This is my story
Around Thanksgiving 1991 I became sick with flu like symptoms, after four months and two hospital stays I was diagnosed with a astrocytoma of the medulla ( a brain tumor wrapped around my brain stem). The area of the brain steam that my tumor was located in controlled involuntary functions that we do without thinking about it like breathing and swallowing.
At first the doctors thought I had an issue moving food through my stomach but when that was not the case they came to a conclusion that I was self inducing the symptoms due to a high stress job of being a property manager. Well they were right the problem was in my head but not self induced from stress.
Surgery was next to remove as much of the tumor as they could without causing more damage than good. After surgery I had 72 radiation treatment, twice a day at 9:15am and the second at 3:15pm for 7 weeks and one day. This was a new protocol for radiation therapy to try and reduce the side effects from radiation. Unfortunately we now know that smaller dosages of radiation does not reduce the long term side effects and is no longer being offered.
In the waiting room at the hospital for my radiation treatments I found a brochure to the local American Cancer Society (ACS). I called and found out that they had a support group meeting for brain tumor patients and care givers once a month. They also referred me over to the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). From the support group meetings and ABTA updates I was able to learn about my tumor, treatment options and long term effects of radiation treatment.
The side effects of radiation started a year after treatment and included double vision, adult strabismus, sharp headaches, facial paralysis, tongue swelling ,new tumor, tinnitus , hearing loss and bone erosion in the ear canal.
My second tumor appeared in August 2009., I had just visited a colleague in Maryland and taught a course when I had what I thought was a infected ear. It turned out to be Tinnitus and was caused by a acoustic schwannoma behind my right ear.
As I look back over the past 28 years from my first brain tumor I feel I have had a wonderful life. Some ups and some downs but overall I feel very blessed. I know that over the course of time I would not be as well if it was not for the ABTA
Each day, 500 people will be diagnosed with a brain tumor. 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.