Sunday, July 30, 2006

Crazy times... do I begin this blog? I haven't updated in months as you all know and I have no clue where to begin. Most of you already know what's been happening in our life as of late, but I feel compelled to blog about it as well.

A month ago our life changed. Changed forever. Changed for the bad. Changed for the good. Changed in crazy new unforeseeable ways. It changed. You all know how very fond of change I am. Right! But amazingly enough, this change hasn't been as hard as I expected. It's been rather easy actually. Maybe it was because I myself have changed or maybe because David's best chance of survival required this made it a no brainer. (No pun there)

So, I'll begin at the beginning for those of you who stray across my blog and for anyone else who hasn't heard the news yet. About 7 weeks ago David started having headaches. Really nasty ones. He has them for about 3 weeks until it became pretty unbearable for him and being the stubborn man he is (Note: This will become very important later) I made him go to the doctor that Monday. They put him on some migraine medication and told him to come in on Friday to check in and see how things were going. The headaches were a bit better, but they still were there. Our doctor decided to get an MRI done just for good measure and to rule out anything more serious. On Saturday morning David went in for the MRI. We were both getting a bit nervous at this point but also knew our tendency to be worry warts. After the MRI was done, they said he would meet on Monday to discuss it with the doctor. We left and went home to take a nap. Dave had been exhausted the last couple weeks due to the pain. But, during our nap the doctor called. I picked up the phone and he told me I needed to wake up David because he needed to talk to him. At this point I knew something was very wrong. And from here on out our life seemed to be stuck in "Fast" mode. I woke David up and the doctor told him that there was a golf sized mass on his brain and that they were unsure what it was, but that he needed to be admitted to hospital today. Now. At that moment my heart stopped for a beat or two.

We dropped Alec off with Grandpa and Dave's mom drove with us to the hospital. At this point I was terrified and yet somehow it all seemed so surreal. Like this was happening to someone else. I called my mom and she got herself booked on a flight the next day, Sunday. Dave was admitted to the hospital and then the waiting began. The waiting to talk to the Neurosurgeon. The waiting to discuss the mass. The waiting to see when and if surgery was necessary. Thankfully, compared to many with the same thing, our waiting didn't last too long. Although for me, it was decades.

The neurosurgeon came in and said that he would be doing surgery on David Sunday morning. That what he had was either an abscess, a tumor or a malignant tumor. The next day David went in. He was chipper and making obnoxious jokes and being all- in-all David. A couple of incredible friends came, as well as David’s mom, while we all sat in the recovery room waiting to hear news. The doctors came in and asked me to come into this little adjacent room to discuss their findings. I kept wondering what that little room was. No bathroom. Nothing but a table and chairs. Now I know and wish I didn't. I fondly call it the "Oh Fuck, we have really bad news" room. I hate that room to tell you the truth. Sitting there as they told me the news was one of the 2 darkest days in my life. It felt like they tore out my heart and just left it on the table to bleed to death. God...this sounds bad doesn't it? Well, at the time it was. But before I go any further, I just want to let you guys know I'm doing ok. Really. It's just writing about this stirs up a lot of emotions. It's probably good for me to stir this crap up and then just release some of it. This is going to be one long blog maybe this is a good time for a tea break...

Is everyone back? Well, as I sat in that awful little room. They told me that they couldn't be sure until the pathology report came back. But that David had a malignant tumor. Cancer? This can't be happening I told myself. Well, the good news didn't end there. I was then told that this kind was probably one that would keep coming back. The only good news they had for me that day was that it was quite clean up there around the tumor and that they were able to remove all of it that was showing. Brain surgery is an amazing thing my friends. They were able to cut a trap door in David's head, pop the tumor out and then tidy things up a bit, and then just slap that piece of bone back on! Crazy.

Dave came out of the surgery with flying colors and then I told him the news. He continued to be buoyant and optimistic as he continues to be today. His utter optimism is the thing that has kept my ass on track and kept me moving forward and not dwelling. I learned just last week after we were chatting one night that these two days are actually gone. He doesn't remember a damn thing. Probably from the anesthetic. But he took the news well and by the next morning was off pain meds. This shocked not only the nurses, but the doctors and me as well. He felt fine and was feeling restless. Unfortunately, he didn't remember our conversation the previous day, so our doctor when he went in to check on him ended up telling him the news again. Dave continued to be optimistic. He spent a day and a half in ICU before being moved up the recovery room.

We spent the next 2 days in recovery. 2 you say? Yes, only 2 days before he was released. He continues to amaze me every day. But those were 2 of the longest days of my life. It was a constant stream of doctors and nurses, friends and family, support staff and physical therapists. The physical therapists came in and did all sorts of tests and made him do everything but jump on his head, which seeing as he just had brain surgery wasn't such a good idea. But they were amazed by the fact that he was fine. It was like he went in to get his tonsils removed or something. He had no loss of mobility and was still as strong as an ox. Two different sets came in to check on him. They finally gave him the go ahead to shower, which is good because it had been 3 days and he was quite rank. They were concerned about him doing it on his own, so I got to give him a sponge bath while they watched. Dave loves to glorify this story, and I indulge him. :)

So many people came to visit us during those days. Everyone was so amazing. NEVER underestimate the power of friends. I honestly don't know how people going through crazy times like these do it alone. I also wonder how much support plays in the survival rate in the face of a bad prognosis. I really believe it's a factor. But everyone was incredible. The love and support was amazing. David's co-workers were wonderful. They all pitched in and got him an IPOD. Not just any Ipod but the one with video! It has been great for sitting in waiting rooms at various hospitals. It's kept us distracted and helped the time fly. They're keeping his job open for him and the support from them has been amazing. Our friends and family has been incredible as well with helping us with house chores, lawn work, cooking, and researching info for us ... and to just being there to talk. We thank you.

I had mentioned previously that hearing the news after surgery was one of my darkest days. The other was the day they gave us the prognosis. It was a dark day. My darkest ever. The doctors came in and Chemotherapist, who really was a prick, told us in what I consider a very heartless manner. I understand that these guys live and die by statistics, but get some heart man. He came in and basically said that he had a grade 4 (which is bad) and that it was a multiforma. Which means it comes back. He gave a very bleak prognosis and said that there was no hope and this would kill David. No hope. Now, call me crazy, but I thought in times like these hope is what defines the survivors from the ones that curl up and die. Don't just tell us it's over. So, it was a dark day. I felt like a part of me died. And yet. Dave was OPTOMISTIC. Even now. He held me while I cried. Held me for hours. He was amazing and he continues to be.

So, we were released from the hospital and in search of our second opinion. Now, we weren’t expecting a different prognosis but we wanted hope. A fighting chance. We're both survivors and neither of us are ready to curl up and let this thing over take us. It's just not our style. A dear friend did countless hours of research for us and found us another hospital. A hospital with a brain tumor specialist. A doctor who is an amazing man and who in our first meeting with us said, "You know the statistics so I'm not going to go over them again. But remember, you're not a statistic yet." And that was when we began our new journey.

Dave has begun treatments with our Chemotherapist who is a renowned brain tumor specialist and Radiation with another doctor who specializes in brain and spinal cancer. This is where we were meant to be and this is where Dave will beat this. You may thing we're delusional but we're not giving up hope. Hope is life. And since this whole turn of events happened we've had people coming out of the wood works who had cancer or know people who had cancer... who also were given a bad prognosis and who are still here 5,12 and 18 years later. So Dave will be cancer free. Mark my words. It seems strange to say it but I believe it as much as David does. And you know what…all those others who beat the odds felt the same way.

So. Here’s where we’re at. I’ll be bloging on more regular intervals now. Getting this all out on paper helps be work through all the crazy stuff going on and gives you a glimpse where we’re at. We’re doing well. We have a new outlook on life now. This had made us reevaluate everything. We play more, laugh more and enjoy life. We’re still going through tough times but as David says, “We have to enjoy the now, because I don’t want to beat this and in 18 years look back and only remember fear and worry.” So we’re trying to put the fear behind us and live.

Dream. Love. Believe.
It’s our modo.