Sunday, February 9, 2014

So remember that one day....when I had brain surgery? {Part 1}

It's been almost five months since my surgery. 
{If you don't have a clue what I am talking about
you can read all my brain tumor posts HERE.
Just scroll to the bottom and start reading up.}

As I type that I think...
Wow, seriously? Five months?
It seems both a long time ago and just yesterday.

It dawned on me after getting a bunch of sweet blog reader 
emails this past week and weekend that I hadn't really 
ever written a post about my surgery and recovery. 
And y'all, I'm so sorry!

Recovery was CRAZY hard work in the beginning and
took every bit of energy and concentration I had.
Then once I started feeling better, I went back to work and I was crazy TIRED
 all of the time and there just wasn't any extra time or energy
to do much blog writing or much of anything extra.

There were so many truly amazing things that happened 
and God was SO good and SO faithful and SO gracious through it all
that I definitely want to put it down in writing so I don't forget
all of God's tremendous blessings through this storm in my life.  

So....let's go back.

The Sunday before my surgery my sweet, precious friend Gina flew in to town. 
Her plan was to stay as long as I needed her.

Have you ever had someone do something so amazing
 for you that you'll NEVER, EVER be able to repay them?
 I have. 
My precious friend Gina put her life on hold, left her sweet family,
 took off from work, used vacation time simply to come be with me and 
help me through surgery and the first few weeks of recovery. 
Each time I think of all that she's done for me- 
waking me each night at 3am to take my pain medicine, 
washing my hair for me since I couldn't get my incision wet for over two weeks, 
sleeping every other night at the hospital in the worlds most uncomfortable chair, 
fixing my meals, updating my Caring Bridge site-
 and how selflessly and lovingly she did it all I cry. 
I cry because I honestly don't know if I could have done this without her.
 I love her more than she could possibly know and 
although I will never be able to repay her- 
I praise God for blessing me with her. 

She flew in on Sunday and I took her to Buc-ee's 
{Buc-ee's is this crazy HUGE gas station/store that we have in Texas}
and a super neat little cupcake food truck in Austin
called Hey Cupcake!
and we just enjoyed a little fun and much needed friend time. 

Monday we prepared to leave town. 
My surgery was at MD Anderson in Houston and we live about 2 hours away.  
I had an afternoon and evening full of appointments concluding with an MRI at 7pm. 
We had to be at the hospital super early the following
 morning before surgery so we booked hotel rooms for Monday night.  

Reality seemed to start sinking in as Gina, Tony,
 and I packed up and left home and I remember thinking.....
"We are driving to Houston so I can have brain surgery.
How is that even possible?
When will I be back and how will I be? 
Will I still be me?"

Madison was still in school and my sweet friend Michelle drove
 her and her two best friends down after they finished school that afternoon. 
{How much do I love that her two best friends spent the long day of surgery with her? 
So VERY much- they are amazing girls and I love them so!}

MD Anderson is an amazing place and as we arrived there,
with me wearing my "It is well" shirt, I couldn't help but think of how blessed I was. 
Yes I was there to have brain surgery but my tumor was treatable and not cancerous. 
It only took taking a glance around the lobby to see that I was so, so, so very lucky. 

Gina and I passed the time between appointments by shopping in the gift shop.
Of course- if there's shopping to be found, we will find it!
While shopping we came across a doll that I simply had to have so Gina bought it for me. 
Now I'm not someone who normally curses but this doll had us cracking UP!
{Please forgive the curse word!}

My appointments went fine until I had to go and get the stickers put on my face. 
I had been told that they would be putting dot stickers on my face 
before my MRI and that I would have to wear them until surgery.  

Y'all I had been dreading those stupid dots.  
Like dreading with a white hot fiery passion dreading. 
I couldn't wash my face, couldn't wash my hair, and I had to walk around 
with what was a very visible indication that something was wrong with me.  

I went in to the office- leaving Gina and Tony in the waiting room-
 and was so relieved when a super sweet nurse that I knew came into my room. 
We chatted a bit as she put the dots on my head and I thought I was going to be okay. 
Then she pulled out a Sharpie and told me she was going to have to 
draw a circle around each dot, just in case they fell off before surgery.
And I started to cry.  

I mean the dots were bad enough, but a sharpie circle around them?
As I cried that sweet nurse put her arms around me and just hugged me
and told me it was going to be okay and that God was going to take care of me. 
What a sweet blessing she was that day!

I pulled it together and walked back out to show Gina and Tony. 
Of course we snapped a few pics of my lovely dots. 

We then went and checked into our hotel before going to my MRI. 
By this point my precious in-laws and my sweet Daddy had arrived.  
We sent them off to have dinner and Gina sat in the waiting room while I had my MRI. 
I was getting over a sinus infection and had a crazy cough
so I loaded up medicine so that I wouldn't cough during the test. 
It was an MRI with contrast 
{basically they do it once and then put contrast in and do it again}
so it seemed to take a sweet forever. 
I spent the entire time praying and singing praise and worship songs in my head
{If you've ever heard me sing, you know singing in my head is the ONLY place I should!}.

Finally it was over and we headed back to the hotel.  
Madison and her friends were there by then and we all visited a bit before
 deciding to try and get a little sleep.  

Let me tell you, trying to sleep the night before your brain surgery?