10-year glioblastoma survivor: Get busy living

Rare. Unusual. Anomaly. All of these words are synonymous with being a long-term glioblastoma survivor. All statistical data suggests that I shouldn’t be here. Only 10% of people with glioblastoma survive five years. However, here I am, 10 years after being diagnosed with the most aggressive form of brain cancer, and I’m not only surviving – I’m thriving. Looking back is surreal. Some things seem like a dream to me, as if I was floating above watching my life unfold beneath me. Other memories are so vivid that I am instantly brought back to the time and place, and I can recollect the smallest details. My glioblastoma diagnosis and recurrence After my glioblastoma diagnosis, I was extremely hopeful, yet realistic. I had every medical advantage for a person diagnosed with brain cancer: one of the best neurosurgeons in the country, Dr. Sujit Prabhu, who removed 99% of the tumor in MD Anderson’s state-of-the-art BrainSuite®; excellent neurological exams; and peak health condition for my age. But I still knew that it was possible, or more than highly likely, that I would have a recurrence. My tumor returned less than a year after my initial diagnosis, and my life changed the moment I stepped out of MD Anderson after my second surgery. Even if it meant multiple recurrences and craniotomies, I would fight as long as possible for my husband, my daughter, my family and my friends. Taking advantage of the gift of time After a few years passed with no more recurrences, I felt foolish for not taking full advantage of being a young, healthy cancer survivor. I decided then...