Feb 10, 2018 Latest post:
Jul 17, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your love, support, prayers, and words of hope and encouragement.
In early January, Dave saw his family physician, Dr. Terryberry, to find out what could be causing what Lola called "drastic personality changes". Thank God Dr. Terryberry is a great doctor and wonderful listener! On the same day, he sent Dave for a CATScan at the Outer Banks Hospital (affiliated with Greenville Medical Center). . Within an hour, we learned that Dave had a tumor on his brain and according to the Radialogist, it was a Glioblastoma. This is a word we had never heard until that day, Jan 3, 2018. We were in shock, to say the least! At the same time, a snow storm was moving closer to the coast and by the next morning we were blanketed by several inches of the white stuff and the entire Outer Banks was shut down.
There are miracles all along the way in this story of Dave's diagnosis, treatment plan and recovery. God led the way and is still the leader of Team Hilton. Our family and friends have been amazing supporters from Day One. We are so grateful!
Again we were blessed to be accepted at The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, where there is HOPE. Dave's doctor was world renown Neurosurgeon, Dr. Allan Friedman. On Monday, Jan 22, Dave a had successful surgery to remove as much of the Glioblastoma cancer as possible. We learned that the Glioblastoma is Grade 4 (contained in the brain) and the cancer cells that remain behind are fast growing. The surgery was on Monday and Dr. Friedman was ready to release Dave on Tuesday. Dave's blood platelet, however, were very low, so it was Thursday evening when we checked out of ICU. Radiation and Chemotherapy plan already in the works.
Everyone we came in contact with during this time was absolutely the best! Professional, talented, compassionate, kind and the best of the best that "Team Hilton" could imagine. Upon leaving the hospital, we stayed in the area at a wonderful "family" hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, for a few days to ensure he was ready to travel. On Saturday, January 27, we headed home.
During the time we were at Duke, there were many family and friend "angels" who prayed, visited, called, sent text messages and cards to love on us and begin the healing process. We are so grateful!
We had a few days at home before heading back to Durham on Thursday, Feb 1, by way of the Outer Banks Hospital for CBC blood work that was faxed ahead and in Dave's record by the time we arrived at Duke to met his Neuro Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist Teams (Dr. Maggie Johnson and Dr. John P. Kirkpatrick). We were originally scheduled to see another Oncologist but he was out sick (a rare occurrence, we're told). And wouldn't you know it.....Dr. Maggie Johnson is the perfect replacement (we believe sent by God). Each physician truly has an entire team that is working with us from Clinical Nurses, Clinical Pharmacists, Social Workers, Neuropsychology Physicians, Financial Advisors, and a Research contingent (in case there are any clinical studies that might apply). And this was another day when our family rallied to support us as well as our church family.
In the meantime, Duke wanted us to get an appointment with Dave's heart doctor in Norfolk. So, on Wednesday of this week, we drove to VA. We learned during his pacemaker interrogation that he has been in Afib since the day after his cancer surgery, Jan 23. Another complication that is worrisome. Dr. Bernstein talked to Dr. Johnson about putting Dave on blood thinner but it was decided that this would need to wait until after the radiation/chemotherapy is complete. Evidently, if he starts on Coumadin and then goes off during his cancer treatments, it could cause him to have a stroke. We don't want any part of that so....blood thinner is on hold.
On the road again Thursday of this week... back to Durham for his stitches to come out and a CATScan (used to build a mold/mask for his face to be used during radiation therapy. On Friday morning he had another MRI (mapping for radiation). I'm understanding that the MRI will be used like a GPS for targeting (as possible) the radiation to the right place in his brain.
The Plan: We go back to Durham on Sunday, Feb 18 and Dave's Radiation and Chemotherapy (Temodar) will start on Monday, Feb.19. If all goes well, this will be a three week (5 days a week) plan at the Duke Cancer Center.
We are staying at an Extended Stay Hotel near Duke so that we will have a kitchen and I can cook healthy meals during our stay. We are also allowed to bring out sweet Labradoodle, Cammie. Believe it or not, she really knows something is going on and hasn't left Dave's side (and she's my dog). And one of the other benefits is that they have a shuttle bus that will take us for the treatments each day.
So, that it for now. PLEASE PRAY that Dave will soon regain strength and his pain will subside. He is a courageous man. The love of my life. My best friend. And is at peace with God for how this will all work out. We love you all and I'll try to make updates as we have new information.