Monday, October 27, 2014

MRI week

Last week was a very stressful week. As one can probably imagine, leading up to an MRI can be intense.  The unknown worry that lies beneath can really weigh a person down...physically, mentally and emotionally. 

We kept as busy as we could.  Monday he spent the afternoon/evening with one of his friends working on my car.  The brakes needed attention so that was a perfect project for him.  Tuesday he was able to go to Windsor to spend the day with his Grandfather Jim. 

Thursday was the much anticipated day. The MRI showed NO NEW enhancements...which is awesome!  Meaning the tumor has not grown, yahoooo!  Of course even better news would be that it has shrunk, but let's stay with the good news we have been given.  Now onto research of things to do to hopefully shrink that sucker!  

Thank you sooooo much to Flutterby Foundation for the wayyyy generous donation of $1000!  That will help leaps and bounds towards holistic treatments.  We are beyond words for our appreciation and gratitude! 

This past weekend was a blast!  Saturday, the weather here was unbelievable, so we were able to go on a 12 mile bike heck yea!

I love Colorado!!!!                                

Mid ride something was going on with the brakes.         

This was post ride, he and Noell chillin on the front step.

Sunday we had a good afternoon with friends, again able to enjoy some sunshine, hacky sack and skateboards!  Unfortunately I didn't even think to take any photos of the get together. We did a toast to Kevin, celebrating the good MRI.  We went around the room, each person saying something they love about Kevin...I could feel the love.  I can not express how grateful I am for the people in our lives!

Now for a new week!  Continued prayers and support are always appreciated.  Check back next Monday for our fun events from this week. :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet Kevin

I am going to tell the story as I know it.  I met Kevin in April 2014 and almost from the day we met, we have been inseparable.  He is my heart and I can't imagine my life without him.  He is the man that I had only hoped to find someday to have in my life.  I am forever grateful that God put us in each others lives.    

The 1st day I met him and his Mother,  was the day I found out he had stage 3 brain cancer, Anaplastic Astrocytoma.  I had no idea how serious it was until I got to know them more.  Here he is, a handsome 32 year old man (was 31 when I met him), with a lot of ambition!  He is the absolute smartest man when it comes to cars, I don't even know where he stores this knowledge!?  He is so passionate about so many topics, he will talk for hours about things one may never have known about.  He absolutely loves bike riding, bowling, pool, really any game...also pretty competitive, I have to let him win every time (JUST KIDDING!).  

Now I will tell you how it began for him, in my words as explained to me....
It began in November, 2012. He was living in Dallas and had gone on a bike ride with one of his buddies. He began to smell an odd chemical odor and asked his friend if he smelled it also. His friend said no but neither took it seriously.The next thing he remembers is his friend looking at him saying, "Kevin are you ok, I lost you there for a minute".  Kevin  felt a little dizzy but thought he was feeling funny because he hadn't eaten enough before the ride. Let me add in here that before his cancer diagnosis, he was in very good shape, was always at the gym lifting overall had a very built frame and was pretty healthy.  So this day out riding was no different than any other day...except that it was the first day of what is now, his reality. 

He continued his ride and thought nothing more of the odd incident. Over the course of the next week, that same smell and dizzy feeling continued to come back and got to the point where he figured he should get it checked out. The Doctor he visited did several tests but found him to be generally healthy. He was diagnosed with anxiety and prescribed anti depressants and anti anxiety medication, only to find out from his aunt, a neurologist, that those pills could potentially kill him, by masking the real issue. At a follow up visit to the doctor, Kevin insisted he get an MRI. The doctor was reluctant, but ordered the test.The medication he had been prescribed, was seeming to alleviate the "anxiety attacks" however the MRI revealed these were not anxiety attacks at all. Kevin was experiencing seizures, due to a large mass in the left temporal lobe in his brain. The chemical odor accompanying the dizzy spells was an aura, associated with the onset of the seizures. Thank God for his Aunt! Without her medical knowledge he would not have insisted on the MRI.

On April 1st 2013 Kevin had a craniotomy.The 8 hour surgery was considered successful because he came out with no physical deficits. He was able to talk, walk and for all intents and purposes,seemed like the pre-surgery Kevin. His left temporal lobe was removed, along with approximately 80% of the baseball sized tumor. The initial pathology was completed before Kevin was out of recovery.The diagnosis was not good. Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma. One of the worst types of primary brain cancers, second to Glioblastoma, which is grade 4 of the same type of cancer cell that makes up astrocytoma.  While there are some long term survivors, the nature of the disease is that it will return typically within 2 years of diagnosis.  This is a very aggressive cancer and 20% of the known tumor remained vulnerable and needing attention.  He immediately began a 61/2 week regimen of radiation therapy combined with oral chemotherapy.When this treatment ended, he made the decision to move back to Colorado, where he was raised and where much of his family resides.They were referred to a neuro-oncologist in the Denver area for follow up treatment (consisting of further chemotherapy, both oral and IV) and immediately packed up his life in Dallas and headed to Denver where he now lives with his mother, God Bless her for everything she has been able to do for him. He constantly tells me how grateful he is for her. This picture is from 9/2014 at a celebration we had for him. After almost a year and a half, he has completed all planned treatment.  For now!!

Writing this story is therapeutic and emotional all at the same time.  My hopes in writing this blog is to raise awareness of our fundraising efforts to continue with holistic treatment that is now at our fingertips.  Even with medical insurance, costs have already been astronomical, western medicine has run it's course for now and he would like to explore options with holistic care.

Please do stay tuned for updates as I will be updating this site as often as possible and thank you for your support.