Thursday, January 31, 2008

Driver Assessment Part II

This morning at the driving assessment evaluation my cognitive along with physical skills were tested. To be more specific I had two different vision tests. One specific to night driving. They also tested my reaction time with foot pedals. A driver performance test was given by DVD with me answering 40 multiple choice questions. She manually tested both arm & leg strength. After all the above, it was time to go out on the road. Thankfully the snow hadn't slicked the roads.

Although, three recommendations were given, I passed the driving assessment! I should be cleared to drive in the next few days. I think I have to wait on the doctor to sign off.

My mom will continue to help with childcare for Stuart while I complete out patient therapy. Early February, chemo (Temodar) might start. Fatigue is expected. The date & duration have yet to be determined.

Looking forward to a SNOW FriDAY. Not sure if it will be called off. But I sure hope so for the boys sake. Me as well. I was so bummed in the hospital after surgery that a big snow storm came and I couldn't be outside to enjoy it with them. Great picture moments!

Today was a good day. . .

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Driving Test

Tomorrow morning (Thursday) at nine I have a 3 hour mandatory driving test at rehab. The test is for patients who will officially drive after being in therapy once the doctor signs off. Lots will be involved. From my understanding I will have the opportunity to be on the road in a "tester" car that has dual brakes. WHEW - A! I so want to take the instructor for a joy ride. Hmmmmm, except I want to pass. No go on the joy ride.

Fun Fact: In my high school years I had a 4x4 Mazda blue truck (no radio just a portable one with a cassette player) that was alot of fun in the snow (remember Gina?)and a river ravine. Shhh!


I will try to find time to keep you posted.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Trusting His faithfulness?

"As we consider the plans that we have made in our life and then see the different plans that God has in store for us, it reminds us that He is faithful in all things, even the things that are hard to understand. In this time of change, we are trusting God and looking expectantly toward the future . . . "

The above is a quote that came in a Christmas newsletter from a neighbor mentor that is moving with her husband to Italy in June of 2008. When taking a long walk not long ago I was selfishly saddened upon hearing her news in person prior to receiving her newsletter.

It is my prayer that I can steal (ok not steal, but state) her quote in the years to come. At this moment it is difficult for me to trust God for the years to come.

The following verse is printed on my "Thank you for Taking Care of the Snodgrass Family" information folder it was also in the newsletter. A good reminder for me.

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9
Therapy for my left side has been muscle sorelike and it is still hard to find the best time to be able to complete my home exercise program (HEP). It seems that as soon as I have each exercise down, two more sessions of 10/20 are added. My hand needs definite muscle improvement. The thumb is not strong. Supposedly shorter muscles have a hard time recouperating/ recovering (aka: the hand) compared to longer muscles(aka: the leg). Thankfully my left leg is coming along. I am sore in my quads. Ohh doing stairs is uncomfortable tonight. Two days of consecutive therapy is to blame! I'm sure. Speech therapy has shown that my conginitive processing needs improvement. After reading a short story and approached with specific questions I become confused . My short term memory has been affected as well. I am using a written memory notebook in my purse per the therapist advice.
Since returning home from the rehab hospital I had my first major headache behind the right eye (migraine like) last night. I am so thankful tonight that it has yet to surface also that it has been the first major pain since discharge.
Not driving just yet. . .My mom(Gram to ya'll) is the chauffeur. Please pray for her stamina along with encouragement. Thank you to many who have picked me up from therapy.
Off to basketball games tomorrow. So glad.
My cup overflows with blessings...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Milestones & Priorities

It is the official 5 week anniversary day since surgery. Yesterday I noticed some significant milestones that will be listed below.

1. took a shower without the shower chair
2. tied Stuart's shoes(actually double knotted them)
3. walked upstairs in the middle of the stairs (normally it has been holding onto the railing).
4. another great item that can only be told in person to a girl. Trust me it was a halleluiah moment.

5. Stopped using step stool to get in and out of bed.

I find family, doctor appointments, Bible study, naps, and home therapy( have at least 10+ HEP's, home exercise program, from therapists that need to be completed) are taking a backseat lately. As I desire to be at the computer to update ya'll. I find there is not enough time in my world. Please know if you do not see a lot of updates that I am trying my best to prioritize my time. I will update as soon as it is possible.

My left hand fine motor is somewhat improving.

Dave and I want to sincerely express how thankful we have been for your prayers. God has been merciful, loving and gracious.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Slept Well

Some good news to report: A sleeping pill was taken Saturday night. I slept till the alarm woke me. Whew! So thankful for a long overdue nights rest. It is my hope to get my body back on track in the next few days without depending on the pills.

Yes, a previous post was removed but, not without saving it along with the comments on our PC.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Zzzzzzzzzz's Needed

That is right! Sleep is needed here in the home for myself. Dr. Forget sent a script for some sleeping pills that we have yet to fill. Looks like it might be soon as I am writing this post at 2:45 in the morning. A little hesitant, though to get the pills as they didn't work well while I was in the hospital. Dave and I might consider the suggested melatonin. I went to bed tonight feeling tired thinking I would fall asleep around 11. I have started to wonder how many times a person can toss an turn in a bed. Frustrating.

Thursday night into Friday morning I had total of 2 1/2hours of nightime sleep. Took a great nap though during the day. Naps have yet to be a problem. I have always napped well. While the older two boys were young I would nap while they did.
I am weary. Please pray for wisdom regarding what avenue of sleep aids should be taken.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Cook for Kate part II

The following post was given out a few weeks prior to surgery and others have asked for the information to be re submitted.

Hi everyone! We are the meal coordinators, a.k.a. Sue Stark and Stacey Preis. We asked Kate to let us write an entry for the blog, to save her some time and so we could say whatever we want! :-> Thanks to all of you who have contacted us offering to make a meal for the Snodgrass family. Our email addresses are posted in the side bar if emailing is your thing; if not, you can call Sue at 636.386.8522 or Stacey at 636.391.1501. We have a few dates left to fill in the month, plus many open dates for you to choose. Also, several people have mentioned that they want to help in a tangible way but they can't cook or don't have the time. We hear that the Snodgrass bunch likes , Crazy Bowls & Wraps, First Watch, JJ Twigs Pizza(Valley Park), Culvers burgers, St. Louis Bread Co, and Dierberg's, Trader Joe's, or Whole Foods if a gift card works better for you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Took for Granted

In sharing with you today is a following list of things I found to be difficult (fine motor) in the past weeks but, thankfully no longer do or at least not as difficult.

I took the following list for granted
1. pulling bed covers up to my shoulders & letting go. (letting go was the tricky part)
2. helping Stuart(3)get dressed/ undressed- socks & all.If there are buttons & a zipper forget it.
3. holding blowdryer & hairbrush with my left hand steadily.
4. taking the cap off my deodorant. ** this is finally getting easier!

This is a small list for the blog but, not small in my life as I am sure there are more to namethat haven't come to mind....


Monday, January 07, 2008

Trusting Issues

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV version
Having difficulty with trust tonight.
good night, kate

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sleep Needed for this Older Patient

Whew! It has been one great weekend. Carter had his first basketball game yesterday at the wee hour of 8 AM. The family had fun watching his ball handling skills. We look forward to Cole's first game next Saturday.

The past few nights I haven't slept well. Yesterday I took a 3-hour nap waking at 4:30 PM. I was exhausted after going to Carter's ball game. I wouldn't have even missed it being his first game. I knew I would be spent for most of Saturday afternoon. I finally went to bed for the night at 11 PM for I was tired, hoping that would help my sleeping issues. Unfortunately it did not. I ended up falling asleep sometime close to 3 AM and woke at 5 AM this morning. The alarm was set for 6 AM, not 5. Not Fun! Please pray that I would be able to sleep through the night. Starting to wonder if I have anxiety issues. I am planning on calling the doctor tomorrow.

Today was a good day as I was able to get myself dressed & ready for church, without assistance. Blowdrying & curling my hair, getting dressed, and even putting in my earrings.

Yesterday it was amazing to me that I was able to pull up my pants using my left hand and allowing it to release (fingers extending). I used to have to take my right hand and manually release the fingers of the left hand for my thumb for liked to hook and not let go.

It has been a humbling being at home versus being at the hospital. I joked with Dave while at the hospital that it seemed I was the pediatric patient compared to many of the other patients who were older. Now at home I feel like a geriatric patient because I walk steps one at time and also I use a special shower chair (thank you to those of you who have donated to my trust fund). I also drool occasionally due to my left sided weakness affecting my face and causing the left side of my lip to stay down and move slowly while I'm talking or not.

I better get to bed because I've got a busy week ahead with four days of therapy.


Friday, January 04, 2008

New Title

Maybe you noticed that the title at the top of this posting has changed from" A Brain Tumor Story" to "Kate's Story". The other day we received a sweet email from someone we have come to respect (our OT). I along with Dave though her point of view was well taken. Here is what she suggested.......

I do have one comment about your Blog though. It is entitled a "Brain Tumor Story" and that just doesn't settle with me. It is not the tumor's story. Do not give it glory. This is your story. This is the kingdom of God's story. The glory of God is in you. Ministry is happening because of this story. The kingdom of God is advance if only in my own heart because of YOUR story. And so why should some un-natural brain tumor get the credit? I guess I just feel that it's so many other story's than the "brain tumor." That's just my two cents. Take it or leave it. I do understand though and I think it's fine the way it is. That's just my reaction.

Thankful for the email suggestion,


Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Busy Day

Today was an exhausting day for Kate, so she asked me to write this blog post.

Kate started her out patient therapy this morning with one hour of OT and one hour of PT. It was determined that she is relying too much on her eyes for coordination and not her inner ear, which is more important for keeping your balance. A person's inner ear is responsible for 65% of their balance/coordination. It is difficult for her to stand both feet together with yes closed and keep her balance, she has a tendency to fall over or desires to hold onto the bar. The PT gave her some home exercises to improve this. Please pray that she would learn to rely more on her inner ear for coordination. The PT also detected that Kate has some fear about using her left side more confidently. Please pray about this as well.

This afternoon she had visits with her neurosurgeon, Dr. Forget, and oncologist, Dr. Needles. Both were very pleased with the progress she has made thus far and believe her left side will make a full recovery. While reviewing yesterday's MRI scan, it was determined that the reason for Kate's left side weakness is due to the surgical resection being so close to the thalamus, part of the brain that, among other things, relays motor signals from the right-to-left and left-to-right sides of the brain. One part of the tumor was right up against the thalamus, hence the reason for operating so close to it. If the surgeon had gone 1 cm (0.4 inches) further into the thalamus, Kate likely would have lost left side function permanently. Praise God for a surgeon's wisdom, steady hands, and modern medical technology.

Both doctors concurred that Kate is ready to start taking Temodar (chemotherapy). Her monthly chemo regimen will be 5 days on Temodar and 23 days off. There will likely be some side effects such as nausea, constipation, and fatigue. But no hair loss. There is also a possibility of the chemo affecting her blood counts, which the doctors will be monitoring closely. The exact start date is still to be determined.

Some of you may be wondering, was the surgery successful. In other words, did they get all of the cancer? Unfortunately, there is no way to know with 100% certainty. Due to the complexity of the brain and the nature of brain cancer cells, no doctor will ever tell you that you are "cured". As we have already seen, these tumors have a tendency to recur over time. Surgeries, radiation, and chemo usually just slow down the process. Only God knows the future and only time will tell if it is gone for good. Until then, we need to live wisely and keep up the fight.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for us.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The thief on Christmas night

This was going to be the posting the day after Christmas but obviously the pathology report took precedence.

OK, here it goes...........

After returning to the rehab hospital from my Christmas leave I settled into my bed and Dave left to go home. My evening nurse reported to me that she was going to put up my foot rails and turn on the bed alarm which meant that I needed to use the call button if I wanted to get out of bed. I let her know that I had yet to have an alarm activated while at the rehab hospital. She said that I should of had it on the past few nights and to use my call button if I needed to get out of bed. I was not thrilled & she knew it. I told her that I drink a lot of water which in turn meant a lot of calls for potty breaks. Later the nurse tech came and I asked her to ask the nurse to please come to my room for I had a question. I was totally tired by this time from the Christmas events at home. The nurse came and I asked her "What is your philosophy behind the alarm and rails, did a therapist or doctor order it?" She asked, "What?" I realized my voice was weak but I wanted to understand why the bed alarm was necessary. She concluded to tell me that since I was on anti-seizure meds the possibility of me falling out of bed was high and most patients have their alarms on at night. I didn't have the strength to challenge her to let her know my anti-seizure medicine, Keppra, was only for precautionary reasons.

I called Dave crying letting him know I was in bed jail for that is what it felt like. He calmed me down explaining that I was a liability (thank you, Safety Dave) to them and a previous patient most likely fell out of bed. It made sense, yet I still didn't like it for I had freedom the nights prior. It was Christmas night of all things. She was my joy robber, aka: thief of the night.

For the record, the alarm did go off at 1am on 12/26. I was trying to figure out how to adjust myself so I could lay prone. I ended up sitting where my feet belonged to throw a pillow up towards where my head would be and at that moment the piercing alarm went off. I was in shock! Hospital staff came running into my room and I explained that I wasn't trying to escape, just adjusting myself to be able to lay on my stomach. They said that the alarms are sensitive to weight shifts. Thank you very much - Big Momma here with a weight shift in bed. My new nurse whom I had before told me that he would leave the alarm off and return around 3 am. I was relieved to hear this. Oops! At that moment I realized it was 1:20 am. The clock in my room was difficult to see in the dark. Go figure. I propose it should be placed in a different locale. Glow in the dark qualities would have been nice. Ooooooooooo wouldn't that be cool? I am sure it is not in the hospital budget. Can you tell I am a mom of boys?

The next morning, I told the doctor on call that I didn't appreciate being restrained in my bed as I told him what had conspired the night prior. He agreed that it was unnecessary. "If a patient on anti-seizure meds would be a risk at falling out of bed there would be padding on the side rails."

"Do we see that here?" I responded with a "No." He affirmed my thoughts on the Keppra being precautionary.

It was better for the nurse to be more safe than sorry is where I can now stand on this issue. I didn't think this on the day after Christmas.

Really............ I was not trying to escape.

For a couple of nights following this incident the bed alarm was activated but I wasn't as livid. Thankfully on my last night the doctor made sure no alarms would be activated with a note in my records.

So glad my master bed at home doesn't have an alarm. Maybe that is why I couldn't fall asleep the first night. I have been traumatized. Just kidding!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Moments while in ICU

It is a shame that blogger has boring fonts to choose from.
I thought I would take the time tonight to share with you my thoughts and emotions I had while in ICU not long ago.

After many doctors came in to assess my left side situation, I think it was after the third doctor that I finally understood why they were asking me to stick out my tongue (to see if it was going straight out- which it wasn't and I thought it was.), squeeze their hands using both my hands, press down my feet onto their hands and vice versa- pulling up against pressure. While I tried so hard with my left hand to squeeze I realized it just wouldn't do what I was telling it to do. It was difficult to realize that I have never had to tell my hand to lift ,carry, etc. I remember saying to one doctor " I am telling it to move but it won't. - heart wrenching!

At that moment it felt as if my heart sank deeply into the mattress. I was in utter despair thinking I could be paralyzed. Once out of ICU and Dave went home to sleep I had a time of intense crying. I was not OK.

Thankfully I am OK today. Knowing I am going to be weak for a time. My hand is moving more and more each day. - Typing this myself tonight is proof. Although this is taking a lot of time.

Currently my most difficult task with my hand is extension-basically when fingers are outstretched It is most difficult when I grip to let my hand go to the extension mode.

I have practiced extension often throughout the day. Unfortunately the brain signals to hand have yet to understand.

When Dr. Forget came into my room sat near my feet asked how I was doing. I knew he was asking in regards to my left side. I responded that I had been sad and cried but do not blame him for he did a radical surgery- what we had asked him to do. His response was that he understood my sadness. He has such a good bedside manner. So glad he is my neurosurgeon.

We had a lazy New Years day here at the house which was good for all. After much begging,Dave took the older two boys out last night to a neighborhood party. They did not stay out too too late.

Gram helped me put Stu to bed. Her and I were a sight to behold last night while on the couch. She was snoring while Stuart was in her face trying to "talk" to her. I was reading a book with my eyes shut. Not a good way to comprehend. Huh?

Someone recently gave a book to me and wrote a note along with the following scripture. It was an encouragement Here it is for you.

I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.
Romans 9:17

An update on the nerve medicine:It was concluded that my severe right eye pain was due to nerves. I currently take the prescribed meds 2x daily and have yet to have much pain since surgery. We (the doctors and I will continue to adjust the dosage). This is great news as the pain was an 8 on the pain scale with 10 being the highest/ most painful!

this post took me an hour to type........... aghhhhhhhhh

I have my post surgery MRI tomorrow at 9:30 am.

Thankful for lazy family days,