Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So much to say...To much pain meds. to say it all now

I have so much to say, but I am still on alot of pain medications. I am awake one second and asleep the next, hope I don't drop the computer. :(
For now, I will just say, the pain is something I could not have imagined but it is getting a tiny bit better each day. We have an appointment with the prosthodentist tomorrow at 2:00 in Brentwood, near Nashville. Hopefully he can help with some of the pain!
I know in my drug induced state I have not fully processed all that has taken place in the last 8 days but God's Grace Has Been Sufficient. Thank you for your prayers for me I have truley felt the power of people praying for me. I want to tell you of these but can't hold out any longer. So for now I just say Thank You.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Home Sweet Home!!!!!!

Mom was able to travel home yesterday evening. They discharged her around 3:30 central time. This update would have came sooner but I was unable to connect to the internet at the hospital yesterday. She was very excited to come home. She was even able to stop by Pappaw Tommy's (her dad's) to visit for a few minutes before going home. I'm sure it won't be long until she's able to blog for herself again!

The Fartherest Traveling Guests.....

The award goes to....Aunt Helen, Uncle Don, and Cousins Doug and Donna....all the way from California!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday's Visitors

Mom's Favorite Visitor

Josh, Misty, & Renee

Stephen's menu: Spaghetti!

Friday Morning

There's not alot that's changed since yesterday morning. Still on the morphine pump. Still hurting if medicine has worn off. Still drinking some but not a lot. Still don't know when we might be going home. The Doctors are a little concerned with her oxygen level. They've hooked her back to a monitor to watch it. Just about the time she falls asleep it starts beeping and Wendell or I are reminding her to take "deep breathes" Yeah, she's over us.

A speech theripst came in. She listen to mom make some sounds. Mom is very understandable. Her speech might be a little slurred but part of it is from being so sore, and part of it is from the morphine. She probably will not even need speech theraphy.

About the picture: It was taken right after surgery when they first moved mom to a room. I had to crop mom out of it because I'm the nice daughter (look close, you can still see her nose). As you can tell we were acting a little silly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Update

The doctor just stopped by. He said Mom's mouth looks great. He also ordered a morphine pump. We are hoping this will help with the pain. When she's not hurting she is able to drink fluids. Still no word on when she will be going home....

More Visitors and Flowers

Heres some of mom's lovely flowers. These came from the ladies that work at Regions' bank. Mom spends a lot of time in there making store deposits. She also has received flowers from little Betty and our church.
This man came by as a volunteer. He sang a song "You meet the nicest people in your dreams" and was a bright and cheery moment.

My favorite visitor of the day....Stephen came bringing a crockpot of Chicken and Dumplings from him and Ruth. I love any one who comes bearing food! Yummy!

Quick Update

Mom is in a lot of pain. She does ok until the medicine starts wearing off then it comes back. She has drunk some today and is swallowing liquid medicine. Keep praying. We can tell you are!

Visitors on Surgery Day

Pastor and Mrs. Jones
Lil Betty

Wendell, Granny R., and Punk

Raymond (Wendell's Uncle) and Kiah

Punky and Aaron


Josh and Misty


Michael and Kelvey (watching some Andy)

Kim and Kiah


Robbie and Meg

Meg doing some light reading.

Before Surgery Pictures

Check out the cool heated gown from the pre-op room. Mom was all about it of course.

Out of Surgery

Hello Friends and Family. This is Stephanie. You know, mom's cute, funny, wonderful, and favorite child (It's really great having mom's blog password). Mom is still a little too loopy to allow on the computer. You never know what she'll say when she's not doped up. Doped up is far to dangerous.

Watching Wendell talk on the phone yesterday I can't imagine someone doesn't know all these detail but just incase someone missed out.....

Well surgery is over. Dr. Netterville talked very positive and told us that mom has a "bright future". The tumor was some-what bigger than what they expected. But it had defined edges(this is a good sign). Of course nothing is for certain until her biopsy comes back sometime next week. When I left the hospital last night, she was in a lot of pain. The doctors were assuring us that this would be even better this morning.

Along with the tumor, the doctor had to remove 3 back teeth. You won't be able to see these. (Pun intended). Seriously, it shouldn't be noticed in her smile....she still won't look like a true and tired Tennessean!

Since the tumor was bigger than they thought the orbturator was still not large enough to cover the whole in the roof of her mouth. Dr. Netterville was able to use some material in the operating room to extend it (these guys are amazing). This was only a temporary one any ways. She will probably being stopping by Dr. Clayton's office before she leaves Nashville.

After surgery Dr.Netterville decided not to put in a feeding tube. They are going to start her on a liquid diet this morning. If that goes well she won't need the feeding tube. If I know my mom she'll be chugging whatever necessary to avoid the tube. She was dreading it.

The tumor was also pushing into the muscle. For this reason he had to go up "into her skull" (his words not mine) and cut out of some of the muscle. These are interior muscles and not exterior so will create no change in her outward appearance.

I have took a lot of photos and will try to put them on later today along with an update. Keep checking back. Also Dr.Netterville drew a picture of everything. When I get around a scanner I'll get that on here also.

If you haven't got a personal phone call through all this....let me assure you that we still love you. We are tired, grieving, healing, and just carrying on. We may have forgotten a few along the way but never intentionally.

With much love,

Monday, March 16, 2009

Laughter is Good Medicine!!!

I was feeling much better and went to Church Sunday night. I was looking forward to the spiritual uplifting I knew I would find there. And I was not to be let down!!!

First: We were blessed with the presence of a man and his wife who are missionaries to Canada. The wife spoke of her childhood experience of being held captive in war time and how God was faithful. I hung on her every word!

Then after Church: I was blessed with the uplifting of my friends!!!

Bro. Tony & Sis. Melissa I was tickled to receive your gift! My heart was all aflutter as I searched the package over for the instructions on how to get them down the tube!! I must admit I was only briefly discouraged when no instructions were found, and decided I would just have to devour them now!!!

I feel it necessary to explain to Bro. Jones that the cancer has not entered my brain cells yet, contrary to how it may have seemed when he was asking me how I was feeling and I started stammering like a dummy. The reason…Stephanie was standing there and as I was speaking she started laughing, I became self conscious thinking what did I say…something stupid?
What I was unaware of was, she was not laughing at me, she was laughing at the jealous church member standing behind me lifting her skirt tail wondering why her “skeeter bite” is not generating as much sympathy!!!!

My favorite of all!!! I’m still laughing over this one!!!! I have been accused by my family of having an inappropriate sense of humor when it comes to my current situation, although most of the time their laughing hysterically with me while admonishing me. So when the rare soul comes along, with my same sarcastic sense of humor and can laugh along with me, instead of being uncomfortable, it brings me great pleasure!!! So to my wonderful friend from the back, I say thank-you!!! I’m still laughing over our conversation!!!

Laughter is DEFINITELY good medicine!!!

P.S. I must admit that is a pretty bad looking "bite" :(

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Something from Him

This will probably be a long post or maybe one of two parts according to how long I last without getting too tired. Last Tuesday night I started feeling really congested and was scared I was coming down with what Wendell had. I knew if I did, I would not be able to make the trip to Nashville the next day. I prayed the Lord would help me to at least avoid it until after my trip. Wednesday morning I woke up feeling fine and was able to go and felt physically fine all day until driving up the mountain home. The Lord is good!!! He had answered my prayer, I was able to keep all my appointments!! As soon as I got home every bone in my body began aching.
I started running a fever, at times it was up to 102*, and by Thursday evening there was no Tylenol left in the house. (I was instructed to only take Tylenol until after surgery). By the time Wendell made the trip to town to get more I was literally in tears from the aching!! I have spent most of my time since Wed. night on the couch, sleeping and popping Tylenol. I began feeling a little better yesterday and spent some time on the internet. I went back to a blog I had been following only to discover that the writer, an oral cancer patient, would no longer be blogging.

I had a difficult time falling asleep last night. My head hit the pillow, and my mind started wondering.

I got up this morning to an empty house. Everyone had already left for Church. I was just kind of rambling to God as I went about straightening up, I was wishing I had had the strength to have went to Church, telling God, “I really need something from you today Lord.”
I came across a “Baptist Vision” magazine that had come in the mail. I just opened it up and started reading. It was an excerpt from a book, Clarence Sexton had wrote. It was talking about how Moses as a baby was placed in a basket, in the river, by his Mother and how she had to let go of the basket and trust God. Then when Pharaoh’s daughter took her divinely-directed walk that day she found the baby. Then Dr. Sexton writes, “And on top of that, the Lord pinched the baby, and he cried. As the tears came to his little eyes, her heart melted.”
As I was reading this the Lord was answering yet another one of my prayers, He was giving me something from Him today.

My biggest fear of this Cancer is to go through this with my eyes closed not seeing what it is the Lord desires for me to learn. It has crossed my mind that maybe this is chastisement, and I have prayed if it is for the Lord to let me know. I have not felt that to be the purpose, but have wondered, am I missing what I need to see? Reading this today has helped me to see the Lord caused the baby to cry, for a purpose. I don’t believe the Lord only “pinches” us to hurt or chastise us, but may “pinch” us for a bigger purpose. To set in motion his will for our life.

I will trust Him. Once again today, His grace is sufficient.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Stephanie and I left for Vanderbilt at 9:30 yesterday morning. My first appointment was with Dr.Clayton, the prosthodentist. They made 3 impressions of my mouth. Everyone had been telling me this would not be a fun experience. So I had been praying that the Lord would help me during this process, and once again He proved faithful! I loved Dr. Clayton! He sat down and took his time explaining things to me. He will be making my post op. obturator from the impressions he made yesterday. He will send the obturator to Dr. Netterville who will put it in place at the end of my surgery. Immediately upon my release from Vanderbilt I will return to Dr. Clayton's office to have any adjustments needed, made to the obturator before coming home. I will have to have other obturator's made in the future, after healing from surgery.
My next appointment was with the anesthesiologist. They took blood, did an EKG, took chest xrays and then another CT scan. I don't know the results of these tests, I guess if they find anything more they will contact me. If not, I won't have to go back until my surgery on the 24th. It was a long day. I got back home at 10:00pm.
I had spoke to Wendell on the phone several times yesterday and he was telling me of all the people who had called or had came by the store to ask about me. I stopped at the store to get gas and was overwhelmed by the concern everyone was showing towards me!!!! I have found it hard to keep my make-up on today! I have been thanking the Lord continually today for all of you. I thank you for the cards you have sent with words of encouragement, I thank you for the phone calls, e-mails, comments here on my blog, letters, books, everything you have done for me, THANK YOU!!!! We have had people offer to work at the store during the times Wendell has been with me, I've had people offer to help clean my house, or just to do anything we might would need help with. We are so blessed to have all of you as our friends. God has blessed us with some of the kindest, caring, most encouraging friends we could ever have!!! Thank You!!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back To Nashville

Wendell is still very sick. He's still aching, coughing, weak and just generally feels miserable. He is feeling bad for not being able to go with me today. Please continue to pray for him. Stephanie has took off work to go with me. I tried to assure her that I would be fine and have no problem in going alone, but she came up with a hundred different reasons why I should not go alone:) ...The Doctors might say something that needed to be remembered, (like I forget things!!!)... she claims I might find Nashville but is afraid the return trip will get me, (a trip to the beach does sound nice.)... She claims I won't be able to find my way out of the parking garage, (that only happened once!!!)...She says I can't see (I can, if I can find my glasses!!!!)...
Anyway, I am leaving with a smile on my face after recieving the sweetest video text from two of the cutest little men I know, Thanks Scottie & Isaiah!!! You made my day alot brighter!!!
God is truely so good to me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Please Pray For Wendell

It’s been a fairly long day. Wendell got sick last night the moment his head hit the pillow, literally. He seemed perfectly fine until he laid down to go to sleep. That’s when it started. He couldn’t get his breath. Being the wonderful husband he is, he decided to sleep in the recliner in the living room so as not to disturb me or take the chance on making me ill. He has felt miserable all day, running a fever of 101*, aching all over and chilling. A good friend gave us the Mexico version of Penacillan and he started taking it and Tylenol this evening. I am afraid he might have walking Pneumonia. Please keep him in your prayers. I don’t mean to sound selfish, but I guess this does, but please help us to pray that the girls and I don’t catch it. I’ve made it a point to kind of stay out of the general population the last week or so. With so much sickness going around I am trying to stay healthy (heehee). We don’t want them to postpone my surgery.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Squirrel Version: Tues. March 24, 2009 @ 9:00am

Normal People Version:
I called Dr. Netterville's office today to see if they have came up with a schedule for me.
I will go to Brentwood, near Nashville, Wednesday, March 11 @ 1:00 to the prosthodentist to get started on making the obturator. From there I will go to Vanderbilt for an appointment with the anestheseologist @ 3:05pm and then for a CT scan a @ 4:40. My surgery has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 24, 2009 @ 9:00am.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Message To Squirrel

I shortened the text and added pictures. What more can I do? :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I forgot to mention...

In my description of our trip to Vanderbilt yesterday, I forgot to reasure everyone that we got there in time for Stephanie's appointment too!!!

What All The Fuss Is About

I thought some of you might want to see what all the fuss is about! So here it is ....My tumor

Back From Vandy.

We arrived back home from Vanderbilt at 11:30pm. It was a long day. We were very impressed with Dr. Netterville and his associates. The resident came in first and took pictures of me and my tumor, actual pictures! He used a dentists mirror to look down my throat, felt of my lymph nodes, checked my ears, and then the big unexpected surprise…..he ran a camera up my nose and down my throat! Are you holding your nose while reading this? I’m still holding mine when I think about it!!!! He sprayed numbing stuff up my nose first and it wasn’t physically painful at all, just psychologically uncomfortable!!! Stephanie thought it was cool watching it on the screen, Wendell couldn’t watch at first, but was rubbing my leg so hard I thought he was going to shake me to the point the camera was going to pop out my ear!!! The good news is there was no sign of tumor on the back of my tongue (too much internet researching let me know this would not be good), or my throat, or my vocal cords.
Then Dr. Netterville and another Dr. joined him and they all hovered over my mouth like I had ate an alien or something! (That’s when I wanted to tell Stephanie to get behind me and take their picture from my prospective:)
After all their poking, prodding, and my gagging, this is what we found out…
The tumor is large. It has involved my hard and soft palette, which is unusual. It goes to the center of my hard palette. We will not know which cancer it is until surgery. The best out come: Low Grade Adenocarcinoma…The tumor is contained and all cancer can be removed during surgery, no radiation will be needed. The not so good outcome: Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma…The tumor has spikes that spread out, radiation will be needed. Either way, after surgery, I will be left with a big hole going up into my nasal cavity which will make eating difficult. So I have to see a prosthodentist to have an obturator made (a devise kind of like a retainer ) to cover the hole left in my mouth, where the tumor is currently residing, all this, in the hope that I won’t be left blowing spaghetti out my nose :) (another thing Stephanie would think cool!!!) Then I need another CT scan, Dr. Netterville believes the tumor is moving bone. I didn’t ask if this was the reason for my massive head aches lately? I also have to meet with the anesthesiologist. Then surgery will be scheduled. All of this hopefully within the next two weeks. No appointments were scheduled today because it was so late, they will be calling me in the next few days to set things up. Hopefully things will move a little faster now, the future of my bathroom scales depends upon it! You see, for the first time in my life I am eating everything I want, not worrying about the weight gain, because after surgery I will have a feeding tube for at least two weeks, probably longer. I’m thinking unless I can figure out a way to shove a white chocolate Reece’s down the tube I will lose the extra poundage!!!
All humor aside… I still desire your prayers. Although I know this will not be an easy journey I am still trusting God. His grace continues to be sufficient in my life. And for this I rejoice. God is good.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vanderbilt Tomarrow

Wendell, Steph, and I will be heading to Vanderbilt tomorrow at 12:00. My appointment is at 4:00 central time, 5:00 our time. This will be my first appointment with Dr. Netterville, we are unsure if he will schedule surgery or if he will schedule more tests first. So, for all who our praying for me please stay tuned.....we will be updating here as soon as we know whats going on!

We can't say enough about what great friends we have. It is such a blessing to know that while we are away our girls are totally taken care of, (not just taken care of but spoiled rotten too!!!!)With everything we will have going on, we will not have to spend one minute worrying over their well being or contentment. They love you all and so do we!!! Thanks so much for all you do for us!