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madme


5/26: Happy birthday baby, I miss you so much.

5/27: Happy Memorial Day. Thank you for serving and for being there for our country. I miss our weekends when we did Rolling Thunder. They were so much fun riding there and back…many funny stories and foibles to be had when you take the backroads on Harleys even from Boston to DC. We laughed so much about the memories only we shared. They were the craziest of times…and we did the craziest of things on those trips…so much fun in just a few days. I can only imagine the fun we would have had if we had been able to make the cross country trip we planned.

But Rolling Thunder itself was very solemn and I will never forget your face as other Vietnam Vets said, “Welcome Home, brother.” They were only a few of the times I saw tears in your eyes. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. You all deserved welcomes you did not get and our country has learned from the injustice done to you all. So I thank you for sharing Rolling Thunder with me and allowing me to see one of the few areas where you were truly vulnerable.


The 2013 Get M.A.D. at Brain Cancer NBTS NYC Fund Raiser


Other than Rolling Thunder and the night our dog died, one of the only other times I saw Michael’s eyes fill with tears, was not when HE was told he had cancer, but when he saw the children in the cancer treatment center. While I was busy navel gazing and trying to not be hysterical over the thought of losing him (I was screaming inside while paying attention to him on the outside), he drew my attention to the plight of children with cancer which is why I continue to fight the fight he would never win.

I will never forget his sad face as he looked at the kids and whispered to me, “I’ve lived my life, they should be out playing.” Although I wanted to scream at him that he was only 56, and he was leaving me, and what the hell????, I just smiled at him and nodded in agreement.

His favorite thing in the world was bass fishing. He was severely ADHD and told me that fishing had a calming effect on him and that his thoughts were not racing a mile a minute when he was fishing.

He was a tournament fisherman at one point and a fishing instructor for people new to tournament fishing. He only fished catch and release, which made no sense to me. I used to call it “looking at fish.” I said, “So you pull this thing out of the water and look at it and throw it back in.” He said, No, you also have to kiss the fish. I said, “WHAT? KISS the fish?” He said yes, it was good luck and a ‘kiss goodbye’ as well as offering a mark of respect to the fish and a thank you for the sport (I think that was some Italian thing with him).

Michael said he also kissed the fish to apologize for catching it with a hook and speed its healing (like a Mommy kisses a boo boo). I said that was THE stupidest thing I ever heard especially since most Moms do not hook their children for sport (though sometimes it seems like a good idea.) I said that maybe instead of apologizing for catching the fish, you just don’t catch it. Of course, to him that was the most ridiculous thing HE ever heard. But our kids, who regularly fished with him, said he did, indeed, kiss the fish.
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This blog has been here since I received those words.  Inoperable. Brain cancer.  About Michael.  Losing the person that I loved most in this world.  Who was the only person ever there for me from beginning to end. Who had an intuition about things when they were going wrong in my life and how to fix it.  Even if just by being thr

My story is different but my thoughts are with Valerie and her family, wishing them peace of mind and peace of heart.

And thank you for the joy and laugher your acting brought me over the years.

There are few words to say…but thank you for all you have given

and

please know that so many out here are thinking of you and sending loving thoughts your way so you may find the peace and strength to get through this.  We are all pulling for you.

I try to go through the stuff in the garage and basement just a bit at a time. It’s always hard. I always cry. Every single time. Because Michael packed everything and his packing was sometimes just so funny.

But other times I’m just very surprised what I come upon.

As I said he was a pack rat. And as I said to the kids, if I had gone instead of him, he would have just put all my stuff in a box and carried it around with him the rest of his life, probably never looking at it. They all nodded. That is exactly what he would have done.

This past weekend I opened a box that had Michael’s original birth certificate, his baptism, communion and confirmation certificates. ALL of his report cards and his first social security card. When I say he kept everything, he kept everything.

I sat at the table reading through his report cards. They scream ADHD which was not diagnosed at the time. Inattentive, conduct, would rather play than work. From 1st to 11th grade he had “inattentive” on every single marking period of every single report card.

He stayed back in the 4th grade due to “inattentiveness.”

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I didn’t think I would have as hard a time with my birthday/anniversary as I am having. But I am.

I scanned some photos in from a frame we had hanging in the bedroom since we were first married. These photos are all in the same frame with some others but I can’t fit the entire frame on the scanner. They didn’t come out that well through the glass, but I just wanted to post it.

The first one is the view of Central Park from our suite, the second is our invitation and the third is the requisite first kiss at the wedding dinner.

I’m not even quite sure why I’m posting these.

I think just to commemorate one of the happiest days of my life and the beginning of the happiest years of my life.

If I knew on my wedding day what I know now and how it was all going to turn out….

….I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.


I love you hunny. Thank you for the most wonderful years of my life.

I MISS YOU SO MUCH.


I met Michael in June and two weeks later we were engaged. It was crazy fast and all of our friends were stupefied. Both of us said “never again” to both a serious relationship and/or marriage. And there we were.

I’ve often described meeting Michael as if you were walking down the street and a complete stranger fell in step with you and you both went the same way down the same streets and it was as if you were walking that way your entire lives. As if nothing out of the ordinary just happened. As if you were now walking with your best friend and you trusted this person completely and without words, you just knew. you knew.

Yeah, it was like that.

We looked for a house that summer (where I lived because I wasn’t moving my kids) and we bought one and moved in September. We were supposed to get married in the spring and we had talked about venues and guests and all that.
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http://www.brainlife.org

I know I haven’t posted in a while….I haven’t had many tear-free days but I did step up in my support group and volunteer for some things. I like to sit back for a while and observe and then if I’m going to stick around (if it’s healthy), I will step up…which I did.

It was a nice weekend and Nick came down and helped with some stuff around the house. We were looking for some things in the basement yesterday and ran across these coffee cans that were full of pennies. I thought my goodness, how many times did Michael move these pennies (these were OLD coffee cans)?

We’ve lived in 4 different houses in 4 different parts of the country and I will bet anything these pennies saw every single one. As I’ve said, I have never gone through his stuff so I had no idea what was down there. We took the pennies to CoinStar and there was $80.00 in pennies. EIGHTY DOLLARS. IN PENNIES.. That’s a lot of pennies.

We went out to dinner with the money…I’m sure Michael would have not approved of us cashing in his pennies, but he would have approved of dinner (steaks).

I also posted on a machinist site to get a sense of what to do with his tools and some of the guys were saying that they were re-thinking their garages and basements because if they passed, their poor wives would be left with this giant mess. But they were really nice and gave me some good pointers as to how to tell what to keep, what to sell and what to throw out.

Some days it seems like I need to go through it and become familiar with it so I know what to do with it. Other days I can’t bear to touch any of it. Sometimes I go downstairs and see that we’re de-constructing the space that was his and I get so sad and can’t bear to do it.
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Some mornings I wake up crying as if I was crying in my sleep. I hate those days. And some nights I cry myself to sleep. I hate those nights.

And some days I feel pretty good and then all of a sudden I can’t get through a sentence or see some random thing on television without crying.

I was watching Craig Ferguson the other night and Reba McIntyre was on singing “Consider me gone” a song I’d never heard before and I was sitting there listening (I’m not a big fan of country music but I like Reba a lot whenever I do see her), and I was enjoying the performance (she’s really good) and then the chorus goes:

If I’m not the one thing you can’t stand to lose
If I’m not that arrow to the heart of you
If you don’t get drunk on my kiss
If you think you can do better than this then I guess we’re done

And I just burst into tears because I was that one for Michael.

And so there I am crying when I started out watching a show I thoroughly enjoy that makes me laugh out loud (I LOVE Craig Ferguson). Part of me thought, “Oh my goodness…could I have a day, just one day, where something doesn’t upend me like this?”

****

Many years ago I used to spend a lot of time trying hard to not do things like drinking or smoking. I would journal “Did not smoke today.” “Did not drink today.”

Well it’s been 22 years since I’ve had a drink and 11 years since I had a cigarette. So for most of the past 10 years or so I didn’t have to count my days against what I didn’t do. It’s been a long, long time since I was obsessed with not doing something. Because I’ve been pretty happy and in control and not battling a lot of demons or temptations.

But today I noticed a thing I didn’t do.

I didn’t cry today.

I have these days sometimes where I’m just sick of it. I know it’s part of the process but some days I feel like “Okay this is ENOUGH right now.”

I thought that after the first few weeks after Michael died I wouldn’t just be sitting somewhere and well up with tears. And I STILL do that. In public. Randomly. Without being able to hold it back.

And then today I just noticed that I wasn’t feeling close to tears at all, as I am many days. I know it’s just a reprieve but I’ll take it when I can get it.

****

Tonight I’m going to listen to Stephen and Ondrea Levine’s Grief as I fall asleep.

I never seem to get past the meditation which is right in the beginning, but I think that my brain is somehow hearing it while I sleep.

So for today I didn’t cry.

I’m going to listen to the audio and see what happens.

Please join up if you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I hope to get a team together for next year’s event!

http://www.braintumorcommunity.org/site/PageServer?pagename=BTW_TX_Homepage

Please feel free to send me your event information for brain cancer or brain tumors. I will post it!

I’ve talked on GPYP for almost 3 years now about the gift of desperation that just drives you to chase recovery.

When I was feeling desperate 22 years ago I chased it and chased it and chased it. Because I was desperate to get well, to get better, to get over it, to get on with my life. Great things happened from that great desperation.

And tonight I was feeling the same….desperate.

Alone again tonight.

Just really missing Michael.

Couple of hysterical crying jags today. Very deep sobbing…feelings of “Oh my G-d, I am never getting over this.” Which is a feeling that comes and goes.

Other times, when I’m feeling stronger, I think yes, I will come out stronger, better, happier.

And some days, like today, I think I am going to feel like this forever. And I know it’s a cycle.

But when you’re there, it’s just so hard to imagine the better times you know will be there.

Grief is somewhat predictable but when you’re in one part you almost can’t imagine that there is any other part.

So after sitting there for what seemed hours, and not feeling able to get my act together enough to get off the couch let alone get out of the house, I decide to find a 12-step meeting. Pick one. Any one. The first one I can find in any program that’s within a half hour driving time and about to start in the next hour. Something that ends in Anonymous. I don’t care if it’s Pistachio Nut Eaters Anonymous, I’m going. Somewhere. Anywhere.

So I find one that’s starting within the hour.

It’s a bit of a hike, but I can’t sit here alone tonight.

But it’s pouring rain and I figure with the World Series and Halloween and Saturday night probably not a big turnout at the meeting. I like big meetings when I’m going for the first time. Not many notice you when you get there, which is fine by me because I just wanted to dip in and dip out.

So I drive over there and I pull in and there are like 5 cars in the parking lot. I sit and look for a minute and think I’m going home, this is not a big group at all. I am not going to be able to just fade into the woodwork. Do I stay or do I go?
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