YEAR 10. I couldn't be more happy to be participating in my next ABTA 5k. This organization has truly changed my life and the lives of many, and I hope to once again give back as much as they have given me. Oh, and I MADE IT TO MY 1OTH RACE. Boom.
My story: I am a 32 year old pediatric hospitalist in Chicago. I finished 1.5 years of medical school when my life took a different path (temporarily). On December 30th, 2008, I found out I had a brain tumor; Jan. 2nd, 2009, it was removed in a total resection; Jan. 8th, I found out it was malignant i.e. not good. Through 108 months now I've been doing well -- near 100%, save some selective forgetfulness i.e. when my wife assigns chores. At one time I used to count my longevity in days remaining, but I think more in years now.
My symptoms were strange. In late October 2008, I began having simple, partial seizures that I thought was simply anxiety associated with medical school. I would have a song stuck in my head, one that I knew very well, but I couldn't pinpoint where I knew it from or what the words were, and I had an intense deja-vu feeling. Then, for the next 1-2 minutes, I would be confused with a slight loss of hearing. This happened about once a week. I was incredibly anxious and a bit depressed, as the nascent tumor was pushing on my amygdala and hippocampus. In hindsight, I realize there were other symptoms. One person commented late at night that my left eyelid was drooping. I also occasionally had difficultly with word recall.
I must have gotten this stupid brain tumor for a reason...probably to raise money and become a better doctor. Today I view my experience positively--while I may have lost a few IQ points, I've gained much more in understanding my patients. And I met my wonderful and beautiful wife Sarah in the aftermath. We now have a nuclear family with two cats who despise but mostly tolerate each other.
I'm not dying and am in fact doing quite well. I think I am living proof that people can survive GBMs and live normal, long, productive lives. I stumbled across the ABTA by chance (and the finish line every year for that matter). I'm not sure how I would've made it thru my 1st winter without the organization. Please support me again this year in this wonderful event, as many of you have done in the past. ALL OF THE MONEY OF THIS EVENT GOES TO BRAIN TUMOR RESEARCH and PATIENT, FAMILY, AND DOCTOR PROGRAMS.
20000 gbms are diagnosed each year. They are rare and underfunded (I know from my time spent in a lab), and they have such profound effects on patients, their families, and their friends. After speaking with countless others with this affliction and their families, I know I'm not alone. Let's stop it!