this mama is tumour free!

i had my long awaited follow up in the big city with my neurosurgeon and endochronologist, about the tumour that was removed from my non-malignant pituitary gland 18 months ago. i have been symptom free, but i have been closely monitored, having MRI’s and blood work every six months. leading up to this last appointment the tension was building in my body with muscles tightening in my neck, shoulders and jaw. i have also been pretty tightly wound and have lost my cool faster and easier than usual, but it’s understandable, right? perhaps i am allowed to have some leeway. 

anyhow, all is clear and my specialists gave us the all clear to have more babies, which is to say that now we can at least talk about it from the same perspective as other parents considering to grow their families. now, we don’t have to worry about another tumour growing, because the two are not related.
lion’s conception and the high risk pregnancy and the disastrous c-section that followed were all an unfortunate coincidence indirectly connected to the tumour. but, even though the process of getting our sweet, spunky lion here was so stressful, his presence has made our family so much brighter and fuller. 

[ yesterday was hottest day EVER, so after the docs dear hubby and i walked around some cute areas of town. got some fancy smoothies to help cool down. yum!]

which brings me to, my littlest guy is turning two on the 8th of july, which is sunday. and although his birthday brings with it upsetting memories of his birth and week hospital stay, i feel incredibly fortunate that we are able to celebrate two wonderful, healthy years of him. his personality and character are so passionate and spunky, he really is meant to be here with us, even if he was a surprise.
i love him so deeply.

i will post more about him, his birthday and where my emotions fit in with it all.

went for a celebratory drinks and dinner double-date with our dear friends in the big city. it was the hottest day ever, but who notices the dripping sweat when your among good friends! we had such a lovely time sans kids, which is something we never do. it was refreshing and allowed our friends to maintain the nasty habit they rediscovered a few weeks ago on their trip to the amalfi coast in italy. yuck!

my lovely, dear friend has big birthday coming up.
love her so!

it’s a busy, busy few days with prep for various parties.
loving the busy, fun, happy summer thus far!

xo, mama lola


we spent a glorious weekend swimming and soaking up the sun up at the cottage this past weekend. it was such fun; the boys love it up there surrounded by trees, nature and peace. 

we cottaged.

we swam.

we savoured.

we played.

we ate.

we spent time with family.

we made decorations for canada day.

we enjoyed simplicity.

i tried to relax and enjoy, but i was distracted. i have another follow up in the big city with my neurologist and endochronologist this week. the tension has caused great pain in my neck and the top of my spine. fingers crossed my MRI and bloodwork from a few weeks ago are all clear and i that i continue to be tumour free. i hate to worry. i hate tumours.
xo, mama lola

who knew, Charlie’s Angels speak Finnish?

as i was perusing pinterest i came across this video below, found HERE. to me, it is one of the funniest things i have ever seen and heard! it was a well deserved chuckle, as i go in for another follow up MRI on a couple of hours. my stomach is in knots; the nerves never go away. i wish i knew what was happening in there….
wish me luck!
tumour free vibes only, please!
xo, mama lola

last day of may :: watch out, it’s a vent.

augh. rude people in high(ish) places really get under my skin.
as you may remember last week, i thought i had lost my requisitions for my upcoming follow up MRI and blood work, that had been ordered six months ago by my neurologist and endochronologist. (if you are new here, i had a brain tumour a couple of years ago… see HERE and HERE for details). well, fortunately i did eventually find the requisition’s in the basement in last years day planner! i have already done my bloodwork and am waiting to hear back from the hospital to see when my MRI is. 
before finding the forms, i called my neurologists office to see what my options were. first they hung up on me, and then one of the other receptionists was so rude to me, i actually burst into tears when i hung-up with her. bear came running in asking what the matter was. i phoned dear hubby, who got all mad at the system, as usual. anyhow, long story short my endo has a different office and receptionist, who phoned me back and was kind and generous with her time and help. luckily, i didn’t end up needing anyone’s extra help as i found the forms and have taken care of everything i can.

[ this is where the vent comes in ]… so today, i come home from picking up bear from preschool and the rude receptionist from my neuro’s office has left a long message telling me, there’s nothing she can do really and that next time i just shouldn’t lose the forms. she keeps calling me “mah dear” and uses an offensive tone of: sucks-to-be-you-but-i’m-not-gonna-try-an-help-you kinda way. she complained that i didn’t leave a fax number with her, blah, blah, blah she was calling me back and i wasn’t even home! she asked me to phone her back (since she’s obviously going out of her way to help me), but didn’t leave her number. sigh. i phoned her back and left a message three minutes after i received her message, and told her everything was taken care of and i would see her in july for my appointment. three hours later dear hubby phones saying she has now phoned his cell, complaining about my ineptness. 
oh, boy!

people like her hold a lot of power, she could lose a file, misplace a date and nobody would know any different.

moving on…
today is the last day of NaBloPoMo, meaning i will no longer be blogging daily. i missed a few days this month, but still i’m amazed at how often i can get to the computer. some days are easier to write about than others.

no pictures today. too tired to edit.

hope you stay on and keep checking in!

xo, mama lola

group support.

i know i said i would fill you in on the brain tumour support group sooner, but truth be told, i had some processing to do. it was a heavy two hours.

because, the meeting was held on the monday of a long weekend, there was a small group of us. the group included tumour survivors, parents of kids living with tumours, partners of survivors and two facilitators. it was hard to hear from the mix of people, as their perspectives and situations are so different from mine. hard, because we’re talking brain tumours. sometimes cancerous.
as with anything, no two brain tumour experiences are the same.

listening to the honest accounts of the heartaches others are living with was heavy to hear. it was impossible not to take these stories and package them tightly and slip them into my heart. there they sit, not because i feel pity, but because i finally do not feel completely alone on this road. although, nobody else at the group was pregnant when they were diagnosed, or had any of the complications we endured from my tumour, but it’s not about the specifics that matter, it’s about having something that unites us: BRAIN TUMOURS. 

it sounds depressing to say that, but i actually feel comforted. all this time i had no one really to unburden my reality to; yes, i have amazing friends who have always provided shoulders to cry on and have listened to the myriad of anxieties i have felt, but i’m always worried people are sick of hearing about the tumour. especially now that my tumour is gone and i’m feeling so much better. although i feel great physically, emotionally i am still quite shaky at times. every little twinge or pain anywhere in or on my head instantly has me worried the tumour has grown back. if i feel particularly tired or extremely hungry i wonder if the tumour is back. 
when i look at my lion i am reminded of the tumour. of his frightening birth.
feel the stress.
the worry sits there. 
and it’s heavy.
these are the things that are hard to share with my friends and family. now, i feel fortunate to have this group to shed some of my worries with.

 [ from HERE. ]

today i stressed about MRI and blood work requisitions being lost. i was made to feel like a complete loser by a receptionist, but in my own defence i received these papers 6 months ago. anyhow, i did eventually find them in the basement, in last years day planner!
phew! close one.
see, tumour stress is always on my radar for some reason or another!

happy hump day folks!
what stressed you out today?

xo, mama lola

pizza party!

the long weekend is winding down.
it’s been a hot one and we have taken advantage of the hot temperatures and spent many, many hours outside enjoying the sun. we have done a lot of work outside in the gardens, and there is still so much to do. sigh.
last night we had a family date with friends that included a kiddy pool with lotsa wet kids, pizza, beer and lotsa laughs! The pool went to down a storm! If you’re looking at this thinking your kids would love one too, then you can find plenty of kids inflatable pools and other toys to buy online.

[ papaA got us started on a ridiculous game of trying to get a ball into the floating bucket.
it was hilarious and very competative; dear hubby scored first! ]

tonight, is my first brain tumour support group meeting. i feel a bit like a fraud going, as i do/did not have a cancerous tumour, but then a part of me is looking forward to meeting people who have some understanding of what this roller coaster ride has been like for me. i am going with a friend, which will be nice, as in these kinds of new, awkward situations it’s comforting to have a familiar face to look at.
i will let you know how things go tomorrow.

and if you’re interested in donating to the cause, please go to THIS LINK, which will take you to the my spring sprint sponsorship page. even though the event is done, you can donate until july 31st.

xo, mama lola

playing by the rules.

for bear’s 4th birthday he got a super fun game from his super fun friend. it’s a cat in the hat game that is all about doing silly things with your body, in a dr.seuss kinda way. bear LOVES this game, but seriously struggles with following the rules. i get it, the kid is 4, but still… c’mon he’s ALREADY 4! i remember playing games with my parents or friends, and following the rules in order for the game to flow nicely. the rules weren’t the fun part and often hindered me from winning, but they’re there for a reason. right?

today bear was playing this new cat in the hat game with dear hubby and i heard him at one point say in a huff “no. i don’t like the rules. i am going to do it my way”.
oh, dear!!!
he gets completely bent out of shape if he’s not the first at things; the first one at the dinner table, the first one upstairs for washing hands and so on. he also struggles with not winning or being the best at something. the wee fella gets so frustrated with himself quickly saying “no, i will never learn to do up the zipper” and then he just does it the next day. but, as his mama it’s difficult to listen to his attitude and negativity; i think he’s a genius (as is his wee brother) and already capable of so much. 
are all kids like this? 

[i haven’t taken any pictures thanks to my pathetic finger.]

i will leave you with this sweet face.

this is mark ruffalo, a hollywood dude who also had a brain tumour. his was different from mine, but he had his removed via surgery and he too is fine now!

*remember, if you are still interested in donating to the brain tumour foundation of canada’s SPRING SPRINT, you have until july 31, 2012. so far i have raised $485 and would love to at least reach $500!

email me at and i can forward you the details!

xo, mama lola

i am a brain tumour survivor.

it is really hard for me to admit that. that i am a brain tumour survivor. 

today was the brain tumour foundation of canada‘s walk/ run in our town. it was an incredibly emotional morning for me, as i met other survivors and people living with various brain tumours. the event was lovely and had such a relaxed mood, that the down side of the reason we had all come together was easy to forget.

[ cheerleaders providing entertainment! ]

i am realizing that my tumour didn’t have to be so scary, but because i was pregnant with lion, my situation was made that much worse. because we had to wait to remove the tumour until after lion’s birth, it provided it time to grow bigger and cause lots more terrible headaches, which consequently meant i was popping more prescription pain medication, which in turn meant i felt tremendous guilt and fear.

if only my tumour had made itself known before or after my pregnancy with lion, i don’t think i would get so emotional about it all. 

in case you are new to my blog, for a birth stories go here. but what happened was, lion was born via scheduled c-section and i was under a general anesthetic, so i was not awake for his birth and dear hubby had to wait outside the operating room. they were supposed to put me under and cut me open, so that lion wouldn’t get much of the anesthesia, but they screwed up. i was under for almost 20 minutes before lion was born, because the placenta was right at the incision site, which they were not expecting and i lost a lot of blood. lion lost all vitals at birth and was rushed off to be resuscitated, while i lay there completely out of it and dear hubby stood outside. then, a red emergency light turned on and an alarm went off outside the door to my operating room and that’s how dear hubby knew something awful had happened.

after five days at the specialty, fancy hospital lion was transferred to our local hospital, where he stayed another few nights before coming home. 

i couldn’t have a vaginal birth, because they thought the pressure of pushing the baby out could cause my tumour to explode. and, i had to be put under, because the epidural (which is the norm for a c-section) is placed into your spine, the specialists were concerned that too might cause the pressure to change in my head causing the tumour to explode and kill me instantly. 

and here we are today, healthy and happy. 
many brain tumour patients are in fact dealing with cancer and i feel like a bit of a fraud with non-malignant macro adenoma. but still, i am so grateful i have found this group of brain tumour survivors and will start attending their support groups monthly. i wish so much, that i had been aware of their existence back when we were dealing with the tumour stuff daily. perhaps, my story can of help to someone else, maybe even another pregnant mama.

[ there were only 16 of us in blue. blue shirts meant we had survived or were living with a brain tumour.]

if you would like to make a donation click here click here, the deadline is july 31, 2012.

i will leave you with this to think about…
“in canada 27 people receive a brain tumour diagnosis a day.”

[ we, survivors walked together before joining our friends and families for the main portion. i cried and cried, as i was held by other survivors. i realized for the first time ever that i was not alone. we were all handed roses.]

xo, mama lola

artful PLAY and other stuff!

this morning we headed directly to the local children’s art factory. 

it’s a wonderful little place where the kids get to do all sorts of art projects, make a mess and now worry about the mess they are making. the kids had an amazing time!

then it was off to the park to soak in the warm temperatures, snack and PLAY HARD! 
[last time i uploaded a movie there were some technical difficulties, so there may be some again. sorry. i will try to deal with them promptly! ]

also, as many of you know i am looking for sponsors for the brain tumour foundation of canada. there is a walk/ run tomorrow morning to raise money for research, education and support for brain tumours.
days before christmas 2009, i was told i had a tumour (a macro adenoma) on my pituitary gland. it coincided with my pregnancy with lion, so it was a very scary and difficult time for us. i was labelled high risk and was supervised closely by a team of OB’s at a fancy hospital out of town. lion’s birth was a mess and scary and you can read more about that here. as for me, my tumour was removed in the fall of 2010. bear almost three and lion was about four months, so it was very stressful for all of us. 

[ two days post surgery. they went up my nose to remove the tumour, hence the bandage ]

i am still being monitored by a team of neurologists and endochronologists, getting MRI’s done about every six months and bloodwork done then too. so far, things look good, but i go back in july for another follow-up appointment. it is likely the tumour will return, but hopefully not for a long time!

i’m ending on sadder note. MCA (adam yauch) has passed away at the age of 47. he was a member of the beastie boys, who i have LOVED for decades, now! i’ve only seen them live twice, but both shows were so amazing. 

[ L to R, mike D, adRock and MCA ]

g’night world.
g’night moon.

xo, mama lola

anniversaries: some are harder than others.

anniversaries are tricky events. many anniversaries are occasions for remembering and celebrating achievements, family, love or whatever. dear hubby and i don’t really celebrate our wedding anniversary. not because it’s not special, but because february usually becomes about bear and his birthday. the two events are three days apart. 

on our first wedding anniversary, when bear was three days old we were quarantined in the emergency department at the local hospital, because i developed a raging fever and on the advice of my midwives went to the hospital. dear hubby and bear had to join me, because i was nursing like every half hour or whatever. not the most romantic of anniversaries. in fact it was very stressful and i was quite down about the whole ordeal.

lilac out front budding. soon to be blooming. can’t wait!

some anniversaries are even harder.
it’s been just over a year since we put our sweet, squirrel loving roo down. his death is something that gets discussed a lot around here. bear will tell me he misses roo, just randomly when he sees other dogs. it shatters me when i hear him say stuff like that. i too have a huge hole in my heart for roo. i miss him so much, even though he was such a pain sometimes.
he barked and jumped around every where; hunted and killed squirrels; was very anxious in certain situations, but man, that dog loved us. i mean, he LOVED us. he was always looking out for bear and then lion when he was wee. 

he had had a rough life. moved from home to home to home to home. he just wanted to be loved. and we did just that. 
we loved him. boy, did we ever LOVE him. 
still do. so much. 

on a happier note, this blog, my BEAR & LION will be celebrating a year of online success tomorrow!! i’m not sure how success is measured in the cyber-blog world, but i have acquired a following of faithful readers from all around the world, some who read out of obligation perhaps, others out of curiosity. i actually don’t care why people come by and read, i just love that you do. 
my first entry was just a photograph, as i was too scared to write anything, in fear of judgement. now look at me, spilling my beans regularly!

i have found writing on my blog to be quite therapeutic in many ways. i started writing right after we put roo down, right after dear hubby lost his job and four months after my tumour was removed. it’s been a wonderful place for me to vent about some of life’s tough moments and share in some of the joys. i am grateful for my life, but it sure is harder than i ever could have imagined. and quite frankly, other people have it harder, much harder than me and i want to make sure i acknowledge that, but that does not take away from my hardships. i guess it’s like comparing apples and oranges; everyone’s life is hard to them and that’s what needs to be legitimized. 
we’ve come a long way, baby!

anyhow, thanks for reading, please stick with me and my family to see what the future holds. as we all know far too well, we really have no idea what tomorrow may bring. that’s the point in life i guess.


xo, mama lola
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