On Monday, April 16th our lives were changed. John Stringer, Sr. (from here on known as "Pa") had a scheduled doctor’s appointment after experiencing some worrisome symptoms. The doctor’s office suggested he go directly to the E.R. at Newark-Wayne Hospital. In a matter of only a few hours, imaging tests depicted a fairly large tumor on the right side of Pa’s brain. Shortly thereafter, Pa was transported to Rochester General Hospital and admitted for further diagnostic testing. The increasing pressure caused by the growing tumor had recently begun to effect his emotions and short-term memory. A regimen of intravenous steroids was started to help bring down the inflammation to prepare his brain for a future surgery. The second day of his admittance, with the family all together, the most terrifying diagnosis was given. As we tried not to fall apart in heartbreak, we listened and learned his tumor was malignant and that he would need to have surgery and either chemotherapy or radiation in order to extend Pa’s life. Pa has brain cancer?!?!?! – it hit us all like a ton of bricks!
As you can imagine, this diagnosis was a huge blow to our family. The following days of his hospital stay became somewhat a blur as we all tried our best to process this new information. Wondering “why him?”, “how will we do this?”, “what comes next?”, “where do we go from here?”….. Just a slew of questions and overwhelming emotions. Somehow, maybe only by the grace of God, over a matter of a couple days, all those raw and terrifying emotions turned to love and hope and a stronger faith. Not only has this diagnosis been life changing for Pa, but for Linda, their children, grandchildren and friends, the unknown of the future has been tremendously unsettling. But at the same time, it’s also been tremendously enlightening. Facing the uncertainty of a tomorrow that is not promised has turned into something that can only be described as a gift. Pa’s eyes see the world in a different light now. He’s amazed by the beauty of nature, he sees the best in people and he has a faith in God like never before. The purpose of our time on earth seems to make more sense to all of us.
Our hearts are exploding with the desire to spend every moment with each other; making memories, making amends and making every moment matter. The air smells fresher, the grass looks greener and time definitely feels more precious.
With this being said – It’s important to all of us at this time to remain focused on Pa and our family. As much as we wish we could surround ourselves daily with each and every one of our friends to explain Pa’s condition, we can’t. This page will allow us to update everyone in real time on a regular basis as to his progress. You will also be able to leave us comments and everyone in this support circle will be able to communicate with each other.
First, let’s get everyone up to speed; Pa has enjoyed the last two weeks being at home with Linda. He’s also been out and about visiting family and friends, going to the casino, hugging his grandchildren, hunting and gazing into the woods. He’s been faithfully sending daily texts to the grandkids, totally loving life and he even milked a cow – he’s been doing whatever he wants! So awesome! There were a couple pesty interruptions called “doctor’s appointments”, one appointment in particular where the scan thankfully ruled out any other signs of cancer in his body. Great news!
Tomorrow, May 9th Pa is scheduled for brain surgery. A neurosurgeon and his team will carefully remove a large part of the tumor and for the first time visually go up against this monster we call cancer. After this extremely intensive, invasive, critical procedure the surgeon will be able to tell us all more about what Pa is up against.
Today, we ask that you all send caring, loving thoughts and PRAY with all your might that everything goes as well as it possibly can tomorrow, that Pa is safe in the hands of this very experienced and capable medical team, that God guides the hands of this amazing surgeon as he makes this tumor smaller so Pa can fight harder and longer. He is scheduled to be at the hospital at 9:00 am, they will prep him and sedate him and then the surgeon is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am. We expect to see him in recovery around 7. We will update everyone when we can with any news.