I must first start by giving thanks to God for His grace in letting me continue with life, for keeping me strong against all of the adversity, and for making my daughter the strong woman that she is.
On November 17, 2019, I had a severe head injury. It felt as if something liquid (I thought blood) was spurting through a hole in my skull, but there was no bleeding on the outside. I went to the ER, and the doctor indicated she could see a small hole in my skull on the outside and did a CT scan without contrast. She indicated there was no bleeding on the brain, so I was released.
I continued my life as normal until things started to go awry January 2020. I fell asleep on the train coming home from work; I ran 2 red lights in the same night. Then on February 7, 2020, I developed severe pain in my eyes and sinuses, so a friend rushed me back to the ER. The doctor was advised I had hit my head, but she indicated I had a sinus infection, and she released me to go back home.
Then on February 9, 2020, my health rapidly declined and changed my life forever. I was in so much pain that I texted my daughter to rush me back to the ER.
When we arrived to the ER, I was nonresponsive and was immediately surrounded by hospital staff. They shook me and called my name, but they could not awaken me. They immediately called the neurosurgeon to return to the hospital. Another CT scan was done and an MRI, both with contrast. That is when the doctor saw a mass about the size of a small avocado on the right side of my brain, and it had pushed my brain to the left.
My daughter was then told that she had to sign for consent to let the doctors operate. They also indicated I needed a tracheotomy, which she did not want them to do, but she was told it was necessary or I would die. I was in such a dire state, with extreme swelling to my brain, that the surgeon had to drill a hole in the back of my skull to drain the fluid to relieve the pressure off of my brain as my daughter witnessed this.
I was rushed up to the OR before my daughter could sign the forms, so she then signed as I was being taken to the OR. This put extreme pressure on my daughter as she was in a state of shock. I was put on a life monitor, with many IVs, including one in my right jugular for the contrast for the CT scan and MRI. The surgeon had to perform a craniectomy and did not replace my skull bone immediately due to the extreme swelling of my brain. I thank God for guiding the hands of the surgeon, as she indicated that the large mass was necrosis, but the tumor was very small. Both were on the outside of my brain, thus making them operable, and the doctor was able to scrape 99 percent of the tumor off. The tumor was sent to pathology, and was also sent to another hospital lab for a second opinion.
It hurt me to my heart as my daughter explained the story about what she witnessed, things that if I had control, I would never have put her through. Then to add even more stress on her, she was informed of the diagnosis of stage 4 Glioblastoma even before I was.
After surgery, I remained in the ICU. As another testament that God never left my side, I began to make swift progress, and within 2 days I was upgraded from ICU to the beginning phase of therapy. I remained in minimal therapy for 2 days, and then, to everyone’s amazement, because I progressed through the initial therapy so quickly, I was transported to a physical therapy hospital for intense therapy.
The hospital staff was fantastic. They all treated me so well. After 11 days, I completed therapy and was released to go home.
Several weeks later, the initial diagnosis was verified. I then started a regimen of 30 targeted radiation treatments during the weekdays only, along with chemotherapy for the entire week until the radiation treatment was completed. I continued the chemo for several months, but for only 5 days a month. The second part of my surgery to replace my skull bone, a cranioplasty, had to be postponed for several months, as my skin has to heal from the radiation treatments.
Once the skull bone is replaced, the plan is for me to start a maintenance treatment to fight off potential cancer cells from developing so that the tumor does not return.
I have verbally thanked my daughter for her bravery to take charge and make the hard decisions to keep me alive, but I must also mention that she took charge of my business affairs by immediately contacting my job to get them to start the process of accommodating me. She also made the contacts to get the information together so that I could retire. In addition, she and my friend monitored any pending bills I had, and took care of those as well.
Thanks to the many prayers and words of encouragement from family and friends, I have been keeping strong and have been able to continue with a productive life.
My daughter is my Shero. With God’s Grace, she literally saved my life. I have always admired her for her intelligence, and now for her courage. She is and will forever be my Shero!
Jewel, God’s Resilient One