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The Chaos Mini-Series

Welcome to my chaotic life of FIVE small children and a traveling husband! This blog is actually a "work in progress" and serves as a loose outline for a humorous non-fiction book I strive to publish by the end of this calendar year. Each entry builds upon the one just prior to it so it is best to begin with Part I. This story begins just four short years ago when a tsunami of unfortunate, tragic and hectic events brutally pounded us one right after another. As my family and I endured and eventually overcame each wave of misfortune, we kept our heads (barely) above water and held high, eyes wide open and hearts on "stand by" as we witnessed new opportunities and blessings emerge from the CHAOS...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seeing the Light, The Hidden Miracle Masked Behind a Brain Tumor...Part XII

I was able to hold it together during the dreaded week of despair and grieving in Miami. Seeing everyone and them seeing me having survived post-surgery, brought a lot of strange, mixed emotions to the fore. People were simultaneously giving me their condolences and congratulating me on basically keeping myself and my unborn son alive. It was all very surreal. I did not know which emotion to express or how to respond.

In my traditional bravado, I fought with my husband to support me in my desire to give a eulogy to honor my brother. I was his big sister and I felt it was the least I could do. I was unable to assuage his inner turmoil and because I had been residing in another country toward the end of his life, I felt somewhat responsible for not intervening. Nonetheless, a week later, the whirlwind was over and we were back home.

Now the mood was different and while mourning, I was making plans for the upcoming birth of our new baby. I felt indifferent and somewhat reluctant as I began decorating the room, reassembling the same crib since kid number one, and even visiting my OB-GYN. I was just going through the motions as my world had just shattered just a few weeks before. I was in no state of mind to go from tragedy to celebration so abruptly. (Here is where a little Lithium would have come in handy!)

Living in another country helped me to emotionally detach from the sorrow back "home" and enabled me to focus a little on my life. At night, though, thoughts of guilt and desperation would haunt me and sleeping soundly became an unachievable goal. I tried to stay as busy as possible without putting my still fragile health in jeopardy. I began swimming in an effort to regain some balance and equilibrium. I found the calm waters and silence of the pool soothing. It had been so long since I was able to do anything physical and with each stroke, I found solace.

I started working with a therapist to stimulate my awakening facial nerves and bring some symmetry back to my face. (Three and a half years later and my face is still quite evidently asymmetrical.) Getting used to the one-sided deafness was probably the biggest challenge of all and still is to this very day.

When you put all the pieces together and understand the circumstances from a big picture perspective, it is obvious that several miracles happened. Follow the logic; I had a mandatory Cesarean birth due to the soft tissue in my head as the neurosurgeon did not want me to strain myself at all with any intracranial pressure.

However, being the defiant contrarian that I am, had insisted with the doctor that being my fourth child, a c-section was not necessary. (I had previously had three quick and easy natural deliveries and was certain, I told him that this one was ¨going to drop out of me while standing in line at the supermarket.¨) He was strong in his conviction and told me that under no condition would he allow a vaginal birth. Finally 2 days before my programmed appointment, I backed off and stopped nagging him.

It is a good thing that this doctor was so strong with me because upon beginning the c-section, it was discovered that my son had a double knot in the umbilical cord. No, it was not wrapped around his neck which traditionally happens on occasion, but imagine a hose with two knots not allowing the water to flow through. What this meant was that had he been born vaginally, the cord would have stretched to its full length capacity and as the knots tightened, the airflow would have been restricted to such a point that he would have certainly asphyxiated. This condition had not been visible via ultrasound for if you can visualize a hose all coiled up, it is nearly impossible to detect such a thing.

Essentially my brain tumor saved my and my baby´s life. Having been pregnant exacerbated my symptoms which brought me to a proper diagnosis in time. I was forced to deliver via c-section which subsequently enabled my son to be born alive. So, you see, we both saved each other’s lives at various points of our relationship prior to his miraculous arrival into this world……What do you think about that?

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