A Little About Don I.
Don I. of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, is our Hero.
I have known Don for many, many years and he is one of the most caring guys out there; always lending a hand to help others. He has been a Firefighter/EMT for over 20 years serving different areas of Madison and is currently working for UW Hospitals in the Emergency Department.
This summer, Don noticed a loud ringing in his left ear. Thinking it was nothing, he brushed it off and figured it would go away on its own. However, with time it only got worse and Don began to experience headaches, ear pain, dizziness and nausea. In September, he went to the UW ENT clinic to see a specialist and have a hearing test done. At the appointment, the specialist checked everything that was visible and Don’s left ear was clear, but he had lost 60 percent of his hearing. Even though the hearing loss was concerning, the specialist was more worried about the dizziness Don was experiencing. Due to the central part of the brain being where ones hearing is controlled, the specialist had a MRI done on Don’s brain to make sure there were no abnormalities. The morning of Tuesday, September 20, Don received a call from the ENT specialist explaining that his MRI came back and it showed a tumor on his brain.
Don learned that the tumor was growing along the auditory nerve, which caused his hearing loss. The tumor had wrapped itself around the nerves for his face and was pushing on the Trigeminal nerve, along with his Brainstem. While the tumor was benign, the specialist explained it may not be possible to remove the entire tumor and if that was the case, radiation after surgery is a possibility. The pain and pressure Don was experiencing in his left ear was very difficult to cope with. As Don had said, “Some days are better than others, but most lately have been a struggle.”
On November 23, Don underwent surgery to remove the tumor . The surgeon believes they were successful and able to remove all of the tumor. However, Don did lose his hearing completely in his left ear. While Don has a long road of recovery and rehab ahead of him, his sense of humor hasn’t left. He actually named his tumor “Timmy the Tumor” and never misses an opportunity to joke with his doctors, the medical staff and his friends.
Giving A Christmas Miracle
Don is not one to ask for help, but family and friends didn’t think twice about helping him during this rough time.
Dan is a single dad with four boys- Patrick, Kenny, Trevor and Nathan- so this wonderful gift from Homes For Heroes is a great blessing and will allow him to give his boys a real Christmas since he is currently not working.
We are very blessed to be a part of a program that gives so much back to local Heroes. Thank you for making our holidays wonderful by helping Don and his boys!
-Julia Thorstad-White and Cindy Ulsrud
First Weber/ Homes for Heroes Affiliates