Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tom's Tumor - Part One

Saturday February 6th was a regular ol' day.  Tom was gone most of the day doing scouting for food so the girls and I were on our own.  We went to the farmers market, Soadalicious, drove around looking at houses (our favorite hobby) and ran into Tom at Café Rio for lunch!  Not even planned.  He was on his way to deliver 12000 pounds of food to the food bank the boy scouts had collected that day.

That night we did farm chores, watched a show and went to bed early. Normal, boring, perfect.

At 3:30am I woke up to Tom breathing heavy and grunting.  He sometimes like to fight people in his dreams so I nudged him and tried to wake him up.  He didn't respond.  I nudged him again.  His body was tense and moving weird.  I turned on the light.  I wish I could block out what I saw.  He was shaking, blood was coming out of his head and his eyes were rolled back in his head.  He was having a seizure.  I tried to wake him up, I called 911 in a panic. Tom does not get sick.  He doesn't have health problems.  What was going on?

The 911 operator kept me on the line and told me what to do.  I don't remember what she said.  I don't remember much except I was crying and in a panic and I had woken up the girls with my screaming.  Cassidy helped me hold him so he didn't fall off the bed until the paramedics, police and firemen arrived.  Bless her - she's going to be a great nurse!  Nerves of "Steele" that girl has!!  We don't have a lot going on in our town and it's a little joke around here that when you need help the entire force shows up.  That night I was so thankful for a ton of strong men who were kind and helpful to Tom, the girls and me. 

Tom was whisked away to the nearest hospital and I followed in my car.  I left the girls at home.  Why didn't I bring them?  I have no idea.  I feel guilty that I left them here all alone.  I wasn't thinking rationally.  They are more than old enough to be left but my gosh, their daddy just was rushed to the hospital and I left them.  Mom fail!

We got to the hospital and Tom somewhat alert and had no idea what had happened.  We are so blessed that his seizure happened at home.  What if he was driving that big truck full of all that food hours earlier?  What if he was in his office alone?  What if he was on a boy scout camp out, in Vegas at his shooting place or at home with the girls while I was out of town the week before?  Tender mercies blessing us that night.

At the hospital I tried calling both my brothers to come give him a priesthood blessing.  No answer.  Called my sisters-in-laws.  No answer.  Called Tom's good friend and his wife. No answer.  I told myself I'm never sleeping with my cell phone ringer off ever again.  I finally got Kurt and Deland to call me back.  They were coming.

In the meantime they had taken Tom back for a CT scan of his head.  He had not been sick, he had never had a seizure before, he doesn't take any medication.  The doctor on call came in and was very frank.  I appreciated this.  I have had health problems most of my life.  I don't like it when doctors or nurses beat around the bush.  I feel like that is a form of lying.  If you know something regarding my, or my families health - tell me straight up.  I'm tough I can take it!  The doctor said it was bad news, he was very serious and spoke very quietly.  There was a mass in his brain and it was large, very large.  There was an ambulance in route to take him to Barros Neurological Institute in Phoenix.  They are the best in the nation for brain tumors and I felt like I was going to throw up.

This can't be happening.  My husband has to take care of me!  I told him four months ago to get off his beloved diet coke because it was making his memory wacky.  I told him he has to take care of that brain because that was his money maker.  He was having a hard time hearing and chalked it up to his dad being stone deaf and would need a hearing aid soon.  His eyes had become blurry but because we are mid 40's reading glasses are the norm right?  Nope.  It was a brain tumor.

Kurt and Deland came just in time to give Tom a blessing.  It was very calming, peaceful and needed.  I then left to follow the ambulance.

Fast forward a day or so.

Tom had every test in the book.  CT, MRI, FMRI, blood work, chest x-rays, and he was hooked up to a machine with wires galore.  It was the weekend and he was feeling normal except for some muscle soreness so they were waiting for the doctor to come in on Monday with a plan. 

Lets just say it was a party in 5N21.  Our nurse Brad was so nice and looked the other way when seventeen hundred people showed up to hang with Tom.  (that's an exaggerated comment but not by much.  At one point he had 40 people in there and Tom was standing in one place hooked up to his machines, amped up on meds and talking to everyone in a circle.  It was hilarious!

Monday came with a new Doctor and a surgery date.  Tom got to go home, tie up loose ends, call all his church people to rearrange his meetings, call all his clients to let them know he would be gone for a few weeks and get some farm chores finished up.  He really is The Man Of Steele.

We had family and friends drop what they were doing and come from Utah, Vegas, California and North Carolina as soon as they heard the news.  We had our church family bring food, clean our house, do our laundry, feed our animals, water our garden, help the girls with rides and to feel special and loved.  And we had the most amazing nurses at both hospitals who were kind, funny, helpful knowledgeable.  More tender mercies

I don't know why this happened.  Trials are hard.  Believe me, I know, I have had more than my fair share.  But we learn and we can grow and become better because of these trials.  I personally believe that we got to pick our challenges in heaven and gosh darn it I sure was an over achiever. I know my little family is being watched over and blessed by my Father in Heaven.  We can feel the prayers from everyone who is praying for us.  It has given us peace, comfort and healing in this scary new life we are embarking on.  We are blessed to have so many people who love us and are helping us.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Disclaimer: Please excuse my grammar, spelling and punctuations.  I'm out of practice writing on my blog.  ♥♥♥

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