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