Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Even Duds wanted in on the action. This crazy mutt loves the snow. I am pretty sure he had icicles coming down his chin. Crazy bastard. ;)

This one is after she was inside and warmed up. Very proud of herself, snuggling w/ her baby (who she insists on keeping her naked all the time).

Love these pictures... This was the weekend of the big blizzard. Jake had lots of shoveling to do and Layla said she wanted to help. We were amused by this, since the last time we bundled her up for a day of fun in the snow, she took one digger and got a tiny bit of snow in her mittens and it was all over from there. She wanted to go inside, have some juice and watch Sesame Street. We tried to push her to toughen up, "get back on the bike", etc., but that little stinker just wouldn't stay outside with us. So when the snow was falling like a mother this time around, Jake and I sort of giggled when she said she wanted to play in the snow. But she did it. She played with Jake and trudged through the snow and had a blast. She was so cute in her gear all bundled up. Reminds me of "The Christmas Story" where the younger kid (why can't I remember his name right now?) is so bundled up he can't put his arms down. She didn't look super enthused in the picture by the tree, but that's because she was playing the "serious" game with me. Also known as the staring game ... she tries to stare me down and whoever smiles first loses. Too funny.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thanks for letting me count on you

Said best by Bruno Mars... Here's my thank you to all of you who've stood by my side over the past couple of months since, well, let's just call it "Drop Day" (because all I remember about that day is dropping to the ground like a ton of bricks). Take a listen (Count on Me, Bruno Mars):

Most of you know where we're at now in our journey, but for those of you who don't, I'll give you the super short version only because as selfish as it might sound, reiterating this starts to wear on me and sometimes I just want to stuff all the info, fear, worry and all that comes w/ it into a huge trash compactor. With that said...

Last week Tue we met w/ Dr. Raizer at Northwestern (Robert H Lure Cancer Research Center). He confirmed the big question, which was does "aggressive" mean cancerous? He said that yes, it does. Before you grasp your chest and gasp for air, please remember that the tumor, Thank God, has been removed. But this type of tumor (hemangiopericytoma) is very rare and very aggressive. So, Dr. Raizer's recommendation is to go ahead with radiation treatment. First, he wants me to have a bone scan and CTs of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. This will show us whether there are any traces of anything anywhere else in my body ("hot spots"). After that, I'll have another MRI so that the doctors in Chicago who reviewed my case can get a more clear picture of my brain (the last MRI from 11/22 was still not 100% clear due to surgery). The next MRI will then help the doctors decide which type of radiation I should get - gamma knife, which is a one day procedure that pinpoints one specific area or "regular" (I don't know what it's called dudes) radiation that treats a larger area.

Right now, my days are spent on the phone, scheduling appointments, asking questions, transferring records, explaining my "case" since day one, and making decisions (lots of which I'm not sure are the right ones). It's like having a new job, really. And let me tell you, the job I have at Wells is WAY better. I am lucky if I get one day where I am not on the phone or email w/ some sort of medical person (yes, email. Dr. Raizer actually gave us his personal email addy). I'm thinking about someday becoming a health advocate where I can stand by people who are taken off guard the way we were with some sort of health condition, and have never been through all the nitty gritty that comes w/it. Because I know that when this all started I just listened with wide eyes and nodded. Not now people. Now I'm bossy (right, right, I know, not very different than before, but this time, I'm talking fire out of my nose bossy), persistent and sometimes a little irrational. So if you or anyone you know is going through anything like this, and they want to chat about how to get what they want from doctors and anyone / thing relating to the medical field, just let me know. It's called march your ass into the office / facility and say, "Give me my records and all the other shit you have and I'm making sure they get to the right place." (Thanks for cheering me on, Jenny.)

With all of that said, I'll leave you with this (so you don't think I've lost it or am someone other than myself): Please don't think that as my friend or fam member you cannot talk to me about your life. About the everyday things that are happening with you. About the fact that your week has sucked a big one because your furnace broke, your husband (or wife, back off dudes) is being a neanderthal, you have a ton of shopping to do, your kid is being a misfit, etc. Hearing about your every day lives is helpful for me. I'm finding that some people think they can't talk real w/ me because of what's going on and to be honest, when you give me the edited version of your lives, I want to return it and pay a little more for the unedited version. That's why they're always priced higher and are way better, right?!

Please go out and have a drink or a shot or something for me (cuz I can't until like flippin May). While you're at it, crank this one up. It's one of my favorite's right now and Pink is on my list of people to meet. :) Raise Your Glass -

(For our mature audience, you can just copy and past the URL links noted above into a new browser window and hit enter. Find the song I'm leading you to and click on the little play button; also known as a sideways triangle.) ;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Tree Farm

Yesterday morning, The Sherman's made their annual trek to the Christmas tree farm in Hartford. This place has is a gold mine... They sell trees (obviously) but take you out into the field to pick your own tree. You can tag it and have some dudes come chop it down and bring it in for you, or, if you're married to a lumber jack, you can take one of their saws and have your husband chop it down, then trim the ever loving crap out of it right there in the field and drag it in. Then they mark your tree and tote you and a bunch of other frozen families back to the starting line for hot cocoa and maybe a glimpse at Santa. Layla was lucky enough to get to sit on the tractor with Santa because, believe it or not, daddy is friends with Santa!!

I was so happy to be able to get this tradition in this year. Things have been so busy with doctors appointments, recovery, and Jake's hunting schedule. I wasn't sure if we'd be able to go all out this year. Then, after I tried to get Layla out yesterday to at least make a snow ball with me and she had a meltdown because she didn't like the cold, I wondered if we should even go (okay, and also because I didn't want to freeze and was tired even though it was only like 10 a.m.). But Jake made it happen and it was great. We all came home and crashed for the afternoon. I'm still burned out from that extravaganza, but I'm happy we made it happen.

Off to Chicago to see the oncologist tomorrow. Wish us luck. We will have lots of information after the appointment and I'm hoping it's all helpful and good. Wells Fargo friends, I will be in touch as soon as possible to be sure no one is doing my job better than I did and hopefully give an update as to when I'll be able to come back! :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tick tock, tick tock...

Our Thanksgiving was a good one... Thanks to the Meyers for hosting us and tolerating a 3rd kid being added to the mix. Also, thanks again Theresa for linking us up with Brian and his friend who reviewed my pathology report. From what they say, everything looks really good and they said they'd be surprised if either of the doctors we're seeing over the next couple of weeks recommend radiation or chemo. I suppose they're just sending us their way to take precautionary measures in case the tumor does decide to come back (which, it won't because I won't let it).

Other than that, we're basically in a holding pattern until we see the oncologist at Northwestern (next week Tue) and radiology oncologist at St. Luke's on 12/17. I'm a little frustrated because in between getting these appointments set up myself, (and when I do try to set everything up, I'm hammered with a barrage of questions that may as well be in Latin), I'm either having a mood swing, so damn tired I start to stutter, or can't remember what the heck I'm supposed to be doing (which, normally is sleeping but when your doctors put your recovery and care into your hands instead of theirs, there's kind of a lot to be done). Grrrr. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you need to be aggressive as HELL with the doctors that are taking care of you and / or your family. I'm thankful for the surgeon I had, but that's all he is. A surgeon. He did his job, and now we're being shuffled on to the next guy and let me tell you, whoever the hell it is that does return my calls (from my surgeon's office) when I have questions about this or that, sure does a shitty job of it. If I'm lucky enough to get a call same day, it's never before 6 or 7 at night. Usually later than that. And, she usually doesn't really have an answer for me anyway.

Yesterday I had more blood work done to test the levels of phenytoin (seizure levels or something, who knows). That will tell us how much longer I have to stay on the meds. Today, I've been on the phone with several of my dear friends who have been so supportive and I am at least 2 weeks late in returning their calls. Girls, please forgive me. I've either been too tired, or tied up w/ fam, doctors, or roid rage ;).

I'm playing phone tag w/ my primary physician to talk about when I can go back to work and how soon it will be feasible for me to get through my day w/out napping 3 times a day and not being able to open my right eye (I can open my right eye, but every once in a while, when I'm tired, it gets sticky and sort of only opens 1/2 way... weird, I know). Not sure if I have to make an appt to see her or what. My next follow up w/ my surgeon isn't until 1/10, and I'm sure I won't be able to get in w/ him sooner because getting an appointment with him is like getting an appointment w/ Angelina Jolie - it just doesn't happen unless you're whoever the hell it is that's co-starring w/ her in her latest role.

Sorry for all the inconsistencies in my writing ("with" v. "w/", "appointment" v. "appt"). I suppose I'm just all over the place w/ that right now and know none of you will really care (and, some of you will, you know who you are). ;) Have a great week and hurry up on the Xmas shopping people... Okay, I suppose that's also a little reminder for myself. I'm so not ready!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Good News!

Last night, at about 7:30 (oh, yes, they made me sweat it out for a full day and a half), St. Luke's called. My doctor's physician's assistant was the one who called me. I honestly think my surgeon does like 5 surgeries a day and works minimum 12 hours a day, because she said he had not yet seen the scans as he was in and out of surgeries all day and / or at other clinics for appointments. So, she took a look at the scans herself, as well as the report. She said, that from what she can see, the only "abnormalities" are regular, post-op ones. There were no masses visible on the scans! She did mention something about fluid, but again, I think that was related to surgery. When she was reading to me from the report, I remember thinking, "Okay, that's good. And that's good too." But, I no longer have a short term memory so I can't exactly reiterate what the report said (and Jake was at night class, otherwise I would've just put it on speaker and let him retain everything like he usually does). She did say that of course, Dr. Ahuja will have to confirm everything she told me after he has looked at the scan, but I'd think that if there was something that was "in your face" on the scans, she would know it. And the MRI itself was the longest of the 3 I've had in the last month so I think they were scanning every last bit of my dome. I also had to have some sort of injection half way through so they could see all the vessels clearly, so that makes me think the scans should be pretty clear.

From here, we wait to hear from the radiology oncologist at St. Luke's (next week) and we're supposed to set up an appointment with the Oncologist at Northwestern (probably within a few weeks but for sure w/in the month). This is all cautionary, we're told, because the tumor that I had is aggressive and these teams want to meet to discuss weather I'll have to undergo any sort of treatments, probably to prevent the tumor from coming back? I'm not sure. Let's just hope I don't have to do any radiation treatment or chemo. I've also got my Tee Dawg on the case, and have my MRIs, CTs and pathology report to take with me so that her "brain guy" and "pathology" guy can take a look.

The bad news: Our furnace might be dead. ;) Okay, I probably shouldn't ever say "bad news" in my updates... Just keeping you guys on your toes. In the grand scheme of things, it's not really a big deal, but when you don't have money comin' down from the sky, it's sort of annoying. Good thing Jake feels confident that he's going to take the pot in all 3 of his fantasy football leagues. The guy is obsessed. Let's just hope the refrigerator sticks to it's guns. For all of you who've ever stepped foot in our house, you know it's ready to kick the bucket. Some people have told us it sounds like a loud, sudden cough, some have said a gunshot, some said a car back firing. It doesn't always sound like that. Just intermittently, right when you're chilling out or all is mellow in the house "bam"! Yeah, it's goin' down.

Stay tuned for more updates. For now, looks like we have A LOT to be thankful for!!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you all!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Hey everyone... Sorry for the delay in blog updates. I've been pretty tired and am just now feeling alert enough to type. Oye! Thank goodness for caffeine, right? Here's our latest update:

Last week, I had my follow up C.T., which came up looking fine. I also had my follow up appointment with my surgeon to get the results of my pathology report. The report showed that the tumor was more "aggressive" than they originally thought. Instead of a meningioma, it's actually a hemangioperisytoma (say that ten times fast). DO NOT google that term... Wait for the next update so that we have some firm facts on where we're at with this. I made the mistake of googling it the night after our appointment and had a panic attack because all websites, testimonials and chat rooms say it's cancerous. In fact, one of the chat rooms I found had a girl who asked this question, "My doctor only told me my tumor was more "aggressive" than others. He never said it was cancer. Is it?" This was the exact same situation I had w/ my doctor. The answer is one that would make anyone flip out. (I know, what's the point of telling you not to google it if I just told you the scary part? It's just scary and sometimes conflicting so I don't want you guys to get lost in it like I did). My doctor never said that it was cancerous, he only said the term "aggressive". But he was also only in the room with us for maybe 6 minutes, and when he got up to shake our hands and leave, I was only 1/2 way through my list of questions. You bet your bottom dollar Jake almost ninja chopped him and made him wait while I finished going through my list. But we were so lost and actually wanting to get out of there so bad (because of the last experience we had there) that we hadn't processed a lot of what he had just told us about our next steps.

I'll try to give you the short version as far as our next steps go... First, I had another MRI yesterday. No results yet, but I hope to get them today. They ordered the MRI to see if anything has regenerated (because a hemangioperisytoma is a rare type of tumor that regenerates faster than others). The good news is that my surgeon says he got all of the tumor during surgery, so (and this is my fact / assumption, not his) the likelihood that anything has regenerated since 10/27is low. Because the tumor is one that may come back and can be cancerous (we'll find out more when we meet the specialists) we are going to meet the radiology oncologist at St. Luke's, and an oncologist at Northwestern University in Chicago (we were referred to these doctors by our surgeon). These specialists will review my "case" from day 1 and decide what they believe we should do in terms of next steps (radiology perhaps, possibly chemo, maybe neither if my MRI shows nothing) and from there I'll just have the facts and will continue on having MRIs, well, probably forever).

We are continuing on with our original Thanksgiving Day plans, which is to travel up to Osceola, WI to see Theresa ("Tee Dawg") and her friends and family. Theresa is some sort of genius who works at 3M with other geniuses, including a neuroscientist who studied the brain and various types of brain tumors while in school. Theresa was kind enough to pass my most recent diagnosis on to him on Friday, and he spent the weekend researching it. He also has a very good friend who, believe it or not, is the head of pathology at HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center). We will be bringing a copy of the pathology report on our trip with us, as Theresa says the head pathologist (sorry, I don't remember his name) might be able to meet with us on Friday. It never hurts to get a second opinion right? Jake also called our primary doctor (who is amazing) today, who explained that although this particular type of tumor is might be cancerous, there's still a chance that my tumor could be benign. We'll know more after we see the specialists. In any event, that was a ray of hope for us. :)

We hope to have the results of the MRI today, at which point I may or may not post to the blog. I suppose it depends on how I'm doing emotionally... And, I tend to forget things a lot lately (yep, even more than I used to), so if you don't see an update, don't panic. Feel free to text or something. :)

Please just send out good energy, think positive and pray (if you do that). ;) That's what we're doing.

More to come...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Onion verdict... and some other stuff

I'm not sure I can provide a true verdict on the onion home remedy. I gave it a shot, and the only results I ended up with were a stinky house, stinky face, and stinky hair. I still had ear pain on Friday, so made a doctor's appointment (thanks for the ride, Tasha). My concern was that I'd get there and the doctor would tell me, "Uh, no, you don't have an ear infection dummy. You just had brain surgery, and the pain is a result of your skull being cracked into right by your ear." I pretty much hit the nail on the head with that premonition. No ear infection, just pain caused by pressure that I'm having in sinuses and eustachian tubes from a cold I have. Yippeeee! So there's nothing I can do about it except snort my nasal steroids that I was put on a few months ago because I have chronic sinus infections. Had I been following doctors orders with the nose spray prior to Friday? Of course not. Why? Because nose spray sucks. But, if it's going to prevent issues like this, I suppose I should start listening. My ear is starting to feel better and my headaches, for the most part, are starting to get a tad better. Although, I have noticed that every day since last Tuesday I wake up with a killer headache (not just in the a.m., also after any naps I take). I think it's because there's added pressure in my brain when I lay down (Jake said when we were in the hospital, the monitors that I was hooked up to always showed higher "pressure" numbers when I was laying down at anything less than a 30 degree angle). So, I'm pretty much sleeping sitting up these days.

Now it's time to gripe about the drugs they have (and had) me on. Steroids are done. Thank God... but I'm sure the migraines had something to do with me being tapered off them last week. I say thank God because dudes, steroids make you FAT. Now, let me say that I know what you're all thinking... "You should count your blessings and be thankful that you're alive and not worry about your weight." I know that. I really do. But this is hard and really makes you feel like a pile of dooky. Before this all happened I was in full swing with a new workout routine and was doing weight watchers again. All was good. Steroids make your face puff up like the State Puff Marshmallow man and give you the munchies like you wouldn't believe. Now, I will say that yes, I could've made better choices with the munchies I chose, but I'm pretty sure if I started mowing baby carrots my brain would've said, "Nice try. Now just grab that piece of pizza you idiot."

Not so long ago, I made it a rule that I wouldn't weigh myself anymore because scales are evil and weight, like age, is just a number. Even when I go to the doctor, I don't look at the scale. I look at my feet. My primary doctor's nurse even knows that when I'm there, she is NOT to say my weight out loud because I don't want to hear it. Unfortunately, on Friday when I went to see the doctor, the scale did something annoying (loud beeping sound that threw me into an ICU flashback) and I looked up to see the horrifying 3 digit number. Let me tell you, I was about ready to bitch slap the scale and run out of there. I know this is all part of recovery, and it is what it is. But again, it's frustrating and makes me super self-conscious when I'm "out and about". I told Jake I feel like people are gawking at me, thinking, "Holy tub-a-lub". He gave me the, "Okay, crazy girl" look which helped a bit, but I can't help feeling that way when I am out (which isn't often).

This week I'm focusing on healthy foods, "moderate" exercise (cuz I'm told that's all I can do, blah) and positive thoughts. I am thankful to be alive and for my friends and family and KNOW that weight is just a stupid number. But I also know that I am not a fan of my new muffin top or my "moon face" (that's an actual term used by others who've been on the roids, I saw it on a chat forum when I was feeling sorry for myself).

Now off to my to-do list. Lots of phone calls to make this morning and then it'll be crash time. My anti-seizure meds start messing with me between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. They usually make me start shaking like someone pumped me full of high diesel coffee, then they make me dizzy, then nauseous, then I pass out (note really, I just go to sleep). Whooo hooo! ;)

Quote for the day: If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. - Mary Engelbreit

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who needs perfume when you've got onions?

I'm gonna go ahead and mark this week down as one of the lower points in recovery. Tuesday and Wednesday were taken over by migraines and today I am fairly certain that I have an ear infection - in my right ear (surgery side) no less. I think I've been coming down with this for days, but I just blamed the pain on surgery. But now I'm to the point where it feels like someone is jamming a nail in my ear. It's awesome, let me tell you.

Since it's almost 8:00 on a Thursday, I'm sure as hell not making any plans to hit up the ER or walk-in clinic. Just thinking about making an appointment for tomorrow to see the doctor AGAIN makes me wrinkle my nose. I know it's necessary to see the doctor(s) as often as I do now, but dude, I'm so sick of clinics and hospitals. So I did some research on home remedies (stop laughing, BMeyer), and found that apparently if I cook an onion in the oven for an hour at 350 (where's the little symbol that signifies "degrees" on your keyboard?), drop the cooked onion in a canning jar (or whatever), prick it so it steams and put it on your ear until it stops steaming, the infection will be "gone". Now, I'm not holding my breath here, but several different sites swore by this so why not give it a try? I literally have nothing else to do. Jake's at parent teacher conferences and Layla's finally in bed.

I'm seriously jazzed to see how hot Jake thinks I am with the smell of onion steam all over me though. And I'm pretty sure the entire house is going to smell like a giant stinky onion. Oh boy, this is gonna be awesome.

I'll post the results. If my ear still feels like someone put a nail gun to my right ear tomorrow, I'll suck it up and go to the doctor. Oh yeah, I can't drive. Anyone want to drive me to the Hartford Aurora Clinic if this onion thing doesn't work out?

Mama mia.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to me...

Yesterday was my 33rd Birthday. Wow, seriously? 33? I'm not really one of those people who gets overly concerned with age - it's just a number - but when you think about it, 33 sure as hell isn't 23. ;) I can tell you for sure that I am more aware of my age since I've hit my "30's" than I ever was before. A few things I've noticed over the past few years that are telling of my age:
  1. Hangovers last more than one day and are straight up not worth the "fun" that causes them.
  2. My metabolism went on a permanent vacation I think around the time I turned 30, maybe 31. If you see Mr. Metabolism, please send him back my way.
  3. There's no shame in coloring your own hair... If you don't screw it up, no one knows it came out of a damn box.
  4. I don't feel like there's any reason to stay up later than 9 (or 9:30 on nights when things get crazy... like when there's laundry to do or extra dishes to be done).
  5. I've found a new appreciation for the "staycation". No packing, no cabs or airplanes, and just relaxing at home with no worries is sweet.
  6. When we have our next baby, I might be in the "high risk" category because I'll be fast approaching 35 when the little one is born.
  7. Professional athletes are starting to look like teenagers to me.
  8. When someone drives down our street too fast, I mumble, "Man, slow down already, there are kids on this street."
  9. Sometimes I prefer talk radio to music when driving (well, when I could drive).
  10. I love waking up early so that I can have coffee with Jake and watch the weather forecast with him. :)

All in all, 33 isn't half bad. My day yesterday was a great one... my great friend Jaimie came to get me in the a.m. and drove me to Target to pick up a few things I've been meaning to get as a gift for my friend's nephew. After that, she took me for a super awesome lunch, and then home for my nap. The nap was very much needed and I slept hard. Then, Jaimie, her husband Jason and their little one Mason came back with pizza for my Birthday dinner! Yummm! Honestly, is there a better pizza than Papa Murphy's?? Layla and Mason played great together and Layla was beat after the Schultz family left.

I did discover last night that there are still limitations to the things I can do in one day since surgery. I need to be napping more and doing less. I ended up with a pretty severe migraine last night, one that was so bad I couldn't move and it eventually lead to tears. :( I ended up finally finding a bit of comfort after I put a few ice packs on my head and taking a few Benadryl to help me sleep (yep, I okayed that with the pharmacist who knows all the other meds I'm on).

Today will be spent doing a whole lot of sleeping. Then, off to the doctor for blood tests and, to get my staples out!!! VERY excited about that. Thanks in advance to my friend Jenny who will be my driver for the day.

Thanks to everyone for all the amazing Birthday wishes!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Flying solo - Day 1

Today is my first day since the afternoon of 10/19 being solo. Well, I'm not sure you can really count this as being solo when I have my big helper dog Hudson at my side, but you catch my drift. This morning our friend and neighbor, Lori, was the chauffeur for daycare, and my day is filled with lots of exciting and crazy events - sleeping and making more doctor's appointments. I know, it's going to be just like a party!

I'm pretty sure most of my day will be spent napping, as I'm tired already. Not sure how that's possible but I suppose I'll blame it on the surgery and daylight savings. Anyone else feel like hunting down the person who thought up this daylight savings scam and scaring the life out of him until he takes it all back and just lets it be whatever the hell time it is forever?? Layla sure doesn't give a hoot that when she's up at 5:00 it's really still 6:00. Last night though, she did fall asleep on my lap on the couch and didn't really wake up even when Jake picked her up and carried her off to bed. So maybe her bedtime will be a bit earlier for a little while?

Nothing exciting to report today besides my oh so exciting to do list. Not that I'm asking for a larger list or more responsibility at this point. The thought of that overwhelms me and I'm very thankful for the fact that I have this time to rest and recover. I'm sure I'll be fine, but sometimes I find myself wondering if I should have one of those necklace thingies that has a, "Help! I've fallen, and I can't get up!" button on it. ;)

Tomorrow is my 33rd Birthday... my slogan for this year: "33 and tumor free!" Maybe I should make a shirt? The Schultz's are coming over for a Bday visit with some dinner, so I know we'll have a good time and that Layla will have a blast with their little Mason Man!

Happy Monday to ya'll!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thank You Tee

12:02 on Saturday... Sitting next to energy ball (aka: Layla) while she eats her lunch and making an attempt at providing an update to ya'll. We'll see how long this lasts. Her favorite thing to do when I'm on the computer is grab my arms and pull them off the keyboard and say, "Mommy! Be done!" I think this little one is getting sick of my mug around here, that's for sure. What she really needs is some fresh air, so hopefully after we both get our nap in I can get her out and get some wind in her face.

Theresa left this morning, after spending 4 nights here completely catering to our every need. And not just my needs... Layla's too. If Layla had to potty, Tee was on it. Needed her p.j.'s on, Tee got it. Had laundry to be cleaned (and man, Layla had a lot of laundry this week because she had 3 accidents at nap time at daycare which means we're sent home w/ pee soaked stuff), needed a snack, a meal, some snuggling... You name it, Tee was on it. She pretty much hung up her mommy name tag at home before leaving Osceola, and put mine on when she walked in the door. Girl, you are amazing. On top of all the mommy duties she took over for me, she was our chauffeur for the week. While she multi-tasked on work calls, she drove Layla and I to the doctor, took me out for coffee (yes, she monitored my intake and only let me have on caffeine blast a day), AND took me for a full on deluxe mani / pedi. We were lucky enough to get the timing to work out for our friend Jenny too, and the 3 of us hit a late lunch after our spa treatment! What a day. By about 3:30 that afternoon though, I was beyond spent. Theresa literally put me to bed that afternoon, folded some more of Layla's laundry and went and picked her up from school for me.

I feel so blessed to have you in my life Theresa. Seems like just yesterday our wolverine husbands introduced us and we partied like rock stars in your old school apartment. I can't wait to make the next trip to the Meyer ranch and nuzzle the boys and see the rest of the Meyer crew. Thank you for everything. I love you!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Let the insomnia begin...

Hmmm... turns out the meds they have me on are not ones that are willing to let me get any real rest. I thought for sure at least the pain meds I'm on would push me into sleep land a bit. No such luck. I've been noticing over the last few nights that I am just wound tight at bedtime and cannot settle down this brain of mine (ironic, isn't it?). Originally, I was told the seizure meds I'm on will make me drowsy, but they don't. They make me dizzy and disoriented, but not drowsy. Plop a few steroids throughout the day on top of that and you've got one tweaked out A-Train. It constantly feels like I'm on edge with a little bit of tired dashed on top. I am able to "rest" (meaning snuggle up with a cozy blanket and veg a bit), but not actually sleep. Oh, another added bonus, the seizure meds make me itch, and sweat. So let me tell you, I am one hot piece of mama to be sleeping next to for Jake. I'm wiggly, itchy and seriously breaking out in hot flash night sweats. Now that's hot.

The last time I looked at the clock last night was midnight, and I tossed and turned from there. I gave up and came out to watch a DVR'd episode of "Desperate Housewives" at 3:00 a.m., and here I sit now, watching some trashy "Extra" episode and wondering if I should have some toast.

You guys... Is this blogging thing annoying? For me, it's sort of therapeutic, but sometimes I wonder if it's too much. You know, sort of like when you get trapped in a conversation with one of those people who just won't shut the hell up about themselves?? That is so flipping obnoxious. I'm hoping that the fact that you cannot read up on the updates without pursuing the site yourself saves you from some of the "in your faceness" of it all, but please know that if you keep coming out here for more meaningful posts only to be disappointed, I'll understand fully if you want to take a break from my recovery for a while. :)

Ooohhh... I should really go. There's an extended preview of the new movie, "Burlesque" with Cher and Christina Aguilara on Extra... KIDDING. Not a Christina fan in the least. If I saw her on the street I'd give her a high five for being a diva, but I wouldn't go see this movie if you paid me. Ick.

Happy Wednesday! Oh, and a quick follow-up to my last post... Theresa made it here without a hitch last night, and as I walked down our sidewalk to her car to greet her, I saw the tears well up in her eyes. She grabbed me so tight I thought my head might pop off, shook me and said, "Don't you ever do that to me again! You scared the shit out of me!" I told her I wouldn't, and we proceeded to cry it out in the driveway. I knew that would happen. My "Tee Dawg", to the rescue.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is it sinking in?

It's hard to believe it's been two full weeks since this whirlwind all started. October 19th is when I went down like a ton of bricks in our bathroom, and was woken by our champion dog Hudson, who literally had my head cradled in his arms and was blowing in my face to wake me up. A few procedures, a ton of pokes and prods and tests and a brain surgery later, I keep finding myself asking whether this is all real. Every night I have the oddest dreams (probably drug induced) and each morning, I have woken up wondering if this all really happened.

For some odd reason, today seems like things are starting to sink in with everything that has happened. A few times, I've found myself with tears welling up, overwhelmed with the emotion of it all, thanking God that I'm here in my home, breathing this air and looking forward to driving (in the passenger seat) to daycare with Jake in just a few minutes to see our little blondie running across the playground at us. Not for a millisecond of my lifetime will I ever take another thing for granted. I won't take the playground runs for granted, the moments I spend trying to get Layla to "stand straight" when I'm putting her overnight pull-up on, not even the times when she's fighting me because she "needs to stretch" more in the morning before getting ready for school. Jake is coming out of this whole ordeal pretty set too... I told him last night that I'm fairly certain we will not be fighting about anything ever again. Now, one might argue that again, that statement could be a side effect of my drugs, but people, I'm really not that doped up. I'm only on anti-seizure meds, steroids and codeine. Whoopi di doo. All I really want to do at any given moment is wrap my arms around my lumber jack and tell him how much I love him and how thankful I am that he's my husband.

My dear friend, Theresa (aka: "Tee Dawg", "Tee Money", "Theres'a") is on the road from the far West side of Sconnie as we speak to come stay with me until Saturday. A five hour drive for her... bless her heart. I had a dream last night that when she got here, I cried my eyes out. I have a feeling that dream will see itself to fruition. Poor girl was so worried about me on the day of surgery that she told Jake she fell down at one point, and, made coffee without adding any water.

Recovery is going well. Still slow, and tired, but how's that really any different that before? ;) I'm lucky to be enjoying the comfort of my home, and have been able to rest comfortably in between medicine doses (man, you should see my arsenal... it looks like a nursing home here).

Stay tuned... We are off to get blondie and I promised her ice cream before school today. You thought she had me around her little finger before!!!

Live life to its fullest my friends!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Whooo hooo!! I'm a sassy bumble bee queen!!! She was so pumped to be rockin' this outfit!!!

Dingin doorbells with Meggie and Trey Dawg.

Let's go daddy!!!

Let's see how much of this candy we can get away with eating in one sitting Trey.

I got two pumpkin candy holders here, just in case (and dudes, she used them both).
Yesterday was a biiiig day. Mommy got to make the big walk around the block with Layla and daddy and some of our friends so that Layla could trick-or-treat. We brought the wagon, for me. But, I didn't need to use it! Aren't you proud? I had to make a few stops here and there to get my balance and take a few deep breaths, but I made it home thank goodness. I was super tired afterwards and decided that I should give it some time before making another trip around the block anytime soon. Honestly, it felt like I went to Disneyland for the entire day after that walk!
Today is going to be a great day of R&R, thank goodness. Layla is back at daycare and Jake is here to help, as always. Things have been a bit nuts with visitors and our door hasn't stopped spinning since I got home, so I think I'll be taking advantage of some serious quiet time today to get some zzz's in.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Wells Fargo Family

So I mentioned in my last post that I owed my Wells Fargo Family a huge thank you post for the amazing support they've given me since this whole thing has started. I feel so blessed to have the job that I do as I actually get to write for a living, which is what I like doing, although sometimes I'd prefer to be writing about traveling, wine, or other more social activities instead of planning for retirement, but someones got to teach the world to save their pennies so they can do all of that fun stuff when they do quit working, right? On top of enjoying what I do on a daily basis, I am also lucky enough to work with an amazing group of people, who, from day one treated me like a friend or family member, not just your run of the mill coworker. I started with this group just before I had Layla girl (before that I was with Wells, but working in a slightly different division). One thing I remember clearly when interviewing for this position was that the girls on my team were all very adorable and trendy. Is that shallow? I just thought, "Oh, look at her hair cut! It's so cute" (Christine), and, "My gosh, her skin is perfect and she has the best jewelry" (Christy), and, "This one must be super smart because she is a cute little young one with very pretty, shiny hair" (Heather). I know... this is all very weird. But I'm weird. So it shouldn't come as a surprise. I also remember that when I went in for the interview I was hugely pregnant and sort of kept that little gem in my pocket because I wasn't sure if it was something I should spring on the group before they met me. One of my bosses, Jennifer, greeted me at the interview and was just so nice about everything. She was congratulating me and smiling, all the while I'm thinking, "This girl has style too! What is this, the 'style division' of Wells?!"

Anyway, enough of the total background on my immediate team at Wells. If you'd like to know their blood types I can probably get those for you if you need. ;) So let's get back to when this all started. The day it happened, I decided it would be a good idea to go into work because I had an important meeting at 9:00 that day (Drew, you know what I'm talking about). ;) As soon as a few of my coworkers got wind that I had "fainted" that a.m., concerned eyes started bulging and I proceeded to follow their advice and made a doctor's appointment. From then on, my team was nothing but supportive. Keeping in touch via phone / texts, etc. My poor friend Heather was the one who had to take the first teary / scared phone call from me the following day when they admitted me into St. Luke's. She's so sweet. She just told me to stay calm (that's Heather, she's our rock) and that she would let everyone know and would only be a call away. My boss, Drew, was amazing as well, helping me get things set up for my leave and being very understanding with everything.

In the short time that there was for everyone at work to absorb this, my immediate team and others that I work with across the country rallied for me and helped contribute to an amazingly generous and thoughtful care package that Christine, a tiny peanut of a girl, delivered to me in all but a hurricane at the hospital. Awesome magazines, movies, the Sex and the City box DVD set, The Sopranos, adorable Old Navy slipper boots, Victoria's Secret jammies and socks, trident layers (Paul, was that you?) ;), and more, more, more. I was so touched. Thank you Wells, you really brought a smile to my face and continue to do so as I squirm my way through recovery.

Today seems like I'm feeling a bit better. Still slow as a snail and can't do much at all before I feel like I need to do heavy breathing exercises and take a nap, but at least I'm home and with my family. We'll be taking Layla trick-or-treating today (she'll be a bumble bee) so I hope to be able to post some pics later. I will try to avoid landing in any of them... I think I'll be in a wheel chair, which is funny and embarrassing at the same time.

Happy Halloween!!! And, THANK YOU WELLS!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Home sweet home...

I got to come home from the hospital last night. Man, was that nice (and scary). The trip home seemed like it took a long time, probably because I was anxious and it was a bit uncomfortable, but Jake did a good job of making the drive smooth in good 'ol Ronda the Honda and we were home by about dinner time last night. Making my entrance was a bit overwhelming, as Layla was beyond excited and she jumped at me like a cheetah in the wild. I was able to get down to her level but explained to her that I couldn't pick her up for a while. She did okay with that and was very gentle me. What a sweetie pie. Hudson was beyond excited to see me as well and I had to give him the stiff arm a few times to be sure he didn't knock me over or head butt me.

One thing that took me a bit off guard was how exhausting simple things like moving around and talking were last night. I think I was home for maybe a full hour before I gave up and just went to bed. My head was pounding, I was dizzy and just plain beat. Jake had to spend a few good hours at the pharmacy at Walmart getting all my new meds filled (sounds like fun, right?) and by the time he was home all I wanted was drugs and sleep. Thank God for modern medicine. I was able to get a pretty good night sleep... Layla did wake up at about 2:00 a.m., running and screaming, "Mommy! Mommy! Don't leave me!" through the house. What a sweetie... she was scared I was going to have to leave and go back to the hospital. I put her back to bed and told her I was here to stay. Then, a few hours later I gave up and went to sleep on the couch because my Shrek has a cold and was sawing serious logs, keeping me up. My little Layla joined me on the couch at about 7:00 to snuggle.

I think one of the most precious things I'll remember out of this is how Layla has been through everything. She has grown up so much on the past week. Last night, all she wanted to do was take care of me. When I told her I had to go to bed to rest she told me, "Okay mommy. I will help you." She grabbed my hand, walked me to bed, put my blankets on me, shut off my light and told me before she shut the door, "If you need anything mommy, just call me." I'm serious. What a little love bug.

Today, I took a shower and got all the sick gook out of my hair. It was so great. Exhausting, but great. I feel a bit less like that freaky guy from Pet Cemetery now and more like a real person. I think I'll be whipping out some headbands soon.

Sounds like I'll have a few visitors this afternoon and then just layin' low. Hopefully I'll have the strength to take Layla trick or treating tomorrow. I might even borrow a wheel chair from a friend who works at the hospital. We'll see. ;)

Thanks again to everyone for everything... More updates to come. And a huge thank you post is on its way for my Wells Fargo family who spoiled the ever loving crap out of me with the most fantastic care package on earth. You guys rule.

No more lumpy dome

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brain surgery complete :)

Well, it's Thursday morning and I'm recovering in the NSICU at St. Luke's. I'm told yesterday's surgery was a success. They were able to remove all of the tumor (some of which was attached to my skull so they had to do some burning or something to get it off) and are quite sure that it's benign. They will know more in a few days when the pathology report is back. The good news, is that during surgery, I didn't wake up. During the first procedure, where they blocked the blood flow to the tumor, I did. Let me tell you, that was scary and weird.

I will say that brain surgery is no walk in park though, that's for sure. I remember waking up from surgery when they were taking my breathing tube out, and I was NOT happy. I was in serious pain. Honestly, it felt like someone whipped me upside the head with a giant club. I was scared and in pain and I told my doctors the only person I wanted to see was Jake because I didn't want my other family members to see me in so much pain. Poor Jake... I was crying my eyes out, shaking and holding my head. I don't think my pain started to go away until at least a few hours after surgery, but once all the drugs they were pumping in me started to really take hold, I was able to get some sleep.

This morning, I'm feeling better. They wheeled me in for another C.T. scan at about 5 this a.m. and all went well, I think. They just brought me breakfast and I haven't eaten since Tue, so I'm going to give this a go. More to come later.

Thanks again to everyone for the support and love.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Let's do this...

Oh my dear family and friends... There are so many of you that I've received phone calls, emails and texts from over the last few days that I haven't been able to get back to. For that, I apologize. Things have been just crazy with keeping things "normal" for Layla, making sure the house is set for us to leave, getting the in-laws prepped for Layla care, daycare drop off and routines, meals, etc., (not that we have to do all of that, but you know me, I'm neurotic and completely over the top when it comes to my little one. I even have a notebook filled with lists and tips for the in-laws, complete with tabs that stick out with hints like, "Daycare", "Phone #'s", "Misc").

I just finally put Layla to bed (and yes, it's almost 10:00 p.m.), finished packing for the hospital and have completed all my lists... I think. :) I'm tired and nervous but ready to get this show on the road. It's hard to believe that tomorrow will be the one week anniversary of when this all started. It feels like it's been going on for much longer than that. I hope to God I am able to sleep tonight. I'm thinking that won't be a problem though, because I'm dead tired from my day and the meds they have me on more or less make me feel like a walking zombie.

Jake's parents made us an amazing stew for dinner, and I totally over did it with my helpings. I can't eat after midnight tonight, and since the big surgery is on Wed, I am pretty sure I won't be seeing food again until sometime on Thursday. For those of you who know me, I love food a bit more than I should, so that whole fasting idea just straight up agitates me. Oh well, I'm sure there's a good reason for it. I know what I'll be dreaming about over the next few nights (mmm... pizza).

Tomorrow might turn out to be an emotional morning. I'm blessed with the luxury of being able to take Layla to daycare (with Jake, of course, because I can't drive) and see her off on the big Halloween party day. It will make me happy to see her trot off with excitement knowing her party is coming and that she'll be putting her bumble bee costume on sooner than later (thanks Teagan). But, I am sure the moment will be bitter-sweet, since I know that I won't see her for the next few days and the next time I do I'll likely have a sweet / scary scar on my dome and a lot less hair. I hope that doesn't scare her.

Now it's time for me to wind down, send out a few texts and get some shut eye. Again, thanks so much to everyone for the calls, thoughts, gifts, visits, and prayers.

Stay tuned for more updates on the blog. Hopefully Jake can remember our login info. ;)

Lumpy Dome

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The unexpected...

I'm hoping that there won't be any of you who are finding out about how the Sherman house was turned upside down last week for the first time via this blog entry. I've been trying my hardest to get in touch with all our family and friends, but it's been pretty challenging because we're so blessed with such an amazing network of people who love us so much and are calling and emailing with questions and concerned thoughts. If this is the first time you're getting wind of this, I apologize. Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments, etc., to our blog and / or email either Jake or I whenever you'd like to reach out: or Our cell numbers: April - 414.248.1775, Jake - 414.248.1774. The good news is, although this is all very scary, serious and unexpected, my prognosis (as unbelievable as it may sound) is good. I'm walking and talking, which is a true blessing. I'm told that once I'm through all that's coming in the next few weeks, I'll be on my way to a full recovery. Okay, now I'll get on with it...

On Tuesday of last week, I fainted while getting ready for work. Who knows why, but after regrouping, I continued on with my day and went to work (what? I needed to keep up the routine at least for Layla and get her off to daycare and jet out for my 9:00 meeting). ;) I did make an appointment with my doctor for that morning at 11:15, however. At the appointment, they ran some blood tests and did a C.T. scan. When my doctor called with the results, she said that my blood tests all came back looking good, but that the C.T. showed some swelling on the right, front of my brain. She immediately scheduled me to come back to the hospital for an MRI. A few hours later, the results of my MRI were in, and showed that I have an Atypical Meningioma (most likely, a slow-growing, benign tumor). In fact, the radiologist that reviewed my MRI results told my doctor that judging by its size and shape (1.5 inches and shaped like a small, chocolate Easter egg... my description, not the doctor's), his recommendation was for me to continue on with life as usual and come back in 3 months for another MRI to see whether the tumor has grown. Of course, neither Jake or I are 100% comfortable with just "chilling" with a tumor in my brain (however "benign" it might be), and neither was my doctor, so we were scheduled to see a neurologist the next day at St. Luke's.

On Wednesday, we went to see the neurologist to get his opinion on my MRI scans. The appointment took a long time, but when I finally did see a doctor, his instant opinion was that the tumor had caused a seizure (which caused me to lose consiousness on Tuesday), and the seizure had caused brain swelling. He said the tumor needed to be removed, without a doubt (he also said that the radiologist who reviewed my MRI scans originally would be getting a call from him, uh oh). Then he told me that I would be admitted into the hospital that day, meaning I wouldn't even get to go home. They wanted to get me in right away to do an EKG, EEG, and angiogram. The EKG was fine (I think, because I never heard anything back on it), the EEG was mostly fine, but they did see some "activity" that assured them that a seizure had at least occurred, and the angio confirmed the suspicion that there are blood vessels connecting to the tumor that need to be blocked before surgery (to prevent stroke and / or excessive bleeding during surgery). So, on Tuesday of next week, I'll be admitted to have the procedure that will block the vessels and I'll stay in the hospital until Wed, when I'll have brain surgery. I'll be in the hospital anywhere from Tue-Fri or Sun. Not sure on that yet. I'm not allowed to drive for 3 months, which is devastating because I think it feels like something has been taken away from me.

While at home (and thank God I get these few days to be at home to relax, sleep in my own bed, and snuggle all of the love out of my baby girl), I'm on a boat load of drugs that are keeping me safe while I'm not plugged into all of the high tech gadgets in the ICU (steroids, anti-seizure meds and meds that are supposed to prevent ulcers or something).

Jake has been amazing. He is taking care of making all the phone calls that need to be made, setting up Layla care, drivers, etc. I am so thankful for that. He's also helping me focus on the now, rather than the future (meaning, focus on getting through next week instead of the "how will we do this?" and "what if that?").

Thank you to everyone for all of your phone calls, texts, emails, visits and good energy vibes and prayers. Thanks so much for all of the care packages and food too! I feel so amazingly blessed to have such a wonderful network of family and friends in my life.

Lots of love and smiles,
April (aka: "Lumpy Brain")

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumkin Patch 2010

On Saturday, Jake and I took Layla girl to Harvest Days in Kohler with the Grit fam (Greg, Kamie, Adella and Gabe). The day was filled with sunshine and 80 degree weather and almost too much fun to handle. By far, the tractor / trailer ride was Layla's favorite (a few times I thought mabye we were going to tip over... the driver really had no care in the world and was ripping through Kohler like he had a fire to put out). She was so pumped to get to pick her own pumpkin, and was not so amused / thrilled with the corn maze. I don't blame her - what's the big deal with corn mazes, anyway?

We ended the trip with some climbing on a gigantic castle made of hay. Della and Layla thought this castle was thre greatest thing since apple juice (or, in Della's case, chocloate milk). When the parents decided it was time to go home, we received a full blown meltdown from both girls. I guess that means they had fun though, right? :) Layla was passed out cold before we even got out of Kohler! Great time had by all!

Layla at the top of the hay castle! :)
Making her way back down...

"Nooooooo!!!!!!!!!! I don't want to go home! Ever! I want to stay here and live in this hay castle!!!"

"Bump it, Della! We made it to the top!"

Two peas in a pod - Layla and Della.

In the corn maze... "Daddy, eat your corn."

Havin' a blast!

Dare devil Della! She has no fear!

See... no fear.


Della was crazy about the corn maze! Wherever there was a sign that said stay on the path, she took that as a sign to jump directly into the corn. Again, no fear. :)

Three pumpkins for the Sherman's - Daddy's is the biggin's, Layla's is the medium one and mom's is the small one. :)

Layla and Della waiting for the tractor to pick us up for our ride out to the pumpkim patch. They were so jazzed.

Check this sucker out!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Freddy the Frog... Oh Man!

Okay, so this video cracks me up. The other night, Layla and I were snuggling in her bed, having story time. Her latest thing is reading her books to me. It's adorable, because she makes up the story according to things she remembers from when we read to her, or, just from the pictures she sees. At this point, we were past her bed time and she was really tired. So tired that she just sort of gave up on telling the story... Click here to see Layla reading Freddy the Frog

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Zoo Trip

Oh yeah, this zoo trip was over a month ago, but hey, I'm posting pics now so shut it (I say that with all the love and humor in the world).

This was Layla's last field trip for the summer, and man was it fun. They had enough chaperon es to let Layla and I be 1 on 1, so it was like we got our very own "Mommy and Layla day" at the zoo. We got to do our own thing, see whichever animals we wanted to, whenever we wanted, and we rode the carousel and choo choo train a couple of time too. We even stopped for a few snacks and on one occasion, Layla actually uttered the words, "How 'bout we take a quick rest?" Amazing, as I am quite certain I've never heard those words come out of her mouth.

The trip was a full day, so none of the kids had a nap. Let me tell you, by the afternoon, there were some dragging little ones. On the bus ride home, I had Layla sleeping on one side of me, and her tiny peanut friend Alanna (girl on the left in the picture below) sleeping on my other side.

All in all, this was by far one of my favorite mommy / Layla days I've had yet. It was so awesome to just hang out with Layla one on one and really interact with her and see what excites her. And watching her "lead the way" like a very confident little girl was the best. I can't wait for the next fun thing we get to do together... Here we come, pumpkin patch!!!

Chuggin' a lemonade on a warm late summer day!

Layla's favorite animal at the zoo is the zebra, so naturally, she picked the zebra for her carousel ride!


Layla on the choo choo train.

Here's my ticket! All aboooaaaard!

Layla and her friend Jade being goofy at lunch time.

From left to right: Alanna, Layla and Jade. BFF's!

RRRRaaaaaar!!! Yes! This lion actually got right up in our grills! It was awesome!

So adorable... mommy lion and daddy lion, snuggling.

Layla w/ cheese popcorn on her face, standing in front of the lion. Not sure what they were looking at.

I think Layla was pointing out zebras in this one (her favorite).

Taking a snack break next to the pond. We also threw a few snacks in for the ducks.

My little flower child.

More snacks! I think was right after she asked to take a quick rest. :)

Shark tank!

Here, you can see Layla's zoo checklist - an awesome checklist with pictures and facts about the animals that my coworker made for her to take on our trip!