DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A lunch meeting with friends became a big ordeal for one Dallas Police Department officer who had just finished an important promotional exam. Before he could even order his food, his life changed dramatically. But a few moments of silence may have very well saved his life.
It took place on May 30, as Sr. Cpl. John Robinson went to lunch with two close friends, also police officers. "We walked and went to sit down at the table, and I couldn't talk suddenly," Robinson recalled. "I didn't have any idea what was going on. There was no pain or anything like that. I just suddenly couldn't talk."
"Anybody that knows John, there's two things. John always has an opinion, and he's super articulate," said Sr. Cpl. Juan Contreras. "For him to, all of a sudden, out of the blue, start having problems with words. I mean, he just couldn't remember or think of anything to say. He kept saying, 'Words, words.'"
The officers are accustomed to helping people on the streets, but this was one of their own.
Sr. Cpl. Julie Menchaca searched online for communication problems. "Things started popping up. Brain tumor was the first one. Stroke was the second one," she said. "I was afraid we would look like we were overreacting."
The officers took Robinson to Baylor Medical Center at Dallas, and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In the days that followed, doctors said that most people with this type of tumor do not survive. "When all this happened, it was almost too much all at once," said Katherine Robinson, the officer's wife. "It was devastating."
The surgery to remove the tumor lasted for five and a half hours, and Robinson was required to stay awake for most of it. He used humor to get through the operation, joking about a cute nurse at his side and a single friend in need of a companion. "She was really cute, so, during the brain surgery, Carlie, yeah, I asked her. I was just trying to get her phone number to give it to Cliff," said Robinson, laughing. "It was just one of those things, trying to be a good friend. It was just one of those things. He needs all the help he can get."
According to Robinson, surgeons believe that they were able to remove the entire tumor. The officer is back to work now, but he begins the next stage of treatment -- radiation and chemotherapy -- on Monday. A fundraiser for Robinson and his family is being held from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday at the northeast Dallas Police Department substation. It costs $8.00 for a plate of barbecue.
"I think he's a superhero," added Robinson's wife. "I mean, honestly, for someone to go through an awake craniotomy and to be as strong as he's been with his family, I think it's amazing."
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