I never imagined myself being the author of a Caring Bridge site about Greg, but life is full of surprises, good and bad. We've been blessed exponentially with the good and this one has hit hard and fast and definitely the bad. But even through the shocking reality of what we are dealing with, our family has been uplifted by the love of so many and discovered God's presence and handiwork along the way. Now on to Greg's story.
Greg has been experiencing headaches for several weeks. He'd attributed it to having hit his head on a gas pipe in our basement since that was the onset of headaches. Last week over spring break we traveled to Florida with the Maple Grove Softball team. On the trip his headaches increased and other neurological symptoms appeared. He was unable to judge and catch fly balls, some missteps, nausea, a change in his walk, but mostly the severity of the headaches. It was clear to me that this was not the Greg I've been married to for 31 years. Something was wrong and he agreed. We had self-diagnosed it as a concussion due to hitting his head.
We returned from Cocoa Beach on Friday about noon, dropped our suitcases and headed to urgent care. The doctor we met with thankfully referred us to the ER at Methodist since she felt there were symptoms that likely needed assessing in a hospital. At ER Greg had a CT scan which showed no signs of concussion, but some abnormal cells were present. On to an MRI which clearly showed what the problem is. The MRI showed a mass on the corpus collosum with a great deal of swelling around it. We knew that much Friday night and as awful as that news was, we are grateful that we had an idea of what was causing the issue in a matter of hours. Had we chosen another avenue the diagnosis could have taken days or weeks. We'd also arrived home safely from our vacation and are not sitting in a hospital in Florida! These things we are counting as blessings.
Greg was started on steroids to reduce inflammation around the tumor (although he is sure he's getting more buff and has grown a few inches) that evening along with anti-seizure medication and admitted to ICU. We had quite a party that evening when Greg could finally get ice chips and food. We were joined by Ben and Casey, Meg and Kate, Sue's parents and her brother, Doug and sister-in-law, Kristi. All this in one day. I guess he's pretty loved.
Saturday morning the neurosurgeon visited and explained what Greg's mass is in greater detail. We wish we could say it wasn't so. The tumor is a Glioblastoma in the corpus collosum region of the brain. Glioblastomas are not rare, but the location is. A biopsy needs to be done when the swelling is down, ideally within the next week. The biopsy will tell the type and stage of tumor. It is likely inoperable due to the location, but we are aggressively seeking cutting edge medical treatment to shrink this tumor.
We have been connected to the Mayo, thanks to our dear friends, Cathy and Pat. We are hoping to be discharged from Methodist tomorrow and heading to Mayo for a 2nd opinion. My brother, Doug, had a connection through a good friend who connected us with the Randy Shaver Cancer Foundation. We spoke to Roseann Shaver today and she already has us scheduled to meet with the lead U of M Medical Neurosurgery on Friday! Both of these places often take weeks to get in, but all this is happening within a week. A blessing! We are praying that we select the best choice of treatment to beat this thing! Please pray that for us too!
Our future is uncertain and our lives have been turned upside down, however I could never list the countless people who have offered their help and love! We are so proud of our 3 amazing kids. Meg, Ben and Kate love their dad dearly and have been here every step of the way. It is so hard to attempt to go on with life when someone you love and adore is sick, but we are encouraging them to do that as much as possible.
We thank everyone who has already helped! It means so very much! From staying with our girls, to finding us the best doctors and contacts, to setting up meals and rides to and from softball for Kate, to texting, calling, visiting, my team completing arranging for me to away from school this week so I can be with Greg,and even our neighbor figuring out what's wrong with my tire and getting me a new one so I didn't need to worry about it, to being with us through the tough times and hugging their grown-up "baby" (that's me) just when I need a hug, to coming on Easter afternoon to serve communion, bless us, offer words of comfort and faith, to the delivery of 5 beautiful prayer shawls from Lord of Life for Meg, Ben, Kate, Greg and me, to helping me figure out how to start a Caring Bridge site! This kindness comforts and encourages us beyond belief. Thank you to everyone.
That's about what we know tonight. Praying for guidance and answers and healing in the days ahead. By the way, Greg feels better now than he has felt in months (due to the steroids). So he is enjoying visitors, texts, emails and phone calls; as am I. If we don't reply it isn't that it isn't appreciated it is that we are putting most of our energies into making arrangements for work, home, but mostly finding the best care possible for the man I love beyond anyone's imagination. We need to fight this and we truly feel he wool be one of those survivor stories! Greg has a sense of calm ( and I usually do:). Keep the prayers coming!