My mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor on December 16th,2016. Our entire family was shocked. We had no idea what we were in for.
I actually got a call from her work on December 16th, which was a Friday. They tried getting a hold of my dad, who was also an emergency contact that my mom had written down. They let me know that my mom had been not acting herself and had called into work. They said that they could barely make out the message but they understood that she wasn’t coming into work. They were very concerned about her and they actually thought that it was her mental health. They told me they had ruled out a stroke, which they originally thought she was having mini strokes.
I called my dad, who was out finishing up Christmas shopping from my mom’s request. He told me that my mom was just not feeling well on that day and that he originally thought she was using up some vacation because it was the end of the year. I then called my mom on her cell phone. She couldn’t make out complete sentences and actually didn’t even know my name. I told my dad this was an emergency and that we needed to bring my mom into the doctor right away.
She was taken to the emergency room and they did a CT scan right away. They told us she was being transferred to another hospital that specialized in brain tumors.
She then had an MRI to get more details of the tumor. We were then told that she would need surgery as soon as possible. This was a Friday night, so they scheduled her surgery on a Tuesday.
Before her surgery we got more details on the tumor. It was a stage 4 glioblastoma. They let us know that they would do testing to confirm but based on what the tumor was looking like they were pretty sure. They let us know that she may live no more than a year. But by doing the surgery we were definitely prolonging her life. If we did not do the surgery she would’ve died within days. We were also told she would likely not be able to speak or even think for herself because of the size of the tumor that was removed from her brain. The tumor was the size of a golf ball and was in her front left side. It was pushing everything to her right side of the brain.
After the surgery, she was moved to another hospital for 2 weeks for rehabilitation. She went through physical, occupational and speech therapy. The doctor’s were wrong about her speech. She was able to say a few things. She couldn’t say full sentences but was able to say things when they were pointed out to her. She was then released to her home on January 6th, 2017. She was to start chemo and radiation for 6 weeks straight the following week. We had been warned about what happens during chemo and radiation. She only had one really bad day. We couldn’t get her out of bed or even to wake up. But the following day she was back at her appointments. She finished her 6 weeks of chemo and radiation.
There was going to be an 8 week break before her next MRI to see how everything was going after her first treatment. During this time, we had in home physical and speech therapy. We also had an in home care nurse coming twice a week to help her with showering and grooming. This was a huge help because she wanted a professional to help her. She didn’t have much movement on her right side of the body either. So she only would use a walker. The hardest thing was not having her think and speech on her own. She could point to things and was able to let us know when she wanted help to the bathroom and when she wanted to eat. You couldn’t carry on a conversation with her and she was very content with just watching tv.
We lost my mom on March 20th, 2016. She went to sleep on Saturday night like she normally does and the following morning she was throwing up. We were not able to wake her up at all. We were thinking that the effects of chemo and radiation had effected her again. But she went into the ER and they told us after a Ct scan, she had bleeding in the brain and that another tumor had taken over her brain.
When we think back to warning signs there were very few. She didn’t ever complain about headaches or pain. But I guess in the weeks leading up to her diagnosis, she was having a few headaches and was just taking tylenol to treat them.
We think back on things now. She had quite a few moments of forgetting things and telling you the same story over and over. Her right leg had a shooting pain for years she complained about this. But she never did anything for it and would just rest it and stretch it out. We didn’t have any warning signs that we would have been able to help get this discovered any sooner.