So, Two Brain Tumor Survivors Walk into a Bar…
One of the hard realities (actually we’ve found a lot of humor in it as well) during recovery is that I need a babysitter pretty much 24/7 (which can be especially hard on the caregivers) and today I found myself doing the “Babysitting”. I mentioned in one of the previous posts how I went to a brain tumor support group and met this guy named Joe, who is my age, from Seattle originally, works in the film industry, had a similar tumor (but on his left side), and even looks a little bit like me. I also mentioned how Joe recently had a reoccurrence and needed surgery. Well…he finally had his surgery last Tuesday up in San Francisco and returned to L.A. last night. He and his wife Erica live really close to us and have a pretty complicated family/work life so we’ve volunteered to be as much of a help and support to them as we can in this time. Erica, Joe’s wife, texted me the other day and asked if I wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on Joe on Monday (today) because she, unfortunately, had to go back to work. I said “Of course!!” and even though I’ve been recovering from a pretty nasty cold (which I gave to Ruthmom btw so if you want to pray for her as well), my fatigue and other side effects are pretty much gone at this point so I knew if I could just get a ride over there (still can’t drive because of the seizure), I could definitely do it. Amy and I joked at the irony of a brain tumor patient (me) taking care of another brain tumor patient (Joe) and how it would probably make a great sitcom (because of all the comedic possibilities). This morning I was feeling pretty great, so Amy dropped me off and I was pleasantly surprised to see how good Joe looked considering his surgery was only 6 days ago. He is just having some problems with reading and speech and feels like everyone does after brain surgery (like your constantly walking around with a tiny fish tank filled with water on your head). Everyone (including me) is confident that Joe’s reading and speech will come back because immediately after the surgery, it was all fine and it wasn’t until a couple hours later that the cognitive problems started, which would imply it happened as a result of swelling.
One of the advantages to living in L.A. is that during the holidays it’s “awards season” which means that movie studios and distributors send out “screener” copies of their films “for your consideration”. I was able to get my hands on a few so I brought them with me and we spent most of the time watching, “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Allen’s latest). I also took Joe’s Rottweiler “Gia” for a walk (she is a total sweetie) and made sure that Joe got something to eat (and took his meds). Overall, it felt really good to be able to help care for someone besides myself for a change and I actually found it to be a nice reminder of how far I’ve come. I’m going to probably take care of Joe some more and continue to enjoy this last week of freedom before “Phase 2” (Chemo) begins. I also would like to ask for prayers for complete healing and restoration for Joe and that he and Erica would find a strong support system surrounding them in this time. I’m just going to throw this out there…If anyone reading this would be interested in bringing them a meal, let me know…they definitely need the help. People bringing us meals was a huge help for Amy and I and I’m confident that once I start chemo, we’re gonna need support like that again, but in the meantime I know it would give us great joy to “pay it forward”.