Nov 13, 2018 Latest post:
May 17, 2019
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Ah, where do I begin? While many of you by now know something about Angela's story, there are those who do not know her full journey. I will attempt to give you a sense of where this began and a small glimpse at what she has been enduring for the past 16 years.
In 2002 she was living and working in Hong Kong as a Cantorial Soloist. One night while attending a work meeting she suffered a seizure. She was sent to the hospital from where she called us to reluctantly tell her mother that she had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. In a daze we packed our bags, flew to Hong Kong and brought her back to St. Louis where she had her first brain surgery. Within a month she had recovered enough to go back to her work in Hong Kong. Shortly thereafter the SARS epidemic caused changes in her workplace and she returned to Denver where she resumed her job as a Cantorial Soloist.
After a few years there were indications that necessitated her having chemo treatments. In 2012 an MRI showed that the tumor had grown back. She was then living in San Jose, California, where she was working as a music and art teacher at a Jewish Day School. She was also doing Cantorial work in several synagogues in the Northern California area and giving private guitar lessons to many students. At this time she had her second brain surgery (at UCSF) to remove the tumor.
In 2013 it became evident that there was more growth. It was recommended that she have radiation therapy and she spent much time researching where to go and what type of radiation to have. She chose Mass General Hospital in Boston. In 2014 I spent 6 weeks with her there as she bravely went for her daily proton beam radiation treatments.
When this ended she returned to her work and her active life in the San Jose area. At this point I would like to acknowledge Angela's great courage as she faced so many frightening challenges.... so far away from family and mostly on her own. She only shared her medical history with a very few people during most of these years. She said she did not want to be defined by her illness and she didn't want to be constantly reminded about it even through well intended comments. She continued doing the things she loved.... traveling; skiing; enjoying being a "foodie" tasting many different culinary treats; socializing with friends; dancing; making jewelry and mostly singing, playing guitar and harmonizing with fellow musicians til all hours of the night! She has loved sharing her musical passions with her students and has been so proud to see them find their own passions and share them with others. She also loves being with family.... especially her cute little nieces who make her smile.
She has had to handle many frightening Dr. appointments and procedures pretty much on her own. It was really only in the last couple of years that she opened up more to co-workers and friends about her health issues. Many were surprised to learn all that she had been going through for so long because they always saw her smiling and generous spirit. They were not aware of the fears and concerns she harbored inside. She learned, however, that by sharing more of herself with others there came a new level of understanding and closeness. We are very grateful to the many who have been so loving and supportive. She loves to spend hours on the phone talking with her abundance of different friends from all around the world!
This year has been the toughest. At the end of January, because she was developing weakness in her left arm and left leg, her Dr. told her she needed to stop working and stop driving. In March she experienced a partial seizure and was taken to the hospital. She had a cavernous hemangioma and some bleeding that caused stroke like symptoms. Mar. 21st she had her 3rd brain surgery to remove the cavernoma. She spent 3 weeks at UCSF Hospital and then was sent to the the Santa Clara Valley Rehab center where she worked with Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapists every day. She was discharged April 24th, at which time her cousin, David, generously flew to San Francisco to bring her back home to St. Louis to live with me.
Most of the Spring and Summer she went to outpatient therapy and was making good progress. By May she could walk well enough that we could put away the wheel chair. She was able to do more things with some level of independence.
On Sat. evening Nov. 3rd she began to have trouble walking and developed terrible headaches. Another MRI revealed some swelling in the brain. She was sent to Barnes Hospital for further evaluation. Certain medications were increased to reduce the swelling and her headaches have begun to subside. We are now waiting to hear what comes next. They are talking about sending her to an inpatient rehab in the county, so I hope to hear about this decision very soon.
The physical and emotional losses she has sustained this year have been devastating. Her medications are so strong that it is difficult for her to think clearly or stay awake for very long.. She is most energized when she can visit with friends and when she sees progress in her movement. Most importantly, she needs to feel connected with loving friends and family!
I would like to take a moment to thank my wonderful friends and family who have been so loving and helpful to me as I try to find the best ways to help my beautiful daughter who I love so very much. Thank you❤️