Sir Elton John

I took Hannah to see Elton John last night at the John Paul Jones arena.  It was a splurge, but also a phenomenal mother-daughter bonding experience and a night neither of us will ever forget.  Although I was super-tired by the night’s end, I made it through, even with the (potentially seizure-inducing) strobelight effects! But between the water and the ear plugs and the high skewing age of an audience that liked to sit as much as it did stand, I held my own! (Not to mention a terrific husband who not only dropped us off but also picked us […]

My prognosis. And my reaction.

My oncologist was very happy to give me my pathology report two Fridays ago (March 11th) when I went to see him at UVA. It was not just good news, it was “great” news – the kind of news neurooncologists wish they could tell all of their patients every day of the year, but can’t. Because the news that neurooncologists generally have to tell patients is pretty hard stuff. The bottom line is that my brain tumor was what they thought it was. The dog barked.  The prognosis is much, much better than it could have been. It’s the best […]

Waiting for Oncologist at UVA

   I am in “my” corner office at the Emily Couric Cancer Center at UVA, waiting to see my oncologist, Dr. Fadul.  I was supposed to see him next Friday, but I’ve been having some pressure in my head this week, along with some unusual fatigue and water weight gain that made us all want to move my appointment up just to make sure I am okay. I’m feeling okay today – better than yesterday – but sluggish. I definitely overdid it in terms of activity this past week and I think I am just paying for it now.  I […]


Food and Cancer. As you can probably tell by my constant focus on food lately, I believe that what I do, nutritionally speaking, is going to matter a great deal in terms of how well and to what extent I heal and recover from my brain tumor surgery. I don’t mean that what I eat will totally dictate or control my prognosis or life expectancy, but I know it will have an impact – an important one.  Thus, what I choose to put into my mouth at each meal is becoming increasingly important to me. I now know: I need […]

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 […]

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