Today is Bob the brain tumors 19th anniversary . On August 16th, 2000 our worlds were turned upside down when it was discovered that Ashton had very large brain tumor.
I can remember that day very clearly. We had a MRI earlier that morning. Her doctor noticed neurological issues and thought best she have one. She had several strep infections that spring and summer with the last leaving her walking strangely. That is why we went to the doctor.
I went back to work. I’m sitting at my desk and Danny McFarlin calls. I specifically remember looking at the clock, it was 4:10 pm, because I thought it odd he would call. Dad was sitting over at the other desk. Danny told me that I had to get Ashton to St Louis Children’s now. I asked what was going on. Linda, he said, just get her to the hospital now. What’s wrong I kept asking and he said she has a very large lesion in her brain. I asked what that was and he said they’ll explain everything there. He said to stop by Hillsboro Hospital get the MRI scan and take it with us, but leave now.
I started freaking out. My dad asked me what was going on and I told him. I said we have to go now, we have to go now. My Grandma Grace was staying with Mom and dad at that time so they had to make arrangements that she would be taken care of. Dad went home to get Mom and I went to pick up Ashton from the babysitters. Ashton and I were in the backseat as we drove to get her MRI scan and head to St Louis.
Mom tried looking at it but she couldn’t understand it. I was just out of my mind with worry. So we go to Cardinal Glennon first and we were at the wrong hospital. They sent us over to Children’s by Barnes. We were admitted through the ER and the doctors came in to talk to her. She told them all kinds of things that I never knew. She was seeing double and was dizzy a lot. She never complained. They then took me and Dad out to see the scans.
She had a grapefruit sized tumor attached to her brain stem. They were admitting her and doing surgery. I fell apart again in my Dad’s arms. Of course I had notified Mike McKinney at Fillmore Baptist what was going on, it was a Wednesday so they were praying for us. I couldn’t reach my sister Diana but she was told at church.
The next day we met her neurosurgery team. Dr. Jeffrey Ojemann was lead surgeon.. The next day at 7 a.m. they told us that she would be in surgery.
You have no idea how devastating it is watching them wheel your child away with no clue what will happen. My entire family came to the hospital. It was a 12-hour surgery. I knew something was wrong cause we hadn’t received our calls from the nurse.
At 3 p.m. the surgeon came to speak to me and said he has to do emergency surgery and needed my permission. She had developed three blood clots and two had combined. She had a stroke on the table.
Around 8 p.m. dad and I were allowed to see her. Her head was swollen . She couldn’t move and had no reflex functions. I again fell into my dad’s arms crying. She was in ICU for a week and moved to the neuro floor.
It was another week before she woke up. When she did, the first thing she asked was “Where is Papa”, my Dad. God has blessed me with wonderful, supportive parents and family. God knew what I needed way before I did.
Ashton was in the hospital for two months with very intense rehab. She had one year of PT, OT and speech therapy three times a week. Since then she has had three more brain surgeries, over eight years of chemo and radiation. She still has functional deficits and is 60% blind in both eyes.
By the grace of God you would never know that she had problems. This young woman is a true miracle of God and his great work that he can. You have no idea how many times we were told she wasn’t going to make it or she would never live to this day. She has surpassed each one.
So today as I sit during her MRI and wait for the results at Costas, I thank God for Bob the brain tumor. If we had never found him, Ashton would not be here today. So, happy anniversary Bob. You have been a big part of our lives for a long time. You can go away now. 😋