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On Mother’s Day 2007, I was 25 years old

Hello. On Mother’s Day 2007, when I was 25 years old and 3 months pregnant with my second child, I woke up with double vision. My husband, at the time, took me to a small ER where a quick CT-scan indicated that something was not right. I was transported by ambulance to a level one hospital.

I had been sick for months prior to this, but the doctors and I had attributed this to my pregnancy. I actually remember asking my OB doctor if he thought I had a brain tumor or something crazy, half joking, but he said “no”.

After further testing, the doctors determined I had a brain tumor on my cerebellum/brain stem which would have to be removed or myself and my baby would die. I refused the surgery until my baby was considered viable. The night before the operation the doctors told me I had an 80% chance of being completely fine after the surgery, while my baby had only .1% chance of surviving…
The surgery left me in a coma for a few months; my baby was delivered via C-section during this. Piper Michele, miraculously survived without any major issues (weighing in at a hefty 4lbs 1oz and being 7 weeks premature). Today she is a vibrant, healthy (and feisty!) 7 year old little girl who loves playing with her older sister, Amelia.

I was eventually transferred to an inpatient rehab where I woke up, worked hard and spent my baby’s first year of life. While my cognition is fully intact, I am unable to walk, eat or talk and my whole face is paralyzed. Unfortunately my daughter Piper has never heard me talk normal or even seen me smile, and my older daughter was too young to remember anything before the surgery. They only know me as I am today.

I came home around Christmas time 2008 and immediately began outpatient and home-based therapies, as well as at-home nursing care. Since my surgery things have changed drastically. I went from living with my husband and one daughter prior to all this, to now a 33 year old divorcee living in an apartment on the back of my parent’s home. I have 24 hour care covered by my mother, other family members, nurses or friends. I utilize a high tech device, a letter board communication system and a speaking valve to communicate.

My daughters visit every other weekend and opposite Monday’s. I am currently being the very best mommy I can be, but I wish I could be with my girls 24 hours per day like I used to be. Maybe I can’t be a traditional “soccer mom” but I am thankful that I am able to attend most of their functions – it always makes me so proud and happy to see them succeed. Whenever my girls are around nothing else in the world matters.

This is certainly not the life I expected to be living but I’m trying to make the best out of an unfortunate situation. Don’t ever take a day for granted! Hug your babies extra today.

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