A Big First Outing at UVA  Women’s B-Ball Game!

Here I am at  UVA’s Women’s game vs. Clemson!  Score is 29-23 right now with UVA up by 3 with 45 seconds to go in the first half. Here’s a picture of me and Hannah:    Here’s a picture of me and Marshall, taken by our favorite daughter, Hannah!    I can’t even begin to tell you just how wonderful it is to be here with my whole family.  When I first sat down in my seat, my own tears surprised me, and I realized I couldn’t see the court for my eyes. It is amazing how I can be […]

Hard to Believe – I am HOME! And I am very grateful to be here.

I am really, truly, here at home! I got home at about 4:00 p.m. yesterday (Valentine’s Day) afternoon. This is just going to be a quick show of some of what I’ve experienced since I’ve been home and at the hospital, but mostly I want you to know that I am actually typing this myself at about 11:30 p.m. tonight – Monday. (I know, I should be asleep in bed – that is my next stop, I promise!)  Here’s what some of today looked like for me: Hannah helped me with my Elf Hair today.  Good thing we’d had a […]

The Belly of the Whale

This is not the “dark night of the soul” for me that John of the Cross speaks of.   I think I have been through such a dark night earlier in life, where I felt like Job on his dung heap, railing against the unfairness of the Universe and muttering against the things we humans must bear during the course of our lifetimes.   This experience is not that for me. This feels more like heading into the belly of the whale. It hit me yesterday, after a very long – over four hour – series of meetings at the […]

Healing in My Brain, Healing in Our World

I’ve explained before how I’ve decided to not engage in “battle” and “fight” metaphors with regard to my brain tumor, and instead choose “healing” and “wholeness” as themes in my unexpected journey dealing with brain cancer. I can’t afford to spend time and energy fighting a part of myself that needs to be healed.  The very definition of wholeness means that nothing can be excluded or marginalized.  Nothing is to be rejected or dismissed.  Everything must be included, accepted and loved for what it is – brokenness, sickness, warts, and all.  As one of my favorite spiritual writers, Richard Rohr, […]

A Tough Day: Functional MRI

I won’t sugar coat it: today was a rough day. I went to UVA this morning to get my functional MRI.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a cake walk since I am a little claustrophobic, but I had some good strategies lined up to help me with that, including closing my eyes during a large chunk of it, and centering prayer.   I also knew the MRI would be hard on my body since I’d be laying in a tight tube for a couple of hours without being able to move.  That would translate into big-time muscle tension […]

My Surgery Date is Set

We have a date for my brain surgery: Thursday, February 11, 2016. Right now, the place marker time for surgery is 5:30 a.m., but they will call me with the actual time the night before. I am fairly certain it will be in the morning, though. I will let you know the exact time when I find out on the 10th – please watch this spot for details! Please continue to hold me and my medical team in your prayers. The only way through this for me is grace – to let myself be carried, completely, by others. It is […]

The Morning Person I Always Wanted to Be

Since my initial trip to the emergency room two weeks ago yesterday, I have been waking up and beginning my day at 4 or 5:00 in the morning.  This is SO not me.  I have always been a late sleeper – mornings have been an epic struggle ever since I was a teenager.  I am a natural night owl, and happily so. And yet, many times in my life I’ve wished to be a morning person.  It just seems so psychologically and spiritually healthy to start out the day by taking time to become recollected, meditative, and mindful – instead […]

Imagery for Cancer

I want to tell you a little bit about my approach to having a brain tumor – the metaphor through which I am viewing my experience. Many people interpret cancer as a fight – a battle.  I am choosing a different way to think about it. My view is that it’s a journey towards wholeness.  I see my brain tumor as a part of me that needs to be healed. I have begun thinking of myself as a universe in which trillions of cells live.  These cells are a “we” that collectively make up “me” – Fran.  We (all these cells […]

My Recent Hospital Stay

I wake up with so many things to say, and I am grateful that this blog is finally up and running so I can start sharing all that is going on inside of me. But first, I think I should bring you up to date.  I had an overnight at the hospital this week. Background: Since I was discharged from Martha Jefferson after my initial night at the ER I’ve been at home.  Home is great – warm, cozy, safe and very, very comfortable.  In the past two weeks I have established an amazing routine of getting up early and […]

The Beginning of My Unexpected Journey

On Sunday, January 17th, 2016, I was diagnosed with brain cancer. It’s not something I can say I was expecting. Here’s what we currently know: The tumor is in the left, frontal region of my brain. They think it’s about a centimeter away from my language center, which means it is operable. That’s good. They don’t think it metastasized from another part of my body, so it’s very likely only in my brain. That’s good, too. It’s likely a type of tumor called a glioma. Gliomas come in stages 1-4. They won’t know for sure what stage mine falls into […]

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