Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tanner writes about his dad

Tanner had an assignment for his english class to write a biography.  He was really struggling with who to write about.  I suggested Brent.  He loved the idea!  Here is the finished product.

My dad, Brent Argyle was born in Huntsville, Utah in 1967 and raised on a horse farm. His humble beginnings were what shaped most of his admirable character. His parents frequently struggled with supporting a family of nine while pursuing a life as farmers and ranchers. My grandparents’ modest home was even given to them by their employer. He and his family were close because they all relied on each other to provide food. He has told me before that he recalls once opening up his family pantry and only finding a box of rice. My dad has never once forgotten where he came from which has made him the meek man that he is today. 

Just about six years ago he was struck instantly with an excruciating headache.  He was hospitalized off and on for three months as doctors tried to diagnose what was wrong.  Despite teams of specialists and neurologists, he still has the same headache six years later.  It has never gone away.  Although he eventually was given a diagnosis, the condition he has is rare and what the medical community has had to offer him has provided little relief. 

Doctors have questioned, “How can he not be clinically depressed?” All of their other patients with chronic, persistent pain need prescriptions for anti-depressants along with their pain meds.  Early into this trial, he knew he had a choice to make:  to be miserable or to make the best out of his health situation. It’s difficult to put myself in his shoes because I can never really know the pain he lives with, but I am astounded by his character. Due to his splitting headache he averages about three to four hours of sleep a night, but he is always patient and has a long-suffering disposition.

Living with a chronic illness is the biggest hurdle of his life but his tender heart has stayed true. My dad has always made time to play catch with my siblings, ask me about my day, labor in the church, and help out around the house. Pushing through the pain to go to work every morning and provide for our family is a struggle every single weekday.  The biggest principle he champions is to not make excuses for doing less. His number one priority has always been our family, and not even the most massive chronic headache in the world has changed that.

My dad makes the most out of his time and he has few selfish desires. He is very charitable in the way he takes interest in other people’s hardships.  Years ago when he was out of work for a period of time, his thoughts turned to those less fortunate and he started a non-profit organization.  My dad recognizes that he isn’t the only one in this world going through a rough patch. His perspective is that there are others that need help and comfort just as much- if not more- than he does.

My dad and I are alike in the way we love to have fun and laugh. He really enjoys playing basketball with me, waterskiing, golfing, and his newfound obsession -racquetball. whether it’s going to a Mavs game or changing brake pads, he is my favorite person to hang out with.   His positive outlook is inspiring and I’m going to try throughout  my life to follow his example.  

One thing I know has aided his outlook has been his faith in God.  Our family believes that his illness is merely a test, which has given him a great deal of hope for the future. Although it can be tough at times, my dad has admitted his obstacles have really been a blessing.  He has become a more sensitive and nurturing father and husband and more compassionate toward others.  

From watching my dad I have learned that good things come with patience. Ambition is key to success. I have learned the true meaning of strength.  Never take life too seriously.  Think of others.  Think positively.  With God, nothing is impossible.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Direction


One of our favorite families to do things with called and told us about a fun opportunity this past saturday.  We went and saw a new boy band that is quickly becoming all the rage, One Direction.  We bought our girls their new cd this week and they spent the following five days learning all the songs.

 And saturday we went and joined 8000 other young tween and teenage girls and watched them perform.
 It was their first concert.
 And everyone knows when you go to a concert, you have to make a sign.
This is a picture with one of the firefighters on hand to help maintain order and just in case one of the 8000 fainted from all the excitement.  :O)
 We had yummy nachos and corn dogs while we waited, patiently.
Another milestone. 
First concert. 
Check.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cautiously Optimistic

Almost 6 years ago when I sat in a dark hospital room for months, surfing the web, trying to find answers that the team of Neurologists and infectious disease experts couldn't give me about why my poor husband was suffering from such a chronic intense headache; I remembered Tanner's 5th grade teacher, Ms. Lisa Ledesma.

I was Ms. Ledesmas's room mom the year before.  As such I knew her a little better than most.  I remember her telling the kiddos one day that she ALWAYS had a headache and that she was going into the hospital for a brain surgery and would have to take 6 weeks off to recuperate. 

I called her that summer while Brent lay in the hospital bed and asked her about her condition.  It sounded exactly like Brent's.  I asked her what it was called: Pseudotumour Cerebri.  (Now they refer to it as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension). 

Later that day, I asked the Neurologist, "Could Brent have "Pseudotumour Cerebri"?

I'll never forget his response.
He laughed at me. 
 "Mrs. Argyle, he is the wrong demographic for that.  Pseudomtumour Cerebri only occurs in women who are in their child bearing years who are overweight."

Guess what?  Six months later, we found the amazing Dr. Herzog and Brent was diagnosed with Pseudotumour Cerebri. 
(Tender Mercy?  I think absolutely!  I can't tell you how rare this disorder is.  The odds that we would KNOW someone has it are remarkeable.) 

90% of the time it DOES occur in women who are in their child bearing years who have problems with their weight.  Many of those cases are CURED when the women have weight loss surgery.  Their headache goes away.

But 10% are men and children.  Brent is one of those not-so-lucky 10%.

(Dr. Herzog later called that Neurologist mentioned above and gave him a tongue lashing for not being up to date on PTC and encouraged him to do some continuing education.  He said it was shameful that this man had suffered for six months with immense pain and possible permanent damage to his eyesight because he was misdiagnosed.) 

Fast forward to 3 months ago.  I had lost track of Ms. Ledesma.  We moved out of the school district and she moved to teach at another school and got married so her name changed.  I had often wondered about her and where she was and how she was doing with her headache but had no idea how to get in touch with her.

3 months ago I noticed a post by Lisa on the wall of a mutual friend on facebook. (Tender mercy #2)  She was lamenting on a facebook post the fact that she was going in for yet another shunt surgery in her brain because she still had her headache.  I immediately "friended" her, got her contact info, called her and told her that she should switch DRs.  I told her that she needed to get in with Brent's Drs because they knew MUCH more about PTC and that our doctors don't even do the brain shunts anymore because they were ineffective and REALLY dangerous.

She switched.

Meanwhile, Brent heard from Dr. Konen about a study in Phoenix AZ.  A doctor there had put together a study of PTC patients (men only) and found that they all had a common bone fragment that was augmenting the flow of blood and fluid in the brain.  Once the Dr. had gone in to the head and shaved the bone down (I know, sounds delightful, right?)  -their headaches were gone.  This Phonenix Dr. had only performed the surgery on five men but all five men were headache free post- surgery.

Brent tried to get into the study.  He was not accepted.  (Apparantly HIS bone fragment is not AS pronounced as thiers were in Phoenix and so he was not a good candidate.)

Then he started talking to a highly recommended surgeon at UTSW about doing it.  After a few months, that Dr. came to the same conclusion.  He agreed that the bone fragment is there.  It is prohibiting flow.  But he just didn't think it warranted the surgery.  He didn't think the results would be worth it.

All this time, Ms. Ledesma is being scanned by Brent's team and finding out she has the rogue bone fragment in her head too.  She is sent to a different surgeon out of Baylor.  He expresses the same concern to her.  Her bone fragment is there but it is smaller than those in the study.  He has never done this surgery on a PTC patient.  Her fragment isn't as big as those in the study. Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah....

BUT he consented to do it for her.  
Afterall, she has had the same headache for 11 years. 
Yep! you heard me right!  ELEVEN YEARS. 
Can you imagine?

She had the surgery on February 23rd. 

When she came out from under the anesthesia she had
NO HEADACHE.

I talked to her last Friday. 
No headache all week.

Guess who is meeting with Ms. Ledesma's surgeon this Thursday at 3?
(Tender Mercy #3)

I might be getting ahead of myself but if we can talk Dr. Baktik into putting us on the fasttrack and running all the tests quickly so that he could have the surgery in March, we have double insurance coverage.  (Brent's old job is still in effect and his new one has kicked in already.) Possible tender mercy #4.  :O)

Prayers Please.