Jerry and Joanie’s Story

Site created on August 26, 2019

On Thursday August 15th,  Jerry (aka Dad) went in to see his primary doctor for cramps he had been having for several weeks in his left leg.  The cramps were mainly in his left calf, would come and go, but also involved some weakness in the leg which affected his walking a bit.  The primary doc called in a neurologist who was concerned that Dad may have suffered a stroke, so he ordered an MRI of his brain.  The MRI was done on Monday August 19th and although it did not show a stroke, it did reveal 3 tumors in Dad's brain.  One tumor, on the right side of his brain, is the size of a ping pong ball and is located in the back of his brain in the area that controls walking and coordination.   The docs believe this tumor and the swelling around it are  pressing down on part of the brain and that the leg "cramps" are actually seizures in the leg.  There are also two smaller tumors lower in the brain but the docs do not feel these two are affecting dad's functioning at this time.

After the brain tumors were discovered, a CT scan of his chest was also ordered.  Unfortunately, this also revealed a golf ball sized tumor in his lung near the diaphragm.  Since apparently brain tumors do not "travel", the doctors believe the tumors started in the lung and then traveled to the brain.  Although a biopsy has not yet confirmed it, the doctors are quite certain these tumors are cancerous.  Dad was started on a steroid and an anti-seizure medication and scheduled for several appointments.  As the final piece to a very bad few days, he was told that he is unable to drive at this time for fear of a more massive seizure while driving.

So begins our journey as we walk this path with Dad and Mom.  On a brighter note, Dad is physically feeling pretty good, remains sharp as a rusty tack, and both he and Mom are taking it "one day at a time".  The meds seem to be helping and have minimized the leg seizures with no significant side effects as of now.  We will update this site as often as we can and, of course, Dad welcomes your prayers, positive thoughts, and maybe an encouraging post to this site.



Newest Update

Journal entry by Paul Downes

Ok. maybe it wasn't actually the devil, (although that is a great song), but Dad and his  4 "boys" took a road trip to Savannah Georgia several weeks ago.  Lana (my wife) recently asked Dad what city he would like to take a trip to and he selected Savannah, where he was stationed in the military and due to his love of  Civil War history (no, he wasn't stationed there during the Civil War....).  We took a paddleboat cruise, a historic Trolley ride and "self guided" tours of several bars.  It was a great weekend full of fun and laughs.

Mom is no longer a fan of flying, so she stayed back with Lana.  They went shopping,, out to eat, to the casino, an arboretum and Mom played dominos with friends.  It's possible those two put on more miles driving around Minneapolis, than the 2,184 miles it took us to fly to Georgia.  Clearly, Lana was the MVP of the  weekend.  


Dad had repeat scans of his brain and lungs in late April.  Unfortunately, those scans did show that the main tumors in his lungs and brain have grown somewhat since his previous scans.  As a result, he went through his 4th round of brain radiation ("Gamma Knife") last week and had no issues following that procedure.  For his lungs, his doc is researching whether there is a different oral chemo pill for him to try or whether he would need to return to the IV chemo that he previously went through.  A decision on that will be made within the next week or two.


Mom's  bone marrow cancer continues to be pretty well controlled with the oral chemo pill that she takes.  Her blood numbers were off a bit recently, so her doc has changed her dosage.  Instead of taking her chemo pill for 3 weeks each month, she will now take it for 2 weeks each month and see how that goes.  She continues to struggle with some memory issues at times depending on the day, but seems to have no problem recalling all the times we each got into trouble in high school.

Mom and Dad are both looking forward to getting up to the cabin and seeing friends.  As always, they also welcome phone calls for a quick chat. Mom does tend to misplace her phone on occasion, so if she doesn't call back please try again.  Pretend you are one of those sales calls selling extended warranties for your car, a timeshare condo in Kabul, or a new roof-just keep calling.

Thanks for your support and Happy Memorial Day.   

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