Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My momma always said…

When I was growing up my mom always said, "Friends are family you pick for yourself." I always believed her…but until the last year and half that statement didn’t have the depth of meaning that it does now. In these trying months the support of friends and family has been amazing.

The blog that dear friends of ours have put together for us is beyond words. It's an incredible resource for us and yet another way friends have put their heart and souls into helping us navigate the insanity of our life with cancer. If you haven't seen it yet...it's titled:
Lend a Hand to the Fisher Hewett's: A place to find specific ways to help Dave, Skye and Alec as they kick brain cancer's ass.
I love the title! I can't believe the amount of time that went into creating this for us. It's remarkable and If anyone wants to check it out, it's at http://fisherhewetthelp.blogspot.com

The kindness, generosity and love that you all have given us has been astounding. I’m not just talking about the gift cards, food and financial support…which in itself have been absolutely staggering. But the incredible support we have received emotionally is precious and I will never be able to express to each of you how much of a difference you have made in our lives. Many of you have been there at all hours of the day, dropped everything to be with me during yet another surgery, you’ve called with support and listened as I cried, you’ve given me hope in those days where I felt the world was covered in shadows and you’ve run errands and basically helped me keep our life together.

Even when I was unable to express what I needed or even look beyond the moment…somehow you guys were able to figure it out and give us what we needed most. These days have been some of darkest of my life, but you guys have been there…standing with us in the darkness and holding a candle. Reminding us that there is always light and we are never alone. And that my friends is something that I will carry with me always.

I don’t know how we would have survived thus far without all of this support. I look at so many people around here and how so many are alone…and then you wonder why people’s survival rates are so low. Some things you just can’t do alone.

So this is a thank you to all of you. You guys know who you are. So many of you have sent emails full of kind words and prayers. And I thank you all. Although I haven’t gotten a chance to respond to many of you…I love the emails and your kind words carry me though these crazy days. So, please know that although I may not have time right now to get back to each of you. I thank you and am grateful to have all of you in our lives…

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The universe threw us yet another curve ball...

Just when we dared hope that things were settling down just a bit, the universe threw us yet another curve ball. David had begun working remotely part time, his lifting restrictions were lessened a bit and he was finally able to drive as well. And then the world dropped out from beneath us once again.

Last Thursday Dave developed an excruciating headache. He was barely able to walk to the car to get him to the ER. Once there, they found that he was bleeding again near the tumor site. Also, there had been not only some tumor growth but a cyst had developed as well. The cyst wasn’t a big deal but the fact that it was pressing on his brain stem and causing blurred vision was. This coupled with the bleeding meant that David would be going in for surgery once again. It was almost 4 weeks to the day since his last surgery.

David went in for surgery Saturday morning and then we began the waiting game. God I hate that game. The surgery lasted much shorter than expected and the surgeon came down to discuss it with us. As surgeries go, it went well. Keep in mind; the surgeries that Dave undergoes are not simple. They’re complicated and extremely dangerous. It’s amazing he’s had so many of them previously and basically walked away unscathed. Unfortunately this time we weren’t so lucky. They had to remove two blood vessels to get into the area they couldn’t get into previously to remove as much of the remaining tumor as possible as well as the newly formed cyst. Even doing that, they were unable to get the area where the bleeding had been, due to the fact that the surgeon would have had to go through too much “precious territory” to get to it. They were able to clean things up a bit in there but having to cut major blood vessels in David’s brain wasn’t a good thing. Unavoidable…but not good.

And then we just had to wait once again for him to wake up to see what and if any damage had occurred. While we waited the surgeon spoke with us at length about David. In his words, he said “I just love that guy.” He connects with all the nursing staff, residents and doctors in a way I’ve never seen. David even had one of the surgeon’s nursing staff, a seasoned veteran, telling the surgeon to “do well” on this one…he’s a keeper. We both got a laugh out of that one. As if the patient is an ass he won’t try as hard! But it was sweet of her to say it. His surgeon went on to say that David was an amazing man and the reason he come through these surgeries so well was less to do with him and more to do with David. He said it was all him and that David really was a hero…not like all of those people you see on TV. He said David is the real thing. He is able to get back up after each of these surgeries and still hope and fight. He is able to, even in the face of extreme adversity, to act like it’s no big deal and continue on with his life as if nothing big had happened. Full of hope for the future. He said Dave is a better man than most of us to be able to have death dangled like a carrot in front of him on a regular basis and to just act as if it’s no biggie. He got quite emotional and you could see how much David means to him. This is unusual, because surgeons tend to distance themselves out of self preservation and then they can focus on getting the job done, per sea.

His surgeon came down personally to tell us when David came out of the anesthesia and that he didn’t have the use of his entire left side of his body. And after further testing they were able to ascertain that he had a stroke. Not surprising considering the severity of the surgery, but definitely not good news.

This week has been the hardest and most hellish week of my life. It doesn’t hold a candle to any of the previous surgeries and doesn’t even compare to the day they told us David had a malignant brain tumor. Because each and every one of those times we had each other to pull one another through the darkest hours. To make the other one smile and dare to believe. But not today. Not this week. David has been pretty out of it due to the severe swelling in his brain as it tries to recover from the surgery. David has been delusional at times. It’s not at all uncommon seeing as what they had to do up there. But it’s been hell to watch. The minutes drag to hours and the hours drag into days. I have no real concept of time anymore. I’m living at the hospital as much as possible and yet trying to balance time between both David and Alec. It’s a daunting and at times overwhelming task.

But as the days drag on…we see improvements every day and the surgeon is hopeful that Dave will make a close to full recovery, if not a total recovery. The delusions are becoming less frequent and thankfully through all of this he has always recognized, Alec and I, as well as everyone in his life. It’s just his surrounding that tends to get a bit confusing for him. But he’s coming back from this. He has full use of his left leg already, albeit it is still week. He can lift his left arm up and off the bed and can grasp things in it already. This is phenomenal news, since six days ago he couldn’t move them period. His speech is coming back extremely quickly and should be back to normal shortly. And through rigorous physical, occupational and speech therapy it will all return. David is a fighter and he continues to fight even now.

So, I will try and keep it together and try to keep moving forward. I’m overwhelmed and exhausted. I have tons of paperwork and am unsure even where to begin. Our lives have changed once again and I’m struggling to adapt and keep the family together. But some days are hard and there are moments where I truly believe we won’t get through this. But they pass and I begin to trudge forward once again. David will pull through this and hopefully in the next couple weeks he will be returning home to us. I miss my husband dearly.