Arlene Hall

First post: Oct 2, 2016 Latest post: Oct 29, 2016
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

DISCLAIMER:  This site for mom was started by Jenny - her youngest.  I try to provide information that is all encompassing but in some of the posts, the thoughts, beliefs and perceptions are my own.  I have three older siblings and we sometimes differ in our interpretations.  I will try and note when it is my thought/belief/perception alone.  Also, sometimes I cuss.  Part of the point of this is for me to get the thoughts out of my brain, and it's an emotional exercise so I at times will cuss because it's fitting and cathartic.

For the people who will visit this site, you know my mom.  You know that she is a mom to 4 kids who love her to pieces, she has 5 grandchildren she adores, you know that she is wicked smart, involved in the community and her church Woods Presbytery, and she is a wonderful friend to many.  Active, physically and mentally and completely independent.

And  for those of you that are visiting this site, you know that she was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  I'll let that sink in for a minute.  It's hard to read on paper.

For those of you that don't know THAT story, here are the details.

At the end of July - July 24th, I think but don't quote me on the date, mom woke up and had a normal morning, ran some errands and then went to visit friends who were getting ready to move.  While visiting, mom started to show signs of cognitive disfunction - her words started to get garbled, mispronounced, and clearly something was wrong.  An ambulance was called and mom walked to the ambulance, got into it on her own and told the medics the hospital she wanted to go to.  She then had a grand mal seizure that lasted 2 minutes.  It was a doozy.

Once she made it to the emergency room, a stroke was the initial concern and ruled out relatively early.  A brain MRI was done and there was something showing as abnormal on the scan - it "could be cancer" but they really thought at that time it was likely a viral infection of some point but of unknown origin.  Mom was admitted and they started some broad scope antibiotics to kill whatever virus it could be, did a spinal tap and then we sat back to wait for the results.  In the meantime, mom started to recover -a little bit of struggle with her words-but otherwise she was back to being mom.  Wanted a shower, talked to the doctors, sent texts, was itching to get out of the hospital and go home.

The spinal tap came back negative.  Not a viral our bacterial infection.  So...cancer.  That was the tentative diagnosis but it really needed to be confirmed by a neurosurgeon and a biopsy.  We got the news while she was still at Baltimore Washington Medical and it was like being kicked in the gut and then held down with a foot on our throats.  But deep breaths were taken all around, and mom was transported to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and was scheduled for a brain biopsy.  Up to this point somewhere between 4-7 days had gone by.  

August, 2016:
With 48 hours of being admitted to Hopkins, mom had her brain biopsy with results in 1-2 weeks. We also had some weirdly good news - that the MRI was showing that it was likely brain cancer but maybe the "good" kind - i.e., could be removed, or not aggressive and we would have multiple options.  I know, silver linings sometimes appear in strange ways.

 It took  a bit longer for mom to bounce back from brain surgery, but bounce back she did in true mom fashion.  She stayed with my brother Jeff and his wife Joanne for a week and needed some help washing her hair, and we noticed some difficulty with words, and she tired easily but all of that was pretty normal considering everything her brain had been through over the last two weeks.

We went to Hopkins as a family to get the final biopsy results from her Neurosurgeon.  The news we received was news we did not want.  It was there that we learned that mom has astrocyte glioblastoma, what used to be known as Glioblastoma Multiforme.  

In early September mom had a setback due to cancer.

My sister has described this as "life shifting bullshit."  That's putting it mildly......

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