Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Radiation Set Up

Today was a long day at City of Hope. Marco's day started with an MRI of the brain. Followed by an out-patient mini surgery that lasted all of 45 sec. the 1hr and 30min was for prepping time. Dr Jandial said that he was going to place some tiny screws on his head for radiation treatment that will be starting this week. I was under the impression that the screws were small. I was shock to say the least, they are bigger than I imagined but ok. They gave him a little bit of sedative for the surgery, so he looked good when we went in after they were finished. The nurse said she didn't need to give him medication because he didn't have pain.

Later in the afternoon we met up with Fernando the Radiation Oncology Tech who took Marco to the back and thoroughly explained what the procedure would in tail. He's a funny guy, he did a great job in distracting Marco and myself from all the screwing he was doing on his head. It all looked like it hurt Marco's head but he said he was alright.

Looking at all the pictures just makes me think of all the shit Marco has been dealing with. Not to mention that his right leg has been bothering him since Sunday morning. I can't help but stress when ever Marco is in any kind of pain. He has an appointment next week for his MRI of his right leg, Marco wanted to wait till then to have it checked, hoping it does fall off by then.

The pain just doesn't seem to let him have a break. The pictures in the video say it all ....it is what it is so we deal with what come our way.

Marco will be starting his first radiation this week and will have 3 radiation treatments to the brain that will last 1hr and 30min each time. Once radiation is over they will remove the screws. He will continue to take his anti-seizure medication and now has to take some antibotics. Will keep you posted as updates come up.
We would like to Thank you again for all the well wishes and all the positive vibes from each and everyone of you. We love and appreciate you all. THANK YOU AGAIN!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marco's Brain Surgery Experience

It's hard to put all of the emotions and feelings we were going through during this time. We have decided to share a short slide show and video of our experience. It's hard to believe it was one week ago today that Marco went in to have a brain tumor removed at City of Hope. We are happy to have him home and are preparing for the next steps, one day at a time...

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Message From Marco

He wants to thank you for your well wishes and positive vibes. Wanted me to express that you all mean a great deal to him and how special everyone is.
Marco said "They all mean more to me than they all think. Their is no time to quit, only to move forward, I just didn't make it through, I am making it through, a little at a time.
Their is still a long road ahead but there is no slowing me down. So far everything went well and the fight continues with one more battle scar to show for it".
"Stupid Cancer it still hurts!" he says

Day 3

Marco has been doing an amazing job. All his blood work and MRI look great. Doctor Jandial was so proud of his work. He was amazed at what Marco was doing, sitting up,walking and started to eat right away.

Doctor says everything on paper looks good and if it continue like this he could home tomorrow. Wish all goes well tonight so we can go home and rest.

Would like to thank everyone for everything. All your well wish and messages have been great and we appreciate it all. We love all you guys! Will post if Marco gets out tomorow

Day 2 After Brain Surgery

Marco was transferred to a regular room at the end of the day. He was transferred to the old hospital. PT (physical therapy) came and started to do excerise with him to start moving.

He has been doing really well thus far and is improving every minute so it seems. The doctor came in and moved his bandage up far from his face. His face was swollen a little but in total his is doing good.

PT had him walking around. Great job so far!

Day 1 After Brain Surgery

Marco has been leaving the doctor astonished of his amazing strength to get well. Less than 24 hrs after surgery Marco was out of bed and was sitting up. They stood him up and had start walking and Marco did what he knows best and that was to do what he has to do in order to get things done.

Marco's pain was starting to get under control but he was doing good. They had a compression bandage around his head to keep the pressure stable in his head. He said he felt like a huge truck hit him really hard in the back of his head. Marco was seeing blurry for a while but said it seemed to be getting better as the time went by.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Marco's Brain Surgery Update

The doctor notified us around 3:10 pm today that the surgery went as planned with no complications. He received a large incision to his head where they removed the tumor. The surgeon explained that the surgery went without a hitch but a crucial part of the process has yet to occur: we have to be sure there are no clots, no pooling of blood and other critical post-op monitoring has to take place in ICU. We will wait for Marco to awaken, which may be for a few more hours and will update the blog.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Surgery Tomorrow

City of Hope called today,surgery will be at 11:30am. Do to the nature of the surgery and that Marco will be in ICU the majority of the time. No visitors will be allowed. As hard as this is for everyone in the family I am glad they all understand. Marco's recovery comes first. Gianina and I will be keeping everyone updated here on the blog and on facebook.
I will be giving all messages and well wishes to Marco if you would like to leave one. We appreciate it all the positive vibes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Brain Tumor?

Marco's tumor is located in the left occipital lobe
It's been very hard to come in here and try to write. I know many of you have a lot of question one being....What happened?
Labor Day weekend was coming up and the plans were to buy Matthew a boogie board and go back to the beach. Matthew had, had such a great time with his cousins for Oceans of Hope we thought it was a grand idea. Momma M and Lisa had a surprise party for Machini waiting for him.
We packed our things and left to HP to spend the weekend on Friday 9/2. As we were driving down the hill, Marco looked over and just said he had a headache. "But, I don't know if its your country music your playing or the Phantom of the Opera the kids have playing in the back seat." But neither of them were loud, I found it weird because Marco has never complained about a headache before.
By the time we got to Mommas M, house in HP, Marco had a full blown major headache. As soon as the hello's were said he sat down on the sofa and was squinting his eyes of how bad the headache was. He thought his next dosage of medicine would take care of it.
We left to Leezy's house where were staying for the weekend. Saturday morning Marco woke up fine, no headache, nothing. We all left to the beach, but couldn't get in to use the boogie board because it was hazardous conditions. We still enjoyed the beach and watched the surfers riding the waves. We left after a couple of hours back to Leezy's house.
Sunday morning, again Marco woke up fine and we were commenting on how weird that headache showed up and was gone. He continued to be fine all day till, 3am on Monday morning.
Marco was tossing and turning, so I asked what was going on and he said, "the headache was back, but with a vengance." I asked what his pain level was? "5," that is a 5 out of 10 pain level. As I am looking at him in massive pain, I know it is more like a 8-9. Marco was rubbing his forehead, he got up out of the bed to go to the bathroom and he starts knocking into the bed and then the wall. "Are you ok?!" I asked him and he replied, "the walls are moving in here."
After taking a shower, Marco starts to yell my name so I rush over there and he tells me he lost his peripheral vision in his right eye. I thought he was kidding, but when I looked at his face he looked concerned. We went to Mommas for breakfast and to spend the day. By the time we got to her house Marco was in so much pain. I had mentioned to him that I was going to call Dr. Trisal, or make an appointment with the eye doctor to have his eyes checked, but because it was Labor Day weekend they were all be closed. I decided to write Dr. Trisal an e-mail, I explaining all of Marco's symptoms and if COH could do something or wait till the next day to make an appointment with his eye doctor. Dr. Trisal replied right a way and said Marco needed an MRI of the brain and to take him in the next day. If his symptoms got any worse to take him into the ETC. WHAT?!
Why would he want an MRI of the brain, I just thought it was weird at first, but then I got scared and my heart started to race. I was hoping that Dr. Trisal didn't think there was something and I was hoping he was doing it out of precaution. We left after breakfast that Monday morning because Marco was not looking good. By the time we got home, the headache was full blown, he was rubbing his head and trying to find a way to alleviate the pain. He was rubbing so hard he left red marks on his forehead. There was nothing I could do....the medication wasn't working and Marco wanted to wait till the next day to go in.
After a bad night, morning finally came and so I was getting ready, Gianina said she was going with us. I went to drop off Matthew at school, when I got back, I noticed Marco was on the phone and just said yes and he hung up. So he turns to me and says it was Dr. Trisals nurse, "I told her I had a severe headache," so I asked if he mentioned all the other symptoms and he said "I told her I have a severe headache," he paused, looked at me and said, "that is all I can remember." "What do you mean that is all you can remember,you just hung up with her," I told him. "Call her back," he says "I can't remember what we talked about." I thought that was weird, so I called her back and left a message to get in contact with me as soon as possible because his symptoms were getting worse now he couldn't remember what just happened.
So I told Marco lets go maybe they can see you sooner by the time we get down there and I can talk to the nurse on the way down the hill. As he was getting up from the bed he started to throw up. Panic wanted to kick in, but I kicked it to the side and said let go. Got everyone in the car and left. Half way to the freeway Marco said he felt like he was on a boat for DAYS and throws up again. He blamed it on my driving, but I thought it something else. Carrie, Dr. Trisal's nurse, called me just before we were getting on the freeway and said she wanted Marco to go to the lab, go to get his MRI and then instructed me to take him to ETC for observation. Okkaaaayyyy....labs done, they call him in for MRI and the nurse allowed me to go in with him, I stood right behind the wheel chair where he was sitting. (Yes, we had to take Marco into COH on a wheel chair, you know how much pain he was in if agreed to sit in a wheel chair) The nurse starts to ask Marco yes or no questions, but when it came to answer "have you had surgery and how many?" All Marco did was rub under his surgery area and say "left...left," I jumped in and said yes and mentioned all the surgeries and were it was located. Then Marco says oh yeah. That left me worried and hoping even by this time that it wasn't what we both thought it could be. Finally the MRI was done. I wheeled him into the ETC where they were waiting for him. The nurse told us Dr. Chow would be seeing Marco, I was surprised. She said Dr. Chow would be filling in for Dr. Trisal who was in surgery. After a little wait, I could hear Dr.Chow down the hall way and I whispered to Marco that he was coming. Marco says, "Dr. Chow how are you?" "Good Mr. Mendez," when he turns to acknowledge me I knew, I could see it in his face. My heart fell....he came in and asked How his fishing was going and then the conversation was about their fishing stories and Dr. Chow takes his phone out and shows Marco the fish he caught, I began to relax and thought it was just me and the look he had was nothing.
Then he says, "okay, now I am coming in for Dr. Trisal and I have to read the results of the MRI to you." WHAT! I knew it....Dr. Chow is the barer of bad news. (I like to say I have a LOVE and HATE relationship with the man. LOVE him for all the chemo cocktail he gave Marco to shrink the previous tumors. And for standing up and fighting for Marco on the sidelines. And the HATE that I can read his face when he comes carring bad new cause I can read him like a book.)
He tells Marco that the reason he has been having severe headaches is because there is a tumor the size of a golf ball in his brain. And it needs to come out, he goes on to say we would meet Dr. Jandial to see when the surgery would take place. After a while, they ordered medication to take his pain away and gave him anti-seizure medication. By the time we left Marco had no more pain. They scheduled brain surgery, told us to take precautions in case of seizure, and gave Marco medications to bring down the swelling of the brain. There were some pre-op test done and have had to return to COH for further testings before surgery. Will post

Friday, September 9, 2011


Last night, while Marco and I are writing question that we had for the surgeon for today's appointment. Matthew walks in and lays in bed with us, looks at me with slight teary eyes and says. Can you make an appointment with Marisol please, I need to talk with her. I could see that he was upset and wanted to talk.
I asked why he needed to talk with her and he said I just want to understand what is going on with my dad and want to talk with her. So I told him he had Daisy to talk with and he says Um.....I don't know. Looked like he wanted to talk with Marisol, who had showed him what was going on with Marco's cancer by hands on teaching and he liked that. I told him Daisy was there to listen to anything that bothers him if he felt he couldn't talk with us. He says I can talk with you guys but I need to understand.

So I tell him Daisy would probably start by asking you How are you Machini? As I ask in a Daisy tone......Machini says "okay". So Machini, give me three words that would describe how you feel inside. Machini turns to me and says SAD,WORRIED, and ANXIOUS (this is a big word for him). Gianina comes in the room and jumps on to the bed and hugs Machini as she usually does....as I continue to ask...
Why to you feel sad? Machini's reply "Because the cancer came back and he needs another surgery". What worries you? That something might go wrong, as tears start to poor down his face. You could see he was trying hard to hold the tears back. So I told him it was ok to cry and have all these feeling and that he was not alone every single one of us is feeling the same thing, especially your Daddy.
So why do you feel anxious? I don't know I just do.....tears rolling down his face. I realized something last night, Machini grew up. He was not excited about going to the Bistro to have a Club Sandwich as he rubbed his belly and licked his lips...like all the times before. At the tender age of 8 he is understanding now that the cancer coming back is not a good thing and how it is affecting us all, he is showing more feelings and interest in what is going on with Dad. He looked terrified. Gianina was hugging him. Its hard to see your kids grow up real quick in front of you. By that I mean having to deal with reality's of life that no one should be dealing with in life.

Gianina was 13 when Marco was first diagnosed and she grew up quick. I told Matthew, It's scary stuff to have to deal with when your a kid, so I told him if he ever felt like crying and he is in school not to worry about the kids and that he could count on his teacher to help out because she already knew what was going on, and he looked at me with a sigh of relieve in his face.

I called everyone's name in the family out loud and told him that each of them all felt the same way and that we were not alone and if he needed to talk to someone any of them would be more than happy to hear him out, they would let him cry on his should and give out great big hugs. Because everyone felt the same way and would understand.

I told him if he ever felt anger to let me know and I would stand there with a pillow so he could hit it till he couldn't no more and if that didn't work I would hold G in front of me and he could have a go at her. He laughed so hard.
Marco was on the bed listening to all that was being said. So I told Matthew that if he wanted to ask Marco if he was scared or any other question he could that is what your dad is there for. Ask him how he is doing? You can ask him anything and he will answer you.

Marco got up to sit at the edge of the bed so I asked Matthew to come around and give his dad a great big hug and say I am scared too. Marco told him that it was ok to feel scared, but we have to be fighters too and not give up, no matter how scary it may be.

Marco tells him the doctors at COH are smart and know what they are doing. Marco explained what happens when he is called in to the back before surgery and what happens when they start to put him to sleep (Machini looking way and covering his teary eyes) and then I wake up and its over he says but I will wake up with a big headache though. But don't worry everything will be ok.

Machini turns, looks at Marco and says I have one question thought and Marco says what is it? Machini replies can I go to sleep I am very tired......and we're back, the grown-up didn't last long.....lol

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just Numb

Just numb would be the word to describe how I am feeling. I haven't been able to pinpoint why I can't scream to the top of my lungs ( in a soft spoken manner, mind you) don't even see these word with exclamation marks either.

Just can't seem to let the words " the reason you have been having the severe headache and have lost most of your eye sight from your left eye is because you have a brain tumor the size of a golf ball". What do you do with that? We didn't fall apart,we didn't cry hysterically, I just reached over and hugged my handsome.
There is nothing you can do at that moment but pick up your jaw from the floor and dust it off and ask what needs to be done. Things are happening to fast, in a blink of the eye so it seems.

I guess Adrenalin just kicks in, and you can move mountains. Do what needs to be done because it has to be done and focus because you need to pay extra attention to everything that is being said cause this is not cake walk now. This is bigger and I had to put my game face on. Well someone take this game face off cause I don't want it. I am frozen, I guess you can say. I can see myself writing stupid now.

I want to tell you all that happened but I am so tired and my mind is running all over the place and just that all over the place. Can't make sense of it all. But scream I do want to scream but it comes out as if I were to be reading out and not yelling it out.

Maybe tomorrow......