Seven years...

Seven years ago today, we awakened from a fitful night's sleep in one of Rochester, Minnesota's small hotels, very retro in that it hadn't been updated in many years. Our alarm was set early so Keith could be at the surgical center prepped for his surgery well before the procedure was to begin.

I don't remember a lot about that day. I'm the queen at forgetting things I don't want to remember. There are many flashes of the day that I do remember, however. I remember the threatening weather. Terrible lightening as we crossed the street from the hotel to the hospital, holding hands and trying to joke about what would happen if they lost power in the middle of surgery. Trying not to think about the fact that there was a 50% chance he might not live through it.

I remember how very dark it was that morning. It was early. And it was storming. And we had a lot of apprehension. All of those things were contributing factors. I know that Keith remembers a lot of different details than I do. But I sure remember that darkness. And the chill I felt in the air. My fear. My teeth chattering.

I remember the frustration of the waiting. I knew that it would be hours and yet, it was still very difficult waiting those hours. And yet, the hours flew by very quickly. There was all of the frustration of sitting in the surgical waiting area trying to get my laptop to connect to the internet so that I could send out little email dispatch updates to friends and family. Finally giving up on that and making treks to the Mayo library any time I knew any piece of information. Using their computers to send out mini-missives.

I remember that Keith's mom was there, and my most long-time friend. My support system. And yet I needed that time to cocoon. And they were okay with that and kept each other company for the most part. I had to spend much of the day processing what was happening because it was all happening so quickly (his diagnosis had come April 13th and here it was, surgical day two months later after a couple of years of strange symptoms that had gone misdiagnosed and now brain cancer?).

I remember the surgeon's update. Telling me that he had removed the tumor from the hippocampus and amygdala calling it an amygdalahippocampectomy. He used his hand to demonstrate the size of the tumor being about the size of his thumb and that they'd taken a little margin around it. (That means brain matter folks...) He said they had also tested for seizure activity during the surgery.

I remember afterwards when HBB was in ICU for the post-surgery recovery and in the throes of some serious pain (I gotta admit, they were not great at pain management down there in his case - that was a big disappointment...) and I began my sympathy migraine. No surprise there, eh?

I remember when they pulled the drains from his head. Dear g*d I hope I never have to witness any of my loved ones going through anything like that again. I weep when I remember that.

I remember the kindness of some of those night nurses.

I remember his hiccups. And how they would NOT go away. And how nobody seemed to care. And how I ran all over trying to find some yogurt for him to eat while he had them because that had helped him get rid of them once. Imagine how hiccups must feel to someone who has had their skull cut open for deep brain surgery and then stapled back together.

I remember wondering if Rochester ever has decent weather or if all of the bad storms pass through that city (and I have to admit that HBB and I still wonder that whenever we watch the weather patterns coming into the cities).

I could go on for some time. There are many of these tiny details that come to me. But all I really want to say is, Happy 7th Half Brain Birthday, Keith! I'm so glad to be able to share in this and many other special days with you. This year I am extra grateful to spend with you. You will always be my Half Brain Boy. :D

There is only a week left until our local Relay For Life! Help us celebrate Keith's Brain Trust family team with a donation. Or just wish Keith a Happy 7th Half Brain Birthday with a donation to him!

Our thanks to bloggers Jen, Bill and Stace, ~d, Mark, Lisa, and Sharon for all you have done to help make this Relay successful! You rock!


KatieK said...

Has it been seven years already? Congratulations to the people I most like to watch from a great distance. May you have 7 x 7 more. :)

Kate in Istanbul

Bluegrass Mama said...

We are coming up on my dh's 20th Surgical Anniversary this fall. Sometime in mid-November. That not-remembering bit? Yeah, I don't even know the exact day any more!

Think Pink Dana said...

so funny the things we remember. Happy Birthday HBB from FTB girl (that's flat top boob)

realislove said...

i can't believe it's been that long either. seven years ago i was thirteen. wow.
i love you pa. i'm so glad you are here today, and that we are still a family.
even though that hospital was a major disappointment, i'm glad they got one thing right and you're able to share your life with us.

i love you. happy brain birthday.

Heather Z said...

Good luck with your Relay. We just had ours this weekend (it was hot this year!)I am beat! Looks like you are doing really well with your donations! Happy anniversary to Keith and a Happy father's day too!

Anonymous said...

Happiest of days, my friends! Love you to pieces.

KinnicChick said...

Since HBB is working his tail off and never allows himself time for computer FUN anymore (his facebook page is proof enough of that) I guess I'll take it upon myself to make some responses here...

KatieK - Sincere thanks. We're hoping for many more years as well.

Bluegrass Mama - Friday the Thirteenth is just too easy to not remember. :) It makes June 13 a much more simple date. It doesn't hurt that it was April 13 that he was diagnosed (also a Friday the 13th, oddly enough).

FTB Dana - You are one of our early cancer inspirations! And you will always be special. Thank you!

Keli Bean - You know how we feel. It cannot be stressed enough that those days terrified us all and your strength and quiet grace as a young teenage girl helped hold the family together at times. As did your sense of humor. You definitely helped your old mom hold it together. i love you, jelly bean.

Heather - Thanks! I hope your Relay was a wonderfully successful event. Hot is good! It sure beats rain! :)

Beanie! Girl, you are a drink of cool water. I miss you hard. I hope you'll consider letting me come visit you later this summer??

methinks said...

I had tears reading that. I wish no one ever had to face pain like that. wishing you 7 * 7 years and more of happiness and love! (as katie wishes you!)

Lisa said...

Such a poignant entry, Kerry. Brought tears to my eyes. I'm happy for you and Keith!

Best of things, always!

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