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Smile for Chad

Smile for Chad

$101.40 raised of $500.00 goal


Sep 7, 2021 to Dec 1, 2021

Chad Conrad (aka-amazing husband, dad, friend) was diagnosed with a Grade III Glial tumor in July. This CausePage was established to show Chad how much we support him as he faces the challenges ahead. Let's all Smile for Chad & Brain Cancer Awareness!

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Story

This experience has taught us the importance of family, friends, and community. The focus of this Cause Page is to show Chad how much we support him as he faces the challenges ahead. Our goal is not to raise money, any procceds that do arise from this will be used to thank and reimburse those who are helping Chad continue to do the things he wants to do. Because he now has a history of seizures, Chad cannot drive until January and is reliant on others for transportation. We are hoping that the restriction will be lifted after 6 months of no seizure activity.

Many of our friends on Facebook have heard pieces how we found out about Chad's brain tumor, but we have not yet shared the full story:

  • Before July, there had been a few things with Chad that we noticed were “off”, but there was always a rational explanation for it.
    • In April, he had a “black out” episode while driving on Highway 1 and went into oncoming traffic. He was not responsive, so I grabbed the wheel from the passenger seat and got him to pull over. It was the day after his second COVID vaccination and we assumed it was an episode of “brain fog”. We followed up with his physician and since Chad was better within 20 minutes and had no other symptoms, we all agreed this was the most likely cause. However, we did request a referral for a neuropsychological evaluation, given some minor memory issues he was having.
    • Nothing else happened until the weekend of Father’s Day. We were on the final leg of a 20-mile bike ride when Chad pulled over to wait for me to catch up. Becca saw him fall off his bike as he was stopping. A family approached him to see if he was okay and he shrugged it off. When asked about it, Chad had no recollection of falling or the family talking to him. We thought maybe he was low on iron (a past issue) and decided to bring it up with the neuropsychologist in August.
  • On July 2nd, we started our road trip to Yellowstone. Our first day was a 10-hour drive to Grand Rapids, SD. After dinner, Chad took a short nap and when he got up to use the restroom, he ended up fainting. He hit his head on the counter – he was not showing signs of a concussion but did have a nasty cut on his scalp. After strong persuading, a compromise was reached and Chad agreed to stop by the Urgent care in Sturgis, SD to have his cut cleaned and glued on our way to Yellowstone. The physician suggested a CT scan and Chad agreed to get one as soon as we got back from Yellowstone.
  • We arrived safely to Yellowstone and had three of the best vacation days we have ever had! It was full of fart jokes, hiking, and the most amazing scenery ever.
  • On Tuesday, July 6th, we woke up early to take on a 6-mile hike along DeLacy creek. It was breathtaking! After the hike, we got in the car to head to our next destination. Chad experienced another “blackout” episode while backing up. Despite the car alarm going off and the kids and I screaming at him, he backed into a car that was parked parallel to the cliff edge. We are eternally grateful for three things:
  1. The car he hit was empty, so no one was hurt.
  2. Given the strength of the impact and the damage sustained by the other car, we think that if the car had not been there, we would have gone over the cliff.
  3. This was the moment we realized something serious was going on and we could not delay medical care any longer.
  • We felt horrible for what happened to the other car and spent the next few hours trying to get in contact with a park ranger so we could report it and make sure the family would have our information when they returned to their vehicle. The park ranger listened to our story and strongly encouraged us to follow-up at the Yellowstone Medical Clinic. After leaving a detailed noted and apology on the car, we headed to the clinic. The doctor agreed that something was going on and strongly encouraged us to put our vacation on hold and make the 1.5-hour drive to the Cody ER for a CT scan. She called ahead and we were seen as soon as we got there.
  • The face of the doctor when he came back with the CT results instantly told us that he knew what was going on and that it wasn't good. They found a 10 cm mass (think of a Sumo Orange) on the right side of Chad's brain; the pressure from the tumor was causing absence seizures and some speech difficulties.
  • We made the drive back to our cabin, packed up, and headed back home at 5am the next morning. Since Chad was at risk for further seizures and couldn't drive, Becca helped with driving - which gave me the chance to get in touch with staff at UICH for follow-up evaluations.
  • On Friday, July 9th, Chad had an MRI that confirmed the mass was likely a glial tumor and needed to be removed asap.
  • On Wednesday, July 14th (and his 46th Birthday), Chad underwent a crainotomy. The proceedure was conducted by two neurosurgeons and lasted 7.5 hours. They were able to remove 80-90% of the tumor and Chad recovered quicker than anyone could have anticipated - he was home in less than 48 hours and ready to return to work in 2 weeks.
  • On Sundary, July 18th, fate decided that things were going too well and Nathan fell off of the high-dive onto the concrete 12 feet below. He has a host of guardian angles watching over him because his injuries were limited to a broken wrist (casted) and foot (walking boot).
  • On July 26th, we got the pathology report back on Chad's tumor: it is a Grade III Glioma (also known as an astrocytoma), IDH-Mutant. This means that it is a high grade tumor/cancerous. From the research I've done, the distinction of "IDH-Mutant" is good - it means that the tumor has likely been there awhile and is progressing a more 'natural' path. There is still a high chance of this coming back after treatment, but it is more likely to respond to treatment and take longer to come back than IDH-Wild Type.
  • On Monday, August 9th, Chad started the next phase of treatment: 7 weeks of radiation (5 days/week at UICH) and chemotherapy (taken in pill form at night). While the radiation makes Chad tired and messes with his stomach, he is tolerating the side effects suprisingly well. He has lost some hair and hates that he can't drive himself anywhere - but as of September, he is back to work without restrictions and his mid-point MRI scan "looks good" (just one small spot in the back of his brain that they will focus on).
  • This phase of treatment will end on September 24th. After a one month break, he will start the final phase - 12 months of taking chemotherapy for 5 days each month. He will have frequent MRI's to monitor his brain and catch any possible recurrances as soon as possible.

Supporters

  • Anonymous September 9, 2021
  • Anonymous September 9, 2021
  • Anonymous September 9, 2021
  • Anonymous September 9, 2021

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