Brain Surgery round 3

(This post is not typical of the normal writing/style of this blog. If you do not know Daniel Harper or are easily bored with cancer stories, feel free to skip to prior posts)

On July 9, 2010, I woke up to my wife telling me I’d had a seizure in my sleep. I was not on any anti-seizure meds as it had been 2.5 months since my second brain surgery, which I had on March 24, 2010. Life had started to get back to normal until that morning. I knew I needed to get an MRI as soon as possible, but I live in Park City, UT and my insurance company is a private PPO with in-network coverage only in Las Vegas.  I can definitely say we aren’t quite the big happy family they make us out to be in their advertising. I’ve fought (and lost) too many battles with them to say great things about them. However, I will say that having them at all is a total Godsend. I do feel sorry for them and for the hundreds of thousands of dollars I’ve cost them so far.

The earliest I could get in for the MRI was the next week, on July 16. The waiting game during those 7 days was an interesting one as I hoped for the best and tried to not worry. On the 16th, I hopped in my 1994 Infiniti G20, and made the 7 hour drive to Las Vegas. I made the journey safely, but did it illegally and in high heat. I paid CKM Collision 90 bucks the week prior to fix my car’s A.C., but I forgot to read the invoice “This AC job doesn’t cover any locations or times beyond 6-9 a.m. in Park City”. My bad…  You also are legally not allowed to drive for 3 months once you have a seizure, but I had no other choice.

Logan could not come with me as she had just recently landed a job as an executive assistant for the CEO of Keller Williams in Park City. This happened for two reasons: 1 – God is watching over us and we had a ton of people praying for this job to happen. 2 – Logan is one of the most talented, determined, and gifted people I know. She got the job out of 85 applicants! (we put this pic with her resume-maybe it helped)

The MRI showed what was obviously a whole bunch of tumor regrowth and a ton of swelling. The earliest I could get in to see was my neurosurgeon was a week and a half later. More waiting. Trying to trust that God would work everything out. I talked to a doctor who is a friend of my parents, and based on some of the success he’d seen, I started my new life/diet: juicing. I juice apples, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, lemons…whatever, and also carrots, kale, brocolli, cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, beets…whatever. 6-9 juices a day, at least 5 days a week. Lots of work, but all the live enzymes give your body the best fighting chance possible. (its not as glamorous as this-its a full-time job and pretty messy)

After 1.5 weeks and a Penske truck ride with some friends (they were moving to SoCal) back to Vegas, I finally got in to see my neurosurgeon. His first words were something like this-” we need to have surgery this Saturday.” Needless to say, I was hesitant, scared, and looking for any answer but that one. Not sold on getting my head cut open again in a few days, I went to appointment #2 that afternoon – my oncologist (cancer treatment doc).  She recommended the same, along with having the nuerosurgeon put in chemotherapy wafers in the tumor bed area. Then, I would get started on Avastin, an anti-angigenesis drug that is received through an IV port every other week starting 5-6 weeks out. Its job is to cut off the blood supply to a tumor, so it can’t grow.

Fortunately, I have extremely supportive family and friends, so my wife and family were there for my surgery and recovery. This pic was taken of me in the ICU right after surgery. God blessed, and I was disharged less than 48 hours later. The surgeon put all 8 gliadel chemo wafers in the tumor bed, and did a more aggressive resection, which slightly affected my left hand motor skills, but it will all come back with time.

At this point, I am now back home with my lovely, hard-working wife and trying to balance recovery, juicing,  a bit of work, Ignite (the church service we started – http://experienceignite.com), and gettting myself to Las Vegas somehow every other week to start on Avastin.

I’ve learned a couple of things through this 3rd brain surgery that I feel are extremely important. First off, you HAVE to keep yourself positive and trusting in God even when you don’t feel like it, or have any idea how things will work out.  They usually do and there is always someone who is in a tougher situation than you. God is so trustworthy and blesses us in so many ways. We have so much to be thankful for, God says He will never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle.

The other thing I’ve learned is how important relationships with friends and family are. This life is so temporary and fleeting, and God uses us all to lift each other up and prepare for life in the next one to come. One of the biggest ways I’ve seen this work, is through prayer. While I don’t understand exactly how it all works, I think prayer gives God more power to work on our behalf and bless our lives. I pray every day that God will be the Master physician in my life and keep those ugly cells from growing back.

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5 Responses to “Brain Surgery round 3”

  1. Daniel, this is extraordinary. Your faith and our prayers will heal you. Be strong my friend. Praying for you.

  2. Hi Daniel,
    Very inspiring and a blessing to all that read this article. You have a mission…and your doing it Great. We put our trust in the one who is trust worthy….the Solid Rock.

    Aloha, Jeff

  3. allison harper Says:

    Hi Dan…as always, a very inspiring blog and I so appreciate your transparency and admission of faith…I”m leaving you a long private facebook message in response to yours, but using this space to say what an honor it is to be your mom and I know God is near to your situation. He is so tremendously faithful…

  4. Julian B. Says:

    So inspired and encouraged by your story. Keep livin’ it out. God has GREAT and mighty things ahead.

  5. Virginia Mattson Says:

    Dan, thank you for sharing your story. I am praying for a miracle and full recovery. Keep reading those healing Bible verses each day and juicing. I see the proton ad, did you have proton or the newer xray treatment? I recommend essiac tea for the side effects of chemo. Do keep us updated on this site.

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