Rhonda Walker

First post: Jul 24, 2021 Latest post: Aug 16, 2021

Silver Linings

If someone had told Rhonda on Thursday, July 15 that a brain tumor would be the silver lining, she would have given one of her “you’re out of your mind looks”. But on July 16, that is precisely what happened.

The Backstory

Around July 4, Rhonda was experiencing symptoms of vertigo. A couple times barfing, missing a little work, but not being a big lover of going to the doctor, Rhonda sort of blew it off. After all, her daughter and sister both had had vertigo and this seemed no different.

On July 16, Rhonda’s partner Harry called Loree (Rhonda’s sister) and said “You need to do something, she won’t listen to me. She’s laying on the couch barely moving.”

Phone calls exchanged, bossy sister said you’re going to the ER. After some gentle scolding for not coming in sooner, tests were ordered and then the waiting.

At 2:00 that afternoon, the MRI revealed a 4.3 x 3.8 cm tumor on her cerebellum. (About the size of an egg.) Absolutely operable.

Why is this a silver lining…because the next day, a bigger scan showed two smallish tumors in her right lung. Rhonda had no symptoms for lung cancer but they suspected the brain tumor was actually a metastasis from somewhere else. And, while it would have been awesome that this was a benign fluke in her brain, that wasn’t the case. And without the brain tumor causing the dizziness, this could have been far worse.

So, on Wednesday, July 21, the brain tumor was removed in a 5 ½ hour surgery at Abbott Northwestern. A very nerve-racking 5 ½ hours.

The surgeon gave us the best news: Rhonda’s surgery was routine! Routine. Ordinary. Uncomplicated. Beautifully boring words!

But true to form Rhonda came out of the surgery cracking jokes. Being silly and the life of the party. One night in intensive care unit with the most professional and fun nurse, “Todd”. He was awesome and the perfect complement to Rhonda. He was great!

The next steps are:

1.       After 2 weeks of recovery at home, then focused radiation in the area of the brain tumor.

2.       Removal of the upper right lobe of Rhonda’s right lung

3.       Chemotherapy (We know chemo sucks – but if it sucks the cancer out of Rhonda…YAY CHEMO!)

4.       More radiation

After a week of deep sighs, tears, bargaining with God, letting go and having faith…there is a plan and a goal.

Rhonda is amazing, strong and tough. Rhonda is the real deal and she will get through this.

We are using CaringBridge to keep everyone informed so we don’t leave anything out. If you call Rhonda, she may or may not answer depending on what’s going on. Please leave messages on this page, Rhonda will get them!

Keep sending good positive thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

P.S. The early pathology results are in. They are no surprise as we were told in all likelihood this was lung cancer that had metastasized to Rhonda’s brain. Preliminary results are “non-small-cell” lung cancer. So much information is now available and so many new treatments and clinical trials available that, while scary, this is not the end of the world. Keep the faith! We are!


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