Mar 14, 2011 - 3:52 pm
In October 2006 I had a seizure and passed out. After a series of tests it was confirmed that I had a brain tumor. I had brain surgery and was diagnosed with a malignant grade IV glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). I then had radiation and monthly chemotherapy in pill form with Temodar.
At the time of my diagnosis the doctors at Oregon Health and Sciences (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon speculated I had 3 to 18 months to live, with 12 months being the norm with this diagnosis. (Senator Kennedy, with the same diagnosis lasted 14 months.)
It is now out 53 months since my diagnosis and I am doing fine. I have MRIs every four months - and all have been clear. There is no indication that the tumor area is active. (By the way, I wondered if the original diagnosis was incorrect, so I asked for a 'second opinion.' A team at OHSU reviewed my brain tissue - and the original diagnosis was correct.)
Apparently I am in a very small group of 1% - 2% who have lived this long with a grade IV GBM. However, there are cases of people living 5, 7 and 10 years with this diagnosis. The doctors at OHSU are mystified about why I am still alive. There are the mystical theories. And there is the scientific theory. The later is that there is something about my personal genetic makeup that allows all the therapies to be unusually effective. But as one person said recently about my unusual status: "We don't know what we are doing. This is uncharted ground."
What I try to do is live my life with intention. I try to keep my stress low. I try to eat right. And....I have two glasses of pinot noir each evening! As Winston Churchill said: "Never, never, never give up."