On Thursday, October 27th, Lois was wheeled into the operating room and underwent surgery to remove a large tumor from her brain. Waiting for close to nine hours before the surgery was completed was the most difficult time that our family experienced. To watch the person you love go through an event like Lois experienced was heart-wrenching. Some have asked us what we saw that caused us to take Lois in for testing. We have gone over and over various scenarios in our minds and couldn’t come up with any one thing but a series of small things, like being unable to ride a bicycle even though she had no problem doing so in the past. Then Lois would start talking, lose her train of thought and be unable to finish. The girls had talked to her about it, and they decided that having a CT scan might give a reason for what she was experiencing.
One possibility we were contemplating was that this could be caused by a symptom associated with Covid, called brain fog, which can cause a lack of mental focus and clarity. Even though Lois had been immunized, had her booster shot, and had even come down with a mild case of covid, we wanted to have her looked over to eliminate any possibility of it being long covid, dementia, Parkinson, Alzheimer’s, a stroke or a tumor. However, a tumor was not very high on our list. Krista and Tonya had talked with Lois’s doctor and had convinced her to change the CT scan to an MRI. More specifically, an MRI with contrast, contrast allows a radiologist to detect even the smallest tumor and provides information about its precise location.
After the scan, we waited a couple of hours before the technician could meet and discuss the test results. That should have been a red flag that something wasn’t right. When they finally came and escorted us back to see the technician, Lois’s Doctor was waiting to talk with us on the phone. She told us that the MRI had detected a large mass on her frontal lobe and for her to go immediately to the ER. After several hours in the ER, the doctors determined that she should be taken by ambulance to their sister hospital which specialized in neurology. This was the beginning of an emotional roller coaster of events that continually brought us to the foot of the cross.
The next day, Lois and I met with the highly skilled recommended surgeon, in neurology along with Krista, Jason, Josh, and Tonya. He answered our questions and told us what we might expect. It was apparent that the first thing on our list was to find a hospital that specialized in the kind of surgery Lois would need and then find a surgeon we felt confident with. Two of the hospitals we were looking at had highly skilled and qualified surgeons; one was John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and the other was at UMPC Harrisburg, where Lois was currently admitted. We studied each doctor’s credentials, and the next day we unanimously agreed to have Dr. Chikezie Eseonu at UMPC Harrisburg do the surgery.
The tumor was large, close to 1 ¾ inch (see picture above), and because of the tumor’s location, they were concerned about it affecting her speech and motor skills. Not to mention other possibilities we wouldn’t know until the surgery had been completed. You can imagine how concerned we were about Lois when she came out of surgery. We gathered around her, saying her name so she would wake up and come out of anaesthesiology to see how the surgery went. She stirred but did not open her eyes. Then they came to take her away for more tests and told us it would take a while, so they recommended we eat something. Tonya stayed while Krista and I left; we weren’t gone long before Tonya called and told us that the CT scan showed
no damage or cause for concern. As they extubated her, she became more comfortable and began to speak, squeeze our hands, move her feet as directed, and had no numbness. The following day the MRI was clear, showing no signs of a stroke or permanent damage. Her brain had already moved almost entirely back into place. (Look at the picture, and you will be as amazed as we were when we first saw it.)
Count Your Miracles, Name Them One by One!
On a Monday, Lois went in for an MRI. The rest of the day, into the early morning, she waited in the ER for more tests to be performed and for a room to be made available. She was transferred early Tuesday morning by ambulance from the ER to a hospital that specialized in neurosurgery. She spent the remainder of Tuesday and all of Wednesday having more tests. Then early Thursday morning, they wheeled her into the operating room for a seven-hour surgery that took close to nine hours to complete. She came out of the surgery able to communicate and carry on a coherent and, at times, detailed conversation. On Friday, her ability to walk was tested, and she was released to go home the following day. She was admitted on a Monday afternoon and was released on Saturday afternoon. What a miracle! I hope we never get over all of God’s miracles that happened to Lois! The surgeon, Dr. Eseonu, called us the morning after the surgery. He said that despite the tumor being one of the largest he’s ever removed and having ‘well over 100 tentacles’, he was confident they had gotten it all. The doctor also said that cutting the wrong tentacle could have caused permanent loss of speech or her ability to walk. His update on her progress still has us in awe.
Friday morning, the MRI was clear, showing no signs of a stroke or permanent damage. Her speech is expected to recover fully and is already better than before the surgery, and her cognitive ability is already noticeably better. She was moved out of ICU on Friday, AND they have a discharge (yes, go home!) on Saturday afternoon, should everything keep progressing at this rate. The day after her surgery, the ICU doctor said he didn’t see why Lois should not be discharged on Saturday. Wow!
Things to hold in prayer: no seizures, complete restoration of the frontal lobe, steady balance, no cancer, and full recovery with no setbacks. We are overwhelmed with His goodness and mercy over Lois’s life. What a difference a day/week makes. We all have cried at the goodness of God and the faithfulness of answered prayer in each update we have received. In the second week, 51 staples were removed from her head. And the pathology report came back benign! There was no other word that brought me as much happiness as hearing that Lois’s tumor was benign. Praise God! It has now been three weeks since the surgery and she recovering well.
From Lois – It felt like ministering angels were carrying me into the surgery room that morning. I remember how each note of the worship music the kids played in my room seemed to vibrate within me, overwhelming me with His glory and amazing love. Each report we received after the surgery was like hearing the best outcome possible. It was like God had filled the surgeon with skill and wisdom, and from that moment on, that man became everything that God knew I would need. The surgeon said he believed that all of the tumor had been removed from my brain. We were and continue to be in awe of His care over me, and we sincerely thank all of you for the prayers and overwhelming love you have shown on my behalf. In our home, the power and presence of God are still resting on me, and I believe that the restoration process will continue to bring a full and safe recovery. It is as if he is carrying me in His loving arms. I tell everyone about the miracle, and I will never be the same. He has captured my heart and all of me!
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
God Bless and Merry Christmas!