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Susan’s Story

Hi everyone,

A friend suggested we try this Caring Bridge site, and I think it's a great idea. So instead of mass emails, I'll update this page from time to time. Feel free to stop in, sign the guest book, or email me directly!



In case you're unaware of the whirlwind that's been going on, my mom had brain surgery on Tuesday, November 25th to remove a tumor in her left parietal lobe. She recovered amazingly well and they released her directly from the ICU on Thanksgiving--just 2 days after surgery!

Her deficits before surgery we larger than I had realized. Her reading was severely impaired to the point where she couldn't do it anymore, and she was having significant word-finding issues. Post-surgery, she has only one new deficit, which is fairly minor--problems with her right peripheral vision. But her reading and speech has improved exponentially by the day. If you didn't know what she's been through, you would never guess it.

On Monday, Dec 1st, Dr Rodriguez, her surgeon, came to the house to talk with us about the pathology results. She has a grade 4 Glioblastoma. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glioblastoma). He removed everything he could see with a microscope and through MRI, and now we're headed off to UCLA for chemo and radiation.

One of mom's colleagues has, bizarrely enough, been diagnosed with the same kind of cancer. He had surgery in February and is currently clean as a whistle. Mom will have the same oncologist and will likely do a similar, if not the same, clinical trial.

Hearts were a little heavy at first, but now that the news has sunken in a little, we're pushing forward. Mom is one spunky, stubborn, and brilliant woman! She's ready to beat the pulp out of this thing. Of course, all your thoughts and prayers would help... We don't care if God is sick of hearing about it. Cry me a river!!! ;-)

Latest Journal Update

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Dear all,

 


It has been 68 days since mom passed away and not even an hour goes by when she is not noticeably present within me. Even when I sleep.  I know I am not alone.  I wanted to share one last journal entry as this week truly marks the end of a painful chapter in many of our lives.  It is one I am reluctant to close, but necessary nonetheless. 


 


On Wednesday Dave is leaving Pittsburgh to embark on a journey (with grateful driving assistance from my brother-in-law) back to California.   After mom passed away we all gradually got back to life as “normal”.  Or at least we have tried to get back to life as we knew it, although it will certainly never be the same.  But the life as Dave knew it was all the way across the country.  Without a job to return to he has spent the past 2 and half months enduring almost nonstop challenges.  Just two weeks after mom died he had a knee replacement and is only just now not in constant physical pain.  And in the meantime he has endured constant grief in going through every single item that they moved with them back to Pittsburgh.  Clothing, dishes, and boxes and boxes of photos among many other things.  I am confident he is making the right decision in making this move, although I am anxious about not being within arm’s reach.   He has shuffled through much more than his fair share of grief, and I pray that as the moving van pulls away, his soul is lifted.


 


I am writing to ask for help with these prayers.  For safe travels, and for solace in California, and for a support network out west that will lift him up… and keep him very very busy.  The selfish part of me feels like I’m losing another parent.  But Clint is good to regularly remind me that I’m not losing Dave, he’s just moving.


 


I also pray that this note finds you all at peace.  I am forever grateful to each and every last one of you reading this message…and beyond.  As I log in to post this, I see that the site has been visited more than 8,000 times.  In the future I plan to compile all these journal and guest entries and I look forward to re-reading all the kind thoughts and prayers that have inundated our family for the past 2 years.  We have been lucky.  There is an emptiness in moving forward, but mom’s spirit will never be gone.  I truly believe it will help us find fullness in our future.


 


I’ve already said thank you.  But, thank you.


 


May blessings and peace be with you and your families.


 


Signing off…reluctantly….


Much Love,


Kathryn


 


PS As a side note, there has been a scholarship set up in mom’s name at the Claremont School of Theology.  I told many of you who wanted to donate something in her name I would share this information.  Please email me (kdunfee@gmail.com) or Kathy Black at CST (kblack@cst.edu) for details. 


 


And also, Dave won’t be in email contact for awhile, but his contact info is davglutz@gmail.com & his cell is 909-450-4253.  If you have the inclination, please don’t hesitate. 


 


And remember:


 


Practice awareness,


 


                                    Watch yourselves breathe, -


 


                                                Every day find at least one thing to be thankful for


 


                                    - Tell others what they mean to you -


 


                                                Forgive,


 


                                                            Laugh,


 


                                                And practice the discipline


 


                                                            Of taking nothing for granted –


 


 


 


Or perhaps, better said,


 


            The discipline of forgiving yourselves


 


                        For all the ways


 


                                    You will take life for granted


 


                                                And receive it anyway.


 


 


 


Grace and peace


 


            Be upon you.


 


~Susan Nelson