Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Flashback #1 - How it all began

Our "cancer" saga started towards the end of September 2010. We had just recently bought our first house in February followed by the birth of our son (4th kid) two weeks later in March. Things were frankly, awesome! We had a wonderful family, my in-laws whom I love dearly lived close by, I had just turned 30 in July, I was involved with my MOPS group, David had a great job...things were sailing along quite nicely. 
David, Red One, and Red Baby that September, before...
 Ok, who has seen The Pacifier? It's a cute enough family movie about a special ops soldier who guards the family of a scientist in danger, and of course he knows nothing about kids. He assigns them code names, Red One, Red Two, and Red Baby. It's pretty funny, and David started doing that with the kids, especially when we all got in the car. They, of course, thought it was hilarious. At this point, Red One is 8, and Red Baby is about 6 months
At Six Flags beginning of Sept, so the headaches had probably already started 

Then David started getting pressure headaches. He assumed it was because he had started to cut back on coffee and just needed some caffeine (if only). They got worse and worse, and by a couple weeks later, he actually left work early he was in such enormous pain, which was completely out of character. He told me he almost passed out from the pain...ok, this is the guy who played high school and college football, had multiple surgeries, on the job injuries, and hardly said a peep! He went in to see a doctor at our practice that night (thank goodness for extended hours) and that doctor knew enough to see that he needed a CT scan. He told David to get one in the morning and then come back to see his regular doc. At this point we were wondering what was going on, but I never thought it would be so serious. I was completely clueless. I'm the sort of person who says, especially to the kids, you're fine, it's not serious, get over it...I do have a hypochondriac eldest, lol...who gets it from her daddy...and go figure, they are the ones who actually do get something serious at times...and oh boy, was it serious! On a side note, one of my magazines had actually had an article on headaches and the different kinds, how serious, and how common/rare the different ones can be. This came in the mail right when David's headaches were starting. In hindsight, I think the Lord was laying some groundwork for me.
Anyways, in the morning, we go get the CT scan...wait for the copy, go back to the doctor's office, see his physician, who tells him he needs to go to the ER, there is something on the scan and he needs to be seen immediately and probably get an MRI as well (the first of many). At this point, we're bewildered, a bit scared, David is starving, and so he chooses for his last meal, a double cheeseburger from Wendy's (his favorite)...We were kinda laughing about it, but at the same time, we were wondering...but of course, how can something that vague but ominous really sink in? It certainly hadn't at that point. We decided to go to Hartford Hospital on our Doctor's recommendation, and got into an evaluation room pretty quickly. David's GP had called ahead to help us out. This is my FB update from that point.

As you can see, we knew it was serious, but were still in the dark. Did I mention that we were lugging our 6 month along with us still at this point. In the morning, as far as we knew, we were just going to a doctor's appt. I actually had to leave David in the ER at 3 to go pick up the girls from school. I'm a little fuzzy on the details at this point...I do remember my father-in-law made it to the hospital while I was gone, and he met the neurosurgeon (I didn't until the next day I think).At that point my mother-in-law and sis-in-law watched all the kids while I went back to the hospital. David was admitted to the Neuro-Trauma ICU and they were thinking he might need emergency surgery the next day.

  • officially the weirdest day of my life! Started off trying to find out what was causing David's massive headaches, ended with him in Neuro-Trauma ICU with possible surgery tomorrow for a brain tumor Wow, think I might still be in a little shock...hasn't quite sunk in yet. Thank you to everyone for all your support and prayers, they are much needed and completely appreciated. I am blessed by each and every one of you!
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    • Mary Catherine Woolley Will be keeping y'all posted as more info comes out...still waiting to talk to neurosurgeon tomorrow. David was supposed to have an MRI tonight, but didn't fit in the machine, so getting a glorified CT scan at 2am.

He had problems with the first MRI they tried around midnight, so nothing happened until he could get a good MRI.

  • The dr doesn't want to do surgery until they can get an MRI, and apparently it wasn't a problem of fitting in it, but David was getting almost burned from the MRI and they don't know what was causing it. So, trying to figure out how to stop tar so they can get a better im
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    • Mary Catherine Woolley So they can get a better image before cutting his head open...getting chest xrays now to try to find out what's up

  • Xrays came back clear, MRI scheduled for 1130...

    I was still able to find the silver linings at this point, lol
  • well it's not all bad...david's in the MRI and I'm in the cafeteria eating salmon sushi :P
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    • Mary Catherine Woolley which is weird, cuz i was just craving salmon sushi this morning...the Lord works in mysterious ways, lol the small blessings mean a lot!
I'm weirdly ok so far...dunno if it's just shock or what, but just gonna keep trusting in the Lord and lean on all of y'all wonderful people
Mary Catherine Woolley completely sudden...i certainly had no idea when i woke up yesterday what was gonna happen, that's for sure!!! but guess i'm glad it's getting taken care of! i definitely feel the love!

The second attempt at an MRI went smoothly...
  • David's back from the MRI...no complications this time, thank the Lord. Now waiting on neurosurgeon to get out of surgery to go over results and the game plan.
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Waiting, waiting, waiting.
  • Surgery has been postponed till tomorrow most likely...dr is still in surgery so we don't know MRI info, supposed to find out later this pm when he's thru with surgery and gets a chance to look at it...
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David's surgeon was busy all that day with another patient, so it was a long day of waiting...
  • well, that has to rank as one of the more boring days, lol. The MRI went off without a hitch this time around 1130, but had to wait till 8pm to talk to the dr as he was in surgery all day. So the good news is that David's surgery will be able to wait till next week or maybe even the week after. He said it's been there for years and years, that it is an extremely slow growing tumor,
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Mary Catherine Woolley but that it ran out of room, is starting to push the left side of the brain over to the right, and it's starting to erode the bone because of how big it is (roughly baseball size) Because it is not an immediate hazard, he is going to take the time to study the images and plan the surgery instead of a rush emergency job, so that is good. Also, more likely to be benign, but of course won't know till after the surgery and it is biopsied, etc. David is gonna be moved to a regular room tomorrow and then if all is well, he will be discharged Sat morning with steroids to keep taking to bring swelling down. We are going to meet with the dr early next week for more in depth planning and set up the surgery time. Will be keeping updates coming of course.

They kept David another night (Thursday), trying to reduce swelling and pain...
  • So David just got into a regular room (with a bathroom!) now the dr says that if he feels well enough he can go home today instead of tomorrow...david's answer "i feel awesome! Get me out of here!" so waiting for all the discharge hoopla then heading home. We have an appt on monday morning at the neurosurgeons office to get all the nitty gritty details worked out, surgery possibly as early as wed but nothing certain.
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    • made it home...hope the weekend is uneventful :) Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers...keep em coming!
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    • so far my wish is coming true...uneventful day, hung out and did pretty much nothing :) david's been feeling pretty good so far...
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    Sunday morning I posted my life verse, which has comforted me in many, many trials.

    • "I am the LORD, there is no other. I form the light and create darkness. I make wellbeing and create woe. I, the LORD, do all these things." Is. 45:6-7 My lifeverse, always seems to fit no matter what is going on, comforts me.
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    We met with the neurosurgeon, Dr Schwartz, Monday morning. He is a wonderful doctor, talented neurosurgeon, and the only doctor (other than David's GP) who we feel actually cares about David as a person. We really love him. I had missed meeting him the first day at the hospital, but my FIL had met him, and every time he talked about him, gestured about chest high. The men in the family are tall, but Dr Schwartz really is short. He makes up for it by being extremely talented though!

    • So, the surgery is scheduled for this Wednesday morning. Almost wish it had happened already...when it was a whirlwind earlier at the hospital everything wasn't quite sinking in yet. Now I'm having too much time to think about it...oh well, I know that all will be well.
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      Mary Catherine Woolley think it all started to really hit me when David shaved his head...now I'm just a little bit scared, and I wasn't before.
    David went ahead and shaved his head himself...mostly to help the kids get used to it. I think that just made it more real for me...I got really scared at that point! We certainly didn't have all the info, but we let them know  that Daddy would be having surgery in a couple of days to get rid of the tumor that was causing all of his headaches and that we really didn't know much more than that, but that they should pray for Daddy. And we all did really start praying!
    These were taken at the beginning of September 2010

    Red One was 8, Red Two had just turned 7, Red Three was 4, and Red Baby was 6 months. 

    I'm including David's take of this time that he videoed back in Nov 2010...It goes a bit past where I ended, but I'll catch up next Flashback post.

    To Be Continued...gotta go pick up the girls from basketball, lol...