More In Her Head Than an Aneurysm – Follow Up Miracle!

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.  ~C. S. Lewis


Me & Markelle at Hilton Head, walking the beach! 10/2011

Previously, I wrote about a really good friend of mine who went into brain surgery due to an aneurysm.  More In Her Head Than an Aneurysm.  Yes, I wasn’t sure if it ruptured or not, and in the weeks following Markelle’s surgery, I got to talk to her on the phone.  She confirmed it did indeed rupture and she is now a walking miracle.  Yes, she has her motor functions, speech, and every other part of daily living we take for granted!

Praying for that little lady daily and her family, I continuously received good news from the moment her surgery ended to present day.  Totally fantastic!  I wanted to share her good cheer with everyone, especially those of you who asked about this strong soul.

Markelle recently updated all of us via email.  Smart lady, the quickest and easiest way to spread the much anticipated information without sounding like a broken record or accidentally omitting information from one person to the next.

Please take a moment and read about Markelle’s success after brain surgery and suffering from a ruptured aneurysm.  This email is taken word for word, no altering.  She is still very well spoken and as always, such a sweet and sincere person.  Markelle is truly a miracle!


Wooo the beautiful weather coincides with my most excellent follow up appointment! This appointment was a result of OUR effort, all of us together. I know I would have never healed as well as I have without your support and love. Honestly, it’s very easy to get into “woe is me, WHY me” mode, but with all of you helping me, how could I even go there? Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, and those words do not begin to convey my gratitude or how loved I feel.

In summary, I felt like I walked out of that office today, and it was the happiest ending to a stressful movie or book that I just read. Walking into the building, it was obvious that we were visiting a neurology doctor. Canes, wheelchairs and walkers were out in force in the waiting room, and I strolled right in. Even though I have some minor things going on; it’s a miracle that I don’t have any type of physical paralysis. The morning this happened, I prayed and prayed before my surgery to just wake up afterward. That’s all I prayed, just let me wake up. As I lay there in bed for those 3 weeks, I knew that I could have a stroke at any time and it could paralyze me. I’m beyond grateful that I will one day turn a cartwheel. I will make it into a weird pretzel pose in yoga, I will swim, I will ride my bike, I will climb more rock walls, maybe not all this year, but eventually I plan to do it all.

The fatigue is a normal part of the process. The doctor didn’t have an exact time frame for when it will clear; I’ve read on the forums that it can last from 3 months to 6 months to a year or longer, so I’ll just settle my butt down and take it easy for a while. I’m going to grumble about it, because OMG, there is nothing slow about me, but at least I’m in the South, where it’s OK to be laid back a bit.

I have some minor issues; blood leaked into my spinal fluid, and it takes a while to break up, which is why I have sciatic pain that makes me yell profanity when I get up from sitting or lying down. I have a depression on the side of my forehead now, apparently when “skinny head” people have this type of surgery you can see it; he said it won’t get worse, but as I age, it may become more pronounced. I happily reported that I do not suffer from regular headaches (a very common long term side effect; ironically I left there with a whopper of a headache). My short term memory is a little sketchy; but not too bad. He asked me if I misplace things now, I laughed and said that isn’t a fair question because I misplaces EVERYTHING before this all started.

Driving: I got the Green light to drive 🙂 I won’t be driving excessively far right now, or often, or at night when my fatigue is the worst. I’m so grateful I can still drive my car. Out of all the things my Dad missed out on after his aneurysm, I perceived that one of the worst things he lost was his ability to work a clutch. When I bought my first 5 speed, he said he wished he could drive it. From that day forward, I vowed never to complain about a clutch or the annoyance of shifting in heavy traffic, I’m so excited to get back behind the wheel. Thank you to everyone who has helped transport Olivia, and I will rely on you for a little while longer, I’ll be in touch separately to communicate about that as I heal and gain more energy.

Meals – thank you for your continued support on this one thing. I will shout out if I get behind and can’t keep up with that in the future once the volunteers die down. I have grand ideas of a “dream dinner” party where we buy the stuff from the store and assemble it here on a weekend, but nah, that was the old Markelle, this is the new Markelle, I probably won’t be entertaining for a while (if you get an invite from me before June 1, don’t accept, say you’re busy and I’ll thank you later).

The meals so far have been a Godsend and I’m convinced that’s why my Mom is not running for the hills; Eric, Liv and I can create quite a daily mess to keep up with, I’ve been doing absolutely NOTHING since I got home from the hospital. Reading, facebooking, internet surfing, sleeping, and an occasional movie.

My Mom plans on leaving this weekend, so I’ll be back full throttle on the house stuff. Luckily I was not an overachiever in the housekeeping and laundry arena, so I don’t have much to live up to. If you visit and it’s a wicked mess; I’ll apologize and offer you a seat among the mess. If it’s really bad I’ll hand you the sweeper and give you a wink.

That’s it! My story is going to have a happy ending, and your love and generosity have everything to do with it. Thank you for helping us through this journey.

Much love, lots of sunshine, and more love to you,

Markelle, Eric & Liv

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have No Comments

More In Her Head Than an Aneurysm

A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.  ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld


Me & Markelle hanging at Connie Leeper Baker’s in Latrobe. c. 2006

Markelle has been a very dear friend of mine for so many years, I almost can’t even count that far back.  The first question I get asked when talking about my mon ami is, “How did she get her name?”  Good question, which I’ve asked her too.

I was told this story is two fold.  Markelle’s mom had a friend in high school who named her little girl Marquel.  The word on the street, literally,  was she saw a street with that name somewhere and got the idea.  (The girl’s maiden name is Marquel Province from Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania.)  About a year prior to Markelle’s birth, her poor mom had a still born, named Mark.  Once they had a beautiful baby girl, (they thought was a boy, like my parents thought about me before I was born)  they wanted to honor him.  So Markelle arrived! I always knew that lady was born with special significance!

Believe it or not, we met working at a local bar called Mr. Toads, waitressing and bartending.  She was a great person back then and she’s remained the same to this day.

Many, many giggles and good times always accompanied working with Markelle.  Way back when, she was going to the University of Pittsburgh and I was at the community college before I transferred to Seton Hill University.  If one of us was working and the other was hanging out, we would help the other clean up and such, without asking!  I’ve always admired Markelle’s strong work ethic.  She was and still is a hard worker, paving her own way in the world.  I respect that big time!

Yes, we had a blast!  Looking back on it now, Markelle instantly become a big part of my life, almost like a sister.  Heck, there were many a night we would sit with a beer in hand, and shoot the breeze for hours.  What a great gal!

Sincerely, I can’t speak highly enough about Markelle.  Truly, she is one of the most caring and considerate and encouraging friends I have.  She will help you with anything, but will never ever judge and will always stand by your side.  The best part?  Markelle tells you how it is, no sugarcoating, no lying, no fuss, no muss.  A straight up good soul.

We’ve stayed in touch over the years, even when she moved to Phoenix, Arizona.  I visited her a couple times, once when my sister lived in Tucson.  After hanging with Nicole, I went to stay with Markelle for a few days, killing two birds with one stone.   That was the trip we hiked Camelback Ridge Trail in Scottsdale.  For some reason I remember that day very fondly, it was a fun simple day hanging with Markelle. (Except it was really, really hot!)

Trying to convince my friend to move home, Markelle did eventually head for the east coast, but not as close as I suggested, my backyard.  She moved to North Carolina.  Ok, I’ll take that!  Again, to stay in touch we would take mini vacations to visit one another, meeting in the middle whenever we could.  Although, the best trip was the Hilton Head weekend with the girls.  Markelle was gracious enough to invite me with her friends from the south.  It was perfect weather in October and we hung out, relaxed, read, walked the beach, danced, all with a bunch of fun good-hearted ladies.  At the time it was exactly what I needed.  Markelle always knows what’s best.


Markelle & Eric’s daughter Olivia at 8 months old, showing her favoritism to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now don’t get me wrong, Markelle and I would talk on the phone, email and naturally Facebook to keep in touch through the long pauses between vacations.  Periodically, she would make it back to Pennsylvania.  Although I know it gets hard to see everyone on short trips, but whenever she wasn’t wrapped up with the family, we would get together to catch up.  Sometimes I would have Kyle, and Markelle had her daughter Olivia.  It’s funny how we went from hanging out in a smoke filled bar (yuck) to going to restaurants with the kids like responsible adults.  Notice I didn’t say mature, neither one us hit that milestone in our life yet.

We’ve been friends for so long, I often wonder how this happened.  The only sound explanation that I could possibly muster is simply our values.  Besides being a hard worker, Markelle shares a lot of the same conservative views I do.  We both try to walk in the way of the Lord and live a good strong morally sound life, relying on each other for advice and guidance.  Yep are basically alike in many way, just a couple of average chicks.

For some odd reason, out of all the nice things Markelle’s done for me, and let’s face it I could fill a book, the most memorable was the support I received after my brother died.  Typically, everyone is supportive, so what was so different about Markelle?  First let me say, Ryan’s death came as surprise to everyone, he was in a car accident, taken from us immediately and suddenly.  During this time, Markelle lived in Phoenix, so she was miles and miles away.  Naturally because of family, time, money, work, you know the drill we’ve all been through it, she wasn’t able to be at the funeral.  After Ryan passed, Markelle graced me with her presence in the simplest yet most heart felt way.  What did this creative young lady do?  She sent me a Vermont Teddy Bear!  Yes, she sent me a hug!

The weeks during the funeral were very hard and the weeks that followed weren’t that great either.  But for one day, the sun seemed to shine on me, telling me everything was going to alright.   That was the day I arrived home and received a box on my doorstep.  In it was this Teddy Bear with a card attached, simply saying she was sending a big hug my way.  It was a random day that brought with it a moment I really needed.  It was that moment that helped me start to heal.  She couldn’t be there, yet she was.  Markelle always knows what’s best for me!

When her dad passed away, I don’t think I even came close to helping her out like she did me.   I wanted to be a rock for her, but instead I was more like a pebble.  My heart bled for her and her family and I tried to send prayers their way.

So why am I talking about Markelle like I’ve just lost my best friend?  I am very happy to say that is NOT the case!  Nope, or this blog would be seriously taking a dangerous turn for the worse!  No worries, I expect Markelle to be around for at least a hundred years or so.  I simply wanted to take this time to show my appreciation for my friend before our inevitable end, whenever God chooses.

On a side note, personally I’m putting my dibs in to go first.  Not because I know Markelle will make sure the funeral runs smoothly and everything is organized, because she will, but loosing a jewel like Markelle would be truly heart breaking.

Why am I thinking about life and death?  Recently, Markelle had a brain aneurysm.  Yikes, is all I could say.  Then my next question, what the heck is a brain aneurysm?  Believe it or not I’ve heard of them, mostly associated with old people, but I never really knew what one was.  Thankfully, my other dear friend Holly happens to be my residential nurse, answering all of medical questions.

Apparently, it’s not a good thing!  Holly explained it to me in layman’s terms, emphasizing the severity of the situation.  Holy crap!  Then I heard she was going into brain surgery!  BRAIN SURGERY?  Seriously?  O my Markelle!  That’s when it really hit me!

Immediately I thought of getting on a plane and flying down to stay with her and help out with the family.  Why didn’t I?  Unfortunately at the time, I got really sick!  Bad timing!  My dad and I both had this sinus bronchitis thing that was really bad for a week and a half.  So heading to North Carolina to hang out with someone who was fresh out of brain surgery, would be very irresponsible and selfish of me.

Eric, her husband was the best at keeping all of her friends and family updated on her progress and her procedures.  I mean he did an outstanding job!  Even explaining the procedures and her symptoms so they could be understood by all.  What a trooper!

The result?  Markelle has been home for over a week now and she seems to be doing very well!  She is improving everyday from what I understand.  We’ve been Facebooking each other through private messages.  Good sign!

See, I’m convinced Markelle is no ordinary woman.  O no!  Besides being pretty and youthful in appearance and attitude, she is mighty in her will.  I hope that doctor took a good long look in her head, putting aside the stubbornness, to see her intelligence with a strong emphasis on common sense, to see a one of a kind gal.  I know in my heart God has even bigger plans for my friend.

Personally, I can’t wait till we’re both little old ladies.  My guess, we’ll both be feisty and fun!

I couldn’t image a world without Markelle.  She is proof that prayers do get answered!  God Speed to Markelle, her husband, her daughter, her family and all of her friends!

Markelle when you’re ready for a Piper visit, let me know.  I miss you terribly and I pray for you often.

Below are a few screen shots I took from the Facebook posts with respect to Markelle’s surgery.  Some were written by Eric and some Markelle.

Brain Aneurism news 1-17-14 Aunt Heather Piper

Brain Aneurism out of Surgery 1-17-14 Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 1-17-14 Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 1-18-14 Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 1-22-14 Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 1-22-14 Scary Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 1-29-14 Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 1-29-14 Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 2-8-14 Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 2-12-14 Aunt Heather PiperBrain Aneurism 2-13-14 Aunt Heather Piper














posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments
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