Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.
Cherie Finazzo has created a SupportPlanner page for us to help out with various tasks. The website is:
Thanks so much!
On Friday, November 2, 2012, Steve wasn't feeling well and called in sick to work. He had been having headaches and this last one was 3 days long with no relief. Steve decided to go to the doctor to get a shot for a completely unrelated issue. I told him to let the doctor know about his headaches and facial numbness that had just started - as long as he was there. Steve left for his doctor appointment and I left shortly after that for my chemo appointment. At that time, he seemed quiet but no bells or whistles were going off - just a normalish day with a hubby that isn't feeling his best.
I had my blood drawn and was waiting for the doctor to call me back, so I decided to call Steve and see how his doctor appointment went. At first I thought I woke him up, but he said no. He was very confused, couldn't tell me how his appointment went, had to go to the store, but didn't know why, etc. I asked if this was a side effect from the shot and he didn't know. I told him to hang up while I called the doctor to see if this could be a side effect. I was really getting scared.
After talking to the doctor, he decided to call Steve and then call me back with his thoughts. When the doctor called me back, minutes later, he told me that Steve had gotten very confused within the past two hours and he may be having a possible stroke. He needed to get to the emergency room as soon as possible. The doctor knew I was at chemo but I told him I was leaving right then - as my chemo hadn't started yet.
I hurried home (with Kappi) and got Steve. Juha (Kappi's husband) picked her up at my house and Steve and I went to Swedish Cherry Hill campus where our doctor told us they have an excellent Neuroscience Dept. As we were walking into the ER, Dr. Rivkin called (my oncologist) and told me to take him to Cherry Hill. It was a relief to know all the doctors in our life were on the same page.
Our primary care doctor had called the ER doctor to explain what had happened so they were aware of our situation. They ran some tests and then decided to do an MRI.
Our lives changed in that moment when we got the results. Steve has a mass on his left frontal lobe of his brain and his brain was swelling.
The ER doctor told us it was so helpful that our doctor called ahead to advise of the situation because she just met Steve and didn't know if his confusion was "normal" for him or not.
They admitted Steve to ICU and started him on steroids to bring down the brain swelling and anti-seizure medicine to insure that he doesn't have a seizure. On Saturday morning the neurosurgeon came in and let us know that he needs to have a "Functional MRI" on Tuesday to map out his speech patterns and then later in the week will be having brain surgery - a craniotomy.
He is not able to drive for a while and will be out of work "for the foreseeable future". Boeing is a wonderful company so I am sure we will get everything figured out with them.
Saturday afternoon Steve got transferred to a regular hospital floor and today, Sunday, he got to come home. He is showing some signs of improvement but he is still struggling to find words every so often. Steve understands everything (except females in general but that is another story) and is in pretty good spirits. He is being mothered by all his favorite ladies - Sophie, Olivia and me. We are even watching football with him! Ha!
The girls are being extremely helpful around here. I couldn't ask for better daughters! For the first time in Steve's life - since he was 5 - he is no longer in charge of the garbage. Sophie and I rinsed off and covered up "Princess" (Steve's caddy), but apparently we put the cover on backwards because Steve came out to check. It had to be redone...really? See what I mean...Princess.
Thank you everyone for your well wishes and we will be keeping everyone updated on this website for both Steve, me and the girls.
Big hugs! <3,
Steve, Jodi, Sophie and Olivia
Happy New Year
Jan 7, 2014 5:47pm
As hard and heartbreaking as last year was, it had its good moments too. We were certainly blessed with an outpouring of good things, spirit, and support from so many people. Thank you to each and every one of you!
For Christmas this year, Steve had two watches. I gave each of the girls a watch of his. When Steve passed away, the funeral home took a thumb print of Steve's and made it into two silver medallions which was then put on silver chains. They will always have their dad with them no matter what. The last gift from Steve to the girls was he wrote them each a letter. He had written it at the beginning of summer (before he fell off the ladder). Needless to say, it was a very emotional Christmas morning.
2013 ended in typical fashion. The day after Christmas I got a fever of 103.4 from a kidney infection. Kappi took me to the ER and then I got put in the hospital for 3-4 days. A few days of IV antibiotics got the infection under control and more oral antibiotics to take at home - hopefully the infection is gone!
My tumors are sprouting up everywhere. It seems like each week I find more tumors. Ugh. After talking with my doctor, we know we don't need to scan my body as the current chemotherapy clearly isn't working. We are switching me to another chemo drug and keeping our fingers crossed that this one will work. In the meantime, she is sending a tumor tissue sample to FoundationOne so they can run a genomic profile. This profile will identify the molecular growth drivers of the cancer and help my oncologist match them with relevant targeted chemotherapy options. She has done this for 3 of her patients (not including me) and only 1 patient had a successful outcome. The other 2 patients went on clinical trials. It will take about 6 weeks to get the information so in the meantime, I will try this chemo drug that I have never been on before. Keep your fingers crossed!
I don't have my port a cath back in yet. I scheduled an appointment with my surgeon so hopefully that will happen very soon. My veins are so bad. They can only use one arm and those veins collapse all the time. It is truly a nuisance.
Sophie is doing well. She has completed all of her college applications and is now waiting to hear which colleges want her to attend their school. They don't need to let her know until March/April so we are on pins and needles until then. One college, PLU, has accepted her and given her a merit scholarship. She is waiting for the others to answer before she makes a decision. Now Sophie is working on scholarship applications. College is expensive!
Olivia is doing well. She is working hard on her school studies. In February she will be trying out for the school's flag team. It would be a lot of fun for her if she makes it. Olivia will be playing spring soccer too, which she is looking forward to it starting.
All in all, we are doing okay. Good days and bad days are a regular part of our routine. We miss Steve terribly and keep him close in our hearts, minds and words.
We hope everyone has a good new year and look forward to many good times ahead.
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