17 April 2014

A Devastating Blow

Finding the right words to explain the events of the last few weeks is proving insanely difficult, not wanting to commit the words to paper is not helping the cause either.  I am sure this will be more disjointed than I intend.......

The Friday following Round 5 I had to rush C to the emergency room.  He was unable to keep any food/drink down, got dehydrated and disoriented.  They gave him fluids and kept him over night for observation.  After returning home, he seemed to feel better and we went on about our week.  C felt good enough to go to the office, and did so a few times on his last recovery week (which he gets 2 between each chemo round).  Then the following weekend hit and everything fell apart.

Friday afternoon, after working from home most of the morning, C had exhausted himself and didn't feel quite right.   He began to get some of the same symptoms from that past weekend.  We figured it was some rebound sickness and decided to forgo the ER and see if we could just do better with fluids this time.  He was sick a few times during the night, and started to complain of a pounding headache.  This is important to note because in all the time I have known him, C has never had a headache.  It was Saturday morning when I started to get that uneasy feeling but decided to take K (and the entourage) to her riding lesson to let C rest. Some members of our wonderful church family were coming over to help with yard work that C hadn't been able to start yet and I figured since people would be at the house I could leave him.  When I returned, I learned that the guys were concerned as when C went to greet them, he had to sit back down on the stoop and was sick to his stomach.  I decided then that we would go back to the ER.  While there they gave more fluids, and did a chest x-ray, and found that his RBC counts were a little low, but nothing else explained his symptoms.  He offered to do a brain scan since we mentioned the headaches, but sounded like it wasn't necessary and C opted not to have one.  In retrospect, that was a mistake.

Monday I took him to his doctor's appointment/ Round 6 chemo, the doctor shared my concern over the headaches and promptly ordered a brain scan which we were able to get scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.  I left there more upset that my fears were shared with his doctor, I was hoping I was over reacting.  Unfortunately the events of the next 48 hours would prove those fears valid and we would have to change course once again.  I went to pick him up from chemo and found him laying on the floor by the entrance, apparently by choice.  His headache was so bad he decided laying down would be the best way to wait for me to arrive.  But when he went to get up, his body wouldn't cooperate.  Eventually we got him to a chair and he was then able to lean on me to get him into the car.  I should have gone back in and told the nurse, I should have forced him back to the ER, but he said he was just tired and wanted to go home and rest.  So we did.  Unfortunately that night on his way to the bathroom he couldn't find his balance and once again his legs wouldn't cooperate.  I called an ambulance, but by the time they arrived, C was back in his chair and felt better.  They left since C refused transport.

Tuesday he seemed fine, back to normal, like the events of the day before hadn't happened.  We went in for his chemo and I was hopeful that I was over reacting and maybe it was just a sinus headache and maybe the chemo just hit him harder the day before.  I reported all the previous days events to his doctor and even though C was feeling better he wished the scan had been scheduled the day before so we could know what is going on.  We went on in and got the scan that afternoon, and everything seemed back to normal.

Wednesday morning I took him to his third day of chemo, as we walked down the hall to check in, C's legs gave out again.  Fortunately there was a man nearby who saw it happen and helped me guide C to a chair as I struggled.  They brought over a wheelchair and took us into the doctor's office, after taking his vitals the nurse went to tell the doctor what had happened.  After what seemed like forever, the doctor came in with the radiation oncologist..... the scan had found tumors in his brain.

About 10 spots, two of significant size.... one in the forehead area and one in the back near the brain stem.  Neither of the two sizeable ones needed to be removed immediately as they weren't to the point of major damage.  But since there were so many spots we needed to forgo chemo for the moment and focus on these new tumors.  The new course of treatment is 3 weeks of daily whole brain radiation and steroids to help reduce the swelling.