Archive for December, 2008

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My enemy has a name

December 16, 2008

And that name is Glioblastoma Multiforme, a grade 4 malignant tumor. Today is the day Pat and Bill learned what kind of tumor it is after the biopsy was performed.

This tumor takes no prisoners and is absolutely ruthless from all that I have read online. This sucks.

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Intensive care

December 13, 2008

The first night in the ICU allowed the IV of Decadron to work its magic. The excess fluid buildup around his brain was drained, allowing him to be more like his old self when he woke the next morning. Pat noticed an immediate improvement when she visited him at about 9am.

Shortly after Pat arrived a neurosurgeon called on the bedside phone and spoke to her about their findings. A number of tumors were in his brain, but the largest was in the frontal temporal lobe. Because of its size, location and depth surgery was not an option. Because of all the trauma on his brain within the last few days, the neurosurgeon wanted to wait until Monday (15th) to do a biopsy in order to determine exactly what kind of tumors they were, in particular the largest one.

The nurses of the intensive care unit made a point to periodically ask Bill how he was feeling, confusing him each time they asked. Sometimes people with brain tumors experience painful headaches but this was not the case for Bill. Since the tumor was near the left temporal lobe his right side was weakened, but only slightly at this point.

All the while sitting in the ICU no one had taken the time to explain to Bill what had happened or what was discovered. When Pat tried to discuss the MRI results with him, he wasn’t sure what she meant. With that she had to recount all of the events on Friday in order for him to understand. Since he was more like his normal self again he was able to understand what was being said though it still took time for it all to sink in.

Around lunch time most of his IV’s were removed so that he could eat. After making a ruckus to get the food ordered and delivered to him, he finally ate but it wasn’t until several hours after their initial offer. By this time Bill had gone without solid food for around 24 hours. Once dinner time rolled around he declined the offer for food after eating so late for lunch. Despite his decision, they brought him some food anyway and he devoured it all.

One thing that really perturbed Pat was the doctors asking if any decisions had been made despite lacking a full diagnosis. The nurses in the area would whisper amongst themselves and look over at his general direction on occasion.

Later on in the early afternoon a chaplain made his way by the bed to offer his services. Bill is not a huge fan of the church so Pat kindly did what she could to send him on his way.

Between the doctors asking about a decision and the chaplain stopping by, it sure seems like they were trying to imply that he would be dead in a very short period of time.

Despite the improvement from the fluids being drained from his brain, he still said a few things that just weren’t right. One of those things was when he referenced Mickey’s Not So Scary Christmas Party. (He combined two events into one, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas.) Rather than have him get flustered at confusing the two, Pat just nodded in agreement and moved on with the conversation.

The evening was brought to a close with Pat and Bill watching Galaxy Quest in the ICU. At around 10pm Bill was ready to hit the hay. With the bed reclined and Bill as comfortable as he could get, Pat left for the evening.

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A closer look

December 12, 2008

Bill displayed increasing fatigue in his normal routines, constantly drowsy and sometimes forgetful of small things. Unlike the doctor’s visit a week ago, Bill had a pretty good idea why he was going to Sand Lake Imaging.

After the magnetic scans were complete, the MRI technicians contacted Dr. Galceran about their discovery. Following that discussion Dr. Galceran called Dr. Phillips Hospital to inform them that a patient was en route from his care after discovering several lesions in and around his brain, one in particular being larger than the rest. In addition to the lesions there was a fluid buildup that would help explain his recent behaviors which needed prompt attention. Pat was instructed to take him directly to the ER at the hospital and that they would be waiting for him. Printed copies of the scans and a CD were given to Pat before they left.

Upon their arrival to Dr. Phillips Hospital they were hurried into a room for immediate treatment. After an IV of saline was hooked up, Decadron was added in order to help drain fluids that were collecting around his brain. In addition to the IV he was given Keppra, an anti-seizure medication. There were a number of other drugs given to him that made him quite sedate during the first few hours, but we’re unsure what all of them were.

About four hours later once a room was ready, he was moved into an intensive care unit where he would remain for another day and a half, being monitored for seizures and fluid drainage. He was also given a supply of oxygen.

The doctor in the ICU mentioned that it could be cancer and that the outlook was not good. He was to consult with a neurosurgeon before making an official diagnosis.

Thus began the roller coaster of bad news.

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Routine physical

December 5, 2008

Pat maintained a small list of peculiar actions Bill had taken to be brought up with the doctor during his appointment.

Bill was familiar with Dr. Galceran’s office once he arrived, but was unsure why he was going even though he was just there two weeks prior for blood work. Despite the confusion he didn’t object and continued with the appointment.

The doctor had a line of questions for Bill but he sometimes gave incorrect or incoherent answers. Dr. Galceran turned to Pat and she discussed her observations concerning his recent behavior. After the physical exam he referred them to get an MRI and x-ray performed to better help determine what was going on. Bill’s recent loss in weight didn’t help explain his symptoms nor did the light appearance of anemia in his blood work.

A trip to Sand Lake Imaging that same day produced an appointment the following week for the MRI and x-ray.