Monday Memories – Bittersweet Memory of Karen After Surgery

Some other bloggers out there are participating in a “Monday Memories” theme, so I decided I will play along. I think it is important to write down memories and have been trying to do so as I think of them.
My first installment to the Monday Memories theme is a bittersweet one. It involves my little sister, Karen.

About 12 years ago, Karen was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was only 12. We think that she had the tumor for a couple years prior to actually being diagnosed, as she had problems with always being incredibly thirsty. The doctors had tested her for diabetes, but it was actually the tumor on her pituitary gland that was causing the thirst issues.

As a result of the tumor, Karen had to undergo a surgery to try to remove the tumor and later, chemotherapy.

The surgery was especially frightening for our family. Of course the doctors have to warn you about all the potential things that could go wrong, such as loss of memory, change of personality, becoming mentally handicapped, and worse. We were so scared. If she did come out of the surgery okay, what if she wasn’t the same sweet girl that she was before? My mom couldn’t sign the consent forms; it was so overwhelming. My dad had to do it.

Seeing her in the ICU after she woke up from her surgery was hard. Her head was swollen to at least double its normal size. I remember trying so hard to fight back the tears, trying not to let Karen see me cry. Trying to be brave for Karen, who was so brave herself. And of course worried that she might not be the same.

After sitting with Karen for awhile, still wondering if everything was okay, Karen said the sweetest words. Words that I will always remember. “Take care of the puppies.” She was referring to our three dachshunds. It was at this point that I think our entire family breathed a huge sigh of relief. Our sweet Karen was still the Karen we knew before the surgery.

The tumor did go away after chemo, but another tumor returned a couple of years later. After a bout of radiation, it too left and now Karen has been in remission for over 5 years, which is a wonderful thing. Outside of some after-affects from the tumors that can be controlled with medication, Karen is perfectly healthy today.

I hope I didn’t embarass her too much with this post. 🙂

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2 Responses

  1. Janis says:

    It was interesting and kinda brought tears to my eyes reading what your thoughts were at the time of Karens surgery, I dont know if you ever shared them before, about how you felt watching her right after the surgery. Yes, the sweetest words ever spoken “Take care of the puppies.”

  2. Karen says:

    Same here. I got tears in my eyes reading that blog. I knew it affected mom a lot, but I never really knew how my siblings had taken it. I am so glad you blogged it! I love you!

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