Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using this to keep family and friends up to date on Keith's health and journey.
Being fortunate enough to have a successful seasonal business we decided to take advantage of our time off and, after much planning and saving, we set off January 1 to spend the next two months living in Steamboat Springs, CO to ski, homeschool and travel with the kids while they are still young enough to want to spend time with us. After a few days of progressively strange sensations (numbness/tingling/weakness) in Keith's left arm and leg, we headed to the ER January 7 to check on what we thought for sure must be a pinched nerve. What happened next flipped our lives upside down and inside out. A CTscan revealed a mass close to Keith's thalamus, deep in the brain. Thus began a journey we never could have planned. We set out on a 4 hour trip to the see first of 5 neurosurgeons in Denver. He pronounced the tumor inoperable due to the depth in the brain and close proximity to the bundle of motor function pathways. He wanted Keith in surgery that day for a biopsy. This is where we had to pump the brakes and figure out our options. We were 3500 miles away from home and all family and friends except for one family, The Barnes', who's unending support and love guided us and helped us navigate throughout the most difficult time in our lives. So much could be said about them and what they did for us, but I'm going to leave it at that.
We were able to get an appointment with a Dr at the Mayo clinic in Minnesota who then referred us to a Dr in Boston who was in our insurance network. We packed up and headed back to Maine and off to Boston. A follow up MRI on January 25 revealed the tumor had grown approximately 20% in this short time. Dr Chiocca at Brigham and Womens in Boston called us the following day with the news he had consulted with another surgeon, Dr Golby, who is doing a newer laser ablation surgery. Although Keith's feeling and movement are compromised on his left side, the surgeons all agreed open surgery would be too risky and could potentially damage other brain tissue and could cause even more decreased mobility or permanent paralysis. Dr Golby scheduled Keith for a biopsy and Laser surgery, in hopes of killing as many tumor cells as possible, for the following Tuesday. You can check out the facility here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNLB5Xcf3Co .
Keith underwent surgery Tuesday January 30. He came through it very well with no greater loss of mobility. And so the journey continues... The biopsy results will dictate the type and course of follow up treatments. You can return here for further updates as we move through this difficult time. The support we have received from friends, family and community has been everything to us.
Peace and Love, The Longbottoms
A gofundme was graciously set up to help cover the growing medical and living expenses.