I come from a split family. My father has remarried (Trina), and my mother has remarried (Doc.) I have a total of 1 blood brother (Derek, the Marine who is currently in Afghanistan,) 3 step-brothers and 1 step-sister. My step-sister (Trina’s daughter) is named Tosh. She lives with my father and his wife along with my niece, Natalie (Tosh’s daughter.)
If I remember correctly, Tosh is one or two years younger than I am. She was always really bright. Always had her nose in a book and just very smart. She has a great sense of humor and is always making us laugh.
When she had my niece, Natalie, in April of 2006, she was married to a man that really didn’t suit her. He was not a very good provider (actually, he was a leach,) and was not worth much, in our opinion. When Natalie was born, Tosh was having a hard time remembering the last time she fed Natalie or changed Natalie. The nurse noticed this, and talked to a doctor about it.
Shortly after, Tosh was sent for an MRI and CAT scan. It was realized that Tosh had a brain tumor wrapped around her optic nerve the size of a grapefruit. When talking to her ex-husband, he had mentioned that she was getting forgetful, but didn’t think anything of it. When Trina went to their apartment, she was blown away. There was a sea of post-it notes EVERYWHERE reminding Tosh to brush her teeth, take a bath, eat breakfast, etc. Who knows how long she was this way!!
It was decided that Natalie would go to my dad and his wife while Tosh’s ex-husband stayed with Tosh and took care of her. Tosh had brain surgery, twice. She was not expected to live more than 12 months.
Now…nearly 5 years later, she’s still with us and making us laugh! The Cleveland Clinic was not able to take out the entire tumor because it was wrapped around her optic nerve. Tosh is legally blind, and able to see out of only one eye, and has very limited vision out of that eye. Her ex-husband was taking advantage of her against her will knowing that she may or may not remember what he did to her. Luckily, she remembered some of it, and decided to get a divorce. Her ex-husband wasn’t really taking care of her anyways, so it was decided that she’d go live with my father and his wife.
The tumor is still growing, and every couple of years, she has to get it drained to relieve the pressure from her brain. Because of the steroids, she has gained a lot of weight, become diabetic, and is not very mobile. But she is with us…and I am so happy for that. Her memory is not what it was in the past. She has to be reminded to take her dozens of pills every day. There are times she is sitting at the dining room table and is on her way to her bedroom, but she says, “I want to go to my bedroom, but I don’t know how to get there.” She knows what she wants to do, but she doesn’t know how to do it. Like put one foot in front of the other and go to the end of the hall and turn right. Through all of this, she gave us Natalie, the sweetest, funniest little princess (Diva!) you would ever meet. She has such a personality! And to think, if it weren’t for her, Tosh may not be here today. No one would have ever known about her tumor.
We fear that Tosh may not get to see her daughter graduate from High School or even walk her down the isle. But we will all deal with that when the time comes. Right now, Natalie is so in love with her grandpa, grandma, mom, Auntie M (me,) Uncle Derek, Uncle Todd, and Uncle Kenny (my stepbrother.) All children are blessings, but this one has a very special place in my heart. I love her to the moon and back.
Her father has not seen her since the divorce. Not due to us not letting him; to his lack of interest. He hasn’t called to talk to his daughter in years. Both Tosh & Natalie are doing so much better off without him in their lives.