Health, Medical, Brain Tumor, Schwannoma, Resection, CyberKnife, & a U.S.Marine

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March 31st, 2008 · 1 Comment

So much has been going on in our lives I do not even know where to start. Travis is currently in the MEB/PEB process, in civilian term this means that he is in the process of being medically retired from the military. It also means that he must attend different classes as well as additional medical appointments. We went to a week long class to learn about VA benefits and to get him enrolled in the VA system. The class was long and a lot of important information was given to us. Luckily I was able to attend the classes with Travis because it was impossible for him to pay attention due to his pain medications. Travis has five upcoming appointments to be evaluated by the VA.

We will be traveling up to Stanford for a follow up appointment with Travis’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Adler. We have to stay over night for that appointment and luckily my sister offered to take time off from work to watch Tori. With so much else going on I have not really had time to think about what we might hear from Dr. Adler. Travis is getting an MRI when he is up there and I hope that we get good news. To be able to function I have been thinking positive. In my mind Travis is on his way to getting better and we are on our way to living a more “normal” life. I hope that we are told that the tumor has not grown.

I have been doing my best to keep up with school. I was really looking forward to starting classes again but I did not realize how hard it was going to be to fit them in our busy schedule. More than once I have wanted to quit the classes because I feel so overwhelmed. What keeps me on track is I remind myself of special people like Travis’ Flight Surgeon and a few other individuals who have really made a difference in this difficult time. I want to be able to give back someday and I want to be able to help out other people and other families the way that we have. When I remind myself of these goals and of my mentors I get the strength to continue with my schooling. I am nearing the end of my first semester back and I can’t wait to finish so that I can feel that accomplishment. This last weekend I took three quizzes, one exam, watched a foreign film, wrote a two page essay, and read my textbooks. I could not have found the time for this if I did not have the support of my family.

Today we had plans to go to base to get our orders for our trip to Stanford. After getting our orders we were going to go grocery shopping and then to the bank. Well as usual, things could not go as planned. While we were at Travis’s unit getting his orders Travis bent down to fix his shoe and he had a back spasm. He described it to be just as painful as the time that he was hospitalized initially for his back problem. We finished up our business with his unit and then Travis drove to Base Medical. Why was Travis driving and not me? Well he just started driving again, he was driving his car and it is stick shift and I can’t drive stick shift. So we were stuck. Anyway, we made it to Base Medical and he was seen by the doctors that we on duty today. They assessed the situation and gave him some pain medication and a shot so that he could be comfortable. We walked down to the pharmacy and waited to be called. We ended up sitting next to a nice man that struck up a conversation with Travis. He noticed that Travis was in pain and started asking questions. One thing lead to another both Travis and the man were sharing there horror stories from Balboa Hospital. This man suggested that we write to our Congressman and Senator about what happened and gave Travis a great pep talk about standing up for himself. The pep talk really touched Travis’s heart to know that a stranger took the time to listen to what Travis has been going through and that this man actually cared.

Also I should mention that today Travis got a call from a stranger. When I use the word stranger I intend no negative connotation. I use the word simply to imply a person that has no relationship to us, someone that has no obligation to us. And it overwhelming to us when a stranger opens up their heart to us. Back to what I was saying, a woman called him today from the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. She got our information from a case worker and called Travis to tell him how her organization could help him. Something this woman said really touched Travis’s heart and after he hung up the phone with her he was speechless. I hate that Travis has had these health conditions but considering the situation, nothing could compare to the way that we feel when we are approached by caring people. It really means a lot to us. Nothing can take away his tumor but caring people can certainly make living with it a lot better. The feeling these people give us also is a motivation and a reminder of how important it is to give back.

Click here to read stories of injured services member and how the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund assisted the service members and their families.

Tags: back · back pain · driving · everyday life · follow up · helping families · Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund · MEB · military retirement · Miramar · MRI · nerve damage · nonprofit organization · PEB · Stanford · stress · support · thankful · update

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 War Man // Apr 2, 2008 at 10:10

    Travis, you and your wife are a true inspiration. I am amazed that you are able to do what you do, in the midst of these challenges. After reading your story, chatting with you online, it has caused me to examine my own attitudes towards my life, and how I deal with others. Lets just say that you guys have helped me “stop complaining”. I’m sending all of my positive energy, your way. War

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