Special New Year's Update From My Mother!

Kristen Marks

by Kristen Marks

Kristen Marks is a travel enthusiast, empty-nest mom to two young adult children, athlete, attorney, author, speaker, proud wife of almost three decades (to the same wonderful man!), and the founder of My Pink Lawyer®, Florida Estate & Legacy Planning attorneys. Kristen has been crafting professional estate plans for Floridians and their families for over 28 years.

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Happy New Year everyone!


This year my holiday cards will be sent later than usual due to an interesting December in my life.


Last January my daughter, Kristen, took me to San Diego for a birthday trip. Knowing that I planned to retire on my birthday January 2020, she gave me a countdown to retirement clock to keep at work.


In anticipation for retirement on my 70th birthday, I applied for social security benefits to kick in when I hit that maximum benefit date. I am still retiring on the 24th, but the cosmos always laughs at best laid plans.


Staying active has always been my default mode. Caring for my beloved now 12 year old Golden Retriever, Bodhi, three indoor cats and a small feral community, working full-time and maintaining the house (well, kind of), and living on my own has kept me busy.


However, for 5-6 months I have experienced an annoying headache. I finally went to my primary care physician in November who ordered an MRI. Low and behold, I discovered that I a brain tumor (meningioma posterior fossa on the left side for those in the medical know).


Although benign thankfully, the tumor was pressing on my brain. During surgery, my neurosurgeon removed a tumor the size of a peach! Not the organic ones either but those honkin’ GMO grocery store monsters.


My surgery was December 11th (poor Kristen—her 50th birthday spent in the surgical waiting room). I went home the next day.


My grandkiddos, Jill and Drew, took turns coming up to Virginia to help me so I was alone only a day between their “shifts.”


Twelve days later, I had this sudden chest/rib discomfort especially on the right side. The pain subsided and I was feeling pretty perky.


I mentioned the pain via phone to my primary care doc in passing who instructed me to go to the ER to be checked for blood clots. As luck would have it, Kristen arrived the next morning for a preplanned New Year’s visit. We decided to “knock off the ER visit” as soon as she arrived thinking it would take an hour or so to be cleared. HA! Silly us.


Terry & Kristen at ERSix hours later, I had a chest CT scan, blood work, and a diagnosis of bilateral blood clots in my lungs and was admitted to the hospital for a heparin drip on New Year’s Eve.


Mind you, I felt pretty good and thought I was wasting bed space for someone more needy.


Fortunately, I only spent another night in the hospital and am now home on blood thinners for three months.


Despite the whirlwind medical drama, I am grateful and still looking forward to my retirement in a few weeks and a possible move to Pensacola later this year. Poor Kristen. That’ll show her for trying to clean out my house while I was recuperating post-surgery!


Terry “Not How I Planned to Spend My Last Month Before Retirement” Santos (Kristen's mom)


P.S. If you haven’t gotten your estate planning affairs in order, you should contact my daughter ASAP. I know firsthand that you never know what the future holds.

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