Mommybloggers--and more!--reaching out to help another Mom in need

For HeatherI have been blogging for four years now. Having the word "mommy" in my blog title, being co-editor/founder of Mommybloggers.com, being one of the editors of BlogHer's very own Mommy & Family section as well as being on their first mommyblogging panel, I feel I am pretty qualified to make observations about mommyblogging.

Over the years, mommybloggers have been accused of being everything from being boring and fluffy--lacking substance-- to narcissistic and self-absorbed. Actually, I find that to be the exception rather than the rule. I read many, many mommyblogs every week. Rarely--if ever-- do I leave a blog without a story. A story about a family, a person, a child or a life that has been changed. Every person has a story to tell-- if you can get past the preconceived stereotypes that the word "mommyblogger" may have lodged in your head.

You know what I also learned? Political bloggers actually have thoughts beyond political candidates! And food bloggers actually interact with real people and not just food! And feminists? They actually know MEN! Amazing how that works, huh!

So back to my topic. Mommybloggers. Don't even go to the "self-absorbed" place with me. Not after what I have witnessed these past couple of weeks. Why not? Let me tell you a story.

There is a wonderful and beautiful blogger. Her name is Heather. She is a talented, sweet, amazing blogger and blog designer. With every entry she writes, you get a glimpse into the depth of this amazing woman. So how does that make her stand out from the crowd?

Heather has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. She is a young mother to three children, one of whom has chronic health problems. Her doctors said that the tumor has been there for at least 10 years. 10 years. She is scheduled for surgery this Thursday. As in a few days from today.

This is what Heather herself had to say about her upcoming surgery and what she is facing:

-The surgery will last 4 hours. He will not shave my head, he will shave a strip of my hair on the left front side above my eye. I will be in ICU for atleast 24 hours, and then will be in the hospital for another 3-5 depending on recovery.

- The benefits of having surgery:
a- Diagnosis. There will be no brain biopsy, he will go in and take a “snapshot” piece and have it run to the pathology department for diagnosis- once the diagnosis is made he will remove it. The only reason surgery would stop at this point would be because the pathology came back non tumor (infection), but this is very unlikely.

b- Removal of visible tumor via MRI (this will be an intraoperative MRI)

c- Maximize my life expectancy

He said that without surgery or radiation, I was looking at 5-7 years life expectancy. With radiation alone possibly 15. With surgery, my odds of a longer life are greater- but there is no “guarantee”.

Risks:
He told me to expect to have right side motor paralysis for some time after surgery (could be hours, days, weeks or months)

Permanent disability [5-7%] (stuttering, unable to speak fluently (searcing for words) right hand difficulties-) It should not effect my legs or my neurological status.

Induction of seizures [2-3%]

Major stroke or Death [1-2%]

Infection [1-2%]

He said that there really wasn't any other option if I wanted to have quality of life, he said that the tumor is quite large and has been there for at least 10 years (BIG difference from the other guys who said 2-5) He said that it is slow growing, but WILL come back, there is no cure for this, it is terminal and I will at some point have another tumor either in the same location or some where else in my brain. He said that when it comes back, to hope that it is no where near my motor strip and that it is on the right side of my brain.

I have to hope that if I were in her shoes, I would hope to be as strong and positive as she has been.

I am not of the mindset that this is yet another horrible awful thing that my family has to endure- I, instead, look at all the blessings that have come from it- and the fact that I have hope.

I am owed nothing, yet i have options. How awesome is that.

Read that again. And again. Now tell me that is fluff and has no substance.

But wait, as if this story could not be more amazing, let me introduce you to other mommybloggers who have heard this story and been moved by it.

Chris at Notes from the Trenches held a raffle for those who donated to the fund for Heather.

I never ask people to donate money for causes. Usually it is because there are so many good and worthy things to donate your money to, who am I to decide that one is better or more important or more worthy of your attention.

That generous act took on a life of its own. People came out of the woodworks to donate their time, talent or goods. Seriously, you need to see the amazing responses to this call for help.

Of course, with something as huge as brain surgery, there will be money issues. Because, when you are facing something this huge, money should be one more thing to concern you. However, enter yet another mommyblogger. BooMama refused to let this be a worry and began asking for donations to help out Heather and her family. The minimum donation being $1. ONE DOLLAR. I know that you can probably find that in your couch or your car. What happened after the call went out is nothing short of miraculous.

As of 4:00 pm central time on Friday, April 28, y’all have given almost $17,800.00 to Heather and her family. That includes a check Heather and Mark received in the mail from some sweet people at Compass Bank - a check for $1,675.00.

I don't know about you, but that blows me away and even at my most cynical brings a tear to my eyes. Go to Chris' page and look at the HUGE amount of support that people who were strangers to Heather have given to her. People who have given to her family.

I leave you with BooMama's words:

Because you have been so unbelievably generous, Heather’s parents and Emma Grace will be able to be with them this week. Because you have been so unbelievably generous, her husband will be able to stay with her for the duration of her time at Mayo. Because you have been so unbelievably generous, they will be able to live without financial worry while they’re in Minnesota for the next four or five weeks - they can focus on what really matters, which is, of course, Heather’s health.

THAT, my friends, is your mommyblogging community. Look hard. Now think twice before you slap a negative label to the term. Think of Heather and those who have rallied around her and her family. Then rethink your sterotypes, my friends.

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BlogHer Contributing Editor Jenn Satterwhite also blogs at Mommy Needs Coffee, Mommybloggers and Aggroqueen.

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