Our New Journey

On June 9th, 2011, my husband was feeling ill. He said that he was dehydrated and needed to go to the hospital for fluids. I mentioned to the nurses that I was concerned because he had seemed a little different over the past week. After a few tests, it was revealed that a tumor had taken up residence in his brain. A biopsy soon followed. As the surgeon talked about the results of the biopsy, the dreadful word "cancer" was born into our lives, changing it forever.

Through this blog, I shared the early years of this journey.

Several years later, I'm elated to report that he is doing very well, back to work and life. Seeing him now, you would never know that he has been through such a battle.

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thanks for the Umbrellas

As it poured down rain yesterday, the title "Here Comes the Rain Again" popped into my head. But then I thought about the wonderful kindness shown to both Joe and me this past week through the most recent trial, and I thought of umbrellas. Umbrellas that give shelter from the rain.

Joe began a round of oral chemo Nov 1st. The plan was 5 days of chemo this month. Then 5 next month, and so on. We will be altering that plan.

As the days went on, the more tired he got. This was not surprising. I know that chemo is poisoning the body as well as the tumor. I know that this isn't easy for the body to take. So, I wasn't too concerned until I arrived home from work Monday. He complained of a terrible headache and was asking for pain pills even before I put my school bags down. I gave him the pain pills, then noticed that he hadn't taken his morning pills. One of the pills is a steroid. The headache made sense knowing that he had missed the steroid. I gave him the steroid, and asked him to take it. He did. This was unusual because he had been getting up and taking them religiously for so long.

The next morning, I brought him his pills before I went to work. I tried to wake him and ask him to take his pills. I told him that I was worried about his brain swelling if he didn't take the steroid. He would open his eyes, stir, and say that he was trying, but I couldn't get him to wake long enough to take them. I had to go to work, so I left them on the nightstand beside the bed. When I got home, they were gone, and he was on the couch. So, I hoped that he had taken them.

This routine occurred Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, I called the nurse to see if she thought I should bring him into the ER. She said that as long as he was cognitively aware, keep him stimulated, but I didn't need to bring him in. When I arrived home on Thursday, he had another painful headache. I gave him pain meds and asked him some simple awareness questions. The only thing he seemed to be aware of is who I was. So I told him that we needed to go to the ER. I tried for about an hour to get him to go to the car. He was too confused to follow my directions. So I called 911. The paramedics arrived, asked him more questions, and brought him down to the ambulance.

After admission in Kaiser ER and a CT. It was revealed that he once again was suffering from swelling on his brain. He was admitted that night... well really it was 6:00 AM Friday morning.

The neurologist examined him in the morning, and after talking to his neuro-oncologist decided on a course of steroids. She didn't put him on the same massive dosage that he had been on in early September, but more than he had been currently taking (or not taking). With this came the understanding that it would take longer for the positive effects to be felt, however he wouldn't have as far to step down once he stabilized. He spent Friday pretty confused. He just wanted to rest on his side and not be messed with. He didn't understand why nurses kept coming in stabbing him with needles.

On Saturday, he was feeling better. He woke up in the hospital before I arrived in the morning and didn't know why he was in the hospital. He called me which was a good sign. Later Saturday, he took a walk around the nurse's station, and I was comfortable taking him home as long as he agreed to take his meds. He wanted to get out and promised to take his pills.

We've spent a quiet Sunday at home. He has asked several times about his pills. He made sure that he had taken what he needed to take. This was good for my heart. One of our neighbors came over for a bit, brought lunch, and watched some football. Later, his dad stopped by for and hung out for a bit as well.

Joe has still been a bit confused about time today, but has been so much more himself. The doctors and nurses at Kaiser were patient and kind through his stay. They took excellent care of him during his stay. My friends and family took wonderful care of me. I am so grateful for the love and support. It is so nice to know that we are not in this journey alone. It's nice to have an umbrella when it's raining.

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