night in the NICU.

We weren't sure if I was going to be able to see Alicia tonight. They're incredibly strict about allowing visitors into the NICU (Neuro Intensive Care/Stroke Unit) and usually limit it to only two people who can go in one at a time during a 1/2 hour time period in the evening. Alicia's husband Sean and my mom were the obvious top two on the list, so I waited anxiously outside in the hallway to hear how she was doing. Luckily, the nurse on duty had a soft spot in his heart and when my mom inquired about the possibility of me sneaking in, he asked my name and then personally came out to escort me in.

As soon as I walked in, my sister had me go to her left side and hold her hand. She immediately clamped her hand around mine with a grip of steel to show me how she'd retained her strength (loss of strength on her left side was a possible side effect we were warned about). She then flashed me a giant smile to show how symmetrical it was. I moved down to her feet and she pressed and lifted them against my hands, showing how her strength was the same on both sides. Then, with a well-deserved air of triumph, she flashed another smile (this time more genuine and less of a display of symmetry) and proclaimed, "I had a tumor on my brain and now it's gone!"

And it is. Most of it. The surgeon was able to remove almost all of the tumor and the even better news is that it was a brain tumor, not a tumor metastasized from another part of her body (meaning she doesn't have cancer that spread to her brain…it's ONLY a tumor in her brain). However, we don't have the pathology results on the tumor yet and probably won't for a few days.

Those few minutes with my sister were more than enough to show me that she's doing fine and will continue to be fine. In fact, I have a feeling she'll come out of this ordeal even stronger than she was before.

Sean is staying the night in the NICU with her and we plan to be there for the visitation hours starting at 10:30am tomorrow. We're hoping she does so well that they move her to a regular room tomorrow, which will allow for non-family visitors to spend some time with Alicia.

Phones of any kind are strictly prohibited in the NICU, but I've documented far too much to quit now, so I snuck some stealth photos when the coast was clear.