March 29, 2012
Cody and I woke up early. Not as early as mom and dad. They had to drive from Pocatello, Idaho to Salt Lake. City Utah. They woke up at 3:00 that morning. We were hoping to meet them as they were getting to the University of Utah hospital, however we were a few minutes early. So I waited in the front waiting area while Cody got a wheel chair and went out front to greet them. It felt weird. Not only to be in a hospital, but to be here for my mom to go into brain surgery. What if she didn't come out remembering anything or not being able to move anything. I was in Utah 1,500 miles away from my little family back in Texas. How did this all happen so fast. I was glad Cody was there with me, which reassured me that my mom and dad would feel the same comfort. I couldn't wait for them to see me.
After my dad ran back from parking the car, all three came through the large spinning glass door. When Cody wheeled mom over to me it didn't hit her at first. Then her face broke. Broke into tears. Again I was able to completely surprise her. It was amazing.
We took her up to the third floor and she had to get an MRI done so the doctors could create the map they would use during the brain surgery. When she come back she had white life saver like patches all over her face. She had come totally prepared to shave her head and didn't need to. So instead she got life savers on her face.
They wheeled us thru the waiting area where me, Cody and Dad would be spending a good part of our day and onto a room that we would hang out in with mom until they came and got her for surgery. Uncle Kennon texts her, "Be there soon. Love ya tons!" My dad reads it and says, "Well that is rude of him to call you tons." We laughed really hard. To hard. My mom still didn't have anything along the lines of bladder control. No big deal we were in a hospital, it was better than if we were at say a public library!
Nurses came in and explained things. The resident surgeons came in and explained things. The anesthesiologist came in and explained things. We felt well informed. A pathologist would be there during the surgery and if the tumor looked removable, they would go ahead and take it out. They wheeled her out just after noon. I watched as they took her down the hallway, hoping they would bring her back just the same (except for the incision in her scalp, hole in her skull and without the damn little thing growing in her head).
The wait was not as long and miserable as expected. My dad's friend Mark and his wife Debbie were in the waiting room when we came out. They had gotten lost and drove all over Salt Lake. It was so sweet of them to be there for my dad. We all decided to go find some lunch and while up there we found Bones (my dad's brother), Granny and Gramps. Perfect timing. We all ate lunch in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I think it was called The Point Restaurant. It had two long glass walls that came to a point and outside of them was an above view of Salt Lake City and it's surrounding mountains, which have become so wondrous to me since I moved to Texas. Back at the waiting room we found Kennon, Cheri, Grandma Verdeen and aunt Donna. I hugged my grandma and thanked her dearly for the airplane tickets. Derek, Kennon and Cheri's son was also able to make it up. We filled the waiting room up. We even rearranged it a little. It was wonderful to be surrounded by people who love my mom. The waiting room had a large board or tv that showed the progress of the surgery and we also got reports coming from the surgery room as well. Towards the end we are all standing beneath the board arguing a little. It says that she should be in the recovery room now, but we want to know more. The surgeons come up behind us and say, "That board is a little confusing isn't it." I recognize the voice and turn around excited to get the report. They usher us into a little room. They say that everything went well. In fact when they were finished and my mom came out of it they said that she said, "Sweet, what a great nap!" They also said that her left arm and hand were still pretty strong. However, because of the location they weren't able to remove the tumor. Also according to the pathologist the tumor looked high grade so they took out only what they would need for a biopsy.
So we still have a long road, but for now my mom made it through the surgery. My dad and I were the first to go see her. She looked great and was grinning from ear to ear. For the last few years she has not been able to sleep at night, so to be knocked out for 4 hours felt so good to her. She just kept saying, "I feel great!" I didn't expect her to even be able to talk to us. Two at a time everyone was able to come see her and later that night my dad and I were able to bring her pad Thai to eat. She devoured it.
The following day her head was more swollen and she was really upset because her meds had kept her up all night. She said that she wanted to get up and run a marathon in the hallways. She continued to do well so they moved her to the naacu where she stayed until Cody was able to take her home on Wednesday April 4, 2012. Her room filled with flowers and visitors Jackie and Curtis, Beth's mom and dad Camille and Duane and one of my best friends Andrea. Trevor made it and spent the weekend with us. Dad and I got a room at the University Marriot. It was a really wonderful weekend until my dad let me in on the diagnoses that they had gotten the week before the surgery. He said that the doctor they had met with in Idaho Falls told them that the brain tumor looked like glioblastoma, a very aggressive fast growing cancer. Unfortunately, my plane was delayed and them grounded in Albuquerque because of a security issue at Love Field in Dallas. They were evacuating the airport and not letting any planes land. I had way to much time to think and was a mess by the time Seth and the boys picked me up from the airport.