Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My Story Continues

We hit a rough patch in our marriage, my husband was having a rough time at work. He was in Sales, so his paycheck was based on commission. We were having a tough time paying the bills so he decided to rent out our house and move us in with his dad in Wisconsin until we got back on our feet. I didn't like this idea, his dad lives in a one bedroom apartment, I couldn't imagine all of us crammed into such a small space. I took the kids and went and stayed with my brother and his wife. Peter and I eventually worked things out, not without a lot of arguments, he ended up staying with us at my brother's. We ended up at his dad's for just a short while, then we moved next door to him in a three bedroom apartment. Helen ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, her oxygen level was less than 50%. We were there for about ten days, she came home on oxygen and stayed on that for about a week. During this time I found out I was pregnant with baby number six! We didn't tell anyone until Grace's first birthday party, and only then because I was starting to show, if I could have gone longer I would have. I don't think people realize how hurtful they can be with their comments, if you have more than two kids these days, you're considered crazy. Everything was moving right along, Peter got a job getting paid every two weeks so there was a steady income finally. Helen was doing good in school, she still wasn't talking very much, they were really working with her on that and we did start to see improvement. She was getting quite chubby, I started noticing her clothes no longer fitting the way they once had, too tight. My sister, Sherry, had given me a ton of hand me downs so I started going through them. Helen was five and already wearing 7/8, but the length of the pants and the arms were way too long. I would roll them up and throughout the day they would work their way back down. It was very frustrating! Helen had cute clothes, she just looked like she was swimming in them. May 14, 2006 is a date I will never forget, Mother's Day. Peter went to the Emergency Room, he felt like he was off balance and just not himself. They took a CAT Scan of his brain, he had a tumor. We went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota the following week where they did an MRI. The doctors there said it looked to be a glioma but wouldn't know for sure until they did a biopsy. They explained the surgery, even showed us pictures of the halo he would have to wear, this freaked him out. We left there that same day, he wasn't ready. When we got home we called MD Andersen in Houston and set up an appointment there the following week. We flew in on a Sunday, his appointment was Monday morning. We did some sightseeing and then had a nice lunch. We went back to the hotel to relax and looked through some brochures contemplating what to do next, we fell asleep. When we woke up we headed back out for a walk and fell upon this little restaurant. Peter had prime rib, I had lobster, bib and all! It was a very nice day, never once did we talk about the real reason we were there. I believe in my heart God gave me that day as a gift because after that day everything went down hill. The doctors at MD Andersen told us the same thing as the Mayo Clinic but something in the face of the doctor woke Peter up and he realized how important it was to get that biopsy. We left Houston that same afternoon, setting up the appointment at Mayo on the way to the airport. We were back at the Mayo Clinic Wednesday,June 14th, his biopsy was scheduled for the next morning, June 15th, my brother's birthday. The surgery went well, Peter was glad it was over. We had a nice visit, then Maria(his sister) and I headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. I found out the next morning when I called the hospital to see how Peter was doing that he had two seizures during the night, back to back. They left the decision up to him whether he wanted to go home or not, of course he wanted to go home to his babies. It took two days for the results, it wasn't good, Astrocytoma Grade 4, in other words, brain cancer. He started radiation and chemotherapy locally, his doctors at Mayo were being informed of his progress. We were at the half way point of his treatment when he collapsed at Katie's fourth birthday party, he would never walk again. He ended up in the hospital for a week, during that time he couldn't do his radiation treatment because he was in such pain when he laid down that he couldn't stay still. The day he got out we went and saw his oncologist, he saw a significant decline in Peter's condition. Our plan was to see if the steroids would take down the swelling in his brain and if they didn't we would go back to the hospital so they could give him a drug that would do it on the spot. Two days later Peter had back to back seizures on our front porch, we went to the emergency room. They gave him the medicine for the swelling, nothing happened, I knew this wasn't good. They did another MRI. When the doctor came to see me, I knew it wasn't good. The MRI showed the tumor had grown, it was now on both sides of his brain, taking it over. There was nothing they could for him, they gave him just a couple of days to live. Peter always told me I had to let him know everything, "If they tell you I'm going to die tomorrow, then tell me I'm going to die tomorrow," he made me promise. I never thought I would ever have to tell him he was going to die, so of course I made the promise. He was pretty drugged up, but I told him, so he knew. At this point the tumor was taking over, he wasn't very alert, but he knew you were there. He was on morphine for the pain, and he slept a lot, in fact he slept through our wedding. We had to get married Orthodox so he could have an Orthodox ceremony and be buried by his mother in the Orthodox cemetery. August 3, 2006, my Orthodox wedding anniversary, my nephew's birthday. My birthday was August 5th, the day the doctors expected Peter to live until, he waited until August 8, 2006, for me. His death certificate reads Glioblastoma as cause of death, they believe the biopsy pulled the lessor of the two evils, but in fact he had the worst possible brain cancer you can have, and very aggressive at that. Everything has happened so quickly since then, we moved into a nice house in a nice neighborhood. The kids have a great backyard to play in with a new swing set, Helen loves the slide. We lost one of our dogs ten days after Peter died, Robbie wanted to know where he was buried so we could go visit him like we do daddy. Helen was just recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease so we are adjusting her diet accordingly, so far so good. Grace and Helen are wearing big girl panties, HOORAY!!! We have had a few set backs with Helen's school, they want to keep her in kindergarten for another year, I agree. It will benefit Helen down the road when it comes to inclusion. She goes to religion class and just loves it, everyday she asks me if she's going. Because of the Celiac Disease Helen has lost weight so she is able to fit into a smaller size, but the arm and leg length are still an issue. Everyone is holding up, we all have our moments but we are there for each other. I get my strength from my kids, if they weren't here I don't know where I would be, lonely. Don't get me wrong, I do get lonely, at bedtime when it was mine and Peter's time to talk, or watch TV. During the day I don't have time for those feelings, how could I? That brings us to today, and it was a good day.Until next time-Take Care,Sue
Posted by Sue at 11:05 PM 0 comments
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)
Blog Archive
2007 (1)
February (1)
My Story continues

About Me
Sue View my complete profile

1 comment:

John said...

Hi Sue,
I'm currently creating a web site about glioblastoma treatments and your blog entry popped up in an automated scan my computer does for any new content on the Web related to "glioblastoma". Amazing how people can connect on some common thread, no matter how thin. You have been through so much, and still you can write an entry into your web log! I hope you continue and I hope it gives you strength. I hope you can focus on the gems of wisdom you can pull from your tragedies in order to help others. And I hope you find solace in the rest of your life with your wonderful children.
John (jwil@yahoo.com)