These letters are written by Vikki Plessinger. Vikki is Christian data clerk who hopes to retire in 7 months. She enjoys family vacations & get-togethers, gardening, fishing, hiking & puzzles.
I am a mother of 2 children with brain illnesses. One is trying so desperately to save his life. The other seems determined to end hers. My son has a very rare, Central Neurocytoma tumor in the 3rd ventricle of his brain with malignancy. And my daughter has a 17-year drug addiction that has led to psychosis.
We’ll start with my son. My first-born baby. He had a fall and hit his head & his symptoms led to a CT scan which has led to 8 months of appointments, scans, diagnoses, surgeries & gamma knife radiation. He has lost cognitive abilities, memory, and well, a lot of his life.
This current journey of ours is so very difficult. The struggle of watching you fight…day after day…with determination to make this day better than the last…only to watch you get defeated at the end of the day.
But, watching you have one good day overcomes me with joy. I am so very proud of you. The love you share. Your morals & values. Your integrity. Your strength. I feel blessed that our relationship is so strong & close that I can share the struggles and triumphs with you. I love watching you interact with your loved ones, even on your worst days. I know it’s so very hard for you.
You have somehow maintained your humor. I love when the doctors are confused and your response is, “I’m the one with the brain tumor, what’s your excuse?” You make me smile.
It seems like an overwhelming fight with the finances, the insurance, the red tape, the conflicting thoughts from the doctors, the disability process, the trial & error on medications and procedures. Why does it have to be so difficult when you already have enough, too much, on your plate? It just seems like the establishments are doing their best to bring you down and set you up for failure.
But you strive on. We keep pushing. We are your village. We love you.
The unknowns of this tumor are scary. Will it spread? Will the radiation help or hinder your progress? Will your cognitive & memory issues resolve or will they get worse? Will you lose more functioning? How will we cope? How will we pay your bills? Will this take your life?
We will always be there for you, you know that. And we know that you don’t want to have to depend on anyone for anything. You are an independent man and don’t want help. But, we all need help. We all do.
We wonder where God is….and yet we see His orchestration in everything. He’s made it very clear that He’s in this with us and yet we still have questions. We remain steadfast that He knows what He’s doing and it will all be for good. But, we have to keep reminding ourselves of this. But for now, we will walk this journey one step at a time…together…with love.
These last 17 years have been filled with worry, anxiety, fear, gut-wrenching pain, despair, anger, conflict and tears, lots of tears. But they have also been filled with hope, determination, faith, understanding, compassion, patience, and always love. Through these years God has taught me many valuable lessons and initiated growth and maturity in myself. Sometimes against my will.
Yes, sometimes I had to learn & mature… or sink. The years of court systems, rehabs and broken mental health systems. The years of defiance and secrets. The years of trying to pick up the pieces from your decline and trying to make things normal. The years of going all-in with your girls to try to show them a safe place, a constant. The years of waiting for “the call”. And getting a few of them in the middle of the night…panicked when the doorbell rang & a policeman was standing there. But relieved when I knew you were alive.
The years of not sleeping, of always anticipating the next bomb. Never fully being able to relax. I watched you when you couldn’t speak or write a sentence that made sense. I watched you listen & talk to people I couldn’t see. I watched you as you screamed & growled at the demons that had possessed you. I watched you spiral into this other world that I had no understanding of and no control over. I’ve watched you lose your faith.
Yes, I wanted to control this situation! I wanted to fix it! I fought! I fought when you wanted me to and I fought when you didn’t want me to. I fought…I prayed. God, this is my DAUGHTER… HELP her!
But mixed in those years, I saw my little girl, scared, ashamed, confused, abused…hurting. I saw your immense pain. Wanting, needing & seeking help only to be let down by the system.
If the stars would just align. Where there would be help for you when you were ready. If only…. I’ve watched you be an incredible mother. I’ve watched you enjoy family gatherings…bonfires, volleyball, swimming, vacations. I’ve watched you plan birthday parties, help the girls with schoolwork, teach them how to ride their bikes, play & do crafts with them. I’ve watched you make individuals feel renewed by styling their hair and listening to them with compassion. Your compassion, your love, your caring, your interaction with others….I miss that. I miss you.
After 3 72-hour holds that turned in to 12 days in care. They were finally able to place you where you could get some help. I am very proud of what you have accomplished while at Cardinal. I am starting to see you again. And it makes me so very happy. It makes everyone happy. Jaylyn, Grace, your daddy, Karmen, Justin, Grandma Ruce, Aunt Tootie, the list is endless. You are so loved.
You will graduate from Cardinal before long. You have been clean & taken your meds for 44 days! That is a super-huge achievement! I am also scared…scared of losing you again. Afraid that the system will not provide the next step in your journey. Afraid it hasn’t been long enough for you to stand tall, build confidence, work through all the demons in your life and learn new healthy coping skills.
About the cover photo: I just took this picture. Makes me smile. Justin is really struggling right now and Bralyn is doing really well. She’s caring for him.