Glioblastoma caregiver: MD Anderson has helped my wife survive brain cancer twice

It’s unlikely you’re ever going to meet anyone quite like my wife. For one thing, Susie is a two-time brain cancer survivor. That alone makes her amazing. But she’s also still alive — more than 20 years after her initial diagnosis. That makes her unique. We were so worried when Susie’s tumor was first discovered. Our kids were both really little back then: just 3 years and 2 months old. Susie feared, if she died, they wouldn’t know or remember her. Now, our youngest is 21 and studying biochemistry in college. Our eldest recently earned a master’s degree in biomedical engineering and is working in a neuroscience lab in Boston. Susie and I have traveled around the world and back. It’s all been possible because of the folks at MD Anderson. A brain cancer diagnosis Susie was pregnant with our second child when she started having problems with memory, word association, poor appetite and headaches. Doctors attributed those symptoms to a challenging pregnancy. But the symptoms got even worse after she gave birth. When the headaches became unmanageable, I took Susie to a local emergency room in Austin. The doctor there thought she had a bad sinus infection. I knew her symptoms were something more serious, so I pushed for a CT scan. Finally, the doctor agreed. The scan showed a tumor the size of an orange in the left temporal lobe of Susie’s brain. After having an MRI, Susie met with the hospital’s neurosurgeon. He told us Susie’s brain tumor was the largest he had ever seen, and he was amazed she was still able to walk and...

Breast cancer survivor: Why I volunteer at MD Anderson

I’d always heard that people should wait a year before volunteering at MD Anderson, so they could make sure they were “over it” after finishing their cancer treatments. But even when treatment is over, it’s not completely over — at least, not in your head. So, I don’t know who is ever “over it,” because I don’t think you ever really “get over” having cancer. I just knew when I was capable of being helpful again after a breast cancer diagnosis. So, I started volunteering in March 2018, about four months after I returned to work. And I’ve done a lot of volunteer service gigs in my life. But I never enjoyed any of them as much as I do this one. What spurred me to give back after my breast cancer treatment I received a lot of support from people at MD Anderson, particularly when I first learned I had stage II breast cancer. I had a really bad week between the day of my Dec. 27, 2016, diagnosis and my first treatment on Jan. 2, 2017. But it wasn’t just my care team at MD Anderson who lifted my spirits and gave me hope. I also met regularly with volunteers at Mays Clinic, who shared their stories with me as fellow survivors. And I remember thinking, “As soon as I am able and finished, I’m going to pay this forward.” ‘Put me where I’ll be the most useful’ When I signed up to volunteer, I told the volunteer supervisor to put me wherever I could be the most useful. I know it can be very difficult to...