SHERIDAN — One can almost hear the soft summer nights and country roads of a small Texas girl when Sue Moomey speaks. Moomey speaks with a soft elegance that is a light veil over an attitude of exuberance. One soon realizes he is speaking with a Southern lady, but may not readily discern that they are also talking with a warrior. Moomey has her battle scars, not from military incursion, but from battle with a tumor.
Moomey battled uterine cancer 20 years ago and most recently a fight with a meningioma tumor in her brain lining.
“I thought it might have been Alzheimer’s as I couldn’t remember where I put things down or remember names,” Moomey said. “My mother had Alzheimer’s. I heard a swish in my ear, like a washing machine.” Moomey became increasingly dizzier.
A hearing test revealed nothing. Moomey worked with her doctor, Hannah Hall, and scheduled an X-ray. After her X-ray appointment, Moomey had a seizure at home.
“It was a pretty big one,” said Moomey.
Moomey knew the signs of a seizure. Her son has epilepsy.
Moomey was taken to the emergency room. She had another seizure while there. The next day she went in for an MRI she had scheduled previously. A tumor near the size of a golf-ball was discovered in the right front lobe of Moomey’s brain. Hall referred Moomey to neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Piedra at the Billings Clinic.
“He told me it (the tumor) was in a tricky place in my brain, close to the main vein and my eye. I was 70 at the time,” Moomey said.
But Moomey said she doesn’t scare easily.
“I had a lot of people praying for me so I went into the surgery unafraid,” Moomey said. “I figured if I didn’t make it, I was OK because of my faith and if I did make it, it was OK. Whatever happened, it was God’s will.”
Moomey’s son, Jim, and daughter-in-law, Kristina, sat with her husband, Doug, during the four-hour surgery.
Moomey returned to Sheridan to greetings of flowers and cards.
“The first week I was confined to chairs and bed,” Moomey said. “I was on medication to keep my swelling down. I slept a lot that first week home. My surgeon advised me that I wouldn’t sleep well so it was as expected. But it didn’t affect my appetite!”
Church friends brought home cooked meals, which relieved her husband of some of his caregiver duties.
The second week, Moomey started walking 10 minutes a day. She continued seizure medication that she had begun prior to her surgery and tolerated the side effects she was all too familiar with through her son.
“It did take four months before I could say, ‘I’m going to make it!,’” Moomey said.
Moomey’s surgery was April 7, 2015. Today, she sports a scar from the top left side of her head to her right ear.
“It’s behind the hairline so you can’t see it,” Moomey said.
When the ladies from Moomey’s singing group, Just Harmony, came to her home to sing with her, it presented a breath-holding moment for Moomey.
“The front right lobe of your brain is where your higher thinking is, and maybe your harmony,” Moomey said. She didn’t know what would happen.
The result was a gift.
“The first time I sang a praise song, I could hear it,” Moomey said. “I just sat down and cried. Then I stood up and sang the second song. My friend Ileen (Stroup) was singing in front of me. When she heard me, she turned around and beamed.
“God has taken me on an amazing journey. You appreciate things in life but when you might lose them, they become more precious,” Moomey said. “I thank God every day for my good health. It’s a miracle to me how God brought me through it with a gentle strength.”