The other shoe drops.

Old 03-03-2015, 07:00 PM
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I'm praying for you and your sister!
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Old 03-03-2015, 07:39 PM
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Dang, EndGame, so sorry to hear you were given this shocking news. Thanks so much sharing the news with us here at SR. I suppose you've learned more on your visit today. I hope it went well and I am certain that your sister and mother are very thankful to have you supporting them right now. We're here to do the same for you. Let us know how it went, when you have time. All the best.
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Old 03-03-2015, 07:55 PM
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Sorry to hear about this very distressing situation. I hope for the best for you and your sister.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:37 PM
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NYC your post breaks my heart. I can't imagine the anxiety and sadness you are going through. I'm going to send prayers your way now.
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:41 PM
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So sorry I missed this before I went to be last night. Praying for your sister x
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:54 PM
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Thank you again for your support. It makes a difference.

Mary Ann was awake, alert, and in good spirits.

She hadn't eaten all day, so I got her one of her favorite Homer Simpson-esque sandwiches -- liverwurst, Muenster cheese and coleslaw. It was good to see her eat, even though it wasn't exactly from the low-calorie menu.

She hadn't called anyone but me before I left for the hospital. When I got there, she told me that she called Mom, and complained that now everyone knows. I told her we've had this conversation thousands of times, that probably in less than five minutes after she spoke to other mother, Somalian pirates knew she was in the hospital and that the Unkrainian rebels called a cease fire as a result. We share a mutual "Mom" thing.

She also told me that my younger sister was inconsolable when she spoke to her, and that she's continuing to take care people from her hospital bed. My Mom and my sister are going to see her tomorrow.

What we know so far is that the tumor is the size of a small egg, and that it has not yet been determined whether or not it's cancerous. Knowing my sister, she wouldn't tell me if it were. At least not right away. Her treating physician was unavailable for comment.

She appeared to be more relaxed than I've ever seen her, and I know my sister very well. She was near hysterical when I was in the hospital for my hip surgeries (I looked liked death and was all hopped up on painkillers when I came from the recovery room), and then again when I had an emergency appendectomy about a year-and-a-half ago, and she hates hospitals. Given her history and the news she received today, I'm curious about this (Shock? Resignation?), but I'm not now trying to figure this out right now. I'm just happy to see her safe and sound for the moment.
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Old 03-03-2015, 10:07 PM
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Thanks for the update, EndGame; thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:57 PM
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Sending good thoughts, EndGameNYC!
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:54 AM
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All my thoughts and prayers with Mary Ann, you and your family. Her calmness maybe a surrender. She no longer has to continue to not acknowledge her ailments and can allow the medical staff to take the wheel.

You know this community is always in your corner.
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Old 03-04-2015, 03:26 AM
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My thoughts & prayers are with you and your familly.
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Old 03-04-2015, 04:38 AM
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Glad to hear your sister was in good spirits.

I have some thought on this, may or may not be appropriate for her.
Originally Posted by EndGameNYC View Post
She appeared to be more relaxed than I've ever seen her, and I know my sister very well. She was near hysterical when I was in the hospital for my hip surgeries (I looked liked death and was all hopped up on painkillers when I came from the recovery room), and then again when I had an emergency appendectomy about a year-and-a-half ago, and she hates hospitals. Given her history and the news she received today, I'm curious about this (Shock? Resignation?), but I'm not now trying to figure this out right now.
From your description, it sounds like she's an independent woman who likes to show her strength and competence to the world and in hear dealings with difficult situations. And likes to deal with her *** alone. Takes the role of the strong person helping and protecting others, carrying them with her strength, rather than focusing much on her own vulnerabilities (a lot of which she may be repressing, so not surprising that bringing these to her attention typically meets resistance). If this rings true, it might not be that surprising that she becomes hysterical when others (especially others close to her) are in uncertain or otherwise trying situations. I think someone who is used to, and likes, being in control of her life, being on the top of her life, and is used to being very decisive, may perceive subjectively these "outer" things more outside of her control, especially when it comes to unpredictable events such as the illness of people who mean a lot to her.

The thing about being calm in crisis situations... I could tell you a lot about that because I am very much like that. For me the only thing that could turn this upside down was being deep in the worst of my alcoholism. And because of this feature, I actually often enjoy being in crisis situations... not looking forward to them, but once I'm in it. No idea about your sis, but for me this has to do with facing own challenges and problem solving being very much my nature, and actually very stimulating in a positive way. It can be quite weird for me being in the middle of unexpected problems or crises, and a really curious mental state. It's like there is typically an initial brief period of shock and confusion, but then quickly my mind becomes crystal clear, and I can think and act with such clarity and focus that surprised many people in my life on multiple occasions. It's really my problem solving spirit kicking in strong. Sudden acute crises are definitely not the times for me to break down... that can come as the result of a process, if things don't work out in the longer run despite my efforts, especially when I perceive the "cause" as my own mistake. This may be part of the reason why I could use "negative reinforcement" to resolve my alcohol problem before it really took a lot of things from me... I just could not deal with the guilt anymore, not so much about myself but how my actions affected others and the "world" I've built with what I perceived as my positive qualities. Again, if there is any similarity, I totally get why your your sister was devastated when she got laid off from that job, but why she would not want to show it even with a close relative. It's not so much about failure per se for me... more an attachment issue: attachment to a role and to what I perceive as my "creations". Hard to let go of all that, but once there is another opportunity and space/time to do it again, or do it in a different form (new job, etc), the old stuff is only history and lessons and it's not hard to move on at all. This whole mental/behavioral construct is also very much a control issue for me. And difficulties with revealing vulnerability, sometimes even to myself. Yeah, the calmness is an interesting one for sure. There is also what ImperfectlyMe mentioned about surrender, although I would be surprised if that happens to someone with the features you described for your sis, so suddenly.

They will probably need to do a few more tests on Mary Ann to determine the nature of the tumor and to provide a prognosis and treatment plan. I think that she is very lucky to have you as her brother. Don't forget to take care of you as well, but I don't think you usually do these days

Hugs to you again; let us know how things unfold if you feel it's helpful to talk about it here.
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Old 03-04-2015, 05:47 AM
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My good thoughts and hopes to get through this difficult time.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:02 AM
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Thank you for the update, EndGame. Ha! Somalian pirates!
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:10 AM
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My thoughts and prayers to you, your sister and, your family.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:21 AM
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I learn a lot from people like your sister. My own family was a lot like that when they were around. I guess I am too. (Minus the big successful career, though.)

I'm glad she is in good hands at the hospital and with you. More hugs, whenever you need them.
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Old 03-04-2015, 07:38 AM
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Your sister is very fortunate to have you in her life.

For some reason I have known a few with brain tumors. Many can be operated on with excellent results. I would hope and pray that this would be your sisters case.

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Old 03-04-2015, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruby2 View Post
Sometimes I've noticed that people who take the best care of other people don't always do for themselves.
Why is it that I think of you when I read this?
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:42 AM
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Mary Ann should be coming out of surgery shortly.

Her tumor is situated between the cerebellum at that lower back of her head and her brainstem. One of my areas of expertise is neuropsych, so I know a little bit about such things, perhaps too much. The cerebellum is attached to the rear of the brainstem, coordinates muscle movement and helps process sensory information. The cerebellum enables nonverbal/sensory learning and memory. It helps us judge time, modulate our emotions, and discriminate sounds and textures. It also coordinates voluntary movement, and is implicated in such things as balance and gait.

The brainstem is the oldest part of the brain and is responsible for automatic survival functions. Its components are the medulla (which controls heartbeat and breathing), the pons (which helps coordinate movements), and the reticular formation (which affects arousal).

There is a greater chance that the tumor is malignant than otherwise, but we won't know that until after the surgery and following the results of further testing. The surgical team was optimistic about the procedure, and don't foresee any complications. The tumor may be a primary condition or an indication that there are problems in other parts of her body. She'll be treated for a time with radiation therapy and steroids, with plenty of doctor visits in the first month post-surgery. She'll likely be discharged by the middle of next week.

I spoke with my mother this morning, and she told me that she had the same experience as I did, that Mary Ann somehow seemed oddly relieved after getting the bad news. As I've commented earlier, my mother has been all over my sister about seeing a doctor, even for a simple physical, for most of her life. Although my Mom is distraught, and extremely saddened that it has come to this, she accepts that she couldn't have done anything else.

I'm doing the best I can, and am hopeful that this will have a good outcome.
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:47 AM
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Praying for the best for your sister!
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:03 PM
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Wow, thanks for this update. That's a lot to take in for your family.
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