Lucas took us to the Fort Wayne International Airport, and with no delays, Brian and I arrived in Copenhagen on time. We were met by Adrianne from DIS who took us immediately to drop off our bags at the quaint hotel just blocks from the hospital and quickly to Elizabeth. In all honesty, she seemed like she was just hanging out in her dorm room (a little more minimalist than she prefers), not like she had just heard she has a brain tumor. Again, we anticipated that we would have to wait for an appointment with the neuro-surgeon, but again, we were surprised when the nurse told us the surgeon was waiting to talk with us! Within five minutes, he was in Elizabeth's room, explaining what the MRI had shown. He then suggested we walk up to his office where he showed us pictures from the MRI, leaving nothing to imagination. The 6 cm tumor on her left temporal lobe was clearly there. Yet, I still felt like he was talking about someone else, not my daughter who was supposed to be making new friends and exploring the city of Copenhagen. This was going to be her semester of independence through experiencing the study abroad program, not gaining independence by navigating the medical system of a foreign country.
The surgeon as well as the hospital staff and staff at DIS were a blessing, a clear direction from a larger power than ourselves. From the moment we landed in Denmark, we have been filled with a sense of peace and calm. He explained that her tumor has been growing for most of her life, perhaps as long as fifteen years. He also explained that she should return to the states for treatment as she would need follow-up care most likely for rest of her life.
Brian and I were able to work with DIS and withdraw Elizabeth from the program and book flights home. While we were in Denmark, the mother of Elizabeth's good friend and last year's roommate, Megan Mattson, went into health advocacy mode for us, securing an appointment with an excellent brain surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. This week will bring us closer to a plan of action, and we welcome that. We are fortunate to have Lisa working on our behalf, and we are relieved that she has agreed to attend the appointments with us. Having someone who understands the system and knows which questions to ask is a huge weight off our shoulders.
We know this journey is just beginning, but we are so blessed by the people in our lives and the power of prayer and positive thinking. We will post more as we find out information from the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, but please know we appreciate your thoughts; we can feel the energy.