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8/10/2016 Latest post:
Hello to all our friends and family. The love and support and offered prayers has been overwhelming!! We feel very unworthy of it all, but so grateful that we believe in a God who answers prayer! I would love to answer every message and phone call that we get, but it is becoming almost impossible to reply to each one individually. So with some encouragement from some of you I decided to start this caring bridge page. I'm not sure I know how to make a long story short and not bore you with too many details, so I guess I'll just start at the beginning. At the beginning of May Lauren started having some neurological episodes that lasted for only a minute or so. It started with a funny taste in his mouth and then the left side of his face would feel tingly and numb, and then it traveled to his throat and sometimes if he was drinking or eating at that moment he almost felt like he could choke. In just a short time the tingly/numb feeling traveled down his left arm and into his hand. He didn't even tell me about it for quite some time and when he did we thought maybe it was a pinched nerve In his neck or some weird kind of migraine. These episodes happened multiple times in a day for about 2 months and sometimes even woke him up at night. Since they always went away about as soon as they started, and never seemed to cause any problems, we just decided to ignore them and go on with life. Lauren did a little research online and found out if it was anything like a TIA or stroke related he would probably loose his Commercial Drivers License and we couldn't afford that! Then, the morning of July 7th I was talking to him on the phone and it almost sounded like he was slurring his words just a little. When he came home that evening and I sat down to chat with him just a little I noticed that the left side of his mouth was drooping just a little. I asked him if he was ok and he said he had had some really bad episodes (by this time we had begun to wonder if they were TIA's) that day. He went to work on Friday but by Saturday we thought maybe we should get some advice from someone so Lauren called a good friend who is also a nurse and just explained what had been going on and also told him he didn't want to see a doc for fear of loosing his license. His friend told him to start taking aspirin every day to thin his blood and also started him on some supplements to strengthen his heart and blood vessels and help stabilize his blood pressure, and then told us (I was on the phone too) if anything got any worse we would have to go to the doctor! He also told us we needed to discuss this with our children and all pray about it to see if it seemed like God would be pleased with trying that route. At first we were quite amazed because all his TIA's went away, but then during the last week of July he told me he was having a little difficulty buttoning his shirts because his fingers on his left hand didn't want to cooperate. He also began to notice that anything he tried to hold in his left hand he would drop. During this whole time he was becoming more and more tired! It took everything he had to drag himself out to his truck every day and get back home in the evening so he could sit down and relax! On Saturday July 30 he was so exhausted he could hardly do anything. We got ready for church Sunday morning and it took him a long time so I finally had to help him tie his shoes and button the sleeve on his right arm. Both Damien and I noticed a marked difference in the droop to his mouth and he was having difficulty eating. At church that morning some of the men asked him if there was something wrong and he finally decided to share with a few of the brethren. Monday, (august 1st) he went to work like normal but was not feeling good at all. He had a very bad day!! Since he has driven truck all his life he doesn't have to really think about what he's doing because it all just comes second nature. That day though he realized he was making a lot of really dumb mistakes that didn't make any sense! When he walked into the office (at Farmers Grain) shortly after lunch Dwonn took one look at him and said "Dad! you have to go see a doc!" Then he called me and asked if I would make Lauren an appointment with our family doctor. I got an appointment for Wednesday morning (august 3) so Lauren loaded his truck and was planning to drive yet on Tuesday but when he came home he couldn't get backed into the shop, (he's done this a thousand times with no difficulty!) and finally hit the side of the door. He came right in the house and called Dwonn and told him he wouldn't be driving any more. On Wednesday we went to our doc appt. and he did an exam and some strength/balance tests and said Lauren needed to have a CT scan to see what was going on in his head. They scheduled an appt. at the imaging center for Monday morning (august 8) He had that exam done and when they were finished the technician said he needed to get the radiologist to come and look at the scan and rite away we suspected they were alarmed at what they saw. We didn't expect that our family doc would have the report very soon but decided to stop at his office on our way home because I had a couple of things I wanted to discuss with his nurse. I walked into his office and asked the receptionist if I could talk to Gail and then realized she was sitting rite there. She immediately got up and I told her I could talk to her there and she said no, I want to talk to you alone. My heart sank!! She asked if Kent (our family doc) had called us and I said no. She didn't beat around the bush or put any sugar on it she just said "he has a tumor and the radiologist sez it is urgent to see a neurosurgeon" I was wondering how to tell Lauren and she asked if he was with me so she came out to the car and told him too. Of course we started to break up a bit and she said you two are so dear to me and I only learned to know you a few weeks ago and she said she was praying for us! She then made us an appt. with the neurosurgeon for Tuesday morning. Our heads were spinning and we had so many unanswered questions! We got to Boise Tuesday morning and met Dr. Hajjar. He said he needed an MRI because he cant see the tumor that well on the CT scan, so we still have a lot of questions! He did tell us that the tumor is ahead of his motor dept. and its the swelling that is causing the problems with his motor skills. He started him on steroids to reduce the swelling and also on anti-seizure meds. Laurens condition has gotten worse quite rapidly. He can basically do nothing with his left hand anymore and is starting to have some weakness in his left leg also. The MRI is scheduled for Thursday (august 11) with another appt. with Dr. Hajjar on Friday morning. I think at that appt. he will have a plan of attack.