I would like to take this time to personally thank everyone for all your thoughts, prayers and well wishes over the past several months. As most of you know, our family received news back in mid-August that no one ever wants to receive. It was August 15, the two kids and I, were at the state fair in Des Moines and received a call from Jeff telling us that he receive the results from his MRI he had the previous day and there was a tumor found.
We were to report immediately to Iowa City for further evaluation. We hurried back, speeding all the way, and were seen, admitted and in surgery about five hours later. Jeff had a biopsy and ventriculostomy done that same day. The next day we were discharged home only to wait for a week to find out our fate. Jeff’s tumor was a Mineal Gland Paraenchymal Grade 2 tumor of immediate differentiation. He would need further surgery to remove it. On August 29, we were back at UHIC and he underwent a 12 hour craniotomy to have the majority (90%) of the tumor removed. After a week recovering we were transferred to St. Luke’s on September 5 and stayed there until September 23. During that time he underwent extensive physical, occupational and speech therapy to regain what he lost after surgery. After discharge he has continued with outpatient therapies twice a week, gaining balance, strength and endurance, hoping to soon get back to work.
In early December, we found out that Jeff still had about 10% of the tumor left to be treated and the he would need radiation. On December 15, we started the first of 31 radiation treatments in hope of being completely finished by January 30. We cannot say enough to all of you that have kept us I your thoughts and prayers for a full recovery. We are positive that we are going to beat this battle and with all your continued support, thoughts prayers and donations we will. We know it is hard to personally thank each of you but we are grateful for everything everyone has done and given us over the past several months.
On January 9, Jeff had his mid-way MRI to check on the progress of the radiation and we are happy to report that radiation is doing what the physicians had hoped and has shrunk the tumor. Jeff is also happy to report he continues to have improvement in his eye sight.
The picture you see is of our family just days before Jeff was discharged from St. Luke’s rehab unit. With the mission statement, to give the health care we’d like our loved ones to receive, I can tell you that was evident in the care we received on 6 West during Jeff’s extended rehab stay.
The staff would keep me updated with whatever I had questions about and the therapist was great in making sure I knew what Jeff had worked on that day and how he was progressing. The staff treated us like family, Jeff did have his favorite, Ashley, AKA “Minder,” who received her nickname first because she looked a lot like one of his nieces, but secondly because she truly treated him like his niece Mindi (also a nurse) would by joking with him and allowing him to call her by that nickname even when he knew that was not her name.
To this day when he sees Ashley up on 6 West he still calls her “Minder” and is never corrected. This truly make Jeff feel at home while in the hospital as this was the first time he stayed alone and he was very nervous and anxious about this. Ashley always made sure that Jeff knew that she made sure everyone knew his nightly routines and cares when she handed off to the next shift nurse. This made him feel good and then she’d tell him she would be back the next day. It was like having family care for you. Jeff’s other favorite was his inpatient Physical Therapist Erin, who would push him to get stronger and make sure he truly was ready to go home on September 23.
Thanks are not enough
I cannot say enough about both the inpatient and outpatient care. It is because of all the great people at St. Luke’s that not only has Jeff had a great recovery, but everyone who comes to St. Luke’s receives great care. I am grateful to say St. Luke’s is my and my family’s home away from home.
Once again Jeff and I, along with our entire family, would like to THANK YOU ALL for everything you have done to help in Jeff’s recovery thus far.
Audrey Wirtner, RN, Surgicare