Thursday, March 31, 2011

Open-Heart Therapy

If you're a regular reader of "El Divan de Diana", you'll know that I usually use this space to talk about things that I like, things that I don't like, things that interest me, things that I find amusing, things I find worth mentioning, things I believe important to make a statement on, even things I hate, and so on...however, those are all things that aren't personal, or never quite personal; today I do wanna talk to you on a more personal level, like I would on an actual Therapy Couch perhaps. I figured, since you've been kind enough to take the time and read what I've written before and that's not so important, perhaps you can now take some time to read what I have to say that is really important, like an actual therapist would. Now, I know Therapy sessions usually last one hour only, so I will try not to over-write...
Some of you may know that almost 2 months ago, on February 7th to be exact, my life -and my family's- changed forever. It all started with a CVA (CerebroVascular Accident) aka a Stroke that occurred to my mom while she was working; with a lot of difficulties and almost miraculously, she managed to get home. When she did, she was very upset and scared both, me and my -younger- sister, we tried to ask mom what had happened but she could barely speak or articulate basic words; we thought of the worse -because for some reason, one always does- while trying to calm her down so she could explain what had happened and, after a few minutes though still upset and crying, mom mumbled: "I can't coordinate...i couldn't speak, I couldn't say anything, I didn't know how to get home"; seeing my mother like that and even remembering that night now absolutely breaks my heart and brings tears into my eyes all over again. By signs and a couple of lost words, she was able to get a taxi driver -who I will always be thankful with- to write down the directions to get her home safe. As soon as we learned this, we grabbed our coats and headed down to the Emergency Unit in the closest Hospital, where mom was checked in a couple of hours later. Visits from the family followed mom's check-in and my sister and I were glad we weren't doing this on our own, not that we couldn't but it's always nice to know you're not alone, especially in times like this. By the next day, the Doctor informed us about the CVA and, without saying much further, he discharged her saying she was fit to work two days later.

From the TV -or wherever you can- you learn you do not take brain-related issues lightly, right? So we didn't and took mom to a private hospital and lab to get a real diagnosis, the Social Security provided by the Government in this Country is mostly crap, at least the administrative areas -mostly- but that is a whole other issue I don't want to get into right now...maybe some other time though.

Less than two weeks later we had a diagnosis, as proper and discouraging as you can get. Mom was diagnosed with: a Brain Tumor. i cannot explain what I felt when I first found out about it because I honestly think you wouldn't understand unless you've ever been in the same position, plus, I don't even think I would be able to find the right words to describe how my whole world started to crumble down in less than a minute and by only two small words. I could not show it though, not me nor my sister could show how broken down we felt inside, we had to be strong for my mom of course, we had to show her this was just a small bump on the road and we're going to get through it, we had to be her rocks.

Although mom was under medical treatment -waiting for the appointment with the Neurologist- and things seemed to be fine again, almost normal even...she had a relapse. Unbearable headaches, nausea and vomit were a red light for us, so we decided to take her back to the Emergency Unit. Once there and after a couple of hours of struggling with the stupidity of the Dr. who had previously and mistakenly discharged her, mom had to be checked in again. This time we didn't want to alarm the whole family as we didn't know what exactly was wrong and doctors weren't going to tell us until the next day -stupid rules- so we just called them to let them know mom was at the hospital again but there was no need for them to rush over; right there and then it was just me and my sister. Knowing the diagnosis, we were scared but we had to hold tight and hope for the best. We spend most of the night at the hospital. Next morning, we were having breakfast across the Hospital when I got a call saying doctors required us there as mom was being taken to another Hospital (a bigger one) to get a CT -aka CAT Scan- done. Only one person could go in the ambulance with mom and we decided it'd be me; we went, got the CT and went back to the Emergency Unit. A few hours later, they called us in as mom was being transferred to the other Hospital, which is a Specialty Hospital to get an assessment so doctors could decide whether to operate on her or not, this time the lady Dr. was kind enough to let us me and my sister ride on the ambulance with my mom.

We arrived and then were kicked out to the waiting room until they called us many, many hours later to let us know doctors had decided mom did have to go under surgery indeed, not only that but it had to be soon! That same night -well, more like the very early hours of the next day- mom entered the OR (Operating Room) and we...we prayed as much as we could and hoped for the best. You see, my sister thinks I'm her rock, when in reality, she has always been mine. Fortunately, surgery went great according to the doctors -we were relieved and incredibly thankful with life, God and all the people who prayed along with us (if you were one of them, THANK YOU, really, really, THANK YOU! It meant the world to us!). That same day, a few hours later, I was able to see my mom for the very first time after surgery, I knew it was going to be hard seeing mom out of her usual self but more than hard, it was simply the most disarming thing i had ever seen in my life, I can definitely count that image to be one of the few I will never be able to get off my mind. Mom had no hair at all, her head was huge due the swelling of the brain, she was connected to a lot of wires including a big tube down her throat as she wasn't able to breathe on her own, she was awake but she couldn't speak. Again, I had to swallow my tears and be strong for her and, after all, I was indeed very happy because surgery had gone well and mommy was still there with me.

It's been almost a month since that day and mom is now home with us, still recovering from that surgery. She is practically her normal self except for the obvious things, but she's been doing so great I couldn't be anymore proud of her, seriously, she is by far the most wonderful, loving,
amazing and strongest woman I have ever met -and I'm glad she's my mom! However, this story doesn't end here unfortunately; today we learned we still have a long way to go, we knew it but today we got reassurance on that. Today we learned -from the Pathology results- what mom has is a Malignant Kidney Tumor, that sure felt like another hard punch to the face...and I know I should have but I was honestly not expecting that, perhaps I was being a bit too positive and I forgot all about the negative possibilities, so it hit me hard to be honest.

The path we're about to walk now is going to be harsh, bumpy and long but I think we are prepared for it and what's most important yet, we are ready to walk it together, hand by hand.

If you got to this part, thank you for reading me and if you're my friend and/or still a part of my life, thank you for that, it means more than you can imagine.




  1. D Hun!!! I read it all.... it was tough reading through it though!!! Malignant Kidney Tumor!! God!! My prayers are with you girls as ever!!!! Love you hun!! Take care now and keep me posted of the progress!!! Its just another bump on the road D!! You girls will make it through just fine! Be strong and be there for each other like you girls always have been!!! If there is anything at all.. if there is any sort of help and support i can be you'll lee me know right?!! I;m just a call away HUn!!! take care!! Love!!