Surviving oligodendroglioma with humor and gratitude

My brain tumor symptom came on Feb. 15, 2015. I was playing in a soccer match with my team — Express — at Meyer Park in Spring, Texas. I burst though our opponent’s defense and calmly knocked the ball home for a goal. Seconds after the restart, I headed the ball. What happened next was the first of multiple seizures. After passing out, I woke up on a stretcher as I was being put into an ambulance. This was not part of an elaborate goal celebration, as some of my teammates thought. This was for real.  I was admitted to a local ER, where they found the cause of my seizures: a brain tumor. A biopsy a few days later revealed I had a glioma. We decided to visit MD Anderson.  Accepting my brain tumor treatment plan Our first appointment at MD Anderson was with radiation oncologist David Grosshans, M.D., Ph.D., in the Proton Therapy Center. To say he was positive was an understatement. “We’ll have you back on the soccer field,” he promised. Our next stop was MD Anderson’s Brain and Spine Center, where we met neurosurgeon Sherise Ferguson, M.D., and neuro-oncologist Barbara O’Brien, M.D. They recommended a pretty intensive treatment plan that involved surgery to remove more of my brain tumor. I wasn’t thrilled and was in complete and utter denial, but reluctantly agreed.   Awake craniotomy and a new diagnosis I had my surgery — an awake craniotomy — on April 9, 2015. Dr. Ferguson explained how I would be woken up during surgery to map the motor areas of my brain, but that I wouldn’t feel anything. During the...