Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Dance Because I Can

Did your parents ever say something so much that it drove you crazy?? I remember my brother and I rolling our eyes when mom would say any of the following:

"You shall have what you say."

"Only boring people are bored."

"Sounds waves never die."

"Life and death are in the tongue."

"To have a friend you have to be a friend."

And more recently,

"I dance because I can."

You see, at one time doctors thought that my mom had only a 2% chance to live. Best case scenario was she would be a vegetable. That was in 1998.

Now you would never know my mom was different then any other person. Always compassionate to those she meets. My dad said she has a gift to befriend and love "the really weird people," to use his terms. That's definitely a gift.

She functions just like any other person, other then some left peripheral vision loss, which after 13 years she has perfected the usage of what she does have. She walks fine, talks fine. You would never have a clue what she has been through.

Thirteen years ago, Patti (that's Patti with an "i," mind you) had been at work when she had a head ache. Since we homeschooled, she had picked up one night shift a week at the local telephone company answering phones. That was her spending money and "get these kids out of my hair" time. She got a piercing headache. She started to forget how to answer her phone. Her co-workers had her lay on the floor.

The ambulance came and asked her where she wanted to go. She told them St. Elizabeth. By the time they got her to the elevator they made the split decision she wouldn't make it. She had tensed and her eyes were glassy. They took her to the hospital up the road.

Upon arriving, one of the best neuro-surgeon teams was in the hospital that evening during their time off. They requested a few MRIs but quickly determined there wasn't time. They scrubbed in and went in blind.

Afterwards we found out there was a blood vessel that was feeding a brain tumor on the right lobe on her brain. The blood vessel had an aneurysm, basically causing an explosion of the lemon-sized tumor.

This whole fiasco landed Mom in the ICU for a week and only one more week in a normal room. 

Since then, she says she dances because she can. People may not realize all that she has been through or the dismal predicted outcome. Most don't know by looking at her fashionable wardrobe that it should take all her brain power to stand and sit, not put together such a classy look.

It's been an amazing 13 years seeing what she has overcome. Despite it all, it really only takes one phone call to bring you to your knees.

Right before Thanksgiving this year, it looked like an unrelated tumor grew on the left lobe of her brain. Right on the sinus artery. (From what I understand, a simple nick could cause her to bleed out in 30 seconds.) It was crippling the entire right side of her body. Without telling even our close extended family or pastoral staff, she went in, had the tumor removed and was home in two nights.

She now, again, has full mobility. We worried about partial paralysis but she taught herself excercises that helped her gain full mobility.

Through the determination and faith, my mom was able to dance like David against all odds. She dances because she can. Every day, when I go for a jog or take the steps at work, I do it because I can and I do it for the thousands that can't. God gave me a gift, so every day I plan to use those gifts. Because I can.

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