I should have known...I should have known that this perfect life I've been living was too good to last forever. A seemingly whirlwind romance, that has yielded 7 blissful years of world travels, adventures, and finally the greatest responsibility you can share with someone...children. On paper, Dow and I looked like the quintessential cliche. He, a frivolous doctor and I, a young blonde looking to snag the "ultimate" catch. With a 14 year age gap and very different life experiences, many were skeptical about our respective motives. But life is not lived on paper, and this works. From the moment we met it was obvious we were smitten, which immediately turned to love, and mutual respect. We share everything, including a brain...which makes this so difficult.
What had appeared to be a stubborn sinus infection turned to an excruciating headache last week. Dow being an ED physician avoids hospitals at all costs, so when I offered to take him to the emergency room to get this headache checked out and he agreed, I knew something was going on. We were quickly seen, quizzed, and he was whisked of to get a CT. As we waited for results, we joked about the fact he'd never really experienced a headache how silly he was going to feel when they told him, it was just sinus pressure. Then it hit us like a ton of bricks. "Dow, you have a brain tumor." The phrase echoed in my head as I processed the words. Having spent many years working in a hospital, I'd always thought about my reaction to crushing news like this as I had seen it delivered to so many people before. I immediately jumped in the hospital bed with my best friend and began to cry. As the tiny baby in my belly began to writhe around with the new found stress in his cramped quarters, the contents of my stomach could no longer be contained with the realization that I had an almost two-year old daughter at home, a 22 week baby boy in my belly and a threat that the person who had promised to help me raise these little beings was now facing the fight of our lives.
Those first couple of days in the hospital are all a blur, and the long holiday weekend at home felt like an eternity waiting for our Monday appointment with the neurosurgeon. The appointment came and went with a flash and we were set for a Wednesday morning right temporal craniotomy. The MRI showed a rather large tumor with well-defined boarders. All good things for surgical recovery. Pathology of the tumor would help guide our future steps, but surgery is not a cure and chemo and radiation would be the next logical move. We spent the night before surgery playing with Sloane and discussing possible outcomes of the morning to follow. Fear of the unknown is an incredibly powerful emotion.
While the love of my life was meticulously having the layers of his protective shell peeled away, I was being comforted and occupied by wonderful friends and family. 4 hours came and went with good reports and finally we were greeted by the surgeon. He said things went well, but was concerned Dow may have some left-sided weakness or neglect due to amount of tissue they had to remove. As I waited to see what laid behind the curtain I envisioned all the different ways I thought he might look. To my surprise he looked just like the person I married. Then came the real test. He looked at me and said "love of my world..." Relief! He knew me, he remembered everything. No apparent memory or cognitive losses, and fully functioning extremities one hour following brain surgery. Nothing short of a miracle. The following days have been spent astounding family, friends, and medical personnel with his determination and recovery response. We are now at home, two days post surgery and continue to strategize our plan of attack. Chemo, radiation, research trials, clean diet, and positive energy. With the news of a glioblastoma that pathology brought this evening comes even more determination. The research, statistics, and overall reports can be grim. But life is not lived on paper and words on a page can be much different than reality. We plan to approach this as we have everything else in our life together, surprise everyone and beat the odds.