CANCER & SEIZURES

Throughout the 92/93 school year that I spent at Weber State University I experienced strange episodes of what I can only describe as déjà vu. They would only happen weeks apart but still often enough to notice something was up. I transferred to the University of Utah the next year 93/94 to swim there (a whole different book could be written on that subject) and by the time I went home from school that spring my sporadic episodes were much more frequent and much stronger. That summer was difficult, I didn't know what these things were, at times I didn't know if I was possessed or if God was trying to tell me something. During them I sometimes felt like there was something I was supposed to see. Then they became painful, leaving me with headaches.
My mother wanted me to go to the doctor but I hated doctors and I wasn't going to go and explain I was having episodes of déjà vu. I ended up at a doctor appointment to whom my mother had told about my experiences and as I described them he said he thought they sounded like seizures. None of us had even thought of that. To us, a seizure was something that had you spazzing out all over the place uncontrollably. While I was going to school at WSU I watched with a crowd of people on my way to class one snowy morning as a kid fell to the ground on his face and had a seizure on the sidewalk. Well, two weeks later, on August 12, 1994 I had an MRI of my brain at McKay-Dee Hospital. We waited two weeks more before hearing anything on the results. When it came back it was a tiny fluid-filled tumor in the right temporal lobe of my brain, only 2cm, about the size of a marble. Since then I've heard stories of people having brain tumors the size of grapefruits and not even knowing it. I guess it's where the tumor is located in the brain and what side effects it's causing because comparitively mine was very small and I was noticing it very much.
Once found we acted quickly. They started me on Dilantin for the seizures which I was allergic to and broke out in a rash all over my body and had to switch to phenobarbital (which was absolutely a horrible drug). The neuro-surgeon at McKay-Dee was out of town so we went to the UofU for our first consultation. When we walked into the exam room with the surgeon he put the MRI up on the board and blurted out, "Surgery". Stunned, my parents and I looked at each other and at the doctor. "Just like that, eh? Brain Surgery". "Sure, if you're going to have a brain tumor, that's the best place to have it." To which my dad responded, "No, the best place to have it is in someone else's brain". So we went home and saw our guy who did exactly the same thing and on September 6, 1994 I went under the saw and had a craniotomy. It all happened so fast I didn't really have much of a chance to contemplate much of it. I remember being wheeled into the operating room, lying there on my back watching the ceiling tiles going by and then suddenly realizing, "wait a minute! They're going to cut into my skull and dig my brains out!"

They told me the tumor was benign and sent me home. After two weeks I was just starting to get up and get around again when 'they' called and told us part of the tumor was different, it was grade III malignancy, an Anaplastic Astrocytoma and I needed to have Irradition Therapy and Chemotherapy. Blindly we followed. We started both treatements the same day. Chemo lasted a year and was a drug called BCNU.
The chemotherapy was hell, receiving it was bad enough. It had to be dripped I.V. into my veins up to an hour each session. It hardened up the veins in my arms so I couldn't straighten my arms out and I'd have to use a heating pad with wet sponge inserts for several hours a day to try to loosen them up. My veins eventually collapsed and shriveled up, any time a doctor wants blood now it's impossible to find a good one.

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