Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Elder Wee-yum In the DR

Every person who knew Blake in the mission refers to him as Wee yum, if I had a dime for every time I heard Wee yum today I could make  a lot of meals for these people.  Wee Yum was comfortable and loved in his mission.

It's difficult to put into words how I am feeling.  Since making a bucket list, one of the things on it, in fact at the top of the list was to visit the places where Blake served as a missionary for the church.  Walking the streets, seeing the homes he taught in, visiting with the members who literally fed him and provided a listening ear when he was struggling to not only be an effective missionary and  serve the Lord but to also deal with the fact that his mother was countries away dealing with cancer.  My heart has been touched and my eyes full of tears as these sweet wonderful people have invited us into their humble homes and shared stories of Blakes love for the Dominican People.  Yesterday we were able to attend church with him in Santiago, before we were even able to enter the doors people were surrounding him, hugging him and expressing their love for him to us. "ahh Wee yum" is all we heard.

Caroline--so nice to meet her she emailed me
often and reads my blog

"Wheel yum -was my son in the mission
your son in your home"

We were invited by several families to please come to their home for dinner, however, Blake had already arranged with his favorite family in Santiago for us to have Sunday dinner with them.  As you can see, we did not starve, Eric went with this sweet sister and Blake Saturday night and purchased all she would need to feed our family and a few others.  While I visited with her she told me that Blake ate at her home just about every night while he was serving in her area.  As a mother I am overwhelmed with emotion, Blake had such a difficult time dealing with my cancer while he was gone.  Before one of the surgeries I had Blake went to her home and she talked to him, as he cried and told her how worried he was about me, she told him exactly what I would of told him--"continue to serve with all your heart and the Lord will take care of your mama"   I had some concern while he was gone that he would worry so much about what was happening with me that he would forget to enjoy his mission, hearing this sister tell me these stories made my eyes well up and tears to run down my cheeks.  The Lord truly blessed him with strong members of the church to watch over him, feed him and give him good advice.
Biggest pot of rice I have ever seen, and so good

Chicken, plantains, rice, avocado (the best I'v ever eaten)
potatoes with cream sauce, salad with salsa dressing

The Family
This Sabbath Day was one I will not soon forget.  With a thankful heart I rest tonight.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

to BaHa or not to BaHa

Today I had an Audi Consult for a Bone Anchored Hearing device called the Cochlear Baha3, at the Mayo Clinic.  If you're like me, you should be saying "huh?"   Basically what the Baha  does is reroutes and transfers the sound directly to my left hearing ear.  This makes it possible for me to perceive sounds from both sides, and from what I understand it is extremely effected for people with SSD (single-sided deafness)  The device does not give me any hearing recovery in the right ear, it merely channels the sound from my deaf ear to my hearing hearing inner ear, leaving my hearing ear undisturbed.  It is implanted into the bone behind my right ear, it  also offers a more natural pathway to hearing for people who cannot hear with hearing aids, and for children who might have middle or inner ear hearing problems.

When I was in elementary school I remember the teachers constantly telling my mother year after year, "she day dreams, and stares out the windows"  "Monya has a difficult time paying attention"  "Monya is delightful, however has a difficult time concentrating"  blah blah blah--- duh?  I was deaf in one ear, and had to sit on the back row of the classroom, because I was always taller than everyone else.  If I had this Baha Implant then, maybe I would of been a better student....let's just blame it on that for now.

Now I have a difficult decision to make, to Baha or not to Baha.  The doctor made it sound so easy, but I'm not sure I want to do this.  Today she put a simulator on my head so during our visit I was actually listening with a simulation of the Baha connected to the bone on my right ear, with a headband.  It was strange and unusual, I'm not sure if I could even explain it, and I do not have anything to compare it to.
I definitely do not want another surgery, and I really am not sure I want to hear.  I've gone 46 years without hearing in that ear and I think I do really well.  I've learned over the years to read lips really well.  I guess the question is, will this improve my quality of life? and am I willing to go through it?

Cochlear Baha without  Baha On

Implant with Baha on

a little FYI:

I have felt this un-easy feeling about one of my doctors, after much prayer and thinking I have decided to seek a 2nd opinion about my thyroid.  I always feel weird about changing doctors, mostly because I don't want to hurt feelings, but I'm ok with this and I know I need to since it is so heavy on my mind.

Friday, August 10, 2012


 Results are not necessarily the best part of my life lately but it at least puts me one step closer to the end--whatever that may be.  This has been a whirlwind week of appointments and tests at the Mayo Clinic.  Twice this week I was told I have the body of an 80-90 year old---ummmmm, laugh, 
just laugh I did.

I'm not sure where to even begin--this is getting ridiculously weird.  Most people who read this or who know me well, know I am deaf in my right ear caused by a blow to the right side of my head from my father when I was 3.  My ENT (ear nose and throat) doctor was with me from the time I was 3 until the last time I saw him when I was 29. (20 years ago)  From the beginning to the age of 29 I had many surgeries on the right ear, at age 29 I began having some very strange symptoms like my equilibrium was off.  Dr. Borland looked in my ear and sent me to a different specialist who diagnosed me with a tumor in the ear canal--I had that removed and pretty much life up until now with my ear has been fine.  A couple of months ago I was at the gym working out and something popped in my head that made me feel like I was in a tunnel, I could not understand what people were saying, it was really, really strange and hard to explain.  The right ear began to drain, and even sometimes bloody.  I asked my favorite Dr.  Kreymerman if he knew a good ENT at Mayo--of course he does--Heather referred me over and this where the story gets weird--Dr. looked in my ear, could tell there has been some damage along my life's path and decided to order a MRI and CT scan.  

On Thursday last week, I had the MRI and CT scans done--Friday I received 2 phone calls from Mayo--the 1st one telling me I had 3-4 spots on my brain--and that I needed to see the Neuro Surgeon on Tuesday--this phone call came while I was in the car with Eric, Katilyn & Brian, I wanted to cry so bad--but I didn't I just hung up and held my composure.  The 2nd call was from Mayo Clinic again confirming my appointment with the endocrinologist on Wednesday, again I hung up and Kaitlyn asked who that was--I told them--we chatted a few minutes about it, but honestly I didn't want to worry anyone, we've had enough of that for awhile.

I spent everyday this week at Doctors offices, scanning probing, poking and to top it off was told my hearing is that of a 90 year old..... duh?


Tuesday-- Neurology appointment--loved the Doctor--she showed me the results of my MRI on a big screen--there were around 15 spots on the right side and the ones we could see on the left were around 5.  She explained to me that the spots are extremely rare for someone of my age--in fact that the neurology team at Mayo has never seen that many spots on a persons head, usually those types of spots show up on 80 year olds.  Basically what I was told is that I am a walking time bomb for a stroke--and that she was surprised I had not had one before now--this would explain many of my symptoms I have been experiencing for the past year--I have explained those symptoms to my oncologist many times, but they also mirror the symptoms of having chemo brain and going through as much chemo and radiation I have had.

Wednesday-endocrynologist (thyroid) I was diagnosed with Graves disease.   I have some options, right now I am taking some different medication as my thyroid has gone from Hypo to Hyper (this is why I went to the endo) until Oct 1st when I will see him again, this gives my body time to regulate the thyroid and gives me time to decide if I want to do radiation therapy on it or have it removed surgically.  Hyper thyroid is not a good diagnosis because you will begin to lose weight, not only fat but muscle it is sickly looking and very difficult to treat--Graves could  turn to cancer-- if not properly treated but it is a secondary cancer not related to the breast cancer.   have a long family history of auto immune diseases and stroke so no big surprise--I was told my genes suck--oh really?  wow, good to know.

Today I went to see the audiology department Mayo Clinic on Shea, had a series of  tests run on my hearing, then changed campuses and went to the Mayo Hospital to see the ENT.  First thing he said to me when he came in was "so I take it you came alone today" I nodded yes then he sighed..... not a good sign--he first did another ear exam in both ears, then asked me to sit down so he could show me the results not only of my brain (again reminding me of the high risk of stroke) and adding that I have some significant hearing loss in my left ear, nothing to really worry about except that I am completely deaf in my right ear.  Part of the reasons for the left ear hearing loss is age ( because you know---I'm in my 90's) and the other is because I have over compensated using my left ear to hear out of my entire life.  Just a little FYI I can read lips from across the room--better not be talking about me--ha ha
Conclusion with the ENT--I have a tumor in the inner ear canal, it looks about the size of a pencil eraser, it is the color of grayish white--this is the color consistent with a malignant tumor but does always mean it is, this could also be a benign.  He then explained to me about a procedure he would like to try it's called BAHA implant, it is screwed into the bone behind my ear, IT WILL NOT RESTORE ANY HEARING, what it does is connects the nerves so that I can feel more vibration in that ear which is coming from the left side--make sense?  Yeah--me either not sure about that one--I am going to see another doctor about that on Aug 21st.

More with the ENT that is completely non related to the above, after checking my nose --I'm not sure if I have ever mentioned I broke my nose at Camp Lo MIa when I was 13 and never got it fixed.  I have had a hard time breathing, and since chemo my right nostril runs morning noon and night, winter, spring, summer or fall. It took him about 2 seconds to diagnose that problem after he stuck the speculum up my nose I have a deviated septum, the right side has completely collapsed into the left side....what is it about the right side of my body???  Right breast, right hip, right ear, right brain and now right nose--I will be having the septum surgery on Sept 12th.

I have come to learn that none of us are immuned from life's difficulties and trials--Live-Learn- and Teach others--NO REGRETS--I'm trying my hardest to be positive and happy--I believe these are all non related to the breast cancer.  It's just another test, Heavenly Father is trying to see how far I can be pushed, and if I have actually learned anything from the past 3 years--Just when I get comfortable , SNAP-back to reality-
time to serve more--
love more--
judge less--
the Lord will take care of the rest.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Life Moves Fast

I finally finished the quilt I was making for Dr. Kreymerman's new baby boy Madden.  PK and his wife Rakhi are really special people, the kind of people I am proud to call my friends.

I have only made 4 quilts in my life, Recker,  one for Haleigh last year, one for Dr. Kreymerman's daughter when she was born and now for Madden Kreymerman.  As I  put the finishing touches on it tonight, I could see so many mistakes and imperfections throughout it,  just like my life--this was quilted together with the hope that it would comfort and bring warmth and love to someone I love.  Every hand made stitch on this quilt is a representation of the eternal love I will forever have for this family.

The past few months have been stressful in the Williams home, well I should say in my life.  One thing has led to another and now I am in another sleepless night of worry.... more about that in the end.

2 weeks ago I was diagnosed with Graves Disease, this is an autoimmune disease, discovered in my Thyroid going from hypo to hyper--
One week ago I went to Mayo Clinic for an MRI, CT and PT scan of my neck and head, because I have been having some trouble with my right ear and terrible migraines., the ENT took a look and automatically sent me in for an MRI--Friday Eric, Brian and Kaitlyn decided to drive to Mexico for the weekend, on our way I received 2 phone calls both from Mayo Clinic, the 1st one advising me of some spots they found on my brain, the 2nd call making an appointment for me to see the neurology department, tomorrow I will be go for my 1st visit.  Thursday I will also be going back to Mayo for more testing--the results from my hip bone came back inconclusive--not sure what that means, I will be meeting with my oncologist to get more testing done.
Needless to say, I am a little overwhelmed right now with worry.  I saw a dear friend of mine today and she asked me why I have not been posting much my immediate response was I don't have anything to say ...life is going forward and I have been so happy, trying to get back in the groove of things, I have a new daughter in law, my son is the happiest I have seen him in a very long time, Kaitlyn and Brian moved out and Kayla and Jeremy announced they are having another baby in February.  I am an empty nester--and while Eric thinks it's great I miss my children, I depend on their love and strength even when they tease me as much as they do I love them unconditionally.  Having a clean house does not make up for the noise and love I feel when they are all here.