Monday, May 31, 2010

We are busting outta here today!

So the people here are really nice but I am sick of this place! Mom and Josh snuck me off this floor earlier and took me downstairs and I am jut itching to get outta here! Really the only thing holding me back in knowing that the chocolate ice cream will be more than five minutes away. Yep, just gave them to word they are packing me up right now! We are getting out of here!!!!! Ah, sweet sunshine bring it on! My Dr. Berger came to see me today and took me on a nice walk. He said I was doing well and then told me about my hair. Yes this amazing surgen spent thirty minutes saving my hair! He said he brushed my hair and separated it so he did not have to cut it all. Man, that was so nice of him. He said he stole my black hair tie and I told him to keep it! :) He is a really really nice man and came all the way just to see me. I was so happy when I heard his voice coming in the door. Ah, they took my last iv out....ouch! No more poking in the middle of the night! yayayyayayayay. I always pretended like I was asleep so they would come back later. I even told them to take my dad's but they said they needed mine! No more though! No more needles for a little while! I am so happy about that! I am outta here! I am outta here I am outta here! Done people! I HAD a brain tumor!!! I HAD one and now I don't anymore! It is all gone and I don't have to have brain surgery anymore! We are talking past tense now! Wonderful! I am just loving this. They said I can swim and shower and go to Disneyland later too! Ah, bring on my Mesa sunshine I am coming home!

I made it


I am happy

Tumorless Tara

Lovers you!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Sunday

I just completed another stroll around the hall! I have become quite the walker. It is so much fun to get up walk! So you have seen my pictures...I have so much hair! The doctor was extra nice to me. Usually they cut all the hair on the inside of that horseshoe but my Dr. Berger left me tons of hair! I almost feel bad because I walk around and see other people with bandages and no hair and I got this full head of hair. It is just a little thinner now

My whole body works! I can walk, talk, chew, laugh, smile, boss people around, type, blink, hum, wiggle all ten toes, push buttons and brush my teeth! It is so nice to know that I am going to be completely normal!

Man I am so happy right now. I never ever want to go back to the last few days. Hospitals are no fun! It is amazing how slow the clock can tick sometimes. Good thing the fridge always has chocolate ice cream! We just disregaurd the 'authorized personal only" and "staff only" signs. We just enter the code to the kitchen and act like we know what we are doing. Josh and Dad take turns on these secret missions to the pantry! :)

Well can you believe I made it? It is still weird to look at pictures and hear what they did. They pulled all my skin off my head down to my jaw and then sawed a whole bunch of my skull out. I guess I have titanium in my skull now. The doctor said that my skull is still really strong still...That means I can still run into things! :) ha.

Well all is well here in San Fransisco. I am leaving my tumor is San Fransisco! Thanks for all your prayers and comments and thoughts. It is the first thing we do when I wake up. We read all our new comments!

I got my fuzzy, pink socks, warm green blankie, lamby, Josh, Mom, Dad, family, no more tumor and ALL YOU!!!!! I am the luckiest girl in the world!

Happy Sunday everyone we will be home Wednesday! I love you all!

Tumorless Tara Lynn

Here's our girl :)

62 staples, 12 inches,  and a pretty smile apparently are all side affects of brain surgery. She's recovering well and actually slept through the night last night! It might just be her lamby but I like to think we're helping her smile too :) She's doing great. She got up and we helped her walk around the room for the first time last night and just today she walked a few feet to switch beds to get her post-op MRI. Doctors say she's doing excellent and is still scheduled to get out of this place tomorrow. Our flights home are still planned for Wednesday.

Thanks for all your nice posts. When she's not sleeping we read her what everybody's saying and she gets this cheesy grin on her face. We love it, so thank you.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

I survived

I survived

It has been a long 24 hours

I will come home to you

I am out of the ICU!! :)

We're leaving ICU!

The good news this morning is that Tara is doing well enough to leave ICU. The good thing about leaving ICU is that Tara does not have to be woken up every hour and she will have less tubes hooked up to her. Every hour a nurse was supposed to come in and ask Tara 5 questions (along with checking her vitals). What is your name? Why are you here? Where are you? What time is it? What day is it? After the first time the nurse went through the questions; the nurse did not need to ask them anymore. When the nurse started checking Tara's vitals and starting waking her up; Tara would say, "are you ready for your report?" and then Tara stated rattling off the answers to the questions without being asked. At that point, the nurse decided she was a low risk case and let us sleep for 1 1/2 hours at a time before waking Tara up. Last night was not fun, but every day and every hour will be getting better from here. Tara stays pretty doped up on morphine and vicaden. She is to the point this morning that she's only taking vicaden and not much morphine. Her dad is presently shoving breakfast down her mouth whether she likes the oatmeal or not. She said it's the grossest oatmeal on the planet; but Scott is determined to make her eat oatmeal and some eggs. She has faithfully turned down all colors of jello up to this point - it was really good to see her try to sit up and eat some real food this morning. She still looks pretty dopey. The surgeon was generous and did not take an extreme amount of hair - the scar is smaller than we thought it would be.

So, there are 3 of us waiting on Tara hand and foot. She should get out of the hospital on Monday. Thanks again for all the prayers that have been sent our way. I think we're through the worst of this now and things will only get better from here!

Love you all,


Friday, May 28, 2010

Tara is out of surgery!

This is Becky updating the blog for Tara. Tara was in surgery for about 6 hours today. Tara is now in the ICU unit recovering from surgery. She will probably be here for 24-48 hours. She's already complaining about her room and ready to move.
She is downing apple juice faster than she should - and she's speaking normally
and seems to be doing well.

The surgeon said that he was able to remove all of the tumor. He does not think
that she will have any loss of her senses at all. He tested her during the surgery and her senses responded well. She may experience some weakness on her left side during recovery; but it should come back. We will not know until the pathology report in 5 days if Tara will need any further treatment to make sure this tumor does not come back or that the cells grow back. The surgeon seemed very positive - things went as he expected. He did not take too much hair - she still looks like our pretty Tara. She will have a few spots that are thin; but all is well. The first report shows the tumor was indeed a glioma. (not sure on the spelling).

Tara has a "team" of doctors, researchers, nurses, etc. working on her and they are all great. I don't even know how many people have helped in her healing process - but thanks to all of them. I know that the last test she took yesterday required 5 more hours of work by the technicians into the evening to finish the brain mapping needed for surgery.

We feel at peace and feel that even if further treatment is needed in the
future; that Tara will recover fully. We thank you all so very much for your
fasting, prayers, and love. We know that is what has held us up through these
past 2 weeks. We felt a spirit of peace this morning as Tara was in surgery.

We love you all so much!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Come What May and Love It

last entry before surgery

I am not going to lie it has been rather hard to love the "come what may" today. I know that I will learn to love it though. Today I had all my pre-op appointments and hopefully there is only one more needle til tumor-less. Tomorrow is the big day. Wow, in 24 hours I will be awake! My nerves are starting to get to me but my dad just feeds me everytime I start to break down and it seems to work! :) 

Wow, what a day. I really don't know what to say.

Ah, let's go back to the second appointment. So the second appointment was my MRI. Not too bad, in fact I think I may have actually fallen asleep for about 20 minutes... It lasted an hour and a half. I hate when they put your head in a cage and tell you not to move for an hour and a half! I was a good girl though and held as still as humanly possible. I was scared to swallow my own spit in fear that my head or neck would move and mess up the picture. I wanted to ensure that everything was as perfect as possible. I met with one of the technicians who will be a part of the surgery tomorrow and he agreed to take a camera in the OR if Dr. Berger says it is okay. He also is taking my tumor from me...yeppers I signed it away. How can you turn them down when they say that they need it to help other people...I guess I do have a heart. So, the tumor will be in the custody of science after tomorrow. I guess my grandchildren will just have to be happy with pictures (plus how would you store a fat tumor? ha) He told me that he has worked with Dr. Berger on about 400 hundred surgeries and reassured me that I will be in the best hands possible. Ah, computer is dying I have to pick up the pace. 

Okay so the third appointment was the coolest and I can explain it later. They targeted a whole bunch of places in my brain and now know what areas I use most and what areas to touch and not to touch. They told me that I have a beautiful bright brain and my reflexes are fast. In two hours I only moved my head 1 milimeter! The hardest part of this test was I could not fall asleep. I sang every primary song I know, twice! I was doing everything in my power to stay awake. It was a warm room and I really don't remember the last time I was that comfortable! ah battery is really going fast...I will write more after surgery

Last little thing real quick. 

I wanted good food before the red jello starts so we drove to Olive Garden (mostly for the free breadsticks) The food of course was amazing but the part that got me the most was at the end they came and covered our whole meal At first I thought they were going to cover our dessert and I was super excited about that but I was blow away when the manager came and told us that the whole thing had been taken care of. Thank you Naomi, the manager, and our hostess! It about brought tears to my eyes. Dang it, I wish I could write more! 

Man I am having bad luck. When I pushed submit my computer internet time ran out and I lost my whole post. Sorry my computer is too dead to try to re write it all.

I really wanted to tell you about my new green fruit loops!

I have nine fruit loops glued to my head now. They shaved a few places and replaced them with green marking dots. I look hilarious. Pictures will be up in about a week when we get the connector chord back for the camera. Please feel free to laugh we have been doing it all day!

Ah man I wish my post was not lost!


I am scared to death

I love you

I love you

Thank you for your prayers.

I believe

I love you

I will write more after surgery

I love you


Tara Lynn

Pray for peace

Pictures at the Temple

Tara's in her hour and a half MRI right now so I decided to put a few of our wedding pictures up. Mostly I just wanted an excuse to look at Tara's pictures again. She's more than gorgeous! The English language hasn't come up with a word yet for how pretty Tara really is.

Anyways thanks so much for all love everyone has shown my Tara : ) She's doing great and staying so happy through all of this and I'm convinced it's because of all the love that's been shown to her. This mountain of a trail has been more of an enjoyable hike because of all the friends surrounding us. Thanks for being there for us.


San Fran!

We made it! Barely! We had to pull the "my daughter has a brain tumor and has to get on that plane!" card! Mom was running through the airport trying to hurry us through security. Apparently Josh's granola bars presented a threat and needed to be run through the scanner again. Mom's pointy scissors however, fine! Josh made just about everything he stepped through beep and we now know that his belt does in fact contain metal! :) It was kinda comical. San Fran is beautiful and we were able to navigate to the Muir Woods. I just sat in the back of the rental car (we got an upgrade on that too because of our sob story!) and watched my mom and joshua try to figure out where to go! We were going south, then north, then south again! I just giggled the whole time. The forest was so beautiful and mom found me an awesome wheelchair so I didn't even have to walk! I was having trouble with strength and balance in my legs. Josh kept telling me to at least limp when we took pictures so I looked like I actually needed it. The forest was almost therapeutic and calmed me down and settled my nerves. The weather here is NOT LIKE MESA!!! It is raining outside not 100 degrees! I of course packed shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops . :) I think at least 30 people told me to remember a jacket and warm clothes. Apparently 20 minutes isn't long enough to pack for a week or this tumor is effecting my memory! We will have pictures of the forest up as soon as we can get to our camera.  Luckily, the weather yesterday was perfect.

We found a chili's for dinner and they had no idea what was coming! We were so hungry and ready for food. I think we may have set a national record for fastest time tanking plates of food. We sat down and told them what we wanted for our main meal before they had a chance to ask what we wanted to drink. They promptly brought our food and we had the plates ready for the dishwasher before he had a chance to refill our water. I honestly think we were in and out in 15 minutes! My seat didn't even have a chance to get warm! Schlappi's always mean business, especially when it comes to food!

As for today, we finished the first test and they told me I have beautiful blood! I was a good girl and let them poke me with all sorts of needles and was very brave! :) Then we met with a nice lady who gave us all the times and places we need to be tomorrow and walked us through the whole anesthesiology process. I think they took a little too much blood because as soon as I tried to stand up, I fell down. My legs just went completely limp and my whole body was just in a slump on the chair. I think I may have scared the lady a bit...she asked if we wanted to check into the hospital today. We decided we didn't want to start the red jello quite yet and we found my strength and got me out. Next test starts in about 15 minutes. No pain today! I think this next test is the brain mapping which could be interesting. I think they will put fluids in my brain to make the picture more clear and get good pictures for the doctor.

Well got to run,

Love ya lots

Tara, Josh & Mom

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My face still hurts from smiling so much! 
Be warned...this is only the beginning of pictures! :)


...was the most amazing day ever! Pictures will be up later this afternoon or as soon as my momma gets home with her camera. I don't even know how to begin this post. My mother and I began the morning with a serious quest of finding the perfect shoes. I was smart enough to take myself on a mile and a half walk in heels on Sunday so my feet are a blistered mess. This limited the type of shoe I could wear. We were stuck with white flats,  flower on top, of course!:) I have never been in and out of so many stores so fast. People did not even have time to greet us! We are the Schlappi women, cut the small talk and tell us where your shoes are! We are on a mission! Looking back it was extremely comical. We found my flat, white, with a flower shoes and then practically ran to the car to get home. It was nap time! My naps are extremely important and without them I really feel crazy. I absolutely hate the pain medicine I am because it does not make me feel like myself and I get so tired. In a matter of seconds I will be asleep, anywhere! I also eat a lot. My mom bought US a sandwich to share and after four bites "my bites" she only had about a fourth of the sandwich left. She said she is ready for this tumor to be gone too...then we can actually share food again! :)

We made it home and I literally ran to my bed and took the worlds greatest power nap! I have never in my life been so excited to sleep. I was so excited because I knew as soon as I woke up I could start my beautification process for my pictures. My amazing visiting teachers were my hair and make-up experts and they exceeded any possible dream. My heart is literally pounding with happiness just remembering how much fun yesterday was. They worked my long hair to perfection. I was having withdrawals last night when I realized I really needed to wash my face and take my veil out. I just wanted to go to sleep and stay that pretty forever! Ah, I just can't stop smiling.

I could have taken pictures all night.

I feel like I am not doing my happiness justice with this blog post. I feel like I have left half the story out but I am typing so fast I can barely read the words on the page!

Yesterday I was a princess and the greatest thing is, today I still feel like one. I probably slept an hour last night. My heart would not let me sleep. It was dancing with happiness and overflowing with gratitude. I just laid in bed and thought about all the things people have done for me in the past week. Ya it kept me up all night! That's how many things people have done for me. I walked into my room and re read every card and just bawled.(good thing I eventually did take my make-up off! ) I realized that I have not had a spare minute to be scared or sad. As soon as I feel a little down I have about three plates of my favorite cookies with about five hugs behind them! There are way too many people keeping me busy and happy all the time. There are too many smiling, positive faces to be sad. I have no idea how anyone could get through anything like this without people like you. You have all become my heroes and I long to be like you. I want to go and try to find people that are hurt or sad just so I can tell them what you have told me. I want to give them the quotes that you have given me, and the hope you have given me. I want to give Christ's love to others, as you have to me. I will forever be in gratitude for every thing that has happened. I have learned that the smallest things mean the most at the most important times. Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me through this time of my life. Thank you for being a part of my journey. Great! Now I am in tears again. Tears of happiness. I honestly have not really shed tears of fear or sadness since the first initial finding. I am so glad to report that they have all been tears of love. Thank you.

Another update.
We got word from Dr. Berger yesterday and it was extremely encouraging. He expects surgery to last a lot shorter than what we were previously told and he said my risks of losing motion in my left side are very low! He feels confident that all will go well and that I will be back to 80% in just a few weeks! :) Tomorrow we leave! I am so excited for this to be out and over! I am ready to never take my medicine ever again! I am ready to be Tara again. Tumor-less Tara!

I don't think I have ever done an entry that fast. Sorry if it it is not understandable! My mom said sometimes my sentences don't always make sense :)

I love you
You make me smile

Tara Lynn

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thoughts from Becky

I haven't posted for several days - Tara has been keeping up with the blog; which is great!  As we were visiting with some long time friends last night; Scott said something that really sums up how we feel about this whole deal.  He said, "we have been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love that it doesn't leave room for fear."  That is it. That is how we feel.  Our friends and family are the BEST!  And all of you who are praying for Tara that we don't even know are great, also!  Since this blog, I  have read all the posts -  you who have lost a child due to brain cancer - I don't know how you get through something like that - and those of you who are brain tumor survivors - it's nice to hear your stories also. 

Out next hard moment will be getting on the plane Wednesday.  Tara, Josh & myself will leave Wednesday and return Wednesday.  Scott is gone Thursday to Tuesday.  We believe we are ready for this - ready to get Tara off her pain medicine - her pain med makes her so tired and loopy - none of us like that.

Scott has returned to his normal life of being a bishop - I think it actually felt good to him to roll up his sleeves and immerse himself in church work again yesterday.  There's really nothing more we can do until we leave - so we're just doing our normal life - except it really isn't "normal" because we have such an outpouring of love from everyone.  It's wonderful and we cannot thank you all enough. If Tara ever gets a little blue or down (which isn't often) there's always a card or a note or something or someone at the door that picks her up at the right moment.

 We'll send news on Friday via Rachel on the blog about how surgery went.  I don't know yet how long surgery is expected to last.

We love you all!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mr. T!

So yesterday I got the best surprise of all! My sixth grade teacher came to my house to see me! Man it was so much fun! My face still kinda aches from smiling so much. Mr. T by far was the best teacher I have ever had and I will never ever ever forget that class! It felt like I was still a little girl who just got to be nothing but happy for a few hours. It seriously made my whole week and I will never forget those hours. It is amazing what a person can do to your life. I am one of those people who believe that my life is shaped by the people I am around. I am who Tara Lynn Schlappi is because of you all. Thank you for helping me believe in myself. I believe I can get through this and I attribute most of it to your belief in me. I have a million people telling me I can and not a soul telling me I am too weak. Today I believe I am strong and I know that I can and I will! I know that this is my trial and hopefully when this is all said and done I can look back on this experience and see how extremely lucky I am. I am lucky, really people I am! I have all you and that is a huge blessing itself! Today I get to go shoe shopping for my dress! You have no idea how excited I am for Monday at 6 PM! I am going to make today the best day possible. Thank you for being my friends! I read all your posts at least three times a day and there are people posting who I do not even know! Thank you too! When I am in pain I come here and read all your encouraging words and love. I think this blog is more for me than to inform you! You are all amazing and we are all going to get this tumor outta m head! I can still feel your prayers. Thanks for being my friends.

I can easily say
I love you,


Friday, May 21, 2010

Good morning everyone!

Well I just got my trip schedule and one week from now I will be happily asleep on the road to being all better! I am actually excited for it! I am excited to get this journey over with! I have so many people who love me and are praying for me, how could I be scared? We fly in Wednesday afternoon and get to try to be normal Wednesday night and then Thursday I get to spend all day with my team of doctors as they get to know my beautiful brain better! Friday I am lucky enough to have surgery in the morning so I do not have to wait all day. I just get to wake up and go back to sleep! I think I get to spend a few days in the ICU and then they transfer me over to the normal hospital where I will continue to heal and turn back into tumor-less Tara!

Thank you so much for everything! I swear my wedding dress is not going to fit if I keep eating everything that comes to our door. I used to use it for justification because I have to eat with my meds but the real truth is it is just so good and I cannot get enough of it! Those sweet rolls...GONE, the whole pan of bread...GONE! Josh is keeping the candy bars captive and going to take them with us so he can have munchies while he waits for surgery to be over. Be assured...they too will be GONE! My sunshine box has filled to the top and my momma got me another one to put all my cards in. Thank all of you for your thoughtfulness. It has really taught me more about how I want to live my future life. I want to be more like all of you!

This entry is going to be short and sweet. just know that the Schlappi family is at peace and we are all able to smile and laugh! We have enjoyed this time getting to know each other better. Trials do bond a family really well. There is a lot of good that has come from this whole experience. I am sure Chol is ready for me to sleep in my own bed again though. I think I whacked her in the face like 10 times last night but how can you get mad at a girl with a tumor?? :) She just pushes me over and puts my hands under my covers and helps me go back to sleep! She really is an angel. We love you all so much and we are having a much better Friday than last! Keep a smile on

I believe

Tara Lynn

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday update

Tomorrow it will be one week! Can you believe it? It has been a long week! In one week I will have my tumor out and I will be on the road to recovery so I can finally be normal again! I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world
1. I have an awesome blanket I take everywhere and it keeps me warm and loved
2. I have a million people praying for me every single day
3. I have yummy treats to take my meds with
4. I get to take my bridal pictures with all my hair
5. I found adorable hats at the store today that will totally cover up the whole right side of my head
6. My medicine makes me extremely tired and makes sleeping so easy!
7. My family loves me so much and will do anything for me
8. I got my braces off and my teeth look great! :)
9. I have amazing friends who constantly check in on me
10. Smiling never hurts (sometimes laughing does)
11. My sister watches over me every night to make sure I am safe if I have a seizure
12. My Joshua never lets go of my hand
13. I feel at peace with my surgeon
14. I get to sleep during the surgery while everyone else has to stay awake
15. I get to fly to San Fran instead of drive
16. After surgery I get to stay at someone's house instead of a smelly hotel room
17. I know that whatever happens will happen for a reason
18. I am learning a lot about me and my strengths and weaknesses

Today was another pretty good day. I am tired a lot more than usual but I still get to be pretty normal. My pain medicine makes me a little weird and I feel funny and loopy a lot but at least there is a medicine that can keep me from feeling like my head is going to explode and I only have to take it for one more week.

I can never say thank you enough for your prayers and everything you have done for me and my family! We truly appreciate every little thing!

Only a few more days! :)

I still believe

Tara Lynn

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I think I deserve an A!!!

If you feel uncomfortable I understand but I just thought most people would find the following pictures interesting. They are pictures from my MRI. So I got a B in my PHY111 class and I think these pictures make it clear that I deserve an A! :) It was a really hard class and I had a serious headache during a major test and the final!

 There goes my full tuition scholarship to BYU! Maybe they have other scholarships for girls who had tumors taken out...we will have to see! Either way I am happy to be alive and I am happy that I got mostly A's! This semester was extremely hard for me!

 This tumor also explains why I kept falling asleep in my Ancient Civilizations class! All my notes are covered in drool! :) I am glad I had awesome classmates this semester!

 Can you spot the tumor? If not, I have an awesome eye doctor! :)

more miracles?

Yep more miracles have happened.

So I was a little concerned about my hair but my photographer let me know that we can take pictures before my surgery and wedding! I am getting my braces off tomorrow so I can just do pictures on Monday!

This is extremely good news to me and I am happy I can have my long hair I have always wanted for the wedding pictures. I have felt so good today. I was a little loopy tonight and my medications make me extremely tired. I really don't know what is going on but it must be the pain medicines. I am so grateful for each day. Today I got to go to Sarah Smiths birthday lunch and I was so happy to get out of the house and feel normal again. I did not have a single doctor appointment! :) I also got to talk to Mallory Shepard who recently went through brain surgery. She helped lift my spirits a lot and gave me a little idea of recovery and some emotions that went along with the whole process. I love love love smiles and laughter and she gave me a lot of that! Thanks so much Mallory you really made my day!

Well I am extremely tired but just waiting a few more minutes until it is time to take my brain meds.

Thanks a million times for your prayers. I know they work.

I believe in miracles

Tara Lynn


Just got word

The braces are a coming off

I just got them tightened yesterday and I got em hot pink baby! 

Guess I will just have to look my age after all!


Tara "Too Happy" Schlappi


Do you see an orange in there? I can't!!! 

Another Miracle? Really? I just woke up! Awesome! 

We were not sure if we could get the operating room on May 28 but early this morning our good friend Jessica called and has been the most helpful "over the phone" person. My dad usually gives all the people he talks to over the phone the middle name of "no nothing" but Jessica is different. She is Dr. Berger's assistant who has also become our personal helper. She told us all about transportation and hotels and flights! She also said she would do her very best to get that OR room for us! She was very kind. 
Thanks miss Jessica!

okay so now for the hats. 

As you may know my hair is LONG! I have been growing it out for forever. I have always wanted long hair for my wedding and well I guess I will have half a head of long hair! It is kinda hard for me to grasp. My sister offered me her blond hair she cut off last year and I could make a brown and blonde wig. It would be pretty cool to wear her beautiful hair everywhere. Anyway, this blog is not really informative at all but I do need your help.

My aunt Coco said she could do hair pieces but if they cut off half my head won't that be hard? 
Do they even have cute hats? 
Please women all over the world who actually have style (unlike me) lend your advice!


Tara Lynn

PS I woke up this morning feeling great! No headaches at all yet! I feel normal today! 
Maybe I will swim and go to lunch and let my momma spoil me! She likes doing that lately!
I love ya all so much!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We have a surgeon.

I am very excited with the news that we have just sent an email to our surgeon in San Fransisco. His name is Dr. Berger and we are very comfortable with him I cannot even count how many miracles have happened since 5:30 AM this morning. We consider ourselves extremely blessed. We are looking at surgery on May 28.2010. We will be traveling days earlier for testing and checking in. They have given the okay to fly which is nice. I feel at peace with all the progress we have made today. I had prepared myself for the worst this morning and was so happy to hear good news. They will operate on me and the surgeon that we met with today and personally met and watched Dr. Berger and he said that he is very good. Everything feels right. I can feel all your prayers still. More than anything I can feel your fasting and your prayers. I love them so much. Our door has been flooded with things and please know that my face lights up every time I read a card! I have a sunshine box I have created and it is those little things that pick me up! I plan on taking it with me to San Fran. 

The Dr. Peter today did put me on some new medications. He wants me to stop taking all the previous ones because of blood thinning. He gave me some meds that will help keep my brain from swelling and also some to help with my stomach because they are very strong meds. I feel very stomach sick but mt head feels great. 

I have been eating way to many coookies, brownies, and holy cow that pie today....! :) Please remember I still have a wedding dress to fit into! :) 

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY  appreciate all your prayers.

there are three things I know

1. The Lord thinks I am very strong. He will not give me anything that me and my family cannot handle. I know that I can get through this
2. Miracles happen when we have faith
3. Prayers rock! :)

Thank you so so so much! I am told to live a normal life until the day of my surgery.Normal to me includes a lot of laughing and smiling. I hope to be able to keep this up! My new meds are supposed to make me wiry and hungry (I know exactly what you all thought I needed!) :) I guess I would much rather be happy than sad. I may try to post a few pictures of the scans tomorrow. Hopefully we can get flights ASAP. We are lucky to also have Joshua off work so he will be traveling with us. We will have a four man army there physically and the rest of the army there in our hearts! We love you all so much. Joshua's face lit up when he saw a card addressed to him! I am a happy peaceful girl right now and I know that whatever will happen and has happened has happened for a reason. I believe. 


Tara Lynn

Finish the visit to surgeon post

Okay, back to the white stuff.  It is crawling around some in the brain - we are really wanting this stuff to be not attached to brain cells or the membrane that is linked to Tara's left side and her sense of touch.  After all, she is a talented pianist among other things!  So, once again, no guarantees, but there is hope she can come through this surgery 100% normal.  That is our prayer and our hope.  She has age and health on her side.  Dr. Peter also said that often the way a person goes IN to surgery is how they come OUT.  She is going in with no memory loss or vision problems, etc.  Her only signs she has a tumor are her severe headaches and some dizziness.  He did perform a few motor skills tests and her left hand does not respond like her right hand, but he did say that can come back to normal after the tumor is removed.  Surgeons are careful not to say too much, I think.  He said sometimes they predict one thing; and another happens, and vice versa. 

We are so very thankful to Dennis Crandall who helped us get into Barrows so promptly.  He was a wonderful escort!  Dr. Peter already has Tara on medicine she needs to be on to help reduce that white stuff before surgery and she's also on the right pain meds instead of the ones that thin  her blood which she should not be taking before surgery also.  So, we're thankful we actually got to talk to a brain surgeon today and find out more about the whole process.  Barrows could be a good option for us - St. Joseph's is a fabulous hospital and Barrows seems to be on the cutting edge of technology.  However, after a family prayer tonight and more news we had this evening, it looks like we will be going to San Francisco for the surgery performed by Dr. Berger.  I believe that Dr. Peter is probably a great brain surgeon and Barrows is a fantastic facility; but in our hearts we feel more settled and at peace about Dr. Berger.  Thank you Dennis for all your help - it really was so helpful to see Dr. Peter today.... we really needed that consultation.  Dr. Peter had also heard of Dr. Berger and thought highly of him.  From what we know, Dr. Berger is one of the best in the nation for these types of surgeries.  There are too many miracles to think that these things are just coincidences.  Too many events in the chain of events to ignore. 

Here's another miracle:

Dr. Berger left town and was supposed to be gone for 3 weeks; but his schedule "changed" and he will be back and able to perform surgery May 28th - an unexpected opening in his schedule because he is coming back to San Francisco early.  He does not usually perform surgeries on Fridays; but is going to make an exception because of the holiday on  Monday.

It is nothing short of divine providence that Kent Nelson was able to meet with Dr. Berger personally last weekend and get the MRI to him.

 Many, many thanks to Jerry, Dennis and Kent who have been the hands of the Lord in this whole process.  They are always there for advice and are such a good sounding board.  With this team, how can we fail??

So, we're off to San Francisco next week.  Thank you all for everything.  We appreciate so much all of our dear friends.  All the prayers have helped so much.  The hand of the Lord just has to be in all of this!!!  It can't not be!

Many of you have asked how I personally am doing.  It's been a tough week; but I am at peace most of the time.  I know the prayers are helping.  Last weekend was pretty tough.  I feel better now and am so hopeful and feeling good about Dr. Berger.  I don't cry every time I talk about this anymore and I'm not afraid we're going to lose Tara anymore.  We will get through this.  Someone in an email today said sometimes you just have to take things 10 minutes or an hour at a time.  That's what I'm doing.  I really feel everyone's love.  It just wraps around me when I see oranges at my doorstep, food brought by friends with tears in their eyes, cards, etc.  Thank you all so much!  We have enough food for now.... we still welcome your prayers and love and email and texts.  We are going to carry on as normal until we fly to San Francisco which will be Tuesday evening most likely.  We are only waiting to hear we have the operating room scheduled for May 28th at 7:30 am.  Rachel and Nate will be fine here without us - Ryan and Stephanie will attend Rachel's graduation and be the vicarious parents for Rachel and Nate.  Give Rachel extra hugs at graduation for us.  I'm sorry to miss that and Seminary graduation also.  The timing for the surgery is pretty critical.  Tara and I will be gone about 10 days and Scott will be gone several days also - we have to leave 2 days before surgery for prepping.

Surgery is scary; but unavoidable. I wish I could be here where friends could visit in the hospital; but we all will feel your love from afar.  We'll get to know the hotel and the hospital very well.  Tara may lose her beautiful hair. She was joking about cutting her hair off and making a wig with her inches of hair and Rachel's 12 inches of blonde hair she saved from 2 years ago - wind them together and have a wig with highlights?  What do you think??  I may be wig shopping in my spare time - we'll see.  We are all unanimous that the right surgeon for Tara is more important than her hair. 

Thank you all so very much!  I will probably not post again for awhile - we'll be in a holding pattern until surgery. I will try to text after surgery or get to a computer.  That is the next scary moment.... we'll enjoy this coming week before we take the plunge!

Day at the Surgeon

I have to be quick - Rachel has a chorus concert - but I had to let you all know what happened today.  I know you're all wondering..... I would be also if I were in your shoes.  Thanks so much for the cards, gifts, food, and  most especially the love and prayers that have been sent our way.  We really, really, have felt them!!

Early today we left for Barrows.  Dennis Crandall was ON THE STREET by the parking garage directing us into the clinic so we could be personally escorted in and get prompt attention.  I cannot believe the personal care we get from our friends!  Hopefully his patient who was upstairs asleep waiting on his surgeon made it through the surgery just fine (ha ha).

We saw a surgeon I will call Dr. Peter because I can never remember his last name.  He spent 45 minutes with  us and he seemed very capable and knowledgeable.  He will not say exactly what this tumor is and cannot until he sees it with his own eyes during surgery.  Every single person who has looked at Tara's films agree it HAS to come out - the sooner the better.  There will be no biopsy or any results until the tumor is removed.  He did say he does not think it is lymphoma - yippee!!  This tumor is located in the right side of the brain and is 2 inches long and that wide as well.  The scary part of the tumor is that is has (I'm NOT a doctor) white "stuff" around the edges.  That white stuff is what creates the problem.  The tumor could by cystic; which is good; but once again, no guarantees until surgery.  The white stuff is located near the membrane or cells of the sensory touch area of Tara's left side.  He did a few tests and determined her left side has been affected to a small degree already - but she could get all that touch back after surgery.  I'll finish later - Rachel is an MC in the concert

Monday, May 17, 2010

okay brave break time

I am not robot I am human so I have feelings and I love my sister. I lost it when I saw pictures of us. Pray for her too. She cries too.

We love you so much.

I beg of you

keep praying

I still believe but I am still scared
You have no idea what it is like to live with an angel

A few words from Tara

I really don't know what else to say. Really it has all happened so fast and seriously so slow. Yes I can confirm all is true but I don't yet know if it is true in my heart. I still don't know if I believe and understand all that is going on right now. I think I am still in shock. My body is shaking and that is the only sign I have that this is real. So, I have no idea what to say here. Am I scared? to death. I am going to post a first draft with no edits. I don't know if I can stand to read it over again.

First things first. Thank you. A huge thank you to every single prayer and fast that has been on my behalf. I can feel them. Please keep praying. Keep all your hope. Keep making me laugh. Keep the love. I need it. I am so lucky to have so many people around me that have so much love for me. Please know that I have read every text, just about every email sent to my parents accounts and every comment on everything. I cannot respond personally but know that I do read and hear everything. (as for whoever left the bread, I ate about half the loaf for breakfast this morning! (I had not had the "loss of appetite" symptom apparently!) :)

My first miracle I attribute to all your prayers. Since March 1, 2010 I have been woken up at around 4 or 5 each morning. The people I work with have heard none stop complaining! I wake up from extremely painful headaches. The best way I could describe them to my mother was that someone was shoving knives into my head. Every time it was at a different place. I would often throw up and then run to the kitchen to get medicine. I don't think I can further describe the pain I was in. I, having never really had a headache before, so I  thought this was normal and understood why people complain so much about them. Obviously, I do not have tension headaches and I am NOT a crazy girl who stresses way to much about school, Marriage,  scholarships, BYU applications, moving, getting a job, exceeding at my current job, and selling my car. I felt like stress headaches could easily be a possibility! anyway, the whole miracle is that since Friday when I found out I have felt better than I have in months! I almost feel like my tumor is gone! I don't wake up in the night, I eat everything in sight without any stomach pains, I don't fall down as often, and my eyesight has even gotten better. I also do not clench my teeth while I sleep. I used to be scared and hesitant to go to sleep because I knew that pain would be my morning alarm clock. So since that horrid day I have felt amazing. Really I believe strongly that it is because of the prayers that have been on my behalf! Thank you! This feeling of normal-ness has been amazing. KEEP EM COMING! I will really appreciate every single prayer. I can feel your prayers they keep me strong. Please also remember my family and Joshua in your prayers. This is not just my trial. This involves an army. We all need your strength to help. I pray tomorrow that I wake the same way I have previously. Tonight, I am not scared.

I feel as if my few words have turned into many but this feels good so I will keep writing. Sorry if it gets lengthy.

So my feelings since it happened have not been what I expected. The Dr. said brain tumor aren't people supposed to freak out? I felt so good inside. I kept saying to myself  "I am 20 and healthy, if anyone can beat this, I can. We are going to make it." That optimism held really strong until I went into the room with the doctor who reads the CT scans and saw my tumor for the first time. It scared me to say the least. I did not realize what I was looking at until he said, "that is your tumor". wow. really? There is no way it takes up a fourth of the screen. Not knowing what questions to bombard him with we gratefully accepted the tissue box they gave us and left. (we don't know if they were handing us the whole box or just a few, regardless, the tissue box has found a new home in our car and I think it likes it there!) Still after seeing the tumor I could not cry. My mother, on the other hand, did use the gift of tissues. I just called my father about 100 times and shook. I still felt good about the whole thing. I kept feeling that I was going to be more than just fine. I felt like I was going to be great. I was probably still in shock.

Since Friday I have taken a few brave breaks. I am glad my family literally fled to California and left Rachel as our spokesperson back home. (sorry Chol) We have NEVER packed and been in the car in less time. NEVER!!! I think we pulled out as people were pulling in. We just needed time to be a family and be away. It needed to sink in. We laughed for a good portion of the ride. We sang primary songs and pretended like we were funny and really just had a good time together. Nate was unusually nice about letting me put my legs all over him and let me sit where the AC hits the best. (there are perks to this whole thing!) California was amazing and I really had the time of my life dancing and being with everyone. I just got an extra long hug from everyone! Hugs are great by the way. Miracles seriously started unfolding the minute we found out and many of them have been listed by my family.

Since getting home I have been able to hold my composure fairly well if I must say so myself. I was a little sad that they had to postpone my bridal shower but just as long as adorable primary children don't make me cards or hug me and tell me they fasted and prayed "the whole day" I usually don't tear up. We had to get home for Cash Clark's baptism.  My primary kids are the best and I was so sad when we found out what time it was and realized that I maybe could not make it. I think at the time I was more sad about that then anything else! Luckily we made it and it was such a spiritual experience for me. It also was my first time being back, being back around people who like me, had a new knowledge of things. Nothing really has changed really since last week besides knowledge. It is scary what knowledge can do and how it can seriously alter your life in a way never thought possible. Anyway, going back into the world was better than I thought. People were kind and just told me that they loved me and that I was in their prayers. That's all I needed to hear. Thank you.

As far as updates on what's going on we do not have any new information. All I know is that my dad will turn over the world for me and I think that after sitting at this desk for a few more hours, he has done about that! He has and I know he will continue to do everything possible for me. He wants me to have the best, not close to the best! We left him this morning and his phone in ear and pen in hand sitting at this desk. We returned hours later to find him right where we left him with a clean kitchen. Clear evidence that he had not eaten! Hid church binders were on the floor next to his work binders and in front of him was a new binder he now calls his life. It has every phone conversation listed with detailed notes. He has everything possible in the binder. My daddy really loves me. On the top of the binder he has placed my ultimate favorite quote. Come what may and love it

yes I love my tumor. As of right now I do. Don't ask me tomorrow or even in five minutes. As of right now I love my tumor. The Lord must think I am very strong. He gives us what he knows we can handle. I am ready and willing to prove the Lord right. If he knows I can handle it, I know I can too.

I love every lesson it has taught me and I know that I will always love the lessons it has and will continue to teach me. Already I have learned about faith and love. I have learned about the power of prayer and I truly believe that a positive attitude is everything. Not only my positive attitude but those around me as well. I am aware that I may get more bad news. I know that there is a worst and I know that I really don't care for the worst scenario but I also KNOW without a doubt that having a bad attitude will not cure anything. I know that being sad won't make anything better so I am trying my very best to be the happy Schlappi I know I can be. I promise to do my best to come what may and love it. My best, the Lord will not ask for anything more.

We are heading into a journey and we have no idea when it will end but we do have hope. Thank you so much for caring. If you have made it this far you must really really care! I love you so much. If you are ever wondering if you can do anything for me or my family please pray! I read every comment
I do believe in miracles



A "normal" day

Tara said she will post her thoughts sometime today on this blog.  She knows you would all like to hear her thoughts and feelings; so we'll await that; but I know many of you are awaiting news today so I will post a short note.

No doctors visits today.  Tara and I had a "normal" day.  Tara and I tried to have fun shopping with Stephanie (Tara's sister-in-law) and running some errands.  We started out calling it a "sunshine" day because Tara once again felt good this morning.  Again, thank you all so very much for your prayers and your love.  They really do help!  We enjoyed shopping for a dress for Tara's wedding dinner and her head only hurt for part of the afternoon.  She is pretty consistently taking pain medicine to get through the headaches until we can get the tumor out.

Scott has quit "bishoping" and going to work (at least for today) and his full time job now is Tara and her care. Today is probably the beginning of many days of his awesome problem solving techniques being used in Tara's behalf.  He has found out much today concerning doctors and hospitals.  The trick in all of this is to get to the right surgeon; so thank you all for your prayers specifically in that regard.  He is getting some good advice from our doctor friends. Dennis Crandall was able to get us into Barrows tomorrow.  Our "team" of doctor friends are so helpful.  Jerry, Dennis, and Kent - we cannot thank you enough!!

We go to Barrows tomorrow.  That's our first step.  We are in the process of getting other opinions also; thanks to technology and friends.  This is a highly technical surgery so we are going to find the best we can get to do this for Tara.

Becky & Scott
Thanks for all your love and concern!  We love you all!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

new blog

Hey everybody the Schlappi family has started this blog for the purpose of updating all of you who care so much for Tara and her family.  This will be how we update you on her brain tumor status. There is not a lot of information at this time but when we get more info we will put it on here to inform you how she is doing.

First of all, we want to thank all the people who have been fasting and praying these days for Tara.  Today especially we felt your prayers as we needed them during this tough time.  One of the hardest parts of this is the "not knowing" about what we're dealing with.  Today we found out some of what we are dealing with.  Thank you all so much for your texts and emails. We read every one and we feel your support.  Please understand if we do not respond - sometimes we can talk about it and other times it's just too hard.  We will try to communicate through this blog to help the communication process.  We love you all so much!

We have had some miracles already - I'll list the order of events for you:

February - Tara has headaches that seem to be more severe than we have seen before in our household.

March - we visited Dr. Jerry Shockey because Tara has had severe headaches.  He gave her an anti-inflammatory shot to stop the cycle of medicine she has been taking and try to stop what we all thought were migraines or tension headaches.  He had the presence of mind to tell us to get a CT scan if the headaches persisted.

Becky and Tara then proceeded to get other help - we visit chiropractors and hope for the best and try to get help there first.  Tara feels some relief; but the headaches are not gone and we schedule a CT scan as a pre-cautionary test to just "make sure" we are really only dealing with tension headaches as we all think.  We are tempted to cancel the scan because nothing serious can really be wrong, can it? Tara was feeing somewhat better and actually had a few days where her headaches did not wake her up at 5 in the morning like they had the week before.  We proceeded to have the CT scan just so we indeed know that these are just tension headaches and they will go away because she just took her last final and now she has less on her plate - only a wedding to prepare for and work - right??  Wrong.  The CT scan showed a lump.  We were supposed to leave town for a wedding of Tara's cousin, Lindsey, and we were going to address all her wedding invitations (that we just barely picked up) on the way to CA.  We stop everything and Jerry Shockey, a doctor and personal friend told us we needed an MRI.  I asked him if I should be worried and unfortunately, yes, was the answer.

First little miracle -We were told that there are only 2 MRI machines in the United States that are a "3 ton" machine.  It's fairly new and Tempe EVDI has had one for only a few months and they made room for us in their schedule and we immediately drove to Tempe for the exam.  Apparently this MRI machine takes more clear pictures than others.  By now Scott  joined Tara and I and we did not get a reading of the MRI at this time.  Tara and I had some rough moments in EVDI after the CT scan when we actually looked at the tumor and realized there was indeed a problem.  Scott and a lunch business appointment friend gave Tara a blessing before the MRI.

Jerry Shockey then tells us there is nothing we can do on the weekend and we should go ahead and to to the wedding - it's better than sitting around in a hospital bed eating red jello!  We await phone calls from Jerry and presume we will just have to wait until Monday morning to meet with a surgeon and see what the MRI says.

Second miracle - Thanks to good friends who are also doctors or radiologists, there IS something that can be done on weekends.  Dennis Crandall gets involved also and he knows a surgeon at Barrows Institute.  Jerry Shockey personally takes our disk of the MRI and tries to get it to Pres. Kent Nelson, also a radiologist at Mayo.  Pres. Nelson is out of town; so Mike Norberg somehow gets involved and finds a way to "post" the films online so Pres. Kent Nelson can look at them while he's at a conference out of town.  Kent Nelson receives a text from Jerry and proceeds to take time from his schedule to review the films and ask other colleagues for their input - who happen to be trained in the correct field.  He and the other 5 colleagues who look at the MRI come to a general consensus of the following:  (This is an educated guess - we won't really know what it is or is not until Tara is operated on)

This is a Glioma (glee-O-ma):
A name for brain tumors that begin in the glial cells, or supportive cells, in the brain. "Glia" is the Greek word for glue.

Tumors are of 4 levels - 4 being the kind you can't operate on.  They think - can't guarantee - but their best guess is that this is a Level 1 or 2.  That means we can operate and try to get this "glue" out of Tara's brain.

Good news - we can get help - we have lots of people praying for us and good friends doing all they can to help.  We aren't sure at this moment all the treatment that will be involved - all we know is that is has to come out.  During the operation, a biopsy will be done to determine if this is malignant or not.  Our prayers are that this is BENIGN.  Please pray for that.

Bad news - this is in a bad spot - on the inside of the brain and it's big.  5-6 centimeters.  The CT radiologist said it's the size of a small orange.  Tara said we hope it's the size of those little mandarin oranges!  

We are hoping and praying that Tara gets into the hands of a skilled surgeon who can handle this type of surgery.  It is very rare and there may not be many surgeons who specialize in this kind of surgery; but we are confident that through our friends and the Lord's help we will be able to get to the right surgeon and right facility to take care of this as quickly as possible.

This coming week, our next steps are to get into a surgeon at Barrows Institute ASAP. Dr. Dennis Crandall is helping with this.  We will potentially get a second opinion, possibly from someone out of state.

We will let you know more when we know more.  Thanks again so much for everything!

We appreciate the flowers, texts, emails, love and prayers.  Tara broke down today when Ashley Clark in only the voice a sweet 8 year old can say, "Tara, I fasted for you ALL DAY and prayed too!"  We all have our moments - Tara, Scott, Josh & myself call them "brave breaks" when we need to take a break from being brave and just cry a little.  Thankfully all of us are not always on those breaks at the same time.

Tara is being so brave and has a positive attitude.  We are all somewhat still in shock; but are coming to the realization of what this potentially means.  She is a trooper and we love her so much!!! She will make it through this!!!

If you have any questions just comment below and we will try and answer them on the next post!
Thanks so much!

The Schlappi Family