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11/3/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. So many people - friends, family, churches, etc - are thinking of Jeff, and we are using this site to keep everyone updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
In late July Jeff was experiencing symptoms that indicated an ear infection. In early August after visiting his primary care physician he began his first round of antibiotics. Those did not clear up the infection, so a different antibiotic was tried. After that antibiotic didn't work, he was referred to an ENT in Carroll, Iowa. Another round of antibiotics was tried and his left eardrum ruptured, and when his ear infection remained, he underwent surgery for bilateral ear tubes in mid-September. The ear tubes helped for a day or so, but the infection remained. He was referred to a specialized ENT in Des Moines who determined that his ear infection had now spread to his left mastoid (the bone behind the ear). Eventually the pain in his ear and the constant headaches were so bad that he was going to the hospital three times per day for IV antibiotics and IV pain medication while awaiting surgery for his mastoid. He had that surgery completed on October 17th, and felt some relief for a few days. His headaches never went away, but he felt some relief from the ear pressure. Along with the infection, he lost hearing in his left ear (which will hopefully come back after the surgical pack is removed) and has about 50% of his hearing in his right ear.
But by October 26th, his pain was much worse and he stopped being able to even get a couple hours of sleep. He lost his appetite, had constant nausea, was generally weak, severely dehydrated, and had extreme chills without fever. By Saturday October 29th he was in such bad shape that we took him to the ER in Carroll, Iowa where he was seen by an Omaha ER doctor. He still had a bad ear infection in the ear that was not operated on. Also a CT scan of his brain revealed a tumor on his pituitary gland. He was admitted to the Carroll hospital to get IV fluids, pain medication, and steroids to control the swelling around his tumor.
On Monday, October 31st, an MRI of his brain was performed and his tumor was diagnosed as a macroadenoma (basically a large-sized tumor of the pituitary gland.) He was immediately scheduled for a consult with a neurosurgeon at the Med Center in Omaha the next day. Sherri (Jeff's wife) and Vanessa (his daughter) took him to the appointment. He was extremely weak and needed a lot of help with walking. He was very tired and had a hard time staying awake. There was an opening on Friday November 4th at 10:30 AM for the surgery to be performed, so Jeff was admitted to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha on a neuro floor until surgery.