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.