Friday, January 06, 2006

prayers requested

here is the update from my cousin's wife:

OK. Here I am. I have been thinking about all of you so much in the last couple of days, hoping to give everyone the information I want to give. It's not all here yet, and I can't wait any more before talking to you. I am not good at not talking :). Most of you know the basics, but I'll start from the beginning.

On the 26th, I got the stomach flu and threw up multiple times. By 9 pm, I began having seizure type activities after passing out. I went via ambulance to St. John's in Maplewood as we were visiting my family for Christmas. They thought I was just dehydrated and pushed fluids into me, but I just wasn't bouncing back. When the next ER Doc came on shift, he looked at me and thought I should stay overnight. After a long evening, I was finally in bed at 3:30 a.m. I saw a resident rather early who was concerned about my seizure activity and he consulted with the staff physician who ordered a CT scan. Immediately following the CT scan the staff doctor was in my room saying there was something seen on the CT scan and they needed to do an MRI. They had also seen abnormalities in my EKG scan from the ER and wanted to do more testing on that and to move me to the telemetry floor upstairs for ongoing heart monitoring. I was also having gobs of fluids pumped into me throughout all of this time for dehydration.

After the MRI, I went to my new floor with new monitors and an immediate echocardiogram to check out my heart. It sounded like the neurologist would review my MRI and talk with me in the morning. Within 20 minutes of hearing that he would see me in the morning, he was at my bedside telling me that I had a brain tumor on my left frontal lobe about the size of a tangerine. Needless to say, we were in shock.

I was transferred to Mayo on Wednesday morning and saw the residents within 15 minutes of arriving in the ER and to my room in Domatilla - very very smooth and comforting. They had me preop for surgery thinking there would be something immediately the next day. Once I saw the neurosugeon Fredrick Meyer, things slowed down quite a bit and took a calmer slower processing option. He gave me 2 options, one of biopsy followed by radiation and one of craniotomy (removing 80%) of the tumor followed by radiation.

After spending the majority of my day in the hospital on Thursday, I was told I could go home. I couldn't wait to see my babies* and we were home by 6:15 that evening.

The main person I hadn't talked with that I needed to before making any major decisions was the neuro oncologist who was described to me by one of my angel residents as the "quarterback". He was on "Holiday" in Canada with his family and Pat and I were able to visit with him at lenth at the Gonda building yesterday. This is what has been decided:

1. We will do a biopsy followed by radiation and probably some form of chemotherapy as this tumor has been termed "large" and "big" - not what one wants to hear from a World Renouned Mayo Neuro Oncologist :)
2. We may wait to find out more about my heart abnormaility (found inverted t-waves and slight ischemia/scarring) before the biopsy, depending on what the surgeon feels comfortable with.
3. They believe it is a low grade tumor, but won't know more about specifics without seeting it under the microscope. Once they know this, they can fine tune my treatment more.
4. I have been on anti-seizure meds (keppra) as well as steriods (decadron). As there is no swelling on my brain, they are tapering me off the steroids which will decrease the anxiety and fatigue i have had as side effects.
5. Because i am young (30 in case you were wondering) and no real past medical history, they feel that treatment will be very helpful for me. Once they know more about the tumor, we'll be able to have more prognoses and life expectancy numbers.

I hope I can give you more info in the near future. Writing this email has totally wiped me out. Please continue to send me your emails, I won't be able to respond, but I definitely am getting your thoughts and prayers.

I love you all very much, and I truly believe there are millions of angels among us - including all of you.

Please feel free to forward this on to anyone you think would like an update.


prayers requested from anyone for whom that is appropriate and consistent with their beliefs. please comment if you are so moved so i can communicate your involvement to aid their encouragement.

*they are ~3 and 1 years of age.

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