I was awakened at 2 a.m. by Lennie's supervisor saying, "We are taking Lennie to the hospital, it looks like he had a stroke." I ran the kids to my parents and went to the hospital. The doctors were unsure what it was. They knew that a capillary burst in his brain, but they weren't sure what the mass was that was there. After 3 days of the doctors researching and running tests, they decided to operate. On the way to the operating room the doctor told me, "I'm not going to call it a tumor because if I use the word tumor you will think it is cancer and it isn't cancer."
We had waited for hours. All the other families had been gone for some time. We were the only ones left in the surgical waiting room. I was waiting right outside the door for the doctor. Finally, he emerged and he asked me to sit down. I had on my tough armor and knew that I could take on anything he had to say, so I refused to sit. The doctor told me, "it's a malignant brain tumor" and I fell into a relative's arms.
After he recovered from surgery and the results were back from the lab, we found out that he had an Oligodendroglioma, Grade IV, in his right parietal lobe. THANK GOD, it was fully encapsulated.
Lennie and I had known each other since we were 8 years old. We only dated for 6 months. We knew that we were perfect for each other. We were 33; we had two beautiful children, 6 years and 20 months. We were the perfect family.
That was 1997. At first, they told us that he only had 1-2 years to live, then, they said, twice, that he would never walk again. Lennie has had 3 craniotomies, 2 extended stays at rehab hospitals, lots and lots of prayer, and, of course, chemo, radiation, and all the other "good stuff" that goes along with brain cancer.
For the past 6-7 years, he has been in remission and he walks unassisted. He's a stay at home dad. He helps the kids with their school work and has helped coach softball. He was even the girl's Girl Scout leader known as, "Broken Cookie". He's the strongest fighter that I have ever seen. He never let a prognosis scare him.
When the doctor told him he only had 1-2 years to live, he came back and said, "Don't ever tell me I'm going to die again, I am going to be your poster boy in 10 years.” He visited that doctor this past summer, 12 years later, and asked him "when do you want to do the photo shoot for the posters?"
It hasn't been an easy journey. Some of us have dealt with crippling depression for which we are on medication and now are feeling the best we ever have. Lennie has also experienced mood changes which have been corrected with anti-depressants. We've experienced falls with Lennie-where the kids have had to help me drag him to the bedroom and get him into bed. It's not what I wanted for my children but they are strong, independent and bright individuals that can find a way to do anything they want. I thank God that they had the opportunity to enjoy their father. They both want to go into the medical field and nothing will stand in their way.
Today, everything seems to be perfect. In February, he got another clear MRI. In June, we will watch our oldest daughter graduate from high school and EMS school, TOGETHER!!! Our youngest is talking about when her daddy will walk her down the aisle; I know she will hold him to that. We all know that everything could change in the matter of a moment but we also know that "through faith, all things are possible".