In honor of Bob Dumas
Superman is not a make-believe hero, he is my husband Bob. He lives his life with a level of passion and energy that is contagious to all around him. It is his faith in God that sees him through each day, as he tries to be the best person, best husband, best father, best son and best friend that he can be. he finest gift he received from the Lord is his ability to make others laugh and tell a story. His faith and his sense of humor are getting him through perhaps one of the biggest challenges of his life.
April is an important month for our family. It is the month Bob proposed to me. It is the month of my birthday, and it is the month we discovered, one year ago, that Bob had a grade 3 brain tumor in his left temporal lobe. Bob is the host of his namesake radio show “Bob and the Showgram” which has been Raleigh’s number one morning drive show for nearly 15 years. One morning, in early April 2007, Bob was on the air, telling one of his famous stories and suddenly he couldn’t say words when he tried to speak. It scared him. He called me at home and I insisted he go to the Doctor. Two hours later, he went to talk to his boss about something, and again had his second incident of “speech arrest.” It scared him more. He went to our family Doctor who ordered an MRI. That is when our biggest fears were confirmed. The worst case scenario was reality. Bob had brain swelling and a tumor..
I can’t quite describe the initial emotion when you comprehend that your husband of 15 years and the father of your two little girls has a brain tumor. But words like fear, worry, and despair, scratch the surface. You wonder if your husband will survive. You wonder if he will be in pain. You wonder what condition he will be in post-op. You wonder if it means you’ll have to live without him. But after 24 hours of all that--we stopped panicking and started praying. There was no fear after that. We knew Bob’s life was in God’s hands and HE would see us through. From then on, we faced this challenge with great peace. We were provided a path to follow, and the road led to DUKE. We met the finest neurosurgeon in the world, Allen Friedman. We were comforted by the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center folks. And we were the recipients of the best and latest research for brain tumor patients.
Bob underwent an awake craniotomy on April 23, 2007. Dr. Friedman kept Bob talking throughout the surgery so that he knew how far he could go to cut the tumor out while still maintaining Bob’s speech center. Dr. Friedman knew he had a radio D.J. on the table who would need to find a new job if he couldn’t speak. After 3 hours in surgery, Dr. Friedman told me it went well but that radiation and chemo would be necessary. I saw Bob at 5pm as they wheeled him to intensive care. My best friend and husband had tight bandages over his head; I could see some blood that had clotted seeping underneath the bandages. I had never seen anyone like that, especially someone I loved. I wondered if he was ok. Could he recognize me? I wondered if he’d be able to speak. Well, sure enough. His first words were speaking to the nurses wheeling him, “hey, there’s my pretty wife.” Yep, I could live with that! Bob’s surgery was successful, with a good resection; he is young, strong and expected to live a long life. Honestly, I can’t say his prognosis would be so good had we not had the benefit of Duke and the Brain Tumor Center…sent to us from heaven above.
My husband is truly a superman because he has faced a challenge head on with gusto, passion and humor. Bob felt that because the tumor had been a part of him for so long, it deserved a name. We dubbed his tumor “Larry” and asked if we could take it home in a mason jar and put it on the mantle. Surprisingly Duke said no, but that will be our symbol always for” Team Larry “in the Angels Among Us fund-raiser. Bob faced 6 weeks of radiation and is currently on chemo. He has never complained; except when I tried to put him on a healthy diet! He was supposed to take 8 weeks off work after surgery—he took three. He has worked through chemo and radiation and never skipped a beat. He gets up every morning at 4:30 to get to work and make people laugh during his morning show on the radio. He gets countless numbers of people emailing him abut brain tumors. If they are local, we visit them in the hospital at Bob’s insistence. But no matter where they live, he advises them to go to Duke.
Our journey in life continues with even greater meaning and greater passion now. And my superman, well, he doesn’t wear a cape or tights, he’s a redneck who wears jeans all the time, he’s bald and he’s got a big scar on the left side of his head. He’s got the best story to tell about that scar.