In October 2006 my husband, John, thought he was experiencing a migraine. I took him to the emergency room and they administered medicine that alleviated his symptoms. Before they let us leave they performed a MRI. While we were waiting on the results of this test John was feeling great, he even thought we would be discharged. Instead, a doctor appeared at his bedside and informed us that the MRI indicated a lesion in John's brain - we asked - what could it be? They said without a biopsy, they couldn't say. Instead of coming home, John was admitted to the hospital. He underwent surgery where the neurosurgeon removed as much of the lesion as possible. At that time, our family was given a name – Glioblastoma multiforme, the surgeon braced us to expect the cancer cells to be classified at level 3 or 4, since we knew the tumor developed since May of that year and was the size of a D cell battery. John recovered quickly from the surgery and walked out of the hospital a couple of days later. He then went through radiation treatments that shrunk the remaining tumor. We had a routine during this treatment – I would drop John off at the hospital for his treatment and then drive all three of our children to school, by the time I was done with the multiple stops it was time to pick John up from the hospital. He made friends with the radiation therapists, the doctors and the other patients scheduled at that time. After radiation, we moved on to an experimental chemo path – 21 days on, 7 days off. It was all pill based, so we were not traveling to the hospital for its administration. After a couple of months, the follow up MRIs indicate this course of treatment was not controlling the tumor. We moved on to a different chemo path – one that was approved for Prostate cancer but not yet approved for brain tumors. At first, the change in John was remarkable, his walk was stronger, his speech less effected. Things were going so well that we opted to skip one round of treatment. Within two weeks of this missed treatment, John’s speech worsened, his balance was off, his strength diminished. Instead of our follow up visit with his oncologist, he ended up in the emergency room. The results of his MRI indicated the tumor has started to grow back in to the resection area as well as continuing to develop towards his brain stem. We made the tough decision to move John into hospice care. He passed 6 weeks later in October 2007, just shy of his 45th birthday. Our family wants to do whatever we can to ensure another family does not have to go through what we did. Our lives are forever changed.
Each day, 500 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumor. To show my support, I will be participating in the American Brain Tumor Association’s BT5K Breakthrough for Brain Tumors Run & Walk. Money raised by the BT5K will provide critical funding for brain tumor research and for supportive patient care.
You can support me in my efforts by making a donation to the American Brain Tumor Association.
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Your donation not only supports brain tumor patients and their families but it also supports the breakthrough research to improve, extend and ultimately save lives.
And remember, your donation is tax-deductible! You can learn more about the American Brain Tumor Association at www.abta.org. Thank you in advance for your support of my efforts on behalf of brain tumor patients, their families, and the researchers pursuing the breakthroughs.