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Almost 5 years ago, Steve was playing basketball at Club Sport and began to feel dizzy and unfocused. He came home, and drank some water and ate lunch and went back to work in his home office. He couldn’t concentrate and still felt dizzy and off so he wanted to be taken to the ER. At the hospital they tested for a heart attack and found no issues with his heart. They then diagnosed him with a panic attack and dehydration. This began a journey of 4 ½ years of searching for answers and struggling for health and wholeness for Steve that led to the discovery of a right frontal lobe brain tumor on November, 1 2017.
During the last 4 plus years Steve has seen many doctors and tried a lot of different things to help him deal with what was diagnosed as anxiety and panic. His symptoms over this time included anxiety, occasional 30 second episodes of spacing out which left him with a racing heart, and not feeling like his mind was as sharp as it used to be. To battle these things he started by changing his lifestyle. Some of the simpler things he did were to cut out caffeine, both coffee and diet coke, started taking vitamins and seeing a naturopath to get on supplements to build up his adrenal and immune system, and made sure he exercised every day. He also changed jobs which meant he no longer traveled weekly and didn’t have the stress of managing a team of 15 people in other states. Soon after he began a spiritual journey finding peace and hope in a new relationship with Jesus. He was also seeing therapists who told him he didn’t need to see them, he had EKGs, Stress Tests, Sleep Studies, Acupuncture and many other treatments in an effort to feel 100% again. The last 4 years were full of hard work and determination for Steve all in an effort to feel like himself again. For certain many of the things he did over the last 4 years improved his health, life and spirit.
Over the Summer of 2017 Steve’s 30 second space out episodes began to increase in frequency and intensity. Due to these changes he began visiting doctors again. He saw another primary care physician who specializes in depression and anxiety but he was unable to help. He then decided to try therapy again thinking maybe it was something in his psyche not his physical body, although he has felt confident since the first episode 5 years ago that it was physical. The therapist quickly ascertained that Steve was not having anxiety and after only 3 sessions encouraged Steve to stop doing therapy and to see a neurologist. Based on this recommendation Steve went back to our primary care doctor and asked for a neurology recommendation. During the visit with our primary care doctor in which we were attempting to get a neurology referral, Steve had one of his episodes. He had never had an episode in the presence of a doctor. Although this was an uncomfortable experience for Steve, it was also a small miracle because once our doctor saw what we had been trying to describe for years, it changed her urgency and approach to his care. Days after that doctor appointment we had a referral to a neurologist and an appointment for an MRI.
The MRI that changed our lives was on November 1, 2017 at 1:15pm at Meridian Park Hospital. On our drive there we joked that we didn’t know what we should pray for. Did we want them to find something in his brain so we had an explanation for the 5 years of struggle? Did we want them to find nothing and know his brain was fine but we needed to keep searching for his health? Neither of these was a good option. We prayed for a tumor that could be easily removed and have the only impact be that Steve felt better, whole again. Yes we prayed for a tumor. Crazy I know.
The MRI was 2 hours long. And 2 hours after we got home Steve got a call from our primary care physician informing him that they found a 3 cm growth in his right prefrontal lobe.
Our lives were forever changed in that moment, with that call, with that news.
At first we believed that the tumor was just a growth. We had hope that it would be easily removable and then life would go on.
It seems that with each dr appointment we have learned more and more about the severity of the reality of this tumor.
After 2 neurosurgery opinions we decided to have the tumor removed at St. Vincent's. The surgery was done on December 12, 2017 and took 8 hours. Steve came out of surgery remarkably well and was released on December 14, 2017. Steve has healed well from the surgery and is feeling better each day. There have been no permanent side effects from the surgery. Unfortunately when the tumor was removed and studied we found out it was cancer. That is not the word used to diagnose him, we have yet to actually have a doctor tell us he has cancer. The tumor was diagnosed as an anaplastic oligodendroglioma. Stage 3 Brain Cancer.
Steve will begin Radiation and Chemotherapy on January 15, 2017 at St. Vincent's. Treatment is scheduled to last 6 weeks. Radiation will be 5 days a week and Chemotherapy will be everyday. Radiation will be a 40 mn appointment at St. Vincent's. Chemotherapy will be everyday taken orally at home. The expectation for health during this treatment is fatigue, hair loss and nausea. Steve still cannot drive so he will need rides to all treatments. Although I can and would be happy to do all the driving, I think Steve would enjoy some variety. We are hoping for a consistent radiation time around 11 am so traffic won’t be awful. We’ve had a lot of people offer to help with the driving and we really appreciate it. If you are interested in helping with driving please let us know what days/times you would be available to do so. We may not need all the help offered, but please know your support and willingness to help is so appreciated. We will do our best to update this site weekly with how Steve is doing and to provide treatment updates.