One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to “pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again“!! I decided that in order to do that, I first needed to tell you why I’ve been off the grid for a while and why I need to take a deep breath, pick myself up, dust myself off and start writing all over again!
On August 31, 2011, my husband and I went to bed together, as we have done for the last 45 years. We watched the 11:00 news and went to sleep. At 4:00 am, my husband screamed and I presumed he was having a nightmare and tried to wake him. After calling his name twice and shaking him with no response. I got up to turn the light on and when I got back to Bob, his eyes were open, his arms were crossed in front of him and he was as stiff as a rock and convulsing. I went to grab the cordless phone and, of course, it was not in it’s cradle…I ran downstairs to the kitchen and, of course, that phone was also not where it was supposed to be. On my 3rd trip up and down our stairs, it finally dawned on me that I could use my cell phone to call for help!
I can tell you that from the moment I was first awakened to Bob’s screams, until the paramedics arrived, was probably the longest 20 minutes of my life. Our bedroom overlooks the road the paramedics came down to get to our house and while they were doing their best to keep me calm and help me, help Bob by phone, I can tell you that seeing the lights of the fire engines coming down our street was one of the biggest reliefs I have ever felt.
I put our 2 dogs in the bathroom and left Bob’s side to run down to open the door. When they arrived, there were 4 paramedics and while they were tending to Bob I called our youngest son who lives 2 miles away. Just as the paramedics had loaded Bob in the ambulance my son came around the corner, I jumped in the car with him and we followed the ambulance to the hospital. Within 10 minutes our oldest son was in the emergency room with us, Bob was alert, scared and wanting to know what was going on and why he was here and we were waiting for the ER doctor to complete her evaluation and tell us what had happened.
Within 2 hours of arriving, we were told that Bob had a mass on his brain. He was admitted and we waited until almost 5 o’clock that afternoon before the neurosurgeon arrived and told us his recommended plan of attack. Because Bob had been taking 1 baby aspirin a day, the surgeon recommended that Bob wait 1 week, stop taking the aspirin and be put on anti seizure drugs and steroids to help harden his brain a little and surgery to remove the mass would be scheduled a week later. He could stay in the hospital and wait or he could go home…the decision was ours. Laying in a hospital bed for a week waiting, would have seemed like an eternity, and as long as Bob was not left alone, didn’t drive and took it easy, going home was the obvious choice.
Surgery removed a tumor about the size of a lemon from the right front portion of his brain. He spent 10 days in the hospital, but was doing incredibly well considering what he and his brain had been through. He came home from the hospital walking with the aid of a walker. His memory was better than mine! (When one of the therapists asked him to recite the alphabet, he recited the Greek alphabet to her, just to shake her up!) The surgeon said that due to the size of the tumor, and how now, as the swelling subsides, the brain has to work it’s way back from the left to the right side, that Bob will be having a lot of right brain/left brain issues but he will improve.
When the pathology report came back, Bob’s tumor was described as a Class II, which has a higher risk of returning that originally thought so radiation therapy was recommended. So for the next 6 weeks, 5 days a week we went for radiation treatments and 3 of those days a week, we went for physical therapy as well. The radiation has made him very tired and he has a crazy mohawk hairdo, but he is walking without even a cane!
We have even made two trips up to Stockton to watch our grandson play some college baseball
and we celebrated the end of radiation by going to Lake Havasu in our motorhome with our youngest son and his family to spend Thanksgiving week as we have done for the last 9 years, camping and fishing!
Because of the seizure, his driver’s license was suspended and that continues to be his biggest issue. HE HATES ME DRIVING HIM EVERYWHERE!!! But he recently had an EEG and the results show no seizure spikes, so if he remains seizure free for another month, the doctor will complete paperwork to get his license back.
I have found out that many of the changes I have seen in him over the last couple of years, are most likely due to the tumor and not retirement, as I thought!!
I have learned to do many things that I just counted on Bob to take care of before…paying the bills, mowing our lawn, cleaning our pool, and driving the motor home, just to name a few!! Things will never be as they were, but they are starting to get back to some new form of normalcy as we enter a new chapter in our lives. The things that we can still do, we need to do…that is why I need to get back to doing some of the things I did bt (before tumor). We don’t know what the future has in store for us, but we do know that we are going to make the most of every day!