It’s scary how you can be going along doing your own thing, minding your own business, and all of a sudden you are blind-sided out of nowhere with an illness that totally takes you down.
Kelly and I had already experienced this when our dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. Up until that point he seemed to be just fine. It was just under two months until he had to leave us.
It was a tough time but we managed to get through it. We focused on the good memories we had with him. It was hard to do at first. All you can remember is the sickness. But eventually those memories fade away and the good memories remain.
But now, that ugly illness reared its head once again, this time for Kelly…
Here is how I imagined it happened, between my own musings, what Kelly was able to tell me and what our other family members and friends told me.
I realize this is written a bit different than most pages. I guess I think differently. It just poured out and I couldn’t stop it, so I am sharing it….
The sun glowed fiery golden red as it dipped below the horizon. The sound of grass blades crunching could be heard as the pup Kelly was pet sitting scampered across the lawn. He was ecstatic to get his ‘busy’ time outside in the blustery winter evening and planned to make the most of it.
Kelly secretly hoped he would be fast tonight as she tried to keep her eye on him between the sharp stabs of pain that kept shooting through her head. She had been having a lot of headaches lately, but this one was different and was beginning to take on a life of its own.
She was hoping she could sleep it off. She had work in the morning and with her still going through training, she wanted to be sure she did a good job. But that would be tough to do with this relentless headache.
Sensing something wasn’t right, Carter asked if she was ok. Kelly reassured him she just had a headache and asked if he could watch the dog while she went inside.
Carter agreed to keep an eye on the dog. He couldn’t wait to go hang with his friend Lincoln; his reward for helping his mom with pet sitting. He had been waiting all week to go hang out at Lincoln’s house and he hoped they would get done soon. Even so, he had an inkling in the back of his mind that something just wasn’t right, but he brushed off the feeling and ignored it.
That is, until he heard the mind numbing scream escape from inside the house. Grabbing the dog and running inside, he found his mom doubled over the washing machine releasing a blood curdling scream he had never heard come out of a person before. Lynne, the pups owner, reached Kelly just as Carter did. They both frantically tried to get her to tell them what was wrong. Through the screams and mumbling, they deciphered her headache had gone from bad to worse…much, much worse.
Pulling out their phones, Carter and Lynne began to call for help, until Kelly grabbed them and forcefully whispered ‘NO!’. The excruciating pain that had felt like it was ripping her brain apart had subsided somewhat. She wasn’t about to go to the hospital. She knew she could tough it out until it went away. But truth be told, she was scared. She had never felt pain that severe before and though it had somewhat subsided, it wasn’t going away.
Promising to call if they needed help, Carter managed to get Kelly loaded in the car. Normally he would have been thrilled to be able to drive the car, but tonight all thoughts of cruising had vanished only to be replaced with worry. He threw the car into drive and skillfully navigated the streets of Manchester to find his way back home.
Kelly was thankful she had Carter with her. She knew there was no way she could drive with the pain coming and going in endless sharp waves. Her vision was blurry and the only decision she could make was how to brace herself for the next surge of pain. She was confident Carter could handle things and get them both back home safely.
The walkway to the house seemed to stretch on forever as Carter helped her to the house. Once inside all she could think about was getting past the screeching bird and collapsing on her bed. She heard Carter telling Larry her head was hurting as she climbed the stairs. She couldn’t be bothered to explain, she just needed a dark room and a soft bed.
She heard the front door shut in the distance and Carter tiptoed in to whisper that Larry went to get firewood. She could hear the worry in his voice, but promised him she would be alright and told him to go to Lincoln’s house.
But she knew he wouldn’t go. He was too worried and just as stubborn as she was. He got his stubbornness honestly. Hopefully the pain would subside and she could get up and function enough to make him feel better.
But that wasn’t happening. It was getting worse. She had never felt pain this intense before and it was all consuming. The pain that targeted her head took over her entire being until the only thing her body could do was work in unison to try and rid itself of this unknown phenomena surging in her brain.
But her body couldn’t rid itself of the pain that was erupting in her head. The pain was internal. It had infiltrated her guarded system and was multiplying second by second.
Shards of white lasers burst behind her eyes as an excruciating attack of exploding pain forcefully pulled an unwilling scream from the depths of her soul. As Carter came running, Kelly finally gave in and let him call 911.
Most of you will know the rest of the story.
For those of you who don’t…Kelly was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. The aneurysm was at the base of her skull in the back of her neck.
The ambulance took her to the local hospital, Carroll County, where she diagnosed. Due to the extreme seriousness of the situation, they had her flown immediately to Sinai Hospital since they are better equipped to handle aneurysms. They have a world renowned neurology facility and some of the best surgeons in the country (this was her first time ever flying L ).
They initially put a coil in the aneurysm to stop the bleeding. They had to drill a hole in the top of her skull to be able to drain the fluid from her brain to release the pressure and try to eliminate the headaches.
Though she was doing much better, the headaches continued and they decided to do surgery to put in shunts to allow the fluid to continuously drain from her brain.
They added shunts in her head and in her stomach. The one in her stomach was jabbing an internal organ and causing her even more pain.
They did surgery again and removed the one shunt from her stomach and added more to her head.
For now she is doing much better but still has a long road to recovery.
As most of you know, Kelly is one of the hardest workers I know. She is always working at least two jobs minimum and had just started a new job cooking for a senior home when this incident occurred.
Kelly is also the type of person who will do anything to help anyone. She will give you her last dollar and the shirt off her back if you need it.
She has never asked for anything and has always worked hard for herself and her family.
During this unexpected illness her financial situation has taken a huge hit. Since she has lost income from two jobs it is having a massive impact on her and contributing to her stress while trying to recover.
WANTING TO HELP
I know many of you have asked to help in any way you can, and this is the best way to help alleviate her stress about finances so she can focus on just getting better.
Kelly is not one to ask for help as you all know, so we are putting this together for her since we know how hard headed (no pun intended) she is and wouldn’t let us do this if we asked in advance.
We truly appreciate any and all help given to help her cover life’s necessities while she recuperates. We have no idea how long she will be out of work, so every little bit, no matter how small will be a tremendous gift.
We thank you, we love you and we pray neither you nor any of your loved ones ever have to go through this.
Kelly’s family and friends
If you would like to learn more about aneurysms, you can read about them on Sinai’s website: http://www.lifebridgehealth.org/Sinai/SinaiDepartmentofNeurosurgery1.aspx