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How my life turned upside down


Chris

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It was August 2013, I had been working on a major overhaul at work for about a year and was one of the lead mechanics on the project. There were a few weeks where I wondered why I even came home at night, just to catch a few hours of sleep and go right back in the next day and keep on rolling. I'm sure we've all been there, and at the time I was really loving it. I had gone to back shift in August and was working a special job we could only do at night because another trade was working in the same area during the day. The job couldn't wait though, it was imperative that both trades finish at about the same time.

 

I believe it was a Sunday evening, I had the night off and was fast asleep in bed with my wife and all of a sudden I felt as if I was being attacked in my own home. It's the middle of the night, I had walked into my living room and I see 4 or 5 grown men talking to me and I can not really comprehend what it is that they are telling me. All I can think is how can I get out of this house? This has all become a blurry memory, but some how I end up in the back of am ambulance as the men in the house were actually firemen and paramedics.

 

In the Emergency Room of the hospital I find out that I had a grand-mal seizure (the kind where you shake) while I was asleep. I had never had a seizure before. My wife said that I had even stopped breathing and my lips had turned blue while she was on the phone with the dispatcher. While in the hospital, they sent me for an MRI and discovered that I had a tumor in my brain just slightly above and behind my right eye and it looked a pretty decent size, about the size of my eye itself actually.

 

This is where my regularly scheduled regimen of doctors all started, I began to see a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. My neurologist started me out on some anti-seizure medications and sent me in for some various studies of me sleeping with all the leads attached to my head. They never have found any reason for the seizures other than the tumor itself. The sleep studies were good though, they were able to determine that I have restless leg syndrome and have slept like a baby taking the medication for that ever since.

 

So I continue to see both doctors, the neurologist is keeping track of my seizures and the neurosurgeon is keeping track of the MRI's and watching the tumor. I have been on a steady regimen of have 1 - 2 seizures every six months, so we see him about 4 times a year. My neurosurgeon said the best course of action was to watch the tumor over a course of months with MRI scans to see if it's growing or not. I believe it was the 3rd MRI scan where it was determined that the tumor was growing and it would be necessary to preform surgery, luckily mine was in a location that can be removed.

 

At this point it is April 2014 and I am getting ready to go in for surgery. This isn't the first time I have had surgery but I have never liked going under the knife one bit. To me though it wasn't about what I wanted, it was about what needed to be done to save my life. I have a craniotomy preformed and the neurosurgeon successfully removed as much as the tumor as he possibly could. I ended up having 4 plates and 8 screws to reattach the bone in my skull, keep meaning to ask the doc if he used loctite because I think I may have a screw loose (haha j/k). Talking to the doctor after surgery, he told me it was about the size of a golf ball and that he removed all that he could. The biopsy did come back positive for brain cancer and I met my Oncologist while in recovery and added him to my regular routine of doctors that I see.

 

Since I have had the surgery, all of my MRI's come back clean, though you can still see the spot where the tumor was located now filled with fluid. Just last week I went in for my most recent MRI and will be seeing the neurosurgeon for the results on Wednesday. It's something I will have to have monitored for the rest of my life.

 

As I alluded to prior, my seizures continue, I regularly have 1 - 2 every 4 -7 months. My most recent seizures were in April, had 1 in my garage and ended up doing some damage which caused a new trip to the ER in an ambulance. After being let go from the hospital the wife and I decided to grab a bite out to eat and I received a second ambulance ride to the ER that day. As soon as I took the first bite of food I went into a seizure, at least the second time I didn't feel onto a workbench and end up on a concrete floor.

 

Due to my medical conditions I can no longer drive a vehicle or work like I used to on the job site. My job has done nothing but be fully supportive to my needs as a person with a disability, I can not thank them enough. Instead of actually working on the job site or in the shop, I am now teaching mechanics when they need help and apprentices who are learning the trade. I actually ended up selling my truck this past week, it's been sitting in my drive way for almost 2 years and seldom driven.

 

The toughest things I have to deal with now are bad headaches that I will get in the morning. They usually will go away after 3 or 4 hours with the right medications but are debilitating to the point that I can not even get up when they start. I have noticed quite a few memory issues, I don't remember as well as I used to. My wife was just telling me the other day about how when I call her on my breaks at work I will usually ask the same questions every time like I hadn't asked them earlier that day. I fatigue a lot easier, but I am getting better with that as of late, but I still have my days. I also do have times where it is hard for me to concentrate on anything, though I usually find a way to push through. 

 

I have learned a lot in the process and met a lot of heroes who have lived through cancer and those who fight everyday to help others with it. I can not thank my wife enough for all that she has done for me. If it wasn't for her I don't know how it is I could have made it to where I am today. She goes to every one of my doctors appointments, which is a great thing with my memory issues. Half the time she has to tell the doctors whats going on because I only remember parts of what I wanted to tell them.

 

I titled this thread how my life turned upside down and it really did for a while. There have been a few times where I have been severely depressed as I continue on this journey in my life. The truth of the matter is, with the help of my wife, family, doctors and all of my friends and colleagues my life hasn't really turned upside down. My life has instead just blossomed into another stage with new and different challenges then before.

 

I hope you all don't mind that I am sharing this with you. I am not looking for any kind of sympathy or anything. I really do like it here and want you to all know what it is that's going on with me if I disappear for a few days or if I forget something. I also want anyone to know if they are going through anything, we will have their backs and be there to support them.

 

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Thanks for sharing man,Our families prayers are with ya bud.Ive gone through the cancer thing with several close family members in my short nearly 40 years. Most recently was my wifes Grandmother,the removal surgery was successful so now she is doing radiation.

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Thanks for sharing Chris. I would think a lot of us take for granted our health and abilities we have. It sounds like your employer is pretty cool for working with you and I'm glad you are able to keep working. If you really enjoy what you do its probably nice to have a little bit of normalcy with the way life has been shook up for you. Again thanks for sharing and best wishes man. You are in our prayers, keep us posted on your progress.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk

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Glad you are with us on TIA Chris!! I can't even imagine going through something like that at all!! It's good to hear that your recovering even if it is slowly. It would be hard for me to give up driving its a freedom thing most places you just can't do anything with out some kind of transportation. At least you can still buy power tools and get them delivered :)

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My blessings and prayers go out to you and your family. Very brave of you to share your story. Sometimes we take for granted the little things like living a normal life, but your story reminds us to enjoy the small things in life.

Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk

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Chris Thanks for sharing bro, I'm glad to have some one so brave be apart of TIA crew! I couldn't even begin to imagine how u felt wen u first found out.. I'm really happy to hear you have great support backing u up and always know u have us here on this great forum to talk about whatever's on ur mind bro! Ille be sending my prayers ur way bro!

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Thanks fella's, I really appreciate it.

 

It kind of helped me to write it out, let me vent a little bit. It was hard watching my truck drive away the other day but at the same time I am alright with it. At least I know that truck is being driven now.

 

Everyone here has been absolutely awesome and I think I have found a great online home for myself.

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