November 16, 2016

Dear Friend,

DETOUR. That dreaded six letter word that travelers dread. The path takes a curve. The road becomes rough. Where will this take us? How far off our course do we have to go? I was delighted you followed us along our journey to the New England states. We had plans to visit Georgia and South Carolina late fall before we headed to Florida for a couple of weeks. But God has a way of throwing curve balls and that plan is at a minimum, delayed, if not cancelled now.

I debated about sharing this detour with everyone because by nature, I am a very private person. However, I believe God has great things planned through this rough and bumpy road set before me now. Through other past family health issues, I have discovered many people have wrong ideas about how nice life will always theoretically be when you decide to become “religious”. My goal in this detour is so you can see how my relationship with my Heavenly Father is deeper than a bunch of “thou shalt not’s” as I try to be real through this ordeal. Please be understanding to silences in the journey. I easily write now because there is no pain, but I know I will be out of commission for a while down the road. At least I am going to try and we’ll see where this goes. Hold on tight…Here we go!

While we were traveling out east I became really bothered as I was having an increasing amount of lightheadedness and slight on-going earaches. On five consecutive hikes, I ended up losing my balance and falling to the ground. Granted the terrain was not always ideal, but I knew I should have been able to catch myself at least some of those times. So on our short trip back to Minnesota, I explained those symptoms to my doctor.

Upon her hearing, she recommended I have an MRI just to rule out potential issues that would disguise itself as vertigo. She also had me go to the eye doctor, who ended up giving me a set of eye glasses for the first time since my childhood years. Since I concluded my eyes were the main issue and the glasses should solve it, I almost cancelled the MRI. Fortunately my husband, Joel, encouraged me to go through with it anyway.

The same day of the MRI appointment, the clinic called to see me early the next morning to discuss the results. The doctor came in smiling optimistically, “Regina, I am SO glad you were able to meet with me again on short notice…I know you were hoping everything was going to point to something like vertigo, but it’s not. You have an epidermoid mass on your brain and you will most likely need to have surgery to remove it.” Boom.

Mentally, I knew there was potential for some strange finding, but I could hardly register the words she was saying to me. Not being a specialist, she wanted to be careful not to infer wrong ideas, so she remained vague. All she could say was that it was compressing the top of my spinal cord and cerebellum. The mass was located towards the back of my head. This also did not look malignant at first glance either, but it had to be biopsied to be conclusive.

I told her that if turning 40 this year was really the top of the hill, I must have a steep slope down. First glasses and now brain surgery. My initial concerns were pain related. Will they have to cut a hole into my skull? Am I going to puke coming out of surgery with a certain headache occurring at the same time? A miserable picture formed in my mind. I told her at least I was glad it wasn’t diabetes. No chocolate or ice cream? Now that would be rough. At least I was looking to a future where a nasty surgery will be performed and then I move on with life ideally.

I held my composure for the remainder of the consultation, though I felt my legs and arms start to quiver as the reality of the detour’s uncertainty set in. I had so many questions, but none that could be answered by her. I had to wait for an appointment with a neurosurgeon.

I headed out to my car. My husband, Joel, would want to know what was going on. Knowing he was hunting, I did not want to cause his phone to ring. I texted him instead. I think it was easier in a way at this point because words would be able to flow through my fingers much better than through my lips. With my warped sense of humor and to leave him hanging, I wrote, “Going downhill fast. Looking at surgery to remove a mass on my brain. At least I may not have to wear glasses for dizziness.”

He responded, “Seriously?!” I decided I should have a little pity on him and told him they did not believe it to be cancerous at this point.

We finished our conversation with a phone call to each other. My only conclusions to share: I have a tumor and I probably will need surgery. Not much information to go on; thus began the detour.

Until we meet again,
Regina

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4 thoughts on “DETOUR!

  1. As always you and Joel, and the boys are always on our minds and in our prayers. We will add some more prayers that you come through this with little or no pain and that you will be able to resume your travels with the family soon.

    Great big hugs and knowing that his arms are around you all.

    Tom and Kris.

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  2. Jim said you were in church on Sunday, and I am sorry that I didn’t see you. I was saddened to read about your health issues and will be praying for you. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trust in Thee.” May the Lord give you that peace in the midst of the unknown future. I will be praying for a complete healing.

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