I wanted to write a blog about the fundraising mini sessions that I do every year. This wasn't easy for me to write, brings up a ton of memories that break my heart, but I thought it was important to tell you about my Mom, a little bit what she went through, what I experienced with her, and the reason why these mini sessions are so important me. I apologize in advanced for it being so long.
Ok here I go.....
It all started at the end of March in 2011, my Mom all of a sudden lost her taste buds, and her depth perception was way off, when this didn't go away, we said you need to see the Dr. She went and her Dr said it's just a sinus infection, take this nasal spray if it doesn't help after a week, come back. Well it didn't help, in fact some things were getting worse. She went back into the hospital and they sent her to have a CT scan on April 7th, she hadn't even made it home when they called her into the Dr's office to talk to her about the results, when she told me this my stomach sank, I just knew something was wrong. This was at noon and by the time my Mom called me at 6:05pm on April 7th, I couldn't answer the phone fast enough. She said to me in a calm voice " I have a brain tumour, they don't know what stage or kind, but it is on my brainstem so they can't do surgery "
I just stopped... I didn't know what to say to her, I asked a ton of questions, she answered all very strong and calmly, than it started to sink in for me... and I started to cry, I tried so hard not to but, I just couldn't hold it in. She said to me, "I promise I will be fine, I Love you" I went and saw her that weekend at home, and spent time sitting with her, just being with her!
Fast forward a couple of weeks, she quit her job, she was getting tired a lot, her speech started to slur a tiny bit, she was dizzy and had trouble with her right side, with walking etc. I talked to her everyday, made sure she was taking her meds and eating, which my Dad did a wonderful job taking care of her. We went for a visit and Ryan (my husband) had to help her get up, she couldn't walk straight and she was very weak physically. To say that seeing her like this terrified me would be an understatement. I just wanted to make her better, do something for her. She was still in great spirits, being positive and strong, but I could tell that she was scared.
About a week later she went to London, Ont. for an MRI they decided to keep her there. They also decided to do a biopsy to find out what kind of tumour ( which they shouldn't have done because of the location, but that is a whole other story ) she didn't do well after the biopsy and because of the swelling she lost the use of the right side of her body and her speech. A couple of days later, I was holding my Mom's hand and talking to her, when the neurosurgeon came in, it was just me and Mom and she said to us " Your Mom has a Grade 4 left thalamic brainstem glioma, because of this we can not operate and their are likely no safe treatment options for her. This tumour is what will kill your mother, and we believe she has 2 weeks to live." I surprisingly didn't have a reaction, I went still and just stared at the surgeon in disbelief. I really wanted to walk over to her and shake her and say what do you mean there isn't anything you can do for her!! My Mom squeezed my hand, just then the rest of my family came in and she repeated herself, and I looked at my sister and we both started crying, but we turned out heads slightly away from my Mom so she couldn't see us. I still couldn't believe what I was hearing. Everyone left besides me and my Dad to talk to the Dr, and I turned to my Mom and told her I was sorry for crying and not being strong enough for her, I told her don't listen to them, just stay strong and positive, she nodded and than she cupped my cheek with her left hand as I tried to fight back tears. My Dad told me after she passed, that he has never seen that much love in his life as he saw at that moment.
She started to do so much better with some physical therapy in London, even walking with a walker at one point, they decided to transfer her closer to my Dad and in the end because of MRSA she got stuck in Markdale instead of going up to Owen Sound. It was a battle their with her Dr and some of the nurses, but she did well. 2 weeks came and went and I had hope, she was still being positive and would have a little crooked smirk on her face, she still couldn't move her right side or talk, but she would sign "I Love You" with her left hand, she couldn't cry either, but you knew when she was because of the way she would breath.
Once she was in Markdale, my wonderful husband would drive me to the hospital on a Friday night and come and get me on Sunday, I slept in the hospital, I wanted to help take care of her as much as I could, be there with her as much as I could, because I knew my time with her was limited. Once she was no longer awake, her breathing became laboured and I can't describe how the pause in her breathing would scare me and my aunt Christa but my Mom fought hard and beat the odds of 2 weeks. She always had a ton of visitors, my Dad was there all the time as well as her brothers and sister, friends from work came to visit even drove me to see her during the week, my Mom and family had an amazing support system which I am so grateful for.
June 4th 2011, she got an extremely high fever of 108, and I knew her body wasn't going to be able to fight much longer, I stayed up that night and put a cold compress on her forehead every 5 minutes, warning her before I put it on, because if I didn't she would jump a little, I knew she could hear me. I made sure they kept up her meds to help her fight it, I stuck her one foot from under the blankets, because I knew that she did that when she was warm, for the first time since she was no longer awake, she slept peacefully, her breathing was calm and even and I knew in my heart that was her last good night, even though I didn't want to believe it. Morning of June 5th 2011 came and her fever was way down, nurses were shocked, the staff was great with me, they would bring me coffee and breakfast, ask me if I needed anything. Everyone came to see my Mom that Sunday, family from Barrie it was great. Normally I would go home Sunday night, but I knew she would pass soon and I refused to go, so my husband agreed to take off work so that he could take care of the boys and I could stay with my Mom, my aunt Christa was going to stay with me too. Late afternoon came and I planned on going to my parents house about 10 to 15 minutes away to shower, I remember whispering in my Mom's ear " I am going to your house to take a shower, I will be back very soon, I love you " my Mom's breath quickened and she seemed anxious, so I said to her " it's ok Mom I promise I won't be long, I will see you soon" she calmed down and just before I walked out I told her I loved her again. I went to my Dad's got showered but was anxious to get back to the hospital. We got back and My aunt and I walked upstairs, I stopped at the nurses station to see how my Mom's last feeding went, they said she took it all and it went great. While I was talking to the nurses about that, Christa went to my Mom's room. Not too long after Christa was at the nurses door asking me if Ryan was still here and I said yes, he was just getting gas and said "why?" She said " Your Mom just passed away " All I remember after that was dropping my stuff, and running to my Mom's room, looking in and knowing that it was true, I ran to her bed and said "I am so sorry I wasn't here for you when you needed me the most" I felt so guilty that I wasn't there for her when she passed, I still do..... Although I believe that she waited for me to leave so that I wouldn't see her pass away.
I apparently sat with her holding her hand for over two hours, to me it didn't feel that long. I didn't want to leave her alone, I knew that I wouldn't get to come back the next day and see her. I remember staring at the chain of her cross necklace praying for it to move, for a pulse or a breath. Seeing my Dad come in and when everyone except me left the room, to see him gently put his hand on her hair and cry and say he loved her, it broke my heart. Christa came upstairs and helped me to leave, I am not sure anyone else could have gotten me to leave but her, and that is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, to walk away from her.
On June 5th 2011 at 6:05pm my amazing and beautiful Mom passed away at the age of 57. I made the decision shortly after to create these Fundraising Mini Session where I would donate 100% of the proceeds in my Mom's name and the first one happened in Oct 2011. I decided to do them because I wanted to honour my Mom's memory, I felt helpless while she was going through this and I needed to do something for her, and this is what I came up with. These sessions mean the world to me, and to have people who don't even know my Mom or me come out a support this cause is amazing and makes my heart so happy!! I have been fully booked every year that I have done them, and this year is my biggest year yet. I decided to do 44 sessions instead of 25. And in a week and a half they are already over half booked. Thanks to all the amazing families that have supported me, I have donated $2710 in my Mom's memory so far, last year being my biggest year and donating $1110. My goal is to raise $2000 or more this year.
I will continue to do these every year, I love to do them, I love meeting all the wonderful families, children and couples!
I want to Thank everyone that has booked a session, shared my fundraiser, and written me amazing emails and messages, I feel very blessed and grateful for each and everyone of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! I know my Mom has a big smile on her face too!!