It’s rare that y
ou get a chance to witness the greatness of your children in a magnitude that goes far beyond that of anything they are required to display in everyday life.
For the past eighteen months, not only have I had the privilege to be the mother of my own children, but I have received the GREATEST gift, by connecting authentically with my step son, in a way I never thought was possible.
Just to give you a little quick background, Larry and I blew up our families when we got divorced.
There’s no nice way to say it. We worked together in the same network marketing organization, and completely connected in every way two people could connect, first as business associates, then very good friends, and eventually as man and wife.
When we got divorced, and got together, the first week we were together we sat down and completed the “Mark Victor Hansen 100 Goals” assignment.
At the very top of the list was to have meaningful, loving relationships with each other’s kids. At the time, our kids hated us..well not us, but what we had done.
Our lives were healed quite quickly as we learned to connect with each other and process the pain of the divorce.
Ultimately our love for each other was far stronger than anything that could undermine or destroy the love we had with our children, and time space simply took over.
Larry’s oldest son Kevin was married to a wonderful girl named Launi, and they started a family with a baby girl, Bryton Kaye.
Launi being a very professional working woman, worked in Human Resources with Home Depot and eventually as a Store Manager, after a respected 13 year career. Kevin was happy to be the dad caring for baby Bryton, and eventually little girl Bryton.
Kevin and Launi wanted more kids, but something strange began to prevent Launi from getting pregnant, as well as making her feel not well, more and more.
Prior to that time she had complained of headaches, upset stomachs, and all kinds of weird symptoms. Doctors put her on numerous medications, and did some tests, but never suspected anything serious. What’s interesting, is that the thought of a brain tumor crossed Launi’s mind…she actually suspected it.
Doctors as they sometimes do, were dismissive, and just patted her on the head and said “it’s just stress”, handing her some more antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medication.
On June 2,2011, Launi collapsed and was rushed to the local emergency room. After a CT Scan revealed some sort of mass, and she was life flighted to The University Of Utah where we were met by neurosurgeons who said the herniation and swelling in her head was in fact so severe that the situation was grim and if they didn’t perform immediate surgery, she was not going to make it.
She completely surprised doctors by surviving the initial surgery where they performed a crainiectomy and a partial lobectomy. As the hours following surgery passed we began to learn more about the situation she was facing.
They would biopsy the tissue they removed and need to operate again in a few days to remove the brain tumor that had caused all of this to transpire. The nurses and doctors of the ward said they had never seen such a “will to live” in neuro intensive care as that of Launi Morris.
The biopsy came back and we were stunned. It was a large malignant brain tumor, a grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma and the prognosis was not good. Prior to this catastrophe, Launi was the Store Manager of The Home Depot. At 36 years old, she became only the 2nd female store manager in her district and was blowing away her colleagues.
She had a contagious laugh and an enthusiasm that was so fun to be around. She told great stories and was the life of the party.
All of that changed on that gloomy June day. Everything about her personality and character has changed. The wife, mother and friend we once knew is now a shell of her former self trapped in the body of an extremely ill person that now lacks the cognition to understand what has happened.
Because of the steriods, and many medications, as well as a portion of her brain being removed, she became much like a combination between an Alzheimer’s patient and a stubborn young child.
The Temporal lobe controls short term memory, so although Launi could remember everything that happened when she was younger, she would get very frustrated by events just 5 minutes ago, as well as mixing up words in sentences, thoughts and concepts.
She initially received radiation and chemotherapy treatments which have subsequently put the brain tumor into a remission state. It’s not getting bigger, but its not going away.The treatments themselves have been very trying on her body.
She’s suffered major side effects from the medications she needs to take daily to keep the swelling in her head down, and the narcotics to keep the immense pain at bay.
Her immunity has been so compromised that she developed shingles in her eye which became a very serious life-threatening encephalitis. In January of 2012, her condition had become so severe that doctors ordered she be placed in long term nursing care.
At this point, the medical bills have piled up and day to day expenses to care for her husband and 9 year old daughter have mounted.
All the while I have seen my step son have to deal with a situation that nobody would handle gracefully. His wife essentially “left” the day she collapsed and was brought in to surgery. That day, the wife he once knew, along with the LIFE he once KNEW left as well.
He has had to summon up maturity inside himself, and bravery of untold proportions. I honestly don’t know where it’s come from.
Many of the people who vowed to be there for him, slowly walked out on him, one by one by one. For whatever reason, the stark reality of Launi’s illness and mental capacity it too much for most people to handle, so they stay away.
No one comes to visit her anymore, and Kevin is supported solely by the two people who have been by his side since the beginning- my unbelievable daughter Shanna, and his dad Larry, who became Launi’s medical advocate. Launi’s family is somewhat around, but it’s limited, and that’s been their own choice since the beginning.
Their financial situation was so strained they could no longer afford to pay for her COBRA medical insurance premiums and keep their home. At the request and guidance of the nursing home, we began the Medicaid process and that is how medical care has been provided and paid for since.
Medicaid has been a lifesaver and allowed her to reside in the nursing home, however the share of cost to Medicaid is taking every last dime of a limited disability and social security income.
During the time that there was a lapse in coverage between the private insurance and Medicaid, a private balance of over $5000 (other medical bills not included) was incurred for care at the nursing home. At this moment in time her family has no additional resources to pay anything extra.
The nursing home has threatened eviction if this balance isn’t resolved and the family is running out of options. We are trying to get the balance owed to the nursing facility paid as soon as we possibly can.
Launi was a giving person with a very generous spirit. There were many times when she paid bills for her associates out of her own pocket, just so they could survive.
I know that if this were happening to anyone else, Launi would be vital in the effort to help. She used to write positive quotes on Facebook to uplift and inspire others, especially when she was at her worst, because she said it would help her feel better to help someone else…
”Reflect upon and bless all the wondrous times in your life. Give thanks for the many blessings you receive each day. You can connect energetically too those you love, simply feel them inside your heart. Life is beautiful!!’“
“Celebrate the miracles that come in every moment within the overall miracle that is your life. And as each moment falls away, there is another one for you to celebrate”.— Ralph Marston
To Give a Donation to Help with Launi’s Medical expenses..or to Help this Family have a Better Christmas