Love of my Life

Love of my Life
Happy moments... Praise God. Difficult moments... seek God. Quiet painful moments... Trust God. Every moment... Thank God.

April 30, 2010

Update from the Doc

Doctor Taylor was amazed at how good I looked, my ability to have a conversation with her that for the most part made sense (I did struggle for some words), the fact that I'm not having any major headaches, and my level of energy is high. She was very pleased to hear that my sleep patterns are more normal and the behavior issues have pretty much gone away. She was also pleased to see how well I'm getting around. Last time I saw her I had difficultly walking out of her office and I had to ask for a wheel chair.

Answered prayers???? I believe so. Am I healed???? I don't know... I doubt it because I still have the vision issues and word finding issues, and I can feel the pressure in my brain. Am I doing better today than two weeks ago. YES. Thank you for praying for me. God is at work. He's listening to you, and he is giving me good days.

I learned that I can start the chemo back up without needing to also go back on the same regimen of others meds. Before we do anything though Dr. Taylor has requested an MRI to see what's going on with the "return of the tumor". I'll know more after I meet with her next Friday. I'll also have a more definitive answer on my ability to fly after they see how the tumor is behaving in my brain.

Gotta go... Ants have invaded my room and I need to go suck them up with the vacuum and set out the little Ant Motels so they'll take the disguised poison back to their farm.

April 29, 2010

Unique Wedding Gift - A Star for a Great Couple

This is so cool. Here's the note from my friends... Sara Tuttle and fellow Footsteps Counselors

In honor of your shining inspiration to each of us on your wedding day to Greg, this star will bring a ray of light to our darkest evenings just as you bring hope and love to each and every person you meet. Your faith in our Lord encourages all of us to become better followers of Jesus in every aspects of our life. As the campers gather at church camps around the world this summer and gaze into the night sky each and every one of them will be touched by this star sparkling in their direction and the testimony of the always smiling person who gave it a name. Congratulations to you and Greg. I wish you all the love and hope that a couple could share together.

So now I can say that I'm a real star!

Today was a good day for me. Not a great day for the income though. We had a garage sale and in eight hours I made about $150. You're thinking, that's not bad at 18 an hour but I had 20 hours of prep time. I had fun being the sales person, however I couldn't get anyone to purchase my carnival toy. Tonight I challenged Dad to a beer chug at the El Mazatlans and won (granted he had a little more beer left than I did). We laughed until Mom cried.

Tomorrow I meet with Dr. Taylor. Now that I'm thinking more clearly I'll be able to have a conversation that I can hopefully remember. I don't remember much from the last visit. I'm looking for the magic pill and I'm guessing she won't have this for me. It's very difficult because I want to be around for a long time. Its hard to think about me not being here with my family. okay.. enough sad talk.

Well, the count down is on to graduation day. 8 more days to graduation. 7 more days until Hannah comes home from Texas. 14 more days until the girls trip to Branson with my Grandmother Jackson, my aunts and cousins(Thank you Grandpa Jackson for funding the trip for us. I LOVE YOU. This is a trip we had planned before we were aware of the "return of the tumor") And, Greg just called and said he's coming to MO Memorial Day weekend. Of course I wanted him here this weekend but he has "duty".

If you're really into the star gazing thing, I can give you the coordinates to my star. Just let me know.

April 25, 2010

Hello - I'm back - It's an update from Lindsey!

Hi... It's Lindsey, and I'm telling my mom what to type. It's been awhile since I've given anything to my Mom.

I'm back! It's been a great week. Almost perfect. Well other than the fact that I have a brain tumor. But I'm coping pretty well. The wedding was awesome. Greg and I stayed at the Chauteu Avalon and it was incredible. The rooms there were so cool. We spent an hour and half just touring the different rooms and taking pictures.

Taking Greg to the airport was hard. It was not a nice day. I miss him. I cried, and cried, and cried again. I'm looking forward to seeing him on May 15 when my mom and I take a road trip to Ohio. We're hoping Hannah can get off work so she can join us and of course help with the driving since I can't drive.

I went to see Steve Curtis Chapman perform Friday night. He was really good. My mom kinda forgot though how being around a lot of people makes my head hurt. It's like there is to much to focus on. We listened to him in the lobby and had some coffee. And, I bought a really cool shirt. The front says "I'm Cinderella". The back says "the dance will go on." (check out the picture) I love that because I know that in heaven I will be dancing with high heal shoes on! Something I can't do right now. Oh yeah, then we topped off the night with ice cream sundaes from Winsteads. It was a fun night with some of my Mom's friends, who are also my friends, and my friend Jennifer.

Steven Curtis Chapman has a really sad story though. A story that is worse than mine. His daughter died... she was accidentally run over by his son. I can't imagine. That would be awful.

So.. I've been thinking... since I'm feeling pretty good right now I'm wondering if I should talk with Dr. Taylor about chemo again. It's hard because I don't want to die, at least not right now. But at the same time I want to have fun and be able to do things like see my new husband and have fun with him, do things with my family and hang out with my friends. The last 2 days I've begun to feel more like my old self (minus the vision problems and speech problems). I've also been sleeping better also. I know that chemo will make me sick, and tired, and crankly, and no fun to be around. Since I've been exploring this question, my family have begun sharing stories of what I was like while on all the meds. It's strange because it's as if they are talking about a person I don't know. I don't remember. So God, help me with this decision. I know you're out there. I have proof because you've already answered many prayers. So.. help me with that question please. I still get very sad about all of this when I think about it because Greg and I were suppose to have 4 kids, buy a house close to my parents, and grow old together.

In the mean time, I have some fun things planned. Tomorrow my Mom and I will take a road trip to MU to see my brother. I haven't been down to campus at all, nor have I seen his duplex.

Wednesday I'll spend the day with my Aunt Nancy, and hopefully a couple of people will come by for the Chat and Chew. If not, no biggie... as I can Chat and Chew with my Aunt. Thursday and Friday I'm having a garage sale at my Aunt's. I have some good stuff to sell. Then the really exciting thing is my college graduation on May 8th! And then the next week we road trip to Ohio to see Greg and his family. Somewhere in between Mom and I will plant flowers, the garden, etc.

April 21, 2010

Chat and Chew with Lindsey

Many of Lindsey's friends have called and asked about stopping by to visit. If you know where we live, it's not the most convenient location to just stop by when you're out and about. My sister, Nancy Jenkins, suggested we schedule a date and time that friends could stop by her house to chat with Lindsey.

Date: Wednesday, April 28
Location: 609 NE Bryant Drive, LS MO
Time: 3pm - 6:30pm
Phone number: 525-6802

Directions... East on Langsford road to Todd George. North on Todd George (or left) to NE Bordner Drive. Take a left on to Bordner Drive. Take the first right, which is Misty Lane. Proceed to NE Bryant Drive and turn right. It's the 3rd house on the right.

Feel free to stop by and chat! We'll also have some things for you to "chew" on!

April 19, 2010

What's Next?

Some people have asked what the plans are for Greg and Lindsey. Will she stay in Missouri or go to San Diego with Greg? Prior to learning of Lindsey's brain tumor, Greg and Lindsey had planned on Lindsey graduating and looking for a teaching position in Missouri. They would see each other during school breaks until Greg was done with his military assignment.

While Lindsey will be graduating, her current health does not allow her to work, nor does it make sense at this time for her to travel to San Diego with Greg. Lindsey needs someone with her at all times. Greg will fly to Missouri as much as possible. Lindsey would also like to plan at least one trip to San Diego, providing her health allows that to happen. If she goes to San Diego, someone will have to accompany her. Greg will be in San Diego until October at which time he will transfer to Japan for six months.

The newlyweds spent Saturday night at Crown Center. They are doing things in town this week and will spend Thursday night at Chateau Avalon before Greg departs for San Diego on Friday. An out of town trip would of been very challenging. (I know that sounds odd, the behavior issues are challenging and it's something a person needs a break from occasionally. At times you also need assistance.)

Regarding Lindsey's health.... she has asked about starting the chemotherapy again. While the behavior issues have reduced, we continue to be challenged by her desire to purchase items. We've tried multiple tactics except for simply not allowing her to go shopping. Even when receiving agreement on what will be purchased when going shopping, the agreement is broken. Most times I can allow her to purchase the item, which is promptly put in the trunk of my car, then I return it. It's interesting to me that Lindsey doesn't ask about the item after the initial purchase. Yet, talking her out of a purchase is very challenging and at times impossible. People who are aware of this tendency have been good at helping by stating "let me hold that for you and you can get it next time." (Carol K - your approach was successful the last time we were in HyVee and Lindsey wanted 2 baseball hats).

To allow me to focus on Lindsey, and the rest of the family during this time, I have taken some time off of work. Bob is very challenged when interacting with Lindsey. It's been very difficult for him. I'm hoping to reengage with work in mid to late May. We'll see how things go here at home.

Tonight some friends are coming over to give Greg and Lindsey an Ice Cream Sundae party. Thank you for friends that create moments to look forward to.

April 18, 2010

A Celebration of Love - A Picture Perfect Day

April 17, 2010 was a beautiful day. It will be a day that we and many others will remember forever. The photos best capture the celebration. The afternoon started with a few fun photos of the Morris cousins on the old seeder. A similar photo was taken in 1994.

The celebration occurred in the backyard of Jay and Mary Ann Morris' home. We reminisced as this is the 3rd wedding on the "Morris Farm". I love this photo of Bob as he decided at the last minute that he needed to go with Greg and's great to see this smile on his face.

Congratulations Greg and Lindsey. You are loved by many.

April 14, 2010

3 more days, then the BIG DAY!

As Lindsey and I were reading through her blog she commented that the post about her email address was missing. I'm not sure what happen with it so we will try to recreate.

If you haven't noticed Lindsey's email address, you should. It's It's an email address she has had for many years. It represents who she is and one of her favorite bible verses. It is this faith of hers that has gotten her through many trials and tribulations. Trials such as adjusting to the learning disabilities that occurred after her first brain tumor to physical disabilities, to simple daily issues that surface. Lindsey's life journey has been rocky but you wouldn't know if you had the opportunity to interact with her. She has a contagious smile, a desire to please, and she is usually very positive. Lindsey's faith is what gets her through the difficult times. She loves the Lord with all her heart and knows that it is Him that she can always lean on. Does this mean that she never gets angry with Him? Absolutely not. She has had many moments of anger. Many moments of asking why me and why now? Yet she also realizes that those questions will most likely not be answered soon enough for her. We may not know for awhile what His plan is so we put our trust in Him and know that it is in Him that we will get through this life journey.

Even as preparations for the wedding are underway for Saturday, Lindsey is currently preparing the household for guests. It's so sweet to see the special touches she is applying to the bedrooms. Our guests will arrive on Thursday evening, along with Todd and Hannah who will also be home. Thanks to our good friends Curt and Jo Marie, the Best Man and his wife will stay at their home, which is close by.

We see the Lord's hand at work even as we recreate the wedding which hand been cancelled. You see, I had returned everything(except the wedding dress which is nonreturnable) and cancelled everything. As I went to repurchase the items, the most important pieces were still available. The plans are coming together very nicely, while on a smaller scale, it will still be a very lovely celebration for Greg and Lindsey. A special thank you goes out to Lindsey's grandparents, Jay and Mary Ann Morris who are opening their home for the wedding. They would have it no other way. There are many others who have helped orchestrate... from the musicians (Vicki Coy, Phil Hilton, Jerome), the seamstress (Mary Nelson), the caterer (Gareth Agnew), the florist (Jennifer Agnew), the photographer (Gordon Maxey and friend), the video guy (Brett Jackson), the hair and make-up artist (McKenzie Marston) and Lindsey's fairy God mother - the pastor who will officiate the celebration - Karen Bordner. I'm sure I'm leaving someone out. Thank you to everyone for coming together to make this a very special day for Lindsey and Greg.

One are of focus for me right now is to help Lindsey overcome her frustration with Greg not being here "RIGHT NOW!" (Those are the words she uses with him.. I want you here RIGHT NOW! ) Greg will arrive on Thursday. The original plans had him arriving on April 10th... she seems to have forgotten much of what occurred during the time she was on all the meds. She remembers calling off the wedding, but doesn't seem to understand that other things had to also be changed. It's a good thing that she does not remember what she was like during this time. It's a memory we would all like to suppress.

Pray for beautiful weather on Saturday and for Lindsey to continue feeling as good as possible. She has had 4 great days of energy and behavior that has been more positive than negative.

April 11, 2010

Fascinating... In a very strange way.

The brain... it's a complicated and very fascinating organ. It's runs the show and controls everything we do. You can get cancer in any other part of the body and you will not have the interesting, complicated, and unusual issues that surface when one has cancer of the brain. Yet this big, wrinkly, gray sponge is also great at compensating for areas of the brain that may not be functioning at full capacity. Add a combination of medications to the mixture and predicting the outcomes and the interactions becomes a game. It's a game we stopped playing and at the time we did I predicted that talks of wedding could resurface.

My prediction came true... Friday, April 9th we decided the best thing to do for Lindsey and Greg was to allow them to celebrate the deep love they have for one another. Lindsey insisted...Greg agreed as he never wanted to cancel. After 2 weeks of saying no wedding, I can't do this, and giving Greg the rings back, the wedding is back on, but at a much smaller scale. Lindsey's desire is to have the wedding at her Grandmother and Grandfather Morris' house which is just over the hill from the house she lived in until age 9. While we would love to invite everyone who has been praying for Lindsey, due to the change in location we've had to scale back the original invitation list. We hope you understand. The wedding will be on Saturday, April 17th at 4pm.

Lindsey has received many letters, cards, books from friends. She's very funny about hoarding these until she is ready to open them. One of the packages we opened tonight which was received a couple of weeks ago. I find it interesting how the timing of the opening of these items has worked. Today's envelope contained three books - "Jesus the Healer", "There is a Miracle in Your Mouth", and "Healed of Cancer". All three were received from the mother of a new friend Hannah has meet in college. Hannah's friend, Sarah Adams, attends Lakewood Church in Houston. I flip through the "Healed of Cancer" book and land on page 54 which says "Be anointed with oil by a Christin who believes in healing. " If anyone among you is sick let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Interesting timing because today I attended church with Lindsey at Lee's Summit Community Christian and they did just that. The minister and other members of the church anointed Lindsey with oil and prayed for Lindsey in the name of the Lord. An amazing experience. We have had other similar coincidences happen along the way. Once we get through this journey I plan to document in a more formal way some of our experiences. Experiences that we know don't just happen without someone else much larger than any of us taking charge.

The last three days for Lindsey have been good in comparison to the last 3 weeks. While word finding and vision continues to be a challenge, the emotional and anger issues have stopped. It's no longer a major chore to arrive someplace on time.

Thank you for continuing to send positive thoughts to the Morris family. Most importantly, thank you for praying for Lindsey. We have proof that it's helping. We know that God's hand is right here with us during this very difficult and trying time. We're getting more sleep which allows for many other positive things to occur. While there are times when we are still very sad, we are looking for things to laugh about, to simply enjoy everyday. You see life is to short to be angry, to be mad, or to simply not make best of the situation.

Have a great week.

April 08, 2010

Update from the Doctor Appointment

Tuesday, April 6th, we met with Dr. Taylor, Lindsey's oncologist. We (Dr. Taylor, Bob, Bob's dad, and myself) jointly decided that the best next step is to focus on Lindsey's quality of life. The combination of meds affected her in a way that created significant challenges for everyone involved. Since stopping a combination of medications on March 28, which included the chemotherapy, some of the behavior issues have stopped. Life has become more "normal" and we have not had any occurrences of significant anger, tantrums, or defiance.

We're learning a lot through this journey. Our perceptions of practices utilized are changing. One of those perceptions is Hospice. We have historically thought of Hospice as an organization that is engaged when an individual is quickly approaching the end of life. That perception was wrong. The organization really focuses on both hospice and palliative care, which means that patients can have the expertise of their staff and individualized care at any point during a serious illness. The organization can do many things to maximize the comfort of the patient AND the family. Palliative care can begin at any stage of a serious illness, is available for patients while they receive or seek treatment, and it is often provided earlier depending on the patients needs. Hospice is a special type of palliative care for people who have life-limiting illnesses and who are focused on comfort, rather than a cure. At the beginning of round two of Lindsey's illness, Dr. Taylor indicated that with Lindsey's high-grade Glioma tumor we may have 6 months with Lindsey if we opt for no treatment. Pursuing treatment may extend life to a year. We will cherish every moment we have and continue to pray for a miracle.

Hospice is now working with us. Registration occurred Tuesday night. The first visit with a Hospice nurse will occur today.

We are seeing signs of our previous Lindsey. For the first time in 4 weeks she actually watched an entire episode of The Survivor, one of her favorite shows. She had a great day with her other "mom", Aunt Nancy as they spent the day together. I love this photo of Nancy and Lindsey. God has given us a great family and a group of friends that have been incredible support through this journey. We are thankful and truly blessed.

April 06, 2010

Dr. Appt Today - April 6th.

Lindsey has an appointment with Dr. Taylor today. First on our list of questions is around sleep management. Last week the average nightly sleep was 6 hours (in bed by 11:30, up around 5/5:30am). The last two nights however has been 2.5 hours. In bed by 11/11:30 and up at 1:30am. This sleep pattern is significantly different than pre-tumor for Lindsey who was often times in bed by 10pm, up at 7am, and then would also nap during the day.

Second on our list is tumor management. How do we proceed? If the combination of chemo and anti-seizure meds is causing the difficult personality issues, what is the best course of treatment? Do we go back on the meds that have the most potential to slow tumor growth and make life uncomfortable to miserable for Lindsey and those around her or do you focus more on quality of life?

On a separate topic - Wedding.

In a prior post we mentioned that Lindsey gave Greg the ring back indicating that a wedding would be to much at this time. The wedding has been cancelled.

While it's not something Lindsey talks much about anymore, there are moments when she'll bring the wedding up. The most recent conversation occurred on Sunday when she stated that she wanted to go shopping for Grandmother Jackson's dress for the wedding. Last night as she was visiting with Megan and looking through a wedding book, I mentioned that based on the fact that she gave the rings back, still doesn't have a ring, and that she indicated that the wedding would be to much, we have not been focusing on wedding plans. I indicated that based on the current health issues, that it seemed best to postpone the wedding at this time (intentionally using the word postpone to prevent setting off anger/behavior issues.) She seemed confused, but not upset, like one would expect a person to be during a conversation such as this. I asked her to talk with Greg, which she immediately left him a message and asked him to call back but didn't state why. When he returned the call about 20 minutes later, she couldn't remember what her question was. While Greg knows that a wedding doesn't make sense right now. He too is confused because he is hoping that this is all just a bad dream and that the girl he fell in love with will come back.

It's 3:18am in the morning and I can hear Lindsey in her room cleaning out her closet..... I'm choosing not to open her door because unlike Lindsey, I do need to get some sleep. If I see what she is up to, I know I'll have this urge to pick-up and clean-up.

When people ask if I/Lindsey had a good or normal day, I'm not sure how to respond. Our definition of normal/good seems to change daily. I find myself evaluating days like I do projects at work... red, yellow or green. Yet overtime, how one defines a good day changes.

April 04, 2010

Favorite photos from the past week....

These photos each tell a story. Stories about keeping strong, to having fun, to helping, to spending time with a loved one doing something they love to do, cherishing the moment, and celebrating a 99th birthday. We are learning how important it is to not wait to have these stories. Don't wait..... Make your own great story today.

Misc Updates - Easter, Lindsey, and Fund raiser total

Updates from Mom....

Lindsey and I spent time this morning talking about Easter. Lindsey has the following 2 points to share...

I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Bible: John, 11.

All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. - Lucy Van Pelt - Peanuts

She also hopes that you find yourself in a church sometime during the Easter weekend. Easter is really what our faith is all about. If you don't have a church, there's no time like the present to find one and start going.

I cherish the sweet moments with Lindsey. This morning I heard Lindsey awaken around 5am. Since I was not ready to begin my day, I found a place in her bed. She was up and about, but then quickly came over and tucked me in, put pillows around me, placed her sleep mask over my eyes, closed the curtains, turned on soft music. I was reminded again that we have a God that is good all the time.

Thanks to a friend, the younger ones in my house today will have chocolate Easter bunnies, Cadbury Creme Eggs, and an assortment of chocolate eggs. This is a friend, like many of my friends, who understands that during difficult times doing the things one normally does is a challenge. This same friend sent me home this weekend with a large pot of Taco Soup and coffee cake. Thank you to all my friends. Your kind guestures and acts of kindness makes a tremendous difference.

Since starting Lindsey on the Risperidone we have not had the occurences of extreme anger, tandrems and other severe mood swings. The Morris household is adjusting to her need to constantly reorganize and move items from room to room. Some of this adjusting is simply locking doors, removing door knobs, relocating important items that she should not be sorting through, and most importantly, just allowing her to do this. While it may drive me crazy, she finds comfort in it.

Lindsey and I met with Hyvee Friday morning to learn about the success of the Pasta Fundraiser. We were speechless to hear of the total amount raised. We are once again blessed to live in such a wonderful community and to have the good fortune of our children working for a company like HyVee. I've pasted below the message the message the store director sent out to all the supporters.

Lindsey Morris Benefit Dinner
March 24th, 2010

On behalf of Hy-Vee, numerous co-workers and I would like to thank everyone for their involvement in supporting a cause close to our hearts. As many of you already know, Lindsey has worked with our store for over 7 years. She has always had an outgoing and shining personality.
It was very endearing to see the overwhelming support for Lindsey and her family during this difficult time. I am proud to say that we served 655 dinners and collected an additional $6700 in donations for a grand total exceeding $10,000.
Thank you again,

Randy Summerville
Lee’s Summit #1-1380
Store Director

Thank you.