Where should I begin when talking about my mother, Brenda Bailey? I am one of her two daughters that are her life. Her and my father divorced when I was in fourth grade and from that moment everyone saw just how tough of a lady she really is. She worked long hours and overtime to make sure that my sister and I had what we needed but never missed a moment in being our mother. She was at every concert, game, and practice for both my sister and I. If there was something that she was going to prove, it was that just because she was a single mom she would not want pity nor treated any differently!
Recently, our lives all took a turn for a path that we were not necessarily prepared for. You see my mom had been having, what she thought were migraine headaches for about 3 weeks before this date…headaches that felt like a constant brain freeze and would cause her to have to sit down. Not only was she having headaches, but her personality was changing! She wasn't that determined person that was on top of things, if she didn't remember to do simple tasks she had always done, it was almost as like someone had taken over my mother and placed this woman who looked liked her, but put her in a deep depressed state and she wasn't coming back.
However, because of her determined spirit and high pain tolerance she continued working as an IT project manager for not one, not two, but THREE financial institutions. She had been in contact with her primary doctor prior to May 17th and they were treating her for migraines and prescribing her narcotics that would only knock down the headache for a little while. So on May 16th after convincing from people at her work, my older sister and myself, and a severe dizzy spell in the middle of a Wal-Mart aisle, it was time to get a MRI scan to address what was causing these constant headaches and agonizing symptoms she had been dealing with for over a month now.
On May 17th my mom went in for a MRI scan at our local hospital about an hour west of St Louis. It was a very short time after that she received a call from her primary doctor saying that she needed to get down to the emergency room at Mercy in St. Louis for another scan and to see the neuro surgeon because they found something that concerned them.
My grandmother and grandfather, her parents, took her down immediately. When she got there she was still not too concerned with having something too intense maybe a little spot that was concerning or just something small that needed to be addressed. As she later went into the second MRI scan for the day little did she know her life was about to change forever!
They found a softball size tumor on my mom’s right frontal lobe. The surgeon came into the room and told my mom that she had a brain tumor, Glioblastoma that was cancerous that needed to come out "if I don't remove this you have 30 days and if I do you have about 12-24 months, I'm usually never wrong about this! I've seen this many times before. Do you have any questions?" My mom says she remembers being mad and confused for just a couple minutes.
As my mother sat there as a 50 year old woman wondering where do I begin? Surely I can't look at my parents who would fall a part? How will I tell my girls this news? But I don't have any grandchildren yet? The word fear never came to mind for my mom. Her undying faith in The Lord has carried her through from that moment up until today. There has been so much that has happened in the time from May 17th to now. Mom had surgery 3 days after finding that tumor and because of a God that is amazing we now know now it is not Glioblastoma and we have now decided that Siteman cancer center is that right place for us for treatments and clinical testing. If you have the best in your area why wouldn't you use them? My mom truly feels like she was given this brain tumor in order to help others and Siteman is the place to be in order to do so. Since we have been at Siteman and after further pathology tests being run, they determined she has a stage 3 Anaplastic Mixed Oligoastrocytoma that is currently finishing up her last round of Chemo in this long battle of chemo and radiation since July 2013. Throughout all of her treatments, she is participating in an anti-seizure treatment drug, filling her desire to help others through research studies.
Since that day our lives changed to something that is remarkable! My mom is now back as my mom. Her presence is shining brighter than ever and she encourages everyone she comes in contact with. Every morning she sends out an inspirational text or email to over 200 people explaining how you should give all your grace, worries, and troubles to The Lord and he will provide peace that is unexplainable to anyone who knows what she is going through. She is counseling others through there lives instead of receiving it during this difficult time.
Everyone that I see that knows my mom and her battle ask me "how is mom doing" and my answer the majority of the time is "excellent, great, couldn't be better!" I'm sure many people are blown away with that answer but it’s the absolute truth! My mom has purpose again in her life, she's positive about the future, she encounters each battle as they come, she encourages so many people on a daily basis, but if all of these things wouldn’t be present, she simply is showing the world the mom that I have always known she was! Strong, determined, faithful, and beautiful. She’s a woman that isn't going to let news of anything hold her down! She is my life, my inspiration, and everything that I've ever needed to become the women I am today!