Help Ashley keep a normal life

MY SISTER ASHLEY AND HER HUSBAND BROCK WERE MARRIED ON SEPT 19, 2008. ALL MY SISTER EVER WANTED TO BE WAS A MOM. AFTER A YEAR OF TRYING SHE FINALLY GOT HER WISH, SHE WAS PREGNANT. TO OUR SURPRISE AT HER ULTRASOUND A MONTH LATER, SHE WAS TOLD THAT SHE HAD HAD A MISCARRIAGE. FROM THE DAY SHE FOUND OUT SHE WAS PREGNANT THREE YEARS AGO UNTIL APRIL, MY SISTER PRODUCED BREAST MILK. WORKING IN THE MEDICAL FIELD, I SUSPECTED THIS WAS NOT NORMAL, EVEN THOUGH HER DOCTOR ASSURED US THAT FOR SOME WOMEN IT WAS AND IF THERE WAS ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT HER LABS WOULD BE ABNORMAL WHICH THEY WEREN'T. I SPOKE TO RADIOLOGISTS, WHO SAID THE ONLY THING IT COULD BE BESIDES ANOTHER PREGNANCY WAS A PITUITARY TUMOR. I GOOGLED THE SYMPTOMS, I RESEARCHED ALL DIFFERENT TYPES, I EVEN EXPLAINED TO HER HOW THEY WOULD REMOVE IT, IF WE WERE CORRECT. SHE HAD NO OTHER SYMPTOMS, NOT EVEN A HEADACHE. SHE FELT FINE, SO SHE PUT IT OFF. FOR THREE YEARS, EVERY COUPLE MONTHS I WOULD ASK HER TO LET ME SNEAK HER IN TO THE HOSPITAL JUST TO TAKE A PEEK, AND THEN IF I WERE WRONG, AT LEAST WE KNEW IT WASN'T THAT. FOR THREE YEARS THIS WENT ON, AND FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON ON GOOD FRIDAY SHE FINALLY SAID YES WHEN I ASKED HER TO LET ME SCAN HER. WE WENT STRAIGHT THERE, I WASN'T EVEN NERVOUS. I WAS SURE I WAS WRONG, BUT I COULDN'T SHAKE THE "WHAT IF". MY SISTER WAS AS COOL AND CALM AS SHE IS EVERY DAY SMILING AND JOKING WITH ALL MY FRIENDS. WE PUT HER ON THE TABLE, PUSH HER INTO THE MRI MACHINE, START THE SCAN. I GOOGLED PITUITARY TUMORS, I RESEARCHED HOW CURABLE THEY WERE, I KNEW THE SURVIVAL RATE WAS HIGH, BUT NOTHING PREPARED ME FOR THE HORRIBLE, GUT WRENCHING FEELING THAT I GOT WHEN THE IMAGES OF HER BRAIN STARTED TO APPEAR. IT WAS WORSE THAN I COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED, THE TUMOR WAS HUGE, SO LARGE THAT IT HAD CREATED A MIDLINE SHIFT. WE FINISHED THE SCAN, GOT HER UP, TOLD HER THAT WE MAY HAVE SEEN SOMETHING BUT WE WEREN'T SURE WHAT IT WAS. I TRIED TO LOOK AT HER BUT I COULDN'T, SEEING MY SISTER SO HAPPY AND WORRY FREE MADE ME NAUSEOUS. I AM USUALLY THE FAMILY MEMBER WHO KEEPS IT TOGETHER WHILE EVERYONE ELSE IS FALLING APART, WHO WAS GOING TO TAKE MY PLACE SO I COULD FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF? I WALKED TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM WHILE ASHLEY STAYED WITH MY FRIENDS. I ORIGINALLY WENT THERE TO ASK THE DOCTOR WHO I KNEW HIS OPINION ABOUT WHAT WE SHOULD DO, BEING WE STILL REALLY DIDN'T BELIEVE MY SISTER HAD A TUMOR. I DON'T EXACTLY KNOW HOW I LOOKED TO THE NURSES AT THE DESK, BUT I GUESS ONE COULD SEE THROUGH MY FORCED SMILE THAT SOMETHING WAS WRONG. SHE LED ME TO AN EMPTY EXAM ROOM, SHE DIDN'T ASK ME WHAT WAS WRONG, SHE JUST WAITED. AND THEN IT CAME. ALL THE HURT I HAD BEEN HOLDING IN FOR THE PAST HOUR, THE TEARS CAME LIKE SOMEONE WHO WAS JUST TOLD THEIR CLOSEST FAMILY MEMBER HAD JUST DIED UNEXPECTEDLY. I THOUGHT ABOUT MY MOM, WHO I HADN'T TOLD YET, I THOUGHT ABOUT BROCK, AND HOW HARD THIS WOULD BE WHEN HE FOUND OUT. I CRIED, I SCREAMED, I KICKED STUFF, TILL I NO LONGER FELT ANYTHING. SHE LEFT ME ALONE IN THE ROOM WHILE I TRIED TO GET MYSELF TOGETHER, KNOWING THAT I NOW HAD TO BE THE STRONG ONE AND IT WOULDN'T BE MY TURN TO FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF FOR A VERY LONG TIME. ASHLEY NEEDED ME. I SPOKE TO THE RADIOLOGIST WHO ADVISED ME TO TAKE HER TO UMC AND TELL THEM WHAT I HAD DONE. I CALLED MY SISTER GABRIELLE, WHO IS A NURSE, TO MEET US THERE. WE TOLD ASHLEY THAT WE MAY HAVE SEEN SOMETHING BUT WEREN'T SURE AND WERE TAKING HER TO ANOTHER HOSPITAL TO CHECK IT OUT. WE GOT TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM IN RECORD TIME AND TYPED POSSIBLE BRAIN TUMOR AS OUR REASON FOR THE VISIT, WE DIDN'T EVEN SIT DOWN BEFORE WE WERE CALLED TO TRIAGE. THE NURSE IN TRIAGE WAS TOLD WHAT HAPPENED WORD FOR WORD, AND EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW WE WERE IN THE MEDICAL FIELD, DIDN'T BELIEVE US. THEY PUT US IN A ROOM ON THE WALK IN CLINIC SIDE AND TOLD US TO WAIT TO SEE THE PHYSICIANS ASSISTANT. THIS IS WHERE WE MET JOE, WHO TURNED OUT TO BE ONE OF MANY OF ASHLEY'S GUARDIAN ANGELS. HE ORDERED A CAT SCAN OF HER BRAIN WITH DYE, BECAUSE IT WAS A HOLIDAY THEY COULD NOT MAKE THE MRI TECH COME OUT FOR A NON-EMERGENCY. THEY STARTED AN IV AND TOOK HER TO DO THE SCAN, AND WE WAITED FOR THE FIRST OF MANY OCCASIONS. WHEN SHE RETURNED JOE CAME IN AND TOLD US THAT YES, SHE DID HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR, BUT THEY STILL WEREN'T SURE EXACTLY WHAT TYPE. MANY MONTHS LATER, HE TOLD ME THAT THE RADIOLOGIST WHO HAD CALLED TO GIVE A VERBAL ON THE CT REPORT HAD SAID THAT THE PATIENT WOULD PROBABLY NEVER WAKE UP AGAIN. WHEN HE INFORMED HER THAT SHE WAS LAUGHING AND CUTTING UP WITH HER SISTERS IN THE ROOM BESIDE HIM, SHE ORDERED THEM TO RECHECK THE FILMS AND MAKE SURE IT WAS THE CORRECT PATIENT. WHEN HE CAME IN TO TELL US, HE DIDN'T REALIZE THAT ASHLEY STILL HAD NO CLUE AND GABRIELLE HAD JUST LEFT ME TO CALL OUR MOM. ASHLEY BURST IN TEARS SCREAMING AND CRYING, NOT SCARED SHE WAS GOING TO DIE, NOT ASKING IF THEY THOUGHT SHE HAD CANCER, BUT BEGGING FOR US TO BRING HER HOME. I HELD HER, TRIED TO TELL HER IT WOULD BE OKAY, TRIED TO CONVINCE MYSELF IT WOULD BE OKAY, NOT KNOWING IF I WOULD BE RIGHT ABOUT ANY OF THEM. THINGS PROGRESSED QUICKLY. WE WERE MOVED TO THE ACUTE SIDE OF THE ER, PREPARATIONS WERE MADE FOR SHREVEPORT'S NEURO ICU TO TAKE HER AS A DIRECT ADMIT, AND ACADIAN AMBULANCE WAS ALREADY ON THEIR WAY TO PICK US UP. I NEVER ONCE WORRIED ABOUT ALL I WAS LEAVING BEHIND. WHEN I HOPPED UP IN THE AMBULANCE I REMEMBER HOLDING HER HAND, I REMEMBER PROMISING HER THAT IF THEY SHAVED HER HEAD I WOULD GIVE HER MY HAIR. I WATCHED HER SLEEP PEACEFULLY FOR THE FOUR HOUR RIDE. MY MOM, BROCK, MY SISTER, AND MY BEST FRIEND KAT FOLLOWED BEHIND. WHEN WE ARRIVED WE WERE SHOWN TO THE ICU FLOOR, SHE WAS BROUGHT IN THE ROOM, AND WE WERE ESCORTED OUT. SHE WAS THE ONLY PATIENT IN THE ICU THAT WAS AWAKE, THAT ONLY PATIENT NOT ON A VENTILATOR. SHE STUCK OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB, PEOPLE LOOKED AT US STRANGELY EVERY TIME THEY PASSED HER DOOR. DOCTORS CAME IN, STUDENTS, TEACHERS, EVERYONE SAYING THE SAME THING, SHE SHOULD BE BLIND, SHE SHOULD HAVE A HEADACHE, SHE WAS A MIRACLE. THEY RAN MORE TEST INTO THE NEXT DAY, THEY STILL COULD NOT TELL US WHAT IT WAS. BUT SHE WAS SCHEDULED FOR SURGERY THE FOLLOWING MORNING ANYWAY BECAUSE IT COULD NOT BE PUT OFF ANY LONGER. HELICOPTERS CAME IN AT ALL HOURS, NEW FACES CROWDED THE WAITING ROOM, FAMILIES LOST LOVED ONES AROUND THE CLOCK. PATIENTLY WE WAITED WHILE SLEEPING IN THE WAITING ROOM. THE NEXT MORNING MY AUNT WAS DRIVING MY ONLY BROTHER JOSH, TO THE HOSPITAL, SURGERY WAS SCHEDULED FOR 5. THE SURGEON, DR. NANDA, DECIDED TO DO THE SURGERY EARLIER. AT 415. WE WERE CALLED TO THE ROOM TO TELL MY SISTER GOODBYE, THIS WAS HER FIRST SURGERY OF HER WHOLE LIFE, MY BROTHER CALLED AND PLEADED WITH THEM TO WAIT. THEY SAID THEY COULD ONLY WAIT A COUPLE MINUTES, AND HE NEEDED TO HURRY. WE PRAYED, MY AUNT DROPPED HIM OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AND HE RAN. HE RAN WITHOUT KNOWING WHERE HE WAS HEADED, HE RAN AS FAST AS HE COULD. HE RUSHED THROUGH THE DOOR OF THE ROOM OUT OF BREATH. HE WALKED UP TO THE SIDE OF THE BED AND KISSED ASHLEY ON THE CHEEK AND TOLD HER THAT HE LOVED HER, WITH TEAR FILLED EYES HE LOOKED AT THE SURGERY TEAM AND NODDED HIS HEAD, AND JUST LIKE THAT SHE WAS GONE. IM THE OLDEST OF FIVE, I STILL SEE MY SIBLINGS AS CHILDREN WHO NEED PROTECTION. MY BROTHER HAD BECOME A MAN WITHOUT ME NOTICING. I HAD NEVER IN MY LIFETIME SEEN HIM CRY, SOMETHING I HOPE I NEVER HAVE TO EXPERIENCE AGAIN. HER TUMOR HAD TAKEN TEN TO FIFTEEN YEARS TO GET AS BIG AS IT HAD AND ONLY AN HOUR TO REMOVED. THEY WERE ABLE TO GET NINETY PERCENT OUT, BUT THE OTHER TEN WOULD HAVE TO BE REMOVED WITH RADIATION OR ELSE THE TUMOR WOULD GROW BACK. WE STAYED IN THE HOSPITAL FOR NINE DAYS THE FIRST TIME. MY MOM LEFT ON DAY THREE, LEAVING ME AND MY SISTER GABRIELLE TO CARE FOR ASHLEY SO THAT SHE COULD REST AND COME BACK FOR ANOTHER SHIFT BEING WE DIDN'T KNOW HOW LONG WE WOULD BE THERE. ON THE THIRD DAY WE WERE MOVED OUT OF THE ICU TO THE TENTH FLOOR, ASHLEY REMAINED ASLEEP. FOR THREE DAYS GABRIELLE AND I WASHED HER HAIR ALL DAY EVERY DAY TO GET THE MATTED BLOOD OUT THAT HAD NOW DRIED IN HER HAIR. WE WERE DETERMINED NOT TO CUT HER HAIR AND IN THE END WE DIDN'T HAVE TO. ON DAY SIX, ASHLEYS LEFT SIDE OF HER FACE BEGAN TO DROOP, HER ARM WAS CONTRACTED, AND SHE STOPPED TALKING. SHE STARTING VOMITING FOR ALMOST TWENTY FOUR HOURS, SHE NEVER WOKE UP. WE TOOK TURNS HOLDING HER UP WITH A FACE IN A BUCKET, ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT. THEY DID A CAT SCAN OF HER BRAIN WHICH REVEALED A SMALL STOKE. THEY GAVE HER MEDICINE TO COUNTERACT THE EFFECTS, AND ALL WE COULD DO WAS PRAY. THAT NIGHT WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT ELSE TO DO WE CALLED FOR A PRIEST, AND WE CALLED OUR FAMILY TO COME BACK RIGHT AWAY. WE STARTED TO PANIC THAT THINGS WERE TAKING A TURN FOR THE WORSE. MY FAMILY MADE THE FOUR HOUR DRIVE, WHEN THEY GOT THERE MY MOM BROUGHT UP ANOTHER PATIENT'S MOTHER WHO SHE HAD BEFRIENDED IN THE ICU WAITING ROOM. RIGHT AWAY THE WOMAN STARTING PRAYING THE ROSARY, AND A SINGLE TEAR ROLLED DOWN HER FACE. MINUTES LATER SHE BEGAN TO MOUTH THE PRAYERS THE WOMAN WAS SAYING ALOUD. SHE WOKE UP A COUPLE HOURS LATER AND FINALLY ATE AFTER NOT HAVING DONE SO IN TWO DAYS. THE FOLLOWING DAY HER SYMPTOMS HAD RESOLVED. ON DAY TEN WE WERE RELEASED. TWO WEEKS LATER WE WERE BACK IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM. MY SISTERS SODIUM WAS EXTREMELY ELEVATED, HER POTASSIUM WAS ELEVATED, AND HER EKG SHOWED THAT SHE HAD SUFFERED A HEART ATTACK. AGAIN WE WERE TRANSPORTED FOUR HOURS BY AMBULANCE BACK TO SHREVEPORT. THEY DETERMINED THAT SHE HAD NOT HAD A HEART ATTACK, BUT HAD DEVELOPED DIABETES INSIPIDUS. A VERY COMMON SIDE EFFECT OF HAVING A PITUITARY TUMOR REMOVED. WE WERE RELEASED FOUR DAYS LATER.
MONTHS OF DISAPPOINTMENTS HAVE PASSED. THOUSANDS OF LETTERS REACHING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO COULDN'T HELP US. THE MEDICAL CARD SAYS HER HUSBAND MAKES TOO MUCH, DISABILITY SAYS SHE CAN WORK, AND ALL THE WHILE I WATCH HER DAY TO DAY STRUGGLE TO DO THINGS THAT USED TO COME SO NATURAL TO HER. HER ANKLES HURT SO BAD SHE CAN BARELY WALK, SHE NAPS MOST OF THE DAY, HER SHORT TERM MEMORY IS CLOUDY, SHE CAN BARELY BALANCE A CHECKBOOK. SHE IS COVERED IN SORES THAT LOOK LIKE CHICKEN POX, WHICH WE WERE TOLD WERE MRSA. BUT EVEN AFTER BEING TREATED THREE TIMES THEY ARE STILL THERE.
LAST JANUARY SHE HAD GAMMA KNIFE RADIATION, WHICH WAS SUPPOSED TO KILL THE LAST TEN PERCENT OF THE TUMOR. THIS PROCEDURE WAS OF COURSE GUARANTEED TO WORK ON THIS PARTICULAR TYPE OF TUMOR. MONTHS LATER WE FOUND OUT THAT IT DIDN'T EVEN TOUCH THE TUMOR, SO IN OCTOBER SHE UNDERWENT SURGERY AGAIN. THIS TIME THEY WENT THROUGH HER NOSE INSTEAD OF CUTTING HER SKULL. IN NOVEMBER, WE WENT FOR A FOLLOW UP AND WERE TOLD THAT ALTHOUGH THEY GOT ALMOST ALL OF THE REMAINING PORTION OF THE TUMOR, SHE NOW DEVELOPED HYDROCEPHALUS, OR FLUID ON THE BRAIN. IN APRIL WE HAVE TO REPEAT THE MRI TO SEE IF SHE WILL REQUIRE A SHUNT.
HER LIFE IS A NEVER ENDING BATTLE OF DISAPPOINTMENTS AND LET DOWNS, AND STILL SHE SMILES. MY SISTER IS MY INSPIRATION, MY REASON FOR FIGHTING WHEN IT FEELS LIKE I HAVE BEEN DEFEATED SO MANY TIMES, MY SUNSHINE WHEN ALL THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS LET ME DOWN AND I NEED TO SEE THE GOOD IN SOMETHING. NEVER DID I WANT TO BE RIGHT, THOUSANDS OF TIMES I'VE REPLAYED THAT DAY IN MY HEAD AND IT STILL STINGS JUST THE WAY IT DID THEN, MAYBE MORE TIME AFTER I SEE ALL THE STRUGGLES MY SISTER HAS HAD TO OVERCOME WITHOUT ACCOMPLISHING ANYTHING. EVERYDAY I WISH THAT GOD WOULD HAVE LET ME TAKE HER PLACE, EVERY NIGHT I PRAY THAT I COULD FIX EVERYTHING, BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE SAY THIS IS OUT OF MY CONTROL, THE COLD HARD TRUTH IS I RUINED HER LIFE. AND I WILL HAVE TO CARRY THAT CROSS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

MY FAMILY PULLED TOGETHER AND WE PAY THE MINIMUM WE CAN ON HER BILLS, WHICH HAVE ACCUMULATED TO ABOUT $60,000, OUR SHARE. HER MEDICINE ALONE COSTS ALMOSTS $400 PER MONTH, AND WITHOUT IT SHE WILL DIE. EVERY ASPECT OF THE LIFE SHE KNEW HAS BEEN DISRUPTED, AND NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY I CAN'T TAKE ALL THE PAIN OF IT AWAY FROM HER. I LOVE MY SISTER MORE THAT MYSELF, I WOULD DIE FOR HER RIGHT NOW IF ASKED TO. MY HEART IS IN A MILLION PIECES KNOWING THAT I CAN'T FINANCIALLY SAVE HER. I DECIDED TO TRY THIS SITE, BECAUSE HER LAST SHRED OF DIGNITY IS ON THE LINE. LAST NIGHT I WAS TOLD THAT IN EXACTLY THIRTY DAYS THE BANK WILL FORECLOSE ON HER HOME. THE THING SHE HOLDS DEAREST TO HER HEART, THE PLACE WHERE SHE HOPED TO ONE DAY RAISE CHILDREN. IF SHE IS FORCED TO MOVE OUT OF HER HOME AND IN WITH ONE OF US, IM AFRAID THIS WILL BE THE END OF HER. SHE'S BEEN THROUGH HELL AND BACK AND I WOULD LIKE TO SHOW HER THAT THERE STILL ARE THINGS IN LIFE THAT SHE HASN'T EXPERIENCED YET, THAT THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER FOR HER AND HER HUSBAND, AND THAT EVEN HONEST PEOPLE CAN GET HELP. PLEASE HELP ME HELP MY SISTER. THANKS IN ADVANCE.
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Organizer

Terra Romero Boudreaux 
Organizer
Saint Martinville, LA
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