Welcome to our blog! I originally started this blog in November 2010 just prior to having a major brain surgery to remove a large bleeding cavernous angioma from a deep part of my brain. You can best understand the gravity of our experience by reading the first several entries.(Nov 2010-Dec 2010) I wrote the first one and my sweet, adoring husband, John, wrote the next several (while I was too sick to do much of anything) that documented surgery, immediate recovery, and our reaction to the surgery complication (stroke)that was revealed 2 days after surgery. This recovery process has been difficult but we are making it. We appreciate all the kind words of encouragement we have received and we would like to thank everyone that has participated in helping us along this difficult journey. Also, if you have any questions about my personal experience, please leave them as a comment or contact me directly at thankfulforeveryday@yahoo.com and I will respond although I am not a doctor and this is not a replacement for medical care or advise. Please ask a real professional, or probably several. :) I hope to be able to help at least one person along the challenging road of brain surgery and recovery.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The icing on the cake

When I was diagnosed with a cavernous angioma in a deep part of my brain nearly four years, our world was turned upside down. The only current treatment for cavernous angioma is surgery and because of the deep location of mine....surgery was a very risky option. I tried "watching and waiting", but my angioma was too aggressive, bleeding and growing all the time. My symptoms progressively increased to the point that I knew I HAD to have surgery if I wanted any quality of life. There was the added bonus too that if surgery was successful, we "might" be able to have another baby....something John and I had REALLY hoped for. Before we got married, John would say he wanted 3 kids, I always wanted 2 and was clear that 2 was my maximum....so 2 was the goal. Well, since my first pregnancy/delivery somehow aggravated my angioma (that I never knew I had)..I knew I would not risk another pregnancy unless my angioma was gone. I also wasn't willing to undergo such a risky surgery just so we could have another baby, but I needed surgery and a baby could be a huge bonus!!
When my surgery was complicated by a stroke, that put the bonus possibility of a baby nearly out of reach. I could barely deal with our life as it is much less consider taking on any more. I worked crazy hard in rehab and achieved amazing success. My one year MRI showed possible residual angioma and maybe a new one on my brainstem. Finally, my two year MRI showed CLEAR!!! I sent it to Dr. Spetzler and Dr. Steinberg to be sure it was CLEAR. They agreed and I was cleared as medically stable for pregnancy by both experts. There would be an increased risk of seizures because of the hemosiderin and scar tissue, but that was a risk I was willing to accept. I have been off keppra since about one year after surgery, and have been seizure free so far.
So with all things lining up, the only obstacle standing in the way of another baby was my fatigue, which I have tried nearly every way to remedy. Babies are a lot of work and usually lead to sleep deprivation. How could I manage?? John and I both really wanted another baby and so we had a lot of discussions about how we would manage. The last consideration was our ages. Being a maternal/newborn RN, I always held 35 as the cut off for pregnancy. After 35, no more kids....but I was 38. Too old??? We decided to give it six months of "trying" and if it didn't happen in 6months then it wasn't ment to be. Well, on the fifth month I got pregnant!!! I was so excited I couldn't stand it!!!
I was followed very carefully for my entire pregnancy...and everything was perfect. My due date was 12/22/13. The delivery was potentially the most risky part, so I was a bit nervous....but I knew it was in God's hands. There was nothing more I could do except think good thoughts and pray for a good outcome. My doctor decided to induce me on December 22 since that was my due date and there was no sign of real labor starting on it's own. We went to the hospital on 12/22/13 hoping to leave in the next few days as a happy, healthy, family of four. 
Everything was perfect!!! My doctor made it all happen...and we welcomed Luke Christopher on 12/23/13 @ 05:39am!! He is absolutely perfect in every way!! And our family is complete!! There have been many happy tears in the past two weeks. I almost can't believe it. We are so lucky, so blessed, so thankful!!! 
I was fairly nervous about the delivery, but held onto the hope that everything would work out. The labor and delivery was "uneventfully" perfect. No seizures for me, no brain bleeding!!! I feel great!!! And so little baby Luke is officially the icing on the cake. :) 

Our Christmas angel ready to go home Christmas Eve!

Proud, loving big brother Jack with his baby.