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Progression Of An Aggresive Glioblastoma Brain Tumor

Posted Mar 20 2011 11:25am
I'm backing up a few weeks from my last post. On September 30th Mom had a biopsy of her tumor in Seattle. She came through the surgery well and we were able to bring her back to her home on October 2nd. We were holding on to hope that her tumor pathology would show that it was lymphoma - a potentially treatable cancer - but we had to wait for a week for the results. What we didn't imagine was that Mom would decline so quickly over the next two days that when Mom was hospitalized on October 4th, she was sleeping close to 20 hours a day. Her decline was alarming so my dad and Mark took her to the emergency room, where they preformed another CAT scan and admitted her. She received IV steroids and Manitol, sodium/potassium to help her body pull fluid back in to her vascular system and relieve the pressure in her head. This gave us 6 wonderful days with Mom. She was vibrant and talkative. Cheerfully posing for pictures and welcoming the many family members and friends that visited her that week. When I left on Saturday morning, I knew that we were enjoying borrowed time. The steroids were making her unnaturally energized and it could not be sustained forever. When I arrived back in Kalispell 4 days later, the change in Mom was dramatic. She smiled and welcomed John and I but her eyes spoke of her exhaustion and growing limits of her ability to express herself in words. I noticed her right hand cramping up and a slight slur in her words. During physical therapy, Mary Ann asked her the color of each plastic cone, She could not verbalize any. When she was asked to grab a cone with her left hand, she did well, she was then to transfer the cone to her right hand and stack each one. This was not possible for Mom to do on her own. We knew of her right hand side neglect, or brain caused blindness. This was part of the problem. She walked back to her room with a walker and did quite well. Moved at a pretty good pace. The following day during physical therapy her right leg would not follow her brain’s direction to move. Dad noticed that if she looked at her right foot that she could move it. As we helped her move forward using parallel boards to hold on to, she was not able to release her right had upon direction of the therapist. I had to pull it off and move it forward with each step. She still had a very strong grip. She tried so hard! Her concentration/confusion on Mary Ann’s orders was heartbreaking. She wanted so badly to do well and please Mary Ann.
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