Update on Laurie

First I would like to apologize for taking so long to post an update. It has been a week and a a half since Laurie’s surgery and I have been by her side the whole time.

The pathology report came back and it was as suspected. Laurie does have cancer. The tumor was a high grade glioma multiforme blastoma. It is the most aggressive of the primary brain tumors. The surgeon told us it will come back, the oncologist told us that treatment will eventually stop working. How much time we have it not known at this time. She will be seeing a neuro oncologist on Aug 8th at the Siteman Cancer Center in St Louis, MO. The doctor specializes in this type of tumor.

The tumor affected Laurie’s right side (causing weakness and some loss of direction from her brain to arm and leg). It also affected her speech and language area. She has aphasia (difficulty in finding her words and getting them out) – both spoken and written (texting and typing included). She has been at a rehabilitation hospital since last Wed night. She gets physical, occupational, and speech therapy. She is making amazing progress. I have no idea if she will ever be able to blog again, but I know she will try her hardest to. She loves to write and she loves this blog.

Below are some pictures of Laurie’s journey so far:

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Alex – Laurie’s Husband

Prayer – Update

Laurie made it through the surgery without any complications. They removed a tumor just bigger then a golf ball. She had a good night. She has been talking, eating jello, laughing and crying. Her speech is still affected and will probably need therapy. The right side weakness showed some improvement then slid back a bit. She is still trying to sleep off the anesthesia.

We could possibly have the pathology report today. She has a long road to recovery but she is a fighter and will make it through this.

Alex

A Prayer

This is Laurie’s husband. I am writing this because Laurie is in the hospital and will be having brain surgery tomorrow (Thursday July 14th). On Monday a CT found a 3 cm mass on the left side of her brain. Over the last 2 weeks it has been affecting her speech, ability to text, write, type, and spell. It is considered an aggressive tumor because of how fast the symptoms have progressed. Yesterday weakness on the right side of her mouth showed up and has moved to her arm today.

She is a talented writer and this is devastating for her. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. We don’t know yet what type of tumor it is or what other treatments will be needed. We won’t know this until the tumor is biopsied tomorrow.

I will update this when I know more.

Thank you everyone

Alex Jackson (Laurie’s husband)

Sing That Song

I love to sing. I’ve been singing probably since the age of 6.

It was Christmas time and in order to open our gifts, Grandpa wanted to hear us sing first. I remember standing on a bench in the garage. (That’s where our tree was at the time.)

I was in junior choir, youth choir and the adult choir. While me and my siblings were in youth choir, the group toured to different churches to sing. We wore blue long sleeve shirts and blue jeans. It was so much fun.

I sang in the adult choir for many years. Then, I started getting nervous and I could feel my face get super red. A few times I really thought I’d pass out.

On occasion, my siblings and I get together and sing in church for Mom. She is proud of us for our singing talent. We don’t want to sing professionally. We do it because we enjoy it. My brothers sing bass and tenor. Two of my sisters sing alto and the rest of us sing soprano. (There are seven of us.)

The Christmas before my Grandma Helen passed, my siblings and I sang for her at Mom’s home. We sang a cappella. I glanced at Grandma during the hymn…that was a mistake. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. I could feel my eyes water. By the time we finished singing, I believe we were all in tears.

I enjoy singing to the radio. I’d like to think I have a good voice. It’s just that it cracks and shakes when I get nervous. I used to sing while driving to work. The radio was cranked up and I sang my heart out. Even with depression, I enjoy to sing. Singing brings me out of my funk.

If you feel like singing, do it! Who cares who’s watching or listening. Sing and be happy!

Have a blessed evening!

Laurie Jackson

 

Bookmobile?

I might be aging myself…    Does it still exist?

What is a bookmobile? It’s a library on wheels.

I grew up in a rural area in central Missouri. This was back in the ’60’s and early ’70’s. I don’t know why there wasn’t a library at that time.

I think the mobile library came once a week. (I’m not sure anymore. I’m old and I can’t remember.)  😉

Just getting to go into town was a treat. I grew up on a farm. At that time, Mom didn’t know how to drive. Every Thursday, my uncle came to pick us up in his car. We piled in and off we went to town. Each of us received a quarter to buy a bag of candy. After our little shopping spree, we were allowed to go into the bookmobile.

Two books each, children! Mom used to say. Two! Just two, Mom? C’mon! Please? Can I get more than that? She explained to me that there were other children that liked books, too. I had to share the bookmobile with others. So, two books, it was. As we grew older, we were allowed three. I enjoyed reading mystery stories such as The Nancy Drew and the Parker Brothers series. I could relate with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life. I read every single one of her books over and over.

The driver of the bookmobile used to read us a story under the big shade tree. It was great fun sitting in the grass listening to her read. She used different voices for each character, too. I loved it! As I listened, I was drawn into the story. My imagination went crazy!

Since this during the summer, Mom let us read for awhile after we arrived back home. She loved to read. She always said that was her entertainment. She never had the opportunity to read until after us kids and Dad were in bed.

Such great memories!

Have a wonderful day!

Laurie Jackson

 

 

 

Different Yet Not

Sisters

I was blessed with five sisters (4 living). We are all so different. We each have our own opinions and thoughts. I realize that is how it is supposed to be. 🙂

We have the same parents but…

My oldest sister was my protector. She took a lot of crap from dear old dad. (Ever hear Mommy Dearest? Well, it was Daddy Dearest.) She’d get the worse treatment, especially when she spoke her mind. (I have always wished that I could speak my mind like she does.) Why do I feel that she was my protector? I’m not sure. I have always felt safe with her around. I feel that I could talk to her about anything. I guess because she stood up for me a few times. I’ll never forget the day she left for school. I watched her walk up the road to the mailbox. (The driveway is about 1/8 of a mile long.) I stood on the porch looking out the window just crying my eyes out. I asked Mom where my Jeje was going. She said she had to go to school. I asked her if my Jeje was coming back. Mom chuckled and hugged me and said yes. Even after I could no longer see my sister, I remained where I was. I wanted my Jeje to come back! I missed her.

My sister that is 18 months older than me was Mom and Dad’s favorite. (Or so I thought.) Mom used to tell me that while I was drinking my bottle, Cara used to reach into the bed and take it from me. Apparently, Mom thought I was being starved. Looking at me now you know I wasn’t. 😉 I say that Cara was a favorite because she was able to get by with so much. She was able to date at a young age. She was the only one who was allowed to play a sport. (Mom didn’t know how to drive at the time.) Jeje and I both wanted to play basketball but we were told no.

Then there is me. I am the middle child…right smack dab in the middle. I didn’t get an over abundance of attention. I wasn’t exactly the perfect child. Yeah, I’m playing the pity card. My older brother used to tell me that I was adopted. I cried and cried. It took Mom a long time to convince me that I wasn’t. Everyone said that I was spoiled. Yeah, okay, NOT! Just because I cried a lot…There’s four years between me and my next sister. That doesn’t mean anything…

Rere came next. She was the other son for Dad. She was almost always by Dad’s side. She could do a lot of things that I could not do, such as drive a tractor. She could speak her mind and not get into trouble for it. She was the perfect little daughter. She could do no wrong. She was amazing to watch while she did gymnastics. Whenever she had free time, she’d be doing flips, headstands, somersaults and cartwheels.

My next sister was called Lil Bit by Dad until she grew up. Lizzy loved words. She spoke words that Dad could not comprehend. He’d get so angry at her. There’s six years between her and I. She didn’t have to work outside like her older sisters. She could play and be inside.

My baby sister was born with cancer. Jojo had a rare eye disease. She died when she was 11 years old. She fought a long hard battle. It’s hard to believe that she’s been got for 28 years already. Seems just like yesterday. She had beautiful brown hair that she lost due to chemo. She taught all of us how to be happy and appreciate the little things in life. She taught me that life is too short to be negative. She taught us how to hug one another.

Growing up, we sang together. We still do on occasion for Mom. The Christmas before my grandma died, we stood in Mom’s kitchen and sang to her. We sang without music. During the song, I looked at Grandma and watched tears flow down her cheeks. I almost started crying. Grandma said listening to us was gift enough for her.

When my sisters are out and about and we see a distant cousin, they’ll look at us and make comments like, “You’re so and so, aren’t you? Which one are you?”

My sisters and I may have argued amongst ourselves at home. If anyone said anything bad about one of us, we had each other’s back. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?

Have a blessed day!

Laurie Jackson

It’s Bedtime

“It’s bedtime,” called Mom.

“It’s only 9 pm,” I said.

“It’s a school night. Come here so I can wash your face.”

Me and my siblings, (there were 8 of us) lined up outside the bathroom. One by one, Mom washed our faces, made sure our hands were clean. She also watched us brush our teeth. With each one of us, Mom gave us a little peck on the cheek, patted our bottoms and sent us off to bed.

Seven of us shared one bedroom. There were two sets of bunk beds and a twin bed a long one wall. The windows were always open. As I laid down in bed, I heard the nightly noises. An owl hooted off in the distance. The last of the birds cooed as they settled in for the night. Crickets sang their lullabies. Baby frogs made their croaking sounds. (I call them Little Peepers because they are so noisy!) Coyotes yipped off in the hills somewhere. A shiver ran down my spine every time I heard them.

My favorite sound of all was from the Whippoorwill. I always loved to listen to the sound it made. It was comforting to hear it at night.

I used to spend most of my summers at my grandparents’ house. They lived in a big two story old farm house. I loved that house. I still miss it today. All the memories I have of their place still hold a special place in my heart.

No matter which room I slept in, the windows were always open. This was back in the ’70’s. There was no air conditioning or fan. Only the breeze coming in through the windows.

The Whippoorwill was always around. As I grew older, though, I noticed that it had almost disappeared. While my husband and I waited for our new home to be moved in, we stayed at my mom’s.

One night, we were watching television and chatting. It had just rained. The windows were open and the fresh air was coming in nicely. I made the comment that I had not heard a whipper will in quite sometime. Low and behold, next thing I know there is a whippoorwill singing outside the window! My mouth dropped open. It was as if God had heard me and sent that little bird to me. The next couple of nights the bird came around. It was simply awesome!

Now that I live in a noisy city, I may just have to spend a night at Mom’s. I miss those nightly sounds.

Have a blessed day!

Laurie Jackson

 

Dirty

For some reason, this word brings back plenty of memories where I was dirty. Ya see, I grew up on a farm. There was always work that had to be done. Animals needed to be fed. Manure had to be cleaned out from under the barn porch. New straw had to be put down during the winter to help keep the cows warm.

Pigs were chased in the dark after they dug themselves out of their pens. That night was a whole lot of fun. NOT! Trying to locate pigs in the dark using flashlights was not fun at all.

My siblings and I took turns feeding the cows and pigs. Well, on this particular Saturday morning, (during the winter thaw) it was my turn to feed. Dad was sitting at the table and he told me to wait for him. He was going to help me. I went on outside by myself. I fed the hogs. By the time I was done with them, Dad had not come out. I waited for a bit, playing the little bit of snow that had not melted. Well, I grew impatient waiting for Dad.

So, I decided to go ahead and feed the cows. I walked down the trough to the other end to open the door where the hay was to go out of. I opened the door and found all the cows staring at me. There was muck everywhere. The cows were surrounding the hay ring. Now, I was never really intimidated by the cows until I was chased by one that had horns. The bull we had was an enormous animal, as well.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I just cut the twine strings off the bales. I threw the hay right there in the mud and muck. A little voice said shame on me for not doing the job the correct way. I was a bit nervous about wading through the muck dragging hay bales with me. I would have had to make numerous trips. By this time, I was getting cold. After I had thrown the last bit of hay into the muck, who decides to show up? Dad! I had just closed the door and turned around. Dad was walking toward me. I was suddenly feeling very nervous. He saw what I had done. He told me in no uncertain terms to go back into the house.

I guess I really wasn’t chased by a cow. More like stormed toward me. I had the job of watching the gate. We were separating the cows and calves. Dad had decided to put a bell on one of the cows. We could hear where the cows were when the bell rang from around the cow’s neck. Anyway, the cow he chose had horns. As soon as that cow heard the bell, she was scared. She literally jumped out of the pen she had been in. She pawed the ground and saw me standing at the gate. She rushed toward me. All I heard was Laurie get out of the way! I jumped the gate and turned around. By the time, I had turned around the cow’s horns were sticking through the gate. In the same spot that I had just been standing. Talk about shaky! I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast in my entire life.

There was a stream running in the back of our barn. I remember playing in it once or twice.  Yes, we were told not to play in it. Did we listen? No, of course not. We took our shoes off and played in the water. Now, the cows used that stream for drinking and such. We didn’t care. It was a hot summer day and we wanted to cool off. Dad caught us and yelled at us. We grabbed our shoes and ran across the rocks snickering.

Dad had a small pond put in out in the pastures. The cows needed water out there. We were given strict orders to stay out of the water. We were warned that there could be deadly snakes in the water. I don’t know if that was true or not. We did not listen. It was another hot summer day. Me and my siblings decided to check out the pond. We took off our shoes and waded into the water. It felt wonderful. The water was murky and not clear at all. We could not see our feet through the muddy water.

We had been throwing water on each other having a good ole time. We suddenly heard splashing going on. It wasn’t coming from us. We looked around and saw the bull coming toward us. I screamed, grabbed my shoes and took off. Apparently, the bull didn’t like sharing his watering hole with us. That was the only time we played in the pond. We arrived back at the house dripping wet. Mom just looked at us and shook her head. She didn’t want to know what we had been up to.

I hated cleaning out the pig pens. Scooping the manure and scraping the concert clean. Nasty! By the time the job was complete, we smelled of hog manure. Nothing is worse, though, than chicken poop. Now, there is some nasty smelling stuff. I had to clean out my grandparents chicken house. It was not a pleasant job.

May your day be filled with tons of sunshine!

Laurie Jackson

 

Screen

“Don’t push on that screen! You’re going to put a hole in it.”

Heard that so many times, I finally decided to listen.

My grandparents had a screen door. “Don’t let the screen door slam behind you.” Grandma used to say. The words echoed in our ears as the screen door slammed against its frame.

Sitting here, thinking about that screen door, brings back so many memories. My siblings and I used to run into the house through one door and run out through the screen door every time. Yes, Dad yelled at us to stop. Did we? No, we were having too much fun.

One Spring day, (it was raining) so we had to play inside. Now, Grandma’s hallway was long. Just the right size to run and slide. Well, even though it was raining outside, the front door was open. Air was coming through the screen door.

My sisters and I had taken our shoes off and began to run and slide in the hallway. We did that for a few minutes when we heard Grandma’s voice telling us to stop it before someone was hurt.

Me, being a stubborn little snot, refused to listen. I took off down the hallway toward that screen door. I don’t remember if I tripped or what happened. Next thing I know, my arm went through the screen. My sisters started laughing  and making loud noises. Grandma came into the hallway to what was going on.

She saw what I had done. Let’s just say she was not too happy with me and leave it at that.

So many wonderful memories I have of my grandparents’ house.

Have a blessed day!

Laurie Jackson