Sumiye's condition today

This is dedicated to my beloved husband, Masaki Kakitani.

Sometimes in life, something you didn’t expect happens.
You may feel upset, afraid and/or confused at first, but then gradually you come to know that there is hope.

The following is my personal story of an unexpected situation that happened in my life.

One Sunday morning in May of 2009, I woke up but then had difficulty getting up to stand and balance myself to get ready for church. My husband, Masaki, suggested I go to the doctor’s office to get some tests done. An MRI was performed that week which revealed a small tumor in my brain. This was very surprising news because my husband and I have been very careful about our health most of our lives. Therefore, we both felt there must be some kind of reason for this happening.

After this initial episode of imbalance, I had no symptoms nor problems in functioning with my daily activities. One month later I had an appointment to see Dr. Kimura, a neurosurgeon. He ordered another MRI and at this point he recommended I have brain surgery to remove the tumor. But because I still had no symptoms, I did not want to have brain surgery so soon.

Dr Ideguchi, Dr Ito, Dr KimuraIn early September I received a call that my friend in Miyazaki, who was in critical condition due to cancer wanted to see me. I travelled by train and plane to visit her. The day I met her, she was relatively free from pain and we had a pleasant time talking to each other. While getting in a taxi, I hit my head very hard on the door frame of the car. I am not sure if this was the cause, but I noticed some difficulty when I got back at the hotel where I was staying. I had trouble finding my way around and also noticed that I was bumping into things on my left side. On my way back home from Miyazaki, I had trouble finding my way around at the airport and train stations as well. But somehow I managed to get back to Hiratsuka Station which is near my home. But then I had trouble locating the correct exit. This is when I called Masaki to pick me up and help me get home. Because of the hard hit on my head, Masaki was afraid of internal brain bleeding so we went to the hospital and a CT scan was performed. There was no internal brain bleeding but the tumor had significantly grown from the last examination. An appointment was set to see Dr. Kimura again September 11, 2009. But on September 9, 2009 I had two vomiting episodes at home, so I called my husband at work. He made an arrangement for my friend to come over and see me. She called the ambulance for me and also rode with me to the hospital in Tokyo (NTT Higashi Nihon Kanto Hospital). Surgery was performed on September 10, 2009 at approximately 5:30 PM to remove the tumor in my brain. The surgery took approximately 5 hours. The surgery was successful in that they were able to take out the tumor completely. They did a tissue biopsy from the surrounding area of my brain. This revealed cancer cells which turned out to be grade IV Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). There are four grades of gliomas with grade I being slow growing to relatively benign, grade II being low grade gliomas, grade III is malignant gliomas and faster and more aggressive than grade II and then grade IV is the most aggressive type and most common primary brain tumors.

Hospital Bed I stayed in the ICU (intensive care unit) after surgery over night then moved to the regular floor the next day. When I became conscious and aware of my surroundings, the nurse communicated that it was good that I was able to speak and I agreed. She also noticed that I was able to hear. Being a counselor I was glad that my hearing ability was not impaired after the surgery. The nurse also stated that with practice I would be able to walk again, using a cane. This statement surprised me, since at that point I didn’t realize I was not able to walk. I then noticed my left leg to feel heavy and had difficulty moving my left arm and it also felt numb. I also had limited peripheral vision on my left eye.

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