Making Do

It was a draining day Friday. It began with a massive seizure, but ended with everyone resting as best they could. Jordan spent most of the day asleep, much of which was induced by anesthesia. A powerful sedative ended the morning seizure. Then later in the day she was put under general anesthesia so radiology could do another MRI and MRA scan.

We had a lengthy chat with her neuro-oncologist. I’ve written of him before. He’s an inspiration to our family and a generous mentor. He explained the team’s current thinking about Jordan’s case, and he wasn’t shy about saying that there really aren’t any concrete answers at this point. Stroke is one of the hypotheses, although it is an unlikely one because there are no signs of it in the scans. The new scans she had yesterday afternoon went looking specifically for evidence of stroke and they came back clean.

The other hypothesis is that these symptoms are as a result of the tumor’s retreat. The team hypothesizes that scar tissue left behind on the brain lining might be triggering the seizures, paralysis and lapses of consciousness. And yet another hypothesis is that the tumor itself is the culprit. Even though it is getting smaller, the reduction is relative. Jordan has a massive amount of disease on her brain. While it may not have caused these symptoms in the past, a top-level view of her MRI shows that the tumor is present in the affected areas of the brain.

As for the paralysis, it may be a condition known as Todd’s paralysis, named after a 19th century Scottish doctor who discovered that some of his seizure patients developed partial paralysis that dissipated shortly thereafter. If the case, Jordan should regain the use of her right arm. For now, she can’t move it or grasp anything with it.

Seeing her go under again for the MRI was unusually hard on me. It doesn’t cause any pain, but her eyes look so afraid. She can’t speak, but she doesn’t have to. She looks at me – seems to look into me – and imparts all her fear and resignation. She’s making do as best she can. Actually, she’s making do better than most of us. Her strength is superhuman. But it’s very hard to watch her lie still in her hospital bed with those quiet eyes. It’s a stark contrast to who she normally is.

She’s done with tests for now. Last night they were finally able to start feeding her through the ng stube. When Jeanette asked if her tummy was starting to feel better she nodded. We hope that nourishment will give her strength to bounce back some more. We hope that rest and the weekend will restore her to better health.