Jude Atkinson Brain Tumor Fight

Jude Atkinson has known something was wrong with him since May of 2017.  Finally on January 26th of 2018, he had an MRI that revealed a skull base tumor the size of a mandarin orange as the cause of his symptoms and declining health over the last several months. 
     Jude and his Fiance Holly Hanowski saw Dr Link, who would become his neuro-surgeon, at Mayo Clinic on January 29th.  Dr Link's prognosis included a diagnosis of a schwannoma tumor growing out of Jude's trigeminal nerve and the need for surgical removal.  As of the am of January 31st, the plan was for surgery to be performed Febuary 7th.  
     Jude's symptoms however increased in severity as the  31st wore on and he ended up in ER.  A CT scan of his head revealed growth of the tumor.  Jude and Holly got a call at 8:30 am on Febuary 1st from Dr Link's office instructing them to come to Mayo right away for a surgically placed shunt through the top of his head to reduce the pressure inside the skull caused by the increase in tumor size.
     The shunt(ventriculostomy) was successfully placed and Jude was given steroids to decrease swelling prior to his updated surgical date of Febuary 2nd.  Dr Link does not normally operate on Fridays but made an exception for Jude because of his rapid decline.
     Jude went to surgery at 7:40am for a right lateral approach craniotomy and tumor removal.  Surgery started at 9:12am and his head was closed shortly after 7:00 pm.  His surgery consisted of tumor removal from the trigmenal nerve as expected from MRI scan.  Dr Link upon working on the removal of the tumor, which is done under microscope, found that the tumor had also encased the auditory nerve.  This prolonged the surgery and increased the difficulty significantly per his report following surgery.
     Jude tolerated the surgery very well and was off the ventilator by 9:00pm.  As a result of the tumor removal, a portion of his trigeminal nerve was removed which has resulted in R side facial numbness which is likely to be lifelong.  On a positive note, Dr Link was very surprised that Jude did not lose his hearing in his right ear as a result of removing the tumor from his auditory nerve.
     98% of the tumor was successfully removed, but 2% of the tumor that was located in Meckel's Cave was not able to be accessed to be safely removed.  As a result, Jude will need a possible second surgery in the future or Gamma Knife radiation.
     Currently the deficits resulting from surgery include the full right side facial numbness and double vision.  He also has a large titanium plate under his bone flap to reinforce his skull at the location of the craniotomy.
     Jude is 34 yrs old and has been engaged to Holly, 27 years old, for 6 years.  They have 2 children.  Jace is an energetic 5 year old and Hayden is a beautiful 10 month old.  They have a wedding date set for June 23rd of 2018.  Ironically, the day following his diagnosis of a brain tumor was the day that he had set aside to pick out his suit for the wedding.  This will have to wait, though the hope is that the wedding will take place as scheduled.
     Jude is an RN in the Cardiac ICU at Essentia Health in Duluth, MN.  He has 6 credits left in pursuit of his bachelor's in nursing and had planned to apply to CRNA school for this fall.  Holly is a speech language pathologist at Northern Lights Elementary in Superior, WI.
     Dr Link has given Jude a best case scenario of a return to work 3 months out from his sugery date.  Jude and Holly have been off work since his diagnosis.  Becasue Jude and Holly are not married, Holly cannot take advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act.  Everyone at Holly's school have been extremely supportive and her Principal has approved a leave for her through Febuary 14th, but Holly will likely need to take much more time off to assist Jude in his recovery.
With follow up appointments and the likely need for further intervention in the future, Jude's dependence on Holly for assistance will certainly impact Holly's ability to return to work in the near future. 
     Without including money for gas or groceries, Holly estimates that their bills alone will total approximately $14,500 over the next 3 months.  Further lodging in Rochester is likely to be necessary during that time as well.
     The goal of $15,000 would significantly help Jude and Holly during this time of need.  It is likely that with the addition of medical bills the total cost of this unplanned bump in the road will cost them >$15,000, but if this goal is acheived, the burden on them will be diminished significantly.
     Thanks for taking the time to read their story and considering a donation of any size.
  • Ashley Korbel 
    • $100 
    • 52 mos
  • Cele and Ken McGonagle 
    • $100 
    • 52 mos
  • Kristi French 
    • $45 
    • 52 mos
  • Morgan Rynda 
    • $100 
    • 52 mos
  • Daniela Scardaci 
    • $25 
    • 52 mos
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Organizer and beneficiary

Tara Caine 
Knife River, MN
Holly Hanowski