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My story begins with my mom, Betty Ann Rodenburg , when she was 62 years old; two years younger then my present age. She and Dad were driving back to Iowa, after having visited me in Dallas, TX, when she experienced a seizure. That was the beginning of her odyssey. It was a long, painful journey that reduced her from being fit and healthy to ultimately being a wheelchair-bound invalid. Mom was diagnosed with a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM). I watched Mom experience many frightening and debilitating seizures. I was by her side when she underwent two brain surgeries: the first in Council Bluffs, IA, and the second at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. My mother, with my father at her side as her caretaker, faced all the challenges of dealing with her AVM and the aftermath of her surgeries with amazing courage, grace and dignity.
A few weeks ago, in the very early morning hours of Friday, July 21, I was awakened by spontaneous, uncontrollable twitching in my face and throat and I suspected that I was either experiencing a seizure or a stroke. As I lay awake, after the twitching subsided, I wondered if I was about to start on the same path that my mother had taken before me, and whether I too would lose my independence and my health. Within 36 hours, I experienced three more seizures and was immediately hospitalized. After myriad tests, it was determined that I do not have an AVM, but instead, I have two brain lesions. We won't know the etiology of these lesions until the pathology report is completed, which could take up to 2 weeks. I am scheduled for brain surgery at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 7, 2017. As I travel this road, my Mom will be my Guardian Angel, role model and guide. Come what may, I trust in her to show me how to respond to this new and frightening reality.
I am very blessed to have many friends who have come to my aid and who will be with me during and after my surgery. I'm also very fortunate and blessed with an excellent team of doctors: Dr. Christopher A. Bogaev is my neurosurgeon; Dr. Adam Blanchette, my neurologist; and Dr. Suneetha Challagundla (called Dr. Challa, as her name has too many syllables to pronounce) is my oncologist. Surgery, followed by my subsequent stay in the ICU, and Med/Surg floor will be at the Methodist Stone Oak Hospital in San Antonio, TX. The hospital is located at 1139 E Sonterra Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78258, phone #(210) 638-2000.
Words cannot express how very touched and grateful I am for the many calls, texts, emails, and prayers I am receiving. My friend, Cindy Schaefer, who formerly was a nurse Anesthetist and who is very knowledgeable about health issues, will stay with me in ICU and will be keeping my Caring Bridge posts up to date along with sending occasional texts about my progress. If you would like to have your cell phone added to Cindy's text list, please let her know directly by contacting her cell number, (952) 843-3537. Initially, I will NOT be able to have visitors or gifts, such as balloons or flowers, while I am in the ICU due to the high risk of infection and the dangers it would pose. If all goes well, I should be moved onto a regular hospital ward within approximately a week after my surgery and at that time I will be delighted to have visitors, as the doctors allow. The risk of exposure to bacteria is too great while I am in the initial days of recovery. If you truly wish to lift my spirits and give me joy, there is nothing I'd cherish more than a donation to one of the two pet rescues that I support, both are 501c3 charities.
God's Dogs Rescue Debbie Davis 8318 Brixton San Antonio, TX 78254
They Have a Right to Live Rescue Shelly Alsvig 111 View Point Dr. E Boerne, TX 78006 This site accepts PayPal at; The firstname.lastname@example.org
I thank each and every one of you for the support, encouragement, and prayers that you are giving me at this very difficult time. I truly believe in the Power of Prayer!