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Oct 9, 2018 Latest post:
Dec 6, 2018
Towards the end of August Deb thought she noticed some slurring in her speech at various times. I didn't notice it but she had some concern about a possible TIA. She previously had a TIA around 16 years ago. Other than the slurring she felt fine and decided she wanted to go up to Wisconsin for a week of vacation. By the time we got home, she knew something wasn't right so she called her cardiologist and made an appointment. He had her come in right away for an EKG and a 4 day monitor pack. He also recommended making an appointment for an MRI and a checkup with a Neurologist. Both appointments were a couple of weeks wait. Then last week Tuesday she had a headache when she went to bed and it was still there, though not as sharp, the next morning. She felt it was time to go to the emergency room. She picked Munster Community because she had heard they had an open MRI. She has always had a very difficult time being able to do MRIs and needs sedation to overcome her claustrophobia. We arrived around 8:30 / 9:00 am and the emergency room was empty. They immediately started processing her, began a multitude of tests and she was admitted that afternoon. We waited patiently for the neurosurgeon to come to her room and explain his diagnosis. He finally arrived around 9 pm with some very bad news. He said he was going to be very direct and that he was almost positive she had the same type of brain cancer as John McCain. Because her speech was already somewhat affected, he said the surgery to remove the tumor might cause her to lose the ability to speak and possibly comprehend. In addition, she might lose the use of her right arm. He recommended scheduling surgery right away for the next morning, at that time they would do a biopsy and within a short time afterwards begin the surgery. Her life expectancy would be 6 months to a year with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. We had talked earlier about Mayo clinic since we were getting a bad feeling about what the diagnosis might be. We told the doctor we were going to be leaving the hospital as soon as possible and heading to Mayo clinic. After a couple of attempts to refer us to a hospital in Chicago instead of Mayo, since they had affiliations in Chicago, we stuck to our guns and they agreed to release Deb. She asked for all the medical reports to be assembled as soon as possible so we could take them with us. It took a little while but it wasn't long before we were headed home to pack our bags and head to Rochester, Minnesota. We had no idea what we would do when we got there but one of the doctors at Munster Community had said before we left that we could always just go to the emergency room, just like we did when we came to Munster. It was probably around 11 or 11:30 before we got back on the road to Rochester, Minnesota. We drove as far as Madison, Wisconsin, slept there a few hours, and were able to make it to Mayo's emergency room by 10 am on Thursday. Mayo clinic said you can't go to the emergency room to be admitted normally and that there is a long line of people waiting to get into the clinic. They also said they were there to help people when they needed help and would not turn us away. They made us feel welcome and reassured that Debbie would get the best possible care. They proceeded with a lot of tests and imaging. They also provided some information about financial aid and said to just wait until you get a bill and then call. It's incredible how much they were able to reassure Debbie and encourage her they would do their very best to care for her. I don't know how they were able to do it, but it seemed like Debbie was the only person in the emergency room and she was getting attended to like she was the only patient in the emergency room. At one point, one the Physician Assistants in the emergency room, felt she needed answers quicker and actually called a surgeon out of surgery to address the situation. She had a heart of gold and wanted so bad for Deb's tumor to be an infection instead of cancer. Deb got admitted and they scheduled her for a biopsy right away. The biopsy was done Friday and she spent Friday night in ICU. She was then released to go home on Saturday. Some good friends of ours had arranged through their church for an apartment close to the hospital so we could stay there until her next MRI and surgery on Tuesday but Deb wanted to ask our Pastor to call together the elders of the church and pray over her and anoint her with oil. Family and friends were also anxious to see her since everything had happened so quickly and they understood the seriousness of her condition. So we headed home Saturday when she was released at 2 pm. Our pastor and some of the elders from our church planned for Sunday to anoint her with oil and pray over her. Later Sunday afternoon family came over to visit. That morning we had to go to see Deb's mother and give her the bad news. There was a social worker already working a little with her mother so we called her and she was able to meet us Sunday morning at Deb's mom's home. The Lord was constantly providing everything we needed all along the way. Just as the elders were arriving at our home on Sunday, the surgeon called and said he called a friend and arranged for a TSM MRI on Monday at 1 pm. And asked if there was any way we could be there by that time. So, at 4 am Monday morning we headed up to Mayo for her 1 pm appointment. Although pushed to the limit every day, Deb keeps drawing on the prayer support of family and friends and trusting in God's will for the outcome. I'm amazed at her strength and trust in the Lord through all of this. Please continue to pray as her journey continues. Of course we are praying for complete healing and she has let the surgeons know not to be surprised if they go to remove the tumor and it's gone already. I say Amen to that!