Samantha Martin Photographer » Virginia, DC, Wedding Photographer

      The strongest woman i know – mom!

      In honor of Mother’s Day AND Brain Tumor Awareness Month, I wanted to write a post about my very own mom, and give you guys a chance to get to know her! A lot of people do not know what my mother has overcome, so today I’m here to tell her story! My mother and I have always been really close, even at 16 years old, I held my moms hand in the store :p. Not ashamed!! So in 2008, when I got the phone call from my step-dad telling us the my mother had a seizure at work and was on her way to the hospital, my heart dropped! Fear instantly took over and everything after that is kind of a blur, it felt like a dream, just unreal!

      When we got to the hospital, they told us it looks like a tumor in her brain, but they cannot treat it, so they sent her to UNC hospital in Chapel Hill, one of the best of the best!! It is about 3 hours from where we lived, so my stepdad went to stay with my mom while dan and I stayed at the house and took care of the pets, and we headed there first thing the next morning.  When we got there the Dr told us the news, it WAS a tumor, and it was cancerous. It  was a 6 cm cancerous brain tumor on the right temporal lobe; oligoastrocytoma grade 3. The picture below is a little creepy, I am warning you!! lol.


      She had emergency brain sugery the very next day, and it was just awful seeing her in ICU. We had to wear gloves and coats, my poor mommy was whimpering through the pain, I will never forget that sight or those sounds. She had surgery on labor day, the day before her birthday. The surgery took for EVER! well, it felt like forever, but I think it was only 6-8 hours if i remember correctly. She has a total of 5 titanium screws in her skull, and even today you can still feel one!



      my brother with mom

      After a few days in the hospital, she was able to go home to heal and continue with chemotherapy. She did Chemo at home and I just remember her being so sick, and I felt so helpless, I wanted to take away my moms pain! She started radiation which caused her to loose her hair, and from the chemo / radiation she started to swell up. 6 more months of chemo and she was done! We had my mom back, she was healthy, getting checked every 3 months for signs of regrowth [still no growth, yay!] and all was well. Dan and I got married and moved to Virginia, my mom would visit us often!


      mom and owen when he was about 3 weeks!

      Now, fast forward 3 years and you have Dan and I visiting NC for the 4th of July, I get another late night phone call, and when I saw it was my stepdad I just knew something had happened to my mother. He tells us she is at the hospital, so we head there and the Dr on call was very rude and basically called my mom a liar, she was showing symptoms of stroke, yet he said she was “fine” and it was just “stress, anxiety” and sent her home with some drugs. Later that night she was basically limp, couldnt even walk, so my stepdad took her to a different hospital, where she slept for literally 3-4 days straight, she would beg us for water but we werent allowed to give her anything because she had partial paralysis. It was just awful! That Dr confirmed that my mother did have a stroke, most likely caused by the radiation weakening the blood vessels in her brain.


      mom and owen in the hospital after she woke up

      She couldnt walk, had trouble talking, and had little to no movement in her left arm. She couldnt see from her left eye, and would need weeks of rehab. They sent her to Pitt in Greenville, NC. Owen and I stayed with family while Dan went home, and we stayed for a month helping take care of my mom and help her with therapy. Fast forward and here we are, my mom still cannot drive, she can walk although she has a slight limp, she can use her left side but it is very weak, and she can see with these special prism glasses. She is such a fighter and I, 100% want my kids to know that! She still comes to visit us and Owen just loves his nana. I pray we can make many more memories together with my mom and that she lives a long life with all her grandbabies around her. I love you mom!


      relearning to walk at PT


      my mom needed a wheelchair to get around the hospital, owen loved to be strapped in with her, here he almost fell asleep!! 




      meeting her new grandbaby, Zoey. [abigail is now the new one..:p]


      when she came to visit for owens 3rd birthday party


      the most recent one, from when she came to visit when abigail was born, she stayed for a weekish to help me out. love her!

      I encourage everyone to visit The American Brain Tumor Association website and educate, as well as donate!



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      • Aisha K Khan - May 14, 2015 - 3:39 am

        Samantha, I came across your blog via the ABTA website. This is so touching and beautiful. I love the pictures as well. I became paralyzed after my surgery and had my dominant side affected. You can learn to live with things but not being able to drive, the aches and pains, well that’s just insult to injury right. But still, even then, it’s like you get presented with beautiful things every day that make you forget all the other stuff and you find your grateful for what is left. Your mom definitely sounds like a very brave woman. Love the pics of with her with the kids. She seems happy. God bless her and your family.


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