For those of you who keep up with me on Facebook, you will already know about what I am fixing to talk about. For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, this is to let you all know where I have been. For my family, this is what I feel will be the best way to keep them updated from now on! Being limited to 420 characters makes it hard to really let folks know the entirety of the story.
Two weeks ago today, almost to the hour, my little grandson – Isaiah David Spangler – was taken to the emergency room at Coastal Carolina Medical Center in New Bern. He was suffering a seizure and my wife and daughter-in-law rushed him in to get someone to help them. We had been given the runaround for weeks, if not months. They were just about to release him again when he started to shake and convulse and they had to rush to his aid. Upon completion of a CT scan, they found a mass upon his brain.
I still remember when my daughter told me about it. I felt like someone had just took the air from me and tried to tell my boss about it but it was so hard. Have you ever tried to talk when you can’t hardly breathe and your trying your best to hold back the tears? I was shattered!
I arrived at the hospital as quickly as I could to find my little Zay-Zay with all sorts of tubes in him and a team of doctors working on him! They wanted to life flight him to Greenville but there was not a neurosurgeon available there. I’m so thankful that they chose to fly him to Duke University Medical Center.
That night had to be the longest night I’ve had, ever! The following morning we were told that they were going to have to go in and do surgery to remove this mass from his brain. We still didn’t know what was going on. Was it a growth? A cancer? They performed the surgery Friday afternoon and told us that they got a lot more than they thought but that there was more than they could get. It was also attached to his brain stem and wrapped around some of the nerves. We would have to wait for the MRI and the biopsy to see what we were dealing with.
Saturday came and we still weren’t sure what was up. They said it was blue-cell cancer, but we were told that there were 5 different types of blue-cell cancer. All we knew was that it was a very fast-moving, malignant cancer. I looked it up on Wikipedia and saw that the survival rate was about 15%! Things weren’t looking good!
Sunday I decided I had to go back to work and get my daughter back to school so I went back to New Bern and went to work that night. My wife was supposed to pick me up at lunch and about 5 minutes before lunch my boss came to me and told me to get my stuff together. I told her that I knew my wife was coming to pick me up for lunch but she said that she had talked to her and she said that we had to go now! They had found that the cancer had spread to the front of his brain and that they were going to have to do surgery again!
The next day, Tuesday, they did the surgery. The doctor told us that he had been able to remove more than he thought he would and was even able to go to the brain stem and scrape some of it off also! He was very pleased with the progress! He said we would have to wait for the MRI results and for him to consult with the pathologist to decide which way to go next.
Unfortunately, someone has to keep the money flowing in so I went back on Wednesday so my daughter could go back to school and I could go back to work. We stayed in touch and it was basically a sit and wait time for the next few days. Dr. Grant had to go out of town and didn’t get back when he said he would be. The next few days were a challenge for my wife and daughter-in-law. Isaiah was cranky because of the pain and because of the air that they said had gotten in to his brain during surgery. Isaiah didn’t want any nurses touching him and was very selective of who he would let talk to him and how loud the environment was! Who could blame him!
This past week we got the news that they were going to do a permanent shunt on him that would allow the fluid build up on his brain to drain down into his stomach and be processed from there, thus eliminating the need for the drain hose they had on the top of his head. However, on Tuesday they said his white blood cell count was too high, indicating a bacteria in the spinal fluid around his brain. So, they just replaced the tube on his head. Now they are treating him with antibiotics to get rid of this infection while deciding how to proceed now.
Today, we got news that they have upped his seizure medicine because he has been having quite a few seizures today. He is also on a 24 hour EEG.
We don’t know what tomorrow will hold but we are simply depending upon God to help us with this situation. It’s beyond anything we can do and I believe it is at a point where doctors are fighting for options. I’m not being negative, I’m simply stating that sometimes we have to just let go and let God! In our weakness his strength is perfected!
We do know that Isaiah has a long road ahead. Once they decide what to do with this shunt, then they have to put a catheter into his chest to gather stem cells, supposedly to help with his brain cells. He also has 9 weeks of chemotherapy to go through and then they will look at whether they will go back in for more surgery or whether to proceed with radiation treatments.
It’s a lot to handle but when you consider that he is only 20 months old it just makes you stop and realize that this little boy is a tough little dude! While we are falling apart, he is fighting a good fight and I am encouraged that he has the desire and the strength to overcome this. After all, he has a ton of folks praying for him!
So, I hope you can understand why I haven’t been posting here! I will start posting here more often so I can update my family on how Isaiah is progressing.
Thank you to everyone who has been keeping Isaiah in your prayers.
Have a great Thanksgiving. I hope this will help you to understand that we all have a lot to be thankful for and need to realize that we need to enjoy everything and everyone around us while we can. We don’t know what tomorrow holds!