For those who don’t know the situation and for those who are still unclear about the events that led to this diagnosis and situation, here’s our story.
Around Christmas, Allen started having some problems with his vision. It was mainly at night but due to depth perception he decided he didn’t feel comfortable driving at all. We enjoyed a great Christmas with all our family and things seemed normal. He made an appointment with his optometrist for Dec. 27. He was found to have cataracts. An appointment was then made with Dr Mitchell. After initial evaluation, he concurred and surgery was scheduled for Jan 24. On Martin Luther King day, we took down our Christmas decorations and he took everything to the attic. On Thursday Jan 18 he had some slight confusion related to time but not enough to be terribly concerned with. We now know we should have been but he blew it off by saying he couldn’t see the clock. The weekend was beautiful and we spent a lot of time outside playing ball with the dog and playing with the kids. On Monday the 22nd, he took the garbage out and Travis took him to work. That evening he said he was very tired and went to bed extremely early. He woke up an hour or so later, confused and thinking it was morning. Once again, he blamed it on going to bed too early and sleeping to hard. Truthfully it made sense. He stayed home from work on Tuesday the 23rd because he had to start all the presurgery eyedrops. He seemed his usual self, although tired. Wednesday AM we got up early to be at the surgery appointment. He got himself showered, dressed and ready to go. When we got there, he was unable to see where to sign his name but we were reassured “they would fix that”. He went to the post op area on his own and the surgery was uneventful. We were supposed to return a few hours later for the post op visit. We went to Chick Fil A drive through for breakfast and he was able to tell us all about the surgery. When we got home, it was difficult to get him out of the car and he was having a lot of difficulty walking. He was also extremely confused when we got in the house. He was overdue for his thyroid levels to be checked and that can also lead to confusion. It was decided we needed to return for our post op visit and then go to the ER to get his blood levels drawn and some scans. Off we went to Madison ER. With his symptoms we were taken back quickly. Initial impression was possibly a stroke but knowing the signs, We didn’t think that was the case. After the MRI and CT, it was found that he has a large tumor on the right side of his brain. He was transported by Critical Care Ambulance to Huntsville main and admitted to the NICU. Late Thursday night a biopsy was performed that confirmed the mass and due to the size and location, surgery was not possible. He was released to go home on Saturday night. We had a pretty good week, where he was able to get up, walk, shower and eat all with assistance. On Wednesday, 1 week later, we had an appt with Dr. Schreeder. He confirmed the diagnosis as Glioblastoma (GBM) the most aggressive form of brain cancer. He declined over the weekend and Monday found us being admitted back into Huntsville Hospital where we spent 6 Weeks. He is not able to do much more than sleep. He began radiation and oral chemo on Thursday Feb 8.
On Friday March 2nd, our family had another shocking, event occur... We went to our house, to catch up on some laundry and check on everything. While drying some blankets and pillows, our dryer caught fire. Luckily, the actual fire was mainly contained to the laundry room, and the fire damage was kept to a minimum, but the smoke damage was heavy; affecting every room in the house. We are in the process of having the house, and everything inside the house, restored and the rooms renovated, and re-constructed. That being said, we have to be out of the house for 3-4 months, while the construction and renovation processes are completed.
On Friday, March 17th, Blue Cross Blue Shield decided that he no longer needs acute care. His vital signs and lab work have remained stable, for the most part, so on paper he looks good. In person though, it’s a very different story. Our doctor extinguished all of his appeals, so we were discharged from Huntsville Hospital on Tuesday, March 19th. Arrangements were made for him to be transported, by Ambulance, to his last 4 radiation treatments at CCI (his last treatment was on Monday, March 26th). BCBS decided to not assist in this situation either, and left the transport up to us. We have been hopeful that, soon after his last radiation treatment, he would be admitted to HealthSouth for rehab, but since it is also a decision made by the BCBS, we are not making any plans for anything and have contacted a home health care service to work with Allen 2-3 days a week, four hours a day; another decision not supported by BCBS, thus leaving the financial burden on our family.
We have been blessed with loving, selfless family members who are turning their living room into a hospital room for as long as we need it. We have other family who are using any resources available to make this transition as easy as possible. Others still who have been putting their lives on hold to help at the hospital or the house. Thank you is not enough for them or the many friends who come to the hospital, call, text, message, pray and just offer words of encouragement daily. We truly would not be able to do this without everyone that is surrounding us in prayer. It truly takes a village and we have been shocked and humbled by all the support we have seen and continue to see. THANK YOU.
The Tidwell Family.
- Ada Barnes Mitchell
- Kelly Barron
- Janice White
- Nikki Bishop
Fundraising team: Justin, Travis & Lauren (3)
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