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Beating Brain Tumors, Our Battle with Cancer

Updated on June 26, 2012

Encouragement for people that come down with Brain Tumors

I want to share my family's story of brain tumors, and what happened after we found out. My Stepfather, who is a wonderful man and Father to us all, started showing symptoms that at first we thought was nothing. This part of the story was rather sudden, from the time we found out, to the time he began becoming almost debilitated by his tumors.

It started out as maybe swerving a little bit while driving, or driving farther to one side of the lane consistently, etc. Also, he started walking along, but would bump his foot or leg into furniture in the house, because at the time, the tumors were pressing on his brain in different areas, and his whole perception of things was changing. We would walk out of a store or restaurant and his sense of direction to where the car would be, or parking lot, was basically gone. He had visual impairment some and some dizziness, loss of balance, etc. He had to quit his job, and focus on this.

These were the things we could see, and as scary as that was, in such a short time in such a healthy man, what we couldn't see was much scarier. The tumors in his brain, yes plural, were not only growing, but metastasizing. The biggest was lower down in the back of his brain, but another new one was growing up in front and center of his brain, etc.

Next, were the rounds of testing.  We needed to know what the doctors could see and recommend be done, because at this rate, things were not looking good.  His time would become very short, very quickly.

A side view of the human brain from an MRI
A side view of the human brain from an MRI

What we found out from the doctors

Things began to become a little bit alarming.  The doctors he would see, would have to refer him to a more specialized doctor as they began to realize this weren't going to be easy tumors to deal with.  The biggest tumor, was causing the most damage and creating the new tumors very likely.  This became their main focus.  

There were encouragements along the way.  For instance, this cancer was just in his brain, not having taken over other parts of the body.  It could turn to that though, and they needed to stop it before it did go to other organs and kill him.  

Everyone in the family was concerned because all of us, on both sides of the family had lost loved ones to brain tumors. Cancer is just so mean. I am writing this hub in part though, because the technologies and science today are so much more incredible than just a couple decades ago.

The doctors realized, after all the tests they could perform, that this tumor was inoperable. If they tried to operate, and remove it, he would likely bleed out before they even knew he had begun to bleed. Way too risky for any of them to want to take on. Keep in mind too, the doctors where I live, are some of the best I am convinced. The only course for him to take was the highest amounts of chemotherapy that you could take.

The doctor wanted him to begin this almost immediately, which threw us all for a loop! No time to even really process the severity of the situation. Not a month, not a week to think about it? He said, he was on high demand to go speaking around the nation, and if we didn't do it then, it would be weeks and months down the road, very likely. THIS, was a "godsend" because his rate of decline, that I could observe, began to be swift and scary. This was going to kill him for sure, if we didn't do something.

You feel like you have to sign your life away, and almost can begin to feel ill just reading of the possible side effects. You may have heard it said, that they take you near death, to maintain your life. To kill these growing and multiplying tumors before they killed him, was going to take some serious attack measures on those mean tumors.

Thus, the path of filling up bags of multiple chemotherapy medicines/"poisons", and starting the process. My mom was overwhelmed, and stayed as long as she could that first day. We ended up taking shifts, I took the later shifts, she got there early, and we were always with him as we could.

The hard thing was that first night, I never did leave, because I was alarmed at his incredible decline and how he dealt with the medicines. I don't think he would remember, but I do. I wasn't going to dare leave him, as the nurses didn't know him, and didn't know that he wasn't acting "himself" at all. I prayed so hard, and cried a lot, and slept on a pull out little bed as much as I could.

That was the hardest, I think in the beginning. Its your bodies first time encountering this medicine, that the nurses and doctors need to wear gloves, just to handle the packaging parts. Its so strong, they can't come in contact with even drops of it. This is what they are putting in your body. I don't mean to scare anyone, but to encourage people.  I firmly believe that this science, medicines, doctors skills, along with the hand of God and answers to prayer, all helped to save his life.

A human brain, compared with a shark brain.
A human brain, compared with a shark brain.

Many months and hospital stays later, and also a bone marrow transplant, have proven to COMPLETELY remove all traces of all the tumors in his brain. Since then, months apart check ups, have also shown no beginnings of recurring tumors!!

Keep in mind, there were some side effects, but nothing like the ones that we read about. I will do another hub, about how his lungs took a "hit" so to speak. Still, he is alive, and not dead from the brain tumors. Its often common, to have your body take a "hit" elsewhere, as I have seen in my Great Aunt who is in her upper 80's now, but free of her breast cancer that was going to kill her. She is on dialysis now, every week, but we will take that over life lost!

Please, don't be afraid to go after the mean cancers that may ever creep up in your life if they ever do. You don't have to feel strong or even be super brave, just know it's a process that can truly help you. My many thanks to the doctors, God, and scientists and the people that donate money for research, because we have come very very far!

My thoughts and prayers are with those out there that have similar situations going on. Hang in there, and this too shall pass. Be encouraged and never be afraid to ask questions as there are not dumb ones. Ask about all your options, and the possible side effects. The medicines they have now, to deal with whatever pain, nausea, or whatever you have creep up, are just simply incredible, and can give relief. Continue to research and learn what things you can do now, to keep your body strong and to ward off any cancers. Nature has a way of helping us, there is so much healing properties out there, natural means to help our bodies fight all the little fights along the way. I will always be amazed at the intricate workings.

The biggest thing I was impressed with in the medicines, was that they were seeking out the tumorous cells in particular, to completely destroy them, while not going after the more healthy cells and parts of your body. The parts that may have taken a much greater "hit", were often protected by yet another medicine shielding it while the other medicines went after the tumorous growths. This is simply incredible, and never a surgery on his brain. I have much to be thankful for!

Update, almost a year later.

Here we are, many months later and almost a year actually. Often the body takes a "hit" somewhere else even if cancer can be killed and removed through all the methods outlined above (and more). My dad's lungs seem to have taken the "hit" and he struggled with double pneumonia for some time. Now though, he has completely beat that, by taking care of himself and still trying to stay active and live a healthy life style. One thing my parents would have done differently, was to take things slower after beating the cancer and recovering. What happened was, he felt so good, and Christmas came around the corner and they took a flight out to see some family. This proved to be too much in hindsight, and being in a plane with germs recirculating probaby didn't help matters. His immune system was down still, and that likely introduced some germs that were hard to beat.

I share this to maybe help others in their path of fighting cancer and recovery. I give credit to God through the many prayers, and to the doctors as well and nurses that treated him. They are making strides in fighting cancers!

Has anyone in your family "beat" cancer, once they have been diagnosed with cancer?

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    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother and her breast cancer. We are at an interesting point in medical history regarding cancers. I hear of many people still dying, but more than ever, I hear of many surviving cancers of all kinds. That is exciting. So happy for the breakthroughs, and I hope they keep on doing better and better in the future. My step dad moves slower, and had some minor brain changes, but that is fine.

      Thank you for your comment, Kommandant.

    • profile image

      Kommadant 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story. My grandma had breast cancer when she was in her sixties. Unfortunately things got worse from there. I am glad that your father made it through and hopefully all is still well.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Cosmicdust, thank you very much. So glad you stopped by. I hope people are encouraged by it. To this day, he is still doing well. It was all such a success for my Dad, though I know it isn't for everyone. Seeking out great help and good doctors can really help, but even the best can't help everyone and I know that. Still so thankful. Glad you stopped by.

    • cosmicdust profile image

      cosmicdust 6 years ago from Middle of Nowhere

      Thank you for sharing this enlightening and inspiring story.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you so much Adrienne for your comment. I hope things are ok with your Aunt. I know it can be tricky, because all kinds of things can happen just with age. If its more sudden of a change, things that never were an issue before, it never hurts to ask a physician about it. Hope all goes well for her. I appreciate your kind words.

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 6 years ago from Atlanta

      Thank for sharing this very informative journey with the hubpages comminity. I few things you mention sent up some red flags due to my aunt who is in her mid 60's show some of these signs, for example driving to far to the left all the time. And her directions of going to places that she has been to numerous times, is all fuzzy, as if she had never been to these place before. Your information was very insightful.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      JoyfulJenny, thanks for your visit, and I hope all goes well with your son and his journey. I am still learning a lot myself, but for me, all the information I can get is helpful too.

    • joyfuljennyb profile image

      joyfuljennyb 7 years ago

      My son has a tectal glioma, and any information I can get my hands on is wonderful

      Please visit his page

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you, it has been so interesting to watch the journey from beginning until now. I am so thankful for the technology and know how to deal with these killers.

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 7 years ago from USA

      Excellent information