Birthdays And Other Blessings
09 September 2013
At the tail end of August, Rob turned 41 years old. That was on Friday, the 30th. By Sunday night, he was back in the hospital.
If you're a regular reader here, you'll remember that he has had a cerebellar/peduncular brain tumor that has been quite naughty in the past several months. He had five Cyberknife radiation surgery treatments in July, which we thought would be the end of the trouble, but we were wrong.
He's been quite dizzy since he finished treatment, and then his headaches came back with increasing severity and frequency. He'd had a cold and thought he was dealing with a sinus infection and inner ear trouble, so we didn't rush back for a follow-up like we should have.
On Saturday, the last day of August, he started driving Team Odette to Miami's South Beach for a visit with my longtime internet friend, Kellee. It was the first time we were going to meet in "real life," so of course I didn't want to miss the opportunity.
However, he was swerving all over the road right from the beginning, so after two or three swerves, I demanded he pull over and let me drive. He insisted he was FINE, DAMMIT, but I knew. I just knew. I called Dr. Shaya, his neurosurgeon, and let him know. Monday was Labor Day, so he set up an appointment for first thing Tuesday morning.
He seemed pretty okay at the beach, but after we returned home that evening, his behavior became a little "off" like it had been back in June. Not as bad, and nothing I can specifically put my finger on, but something was up. I told him we were going to head over to the local emergency department for an MRI to check on things. I wanted to have the image anyway, to bring to Dr. Shaya, so he could determine if Cyberknife had done what it was supposed to do.
Well, it wasn't good news. From the sound of things at the ER, Rob was in dire straits. His brain was bleeding, and there was inflammation and swelling pushing on the rest of his brain from the site of the cavernous angioma that radiation had treated. Indeed, when we talked to Dr. Shaya the following morning at the University of Miami Hospital, where they quickly transferred him, he told us that, "When they called me, I thought [he was] dead."
At UM, Rob was put in the Neuro ICU for observation and further testing. He had an MRI and an MRA, along with a CT scan. Our medical bills were mounting, and since Rob continues to search for post-retirement employement, we can hardly pay our household bills, let alone anything additonal. His sister Gail set up a fundraiser for us, and between the amount that has been raised and the prayers from all over the country - nay, the world - we have been beside ourselves with gratitude. It's amazing.
On Wednesday, Rob was taken out of the N-ICU and put in a regular bed, and then he was released this past Thursday afternoon. Or maybe it was Thursday and Friday; I don't know, because the days run together when you're in hospital, don't they?
Cyberknife takes three full months for the patient to receive the full benefit of treatment, unless progress is interrupted by a bleed. Unfortunately, the latter situation is what happened in Rob's case. Dr. Shaya and his radiologist oncologist, Dr. Fayed, discussed the case at length before deciding how to proceed.
They determined that the bleed had happened about two weeks prior, and there was nothing to do but watch him closely for another couple of months to see how the remaining time since Cyberknife would go. In the meantime, he has to take steroids to reduce the swelling and conquer his dizziness, get MRIs to track progress, and have his symptoms tracked (by me) and reported to his doctors. If anything else happens, we're to report back to UM Hospital immediately. Do not pass "GO," do not collect a paycheck.
This past weekend, Birthday Season continued for Team Odette. Chloë turned 12 (TWELVE!!!!) on Saturday, and my 37th birthday was the following day. I'm so thankful the five of us were able to be together for the birthday fun that ensued, which I'll report on in a separate post.
Rob's dizziness continues, along with some nausea from the steroids and extreme tiredness from I-don't-know-what. He has slept endlessly when we haven't been on-the-go for birthday fun. Other than that, he's doing pretty well, considering.
Anyway, folks, that's why I've been missing in action yet again. I'll post soon, if not immediately, with pictures from the joint birthday I share with my older daughter!