People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world your best and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them anyway.
-Mother Teresa

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I can't even come up with a title for this post.  Nothing describes it enough.  I guess if I had to come up with something it would be, "What the bleap just happened?!?" I have been avoiding this post for a bit because I just can't wrap my head around it.  And I don't really want to put all of my personal feelings on the subject right here, right now.  I do, but I don't.  I have all of these crazy sad thoughts that are at the forefront of my mind constantly.  Well, I guess this is a blog for my own personal history and not anybody elses so I'll just write whatever I dang well want to.  If I don't, I'll explode.  I guess I just really don't want my family to read this and think I'm a miss negative Nancy and I've given up already.  I haven't.  It's just that when I see my future, it hurts to think about it without my mom in it.

August 2012
In August, my parents were going to come to education week up in Provo and visit us.  My dad got sick and ended up in the hospital so they decided to play it safe and stay home so my dad could recuperate.  I decided to go to Heber to see them and not miss the awesome yard my mom always has during monsoon season.  Kandra told me that my mom had been really, really tired while she was there to help my dad and that the trip would be different.  Boy was it ever!  My mom's memory was getting way worse.  She called me three times to see if I wanted her tickets to President Monson's birthday celebration.  "No mom.  I'M COMING TO HEBER!!"  I was at Kandra's house a few days before going to my parents and she called and wanted to know why I was at Kandra's.  "I'm coming to Heber tomorrow mom.  Remember?"   "Oh, that's true.  Ok, I'll see you in a few days."  What?!?  I really thought she was getting Alzheimer's.

During that time, a good friend passed away, President Lewis Tenney. So my brother, Lance, decided to go down to Heber that week to attend the funeral. After the funeral, we were sitting with my parents before Lance left to go home and I noticed mom's mouth was drooping. She didn't believe me and so I got Lance and my dad to confirm it.  I told her I was going to take her to the ER.  Maybe she had bells palsy.  "No, I don't have time for that.  I don't see anything wrong."  She never could see the drooping.  On Saturday, her smile was symmetrical.  By Monday night her smile was drooping.  On Monday I asked if she had called the doctor and she said no.  She wasn't going to do that.  So I did.  I said I was Dawna and needed to get in right away.  After a long day of doctors and an MRI, we had the news that there were two masses in her brain.  One 2 inches and one a little less than an inch.  The morning had seemed so much different and calmer than the evening turned out to be.  I can't believe my persistance resulted in this.  I think it was meant to be otherwise, we wouldn't have known until it was too late.  It has given her more time to be with us.  That week was booked with all sorts of scans to see if the rest of the body had anything in it, which it didn't.
Now my parents needed to figure out what to do next.  She contacted lots of hospitals and was waiting to get a reply.  The next week, Kandra went down and talked my parents into going down to the ER on Wednesday at the Barrow Neurological Institute just to get the ball rolling.  They did scans and admitted her to the Neuro ICU.  A top notch doctor would do surgery on Friday to try to remove the bigger tumor.  Lance and I flew down to Phoenix Thursday night to be with our other siblings and parents.  We were there in the morning to see my mom off.  Then the waiting game.  It was a long/short day.
Side Note:  A big THANK YOU to my in-laws for the plane tickets and for coming up to be with Regan and Sophie and take them to school!  You are so great!


Finally the doctor came to speak to us and he said that the surgery went well and he thought he got about 90% out. He said it took about 6 months for it to grow into the size of a lemon. So after that he said we should be able to see her in an hour or two when she came back out of recovery. So then we waited and waited until Kandra decided to ask the people at the front desk of the waiting room for an update. They said they would check and about 2 minutes later the doctor wanted to talk to us again. He said that he looked at the post-operation MRI and he said he had only taken out about 60% and not 90%. So he wanted to go back in to remove more.  She finally got done with the second surgery making it a total of about 12 hours of surgery. During the second surgery the doctor said that just as he was closing her up the sensor that is hooked up to see if there is any connection lost through the rest of her body faded a bit in her left side, meaning she had a mini stroke during the surgery. He said it could mean different things for different people and she could make full recovery or partial recovery but he just didn't know.  He was a great surgeon.  One of the top in the world.  We were very blessed to have him operate on her.  Not many other docs in the world could have done what he did, because the tumor was right on top of her brain stem.  Before surgery we didn't know what type of tumor it was.  We only guessed.  But Dr. Porter was certain that it is glioblastoma multiform stage 4.
Mom and her kids
 So, my sweet, hard-working, crafty, loving, amazing mother has been given a death sentence.  It's name is glioblastoma multiform.  It is the most aggressive form of brain cancer there is.  Some hardened criminals don't even get a death sentence and my awesome mom does.  I can't even believe this is happening.  Jason put it perfectly.  If you've ever seen the movie Inception, there is a part where they are in a dream and it's raining.  As they are driving along in the rain, in the middle of nowhere a freight train shows up and slams into traffic.  That is what it feels like.  It was already raining because of my dad's terminal cancer and now a freight train has slammed into us.  Seriously, I want to know what the odds are of two parents getting a terminal cancer at the same time?  I still can't wrap my head around it.  Everything is turned upside down now.  We never imagined my dad could outlive my mom.  My mom's mom is almost 98 and still alive for heavens sake!  How is it fair that my mom can have her mom alive her whole life and I only get 30 short years!  I feel jipped and can't believe that I will be an orphan all too soon.

I see things that remind me of my mom and I start to cry.  Flowers, something she made me, her hand writing.  Will she get to make chocolate turtle cookies with me and my kids again?  Is she going to get to teach me how to work the embroidery machine she gave me?  She loves games.  How many more am I going to get to play with her?  My mom is my best friend.  Who am I going to call when I need medical/nursing advice? Or canning advice? Or sewing advice?  Or parenting advice?  Or gardening advice?  Google can only do so much.  It can't give me praise or little words of encouragement like my mom does.  Who am I going to brag to about the things I've made?  She's is my cheering squad.  She's is half the reason I like to do crafts.  Because she loves and appreciates whatever I do and I'm shallow enough that I like to hear her sing my praises.

I can't bear to think of what she is going to have to go through and what this is going to do to my dad.  I HATE LIVING SO FAR AWAY!!!!!!!!  I hate that my kids are in school now and I can't just take off and leave whenever I want and go down to be with them and help them.  The other things/trials I've gone through seem like nothing compared to this.  I feel like the Lord has been easy on me up until now and now I really feel the weight of the world on me.  I know that the Lord has blessed me tremendously with two loving, amazing parents.  Some people can't even say they have any.  I know that the Lord knows what's best.  He sees the bigger picture even if my pea size brain can't comprehend why this is necessary.  I can only cling to the gospel and put my trust in him.  I love you mom and dad. 


carrie said...

Oh Kristal, my heart is broken for you! Sending prayers and hugs your way!

The Merrills said...

I love that you are trying to make sense of what role faith plays in all of this.

I can't believe that this is happening either. Not only is Grandma still alive, but my mom is older than your mom! Heck, Aunt Joan is still alive, too! I know Aunt Louise has had some back troubles, but Louis is in good health as far as I know and the same age as your dad.

Your family's experience just teaches me that life can be a very fragile thing. I'm glad you live it to the fullest and that you exercise faith well during these difficult times.

Aunt Tiff said...

I am SO Sorry!!

Catherine said...

I'm sitting here bawling because I love you so much, and I know your in a lot of pain, confusion, and frustration right now. I am so sorry, Kristal. I adore your mom. She is a rockstar just like you. I have been praying for her, and it sounds like it's just gotten worse since we last talked a few weeks ago. I'll continue to pray for your strength and comfort. I know Heavenly Father loves you and will take care of you through this. Love you!

Skousen Seven said...

You have just said what i have felt since i found out about mom. There are no words that can describe how horrific this is. Its like a horrible nightmare that we can't wake up from.
Just know that whatever happens, I am here for you! I'm not near as amazing as mom, but i will help you and do whatever you need me to do. Love you!!!