|Dave, as a freshman.|
I guess I've gotten to this place from being married to Dave for 25 years. I've never once heard him say that he's worried. Concerned, yes. But not worried. He shrugs off the small stuff. And it's all small stuff compared to what he's been through.
The course of Dave's life changed when he was 17. He grew up in California. A gifted athlete, he was the star running back on his high school football team. By the end of his junior year, colleges were already looking at him including
The doctors thought the headaches were caused by being worn down from mono combined with the effects of multiple concussions playing football. He went to an optometrist to have his eyes checked. The optometrist examined him and sent him to a neurologist that same day.
He had a brain tumor growing around his optic nerve. He had surgery to remove what was a benign meningioma. He began recovery and was hoping to finish out the football season.
But the headaches returned. Another tumor had grown in the cerebellum, the area that controls balance and coordination. He underwent a second surgery. And then another emergency surgery after he started convulsing. His brain was swelling and hemorrhaging. One-third of the right hemisphere of his brain was removed. A fourth reparatory surgery was done to place mesh where the brain tissue was removed.
The doctors said he wouldn't ever be able to walk again. Dave's incredibly stubborn. Tell him what he can't do, and he'll set out to prove you wrong.
Dave had been the golden boy. The once star athlete had to relearn how to walk, talk, and write with his left hand instead of his right. The simplest tasks required intense concentration to compensate for traumatic brain injury. Playing sports was no longer an option. He finished the school year at home with a tutor. At graduation, he walked down the aisle assisted by his brother, Mike, at his side.
In his brokenness, he turned his life over to God. He spent the next five years rehabilitating himself to the point he was able to start classes at the community college and hold a job.
I met him several years after this. I admired his faith and how he had overcome adversity. He was good for me. He was the only guy who wouldn't put up with my flakiness. He told me, "I don't have time for this." We were married eight months later.
After we had Amber, we moved to Minnesota. We started working at Mayo; Dave started to be seen by Neurology. A scan showed a small tumor, most likely residual tissue left from previous surgeries. Since it was small and wasn't growing, it was decided to monitor it with yearly scans. Each year the MRI showed that the tumor had not grown.
But we both felt like we were living with a time bomb. One year Dave's regular neurologist wasn't available. He saw another doctor, a soft-spoken man from
Matthew 6:34 says this and has special meaning,"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Seven years ago he did get another tumor, this time in his spine. He underwent a fifth neurosurgery. Meningiomas are the most common type of brain tumor. They are almost always slow growing and don't grow back when removed. Dave's are atypical, fast growing and which often reoccur in other parts of the brain or spine. The spinal tumor grew back in six months and was treated with radiation.
Six weeks ago, an MRI showed he had two brain tumors; the original one having tripled in size. He is scheduled for surgery May 29th. We are grateful to be at Mayo. What are the odds that this
There is risk for further impairment, although Dr. Marsh says the risks are low and he will do his utmost to avoid damaging the surrounding brain tissue.
We have relative peace. I enjoy my days not thinking too much about what's ahead. When I do tell someone about Dave's surgery I get emotional. Mainly because I'm grieved that Dave has to go through this again. I so hope and pray he comes out with no further impairments.
The hardest part about brain injury is being misunderstood. Until you know what he's been through, Dave can come across as abrupt as he compensates for the part of his brain that's missing. He has many physical limitations but has compensated so well that it is often too subtle to detect. Every day is a struggle.
He has persevered where most people would have given up. He has never wavered from his faith. He's one of the most unpretentious guys I've met. He unapologetically tells it like it is. He has a dry sense of humor that's hilarious. He's an amazing guy.
Despite its ups and downs, our lives have been rich with blessings. We have three beautiful kids, supportive family and friends, a wonderful church home, and a God who is always near. Whatever lies ahead, we'll deal with it, praying, being grateful for the blessings, and allowing God to use our circumstances for good.
|Our beautiful family.|