Meningioma Tumor/Healing

Things I Could Not Do 6 Months Ago

It has been about 6 months since my brain tumor was removed, and I feel great, there are so many things that I didn’t realize I couldn’t do until I could. Many things I knew I was having trouble doing but didn’t know WHY I was having trouble doing them.

Balance the checkbook – don’t even ask – it was a sad state of affairs.

Hem a pair of pants – every pair of pants I hemmed in the last two years was 2 inches too short and I could not figure out why it kept happening.

Cook an edible meal – my poor family – I’m telling you – they ate more crappy food…

Weed the garden – I could do it – but it hurt and I wasn’t able to complete the job properly.

Make a meal plan – planning one meal a day was beyond me at the end let alone three meals – so hard.

Clean my house – so sorry to anyone that visited, I did not realize how dirty my house was – still trying to catch up.

Make decisions – getting dressed was a chore – deciding if I should call someone now or later in the day – I often just didn’t make the call – choices were that hard.

Give my 6 year old an underdog on the swings – it hurt and he felt too heavy – now this is no problem – he was sooooo happy about this the other day!

Plan the garden – I didn’t even utilize my greenhouse last summer – it was a mass of weeds this spring – what a wreak – but it is now weeded and planted in tomatoes and peppers – yeah!

Potty train our youngest – he was ready for at least a year – but I couldn’t figure out what to do it felt like an unsurmountable task – He potty trained in 3 days – I kid you not.

Get the doors fixed on our van – they haven’t worked properly for at least a year and I had called the dealership about getting them fixed and they quoted me almost $1,000 per door to get them fixed, I called a different garage, but figuring out how to get the car there to have them check it out, then another time to get it fixed felt impossible – we finally got the doors fixed last week – life changing I tell you – life changing.

See my phone without glasses – this is not joke – I absolutely could not read my phone without glasses on. Now I can, my sight isn’t perfect, but instead of the intense glasses I have now, I could probably go back to my $2.99 readers from Reny’s if they break. I usually take them off when I am watching tv which didn’t used to be an option.

Follow through – I would start projects and be unable to figure out how to finish them.

Beat my then 12 year old at Connect Four – could not do it – he is a strategist and I could not figure out how to beat him – now we come out pretty even – well 60/40 – I think he still wins more then I do.

Rest – I really thought I just had to keep going and resting was not on the list of things I thought I could do.

Now I am planning meals, cooking good food, giving underdogs, fixing hems, solving problems, winning at Connect Four, cleaning my house, balancing the check book, learning French with my little guys, planning gardens and following through as I have the energy, and resting.

I still have problems finding words and on the spot thinking is not my thing. You would win pretty much any argument you had with me right now (don’t tell my 13 year old) because I can not think on my feet and words just come pouring out in a jumble perhaps in the wrong context or with a word or two in the wrong place, changing the entire meaning of what I wanted to say.

I saw someone the other day that hadn’t seen me since my surgery, he asked me if I had lost weight because I look so much better. I have actually gained weight – not moving much for three months and eating wonderful food people bring will do that to a girl. Another friend said I finally didn’t look tired anymore and was more animated then she remembered seeing me. I was so tired folks, constant pain is exhausting even when you don’t realize it is there. So I am happy to say that I feel and look better now then I did six months ago.  I still think I can do more then I can and occasionally tire myself out completely (bed time is not at 5pm, but sometimes it feels like it should be). Resting is still a priority, but I am managing to get so much more done even with the time I need to rest – remembering to take that time is the challenge.

Something that I did do well last summer was plant about 50 strawberry plants, they look fantastic and are covered with lots of beautiful berries, we are about three weeks behind here because of the cold weather, so we should have some ripe berries in about two weeks. I am so excited about this!

I think River is in shock every evening when he comes home to a clean kitchen – poor guy – he’ll get used to it I’m sure.

 

Advertisements
Chickens, Farming, Greenhouse, Maple Syrup, Meat Animals, Meningioma Tumor/Healing, Rhubarb

More Changes at the Farm

I’m telling you, this has been some crazy kind of year for the Lee’s!

Recently our septic system failed, so a new summer project came up as well as changes for the farm. We only have an acre of land and apparently our old septic system was severely undersized for the number of bedrooms we have. This means that we can’t just dig up the old system and put down new pipes and fill etc. We have to actually move the entire septic system to a new location on the property. The only space that is available is the one at the bottom of our hill, which is where the laying hens were and the gardens. This means that we have to cut down several trees in the area and we got rid of the chickens. We were planning to have these chickens until fall then put them in the freezer and build a new coop before we got any more chickens, however, we had to get rid of the chickens before we could get a septic design so, the chickens are in the freezer a little sooner then anticipated.

We were planning to have meat birds again this year. We changed our mind and decided not to do them as we have this big project on our hands now. Our friends at Mahalo Farm right down the road will have two pigs for us and that is the extent of our animals at the moment. They would also be happy to sell pork to you in the fall.

I am only planting in our greenhouse and at our away field (about a half mile down the road). Our away field will be squashes and pumpkins in the entire field. We grew potatoes there last year, and squash is pretty low maintenance, once it gets large enough.

In the greenhouse we will have, tomatoes, peppers, basil, green beans and possibly some lettuce, but I might put the lettuce in pots on the porch instead, we will see how that pans out.

Overall it is a big change for the farm. This is both a relief and sad for us. We were trying to simplify after my surgery and this is a forced simplification.

We are still planning to ramp up our syrup production in the spring of 2020.

Meningioma update: I had my first follow up MRI and it looked great, the doctor had no concerns and this will be my new baseline MRI. Hopefully there won’t be any growth detected ever or at least for many, many years. This is wonderful news and we are very grateful!

One thing that came about since my surgery is that one of my knees really started hurting. I had fallen down the stairs while holding #3 when he was just a couple weeks old (about 4 years ago) and twisted my knee. This seemed to have repaired itself and had not caused me pain for sometime, until one of my children rammed into me a couple of years ago and my leg twisted again. I had some pain and a constant uncomfortableness, but it was not unbearable nor did it impede my motion or walking etc. About a month after my surgery, when I was done with any drugs and not taking even advil daily and began moving around more, my knee became so painful I couldn’t walk for a few days and had trouble sleeping. Apparently my head had been hurting so badly that I didn’t realize that my knee was badly injured. I had torn some cartilage and meniscus in my knee. Hoping to avoid another surgery, I am now doing physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles and it is working very nicely.

Since my surgery I have come to find out that I was really, really lucky not to have any life altering problems after my surgery. I still have trouble when there is a lot of overwhelming noise and commotion sometimes and I have trouble remembering words on occasion (ok, sometimes several times a day if I am tired – but that could just be because I am getting older right???), but this is so minor compared to other complications. It could have been so much worse. River knows of someone who was diagnosed after me and had surgery and it is like she had a stroke since her surgery, she has a droop to one side of her face and has trouble with one side of her body working sometimes. I feel that we were remarkably lucky that I did not have any complications with the surgery and recovery. Amazing.

I will be selling seedlings at the bottom of the driveway beginning next Saturday. I will have, tomatoes, pepper seedlings as well as rhubarb plants that need to be divided so if you need any rhubarb plants for your yard come on over! We also have maple syrup still available.

Enjoy the week, hopefully it will warm up soon!

Meningioma Tumor/Healing

Meningioma: One Month Post Op

It has been a month since I had my brain tumor removed. I feel better, my head is still squishy from fluid and my stitches are starting to disintegrate and the glue is coming off my hair, which I am pleased about as my head is starting to smooth out a little bit.

I still find it easy to overdue. I only just started driving three days ago.

Wednesday I had a meeting in town in the morning and a phone meeting in the afternoon, then a basketball game in the evening. It was too much even though my grandmother was here all day to help with the little people. There were two games, the boys and the girls, they were for the Southern Division of the Division our eldest played in this year. Both games were stressful because they were very close (the lead kept changing by a basket one way or the other) and I think the excitement got to me (Both our teams won). I was fine yesterday, but I was so tired by this morning, that I slept all morning on the couch while being pounced on by a small child until he snuggled in and fell asleep. Ugg, so exhausted this morning!

I have to be more careful in the future not to overbook myself!

We have had a meal train since we got home and it has been fabulous and such a blessing, we really appreciate the help and generosity of our community in our time of rest and recovery!

Thank you everyone!

 

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…

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!

And I am EXHAUSTED!

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.

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.