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Ron W.

Ron W.

There is a ‘new normal” in our family; but it is certainly livable, and we are very grateful to have each other and know that Karen (BTN) is there if we need help.”

Told by patient

My life changed in a matter of days.

We were camping in our new motor home when my wife, Lynne, said to me: “Do you realize that your speech pattern has changed?” I said, “Yes.”  When we got home, I called my doctor and we met with him the next morning. He ordered a cat scan, and two days later he called - there was something on my brain. He then ordered an MRI which showed a tumor.

Lynne teaches dog classes, and one of her students gave us Karen Greenan’s contact information at the Brain Tumor Network. From that call on, we had a path to follow. Karen got us an appointment that afternoon with “Dr. Q” at Mayo Clinic who confirmed that there was a brain tumor and that I would need brain surgery. They explained that there was a chance that I would not be able to speak after the surgery due to the location of the tumor. I was in surgery five and a half hours. It was discovered post-op that I had lost the sight in my left eye. When I was released from the hospital four and a half days later, I was so weak that Lynne had to help me over a three inch step!  I spent the next two weeks resting and recovering at home until I returned to Mayo to have my staples removed.

After thirty hours of speech therapy, I am now able to speak.  Although my thoughts are fine, verbalizing them can be painfully slow. If I am very tired, then speaking at all is an effort. I also had ten hours of physical therapy. The first day, I went to therapy walking behind Lynne and holding onto her shoulders. Now, although I tire easily, I am able to maneuver quite well.

As I write this, it has been ten months since my surgery. I am able to drive both my car and the motor home, play golf, and do my pottery. I still tire very easily, but continue to push myself to gain more strength. I will be 79 years old at the end of the month.

Additional comments from Lynne:  Both Ron’s and my life changed in a matter of days. It is a blessing that the tumor was not malignant. Our path lay in getting Ron stronger and able to lead a normal life. Being the caretaker is difficult: do not be hard on yourself. There are many times that I called Karen just for someone to listen to me. There is a fine line between being a coach and an enabler - knowing when to push and when to step back. I am grateful for Karen and the Brain Tumor Network. She acted quickly and gave much needed assistance in the early post-op days. There is a ‘new normal” in our family; but it is certainly livable and we are very grateful to have each other and know that Karen is there if we need help. We are always available to help other people who are going through what we did.