Meningioma. It's always something.

I am from Orange Park, Florida and 7 years after high school joined the USAF in 1980. I was a Korean Linguist stationed at Osan Air Base, Korea where I met my husband. We married in 1986 and in 2013 he reunited with an old girlfriend (unbeknownst to me), divorced me and married her.

After the divorce I returned to Florida to be near family and change my name from Daigle back to Houle.

I receive no support from him at all and have used all of my savings to keep my bills paid while going back to school and trying to find work. Two and a half years later, I am still looking. I have until December 17 to get a Bill of Review with the Texas court system, and he has refused to acknowledge any contact. As a result, I've paid $10,000 to one lawyer and still garnered no results. Don't get me started on lawyers.

I receive my medical care through the VA and while at the local  clinic in Jacksonville on July 9, 2015  for a routine appointment, experienced an 'episode' that sent me to the local hospital. During that stay it was discovered that I have a meningioma over the right frontal lobe, which is a tumor on the meninges - AKA the lining of the brain. Those MRI and CT scans are my baseline.  On August 7th I spent 3 hours in the MRI machine at the VA hospital in Lake City, Florida, after which my PCP scheduled a 3-month repeat MRI. Another was done on November 9th here in Jacksonville. These scans showed that it was gradually increasing in size. 

On November 13th I met with a neurosurgeon at the VA hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Although he said it had to come out, it was already too big for Gamma Knife Radiosurgery and would therefore require open surgery, he did agree to another repeat in 6 months time. Time for me to arrange my Advance Directive, living will, who takes care of my 2 cats, etc. That repeat scan was performed on May 2nd.

The tumor has doubled in size in just 10 months and we will only really know the true nature of it after the pathology report.  During our  recent meeting on May 27th we discussed plans: How much of my head they will shave, size of incision, length of surgery, time in hospital, time under supervised care, time 'out of commission' and more. I expect to be on the surgical schedule in a month or so as they are scheduling 3-4 weeks out, so I can forget taking any job for the present time.

Because the VA is taking care of the medical part of this, my goal is to raise funds to pay my bills for the foreseeable future. Rent, electric, water, etc., all demand payment regardless of ability to pay. Go figure.

Note to self: Who knows what they will find or how much more medical care will be needed? I prefer to remain psychologically neutral on that for now, so just call me Scarlett O'hara: 'I'll think about that tomorrow.'

I cannot fully express how grateful I am just to have you all give me the time it has taken to read this. Never in a million years could I have imagined the turns my life would take in the past 3 years. 

This is a very humbling experience, to say the least. I extend the greatest thanks to all of you.
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Elizabeth Houle 
Middleburg, FL
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