If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may recall It described Glen Cove Police Officer Scott Genova’s struggle with cancer. Despite an eight-day coma and life-threatening sepsis, his will to live broke death's cold grip. I admired his mettle and sympathized with his family’s roller coaster of emotions during the ordeal. Two months after I wrote my article, I never expected my family to endure the same.
Some in our community know my mother as “Nurse Mary Anne Germino,” or simply “Mary Anne.” She works for the Glen Cove City School District as a nurse in the Landing Elementary School.
On the evening of Aug. 4, I was working on a political ad when my brother called me from the Plainview Hospital. Our mother was in the emergency room.
I asked, “What happened?” They were at the Red Lobster in Hicksville. Suddenly, the left side of her face began to pull backward. Her lips tightly curled inward as forming an embouchure of a trumpeter.
The first thing I said was: “What the heck is she eating there for? She’s allergic to shrimp!” My brother assured me that it was not an allergic reaction because they just sat down and placed their orders.
“Was it a stroke?” I said. He was not sure. “What’s the address of the hospital? I’m on my way.”
I arrived at the hospital around 10:30 p.m. My mother was on a stretcher and had difficulty speaking with us.
A doctor entered the room to deliver the result of her CAT scan. “We found something that appears to be a mass in your brain."
Shortly after midnight, the hospital transferred her to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset (a flagship site for neurosurgery). The doctors confirmed she had seizures. They needed more tests to confirm the presence of a brain tumor.
My brother called me in the afternoon and confirmed that my mother had a brain tumor. We were still not sure if it was benign or malignant. I gave my friends the unfortunate news. They offered their sympathies and any possible assistance. Brian Pemberton said his father could help prepare a power of attorney and a living will. Scott Genova and I discussed possibly treating her at Memorial Sloan-Kettering (“The world's oldest and largest private cancer center...”) in New York City.
Editor's Note: This is the first installment in an ongoing series. Stay tuned for Part II.