We used siding off a building we took down that was shorter but then this cabin so we had to piece it together. Use what you have, make do or do without is the old saying I believe…