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. We decided to create this site to make it easier on those near and dear to me who have been doing their best to keep everyone updated by phone, text, or calls.
For those of you that don't know, I'll tell you a little bit about how we got to where we are today. In early February, I began having some very weird, tingling and numbing sensations in the left side of my mouth, that then moved up the left side of my nose and face. The "episodes" are hard to describe other than to say they were what I would imagine it would feel like to be electrocuted. I had only a couple of random ones that first few weeks. Steve and I thought they may be dental related as a couple times they happened when I ate or drank. But I was having no teeth or mouth pain. We were scheduled to leave for a thirteen day Southern Caribbean cruise on February 21st so I thought if it was anything stress related that they'd surely pass while relaxing and enjoying friends and beautiful places. However, the "episodes" continued, and in fact, increased in both the numbers of times per day I had them and the duration they lasted. One day after going back to work after vacation, I decided to keep track of how many I had one day but stopped counting after freaking out at 18!! That's when I decided it was definitely time to see my family doctor.
My primary care physician was on vacation so I saw another doctor in the practice. Being I have celiac disease (gluten allergy) she thought I may be deficient in vitamin B6 and/or B12 and ordered blood work to check those. As she was leaving the exam room, I mentioned that I wouldn't be opposed to having an MRI for my peace of mind to (what I hoped would be) rule out anything worse than a vitamin deficiency. Although she was surprised I requested an MRI, saying people don't like them, she agreed to schedule it. So,on Friday, March 18th, I had my first MRI. ON Monday, March 21, Steve and I were called in to the office of my primary care physician and told that I had a mass on my brain and I was referred to a neuro surgeon. After meeting with him a week later, a series of various tests were performed. Unfortunately, those tests were unable to tell the doctors with a 100% certainty what type of tumor we were dealing with. Thus, I was scheduled to undergo a biopsy of the tumor on April 22. However, on April 21, I had an updated MRI done in order for the surgeon to have an up to date picture of the tumor in preparation of the biopsy. I was scheduled to report to Kettering Medical Center at 5:30 a.m., on April 22. However, when my phone rang just ten hours before that, it was my surgeon telling me that the tumor had grown considerably (from dime size to golf ball size) in a month so he had decided to do a full removal the next morning.
I am happy to report that surgery was a success and he was able to remove 95% of the tumor, which was a Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma. A long road is ahead of us as I try to regain full use of my left side (partially paralyzed from surgery) and as I go through radiation treatments and chemotherapy. But I have an army of talented doctors and medical staff caring for me, and a fantabulous group of family and friends by my side. I am truly blessed.