The Day Our Life Changed Forever
August 7, 2010, a day we will never forget. Ben, my life-long best friend, first love, husband, and father of our daughter had gone to work that Friday at 6AM. He worked as a diesel mechanic. I hadn’t been feeling well that day and so when he came home, we didn’t even speak. He went to the garage for the rest of the night to help his friend work on his truck. At 2AM he sat up in our bed and said what’s going on? And I sat up turned the light on and by that time he had fallen between our bed and wall. To my uneducated mind was having a seizure. He was stiff and shaking, not hearing me making scary sounds. I thought he was dying. I had NO idea or time to think. I jumped up and called 911. Soon to realize we live in a community of only 1,000 and we do not have paramedics available to us. We had all the volunteer EMTs and a police officer in our home. He came around after 30 minutes. And the trauma didn’t stop there.
He had all kinds of tests done at the local hospital. He was all good except they found something in his brain. They didn’t want to tell us that it could be cancer. I’ll never ever forget that day as long as I live. He got transported to another hospital for an MRI and we were told he had brain cancer. Also, he was at risk of dying and had to have brain surgery right away. A few days later he went through 8 hours of surgery. I’m flying right by all the phone calls to work and to family/friends…the fear, the shock…we had NO time to think. Scared can’t describe it. And then there is our daughter…thankfully we had people helping with her while I was in the hospital for days…
He made it through surgery fine. He still has some of the tumor they couldn’t get, because it could have made him paralyzed. We were told after they checked it out that it was an Oligoastrocytoma Grade II, which means it is slow growing. They don’t know where it came from or how long it’s been there either. They did say he might have had a year to live with it protruding on his skull. He went on antiseizure meds right away…after finding out the hard way he needed to see a neurologist. They assume you know what you are doing, which I didn’t.
The seizures he had ranged from spacing out unconscious for 30 seconds to falling down and shaking…it was very scary. I couldn’t leave him alone, he couldn’t work or drive now. We lost our only income. In time we got lots of help from the state and people…thankfully for such great support we would have not made it through. His seizure meds were not working, so they decided on 30 radiation treatments. He made it through those, although they wiped him out. The worst side effects by far are from the anti-seizure meds. He now currently takes 12 pills a day. He is now also on anti-depressants and anxiety medication.
Our life has changed dramatically. We are in constant fear of when something will change, and it will. As soon as his seizure meds started working, he started to get severe pain in his knee, and then his hip, he was diagnosed with osteonecrosis, a result of the steroids they put him on after surgery and during radiation to reduce swelling on his brain. So he had to have a cortizone shot in his knee and was not able to walk for 2 months. He is finally able to walk again, with less pain.
Every day is a blessing. We appreciate happy moments so much more now. We are stable as of now. Learning to live with cancer daily. It is very difficult to relate to anyone. Support is key. Love is all we have now. Just living MRI to MRI, every 4 months. We have to keep five doctors updated on what’s going on. We seriously just try to make the best of life…even when it sucks! Thanks for reading!