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
Second Verse Same As The First...
Dec 5, 2013 10:42pm
A couple of weeks ago, a friend noticed a white dot on the tubing of my portacath where there are calcifications (which I affectionately call my barnacles). I mentioned it to my oncologist and was sent to the surgeon's office. The calcifications are breaking through my skin.
As my luck would have it, my surgeon was on vacation so I saw his associate. She set up an appointment for me to have my port removed and a new one put in. This surgery was scheduled for the day before Thanksgiving!
I showed up for the surgery and was on the operating table, put under "twilight sleep" only to wake up to find out that this calcification is the worst case they had seen and they didn't do anything. The doctors needed to consult with other surgeons to figure out the best plan of action.
Today I met with my surgeon and am now scheduled to have the port removed on Tuesday, Dec 10th. It is just a day surgery. He wants to remove the port and the calcifications, let the area heal for 3 weeks or so and then put in another port. Keep your fingers crossed that everything will go as scheduled and there will be NO complications.
I will continue to do chemo as I am healing. They will need to put the chemo drug into my arm veins - which is fine but not for the long term.
This newish chemo is a bugger. It makes me sick and tired - literally. There are medications to combat these but it can get out of hand really easily.
Did I mention how much I love insurance companies? Today my doctor prescribed a medicine that would help with some of the side effects that are bad and the insurance company decided that they don't cover that. They wanted to charge me over $700 for ONE BOTTLE of this medicine!!! Needless to say, we are fighting this and trying to get the insurance company to cover this. Ugh. Yet another stumbling block.
Sophie and Olivia are doing good. Olivia is involved in the City Tournament with her soccer team. She loves being on her team and the coaches are outstanding. Sophie is busy with applying to colleges and scholarships. We will find out in March/April which colleges accept her.
Thanksgiving was nice at my brother's house. We miss Steve terribly. It's those little things that get us - out of the blue. Time to carve the turkey, which was always Steve's job, and I lost it. Peeling potatoes (which I didn't have to do this year) was another hard moment. We always did it together at the kitchen table watching the Macy Day Parade. We are finding different ways to honor Steve this holiday season since it was always his favorite time of year - the lights, decorations, sweets, music, friends and family.
We hope you all enjoy your holidays and take time to appreciate things that matter in your life.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,
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