For the last week have had the hardest time putting my thoughts and feelings into words and I'm still am not sure I can do it. But here goes nothing.
I met Donny playing softball at Great Lakes, he is the definition of a southern smart-ass, so we got along perfectly. When Dempsey and I started dating he started bringing Becky around, they were amazing together. You could see the magic between them, they were beyond perfect for each other. Becky fit in with the rest of us 'softball wives' talking smack and having a grand time.
We grew close with Donny and Becky, hanging out, dinners, softball, when Donny's son came to live with them our boys even hung out and played together. Donny and Becky got married it was a small court house wedding, they told everyone after the fact, but had a great party. Dempsey and I had our dress and tux wedding. Becky was my make-up artist because she amazing at doing make-up and well I sucked at it. Donny was one of Dempsey's groomsmen.
The navy separated our families, they went to Virginia and we went to Guam. Unfortunately we haven't been stationed with each other since which makes this uber crappy. I have so many things to say and getting them down on to paper or even a computer is almost impossible. My thoughts are literally all over the place. But I want to get this posted so I will update it as needed.
Becky - We've been there through so many different things. Even though we weren't stationed near each other we managed to keep in contact like we were right down the street from one another. It blows my mind that this is happening. I can not even begin to fathom what you must be going through.
Donny - Seriously, what are you doing? You've never been one for dramatic flare but you are really going all out on this one. You are such an amazing man, you can fight this, you have to fight this.
"Back in January of 2015 Donny started to suffer from mild memory loss, and doctors had no idea what could be causing it. Test after test, poke after poke, still no answers. He was cleared by the cancer doctor, infectious disease doctors and many others. The family was at a loss on what could have caused such a traumatic thing to happen to such a good man. Over the past 10 months things started to progress with his memory loss. He would forget small things and those small things would turn into life events. Still with no answers or ideas to what could be the cause of this. Donny started having extremely strong headaches to the point where he could not even open his eyes. Becky told him he needed to go to the doctor to be checked out right away to see what could be done about this. Once more it was tests and no answers. The headaches started to subside, but his memory kept slipping away. More and more people were noticing a change in his behavior and how much is electrifying personality has changed.
On Monday, October 3, 2016 the older kids went off to school like normal and the day was starting out great. Becky and her sister planned a fun day at the apple orchard. Donny was home from work and would be attending the festivities as well. Donny was sitting on the couch in a state of pain. Becky asked Donny if he was ok and he replayed that his head was hurting really badly but was ok to go. She cooked breakfast, and when he got up he lost his balance. Becky decided that it would be best for Donny to head to the emergency room right away. While in the ER doctors were boggled with what they were dealing with again. They couldn't figure out how a man who is only 43 years old had such memory loss and paralyzing headaches. They ordered a CT scan. The results came back that there was swelling on the brain and a MRI needed to be complete to see what else they could see as the CT scan wasn't clear. The results were sent over to the neurological department at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Right after they were able to read his scans, Donny was transferred over to Rush by ambulance immediatly where more testing needed to be completed. Becky got on the phone immediately and called Donny's family in Alabama. Donny's family got in the car right away and drove 12 hours to see their knight in shining armor.
Donny has a rare and fatal form of brain cancer called Gliomatosis cerebri. Gliomatosis cerebri is a highly aggressive form of cancer that is extremely hard to contain or detect. Scientists are not even sure how this cancer forms or how they can contain it to stop it from spreading. Gliomatosis cerebri is also known as 'A ghost in the brain'
Over the past week, the family has watched Donny go from his bubbly. go getter personality to laying in a hospital bed hooked up to numerous machines." written by Kristen
Oct 3, 2016
This morning I took Donny to the emergency room for a severe migraine. They did another CT scan and another MRI. There were some changes from last time. They believe he has an aggressive form of brain cancer and he was transported by ambulance to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. This was so far off from what we ever expected. Please keep our family in your thoughts, we can use all the prayers we can get. - Becky
Oct 5, 2016
Thank you all so much for all of the support. It truly means so much. I appreciate all of the private messages and texts even if I haven't been able to respond, I don't want you to think I haven't read them and I truly appreciate you. I suppose it's just hard to respond when it's hard to even breathe.
I also suppose it's time for an update. The MRI at Vista (where I took him in Monday for a severe migraine) showed something they had never seen before. The scans were immediately sent over to the neuro specialist at Rush and he thought it showed an extremely rare tumor called Gliomatosis Cerebri and suggested he be transported there immediately. Rush already had an ambulance on the way before we even knew any of this.
Gliomatosis Cerebri is an extremely rare brain tumor. There is no cure and the prognosis is very poor. The reason they didn't detect it 10 months ago and the reason it's pretty much not treatable is because of the way the tumor grows. It's not just a typical mass like every other tumor. It simply starts at a very tiny spot and then it grows outwards like strands of thread throughout the brain which makes surgical removal impossible.
He had a biopsy today. They removed a large surface area of the left temporal lobe. While we can't say 100% without a doubt until the pathology reports come back, the preliminary reports of the biopsy support what they believed to find in the MRI as a large portion of the left side of his brain has been touched by this. With that, we can be pretty confident that we know what we are dealing with.
This is the last thing we ever expected. If there's any silver lining to any of this madness, it's that we got to enjoy the last 10 months not knowing what this was and thinking it was some easy but strange fix so we didn't have to worry about it, and also that Donny doesn't really understand what's happening so he doesn't have to worry. - Becky
Oct 6, 2016
I just had to make the most difficult decision of my life. The neurosurgeon gave me 2 options. We can do nothing and have him slip away within a couple of weeks. Or he can have a major brain resection tomorrow and see what happens. With the surgery the best possible outcome would give us a couple of months. We decided to do the surgery because there is a chance that he could be stable enough to come home for a little while and actually see his kids.
My heart is in a million pieces. - Becky
Oct 7, 2016
We wanted to share a picture from yesterday of our sailor who keeps on fighting this tumor. His amazing sister Donna captured this moment of her baby brother. We will all continue to unite together to help Donny and our family gather the strength to get through these tough times ahead Late last night Donny was put on a ventilator to help stabilize his breathing. They also started to prep him early for today's surgery. Please keep him and his entire family in your thoughts and prayers today. We will be updating along the way but please understand the surgery will take a few hours. -Operation Donny Strong
Oct 7, 2016
Donny is out of surgery. They removed a large part of the tumor but the tumor is pretty infiltrated through his brain. I asked him if we will at least have a few months and he said we need to get through the next 3 days first. Thank you for all of the well wishes. - Becky
Oct 8, 2016
I have so many friends to thank, I don't even know where to start. Donny and I are so truly lucky to have all of you. I can't even begin to express all of my emotions. Sadness, hurt, and even anger. I'm so angry that this is happening to him, to us. Why him? Why us? I'm sad for my children. Our youngest baby is only 3 years old. Barely old enough to remember his father. I'm hurting so bad. Donny is so much more than my husband. He's my soulmate, my best friend, my person. The pain in my heart is indescribable. - Becky
Oct 8, 2016
My beautiful husband tried to turn his head to find my voice tonight and he opened one of his eyes just for a second. If he stays stable through the night I'll be taking my oldest tomorrow to see his dad for the first time since our whole world fell apart. Send good thoughts that the night goes well and for our son to have strength tomorrow. - Becky
Oct 9, 2016
He's awake!!! The ventilator is out! He's trying to talk and he kissed my hand! - Becky
Oct 10, 2016
My amazing husband is still awake and able to talk a little. He failed his swallow test so they had to place a feeding tube. But the good news is he may get his drains taken out today or tomorrow. - Becky
Oct 11, 2016
The neurosurgeon surgeon decided to wait until Thursday to decide if they would be able to remove the drains or if they needed to place shunts. Donny is speaking much clearer and more often today. Unfortunately most of what he says is about things that have never happened. Regardless, it's amazing to hear his voice. He's the love of my life and I never imagined having to deal with something like this. At least not for many many more years. - Becky
Oct 12, 2016
My husband woke up!!! Thank you for calling me Jeff. He even got to say hi to the kids!!! Surgery again tomorrow at 1:00. - Becky
Oct 13, 2016
The surgery is done. The neurosurgeon thinks it's best if he goes into hospice after he leaves the ICU in a few days. He said he has a couple of weeks to a couple of months but he doesn't believe he can be stable enough to come home. Thank you all for your good thoughts over the last couple of weeks. The hope now is that we can have him transferred much closer to home. - Becky
Oct 13, 2016
One of the best neurosurgeons at one of the best hospitals in the country was fighting back tears today when he told me his opinion on how we should plan to proceed. He asked me how I can be so calm. I've finally figured out that it's easy to remain calm when you feel like you're living someone else's life. Because there's no way this is actually happening to us. I still feel like I'm going to wake up tomorrow and this is all going to turn out to be just a really bad dream.- Becky
Oct 14, 2016
Local friends, over the last week I've had so many people message to ask if Donny can have visitors. I just spoke to the nurse and he is very alert today. If anyone is wanting to visit him it sounds like today would be a great day for it. - Becky
Oct 14, 2016
True to Donnys style he got feisty this morning and decided to pull out his feeding tube. Because he is so alert today they decided to do the swallow test for the third time and HE FINALLY PASSED!!!!! This means he can eat regular food now!!! The conversation has also changed a bit since last night. They decided if he remains this stable then he will be able to come home for palliative/hospice care. - Becky
Oct 15, 2016
While we were at the hospital today Donny went into A Fib. They were able to stabilize him with medication. But after they did, the doctors spoke with me and they thought it would be in Donnys best interest if I sign a DNR. I had to agree. I know my husband and I know he wouldn't want any of this. The only silver lining today is that he doesn't even know he's in the hospital. He thinks he's sitting on our sun porch which is his favorite place to be. - Becky
Oct 15, 2016
Well my friends, after visiting my friend Donny in the hospital today I saw a man fighting for his life. He wasn't the same guy we all know and love but we will always remember him as AKA Goose. He will forever remain a dear friend of mine. I had the privilege to spend time with him today and see his family Becky Young and her Mother Lisa go through a heartbreaking situation. I know nobody could ever prepare to see their loved one go through this however, Becky has been very strong and hopeful. I am glad we were able to spend some time with the Young family and my heart is shattered to see one of my brothers hurting. I am so blessed to know that this man spent a long time committed to his country and after enjoying almost a year of retirement it saddens me to see that he didn't get to really enjoy his retirement very long. This puts a lot of perspective in my thoughts as we need to enjoy every day like its our last. Becky you are an amazing woman and the choices that you have had to make are everyone's worse nightmares. I can't imagine the feeling you have and are holding within your heart. My family is here for you and your family and we will continue to pray for your family. We hope Goose will recover and be able to prolong his life and share many more memories with you and your family. - Chad
Oct 16, 2016
Bailee visiting her daddy here for the first time. She really needed this. - Becky
Oct 16, 2016
It's so hard to believe this was only 2 short months ago. Appreciate everything you have. Every single day. - Becky
Oct 16, 2016
I wish I could take all the pain away that these 4 amazing kids are going through. Their tears keep rolling down their cheeks day after day for their daddy. I cannot believe my best friend is going thorough this. I'm so grateful that I have been able to hold them each close, make them laugh and help them on this journey. - Kristen
Oct 17, 2016
Today I went and saw my brother in law, Donny, again at the hospital. The first time I went it was very traumatic. Every time I go I feel a little better. He talks nonsense almost the whole time we are there. But when I see him blow a kiss at my sister Becky it just melts my heart. Even when most or all of his memories are gone he still remembers her. I've come to the realization that this is the norm now. I'm not taking any of the time I have with him for granted. Even if nothing he says makes sense to me I'm glad it makes sense to him. - Stacy
Oct 17, 2016
It's crazy how the time of evening you used to look forward to can so quickly become the time you dread. - Becky
Oct 19, 2016
Donnys boss set up a leave donation program which was approved yesterday afternoon. His boss just called to say that people have already been donating their vacation time to Donny. There's no way for me to find out who you are but please know that we are so grateful and I wish I could thank everyone personally ❤️. - Becky
Oct 20, 2016
The nurse: Donny can I see your finger?
Donny: I don't know, can you?
Oct 20, 2016
He's coming home tomorrow!!! Friends are still more than welcome to visit him after he's home and settled. Much closer than the drive to Rush! - Becky
Oct 20, 2016
I was so happy today knowing that my husband is coming home. I'm still happy that he's coming home. But the hospice company is here, they brought everything. As they assemble his hospital bed in our front living room, it's finally starting to sink in that we will never sleep in OUR bed together again. As they bring in the shower chair, I know we will never take a shower together again... like we did just the day before I took him in for a massive migraine barely 3 weeks ago. I don't know how to do any of this. How do I do this???
Last week the neurosurgeon cried while he was talking to me. The nurses have cried. One even told me that she was raised a strict catholic and our case made her lose her faith.. When they asked me why I wasn't crying and why I was so calm... It's because I was in denial. I know that now.
The simple fact is, my soul mate is dying and there's nothing I can do about it. I would trade places in a heartbeat. I don't know how to live the rest of my life only bring half whole. - Becky
Oct 21, 2016
He's home! Thank you Mark and Danielle for the amazing autographed Alabama football. It means so much. - Becky
Oct 22, 2016
Oct 22, 2016
We are beyond exhausted. Thank you Mom for spending the night. I have no clue how I would have managed that on my own.
Donny decided to get himself out of his bed twice last night (even though he can't walk anymore). I suppose we can thank softball for all of that upper body strength... He also ripped out his catheter so the crisis care nurse had to come out at 1:00 this morning to help with that situation. I feel so bad for him - Becky
Oct 22, 2016
Oct 25, 2016
The kids were talking about Halloween costumes. Now Donny says he's being spooky lol.
Oct 26, 2016
To help the Young Family with medical expenses you can donate by clicking here.
To learn more about Gliomatosis Cerebri click here.