HOW WE GOT HERE
August 21, 2023 (Monday): After teaching, Emma went to the boys varsity soccer game, as assistant coach. Usually, Emma only goes to Thursday games. Thankfully, another assistant coach decided to switch this week.
During the game, a ball girl kicked a ball into the back of Emma’s head. The impact triggered a 2-minute seizure. This seizure was localized in her face and Emma was conscious throughout. Recently, two players moved to Timnath, and their dad made a last-minute decision to come to the game instead of his wife. He happens to be a Neurosurgeon (Dr. Jon Bledsoe ). During Emma’s seizure, Dr. Bledsoe walked Emma through the seizure as it happened. Dr. Bledsoe strongly advised Emma to get a CT scan. A client cancelled Claire’s (sister-in-law) last therapy session, so she was able to pick up Emma and Robbie (brother) to go directly to the hospital.
The CT scan revealed a tumor in Emma’s brain, located in the right frontal lobe. She then received an MRI. Travis shared this news with our knight in shining armor, Dr. Bledsoe, who connected us to Dr. Regina Bower and the Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR) for a 3:30 pm consultation at the ER.
August 22, 2023 (Tuesday): Emma was transferred from St. Anthony’s to MCR. Close family (Trav, Ang, Robbie and Claire) met with Dr. Bower to discuss the initial MRI. Dr. Bower cleared her schedule for a Friday surgery. Emma then underwent another MRI in order for Dr. Bower and team to plan for surgery.
Emma was discharged from the hospital to be with friends and family Wednesday and Thursday nights.
August 23-24, 2023 (Wednesday-Thursday):
- The family went paddle boarding Wednesday night for a sunset session.
- Ang’s family flew in for support.
- Kristin flew in from North Carolina to surprise Emma on Thursday morning & spend the weekend.
- Close friends and family celebrated Emma and spent time in prayer Thursday night.Emma left that night feeling peace pre-surgery. “I don’t know how else to explain it, but I really don’t feel nervous heading into tomorrow. I just know there’s nothing I can do, but I feel really good going into it.”
August 25, 2023 (Friday): After coffee at home with people she loves, we all went to the hospital for surgery. The Pre-Op nurses bent the “2 person max” rule to allow Travis, Angie, Robbie, Claire, Madison and Kristin to be able to be in Pre-Op with Emma prior to surgery. The room filled with laughter, prayer, and sweet time together that helped ease some nerves as the time came. We all (including multiple nurses) made a spirit tunnel for Emma as they wheeled her back to the Operating Room.
Surgery Results: The surgeon (Dr. Regina Bower – we love her so much) reported back: “I am very happy with how this surgery went.” They removed more of the tumor than anticipated. There is some residual tumor matter in the periphery. The surgical team expected this based on the MRI.
From Ems: “So many people were praying over today and I could truly feel it. We cannot do this alone and I am so grateful we don’t ever have to.”
August 26-29, 2023 (Saturday-Tuesday): Emma was in the ICU – exhausted, in incredible pain, and overwhelmed. She was also making jokes, memorizing all the names of her nurses and thanking them every time they came in. She kissed Travis, held hands with her mom, prayed with Robbie and Claire, and said “I am really proud of myself” to Kristin.
We are reminded in this time that trials do not prepare your character, they reveal your character. And thus far, this intense trial revealed that Emma’s character is filled with courage, strength, emotional authenticity, and a prayerful heart.
She is a brave and powerful woman.
FAST FORWARD ONE MONTH – RECOVERY PLAN
The past month has been a two-step forward, one step back healing journey. Upon leaving ICU, Emma had an intense four day stay in rehab. She was released to continue out-patient PT, OT and speech therapy. Her headache pain has gone from a 9 to a 4, but the persistence of this takes its toll; irritability, frustration, limited endurance … they are all part of a new normal.
September 26, 2023 (Tuesday): We received the pathology results and an outline of the treatment plan. The “primary” tumor (aka ‘Sadie’) is confirmed to be an “Oligodendroglioma” and is a combination Grade 2-3 brain tumor. With brain cancer, treatment is based on the “highest potential” grade and they are treating this aggressively as a Grade 3-4.
- As a result, both radiation and chemotherapy will begin approximately October 2.To quote Emma’s Radiology Oncologist: “Look, you don’t want to pick one of these. But if you did, this is the one.” Dr. Bower, too, expressed relief and encouragement at the cancer cell type as the treatment and general prognosis for these types of brain cancer cells is more encouraging.
- Radiation will last 6 weeks and chemotherapy (oral) will last for 12 months. “We have one goal: to kill every single one of these cancerous cells. We’re going in there to kill it all.”
Emma has also been encouraged to undergo fertility treatment given her age (27) and the unknown effects of chemotherapy fertility-wise.
While this pending journey feels big and scary, there is still so much hope while we rest in this valley. Yes, the news is heavy. But even with this news, Trav and Em feel a sense of relief that this unknown, heavy, and ominous cloud is now known. A plan is in place. Yes, we’re still in a valley, but at least we understand where we need to march in order to reach the peak.
And the clarity of that plan is something to be grateful for amidst the storm.
From Emma: Thank you to everyone for your continued support and for teaching us. Humans are beautiful. And at their core, so so good. We have learned so much from you all about what love tangibly looks and feels like. We are changed by it. We are better because of the way you have loved us. You are the hands and feet of an incredibly loving God.
And thank YOU for not letting us stand in the valley alone. And Lord, sweet Jesus, guide us to the peak.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “For just as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
- Prayers for deep and complete healing over her body, mind and emotions.
- Prayers over continued endurance and physical therapy improvement.
- Prayers for protection over her motor cortex during treatment.
- Prayers that her treatment plan removes every trace of cancer.
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