Monday, April 13, 2015

Surgery and hospital stay

Cody and I had to be at the hospital at 5:15 to check in on Thursday morning. We arrived right on time and there was no waiting around. I was taken right back, given a room to change and into my bed. They have these devices called BAIR PAWS to keep you warm. I control the temperature and it fills me up with warm air. Just what I like. Here I am all warm and happy presurgery. We met with my anesthesiologist and he agreed to take pictures during surgery as long as I was ok with it and Dr. Gardner. We were all on board. 
Dura matter is visible
Dark area is where he removed the tumor. Light area is cerebellum.
Tumor pieces
Site sutured up with membrane.
There you have it. Dr. Zimmerman took photos and texted them to Cody. My Dad still doesn't like to look at my pictures from my first surgery and won't look at these either. These aren't as neat as my first one, but this tumor thankfully wasn't as big. 

All out of surgery and awake. The yellow on my pillow is not leakage, it's the iodine stuff that was used on my head that has rubbed off on my pillow. 
 After coming out of surgery I remember seeing my parents in the waiting room and Cody and his parents coming out of the consult room. I was taking to the ICU. My family went to get lunch and while I was left alone for a moment RanDee happened to walk by my room and I called her in. We chatted for a minute before Cody came back. Then Kristin and Chris stopped by.

 When Cody went home Thursday night Katie drove down and visited with me for a bit. There aren't any visiting hour restrictions, so it was nice to have another friendly face for a bit. My nurses were all male in the ICU during the day. My Dad was there when the Physical Therapist came to help me get up and walk around for the first time. This was the true test to see if I had any brain damage. Thankfully I didn't. My first walk around the block was a little rough, and I decided we were making another lap and did much better. When Katie came she walked 10 laps with me.
On Friday Katie came down in the morning and visited with me again and then swapped with Cody. She had a flight home that evening. My Mom came back to see me and I had a lot of other visitors like my Grandparents Grant, Cody's hygienist Becky and her husband Jason, Joe Fullmer, Jaron and Angie Dansie, Paul Barker and one of our old ward friends, Mimi McDonald, husbands is a nurse and she came to visit with her mom and he came to my floor on a break. I was actually transferred out of the ICU the day after my surgery surprisingly. Much different than my first surgery where I remember being there many days. 
Our good friends Lindsey and Paul Greenwood came to visit Friday night.
 Karen came to see me Saturday morning and brought me some treats. 
 Cody's parents took the kids Friday night for the weekend and they brought them to visit for the first time. It was great to see them. I missed my little people. Apparently they didn't have enough clean clothes so they bought them some cute jerseys from the DI and took them to Article Circle and they got fun Easter bunnies in their kids meals. They had seen them in commercials on TV for quite some time so they were happy kids.
 Love my family. 
 I was discharged to go home on Sunday after only 4 days in the hospital. Dr. Gardner took my outer bandage off and I had Cody take a picture of my bandage. I thought we'd be able to see more, but I didn't realize there was another bandage. I took my first half shower, neck down and when Cody and I got home, he helped me wash my hair without getting my bandage wet. A few days later I took a shower and didn't care about the bandage. 
 A week after surgery I took the entire bandage off and this is what my incision looked like. 
 Katie, her husband Rob and daughter Madison came into town again for General Conference and we all went out to dinner at Tarahumarah. I love that I got to see her again.
 Yesterday, two weeks and 3 days post surgery this is what my incision looks like. My hair is coming in and my head is healing nicely. My stitches were removed last Wednesday.
Unfortunately I am still waiting on my pathology results. For some reason this is a common theme with me. First surgery it took 5 weeks to find out and now I'm going on 3 weeks. I found out today that it will most likely be 4 weeks. The pathologist at UVRMC said he was going to send it to HCI and before he did got my old tumor to compare it to. That delayed it being sent off by a week, which means I have to wait an additional week for results. 

It's Not a Tumor...Or Is It?

Back on February 3rd I went in for my routine MRI and 6 month doctor visit at Huntsman Cancer Institute.  I felt great and had no inclination that my test would come back abnormal. As I waited in the room I was surprised when my PA pulled up my scans and a bright white spot showed up at the bottom of my brain. I believe he was as well. I  had absolutely no symptoms. No headaches or balance issues, as this was the area of the brain to which it would indicate problems. I was bewildered, but because my doctors had been honest with me from the beginning of my first tumor about the "when" it comes back, not "if" scenario, I wasn't shocked at the thought that I had a new tumor. I knew it was always a possibility someday. I guess that someday, was now.  My doctors wanted to run some more tests to make sure it was indeed a tumor. They scheduled two more scans for the following week. I left knowing I had to make some difficult phone calls to my family. I couldn't reach Cody, he was with patients, but contacted my parents and siblings. None of which were happy about the news. 
The following week I went in for a PET scan and MRI perfusion. Both long MRI's. I snapped this shot of my arm while the tech was out of the room. It was an extremely boring scan with no stimulation. No music, I usually get to listen to Pandora, no reading (I thought I'd get to read a book), no talking, just my thoughts and I. I did a lot of praying during those 2 days of scans. 
 I had to follow these signs to get to my perfusion scan at the University Hospital the next night. Who schedules MRI's at 6:30 pm? It took 3 people 7 pokes to get an IV in my small deep veins in order to get the contrast in my system. Lucky me!
 2 days later I went back in for my results. The verdict, Dr. Colman wasn't certain that my spot was a tumor. It might be a blood clot/stroke. Let's wait 4 weeks and see what happens to it. You've got to be kidding me. I did wait, but contacted my neurosurgeon Dr. Gardner in the meantime for a 2nd opinion. By the time I was able to get him my scans I had already had my 4 week followup MRI. My spot had grown a little bit, but not enough for Dr. Colman to come to a conclusion. 
Dr. Gardner suggested I get an MRI Spectroscopy and a perfusion scan done. After those scans were complete he concluded that it was indeed a tumor and we scheduled surgery for Thursday, March 26th. I felt great about putting Dr. Gardner in charge of my life. He succeeded once before in removing my tumor and putting me on the road to recovery and I knew he would do it again. He remembered me and surprisingly the neuroradiologist remembered me too as the girl from Heber. I think it's great that I have a slew of highly skilled doctors all over the state.

I had planned on shaving my head completely, but Angela, my nurse from 3 years ago and still one of Dr. Gardner's nurse practitioners informed me that I only needed to shave from the top of one ear to the top of the other. Cody did the honors for me. I didn't want a nurse tech at the hospital to do it for me, so we had a shaving party at the house the night before. I asked one of my friends, Colene Anderson to take photos for us. She did a great job. Tucker and Blake were excited to shave their heads but we had to wrestle Cole to cut his hair. I wanted to do things differently this time around and that included having my boys shave their heads for their Momma. He refused to go as short. Mickey and Cerola came up to be with us.

Blake wanted a mo-hawk so we did one for a moment, and then shaved it all off. 
 Love my little guy.

Apparently this is a style!
 I looked too normal in the picture so I turned around.

 Our colorful concoction of family hair. The dark stuff is Grandpa Calderwoods.

 The night before my first surgery I had all my family who were priesthood holders give me a family blessing. My older brother was going to be out of town the day of my surgery so we gathered at my parents home the Sunday before and I asked for a family blessing then. I'm very grateful for the power of the priesthood and the blessings that I received from the prayers and fasting held in my behalf.

Clogging Competitions

Clogging competition season started with Thanksgiving Point. Aubrey competed on Saturday and I did on Friday. We started the morning off with Halle's baptism in Eagle Mountain and then rushing to the Barn for Aubrey's dancing. She missed her first solo but made it for the rest and her team dance. 

I competed the day before Aubrey with Rocky Mountain Unlimited. I love my team and have such a fun time. We danced our Traditional Line dance from last year and Unlimited. Neither of them are on YouTube so I don't have them on video. 
Our new Girls dance is though. 
Show routine. 
It is a show stopper that's for sure. I'm not sure the crowd knows what to do when we walk out and start dancing. We have one more dance, but don't have it on video. We placed first with both of these routines. 

I was able to travel to St. George with my team mid March for a day and compete as well at the Dixie Spectacular and we placed first in all our numbers. It was a long fun day. Here are a few pictures. The team voted to give me the overall team trophy. I drove down in a van with 7 of my teammates. We stopped at Jimmy Johns in St. George for lunch before heading over to the convention center.
 Alisha on my team made all these ribbons for my studio to wear at the competition to support me. I was scheduled to go in for my brain surgery the following Thursday. 

 Our old lady dance took high gold and overall studio award.
The coveted trophy came home with me!

New Orleans

February 19th through the 22nd Cody and I flew to New Orleans with RanDee, our office manager, so they could attend a CE class. I tagged along as chaperon. We arrived late Thursday night in time for dinner. We ventured out and ate at a delicious restaurant called the Red Fish Grill on Bourbon Street of all places. I ate red fish for dinner every night we were in town. My favorite was at Red Fish though. We ordered some amazing barbecue oysters - and I'm not an oyster fan. We ordered Bananas Foster for dessert. At least two of the tables surrounding us ended up ordering it as well because it was such a hit being on fire and all.

Friday morning Cody and RanDee were off to class and I drove up to Baton Rouge to do some temple work at the temple. I put our rental car to some use. The drive was about an hour and a half. The last 20 minutes was pretty driving past rolling hills and large plantations. Week days there are only a few sessions a day so I timed it to arrive in time for the 12:00 session. There were only a handful of people inside, but it was beautiful and much needed for me upon hearing a few weeks before that I had a new spot, potential tumor on my brain. It's one of the smaller LDS temples.
After I returned to the hotel Cody and RanDee were about done with their classes for the day. Cody and I went out to dinner that night at Dragos Seafood Restaurant. The view from our hotel room was amazing. We overlooked the Mississippi River and could see the cruise ships and barges going up and down the river.

Saturday morning we got up early to head over to the famous Cafe DuMonde for breakfast. It was a good thing we arrived when we did. The lines later in the day were at least an hour long. 

After breakfast I took a bus tour of the city that I purchased through Groupon. The bus picked me up right at the hotel. It was awesome. Something that I wish Cody and RanDee could have experienced with me. We went through all the districts and I learned about hurricane Katrina and saw first hand the after effects that are still in place from it 10 years ago.
 Unfortunately I don't remember a lot of details, but there must have been something important about the row houses above.
 The green grass above is a picture of the levees that broke I believe. They didn't hold if I'm correct. The people that built them didn't dig as deep as they were supposed to.
 You can clearly see the line on the brick home where the water was when Katrina came through on this brick house. The bottom is boarded up and the top half is being lived in or they are gutting it. Many homes are still like this all over.
 The cemeteries are all above ground tombs. One that we visited has a place called millionaires circle, the tombs are very expensive. Nicholas Cage frequents New Orleans so he has a tomb already.
This is Sandra Bullocks house. It would be nice if she trimmed her hedges so we could see better!

My bus tour ended around lunch time so I walked down to the river and got lunch at the mall by the port where the cruise ships dock and ate at the Illegal Burrito. It was delicious. They had a Fudgery like in Baltimore where they make fudge, sing to you and give out free samples. I wandered back to the hotel and waited for Cody and RanDee to be done. 

We ate another delicious dinner at Deanie's for our last night in the Big Easy. 

Sunday morning we all at at Amelie's a delicious French cafe in the Garden District. Then we walked and shopped. RanDee and I each bought cute hats that we didn't take pictures of and listened to street music. 

Our flight home didn't leave until evening but we headed to the airport in the afternoon anyway. We read our books and people watched. There was a storm in Denver where our layover was and our flight was delayed an hour. We were worried about catching our connecting flight to Salt Lake so we informed our crew and the assured us that the plane would wait for us in Denver because there were enough passengers on our flight headed to Salt Lake. We finally boarded our plane and were off. Right when we landed in Denver Cody checked our flight status to Salt Lake and not only did our plane not wait for us, but it had left early. We were stranded in Denver. We headed to the information desk and found out that the next flight out wasn't until the next morning. Cody and RanDee were supposed to work. We decided instead of trying to fly standby with a dozen other frustrated passengers to rent a car, on our dime, and drive through the night, to get home in time. We had checked our bags and were able to retrieve them and get an expensive one way minivan and we did, we drove from Denver to Park City. The roads in Denver through Fort Collins were awful. Snowy with cars sliding off the road and no snowplows to be seen. Thankfully they cleared up and I-80 was clear and we made great time the rest of the drive home. Cody and I each drove about 4.5 hours each and drank Monster Energy drinks to stay awake and purchased road trip snacks to stay awake. Our minivan was equipped with XM radio so we had great tunes to listen to. 
We arrived home the next morning before the first flight even left the Denver airport. Wise decision on our part since there was no guarantee that we would have made it out on standby and the first flight guaranteed to us wasn't for a day and a half. We did end up getting refunded our small flights home from Denver to Salt Lake. Enough to cover the rental car, but not the gas. Oh well, makes for a fun adventure and story. Moral of the story, don't fly Frontier Airlines ever again.