Monday, May 17, 2010

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




Leserlee said...

I will continue to remind your cousin Carl to pray for you, in addition to the prayers I am saying. And if Abigail ever decides to pray again I will help her to pray for you too. I am so glad you have been feeling better. I hope and pray that you will continue to have good days.
Leslie Stratton

Jason said...

Tara - just found out about your tumor and want you to know that the SLC Strattons are 110% behind you. We will be praying for you and thinking about you often. Although it doesn't seem like we're always the closest, there is nothing like the power of family (and temple) prayers, and you'll be in ours. It sounds like you have a great perspective, and are determined to beat this. We will be with you all the way.


Jason, Denell, McKinley, Sierra, Whitney, and J. Everest Stratton

Brady and Brittany said...

Tara! Thank you for your post. I am constantly thinking of you and your family. I have a strong feeling that everything will be okay, and I also believe in miracles!! Love you girl!

Brittany Buckhannon Fish

Sarah Beck said...

Tara, you are so strong! I love reading what you have written and you are such an inspiration to all of us. Keep looking forward with faith and being happy! You are in our prayers.

Gpa and Gma Adams said...

Tara, we made it to the end but it wasn't easy. What more can I say but, "We Love Your Family". You, all of you will always be in our Prayers.

Peter Lee Family said...

I am sitting here reading this blog not believing that this can happen to such a wonderful person and family and yet someone that I know. It is hard to even know what to say. I just want you to know that I pray for you every night. Tell your mom to hang in there and stay strong she is such a great person. Your dad is a leader of the most amazing ward that I have ever been part of, I know that you will be well taken care of. And thank you for all of the fun times playing Walleyball! My best wishes are with all of you.

Amy Cowan said...

Becca just informed me of your situation this morning. So sorry to hear the news. We'll keep you in our prayers.

Susan said...

Love you!

Jean said...

Tara, thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. We know that the Lord's hand will guide the process from here....the perfect surgeon and the perfect place and time for the surgery. So happy to hear that you are having some relief from the headaches. Please know that your Uncle Russ and I constantly have you in our hearts with prayers for you, josh, and your families. may the peace of the spirit be with you always --love, Russ & jean

ktstratton said...

Tara-So great to hear your words. You are a remarkable young woman and so right about what Heavenly Father has planned for you. You are remembered and prayed for in Idaho. Love you lots!
Aunt Karen

Weston Freeman said...

Tara, I'm glad to hear you're doing better. You have been a great friend this last semester. I'm really glad I got the chance to know you. I'm not really sure what to say, I never expected that this could have been a brain tumor. Just know that I think about you all the time and will continue to fast and pray for you. I hope everything goes well for you and your family. Like I said, you are a great friend, and a great person. I know you will make it through this.

Lynette said...

So Tara, as soon as you beat this whole tumor thing, you should become a writer! What you wrote was so touching and beautifully said! What great faith and courage you have. It will carry you down this long and uncertain path. We will be praying, and praying and praying!

michelle said...

Praying loudly and constantly for you, my friend, Tara. As well as "little Joshy", and your family. Seeing those pictures broke my heart, but I know you will have the skill of a great surgeon and the love of your family and many friends. Again, if there is ANYTHING that the Jones family is able to do for you and yours, please, don't hesitate to ask. We'll be right there. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers! Missing you at work, Sparky. Thanks for the updates.

michelle said...

Hey, we're going camping next weekend, you and Josh up for it?

Mandy&Dave said...

Tara, I don't know if you remember me from back in the far back days of the citrus heights ward. I just wanted to say that we are praying for you out here on the East Coast. Prayers from all over. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your I incredible faith. I have been sitting here reading your blog, crying like a baby, overwhelmed by what you and your fiance and family are facing. And here you are expressing undaunted faith and trust in the Lord. It is so inspiring. You feel the way you feel for a reason...he really is right beside you. This really will be ok. Whatever that means. You may know that my family lost our dad to cancer recently. This trial of uncertainty and pain and the blessing of renewed family unity is a very tender subject for us. I can say that the family bonds that are forged through this type of trial are priceless. It is one of the ways that Heavenly Father takes a very hard thing a makes it a little bit wonderful. But it is also hard, and my heart goes out to you and those who love you. I wish we could do something to help. But for now we will pray. And when you are better and married, if you two ever want to take a fun trip to Boston, you can stay our place and we'll show you around!! My whole family loves you! We'll be praying hard for you this week and all the weeks to come! Heavenly Father loves you more than even you know....he has a plan for you and he wants you to be happy. May angels be with you and your surgeons. We love you!!

Mandy (Miller) Clive + Jim and Tami Miller Family