Why I chose MD Anderson for skull base tumor treatment

Until a few years ago, my father was the only person in my family who’d ever had cancer. In 1997, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. My dad developed the disease in his lungs after working in the electrical services industry for 20 years. By the time he was diagnosed, the cancer had already spread to his brain. My father died of complications of mesothelioma in 1999, at age 50. I’ve worked in health and education for most of my professional life, so as far as I know, I’ve never been exposed to asbestos. I never thought I’d receive a cancer diagnosis of my own. But life can change in a moment. Mine did in October 2017. My skull base tumor diagnosis I’d been seeing my family doctor for about nine months to treat what I thought was a stubborn sinus infection. But it kept getting worse, even after several rounds of antibiotics and oral steroids. I couldn’t breathe out of the right side of my nose. I was getting bad headaches, too. My doctor referred me to an ear, nose and throat specialist. He ordered a CT scan and an MRI, which showed a growth in my sinus cavity. The next day, he ordered a biopsy. It took two and a half weeks and several different medical labs to get a concrete diagnosis. When the results finally came back, my ENT gave me the news: I had esthesioneuroblastoma, also known as olfactory neuroblastoma. It’s a rare type of skull base tumor that starts in the sinus cavity and grows toward...