My Christmas Eve Angel — My Mother


“When you see Santa in the sky tonight, know Betty’s got the reigns tonight. She died while I was on the phone with her 9:58 MST/11:58 EST (the nurse held the phone to her ear). 

Believe it or not, it gives me great joy and peace that she passed on Christmas Eve, exactly two minutes before midnight East Coast time. She has always been on EST as a New Yorker at heart. RIP Betty. No star ever shone brighter than you. I love you always.” — My facebook post on Christmas Eve

Betty's Christmas Eve Angel Wings. Santa gave her a ride to Heaven on Christmas Eve. Photo from: Mother Nature Network

Betty’s Christmas Eve Angel Wings. Santa gave her a ride to Heaven on Christmas Eve. Photo from: Mother Nature Network

Betty

My mother passed away on Christmas Eve two minutes shy of midnight EST while on the phone with me. She loved Christmas Eve so much.
She died peacefully after a long illness that didn’t stop her in her tracks. She was diagnosed in 2000 with benign brain tumors (one in her cerebellum and one on her brain stem). I have written many posts about her struggle and my struggle with these tumors.

I am peace. because she is at peace.

My beautiful mom. I am thankful for this moment, which is chiseled in my heart.

My beautiful mom. on my wedding day. I am thankful for this moment, which is chiseled in my heart.

If you want to follow my grief chronicles I am being very open about my feelings on my facebook page, and most posts are public if you would like to follow them and subscribe to them. I am also pretty active on Twitter too. Betty is the most amazing woman I have ever known. I was lucky to call her Mom, friend, and confidant. She loved us kids with all her heart.

Rest in peace my sweet Betty Anne. You had “It.” You were magical.

"A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears." - Anne Roiphe Betty when she worked as the Activities Director at The King Home -- a retirement community for men in Evanston, Illinois.

“A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears.” – Anne Roiphe
Betty when she worked as the Activities Director at The King Home — a retirement community for men in Evanston, Illinois.

Here are some posts about her if you would like to read more about her.

The links below take you chronologically in time when I went to Colorado when my mother was very ill and almost died.

I end this post with my mother’s favorite poem by one of her favorite poets, Kahlil Gibran

I have also included the poem in written form below:

On Joy and Sorrow
 Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Kamilah, Kahlil's mother
Kamilah, Kahlil’s mother. Painting by Kahlil Gibran

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Boats, Bikes, and Greyhounds


If you are new to my blog, I feature brain tumor survivors on my blog on Thursdays.  You can read more about this feature and archived posts here.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to C Michael Miller.

I hope…

I hope that advances in technology will allow more understanding for the less known medical issues.  My own Acoustic Neuroma (benign brain tumor) diagnosis took over a year to find, due mostly to a lack of awareness of the condition — both in the general population and in the medical community.

I wish…

I wish that everyone with a brain tumor (or any other major medical ailment) had a support network as amazing as mine was.  My wife, family, friends, doctors, therapists, and everyone else I came into contact with during my treatment and recovery were incredibly helpful and supportive.  I wish the same for everyone dealing with a difficult diagnosis.

I dream…

I dream of a time when the medical treatments for all brain tumors are less invasive and more successful.  Period.

I am (be)…

I am stronger because of my brain tumor.  I have gone on to new achievements in life, including long distance bicycling and writing a book.  I look forward to continuing to find new challenges.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

I was diagnosed with a 3.9cm Acoustic Neuroma (benign brain tumor) in 2009.  It was pressing on my cerebellum, brain stem, and facial nerve.  I had a fourteen hour Trans-Labyrinth approach surgery that got most of the tumor, but left a small sliver to preserve my facial nerve.  I also contracted Meningitis during my recovery due to a Cerebrospinal Fluid leak.  The tumor and surgery left me with some partial facial paralysis and deaf in one ear.

C Michael Miller’s MRI

3 things about me:

I went from a hospital bed after surgery to finishing a one-hundred mile bicycle ride a little over a year ago.  Crossing that finishing line (photo) marked the end of my physical recovery.

Crossing the finish line

I was lucky to not have my balance affected dramatically by my surgery, which has allowed me to continue my passion for sailing.

2012 National Ocean One Design regatta in Annapolis. I’m kneeling just over the “Bad” in Bad Cat.

I am passionate about greyhound rescue- my wife and I have been a foster home for our local greyhound rescue group for 10 years. (photo of our Rider)

Rider

I was inspired to write a book, Diagnosis: Brain Tumor – My Acoustic Neuroma Story, about my brain tumor experience. I’m excited to be able to share hope with others.  You can find more info at www.cmichaelmiller.com. (cover photo)

Diagnosis: Brain Tumor – My Acoustic Neuroma Story

If you would like to submit your profile for Brain Tumor Thursday here, please email me directly at memomuse@gmail.com or you can check out the information page and read past archives.  Caregivers and loved ones are welcome to share their profile too, following the same template. #BTSM and #BrainTumorThursday is a wonderful community reaching around the globe with out-stretched arms and love. If you are on Twitter, you can use the hash tags #BTSM and #BrainTumorThursday to reach out to this wonderful community.
You can leave C Michael a comment here or email him directly at author@cmichaelmiller.com. Thank you for your support of Brain Tumor Thursday.

If I Only Had a Brain


If you are new to my blog, I feature brain tumor survivors on my blog on Thursdays.  You can read more about this feature and archived posts here.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Amanda.

I hope….

That in life, I will touch many people hearts and help to make a difference in someone’s life.

If I Only Had a Brain Foundation is a non-profit Amanda founded

I wish…

That someone will find a cure for cancer and be able to detect it early on in life.

I dream….

To open my own camp for children and families with children suffering from brain tumors and epilepsy.

I am…

A lover. A person who’s life goal is to help people and to make not so good situations better.

I am a 24 year old who needs to make a difference.

Diagnosis and Treatment…

I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor when I was 20 years old, one that was treated with medications for about 3 – 5 years. My tumor effected everything; my mood, my life, my dreams and ambitions. It consumed me and made me a completely different person. In March of this year, I was no longer responding to medications and sought out a neurologist to find out my next option.

I had two MRIs in 3 weeks in which my tumor trippled in size. I was referred to a neurosurgeon and the following week was in surgery. Luckily for me, I did not have to have a craniotomy. My surgery was done all through my nose (endoscopic skull base surgery) at New York Presbyterian Hospital by Dr. Theodore Schwartz.

I had a few complications –learned that I was severely allergic to the anesthetic, as well as morphine and ended up with a cerebral spinal fluid leak at my surgical site, as well as where they had done an epidural. I was in a coma for almost a full day where I was in the ICU and then moved to the neuro unit. A week after my surgery, I had to go for a blood patch to fix the leaks, which landed me on bed rest for a month and a 1/2.

While on bed rest, I decided to start my own non profit organization called  If I Only Had A Brain Foundation.

If I Only Had a Brain Foundation

My goals with the foundation are to open a summer camp for children with brain tumors and epilepsy that is focused around art, music and sports; all with theraputic techniques involved. I am holding my first silent auction and benefit dinner September 16th at the Olde Mill Inn in Basking Ridge NJ. All are welcomed. Tickets are $85 please email me (IfIOnlyHadABrainFoundation@gmail.com) if you are interested and would like to share your story! All of this years proceeds will be donated to Dr. Schwartz’s Brain Tumor and Epilepsy research and clinical development fund! Help me help others like us!!