Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of finding a mass on Laura’s brain. This is the story of some happy days leading to that event.
On Friday, August 8, 2008, we drove to Baltimore to stay with Laura’s brother Paul. We were on our way to the wedding of my nephew Josh in Williamsburg the next day. The trip was a joy. We even took Toto with us. Leaving our dress clothes back home on the hanger by the door became an occasion for fun shopping on Friday evening at Macy’s in Christiana Mall off I-95 in Delaware.
After we left Paul’s on Saturday morning for the wedding, the traffic on I-95 south of Baltimore added about an hour to our drive to Williamsburg. When we finally pulled into the parking lot at the church, the groom’s step-brother David Ladin was shooting videos of people as they arrived. As a result we have a lovely little snippet of the three of us standing by our car. Laura ironically comments, “We survived 95!”
David’s mother Joyce sent us the video, adding: “Of course I didn’t know that these were ‘new duds’ to replace the ones you left behind. But I love the carefree moment. When I first saw the video, I said to Pat that I had never seen Laura so playful as when she almost curtsied to the camera.”
Laura truly enjoyed the festivities of the wedding, particularly the music. Josh’s cousin Aidan Ryan and stepbrothers David and Zach Ladin provided the music at the party. With a family band there wasn’t all the loud background music that makes it impossible to talk at so many occasions like this. When the family and friends were socializing, the band socialized. When the band played, we all played. Laura loved the Jewish songs the guys played. She commented that she thought that David and Zach were trying to show that Jews Rock! So we danced, as we rarely did before.
For years Laura had sat in bed next to Anne Mei to read to her at night. In late July 2008, Laura told me that she was having trouble recognizing words. She had to fake some of what she read to Anne Mei. Because there had recently been some very upsetting and hurtful incidents at her work, we both thought at first that it might just be stress. But the more the problem persisted, the more concerned we both became. Laura wondered if it could be bleeding.
On Saturday morning before breakfast Laura talked with Paul, who is a psychiatrist. He said that she should get an MRI as soon as she got back to New Jersey. On Monday, August 11, Laura called and got an appointment for the next morning with her internist.
On Tuesday, August 12, Laura called me from work after her appointment. Dr. Goldberg had sent her for an MRI. That took a while because they seemed to keep looking and relooking. She was very concerned that one of the technicians said “Bless you!” to her on the way out.
Laura had a dedication to her work that puzzled me at times. She headed right back to her office after the MRI. She was too concerned about the time she was losing on completing an assignment to hang around for the results of the MRI. Very soon after her first call, Laura called me again to say that Dr. Goldberg wanted her back at his office right away. Despite being sent for an MRI in the first place, despite all the time they had taken looking and relooking, despite the “Bless you” on the way out, and now despite the implications of Dr. Goldberg’s urgent summons, she was still reluctant to leave work. She wanted to finish her project first, but Dr. Goldberg insisted that she come right then.
About an hour later, she called from Dr. Goldberg’s office. She said that they had found a mass on her brain. She put Dr. Goldberg on the line. He said that he was working to get Laura seen at Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia where he had trained. They had one of the best brain surgeons in the country, and Dr. Goldberg wanted him to see Laura. He gave me contact info for scheduling an appointment with the surgeon Dr. David Andrews.
It was still hard for Laura not to go back to work after this news. As frightened as she was, she wanted to get that job done. But she went home, picking up Anne Mei from her camp on the way. I left work early and did not go to the Township Council meeting that evening. Laura and I talked about our fears, but Anne Mei was too young to understand.
Fortunately Anne Mei and I will be visiting Laura’s parents on Sunday, August 12, the 10th anniversary of Laura’s MRI. Her father turned 100 last Thanksgiving and has been in hospice since then. He has the picture of Laura taken at her law school graduation on the table where he can see it from his bed.