I know I wasn’t very diligent about keeping anybody updated while I was down south. It was killing me, but the biggest reason was that my pain factor is quite a bit more significant with this surgery than it has been with any of the past surgeries. I was able to jabber a little bit with Facebook, but much more than that felt like more effort than I was capable of. These surgeries have been getting so easy to bounce back from that I’m trying really hard to not get really frustrated by this limitation.
But, wow, what a whiner! GOD WAS SO FAITHFUL THIS WEEK! So incredibly faithful. I ask myself this all the time: why do I ever doubt? My worries and fears coming into this surgery that have all been expressed in previous blogs were all covered. They were ALL covered! Dr. Liau wasn’t able to remove all of the tumor, but we knew she wouldn’t going into this, so I can’t say this was ever a fear. My vision!! There was rather significant swelling in my brain when she did surgery, so there is probably a similar amount of swelling now, which is always common after any surgeries. This swelling and the tumor was pressing on my optic nerves creating several visual symptoms that have been going on for a couple of years now. Two of those symptoms have already resolved! At this point, the vision that she said would most certainly be damaged does not appear to be any different. It’s not something that might not show up down the road when there is healing and scar tissue buildup, but right now I’m really trying to just hold on and claim God’s protection of that vision during surgery, that He spared it. It may seem silly, because in the grand scheme of things, I am dealing with brain cancer, but the idea of losing so much vision in one eye was bothering more than anything coming into another surgery. It has some significant long term implications if it limits that vision. I consider this a miracle!
The other amazing answer to prayer is that this tumor appears to be mostly low grade at this point. With the sudden shock we received recently that the tumor we thought had only subtly grown over the last three years had really tripled in size and now showed hot spots, it only seemed inevitable that news would come that it was aggressive. We’re still waiting for final pathology, which should come this week, but the fact that she had so many tissue samples tested during surgery that were consistent with low grade is very encouraging.
I can never just pass over lightly God’s protection through these surgeries. It’s brain surgery. It was a very long surgery and I am home and feeling pretty well, already. I was doing pre-op appointments only a short week ago, although it seems much longer than that!
Now that I’m home, I’m enjoying reflecting on this past week and seeing God’s hand in the events of the week. Oh, how I wish that everybody could go through experiences in life where it puts them in a place that allows them to reflect and relish in God’s goodness. Not that I want you to go through brain surgery, but it’s a beautiful thing to be in a position where you are constantly looking at how God is working out details in your life. I may only be in my 34th year of life, but I feel like He has allowed me to live so much more life than that, already, and I have to say I’m so thankful for it. I’m thankful for the depth of maturity that I’ve been able/forced to acquire because of it.
Our usual routine on our way down to UCLA is to visit Marvin’s family in northern California. It’s a great way to see everybody and the by far our biggest blessing has always been the opportunity to spend a little bit of time with his Grandpa and Grandma Visser, who are Marvin’s mom’s parents. I was originally scheduled to have surgery on February 17th. We all came down with the flu, so the surgery was postponed a week. If the surgery would have stayed on schedule, we would have been able to see Grandpa one last time. By the time we had traveled down that way, he had what we thought was a really bad infection and decided not to stop in for fear of me getting sick. Only a few days later, Grandpa passed away. It was sad that we weren’t able to see him one last time, but since we were down in California, Marvin was able to go to the funeral, which was such a blessing for him and for his family! So not only was he able to honor his grandpa by being there for his funeral, but he was also able to see his entire extended family because his crazy huge family had all flown in for it. I had just gotten out of surgery 40 hours earlier, so I opted to stay behind and rest (: The timing couldn’t have been better. Not that I wanted to postpone the surgery one second longer than it had to be, but I have to say that I am thrilled that it was because of this. Marvin’s uncle is a pastor and performed the service. He spoke about God’s fingerprints in grandpa’s life, and that is exactly how I would describe this. He had it all worked out. There was a reason we got sick. I’m content with this being it!
Dr. Liau is supposed to get back to me in the next day or two with the pathology of the whole tumor and the recommendations of the tumor board for what I should do next. At this point, they seem to be really pushing radiation. They will be doing some genetic testing on my tumor, though. They are able to tell whether my tumor will be more sensitive to chemo or radiation depending on the results of this testing. I will post the updated information of what life will look like over the next few months when I get it.
Meanwhile, I just want to say thank you so incredibly much for your constant outpouring of support to us! We have been overwhelmed with love and it is really carrying us through some trying times. This surgery has just felt different in so many ways. It has been a lot harder and so we are so thankful for all of you that have been constantly encouraging us with cards, notes, emails, phone calls….everything! Thank you for loving on my family. I’ve always said that it has to be so much easier being the patient than the family member. My husband is incredible! My kids are troopers! Thank you for taking care of them, as well.
I’ll be back with deets soon. Really, this time. (-;