By Renee (if you want to comment but not here you can text Dad) Sunday, May 28, 2017...Mom and Dad's 45th wedding anniversary... We were planning on having folks over after church Sunday evening along with Jerrell and Kara and their family for a little celebration. Little did we know we would be in Wichita instead.
Mom wasn't feeling well Sunday morning and felt Dad should stay home with her. After church, Dad messaged me and informed me that Mom was having some cognitive issues, spilled her water at the restaurant the night before, and was struggling to remember where the letters were on her phone when texting. Not normal. We and Jerrell's got our heads together, and after making a phone call to an ER nurse, felt we needed to take Mom to ER in Dodge City. There they did a cat scan which revealed a mass close to an inch in diameter on the left side of her brain, above her ear, and more to the top of her head. It was about an inch into her brain. They told us she would need to be transferred to Wichita. Our local EMT's were willing to take her by ambulance. After giving her steroids to start reducing the swelling, and some other medications, she and Dad left for Wichita. They got her in for an MRI around midnight and got a better picture, confirming she would need surgery.
Mom said the first she noticed anything was just the Wednesday before. She had been tired that day, but still worked in housekeeping at Bethel Home. Thursday was a bit better, maybe, and she also worked. Friday she had off and was ironing. Twice she dropped the hot iron to the floor and wondered what was wrong. Since the tumor was on the left side, the swelling from it was pushing on the motor skills part of her brain, causing the right side not to work properly. It was also in the speech part of her brain. Saturday she was having trouble texting, spilled her water for no reason, and was tired. Sunday, she tried taking notes of the sermon and had trouble writing, plus couldn't read her notes, and was having trouble getting her thoughts out.
Monday and Tuesday, May 29/30, 2017 They did a full body scan to make sure there wasn't cancer somewhere else. They did not find anything except something on Mom's thyroid that they weren't concerned about. The MRI and cat scans have not been easy for Mom... With Memorial Day, everything backed up so Tuesday we found out that she would have surgery Wednesday. At this point Mom was stable and they said she could walk the halls.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Preston flew in at noon and we were glad he could be there to visit with Mom before surgery. There was apprehension on how she would come out of surgery. This was on the brain after all! What if she couldn't talk? What if....? Then we shut those doors and focused on the present...God was there upholding. She had an MRI to get the exact coordinates for the surgeon and headed to surgery at 5:35 p.m. Her surgery went well and Dr. Grundmeyer, her surgeon, a very good one at that, felt like he got all of the visible tumor. He told us it was a grade 3 or 4 tumor, so we knew at that point it was for sure very serious and she would have to have treatment. Not exactly what you want to hear, but again, we focused on the fact that Mom was doing ok at this point. She did have quite a bit of pain that first night, but was able to say some words to us for which we were thankful!
Thursday, June 1-Monday, June 5, 2017 Mom had steady improvement each day and was able to get out of ICU on Friday. Now came the waiting game as we waited on the pathology report to see exactly what kind of tumor it was. We had visitors during this time which definitely helped pass the time. Thank you! Mom was dismissed from the hospital on Monday, June 5, and Preston and Dad drove her to Garden City to spend a week in rehab.
Tuesday, June 6-Monday, June 12 During this time, we were amazed at how she could visit and do her therapy. We got the pathology report back on Tuesday confirming it was a grade 4, or glioblastoma tumor, which is the most aggressive kind except for another one that is very rare. A punch to the gut, but we were sort of prepared for this news by then. We had picked up from a PA in the hospital, and Dr. Grundmeyer eluded to it, that this is what it looked like. Again, we focused on the present and how well she was doing. On Monday, June 12, she came home!!
Monday, June 19-Tuesday, August 1, 2017 Mom started radiation in Dodge City and also started taking one chemo pill every night at home. She also had to be on steroids to help reduce swelling from radiation. She finished her first round of chemo pills Sunday, July 30, and her last radiation treatment was August 1. The last five treatments of radiation they gave Mom is what they called a boost. It specifically targeted where the tumor was. Her other radiation treatments targeted the tumor area AND a centimeter deeper. Everyone was so kind and helped out with meals and taking turns driving her to Dodge every week Monday-Friday. She had the weekends off, and was able to come to church. We were so thankful at how she handled treatment while she was getting it. Mom was able to do her housework, water her flowers, and even sewed a dress for her and her younger granddaughters. Sunday, July 30, she started getting weak, shaky, and more tired.
Wednesday, August 2-Tuesday, August 8 We may have been slightly crazy, but we rented a van from HERTZ (the name was across both sides of the van in big yellow letters,) and headed out for an Ensz reunion in Bonners Ferry, ID. We all really enjoyed being together as a family in the van and at the reunion! Mom seemed to be holding up ok and was able to come to most everything. Since arriving home, the affects of treatment really kicked in.
Needless to say, those of you that have been through anything like this know how dramatically different your life changes in a moment. The prayers truly hold you up, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for them.