The end of my last blog, I was following a second ambulance with my husband in it. We weren’t given any answers, just that something had been seen in a CAT scan and we needed a better hospital to assess it.
Now, I have to pause and tell you that there were many blessings, divine intervention, the universe conspiring to help us, if you will, along our journey. This became as joyous as they were frustrating because my husband failed to see just how much the divine was pulling for us. We would practically stumble upon them like a boulder impeding our path in the road. The first, was the Doctor we met at the second hospital.
Upon arrival, my husband was immediately taken in for another scan. The doctor came out to introduce himself to me, and that was when I knew why we were there. He was a neurosurgeon. Not just ANY neurosurgeon. The HEAD neurosurgeon in the entire medical group we were part of. He just happened to be the doctor on call at the hospital that night. He said he liked giving the other doctors a break, it was nice to go back to where he started. Luckily for us, that night was his turn. He made me aware that the item in the original scan made them think it might be a tumor, but he wouldn’t know for sure until a better, more detailed scan was in his hands. He patted me on the shoulder and told me he hoped for the best. My husband was wheeled back into the room and we waited.
The doctor came back in and told us, he wanted to do a biopsy. He said a tumor was in his brain and they needed to run tests to see if it was benign. He suspected that it was the culprit for his massive seizure, it was the size of a golf ball and was likely putting pressure on his brain.
Like a whirlwind, the staff came in and took him out again, this time with me by his side, squeezing his hand the whole way, until they entered the surgery room. The last few hours had been such a blur and had happened in the blink of an eye. I took the time to call his family and let them know what was going on. Some of his family made their way to the hospital to visit. They had scooped up the kids for me at our house and brought them to their own and said they were fine, just concerned, especially his daughter. I asked to let them know he was fine, and we wouldn’t know more until tests were run.
When my husband was returned to his room, the waiting game began. We were told that the biopsy was sent off to a lab and we should know by the next day what we were looking at. We did what we could to keep ourselves distracted. We called the kids, watched T.V., played games, and his sister and brother-in-law were there when we got the call. My husband answered first and all three of us watched him in anticipation. When tears started tracking down his cheeks, I expected the worst. His sister rubbed his arm as he listened to what the doctor had to say. He then handed the phone to me.
The doctor apologized for not giving us the news in person, but wanted to make sure we knew the results right away so we could decide what to do. The results came back. My husband had Stage 2 Oligodendroglioma and he wanted to schedule brain surgery right away to remove it. Tears started rushing down my face, as I was handed a tissue. He continued and said he felt that was all that would be needed to be done and no radiation therapy would be needed, because they caught it relatively small. He knew that it was a lot of information to absorb and that the two of us would want to discuss our options. He said he would follow up with us the next day to see what we decided.
As I thanked him for his help and hung up the phone, everyone in the room was crying. No one wanted to say the big ugly word hanging in the room, and for the longest time we didn’t. We referred to his cancer as a tumor, especially around the kids to soften the blow of it. There wasn’t anything to decide. It needed to be removed. We scheduled a date with the doctor for surgery, which happened to be our anniversary.
I showed up on surgery day with roses and a card. One nurse flipped out at me, he was still in ICU and apparently flowers were contraband. My emotions were so high, I got upset back and told her I would remove them when he was taken to surgery. Apparently, she talked with another nurse who was much kinder and explained to me why flowers weren’t allowed.
I answered quietly, “I’m sorry, but..” looking up with tears in my eyes, “it’s our anniversary, and I wanted to do something.”
The look on her face softened, “Well, perhaps we can make an exception by keeping it at the front desk, if that’s alright with you?”
I agreed and she gave me a hug. She made sure to place it on the desk where it could be seen through the window of the room. “Hang in there, sweetie. I can’t think of a better anniversary gift than finding something before it’s too late.”
I cried and hugged her, “I agree. Thank you so much.”
The staff arrived to take my husband back to surgery. Again, I followed him to surgery until they said I no longer could. Somehow, I had held it relatively together, even as I kissed him good bye and squeezed his hand one last time. I could feel the emotions bubbling to the surface as the elevator rose higher and higher to the waiting room. The doors opened, I saw my mom, and the flood gates opened. She hugged me and rocked me as I openly wept, sobbing, in the hospital waiting room. Everything had happened so quickly and like that our world had been turned on its head.