Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Story in Detail

(Note:  I am transferring all posts from my old blog, so some of the dates on the blog won't be accurate with when these posts actually happened - check the content of posts for real dates!)
Our Family Picture:

Clint with his dog Max, Lady sitting in the middle, and Reini (me) on the right.

My husband Clint is 26 years old. We'll have been married 4 years this coming March. He served 6 years in the military, did 4 tours to Iraq, and had just finished training as a gate guard on Fort Lewis when we found his tumor. Here's what happened:

On November 1st, 2010, I took Clint to urgent care to get help for a 4-month-long migraine, which was occurring consistently in the front of his head with little relief, and that I had been chalking up to stress until I noticed memory loss and personality changes. The doctors relieved the migraine temporarily and scheduled a CT scan for the next day.

On November 2nd, Clint's CT scan revealed a tumor in the front left lobe of his brain. He was told to go to a health care center in Seattle on the 3rd for a consultation with the neurosurgical department. We received a call from Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle an hour later telling us to get up to their hospital immediately; the appointment on the 3rd had to be completely bypassed, and an emergency surgery was scheduled. Clint was checked into the hospital that evening.

Clint maintained his goofy sense of humor throughout this whole experience.
This was taken the day before his first surgery.
On November 3rd, Clint was taken in for an MRI, which told us a bit more about the growth. It was about the size of an orange (5 inches across!!!) and had pushed much of his brain into the right side of his head. It was affecting his speech center, the ability to censor his words and actions, memory, personality, and he should have been having seizures, but fortunately they had not occurred up to this point. Removal of the tumor would require two surgeries: the first one to remove the bulk of it, and the second to remove the outer edges of it.

Clint was taken in for his first surgery early on the morning of November 4th. His surgery took about five hours, the surgeon removed a portion of the tumor to relieve major compression that was happening. He came out of the surgery without any complications, and was able to come home four days later.
His second surgery took place on the morning of November 12th. This surgery was quite a bit more dangerous due to the fact that they were removing parts of the tumor that were pressing on parts of the brain controlling speech and motor functions. He had to be awake for a portion of this surgery so they could map out where those parts of his brain were; this was to help avoid hitting any of those parts during surgery. The risks of this surgery were brain hemorrhaging, loss of the ability to speak and communicate, and paralysis. The surgeon was fairly certain there would be some damage to his ability to communicate at the very least. The surgery took 4 hours, and he came out of the surgery without any of those complications occurring (thank the Lord!). They could not remove a portion of the tumor that was located between the hemispheres of the brain however. Unfortunately, he started having a few minor seizures afterwards, followed by some major seizures. They intubated him right away to protect his airway, but he remained heavily sedated and unconscious until the following day when they removed the breathing tube. He remained in the hospital for about a week because they were unable to manage his pain and nausea.

Clint's scar after his second surgery.

He came home on the 18th, and we had his sutures removed on the 23rd. We learned from his primary care doctor that if we had gone one more week without finding the tumor and removing it, Clint would have been dead; it was pressing on his brain stem. We also learned at his follow up appointment on the 30th that there were actually two different types of tumors growing. The surgeon told us that one of them was a level 2 or 3 oligodendra, which he was not worried about, and the other was a level 4 glioblastoma (also called an astrocytoma), which was much more aggressive and a cause for concern.

Clint will be undergoing both chemo (a pill called Temodar) and radiation to try and tackle this brain cancer. His treatment will start soon, we are just waiting for his incision to finish healing.

I will post updates as they come. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and prayer during this time, it is greatly appreciated!


Clint and his Mom
Clint was so happy to see his mom. Even though she was here visiting after his second surgery, his short term memory didn't retain that timeframe.


1 comment:

  1. Hey there Buddy, all sounds like a go! So eat your Wheaties and come home.

    The Lawn Mower Fixer Guy