In December 2011 she began to experience bad headaches and mood swings. She also complained of rooms being too dark and gradually she lost her peripheral vision. She was having testing done with her primary care doctor including an MRI that did not explain any of her symptoms. On the evening of January 17th, she had seizures and stopped breathing. They flew her to a hospital where they diagnosed her with a brain tumor. A biopsy discovered that she had a Glioblastoma, and the tumor was the size of 2 ping pong balls. She was told that she had 2 to 3 months to live without surgery or 18 months to a few years with surgery coupled with chemotherapy and radiation. Della, my mom, was a fighter. She bravely decided that she wanted to try to prolong her death as long as possible to be with kids and grandkids.
She underwent brain surgery on January 30 to remove most of the tumor and underwent six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation. She passed away May 26, 2012 only 4 months and 8 days after discovering the tumor. We had her memorial service one day before her and dad would have celebrated their 45th anniversary.
For our family, those were the hardest 4 months of our lives. Yet, looking back I realize that we are grateful we had 4 more months of deliberate, intentional time to be with her versus losing her that night in January unexpectedly without answers as to why.
She taught us about God and the importance of having that peace that only comes from Him and knowing that this world is not our home. She told me that she was not afraid to die because she knew that there was something better than this place. She mentioned that she did not want us to hurt, but that was not possible because she was such a big part of our lives. She is missed dearly everyday. I wish that no one had to go through this, but I am so proud that my mom fought it with such grace and courage because of her assurance of heaven and her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our family is running Run for the Rose in memory of Della. We want to ensure that research can continue and other families are given more time with their loved one diagnosed with brain cancer.