Friday, October 8, 2010

Intermittent Explosive Disorder...

If you've been reading recently, you know that Gordon suffered from many head injuries and eventually, was diagnosed with having a brain tumour.  As discussed yesterday, his brain tumour/growth was considered inoperable as it was located in the very centre of the brain, sitting on the brainstem.  The Neurosurgeon explained that surgery done in this area of the brain would leave him paralysed, deaf, blind, in a vegetative state or any combination of these things listed, so traditional surgery was not an option.

Researching using the internet, we found that there was a form of non-traditional surgery available, called Gamma Knife Radio Surgery.  Gamma Knife is available in Canada.  However, Gordon did not qualify to have this treatment done. 

It made no difference that Gordon had many health problems relating to the problem.  The long and short of it was, there was no treatment for him.

You see, in Canada, the only people who can qualify to have Gamma Knife surgery done, is people who are confirmed cancer patients.  Gordon's Neurosurgeon could not confirm if his tumour/growth was cancer or not, for the same reason he couldn't do surgery, for even doing a biopsy in that area of the brain could leave him with results similar to having surgery, so there was no biopsy available to him.

We also found out that in Michigan, USA there was an updated version of Gamma Knife surgery available, called Cyber Knife surgery. 

No matter how many doctors we saw or spoke to, we just could not break through the glass wall we have set up in our good, but broken medical insurance programme, here in Ontario, Canada.  I call it, the glass wall, because we could see possible treatment, but could not access it.  Our Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (OHIP) won't allow us to just go out of province or out of country because we need to.  We must have a physician request this and then gain approval.  No matter how hard we tried, we just could not get a qualified physician to complete and sign the required forms.

Gordon felt like a condemned person.  To make matters worse, he began feeling worse and worse, physically and emotionally. 

Gordon's Neurosurgeon explained there was no medicines to treat him.  Nothing to make the problem go away, heal itself or even shrink it.  He explained to us, that he had seen much larger growths, but the size wasn't the problem; the problem was where it was located. 

The Pineal area of the brain is a complicated one, especially since the growth was on the brain stem.  All functions and systems of the body are run by this hormonal area.  The specialist explained that today, the tumour could affect this area of his bodily function, tomorrow a different area of function; he said that he could not prescribe multiple medications to assist each area that could be affected, so there really wasn't anything he could do.

There also wasn't anything for pain.

Depression grew.  Eventually, Gordon was able to see a Psychiatrist; we hoped she would be able to help with providing some type of medication to help him with pain or at least the depression he was experiencing.

Nope.  Well, I shouldn't say that.  She did place Gordon on some medication, but he was allergic to it and had to discontinue it.  It hadn't helped anyway.

Let me explain something else though.  We found out from the Psychiatrist that in addition to Gordon having an inoperable brain tumour, he also had a condition known as:  Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)  Was it a natural thing?  From injury?  From the tumour/growth?  No one really knows the cause of this disorder, unfortunately.  However, it did complicate things. 

While it explained the pattern I described to you, yesterday, it also explained why that any time in the past, when our physician had prescribed Gordon something like Valium or any kind of relaxant, to help take the edge off and help keep him in a more calm state, not so easily affected by stress that would set off the mood swings, it seemed to have the opposite effect.  He would become more easily agitated and fly into worse rages, quicker.  The Psychiatrist explained that is exactly how the situation is with IED; relaxants make it worse, not better.

No medicine, no treatment, nothing for pain.  Can you imagine?  Depression worsened.  Then, he began drinking, again.

I won't go into detail.  It's enough to say that desperation doesn't adequately describe the situation.  All Gordon talked about was going home to be with Jesus.

Together, we went to Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) for help.  There, the worker explained to us that Gordon was absolutely normal.  At first, I thought I heard wrong, but the woman explained they see people like Gordon all the time, regularly.  No treatment, no medication, pain and suffering = depression, dispair and usually some sort of substance abuse follows.  CMHA calls it self-medicating.

Life went from bad to worse.  Again, I won't go into detail, but I will say that I was highly stressed myself.  Life became an absolute nightmare.  On my computer, is my journalling I did at that time.  There were days when I thought I was losing my mind and other days when I knew I was.  Yet, I had to be strong for Gordon.  I must admit, there were times when I wondered where exactly God was!  Yet, in my heart, I knew He was right here, with Gordon and I, even if He wasn't answering our prayers for healing for Gordon.

I tried to work, as best I could. It wasn't easy. Between my own physical limitations and the stress of dealing with life with Gordon, I was definitely limited in my ability.

At one point, I had been working selling real estate and mortgages, but there came a time when I put real estate on hold, because my broker who also owned the mortgage brokerage firm I worked for, asked me to work solely in the mortgaging business. I was interviewing, hiring and training people both in Windsor and London, Ontario areas to do mortgaging.

Upon returning from my last trip to London before Christmas that year, as I entered my building from the parking garage, I was shocked to find an ambulance getting Gordon ready to leave for hospital. Gordon had collapsed in the lobby, near the front door.  His head was bleeding.

It was just after Christmas when I became ill and found out I am diabetic.  To make matters worse, my blood pressure was high.  My physician insisted I was a heart attack or stroke waiting for a place to happen, so I had to stay off work for several months.  I'm sure the stress of life didn't help.

People living in our building were bringing Gordon home, sometimes drunk, sometimes sober, but always disoriented.  I had people tell me that I should not let him out on his own.  And... just how did they think I was going to stop a 6' 1'' 240 lb. man from leaving our apartment?  And... when/how was I to work by never going out, now that I was able to go back to work at least part-time?  It got to the point, where he was getting himself into trouble and terrible situations, regularly, everywhere we went. To say life became worse and worse, is an understatement.

Eventually, there wasn't even a glimpse of the man I once knew.  I still loved Gordon; he still loved me.  But, I began not being able to sleep, for he was even leaving the apartment during the night.  One day, he almost fell into the Detroit River.  I could go on and on, but I won't. 

Hopefully, you have a picture of the suffering Gordon experienced and we experienced, together.  Please understand that with or without drinking, Gordon's health was so deteriorated that he was just not in control of himself, nor could he be.

There's more to come, tomorrow.  Sleep well, friends.

Until next time...

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