The outpouring of prayers and support from so many people over the past several weeks has been overwhelming. We have appreciated all of the acts of kindness and service that we have received. We know that the prayers, trips to the temple, and fasts by many different people have truly helped us.
Two days prior to my first craniotomy my wife and I felt sad, fearful, and uneasy. The day before the surgery we felt the most at peace, totally opposite from what we had felt the day before. It was as if someone was physically lifting us up from our sadness and fears and giving us incredible strength. We realized later on that two different wards had been fasting for us (and many other individuals) the day before and the day of the surgery. We have still continued to feel peace throughout this difficult time, but the strength and comfort we felt the day before and the day of the surgery was like no other.
It was a miracle in itself that my diagnosis and prognosis had changed between the first and second surgeries. It is very rare for a diagnosis to change from one type of cancer to another. We were grateful to learn about the possibility of my having years to live versus months.
The sequence of events leading up to both surgeries happened for a reason. If the first craniotomy was not aborted from the false diagnosis Robert could have sufferred more impairment from the surgery because of the brain route that was taken. Also it would have been impossible to completely retract the entire tumor based on the angle the doctor had entering the brain.
There was a delay in finding out about the new diagnosis based on the final pathology report, and a delay in getting the second craniotomy. After making preparations for the second craniotomy, I found out the day before the surgery that it was cancelled and postponed a week. Not being told the reason why, my wife and I were frustrated about the delay. Soon after we spoke to Dr. Yang who told us about his meeting with the chief neurosurgeon, Dr. Martin, to discuss my case. Dr. Martin had recommended accessing the tumor through the occipital lobe, which was a better angle-allowing for the entire tumor to be retracted. Because of Dr. Martin’s experience with occipital lobe craniotomies Dr. Yang asked him to perform the surgery. It was a blessing to have two top neurosurgeons performing the surgery and successfully taking out all the tumor that they could see.
Dr. Yang mentioned God’s hand in helping him throughout the surgery. He had an advantage going into my brain a second time because he had seen the tumor and new what he was dealing with. Also, the scar tissue from the first craniotomy provided a guide or pathway for the surgeons to follow, making the retraction much easier.
This whole experience has helped my wife and I become stronger. We try to enjoy as much time together as we can and not take it for granted. We have been reminded how short our time is in this life and how much we appreciate our knowledge and belief of eternal families.