The year is 2016, I have set goals for myself including; to run my first marathon (Grandma's 40th Anniversary), to run a RAGNAR relay race, to run an ultra trail marathon, to set a personal record (PR) in my 5k races, and to enhance my overall health. Well, I can officially say I have completed all of these goals...and then my life changed!
In September, I started to notice some changes in my vision. This was most notably observed when trail running in the Porcupine Mountains in the U.P. I then started to notice a "blind spot" in my vision while using the computer at work... Which sure makes it difficult to get your work completed and submitted to insurance! During this time, I started to complain A LOT about not being able to see!
In October, Jessica finally got tired of hearing me complain about not being able to see and had me schedule a vision appointment. I scheduled an appointment with an optometrist at Lens Crafters....say what you will...but he was GOOD stating there was no changes in my vision but there was more going on and he referred me to ophthalmology. So, off to the clinic (Essentia Health) to meet with the ophthalmologist. This is when my rollercoaster ride started...jumping out of an airplane was no big deal but this rollercoaster is scary! In quick succession, I saw the ophthalmologist, had an MRI of my head, completed a field of vision test (no surprise there! I still had blind spots), found out there was a mass in my brain, met with the neurosurgeon, completed blood work and a CT scan (both tests came back negative), and a brain biopsy was scheduled. Wow! This rollercoaster is just getting started! I had my brain biopsy last week and was hospitalized for a couple of days... And then the most agonizing week while we waited for the results of the biopsy. Today was the day, we met with the neurosurgeon to review the results of the biopsy which were analyzed by our local clinic and the Mayo Clinic for collaboration. During this consultation, Jessica and I were informed I have a glioblastoma tumor in my brain which is aggressive and fast growing. This is a mass that is specific to the brain and it will be important to have the tumor removed. The neurosurgeon has referred me to oncology at our local clinic and to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion per our request as well as his insight into patient care and willingness to collaborate with other professionals in regards to my treatment stating "I want you to feel most comfortable with your treatment and quality of life." Recommendations for treatment include; to remain on a steroid to address the swelling in my brain, a craniotomy to remove the brain tumor, and then radiation, and chemotherapy following the surgery. The neurosurgeon explained that everyone responds to treatment differently, it will be important to take each day as they come, and to focus on the positives each day. With that being said, I have an oncology appointment scheduled on Friday at our local clinic and am waiting to hear back about when the appointments will be at the Mayo.
This rollercoaster will be wild, scary, will bring a mix of emotions, and an expanded medical vocabulary beyond what I have learned through the medical experiences with Jess... I am ready to hold on and take the ride but will need to support of my family and friends.