In January Randy started taking a new medication (to him) called atorvastatin. Gradually he began having some cognitive changes, a mental "fogginess". At first we thought that maybe he was getting Alzheimer's. But then he was also starting to have trouble with his gait and his right leg specifically. His leg felt heavy and he would find it difficult to lift his right foot all the way when walking. We have known of people having these types of reactions to statin medications, so at first we attributed these new symptoms to the new medication. We called his doctor to tell him his symptoms and he's discontinued the statin medication Feb. 28th and we were told to wait and see if his symptoms improve, that it could take 4-6 weeks for the medicine to completely leave his system. But after a few weeks both the cognitive changes as well as the feeling in his legs were not improving. It was difficult to tell because he would have a good day which would make us think he was coming around, followed by another bad day. We decided to have a consultation with his primary doctor after it seemed to be getting worse, who referred us to neurology. On Wednesday (Mar. 29) he saw the neurologist followed by an MRI that night.
Thursday afternoon we got the shocking call from his doctor that masses were discovered in his parietal and occipital lobes, they told us at that time it was metastasis, meaning it had originated somewhere else in his body but had spread to his brain. Since he only had a scan of his brain during the MRI we were not sure where it could have come from. Our daughter Kristi works at Mayo Clinic and she and her husband, Adam, happen to know a wonderful neurology oncologist, Dr. Uhm. They got in touch with him Thursday evening and he graciously squeezed us into his schedule at 10 am the next morning! We packed up quickly and drove overnight to Marie's house in Waconia, and then left early Thursday morning for Mayo. Dr. Uhm was so wonderful and he did a great job explaining everything to us. He showed us the images of the tumors and explained that they are also flooding the area of the brain with water. This is causing the signals that his brain sends not to fire as strongly as they should. That is why his foot is harder to pick up and clear the floor while he walks and the mental fogginess. The area of the brain that the tumors are in control the right side of his body for mobility and can also affect language. Before the doctor came into the room with us he was able to get us in to see one of Mayo's best neurosurgeons at 1 pm that same day! We are all so overwhelmed with this terrible news, but at the same time feel so grateful for the way things fell into place that Friday.
Dr. Uhm informed us that he does not think it is metastatic cancer, but rather that the tumor originated in the brain. So there is no need at this time to go searching for the primary source via PET scan. Given the situation and the size of the tumor, (almost 1-1/2 inches in diameter with two smaller satellite lesions) it needs to be removed surgically as soon as possible. After they remove the tumor they will know the type and therefore how to proceed whether it be radiation, or chemo or both. The surgeon did not sugar coat the situation, we know this is very serious, but we are comforted knowing that he is in the best hands possible. He got the "A" team as they described it and that is what we all know he deserves, and again we are so grateful. His surgery is scheduled for Friday April 7th. We've been told that the surgery will take around 5 hours and he will be in ICU for the first day post surgery, with another 2-3 days of hospitalization before he can be discharged.
Please keep him in your prayers, we know miracles happen everyday and don't underestimate the power of prayer and hope. Also, if you feel inclined to leave a message I know he would enjoy reading them. Dr. Uhm has started him on a steroid which has helped reduced the fluid around the tumor, allowing him to think more clearly and walk with more ease, even after just one day . He is his regular self, so don't hesitate to say hello. We will be staying in Rochester with Kristi's family until the surgery, which is only 4 blocks from the hospital. We are so grateful for all the help our daughters, Michelle, Kristi and Marie, and their spouses. The grandchildren are keeping everybody's spirits up! The 4-legged children, Mya and Sophie, are providing a lot of support as well as they are always ready to cuddle in his lap when needed. We will update this site regularly to let you know how things are going and what we learn.
Thank you all for your positive thoughts, prayers, and messages. They mean so much to the whole family.