On Sunday, August 10, 2014, our entire life changed forever.
After a fairly normal Sunday I was sitting on our couch while my wife, Laura, was cooking dinner. I only remember a couple seconds of what happened next.
My arms came up by my side, I looked at Laura and tried to yell out to her yet couldn’t speak. I felt as though I was drowning. Each next word I tried to say made it harder to breath.
My next memory is sitting in the back of an ambulance with a paramedic speaking loudly at me. I looked outside to see several people standing there, fire engines and police cars. I looked for Laura and asked her what happened. She was shaking and barely able to speak so the paramedic told me that I had a seizure.
I would come to find out that when my seizure started Laura screamed so loudly that three of our neighbors, including a nurse, came rushing upstairs while she called 911.
Once at the hospital I had another seizure. After conducting a MRI they found that I had a brain tumor sitting near the motor skills strip and in front of the speech pathways. Due to the force of the seizure they thought that I had also dislocated both of my shoulders. It would be a few days before they realized that I had actually fractured both shoulders.
Later that week, on Friday I had reconstructive surgery on my right shoulder followed by reconstructive surgery on my left shoulder the following Monday.
In addition to having kevlar anchors, fiber wire and donor bone used to rebuild both shoulders, I also had two screws fused into my left shoulder.
On Thursday, September 11, 2014, I had brain surgery to remove the tumor. I was told that the majority of the tumor was removed during the surgery. The tumor was a Stage 2 Oligo tumor. Since it was a brain tumor they were not able to cut deep or wide enough around it therefore we were told that there would be ongoing monitoring of the tendrils for the rest of our lives.
After nearly three months, on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, I had another seizure. It is believed that this was a breakthrough seizure as the was brain re-wiring itself and was hopefully an "after shock" but we have no way of knowing for sure.
To guard against having another seizure our neuro-oncologist prescribed another anti-seizure medication as well as providing a nasal spray that can be used if I start to seize for a prolonged period.
I had to undergo a total of 16 weeks of physical therapy to learn how to use my shoulders again and build up the muscle that was lost.
From that point forward I worked out relentlessly, slowly increasing my muscle and cardio endurance and focusing on mobility, not only within my shoulders but throughout my body.
In February 2015 I started one year of chemotherapy treatment including having blood work done twice per month and an MRI every 6 weeks-3 months.
In July 2015 I completed a Spartan Race at AT&T Park, before even being medically cleared. The race consisted of 4+ miles and 20+ obstacles. It was a way to prove to myself and those around me that anything can be accomplished with enough focus and determination.
Unfortunately, after 14 months without a seizure, while in Las Vegas for a work conference, I had another grand mal seizure. They believe that it was due to sleep deprivation but we won't know for sure.
After an MRI in February 2016, our neuro-oncologist told us that we didn't have to complete the 12th round of chemo due to how well my body has done at recovering.
While the medical journey will continue for the rest of our lives, we have, as of now, completed the hardest parts of it and are able to move into the maintenance and monitoring phase.