The Big “C”

Lee's Summit JournalOctober 2, 2013 

What do you think of when someone says, he’s got cancer? Our minds just jump all over the place. But what about when it hits home?

My love, Don, my husband of over 34 years, was diagnosed with a Grade 4, Glioblastoma. For those of us that have no medical background, that is brain cancer, and not a good one to have. Some of you know, from Facebook, that Don had a tumor removed Sept. 17. It was larger than a golf ball and had caused swelling in his brain in the area that controls vision. He was having peripheral issues and didn’t even know it, coupled with super bad headaches. But it had only been going on for a little over a week.

God has really blessed us during the past two weeks. Blessed? How can I say that? Let me share.

Sept. 12, Don called our general physician for an appointment, for a sinus infection. Our GP was going to be out of the office on Friday, but Don pushed to get in. His appointment was with the nurse practitioner. Friday, I decided to go with Don to the appointment, but we took two cars as I had a meeting scheduled, and Don was going to go into work after the appointment. When we got into the room, the nurse asked if we minded if a student that was shadowing the NP came in. Not a problem with us. The student came in and after about 20 minutes of questions, I was getting irritated, she left to share with the NP. They came in, said they thought it was a really deep sinus infection, but presented some other stuff, so to be safe, ordered blood work and a CT scan. They assured us that the CT scan would show the “sinus infection”

Don headed down to get blood work done and I left for my appointment. He went on to the imaging center for the CT scan after. They wouldn’t let him leave, telling him he couldn’t leave until after doctor the looked at scan. Don told them to just call him with the results, but no. Then they handed him the phone and said it was his doctor on the phone, “you have a mass on your brain and need to get down to Research Hospital ER immediately.”

Don called me and I headed over to pick him up. (If you are reading in between the lines, you know it wasn’t handled this smoothly. Lots of tears and terrified feelings). When we checked into the ER, we had the most wonderful nurse, Melissa. She took Don down to get an upper body CT and MRI. She refused to leave Don there by himself until he had been taken in. She said he reminded her of her Dad.

After the MRI, we checked into the ICU. Here’s where things get a little cloudy and questionable.

You know when you have a feeling that you aren’t where you are supposed to be? Well, the feeling not only came over me, but also a number of friends who came to support us. On my drive home, I was chatting with a very close friend who was lighting a fire under my butt! She said, “don’t you dare let them operate on him if you aren’t completely comfortable. You are Don’s voice while he’s unable to take care of himself.”

Unbeknownst to me, my friends picking up the car (left at imaging center), were having this same conversation. They came into the house and we got busy. Friends all over KC were calling other friends, waking them up and getting answers. Who is the best in town to help with this diagnosis? We had two hospitals within minutes that were the best. We prayed for clarity from God to tell us what to do. Within 15 minutes we heard the name of our surgeon by three completely unrelated people as the best surgeon, not only in town, but in the Midwest. Clarity! Thank you God! I knew then what I had to do, get Don moved from RH to KU Med Center and under this surgeons’ care.

After a sleepless night, I couldn’t stay at RH, unless I wanted to sleep in the community waiting room full of people. I woke Don up and told him how God had shared with me through so many other people. He agreed and we spoke to the doctor. He wasn’t happy, but did call the surgeon to see if he would take us. Of course he would, it was God appointed. An ambulance ride to KU and we were checked in immediately. The staff, nurses, doctors, everyone was absolutely wonderful! It would be two more days before surgery would happen, but I was able to stay not only in the hospital, but in Don’s room.

After surgery, his peripheral vision started returning and he has been released to drive. This made him very happy! I don’t understand why he didn’t enjoy my driving...but glad that he is seeing well.

Can you see God’s hand in all of this? Can you see the blessings?

1. Our general doctor wasn’t available. He usually just jots down a prescription and you are out the door.

2. The NP had a student that asked a ton of questions, leading to the CT scan.

3. Our nurse Melissa in the ER at RH was so comforting to Don.

4. After being told to go to RH, scared out of our minds, God spoke to a number of people to show us where HE wanted us!

5. Don could have gotten into a really bad car accident, as he didn’t realize he couldn’t see. God protected him!

6. The surgeon didn’t have to accept Don. God made sure his schedule was clear!

All of these things plus so many more blessings. We don’t know what the future holds, the diagnosis doesn’t come with a very happy one, but we do know that God is on His throne and has a plan.


Jet Pabst is the owner of A Thyme for Everything is located in Downtown Lee’s Summit at 229B SE Main Street.

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