Saturday, December 3, 2011

A TALE OF REMEMBRANCE

Hi, it's Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here, to bring you another inspiring tale of Brenda's life.  This has been a real sad year for her, as she lost her best friend in life to congestive heart failure on May 31ST.

Nobody had any idea that on that Friday morning in February, that their lives would be forever changed.  It was February 4TH of this year.  Brenda had been camping out at her Mom's apartment, as she was still recovering from her 2ND carpal tunnel surgery.  She was also just getting used to her orthotics, as she was dealing with tendonitis in both feet, due to her Rheumatoid Arthritis, that she had for almost 20 years at this point. 

Anyway, Brenda had gone in to check on her Mom who was still in bed.  She started having problems breathing and Brenda quickly picked up the phone and dialed 911.  She remained very calm throughout this whole process and kept telling her Mom, it would be okay.  She had been scheduled for a thoracentesis that afternoon to remove the fluid from behind her lung.  She didn't quite make it to the afternoon, before she had her attack.

It was at the hospital that she found out that her Mom had congestive heart failure.  She had been diagnosed with aortic stenosis severe, along with a heart murmur, which was a mitral valve prolapse, making 2 valves that were involved, at least that's what Brenda thought.  It was actually 3 valves and 2 were calcified.  That explains her cough that she had all those years, when she told Brenda that she just had a scratchy throat, when indeed it was the congestive heart failure.  When she started on the medication to reduce the fluid, one thing that Brenda noticed, is that her cough got much better. 

They did do the thoracentesis late that afternoon.  They got 865 cc of fluid.  When they showed it to Brenda's Mom, she said it looked like beer.  She still had her sense of humor as Brenda told me, they all laughed at that.  Brenda, btw, got to be there for this procedure and the doctor explained everything that was going on.  This kind of stuff really fascinates Brenda, because she has been working in the medical field for over 30 years and has got to see some really cool stuff.  She once stood right next to an ophthalmologist, as he performed cataract surgery.  It really helped her not to be so afraid, as she was facing a surgery of her own just weeks after that for her deviated septum.

In fact, Brenda had just had her 12TH surgery, so she is quite a veteran when it comes to hospitals and knowing what to ask for.  She was indeed the perfect person to oversee her Mom's care in that regard.  She was only too happy to be able to do this for her best friend. 

Anyway, when she arrived at the hospital the next morning everything had changed.  Her Mom's fluid had begun to build up once again and she was just not doing so hot.  It was then that the doctor there suggested they start looking at the possibility of a nursing home.  Brenda's heart sunk to her chest and she got that sick feeling in her stomach.  This was all happening so fast.  Her Mom was 88 but 2 days prior to her entering the hospital, she was still driving and was able to do most of her chores around the apartment.  Life can change in an instant, as Brenda well knows.  It was certainly a roller coaster ride for the next few months, until finally her Mom passed away.

Brenda remembers her Mom the most, for the life that she lived.  She truly lived by example.  Brenda wrote something that was put in the funeral booklet.  This was Viola's life.  She had a quiet faith, but it was genuine. 

Everyone who ever came in contact with Brenda's Mom, instantly took a liking to her.  The biggest thing they would say, is that she never looked her age.  She had a great sense of humor and she was always doing something for others.  She rarely thought of herself.  Brenda thinks that's why things with her heart just got worse, because she ignored them or didn't want to bother anyone with them.  If she told you something was bad, then it was, because she would not complain about every ache and pain.

She also had PMR or Polymyalgia Rheumatica, which is usually diagnosed in people over the age of 50.  The only thing that will help it is steroids, and she took a small dose every day and it really did help.  Her walking got so much better.  This was diagnosed about 5 minutes in with a visit from a great rheumatologist, who has since left the area.  He also diagnosed Brenda's tendonitis. 

She also had a thyroid mass which was actually bigger than Brenda's brain tumor had been.  They were doing periodic ultrasounds on it, to see if it was growing and it was not.  The decision was just to leave it alone because doing surgery would be risky, because Brenda's Mom could have ended up losing her voice.  Her age was another factor.  The mass measured 6.5 X 3.5 x 4.2 cm.  Brenda's brain tumor was 2.5 X 2.3 x 2.6 cm.  As long as she was not having any issues with swallowing, the decision was not to do anything but keep an eye on it. 

Brenda strongly believes, this could have had an impact on her weight loss.  She was down to 88 pounds in the home.  This is just one of those things that we will never know.

The thing is Brenda's Mom didn't seem concerned about these things, as least that was the side Brenda saw.  There was a lot more going on, than meets the eye. 

That's how Brenda's Mom was though, always caring and thinking of others...where she actually did neglect herself.  That's the sign of a true mother.

Brenda is truly trying to go on with her life.  Her Mom gave her the advice to "Live Her Life" and Brenda is doing that as much as she can.  She actually just purchased a necklace that says..."Live Life"..which is pretty close in my opinion.

We recently got a new addition.  A Golden Retriever puppy arrived this Tuesday.  Her name is Biscuit and she is a doll.  Truth be told, I was starting to get a little lonely, while Brenda was at work.  She sleeps most of the time and really is a sweetheart.  She is almost the same color as good ole Trevor here, so she fits in just perfectly. 

I was really getting worried about Brenda and now she has a little companion that she can be close to, when she has trouble sleeping. 

The holidays are always a tough time for Brenda, but this year they will be especially rough, this being the first Christmas without her Mom. 

One thing that Brenda and her Mom did instead of presents was to give to various charities.  Brenda has continued to carry on that tradition.  Brenda tells me, it feels good to help someone else out in need. 

I really hope this gives you a true sense of what Brenda's life has been like this year.  Don't worry though, she still continues to fight every day to spread brain tumor awareness. 

She recently got me this grey cape and I must say, that I look dashing in it.   

Last month the nursing home where Brenda's Mom was a resident, had a Fall memorial service for all the ones who had passed in the last year. 

Brenda asked if she might read the tribute that she read at her Mom's funeral.  There were 2 reasons for her doing this.  The first was to do one last thing in honor of her best friend and the second, was to spread brain tumor awareness, as her surgery is mentioned in there and just how much she appreciated all the things her Mom did for her, while she had a chance to recover.

The greatest legacy that Brenda's Mom left her was how she lived her entire life, genuine, that is just how she was.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A TALE OF THE MIND

Hello folks, Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here once again, to share a story, that I think will be of quite some interest to you.

We are going to be talking about the mind.  You have heard sayings like, "Mind Over Matter" "If You Don't Mind, Then It Doesn't Matter" but we are not actually going to be talking about sayings at all.

It's going to be more like explaining different aspects of the mind. 

For example...Brenda's Mom thought it was real important after her brain surgery to use her mind, by doing Sudoku puzzles.  The concept of the puzzles is that there are 9 squares in each puzzle.  Each line going up and down and across is going to have a combination of those 9 numbers, always making sure that the numbers 1-9 show up in each square, so when you are done there will be the numbers 1-9 in each square and also 1-9 will be across and also up and down.  They will be different combinations, but this can be achieved.  She has mastered levels 1 and 2 very well.  The rest of the book, she would usually let her Mom finish.  As you get higher in levels, it does become more difficult.  Brenda has done some level 3's but for now, does mainly levels 1 or 2.

The point here is, that sometimes you have to work backwards to achieve this.  The mind works like that in so many ways.  For example if you are experiencing head pain on your left side...more than likely your mass or tumor would be found on the right side...as it was in Brenda's case.  That's how it works, everything is the opposite.  Just like if you were to have a stroke on one side, the paralysis, would actually take place on the opposite side.  That's how the brain works. 

Brenda has found out recently that sometimes when you hit a roadblock in life, you just have to back up and go in another direction, that way you can still strive to achieve your goals. 

By roadblocks she means people in her own camp sometimes try to stop and discourage her from achieving her goals.  She also realizes that she has more people that have her back than not, so for the few who don't or who will never understand it, she chooses to move forward and to never look back.

She recently left a brain tumor support group, because there just was no support there.  She realizes, she can do the most good in others who support her as well.  It has to be two sided, or it just will not work.  It's unfortunate, when you think because you are all in the same boat, that all the travelers will think alike, even though they are all on the same journey.  That's just not the case sometimes and that's okay if it is done respectfully.  In this case it was not, but Brenda really found out who her real friends were through this experience and she is very grateful they were there and still are. 

Having had a brain tumor and where the location of Brenda's was, being the right frontal lobe, she tells me that she gets more angry or teary eyed more easily.  This does not bother her anymore.  She uses her anger to bring awareness and that is very healthy and I think makes her fight even harder.  The tears have made her a more empathetic person, who truly understands what others on her journey are experiencing.

I am just going to close with one of our messages here.  Be KIND and respect to others, even if they don't happen to think like you do.

Until next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, wishing you JOY and HOPE!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A TALE OF INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGES...

Hi, Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog here once again...We are going to do something really different this time...and share some of the messages that we have been using on Facebook,  This will give the folks outside of Facebook, a chance to see and enjoy them also.

These are messages that Brenda has coined with ideas...she has seen or heard about.  These are all original and we hope you enjoy them.

Feel free to copy them and share them with your friends...We only ask that if you do...that you refer to them as Trevor's Messages For The Day...thank you.

I Aspire To Inspire or Aspire To Inspire...

Life is what you make it.  You can either choose to be a victim or a victor?

Before you can truly extend love to others, you must be comfortable with yourself first.

Find what inspires you and let those creative juices start to flow.

Be kind to yourself and your happiness will shine through to others.

Spread a little sunshine with your smile.

Share your journey with others, not only to encourage them...but it also helps you see, how far you have come.

It takes a great amount of courage to ask for help.  Don't let anyone tell you, that is a sign of weakness.

Our battles can actually turn out to be our blessings!

Always be true to your character and there will be no regrets. 

Before you can truly enjoy the sunshine...you have to weather the storms that come into our lives.

Brighten someone's day with your smile.

Take some time for yourself to reflect, how far you have come on your journey.

Make a positive change in your life.

Never give up, no matter what, as there are other people cheering you on and that should give you great *HOPE*

Be a friend, by just sitting beside them, walking beside them, and maybe...even listening to what they really need to say.

Always look for the open door.  Opportunities come knocking, if we only look for them.

Everyone has their own battles in life but meeting them head on, will make you stronger.

Live your life to it's fullest potential and you will no regrets.

If you are not going to sit with me in the valley, then you have no right to stand with me, when I reach the Mountain top!

Forget all the drama and share the dog bone already!  Trevor's original...

Give the gift of laughter!

Turn your trial into a triumph!!

Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything your heart desires.

Only *YOU* ...can turn your pain into power!

Be your own *HERO*..as you possess all the tools within yourself already!

Laughter is a gift. Spread it around and make some one feel better.

What might not be important to you...may actually be treasure to some one else.

The construction of our lives is not finished, as we are all in work in progress.

The path you follow in life is strictly up to you, as you are the Captain of your ship.

If you come to a roadblock in your life, that doesn't mean your journey has ended, it just means you have to turn your life in another direction.

Having a good cry can actually turn out to be wonderful therapy, so let those tears flow.

When you need the strength to carry on, reach down deep and recover your soul.

Sometimes, people need a guide when they feel helpless on their journey.  That's when we can be that beacon of light, to help them find their way to *HOPE*

The mark of a great leader...is the ability to delegate, so he or she doesn't get burnt out.

Always strive to make others feel better...by encouraging, comforting, and just being there, when they really need a friend.

Each day is a gift, use it wisely.

Don't let your own pain defeat you.  Fight even harder and show it who's *BOSS*

Celebrate every victory...whether it be great or small.

Look forward to what YOU can accomplish, not backwards and regret what YOU haven't.

Each one of us is different, which make us unique so, embrace who YOU are.

Celebrate the memories of those who have gone before us.

We all have something of worth to offer.

Don't forget to take time for yourself everyday, with something that you really enjoy to get away from your worries and problems, at least for a little while.

Along life's journey, allow yourself the FREEDOM to BE vulnerable with a safe person.

Having the Courage to Care about your journey, will allow YOU to finally conquer those GIANTS in your life, that you may be facing.

As you continue further along on your journey, your STRENGTH to SHARE will become a reality. 

If you love a characteristic about someone, TELL them so and WHY.

You can be your own tower of STRENGTH by BUILDING others up.

Part of the discovery of finding your buried treasure is realizing the fact, that is has been deep inside of YOU all along...which is known as your inner STRENGTH and RESOLVE. 

How you DEAL with your life, shows how you will truly LIVE your life.

A true friend will tell you, what you NEED to hear, not necessarily what you WANT to hear.

Concentrate and dwell on those tasks which YOU can accomplish, and don't stress yourself out on the ones that can't be DONE right now. 

Make laughter a part of your day.  It can do wonders for your outlook on life.

We hope maybe we have inspired you with these messages...

Until next time...this is Trevor The Tell Tale Dog always wishing you PEACE and LOVE.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A TALE OF AN INTERVIEW WITH A WARRIOR!!

Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog...here again to spread awareness and hope.  We are going to do something a bit different this time around.  I am going to be interviewing Brenda..as she is approaching her 3RD anniversary of her brain surgery or as she calls it...her craniversary.

Before we get started though...I must share with some of our readers that good ole Trevor here, made it in the latest Tumors Suck video...those pictures that Brenda took of me...really paid off. 

We have also started something new on Facebook each morning...Trevor's message for the day.  People seem to really enjoy it and we are always happy to start someone's day off with a little inspiration. 

Without further ado...here's my interview with Brenda.

Trevor:  So great to have you here today...Brenda...

Brenda:  Thank you Trevor...it's a pleasure to be here...

Trevor:  So tell the folks here about your brain tumor journey.

Brenda...Well Trevor, on August 26, 2008...I was diagnosed with a meningioma.  That was confirmed with an MRI.  On September 4TH...I saw a neurosurgeon...who confirmed the diagnosis as well...but said we wouldn't know anything for sure until they got in there.  He asked me if I wanted surgery?  What do you think I told him?

Trevor:  What did you tell him...exactly?

Brenda:  I said yes...he said the tumor was headed right toward my motor skills.  He said they could do surgery the following Monday on September 8TH...which has since become my 2ND chance at life.  So 4 days later...I went to the hospital really early in the morning to have a right frontal lobe craniotomy performed.  Talk about scary...they were going to drill inside my head.  I was told I could have a stroke..a seizure or could even die.  I didn't have a choice...this needed to be done because the head pain was getting so severe and very hard to perform my duties at work.

Trevor:  How long a procedure was it? 

Brenda:  He said it would take about 2 hours...but it only took an hour and a half...because when they opened the bone flap...it was essentially ready to be removed.  It was very solid..

Trevor:  How large was your tumor?

Brenda:  He told my Mom at first that it was the size of a marble...but quickly changed that to golf ball.  It measured  2.5 X 2.3 X 2.6 cm.

Trevor: Was it benign?  I know you hate that word...but the folks here would be interested.

Brenda:  Yes Trevor, it was benign and they figured that I had it for at least 20 years...because this type of tumor is usually slow growing. 

Trevor:  What was your recovery time?

Brenda:  I was in the ICU for a day and a half and then another private room for another day...I was off 2 weeks from work and then returned full time...which was too soon.  I landed in the ER after a full week of work and ended up missing another week.  My work restriction in total was 3 months.

Trevor:  Would you say you have recovered completely?

Brenda:  No...Trevor...sorry to say that is just not the case.  I still deal with lots of motion issues...nausea...almost every day and head pain when the weather is wacky.  I am also very emotional because of the location of the tumor.

Trevor:  I am sorry to hear that.  Then how do you cope?

Brenda:  I started my blog Brenda's Brainstorm, quite some time after my surgery.  I discovered that I actually became creative.  I guess it happens sometimes.  Writing for me is very cathartic.  The fact that others have told me that I am a great writer...also helps a great deal.

Trevor:  What has been the highlight of your brain tumor journey?

Brenda:  Being able to attend the Meningioma Mommas meet & greet in Omaha, NE this April.  I got to meet some really cool people and we were able to share our stories. 

Trevor:  That sounds wonderful...what else?

Brenda:  Just being able to connect with so many wonderful brain tumor survivors and those that are still fighting the battle.  We all belong to a special social club...and only those who belong...truly understand what I mean.

Trevor: Why don't you tell the folks, who your primary caregiver was during your recovery?

Brenda:  That would have been my Mom...who passed away this year on May 31ST from congestive heart failure.  She did a wonderful job of taking care of me.  I really wanted to go back to my apartment...but she wouldn't hear of it for at least a week. 

Trevor:  I'm sure you miss her very much...I am so sorry for your loss.

Brenda:  Thanks Trevor, she was a wonderful person and I have many wonderful memories of her, to keep in my heart. 

Trevor:  What would you tell the folks out there who are battling every day with a brain tumor or still recovering such as yourself?

Brenda:  Never give up hope.  You better than anyone knows your body.  Always listen to its signals and never be afraid to ask any doctor any questions you may have.  Above all, know that there are many out there, that are in your corner and fighting right along side of you. 

Trevor:  So you would say that brain tumor support groups are very important?

Brenda:  Absolutely, without question.  They have helped me so much and I hope, I have in turn, been a help as well.  It goes both ways.  I admire the people who had the drive and ambition to start these groups.

Trevor:  Are they all closed groups?

Brenda:  No, some are also open.  They are usually for the survivors.  The closed ones are more for those who just want a place to be more open about their struggles and the care givers are more involved with these...in fact, some caregivers have started such groups. 

Trevor:  These are located on Facebook, right?

Brenda:  Yes...Trevor that is correct.  There are also all kinds of groups out there on the web.  I belong to Meningioma Mommas...which is a closed group...but they also have an open group on Facebook...which I feel is good exposure for us. 

Trevor:  That just sounds wonderful.  Brenda it has been a pleasure spending this time with you. Anything else, you would like to share with our readers?

Brenda:  Thanks, it's been a pleasure sharing with you also.  I would just like to say..that each day is a gift...cherish it and also your loved ones.  We are all in this together...and someday...I hope and pray, there will be a cure for brain tumors and brain cancer.

Trevor:  Well that's all for this time folks.  I hope you have enjoyed this interview?  I want to again thank Brenda, for taking the time out to make this happen.  Congrats on your 3RD second chance at life.

Brenda:  Thank you so much Trevor and it was a pleasure doing this interview.    

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A TALE OF TRIUMPH & RESOLVE!!

Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here to tell yet, another inspiring tale of my best friend's life.  Brenda has been really working hard the past few months, to get on with her life.  Today, is exactly 2 months to the day, that her Mom passed away.

Before we go on with that.  I have a little news of my own to share.  Recently, I posed for some pictures for "Tumors Suck."  I have to tell you, without being too modest, that they really turned out pretty good.  I guess my charm exceeded all expectations.  hahaha! 

Now on to my tale.  Brenda has been going through some real heavy things.  She has not once, given up.  She has a lot of support out there.  She told her doctor the other day, that she had a lot of friends and he agreed, and then he just took the time to sit and talk with her.  That doctor is pretty cool in my dogie book. 

She is struggling with some health issues..but she is fighting every day, not to let this all get her down.

She recently started exercising once again.  I have to tell you that first day, she was pretty sore, but as she has gradually built up time, she is doing so much better.

She also has named her new fight song..."I'm Still Standing" by Elton John, who she got to see in concert this year.  She talks about that all the time.  Now, is he really as charming as me?  Yes, I guess he is. 

Brenda has struggled with migraines for close to 30 years.  They got really bad this year...with stress and all that she has been going through.  So far this month, she has not had one.  She is hoping with all her heart that she won't get as many or none at all.  For those of you that don't get them, they can be really bad, sending you to bed in a dark room without any noise.  They are the worst...Brenda would tell me that the pain would actually make her sick.  I hope she is done with those.  I worry about her so, when she gets one.

Brenda continues her quest to bring Meningiomas to the forefront with my help, of course.  She has met some wonderful people from all walks of life.  Let's face it, we all have problems in our lives, whether we choose to admit that or not. 

She will help anyone who truly wants help.  She has a thing about emotional vampires.  She explained to me once, that they are people who suck everything out of you...but when it comes their time to help you out, they conveniently disappear.

She will tell about her brain tumor journey to who ever will listen.  She has had many opportunities to share her story this year alone.

She is almost 3 years out of being a Meningioma brain tumor survivor.  She has learned so much and has become a much stronger person because of it.  She has done things in her life, that she didn't even realize were possible.  That became evident with her Mom's care.  She knew the right people to contact and ask questions, as there were many. 

She also researches before she makes a big decision.  Before she went on her arthritis drug..over 10 years ago now, she did some heavy researching.  She's never been one to just take everything at face value.
 
She needs to know why something is and I think that is good, because you will more than likely not get sucked into something that way.

She's been burned by friendships...as we all have.  Even in my circle of other dogs...we have our disagreements...but we usually end up sharing the bone anyway. 

Brenda is a fighter.  Anyone who has ever come in contact with her or conversed with her, will see that.  It would be so easy to throw in the towel and give up...but not her...she will fight to the bitter end.  She just needs to know...that there are others out there in her corner. 

Her finger joints have really been bothering her.  She exercises them to help them move more freely. 

She used to love to walk for long distances...but that is not possible anymore, with her feet being so bad, with her tendons.  She was fitted with orthotics.  For those of you who don't know what these are.  They are custom made like a mold and then fitted into a proper shoe.  They are made mainly for support and they have helped her a great deal.  She still has issues with standing for a long periods of time. 

At this point, she is trying to avoid surgery.  Her feet are the same...so having one done would certainly not be good for the other one...while recovering. 

Life just keeps throwing things at Brenda...but she just keeps throwing her punches right back.  I think if I had a song for her it would be, "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty. 

Her Mom always told her she was strong and she really has had to be now. 

She has been going out for lunch and dinner dates.  She always makes time for her friends. 

She does a great job of taking care of good ole Trevor as well.  She keeps me groomed, so I continue to look as lovable and handsome as I am.

Life is not perfect and Brenda knows this better than anyone.  We are all in this together, take one step at a time, one day at a time. 

I'm going to close with this.  Life is what you make it.  You can either choose to be a victim or a victor?  I know which one Brenda has chosen. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

BRENDA'S TALE...IN HER OWN WORDS...

Well, it's that time again for another tale.  Trevor insisted on being able to pick the title.  I think he really watches too much NBC Nightly News.  Since, I am giving him some time off, as he has been doing an exceptional job with writing...I let the dog have his bone, so to speak.

I am going to be sharing my personal feelings in regards to the events that have happened this year so far.

As many of you know, my Mom passed away on May 31ST, 2011.  I also lost my brother-in-law this year in April who was married to my oldest sister.  I can't imagine losing a husband and then a little over a month later, losing your Mom. 

We found out on March 30TH that Mom was dying.  I was informed by my PCP, while I was at work.  I just got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I really thought she was beginning to get better.

That's just how fast things would change.  It was pretty much like that the whole time, since she first entered the hospital on February 4TH, when this whole ordeal began.

I had no idea that the following Wednesday on February 9TH, she would be entering a nursing home.

She had seemed to be doing very well after her thoracentesis to remove the fluid from behind her lung.

When I arrived at the hospital the next morning, it had all changed once again.  She was talking to the hospitalist, about the possibility of going to a nursing home.  I could just not believe this was happening and so fast.

So they started contacting different ones in the area.  There were 4 different places that had openings.  Mom told me to be sure to bear in mind that she wanted, The Baptist Home.  The reason being, because I lived so close and would be able to be there almost every day.  I did not want her to think that she would be deserted. 

So a day before she entered the home...again, I received another call at work, that she would be entering the home the following morning.  This was going way too fast, my head was spinning.

I couldn't think fast enough to make arrangements to be with her when she entered.  That is the only thing I would have changed.  I would have been there.  She was still very alert at this point and was able to fill out the paperwork, so I wasn't concerned about that. 

When I got there that evening, it changed again.  She wanted to go back to her apartment.  I understand that completely.  She was taken out of her apartment in an ambulance less than a week before.  2 days prior to going to the hospital, she was still driving, running her errands and able to do most things around the apartment. 

I can just imagine the fear of losing her independence.  She was always taking care of some body else.  She enjoyed that, as it gave her a sense of purpose.

I am going to backtrack here somewhat.  After my sister died 8 years ago from colon cancer...my Dad just seemed to go downhill and not long after that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  I wanted to help with this as much as I could, because Mom did not want him going to a nursing home.  She told me once, it would feel like she was divorcing him. 

I tried to come every weekend and stay, so Mom could at least do some things without worrying that he would wander off, etc.  It was at this time that Mom & I really became a team.  One of our doctors even made that observation once.

That went on for over 4 years.  When we finally had to put him in a nursing home, it was really sad for both of us.  One, because he was over 60 miles from us.  We live in ND, so we probably wouldn't be able to make it there every weekend.  He only lived less than 8 days after that. 

So after Dad passed, Mom asked me to please give her things to do, as she wanted that sense of purpose back again.  Only this time, we could do things for each other.  That's how it was.  I was not her favorite...as she had plenty of love to go around for all of us.  I hated being referred as that, as it just was not true.

We had a lot of good times together.  We would go shopping, or go to movies.  Yes...my Mom saw "The Hangover"  Gasp!  She had a great sense of humor and she loved the tiger.  I won't say anymore, in case you haven't seen it. 

I enjoyed doing things for her, as she did so many wonderful things for me.  She had great ideas and was so talented.  She made my curtains for my apartment and also made pillows with the extra material that was left over from the drapes I bought.

We faced another challenge in 2008, when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  We'd been through so much already, but she was so calm about it and I think I was in shock.  We really made a great team.  She sat with me in the ICU and didn't have to say a word, just her being there was enough.
 

Just a side note here.  After my Dad passed...Mom asked me to stay with her on weekends.  She didn't like to be alone all the time.  That was great because that was when we would usually run our errands or go out to lunch, etc. 

After I had my brain surgery another surprise came up in that I didn't like to be alone at night.  I found myself spending more nights at Mom's apartment.  This would get better and then worse.  I can't explain it.  Finally after almost 3 years it has gotten much better. 


There is something I would like to share with you.  Now, I am a person of faith.  I don't know if it is great or not, but here's my story.  As I was sitting in the room with Mom in the ER...just for a split second, I felt something touch my shoulder.  I thought at first I was imaging this but then, I felt such a calm and peace, that I could not explain it.  I knew I was not going to lose Mom that day.

I have really been struggling a lot lately, which I guess is normal.  I also battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis, as I have for over 20 years now.  I am sure that the stress in my life has not helped.  I have managed to work even though, some days have been rough. 

The sad thing about this is that one of my family members, has never acknowledged the fact the I have RA.  Their response was, everybody gets aches and pains.  Oh really!  If any of you suffer from this, you know that it is not just a pulled muscle, which gets better with time.  You have swollen joints that get red and hot.  Sometimes you just want to scream, because the pain is so bad. 

I have for the most part been able to keep my wits about me...but I am now in the grieving mode.  From what I have been reading...I am to find a safe person in my life, who I can feel comfortable sharing some of this with.  I thought for starters...I would share with my readers. 

I am also not going to get involved in one sided friendships.  No emotional vampires allowed.  I need encouragement and help to get through this.  I have always tried to be there for others. 

One thing my Mom asked me once.  "Why is is that you always think you have to do more than others?" I guess I never really looked at it that way before.  I just always wanted to help in any way I could.

I was glad that I could be there for my Mom but I have to tell you, it drained me to my core.  I would pretty much after work go to the home and sit with her.  My weekends...I spend hours there.  I didn't want her to think I was deserting her.  My life has pretty much been on hold for quite some time now...even before this all happened.  I am not complaining.  I am just sharing with you...that there is a lot you go through when you lose a parent or loved one.

I have been going out again and having fun.  Mom told me to live my life and grab...when I want something.  She really encouraged me to go to the Elton John concert.  She said, "You never do anything for yourself and you can afford it."  I guess she was right on both accounts.  I went and I had the time of my life.  It was a dream come true.

Another thing...that was very important to her, was that I take my trip to Omaha for the Meningioma Mommas Meet & Greet weekend.  She was to go with me, but that didn't work out.  I went and I am really glad I did.  I had a wonderful time and everybody was so kind in asking about her.

Before I go here,  I just want to again thank everyone who has sent cards and words of encouragement...throughout this past month.  The memorial went to The Salvation Army for the flood relief right here in Bismarck-Mandan.

Thanks for allowing me to share this story in my own words.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A TALE OF LOSING A BEST FRIEND....

Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here again, to introduce another tale of Brenda's life. 

Last Tuesday, May 31, 2011, Brenda's Mom...her best friend in life lost her battle with congestive heart failure.  She fought hard, but it was evident some time ago, that her life on this earth would be coming to an end.  She had her for 2 months longer than anyone had hoped.

It was during that time, that Brenda begin to realize that it would be so important to be able to have those heart to heart talks.  She had many.  She was able to tell her Mom just how important she was to her and that she hoped that someday, she would be half the woman that her Mom was. 

Her Mom replied with, "Someday you will be."  Even up until the very end Brenda's Mom encouraged her and told her not to feel bad about anything.  She realizes, Brenda did everything she could.  If she could have, she would have taken care of her herself but, that was just not feasible or possible. 

Brenda was working full time during all of this.  She visited her Mom almost every day.  If she couldn't get there, she would either call the nurses or try to talk to her on the phone.  That grew more difficult, as the days started to grow shorter for her time here.

Brenda had a very special Mother's Day, as she got to take her Mom outside for a wheelchair ride and look at the flowers.  She was telling Brenda about all the different kinds.  You see, Brenda's Mom used to have a beautiful vegetable garden and she also had a green thumb when it came to flowers. 

Her Mom told her that was really nice of her to take her outside.  That made Brenda feel so good inside.

When you are dying different things begin to happen.  Her Mom started to see things that were not there...but Brenda would tell her that she didn't see them and it was okay if she did.  Brenda always asked her if what she was seeing scared her?  If it was...then they made sure that her Mom would take something, so they would disappear.

Another thing that happens and it's no fault of their own, is that their personality changes.  They become agitated more easily or angry.  Brenda really understood this, because of what she has gone through since her brain surgery.  It was still at the same time hard to see, as this was not her Mom, as she knew her.

Brenda's Mom did have some good days within those 2 months.  Those are the days, that Brenda cherishes the most. 

Brenda would grow impatient or upset at times too.  She is only human. 

The hardest part was seeing her Mom suffer with any kind of pain.  The last week was probably the hardest.  The important part was just to keep her as comfortable as possible.  

There was a evening when her Mom just did not want to take her pills.  It took some convincing on Brenda's part, but she just decided that being upfront with Mom was the best way to go.

She told her that she has never lied to her and that she would not start now.  She told her that those pills would help to calm her down and not make her so afraid.  You see, they face fear too, as with lack of oxygen and not enough nutrition, starts to kill off brain cells. 

She agreed to take them and did have a good night's sleep that night.  She had taken something earlier that day, that Brenda and the nurses think, just set off a bad reaction.  It happens. 

Over the next few days, things just seemed to be getting worse.  Brenda's Mom was starting to imagine that things were going on and she had to reassure her that just was not so. 

Last Sunday, Brenda, was able to take her Mom for her last wheelchair ride outside for just a few minutes. They did sit in the lobby and had a little talk.

Then on Monday, things really started to get bad.  Brenda's Mom was in much more pain and just did not want be touched, but they had to turn her every couple of hours. 

When Brenda arrived on Tuesday morning, her Mom was resting comfortably and she did not speak anymore.  Brenda sat with her most of the day, but she knew it would only be a day or so more at best.

Dying is a process and sometimes, some of the aspects of it are just not so beautiful.  No one wants to see their loved ones scared or in pain.

That's where Brenda was at.  Before she left that afternoon she told her Mom that she would see her tomorrow, but if she wanted to go to Heaven tonight, that would be okay, because her Dad and sister were waiting for her.

She went home and at 5:45 p.m. she received a call that her Mom had passed at 5:40 p.m.  Brenda felt such a relief, that her Mom was no longer suffering or in pain.

On Saturday, June 4TH, 2011, her family and friends gathered for her Mom's celebration.  That's just what it was.  Brenda told me, that everything was beautiful, the singing, the message and Brenda was able to grant her Mom's wish of reading a tribute to her. 

Her Mom wrote her own obituary, had picked out her songs, her favorite Bible verses, so it was really the way she wanted it.  Iris, Brenda's sister, had talked with Brenda's Mom ahead of time about what songs she would like played before the celebration.  As they were doing this Brenda's Mom said, "I would like to be there."  I am sure she was in spirit and she would have been so proud.

Brenda lost her best friend in life...but she left her a wonderful legacy and she is so blessed to have had a wonderful relationship with her Mom, as that is so rare. 

Brenda will miss her Mom very much, but she also has so many wonderful memories to carry in her heart.

Lastly, Brenda would like to thank everyone, who has been so kind with your words of encouragement and especially your prayers, during this most difficult time.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A TALE OF AWARENESS & HOPE....

Trevor here again to help Brenda spread awareness...regarding National Brain Tumor Awareness Month. 

As some of you know...Brenda is a Meningioma brain tumor survivor...of almost 3 years now.  She has asked me to help her...tell tales of awareness and hope.

Brenda still struggles everyday with waves of nausea, feeling lightheaded, becoming emotional...but that has to do with the location of her brain tumor.  She belongs to that special group...and there are many of you out there.."The Frontal Lobe Group."  The way she has explained it to me...is that the frontal lobe is the high functioning part of the brain, which causes one to be quick to anger or tears.  You just can't do anything about the neurons in your brain. 

She copes with it very well.  In fact...she wants people out there that are struggling, to know...that this is okay.  They are not crazy.  You go through a lot when you have a brain tumor removed.  You don't just go to the hospital...have the procedure and go home. 

There is so much more to recovery.  Support is very important.  Brenda was one of the fortunate ones...she had her Mom there with her.  This was a new experience for them...but Brenda's Mom had taken care of Brenda's Dad for over 4 years with his Alzheimer's disease. 

Brenda saw first hand...how loving and caring her Mom was with him.  She knew she would get excellent care and she did. 

September is a special month for Brenda...because that's when she got her second chance at life.  That's what they refer to it at "Meningioma Mommas"...that awesome support group that she belongs to.

Every year since on September 8TH...Brenda has made it a point to make that her special day.  That's a day when she can reflect on her journey and all the wonderful people she has encountered along the way.  She not only has met many wonderful friends from the American Brain Tumor Association and Meningioma Mommas...but she has also discovered many out there who have someone or a relative that has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Brenda's ultimate goal is to spread awareness where ever she can.  She is ready to tell her story...with whoever will listen.

She just experienced this on her recent trip to Omaha for the Meningioma Mommas meet & greet weekend.  She talked to flight attendants, a Delta representative, people at the hotel where she stayed..they were all so open to what she had to share. 

Brenda had a really hard time on that trip.  She had to try to fly...but she probably knows that is no longer a possibility...because she got really ill and had to have her trip interrupted...and rent a car home...but that folks...is in her last blog.  Check it out...it really turned out to be quite a hilarious tale.

That's just the thing...Brenda is always trying to turn something negative into something positive.  She has been through so much in her life. 

She also encourages her friends along her journey.  She has met some really cool people and believes in what they are doing.  She treats you the way she would like to be treated. 

Brenda has been dealing with a lot of head pain lately.  Another one of the wonderful reminders...that she did indeed have brain surgery.  If you feel the top of her head...she has 2 round indentations...much like when you put your fingers into a bowling ball...that's how her GYN doctor described it anyway. 

She wears a cap that is made with elastic...designed after a stocking cap.  There is no scientific logic to this...but apparently it pulls or constricts the blood vessels in her head...much like when you drink caffeine for headaches...as she did in the hospital once, when she had a severe spinal headache after her Myelogram...but again, that's another story.

Her Mom made the cap.  The material is the design of Bugs Bunny and has "What's Up Doc" with him dressed up as a doctor and holding a carrot.  It's very adorable. 

She got this idea...from one her Mommas in her support group...and thought, why not at least give it a try?  When she has a really bad night...she does and it usually works.

Brenda is not one for pills...she did try an anti-seizure medicine for the pain once and that turned out to be an awful experience for her.  She also didn't want to risk the possibility of getting a seizure and then she would have to remain on these for life...so she contacted her doctor and they advised quitting them.

She gets by...but it's very difficult at times.  That's when she leans on her awesome support group.  This is where I am to put a plug in for them.  I doggone almost forgot.  Here it is.
 http://www.meningiomamommas.com/ and while I am on this here's another for her other group that is so important to her.   http://www.abta.org/ 

These are 2 great places to go for support.  You can read stories of encouragement and hope.  In the Meningioma Mommas site...they have a section called "Faces of Meningiomas."  Brenda has her story there and also promotes her blog there...which by the way was started by the urging of several Mommas in her group. 

Brenda is so grateful to Liz Holzemer for having the courage to start this wonderful group...for people to go who just *GET IT.*

This month with it being National Brain Tumor Awareness Month...Brenda and many of her BT and MM's friends on Facebook, have been plugging their cause and bringing awareness.  If you are getting tired of this..well that's just too doggone bad.  This is for the whole month of May folks...so you might as well jump on the doggy trail and enjoy the ride.

Brenda is so very passionate about this...and will continue to be.  This is her mission in life...to help bring awareness, to tell her story and be an encouragement to as many people as she can be.

One thing about Meningiomas...because they are the most primary brain tumor...they are also sadly, the least acknowledged.  More research needs to be done and this can only happen with your generous support.  Yes...I am asking you to consider a donation in order to make this become a reality.  You can donate to either Meningioma Mommas or The American Brain Tumor Association.  You have the tools to get there...because the sites are both listed up above.

So make good ole Trevor proud and have a heart and let Brenda know how much you love her..by donating, reading this blog and please leave comments. 

Thanks for letting me share a big part of Brenda's desire, to always bring awareness and hope.

Until next time, this is Trevor signing off.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

THE BIG "O" MAHA TALE...MENINGIOMA MOMMAS & POPPA MEET & GREET

Trevor here again, to introduce another inspiring tale of Brenda's life.  As many of you know, she is a Meningioma brain tumor survivor.

She belongs to one of the greatest online support groups around, Meningioma Mommas.

This is a place to go for people who just *GET IT.* I will now let Brenda share her experience with you.  I hope you enjoy it. 

I had the pleasure of finally attending my 1st ever meet & greet the weekend of April 8TH - 10TH in Omaha, NE. 

My Mom was supposed to have gone with me, but due to her illness, etc., it was impossible for that to happen.  She still wanted very much for me to go, as she said, "You need this trip and this may be the last thing I can do for you."  How could I possibly argue with such a beautiful gift?

I asked my good friend, Thelma to go with me, as Mom thought we would have a lot of fun.  More on that later. 

We got our boarding passes after some mix-up, because Mom was not taken out of their system, after I cancelled her plane ticket.

Well, we got going.  Mind you, I had not flown since my brain surgery, but I had no reason to believe it wouldn't go smoothly.  Boy, was I wrong!  I even took something ahead of time to ward off nausea.

It just didn't work.  The minute that plane left the ground...I felt it in my head, I knew I was in trouble.

I ended up getting sick...that by the time we got to Minneapolis, I was in pretty rough shape.

The Delta representative even wanted to call the paramedics and possibly even take me to the hospital.  I had fought so long & hard for this trip, that this just was not going to happen.  Granted, I might not have been in the greatest mood, but I had just lost my breakfast and I was disoriented from my head feeling so funny.  It was really a scary experience.

I rested for a while...started to feel better, so I started to our next gate entrance.  Thank goodness, we had a long layover.  We got something to eat...took some more anti-nausea pills, because this time we weren't taking any chances.

Got on the plane for Omaha.  I was starting to get a little excited now.  You see, I was battling a very bad flare with my RA with my left shoulder.  I was also sporting an air cast on my right foot.

I was determined to make this trip.  Well, we got on the plane and took off and guess what?  I got sick once again.  At this point, I was convinced that it had to be the fact, that I had brain surgery and my motion problems were worse than before.

We got to Omaha, which was only a 44 minute flight.  No layover this time...but I just had to rest, as I was disoriented again.

I started to feel better, so we got a cab to our hotel.  We had the neatest cab driver.  It was a long drive to our hotel, so I was glad for the visit, to get my mind off of the nausea.

We got to our hotel around 5:00 p.m. We checked in and I just crashed for over an hour.  I was ready to meet some people.  After all, we were there for a meet & greet weekend. 

We had dinner at "The Chop House" located right in the hotel Marriott where we stayed.  Just a side note.  Our hotel room was fabulous.  The bed was so comfortable and all those pillows!  We had a great view outside our window of the pool.

We had a great dinner and the staff was so nice there.  I was wearing my Elton John T-Shirt, as he had been in Bismarck just 2 nights prior to this trip.  The waiter there really liked it and kept giving me high fives.  I know he really wanted that shirt. 

We had a nice visit there and they were in no hurry to kick us out or anything, so we stayed for quite awhile visiting.

We got up the next morning had breakfast and finally starting meeting some of the others.

I sat out in the sun and actually got a sunburn, as it was almost 80 degrees that day.

We had our luncheon at "The Chop House" at around 1:00 p.m.  It was a great time of sharing stories of survival and the many struggles that so many of us face on a daily basis.

I finally got to meet our founder, Liz Holzemer who was so gracious to autograph my copy of "Curveball...When Life Throws You A Brain Tumor."  It's a great book and can be purchased at Amazon. 

I met some wonderful people that weekend, who will remain my friends for life.  We have even connected on Facebook, since the meet & greet.

One of the Mommas was kind enough to take us to the airport on Sunday morning. 

We grabbed some breakfast and I had taken my anti-nausea pills before, so they had a chance to work.

We only were going to have a 25 minute flight to Minneapolis because of a tailwind.  The down side of all of this, there was going to be some terrible turbulance.  Well guess what my friends? I got sick once again and it was right then and there...that I decided that I could not possibly fly home. 

We got in touch with a Delta representative, who just happened to be a supervisor.  Her name was Toni, and I have to say that she was probably the kindest person you could ever meet.  She gave us a voucher for food to travel home.  By this time...I asked Thelma if we could just rent a car to drive back to Bismarck? 

I had a chance to share my story with Toni about our weekend, this blog, etc.  She even took down my blog address, which I thought was pretty cool.  I do share my story with anyone who will listen.

Thelma & I usually manage to have an adventure on our trips.  This one was no exception.  We rented a car from Hertz, a Nissan.  When we left the garage, it wasn't really marked too well, where you should drive.  Thelma ended up going over which we would find out later, some "Tiger's Teeth" which can actually do great damage to a car.

We got out on the freeway, how I will never understand, that we made it that far?  She got on her cell to try to call for help because we had to pull over because the car was not handling that well.  Reason being, we had 3 flat tires.  As she was on the phone a man came up to her car window and knocked and by this time a police car was there as well.  You see, they actually thought we had stolen the car.  This was a little nerving and actually a little comical all at the same time.

It was actually the guy from Hertz who followed us, because he said when you drive off over the "Tiger's Teeth." that means you are actually probably stealing the car.  The policeman was laughing by this time.

Anyway, the Hertz guy took us back to the rental place in his car, so we could get a different one.  He tried to make us feel better by joking around with us, etc.  He really turned out to be quite a neat fellow.

So we were joking around and I said this, I guess I was nervous or something.  "I guess we are just like Thelma & Louise."  He really thought that was funny, said I had a sense of humor, but imagine when he found out my friend's name was Thelma?  She went on to say, that "I was not Louise." 

She called her boyfriend and told him we were in jail but he soon figured out she was just pulling his leg.  They gave us a different car, a Mazda this time and we were on our way.

I will always be grateful to Thelma for driving us home.  It was a long drive.  We had heavy rain most of the way.  We finally got back to Bismarck that night around 9:00 p.m.

The real neat thing about this whole saga is, that the guy from Hertz called Thelma about a week later, to see how we were doing?  He knew we were both pretty shaken up by this incident. 

We encountered some really neat people on this trip.  I know it's one that I will not forget real soon. 

I want to thank my Mom, most of all, for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to meet some really cool people from my support group.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A TALE FROM THE HEART...

Well, it's that time again for good ole Trevor...yes that's me, to help Brenda tell yet, another inspiring tale about what's been going on in her life.

As some of you know by now...Brenda's Mom has now been in the nursing home over a month now.  If you don't think this has been hard on her...well you are barking up the wrong tree.

Brenda has done everything possible to make her Mom's stay as comfortable as possible.  If it had not been for good friends, a lot of these things could never have been accomplished.

They helped her move her Mom's TV...which was given by a real neat fellow...that Brenda knows from where she works.  Cable got hooked up now...so her Mom is enjoying those good old shows.  They don't make them like that anymore.  I would really like to see "Lassie" on there sometime...as I have a special place in my heart for that darn courageous Collie.

Anyway...on to my story about Brenda and her recent struggles....which she is handling as best she can. 

As some of you know...Brenda has struggled with Rheumatoid Arthritis...for almost 20 years now.  Most people in her position...would not be working, let alone still holding down a full-time job.  She is the exception.  I really think she gets her strength and tenacity from her Mom...who is also fighting real hard to get better and stronger.

Well, last September...Brenda really starting having problems with her right ankle...so she wrapped it up thinking it was just a flare...but it just got worse over time.  She was finally diagnosed with tendonitis in both of her feet.  She was referred to a podiatrist...who prescribed ankle braces to wear...but they just didn't get that much better.

He said the only thing that might give her some comfort would be orthotics.  They did seem to help for a while...but the pain came back in the right foot with such a vengeance...that he decided to order an MRI on her right foot.

She got the results back last Wednesday...and it showed that she has torn tendons...which need a chance to heal...so she is now wearing an air cast to keep everything from moving around and causing more damage. 

The dog gone bad part about this whole ordeal...is that she has to wear that thing morning, noon, & night...yes even to bed.  She was dog gone upset about this...because it's hard to walk with.  It weighs several pounds...so the first couple of days were really rough...she felt lopsided with her right shoulder really hurting as well as her leg.  That has gotten a little better now.

The real big challenge is stairs.  Brenda has about 6 wide ones going into her apartment.  She had to figure out what foot to use first.  It's really what works for you.  She has managed to wash several loads of laundry...just being very careful going up and down stairs.

Another big factor this time of year...is all the ice, as we live in good ole North Dakota and we had a dilly of a storm on Friday.  When it's that bad....she just can't chance going out and falling...so she was able to visit with her Mom on her TracFone. 

It's hard on days like that for Brenda...as she is so super close to her Mom...not just in proximity, but in life.  They have been through so much together.

Last week was especially hard on Brenda...as she just felt kinda trapped with this air cast thing and everything else that has been going on.  She loves her Mom so much...that it just breaks her heart...when she can't seem to do all that she wants to do for her.  I keep telling her...not to be so hard on herself.  Her Mom understands and knows that Brenda is doing her level best.

Brenda is trying to keep everything together and to still make time for her friends as well.  She has been blessed with some who are willing to take her to work and yes, to even help her in and out of their van...so she doesn't fall.

If everything pans out...Brenda may only have to wear the air cast for about 3 weeks.  It's a little tricky to get on...but she mastered that pretty quickly...as she does anything in life that is difficult.

Don't think that Brenda doesn't have her times...when she just wants to stop and collapse.  She does and that's when I allow her to become human and cry on my shoulder.

She really gets her comfort and strength from all the wonderful friends she has met in her support group...Meningioma Mommas.  She also has met many wonderful friends through Facebook.

It's just amazing to me that people that don't even know her Mom personally, are sending cards & gifts...but they must think so dog gone much of Brenda, to perform such an act of kindness.

Brenda's Mom really appreciates that. 

I will now let Brenda finish this most inspiring tale. 

Thanks Trevor...you put that so beautifully about my relationship with my Mom.  I really appreicate all the help we have been receiving. 

This has really been a real hard & sad chapter in my life...but Mom & I will get through it.  She tells me that often. 

Trevor & I will be back with another story real soon. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

TUESDAY TALE...A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A NURSING HOME...

Trevor here once again with another inspiring story...that Brenda is going to share this time.  Her Mom has now been in the nursing home just a little over 3 weeks and so much has happened.  She is going to share with you what she experienced.. when she spent a day with her Mom and to give you a bird's eye view of what a day may be like for her Mom.  I hope you enjoy it! 

I wanted to call it...A Dog's Day In February...but it really has nothing to do with ole Trevor here...so here it is...take it away Brenda!

Thanks Trevor...for that wonderful intro...

As you know...Mom entered a nursing home just a little over 3 weeks now.  I attended what they call a care conference...that is held for new residents and their families...usually after the resident has been there for about 2 weeks or so. 

It was a most interesting day...here is just some of what I gleaned from it. 

The care conference consists of all the people that are involved in Mom's care.  The social worker, nurses, PT, OT, dietitians, activities she is involved in, etc.  You get the picture.  Anyway we were allowed to ask questions or voice our concerns.  It's a very open environment and everyone was so helpful in answering our questions or concerns that we had.

One big concern is the fact that Mom just can't seem to put on much weight.  So they are working on getting her some nutrition...especially at breakfast...so she is strong enough to do her PT & OT...which she does for a half-hour each...5 days a week.

I had a chance to sit in on her OT...and I gotta tell ya...that is quite the workout.  They allow her to rest in between exercises...as they monitor her oxygen levels very carefully.  All the while I was there...her levels were in the 90's...which is where you want them to be.  Prior to all of this...they were as low as the 70's...which can be dangerous...and that was usually brought on by having her walk. 

She has actually been able to go without her oxygen...but they continue to monitor that very carefully. 

We had to make some switches in how her PT & OT is done.  Since she gets so tired...it was suggested that she eat her breakfast first...to give her a chance to gain some strength and then do the PT.  She does the same with the OT after her lunch...and this has worked out so much better. 

It's very important...that she continue with these exercises so she can continue to get stronger with each day.  She is quite the trouper.  When I observed the OT...which is where they concentrate more on the strength training...she did hand gripping...much like I had to do for my carpal tunnel therapy. 

There was this one exercise where she had to push colored rings over this thing...that actually reminded me of a rainbow.  She pushed them all on one side and then the other.  This was to help her gain strength in her upper arms. They would switch off with the various exercises...gradually building up her reps...usually around 15 or so.

She has really been through a lot in the last month.  As I write this...it has almost been 4 weeks to the day...that our lives took a very drastic turn.

Mom is facing all of this with an attitude that is uncommon to most people.  She is plainly and simply...a *FIGHTER*...she is getting stronger with each day.  She is able to get around in her room, etc.

She has also gotten to pet a dog...when they have pets come visit the residents in their rooms.  This is usually done every Thursday.  She has played BINGO and has won! 

We were even able to take her out for a couple of hours...a few weeks back...to get back to the apartment...which I think was important.

I have even taken her for wheelchair rides down to the lobby...so she can see outside. 

She wants to thank everyone who has visited, sent cards, gifts and for the many calls she has received.  This has made this so much easier for us...to really know that you care that much.

We are taking one day at a time...and hoping for the best.  I will do anything for her...as she is truly my *BEST FRIEND*

I hope this gave you just a little glimpse of what a day is like for her.  Thanks for allowing me to share this most inspiring story and also to Trevor, who is my inspiration and a great help to me.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

THE TELL TALE DOG

"Brenda's Brainstorm" is adding a new addition this year...and that's where I come in. 

Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Trevor a lovable Golden Retriever...who stands about 3 feet high and has the most expressive brown eyes you will ever see.  I am a beautiful brownish tan with a nice shiny coat.

Brenda's Mom, made me a collar that any dog would be proud to wear.  It's purple, representing Meningioma awareness with 2 dog bone charms and a T on each side representing my work, "Trevor's Tales".  The ribbon is really cool...because Brenda's mom had that in her sewing collection from Brenda's sister who died of colon cancer.  I am so dog gone proud to be wearing this and helping Brenda...in her great cause of bringing Meningiomas to the forefront.

I keep a close eye on Brenda every day...as she has had some tough battles to get through lately. 

As some of you know...Brenda was staying at her Mom's apartment recovering from her carpal tunnel surgeries.  She is doing very well...you can hardly see the scars at all. 

Anyway...recently, Brenda was checking in on her Mom like she always does before she heads for work and asked if everything was alright?  When all of a sudden Brenda noticed that her Mom was having problems breathing.  She picked up the phone and called 911.

I am so dog gone proud of how she handled everything.  Not once...did she lose her cool.  She kept reassuring her Mom, that everything would be alright.  The Third Watch showed up and starting giving her oxygen...as she was having trouble breathing.

I stayed behind...but Brenda went along in the ambulance to the hospital.  She told me later...that everyone was great about explaining what was going on...as she had a lot of questions. 

So they took Brenda's Mom to the ER...where the doctor came to talk to Brenda and told her...that it would be a long hard road..as when you have a heart that is that damaged...things will just continue to happen.

Brenda's Mom was scheduled for an thoracentesis that afternoon...which they went ahead with.  Brenda got to watch the procedure.  It's when they stick a needle in your back to numb the area and attach something so that the fluid can be sucked out into a bottle.  This had to be done..because she had some fluid behind her left lung...which was causing the breathing problems.

They got her all ready and ended up getting 865 cc or just a little over a liter of pop.  Brenda said...it actually looked like beer.  Brenda's Mom tolerated the procedure very well....just got nauseous after...because she had not eaten for so long and possibly what they had given her for a light sedative.

Brenda's Mom was in the hospital for several days...where she received excellent care.  Brenda went to visit and spend time with her...as much as she could.  Brenda knew that Mom was really sick and that something would need to be arranged.

Last Wednesday...Brenda's Mom entered a nursing home.  The neat thing about this is, that if Brenda's Mom looks out her window, she can see where Brenda's apartment is...which I hope gives her comfort.

Brenda is trying to get her Mom settled in as well....with a lot of help from friends.  She got her a Tracfone and is going to get her hooked up with cable TV...so she can watch "The Waltons."

Brenda's Mom enjoys the old-time music.  I can tell ya that I enjoy that sort of music myself.  So she got her hooked up with a CD player and brought her some CD's she had made for her before.

This experience has been a dog gone sad one...but Brenda is handling it with strength and tenacity...hear that Rich Woods...you are not the only one who can use big words.  hahaha!

I am so dog gone proud of her and how her Mom is really trying to adjust to a most difficult situation.

When the weather gets nicer...Brenda said she would take me for a visit.  I would love that.  I miss the pats on the head and how I enjoyed watching how she took such good care of Brenda. 

Well, that's all for this time.  "Trevor's Tales" will be back real soon with another inspiring story.