Book Summary

Book Summary ** Our lives, after the diagnosis and subsequent treatment, of my husband for a brain tumor, clearly have taken a path less traveled. Yet our journey has and continues to be, a journey of hope, joy and of unyeilding commitment. We invite you into our lives, a view of our childhood, marriage, a marriage seperate from convention, yet strongly bound. Join us as we recall the last twenty-five years, twenty of which have been spent LIVING with a brain tumor. Come, witness our challenges and discover our triumphs as we reinvent our relationship, struggle to redefine marriage roles, communication styles, and reclaim intimacy after illness.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Happy 2014 - New Year, renewed focus

Just received an e-mail from a newly diagnosed brain tumor survivor which is a subtle but strong reminder that I need to update this blog.  When life happens and major changes occur my passion to help others and inspire hope seems to takes a back seat. Since last May lots has happened in our lives unrelated to the purpose of this blog but is it really unrelated?

In June an older brother died.  Bob was the father to 3 amazing children and had a devoted wife of 30+ years.  Living in Florida, away from family I did not realize all the medical issues Bob was dealing with on a day to day basis.  His mobility was hampered by both heart issues and severe back pain.  This was a man who ran a maintenance company with his sons and was out doing landscaping and home repairs even though he dealt with pain and weakness.  You could say he was stoic.  It was not until his memorial services and talking with his wife that I realized she too was a caregiver.  I found out we have more in common than I ever knew.

Back in May I mentioned that my Dad continues to have symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  He visited a specialist in Boston who biopsied a stubborn spot on his ribs.  In August I got a phone call from his oncologist letting me know he was going to need chemo again for a new lymph node that was affected.  At that point I started the planning to once again return to NH to help him through another round of chemo.  Trying to manage from Florida gets stressful for him and I just needed to be there for him. 
The transition to NH was well orchestrated and had only a few obstacles.  Packing your personal possessions in a 5x5 storage unit and the remainder in the back of your equinox takes a skill that I have totally surpassed.  I actually like organizing, purging and packing.  There is a lot less junk in my life.  Ron likes this newly organized me and was 100% along for the journey.  He dealt with my frustration, planning and focus to be there for Dad.

Not many men would pack up and move their lives for the cold north so that a father-in-law can have a sense of assurance that he can make it through a round of chemo.  But Ron did and I think he had a good time doing it. 

Dad got through 7 treatments and really did great.  Many 85 year olds would not have tolerated what he did but be it being stoic or stubborn, he did it.  Are you seeing a pattern here, stoic runs in the family?  Ron included.  You just have to do it, is our motto.

The holidays were beautiful and valuable time was spent with family.  I have to mention that we stayed with my sister and brother-in-law while in NH.  They welcomed us into their lives for 2 + months and even included us in their Christmas stocking tradition.  Can’t tell you how that touched my heart.  It was a culmination of yet another journey that was more than I expected.

Then the New Year, back to a dose of brain tumor reality, Ron’s yearly MRI results.  Appointment to see his neurosurgeon fell on January 2, the beginning of a major New England snowstorm.  I had the great plan to pack and head back south.  The packing went smoothly, but the traveling was tough.  Determined to at least make it to Boston was the first step.  Got there in twice the time but we did it.  The appointment time was moved up to accommodate the weather.  Now hearing the results you reiterate in your head over and over.  “Film looks great, see you in a year.”  I had that little voice tell me a few times, symptoms don’t always show before MRI changes.  But my positive-self, won again.  We were heading south, all 1500 miles.  The storm cooperated and the travel gods were in my favor the entire way. 

As you can see it has been a year of putting the effects of his brain tumor in perspective.  Other major events occur and you adapt and notice the things that were major obstacles are now acclimated into our lives. 

With a New Year there comes a new focus to share hope and inspire others to do the same.  Happy 2014.  We don’t know what is on the journey ahead of us but we can make it our best.