Connor had exactly zero wins after three straight years to the Cherry Capital Cup, + or – zero.  He just wanted to win one game.  On his first game, they won in a convincing style with a 4 – 3 victory vs. North Storm.  We accomplished our mission.  Time to go home.  Alas, we had 2 more tournament games to play, and his team kept winning, 7-1 and then 3-2.  We were on the way to the championship game.   This game was pretty anticlimactic since we also won that game 6-1 vs. Fury FC.  That means our total record went from 0-8-1 to 4-8-1.  We do that again next year at the Cherry Capital Cup, we will pull our record to even.

After the championship game, I had another seizure.   

“Dad, I am going to have a seizure,” I said.  

He did not hear me.  He was joking around with some other parents.

“Dad, I am going to have a seizure,” I said louder this time.

He turned and saw the anxiety on my face.  
“Lay down,” he said as he helped me to the ground.  I hear that advice a lot after I tell someone I am going to have a seizure.  That said, if I tell you I am going to have a seizure, tell me to lay down.  In Starbucks on 12/21/17, I actually stood up and then hit my head on the way down.  Those simple instructions are very effective. 

I was awake the whole time, just did not have any control of my right side as it contracted and relaxed again and again.  That’s a partial seizure.  A generalized seizure is when you wake up in an ambulance outside of Starbucks.

I was on the ground, and I felt something wet hit my face.  I hope that was a tear from my mother.  Anything else dropping from her face (specifically, her nose) would have been pretty gross.  I was also surrounded by several doctors including Heather Slay, Brett Brinker, Tom Auer, and my PCP.  We even had a nurse practitioner Tara Webb.  None of them had every seen me seize.  Actually, only Dr. Amy Bishop saw me immediately after my last seizure.  After I started to get control of my right side, I remained on the ground.  ER doctors: do not read the following couple of sentences.  You have a very difficult job.  Just start at the next paragraph.  An ER doctor came by helpfully and suggested I put my legs up in the air.  I did, but then I realized he thought I was having a vasovagal spell, not a seizure.  That’s what ER docs are good for:  What is the most common diagnosis and the diagnosis I cannot miss?  Rule in one and out the other, and then send them home.  If I went to the ER, I would have probably gotten a PE protocol CT, troponin level, and a cardiology consult if the troponin was ambiguous (or, at least that’s what it feels like on call).  

Welcome back ER staff. 

We kept my mom busy by sending her to the car to get my backpack with my Ativan.  After she returned and then walked the backpack back to the car, we sent her back again for a second dose.  It was a good distractor for her while I recovered. 

I finally got up off the ground and took some pictures with my son like nothing happened.  The rest of the parents must have been like “wtf?”  Excuse my foul language, but I can’t imagine anything else going through their minds.    A few of them that Connor has played with for a few years knew my diagnosis.  Newer parents had no clue until that moment.  Well, there was my announcement to the soccer world!  As I walked of the field, I waved to a group of them.  See y’all later!

Figure:  Left, Connor, my PCP, and me right after my seizure.  Nothing to see here!  Upper right, Connor showing his moves.  Middle right, some of his teammates after the game.  Bottom right, giving Connor extra motivation (okay, that picture was meant to be a joke).

 

I had a funny look at work, and Nurse Cindy could sense something was wrong.  Some people just pull that out of you.  Nurse Jane did the same after I showed her an e-mail from Dr .Brahmajee Nallamothu.  His father-in-law also died of brain cancer after a good, asymptomatic run after resection.  And I thought I was special.  I needed to gather myself.  Nurse Jane helped by seeing my first patient for several minutes while I gathered myself.

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What else is going on?  Allison played lacrosse and went a perfect 24-0 over the season.  That’s 24 wins, zero losses if  you are not sure what 24-0 means.  She likes it, but I don’t think that will be her high school sport.  They only play 6 girls on the field over 4 grades.  

Queen Elizabeth ran a 400 meter dash at the LBW race (Lakeside – Breton – Wealthy).  From now on, she will also be called the Silver Bullet.  Margaret McIntosh coined her that through her mother on a text: “Ella is the Silver Bullet, and I never want to run that again.”  Connor has to try a little harder to make the podium (top 3 make the podium), but he did for the second year in a row.  Phew.  He is all willpower, but not as much intrinsic talent as his sister.  The Silver Bullet just has another gear.   Connor tells her to “Go” and she just takes off.  At that point, she went from 3rd to 1st pretty easily.

 

Figure:  Left, Ella has always liked to run from behind.  Seen here, she is letting Connor and Gen take the lead.  Upper right, picking it up for the last quarter of the race.  Bottom right, the top 3 finishers from 4th grade.

 

I try to make it to more of my kids’ events nowadays.  4th grade science fair?  Check.  Aforementioned LBW race?  Check.  Second grade restaurant?  Check again.  Last day of school or anything for Allison?  Okay, she would have killed me.  She left early and came home at about 8:30 PM.  I had Staci text me the photo she took prior to driving her to school.  Check? 

When I went to the second grade restaurant at Breton Downs, I surprised Ella.  I was supposed to be working that day, but I snuck out for about an hour.  It was kind of like those videos when military personnel come home without telling their kids, but not quite as dramatic and no music.  

Figure: Left, 4th grade science fair.  Upper right, at the second grade restaurant.  Lower right, trying to make the most out of Craig’s Cruisers.

 

The kids all successfully completed a school year.  Mia graduated from preschool, Ella finished 2nd, Connor 4th, and Allison 7th.  Next year will be big with graduations from elementary school and middle school.  I told Allison we would both go to our favorite kids’ graduation, but she will just have to wait and see where we end up.  Connor and Allison are both strong candidates, but the best bet is the Silver Bullet.  I’m sorry, but she is just so fast!

Figure:  Left, Allison on her way to school on her last day.  Middle left, Mia finishing preschool.  Middle right, Connor and his teacher, Mrs. Ries.  Far right, Ella and her long term substitute teacher, Mr. Wondergem (sadly, one of our favorite teachers, Mrs. Vikki Boersma, is going through a family tragedy).

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I have another MRI in the next few weeks.  This one will be a little more nerve-racking since I have had some symptoms (seizures).  Well, not necessarily more nerve-racking because they all are nerve-racking.  (How many times can I write nerve-wracking in this last paragraph? I’ll tell you, it’s 4).  The most difficult part is not knowing.  Some patients refer to that as scanxiety.  Once we know, we can at least form a plan.  As Lucia Steinlage said before my last surgery, ‘This is just one more mountain to climb, so grab a pickaxe.’  Or maybe not.  I’m not sure.