Nanette’s Story

Site created on December 9, 2019

As many of you know, mom has had her fair share of struggles in her life. She may have gotten sad and scared at times with some challenges that have been thrown at her, but she has always found the grace, strength, and courage to fight with every ounce of her being to get through it. Her most recent challenge, however, may prove to be her most difficult.

After suffering a hemorrhagic stroke just minutes shy of Friday, September 13th, Mom spent months working very hard in both inpatient and outpatient rehab to improve her compromised speech, mobility, and fine motor skills. She had come SO far and made SO much progress in just 2 and 1/2 months (anyone who is familiar with strokes knows this is highly unusual to make as much progress as she did in such a short amount of time), but just as she was moving up to the next level of progress with her stroke treatment and recovery she received a massive blow.

Around Thanksgiving, she began declining with the progress she had made. Initially we chalked it up to her being tired from running around and missing some therapy due to the holiday. However, on 12/5/2019, she experienced a sudden and alarming cognitive and physical decline. On 12/6/2019 she was taken to Central DuPage Hospital to evaluate her recent decline. After sharing the recent changes we had observed with the ER doctor, he felt it necessary to do further testing since there were so many unanswered questions. We were hoping and praying it was nothing significant, but at this point we were becoming increasingly alarmed.

Upon receiving the initial results of the first CT scan, we were shocked and brokenhearted when we were told mom's swelling in her brain had not gone down after the stroke and had actually increased. It was found that she had a mass in her brain which the doctors hadn't seen in previous MRIs due to the amount swelling in her brain from the blood that the body had not fully reabsorbed from the stroke. Mom was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the 5th highest ranking neurosurgical hospital in the country, on 12/7/2019 for further evaluation. Given the time-frame in which the mass had grown, the results of further tests, and the seriousness of the tumor's size and location, she underwent surgery first thing in the morning on 12/8/2019. The brilliant surgeon, Dr. Sonabend, was able to remove 80-90% of her brain tumor, but had to leave some of her golf-ball sized tumor due its proximity to her motor cortex. We were further crushed to find out the mass that was removed was glioblastoma ...the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer.
But this woman is WARRIOR! Through all the tears, fears, and blows she has received, she still manages to laugh, make jokes (often dirty little innuendos), worry about others, and see the beauty in life! She gives everything she does her all and then some! She is ready for a FIGHT and we her soldiers are ready to FIGHT BY HER SIDE!!! She may be small and gentle, but cancer is in for a BIG surprise because our WARRIOR is MIGHTY with DETERMINATION and a STRENGTH few possess!

We ask at this time you send prayers for her and our family (this includes friends...the family we choose for ourselves) and send her all the love you can, whether its a quick phone call or text with words of encouragement, a card, a song, a joke, flowers, or leaving words of encouragement here...anything to keep her spirits up and let her know you are one of her soldiers giving her strength! This woman loves others SO deeply and loves LIFE...so let's show her how deeply we love her!!!

The family will try to update on Caring Bridge as often as possible with news and her progression.

Thank you all!

Love,

The Meyer Kids

Newest Update

Journal entry by Nanette Casto

Mom is all done with radiation as of this past Monday! YEA!!! No more chemo for 4 weeks either! YEA!!! We are hoping these next 4 weeks will give her body the much needed rest and rejuvenation she needs before she resumes chemo. We are very hopeful that during this break she will regain her strength and the irritation to her brain will subside (radiation adds insult to injury, but is SO necessary to treat the cancer). We are optimistic her speech and mobility will markedly improve over the next 4 weeks! 

In the meantime, our warrior is not letting any of this stop her from continuing to enjoy life however and whenever she can! Cancer shmancer may have slowed her down, but nothing can stop this woman! Mom’s oncologist’s nurse practitioner told Mom she is a model patient and she should write a book to teach people about having such a great, positive attitude while fighting cancer! 

Some fun things to come for her in next few weeks include seeing Madame Butterly, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, a facial, a massage, and her birthday!!!!!! I am sure there will be some much needed naps in there too. LOL Hopefully on 3/9 her MRI will show the radiation and chemo worked and we will have even more reason to celebrate!!!! 

Love, prayers, and thanks to all! ♥️
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