Tom Harwood | CaringBridge

Tom where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address

Tom Harwood

First post: Aug 5, 2018 Latest post: Sep 27, 2018
As most of you know, Tom was life flighted from Durango to Denver on June 26. After not feeling well for about six weeks -- but NO neurological symptoms -- he woke me up early that morning with what I thought were tremors. We later found out they were small seizures. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma -- same tumor John McCain had

The surgeon in Denver operated Friday, June 29. He was hoping to remove 86%; however, because the tumor was so large (it covered the entire right side of his brain), he only managed 65 to 70 percent. Tom also had a small stroke during surgery but we've seen no effects from that. The surgeon was disappointed at first but realized had he gone further, he probably would have caused a much larger stroke. He had given Tom & I three choices: One, do nothing and Tom would have about four weeks left; two, operate but no chemo or radiation and he might have a year; three, operate, get chemo and radiation and he might have two years to spend with family and friends. We of course chose option 3. The downside of surgery was that Tom would probably be at least partially but probably completely paralyzed. He came through the surgery like a champ with NO paralysis. Everyone was amazed! After spending a week in Denver, my son Michael drive out from Omaha and drove Tom and I back to Durango.

We now have a physical, occupational and speech therapist and a home healthcare nurse coming to the house. His speech was affected, but he seems to be improving. He is in no pain now, although he hates the 32 staples in his head. They're coming out tomorrow, so he's happy about that. He does sleep quite a lot. Tomorrow he gets oxygen for nighttime and we're hoping that will help his energy level. I teased him that between the staples and a huge incision and a swollen face (which has gone down at this point) he could have tried out for a new Frankenstein movie.... We have a walker, but he prefers holding onto my shoulders. He is much stronger than anyone thought he'd be. And his appetite hasn't suffered at all!!!

Next week he sees an ENT doc to make sure nothing happened in his throat (his voice has changed), a urologist to deal with some issues there, and an oncologist for the chemo and a radiation doc for the radiation. The surgeon told us the chemo for this type of tumor is simply a little pill that most people tolerate well: no loss of hair, nausea, etc. We'll see how he does with both.

Sunday is his 73rd birthday, and we're going to have a small "party" for him. If any of you wants to call or write, my phone number is
310.809.6489. Our address is 122 Deer Ridge Drive, Bayfield, CO 81122. We're about 18 miles east of Durango. We bought this wonderful three-level house in January. It's on about 2-1/2 acres of forest. Right after we bought it, we went into a severe drought, and THREE levels? Fortunately everything we need is on the main level. I don't think Tom will be climbing any stairs soon. But he does get to watch the deer, turkeys and other critters outside.

Needless to say, we can use any prayers and good wishes we can get. My daughter Michelle is in town until the 21st. I'm going to miss her. She's been a tremendous help. Her son, our grandson, Jared, who is 19, moved to Durango last January, and I'm really glad about that. Please feel free to call anytime. He loves talking to family and friends. I'll try to keep everyone updated through this site, so check back in occasionally.

Tom calls himself a "numb skull." Wonder why?   His warped sense of humor has not left him.  Some of the nurses and doctors occasionally look at me after one of his plays on words to find out if he is for real!!!

Love,

Cris

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