These pictures from three years ago represent such a different lifestyle. A lifestyle where Mike was strong and healthy….And, as those close to us know, he was a little bit more rough around the edges. 😉 Thank God for softening him up for this stage of our lives. Some brain tumor patients become mean and irritable because of the location of their tumor. I’m thankful that isn’t the case with Mike right now even though we did experience that with the steroids. He always wanted me and the kids to be outside doing yard work or fixing stuff with him and I’d ask if we could just all clean the house together. I realized that cleaning inside was my happy place and fixing stuff outside and doing manual labor outside was his happy place when he had a day off. We both enjoyed productivity though. We both enjoyed getting stuff done. I’m so glad the older kids and I chipped in and participated in his happy place before it all changed. It’s crazy to look at these pictures and to know now that brain cancer was already affecting little things and we didn’t realize it at the time. He’s always been amazing at math, and when we were doing the calculations for the materials for our fence he was struggling to make sense of the measurements. Now we know it was because of the brain tumor. Now he can’t even count or add and subtract simple numbers. He was having neck and head pain and he thought maybe he had injured something putting the posts in.
Mothers Day 2012 was when we first knew something was very wrong with Mike. He could not get out of bed due to a headache and confusion. He spent 48 hours in bed and I was concerned, but after the weekend was over he got up and went to work. I spent Mothers Day that year working on yard work by myself while he was in bed. I finished putting the last of the pickets on the fence alone. It took about a month to figure out it was his brain. He just kept telling me his brain wasn’t working right and he couldn’t think. He was struggling with severe headaches and confusion off and on. It wasn’t until June that we had the moment in the ER with the CT Scan that we knew there was a mass on his brain and that he had quite a bit of brain swelling. It was crazy because he was supposed to leave for Japan for a business trip on Friday, but severe brain swelling led to confusion on Thursday that couldn’t be ignored so I took him to the ER. Instead of being in Japan the next week, he had brain surgery. He never was able to fully work again. He went to work all through radiation and the start of chemo but he wasn’t functioning fully to do his cyber security job. I will never forget the moment the doctors took the kids out of the room to give us the news. I feel nauseous just thinking about it.
Sharon Elizabeth Photography was able to squeeze us in for family photos between his hospital stay and brain surgery. The top of our to-do list was to update the power of attorney and will and to have family photos taken. 🙂
Mike is a three year Glioblastoma survivor!! He has been on hospice for 4 months. There were times that we thought he was nearing the end, but he continues to surprise us! I remember last May deciding to end the chemo and hoping that we could salvage the summer. We hoped he would live though the summer but we didn’t know if he would because he was so fragile….now we are entering another summer! It’s crazy.
These photos are from this past weekend. All I wanted for Mother’s Day was to be sure we snapped a family photo together.
I know I’m jumping around with this post, but here are a few random pictures of Mike from the past three years.
I never know who’s reading these blog posts, so I’d love for you to leave a comment and let us know you were here!