Friday, December 29, 2006

The end of the world is nigh.

I have joined YouTube and discovered that my digital camera has a movie feature.

Who knew?

Certainly not Finny.

I better get him an agent.

Thank You God

Lauren had her angiogram today and came through fine. She woke up and wanted butterscotch pudding (the hospital must have just restocked itself from the 100 previous puddings she's eaten).

My mom called and was effusive with joy.
The AVM is flat, like a pancake, which surprises us, because from all the websites and descriptions we thought it was a bulge.

The doctors are releasing her tonight into the care of her parents. My brother and sister-in-law are the greatest parents I've ever seen. With their loving guidance and gentle ways, Lauren will recover quickly. This I know.

They've recommended a type of radiation "surgery" called Gamma Knife. I've done research (oddly enough, I'd already heard of this while researching a potential tenant) and it is pretty spectacular. Beams of radiation are focused on one spot in the brain (precisely located within a fraction of a milimeter to the intended area) and are beamed from several locations outside of her head. Each ray individually is too weak to cause any damage or effect to the matter it passes through. The only danger comes when all beams converge, and this is focused on the spot the doctors want to "die." And it should die. There will be no incision, no hole in her skull, and no danger to the areas they would need to get past, to get to the center of her brain where the AVM is. Good news.

Only downfall, as opposed to surgery, which cuts out the AVM entirely, this procedure kills it, leaving it in her head. 2-3 years is the typical amount of time to know whether the Gamma Knife surgery has been entirely effective. But still. Her brain won't be poked at by surgeons, who, despite all their best efforts and technology, will still have to move areas apart and cut through areas to get to the AVM. The risks of which are astronomical. No matter how good they are.

Thank you, God. Thank you Grandpa. I know you were there, watching over and alerting us to the danger in her head. Thank you. Please stay with her until she is all clear.

In other astoundingly good news, Lolobird was up and walking yesterday!! (Another reason they are releasing her). She hopped all over the room when my mom was with her and was so excited to be moving around. She told my brother that she can't go to school yet until her legs are "fixed." She was scared at first, but then really really excited.

Thank you to all my friends who were so worried and praying for us. And my astounding company, who has been so supportive. I have the best bosses in the world.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Broken Heart

On Tuesday, December 19, I received a call that instantly and completely broke my heart.
My 4 year old niece, Lauren, had been rushed to the hospital with what was discovered to be a bleed on her brain.
Turns out that she has a genetic condition known as AVM (arteriovenous malformation). It is a tangle of blood vessels located anywhere in the body, but more predominantly in the brain. That senator from South Dakota (Iowa?) who recently had brain surgery had an AVM.

They can rupture. Unless they rupture, you don't always know that you have one. You certainly don't routinely do MRIs on a perfectly healthy (and unbelievably precious) 4 year old girl.

Lauren's ruptured during naptime at daycare on December 19th. She woke up from her nap crying and unable to walk, move her right side, talk or open her eyes. They called my sister-in-law, who called 911 and Lauren was rushed to the hospital.

A few hours later, she was airlifted to Kaiser Permanente Oakland (from Sacramento Kaiser) where she was admitted to Pediatric ICU.

My parents caught the next flight out of Toledo to be by her side. The pope and I flew down on Sunday to see her.
She is talking again, although with some difficulty. She does not have full use of her right hand and can't stand on her right leg. Her smile comes and goes on the right side of her face - sometimes it is perfectly fine, other times she smiles and only the left side moves.

She knows she has an owie in her head and that is why she can't color with her right hand as she used to.

I can't talk too much about it right now, because I'm exhausted from the quick trip to Oakland and the visits by my beloved niece's ICU bed.

They need to do an angiogram (where they inject dye into the affected area) to trace the blood vessels and pinpoint exactly where the AVM is to help them understand the risks associated with the surgery. SURGERY. My 4 year old niece will have brain surgery in the next week. That is a fact. They will go in and try to cut this out so that it never bleeds again. All we know is an approximate location: deep in the center of her brain near her basal ganglia.

I'm posting this so that you pray for her. Please please send a prayer for her. She is the light of our lives. She is the most beautiful little girl that I have ever seen. She is the loveliest, smartest and most precocious little girl I've ever met.

This is Lauren:

Please keep her and my brother & sister-in-law in your thoughts.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Tonight on my way home I realized that my lights weren't on.
No problem, right?


I was HALFWAY home. Which means I'd been on the freeway for at least 10 minutes.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Typhoid Salome

I flew home and within 24 hours of being with CLP she came down with stomach flu.
The very same day she drove home, her mom was afflicted.

Right before I left, I transferred all various and sundry germs to my sister-in-law. Luckily, I had exactly the kind of medicine that would help her! The odds!?!

My sister-in-law promptly submitted said germs to my father's attention. Father is reviewing them now.

Before I even left Seattle, however, I gave them to my husband.

I cut a swath of sickness everywhere I went.
If I was still this potent on Monday and Tuesday, just imagine how many people in my tightly packed seminar in SF I felled? I am drunk with the power.

In other news, we bought a CAR!!!!!

In way old news, I'm really fat! Hey, there's me with a gorgeous new car. I'm really fat!

In our continuing story, my husband is really terrific, and so, so handsome.

That is all. I have storm pictures to post, but I'm currently smoking S's cigarettes, left here in August. And don't bother asking, that whole quitting smoking thing is going just fine. I haven't bought a pack in days.


p.s. CLP, driving home from the dealership, I ran over a huge piece of someone's car. You'd have been proud. I'd been driving the car for a total of 10 minutes. :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Donald Frederick Wilhelm

My grandfather died last Thursday at 5:45pm.
He was surrounded by my aunts and uncles and grandmother, who laid her head next to his as he was dying and said, "Thank you sweetheart. Thank you for so many wonderful years of love and friendship and for our wonderful children."

I flew home early yesterday morning and cried when I saw my mom. I cried when we got home and saw my dad and Uncle Bob. I cried when I saw my grandmother, but she won't let anyone cry over this. She says he is in a better place, and he had such a full life, we should not cry for him.

My aunt Joycie came in about an hour later, when she and I saw each other, we just stopped where we stood and burst into tears. We cried in each other's arms for a while. Everyone laughed and said they knew we were going to do that.

We have a showing today from 4-8pm and another one tomorrow from 2:00pm - 8:00pm. He will be buried on Tuesday.

My brother flies in today with his wife and girls.

We have collected about 200 pictures from my grandfather's very happy life.
My cousin PJ made a slideshow to play at the memorial home and showed it to us last night. My uncle Tommy couldn't hold back the tears, and everyone gathered at my grandmother's house cried themselves into headaches.

My grandma would tell us the stories behind all the pictures as they flashed up. She had told a story of how my grandfather wrote her a song and wouldn't play it for her until she agreed to go steady with him. He carried his violin in the backseat of his car for two years, ready to play it for her when she agreed. One night they were "necking" in his car and she told him she would go steady with him. He whipped out the violin and played her a song he called, My Darling Nancy. A picture of my grandpa leaning against a car flipped up on the screen and my grandma called out, "that's the car we were necking in!!"

My grandmother fell in love with my grandpa at first sight. She told us all that, but said that she still made him wait two years until she would go steady with him. Because she was a good girl.

My grandfather loved my grandmother with all his heart for all his life.